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Old 07-18-2017, 01:59 AM   #1
jeffy
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Default Ol smoky the shovelhead

yep, so my usual luck strikes again. tore the trans down to fix a leak that i thought i knew where it was coming from (turns out i was wrong) and might as well throw my new shift drum in there for that kick ass proper jockey shift pattern. I thought my trans was leaking from the lid, which i put back on with a little rtv the last time it was apart, and figured a gasket would go better. Pulled that mother apart and went on to put in the fx shift drum so i can do some proper rips and slap back for gear changes instead of the more awkward forward upshift. Well in my time disassembling i was struck by the realization of what was actually leaking when i pulled the drum shaft out and saw the seal on there, that was obviously not retaining fluid very well. hmmmmmm............well i dont have one of those around, and i just want to get this thing back together, so ill try an o ring and see how that goes (afterwards thinking i should probably add some rtv to the mix as well but life goes on) get it all back together, brand new primary belt, fired and down the neighborhood. She was shifting a little hard, and had a weird vibration, rattle (not really rattle but kinda) that wasnt there before the work, so relieve a little belt tension and try again. Shifting was feeling much better, and on cold not a rattle or vibe to be noticed that made me concerned. The plates were giving me a weird chatter when taking off, but that might have been some water from the hose after cleaning off the trans prior to work rusting things up a little. Again no concerns too major so lets take a loop around town. The new shift pattern is fucking awesome, proper jockey rocking now!!! But it feels a little down on power in the low gears, hmmmmm? get back home and lets see here, starts to feel vibraty again and that odd sound, fairly faint but noticeable. Cant determine where its coming from maybe listen look rev will help with some direction..........or maybe every time i give it a BLUM BLUM BLUM she puffs like granny at the bingo hall............wellllllll fuck!!!

tried to lay down and go to bed for the day, but there cant be sleep with a question like this in my mind and an easy answer awaiting me. So back out to the garage and my boots and drawers and time for a compression test. Rear cylinder gives me sadness and an 85psi reading, FUCK... ok lets check the front. 115-120psi ok so thats good, but not good. Throw a lttle oil in the rear cylinder, and she jumps up to 125psi!!! FML. So i guess im gonna be pulling the fucking top end back off this thing. Tell my wife that she will be happy that im not making a 1000mile round trip in a few weeks to go to R4YL, and even though she hates the idea of me making this trip and leaving her home and with our 7yr old son and newborn daughter to boot, she still tells me "hurry up and get it done! youve still got a few weeks" i fucking love that girl!!!

so the top end will be getting dug into and we will keep on keeping on, vacation days are in and all the other little odds and ends are buttoned up, spare parts and tools collected and ready for some road time. hopefully i can find a simple ring solution. Not sure where the noise and vibe was coming from, maybe in the trans, but didnt want to risk it being something that can cause extra motor damage. figure it all out hopefully over the next few days.
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:01 AM   #2
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Ok, so again i can't sleep with questions on my mind. Just got finished work for the day, gym session, then chat with the missus for a little bit then off to the garage.
pulled the rear head off and couldn't see any damage or anything at all besides the remains of much burnt oil in the cylinder...hmmm ok. So let's yank the jug. Again nothing of significance to note except for a very very minor amount of vertical scuff lines on the rear of the cylinder where the piston would receive the most force against the wall, so kinda to be expected. Not enough to enough hint at catching a nail but thou can see it in bright lights. And the only other thing is my top two rings had their gaps in the same location. Not sure if that was an after effect and they just aloud around like that once they weren't squeezed but a question mark. You can definitely see a slight variation in burn residue that rolled over the edge of the piston showing a definite indication of coming past at the rear of the cylinder, where the lines were.
so it looks like a hone and some rings will be happening for sure. Next question is, should i just go ahead and yank the other side and do the same on both even though the numbers were ok on the front? I can see in the plug hole that there is plenty of burnt oil on the piston, but I'm feeling like its just moving across the intake. So what would say to that?
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:37 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

I'd say measure and repair to suit. Check the valve stem seals if yer running them too. Why half ass it when a run is coming up? Peace of mind makes for a nice trip.
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:01 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

i hear the run isn't even that good, prolly a waste of time to fix the bike
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

The guy who runs it is a total asshole and most of his friends are lame.

I'd just do both jugs; the manifold is already off. It's nine more bolts...
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:20 PM   #6
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

Leave it to me, to make your day. But, how about ring gap, on the set you have, and piston size, versus cylinder size? A hone is not a God given cure to parts that are worn out. And the front could be as bad, but still holding compression better, due to more oil draining from the guides. Looking and measuring is a better way to determine what you need to do. Or, maybe I missed something in your first post. Not to mention, a blown head gasket, will give the same indication, and could even be the oil in the cylinder.
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by shovithead View Post
Leave it to me, to make your day. But, how about ring gap, on the set you have, and piston size, versus cylinder size? A hone is not a God given cure to parts that are worn out. And the front could be as bad, but still holding compression better, due to more oil draining from the guides. Looking and measuring is a better way to determine what you need to do. Or, maybe I missed something in your first post. Not to mention, a blown head gasket, will give the same indication, and could even be the oil in the cylinder.
I was thinking head gasket, too, and figured the re-ring and HG in combination would likely have taken care of the problem...
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Old 07-18-2017, 02:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

im figuring if i can make it out to ohio ill be able to bring a little class to the joint, or at least another oil stain. hahahaha.

yeah i guess i can measure the ring gap on the current set just for kicks and knowing. i set it to within specs when i put it together initally, and looking over the head gasket i dont see any signs of it blowing out anywhere or leaking past the drain hole back into the cylinder. Valve seals dont show any signs of leaking either.

now to put this into perspective, this top end was redone not long ago, by myself, pistons were purchased by size measurements after machine work was done on the heads and jugs. this all has just about 2000 miles on it since freshened.

would it be possible for the rings to have spun while assembled to end up with an aligned gap and oil getting past? just strange that it seemed to be ok for the first bit of break in and riding, then progressively got worse.

i will be going ahead and redoing the whole top again, hone, rings, head and base gaskets. like was said, its only a few more bolts and a few more minutes.
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:28 PM   #9
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

Look for signs on head and cylinder for head gasket leakage. Did head bolts feel like they were still tourqed?
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Old 07-18-2017, 03:35 PM   #10
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffy View Post
im figuring if i can make it out to ohio ill be able to bring a little class to the joint, or at least another oil stain. hahahaha.

yeah i guess i can measure the ring gap on the current set just for kicks and knowing. i set it to within specs when i put it together initally, and looking over the head gasket i dont see any signs of it blowing out anywhere or leaking past the drain hole back into the cylinder. Valve seals dont show any signs of leaking either.

now to put this into perspective, this top end was redone not long ago, by myself, pistons were purchased by size measurements after machine work was done on the heads and jugs. this all has just about 2000 miles on it since freshened.

would it be possible for the rings to have spun while assembled to end up with an aligned gap and oil getting past? just strange that it seemed to be ok for the first bit of break in and riding, then progressively got worse.

i will be going ahead and redoing the whole top again, hone, rings, head and base gaskets. like was said, its only a few more bolts and a few more minutes.

If this statement is accurate, then you did it in reverse. You purchase the pistons according to damage done, and have the cylinders bored to spec. If you bored them .020 over from stock size, then purchased .020 pistons, then that could be the problem. Did you run breakin oil? High Zinc content. If not, then you could have glazed the cylinder, and it never did break in. As far as the rings spinning after installed, I have never seen it in all my years of motor building. But, that is not saying it has never happened. What I do know, is that if your piston tops are coated in oil, it is either coming from below the pistons(this is assuming that this motor does NOT have a stroked crank in it. Which could cause oil to drain in above the rings) or from the heads/drain passages.

I would get a bore guage and a mic, and see what the clearance of the piston to cylinder is. If the bare pistons will rock more than a snatch, that could be the problem. Most new stock oversize rings, will gap at .020, which is a little heavy from OEM spec, but is better than a tight gap. If the piston/cylinder clearance is wide, then that could be part of the problem too. I always put the compression gaps on the high side of the piston(near the intake, but spaced like this, lower under the intake, at about 2 oclock, and the lower at about 10, never near the exhaust valve, or at the sides, due to the shape of the pistons. Some pistons have to be installed a certain way. Some have the lug on the wrist pin boss, inside the piston, it has to go on the cam side. If you install them wrong, they will smoke, eventually. Then, there is the offset wrist pin pistons, to help with piston cock. They too, have a certain direction, and position.

Other than that, I can only think of a hundred other things that can cause this.
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Old 07-18-2017, 04:36 PM   #11
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

let me not put the wrong ideas out there. my machinist is legit, and knows his shit. i started out just getting .040 over pistons before anything, he did his thing and told me we could go with .020s to keep more life in the jugs. I can safely assume he did the beginning bore and with the numbers he had, knew that i would be good with 20s and did a finish bore once i had the parts in his hand. the correct way....

as far as oil, i did not use a break in specific for any period of the usage thus far. how could it end up giving me an issue on one cyl and not both? the additional heat of the rear speeds up the process maybe? hmmm... either way ill be looking for some break in oil on this go round just to be sure of all steps. i also had never thought of it until this about ring gap placement in the cylinder. after seeing the vertical striping i thought about maybe i had the gap lined up along that rear side (i think 6 oclock in your description) and starts making me think thats where i started going wrong, and perhaps the reason for the front not being an issue if i just so happened to not end up aligned that way. another thing i will be looking at much more carefully this time.
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Old 07-18-2017, 06:51 PM   #12
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

I was not accusing anyone of being shabby. Just the way you wrote your post. And believe me, I don't think there is one person on here, no matter how many motors they have built, that will say that they are perfect. So, we all make mistakes. The main thing is, to learn from the mistake. I have never had a day of formal training from any HD trained mechanic. I worked with a few MMI and Wyotec guys over the years, but they mainly knew the newer motors. So, I have spent my life, in the school of hard knocks. It teaches you pretty well, but it can be expensive, and time consuming. But, the reward is a bike YOU built. NOBODY else, has one of them, but you, unless you sell it......

You know that the motor was puking oil into the both cylinders, as both had oil on the domes. So, if the motor did not seat the rings, that would explain some of the oil. Ring gaps being lined up also make it worse. And, until you get the other one off, you are not sure how the rings are set on that one either. Not sure what oil you run, and everybody had their brand. But, Valvoline is high zinc oil, and it is available in 50 and 60 wt. Plus, you only need to run it for the breakin period, about 500 miles in most cases. Make sure you check the underside of the pistons for the lug. That will cause them to smoke too, and it usually takes a while. Some have a painted dot, some a extra casting, right on the wrist pin boss bottom, that is not on the other side. The extra boss, goes on the cam side. If no extra boss, or a dot, then just make sure the larger recess for the valve, goes on the intake side.
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:45 PM   #13
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

Let me get this straight, your engine wasn't smoking, then you pulled your trans and rebuilt it, put it back in and now your engine is smoking badly???

Did you somehow kink or pinch the breather hose coming off the lower end of the engine causing high internal pressures in the engine and forcing oil past the valve guides and rings??

Just a thought.
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Old 07-19-2017, 09:26 AM   #14
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piston_ring
4th paragraph from the end says the rings rotate.
From my experience they do rotate. Those that don't are pinned, 2 cycles, and some diesels.
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Old 07-19-2017, 11:08 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe49 View Post
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piston_ring
4th paragraph from the end says the rings rotate.
From my experience they do rotate. Those that don't are pinned, 2 cycles, and some diesels.
I have done 2 cycle, and they are pinned to keep the ends from clipping the intake exhaust ports and breaking them. I spent over 30 years doing work on diesels, and yeah, some of them are pinned. But, in all my years of building motors, some multiple times, I have my own design of how to stagger ring gaps. I run into the same motors over and over, and end up doing top end jobs for the same people. When I pull the cylinders, I recognize the stagger that I do on all my motors. Within a degree of exact, less the little rotation pulling the cylinder off. So, I am in disagreement with Wikipedia on that one. Not sure how many mechanics agree or disagree, but in my 40 plus years of motor building, I have never noticed it that they move in the bore. The engineers at HD even tell you to stagger them. Why would they tell you stagger them, for them to eventually find a way to line up, causing pressure leakage? HD, is no the only one to tell you to stagger them either. So, not to be argumentative, but it just don't make sense to me, that a engineer would tell you to waste your time with the stagger. For nothing....
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Old 07-19-2017, 06:36 PM   #16
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

Staggering is to cause a labyrinth affect on combustion gas as we all know, and is the best that can be done, unless you go gap-less. I also have been at it for 40+, and I have seen ring position change. As I also stagger the same when installing, I've never had a line up but have seen 90 degree moves.
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Old 07-20-2017, 06:12 PM   #17
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So silly question perhaps. When i buy the rings should i buy 20s to match the piston and bore, or should i buy 30s and file to fit. Obviously not gonna just throw the 20s in without checking gap and all. Curious on the idea. Or would the inner diameter be different by a little as well?
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Old 07-20-2017, 07:12 PM   #18
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

I have been hearing that the new manufacturer spec is 20 thousand. If you buy the next oversize you should be able to custom fit what gap you need. I vote get 30's and carefully file away. I would recommend after filing carefully knock down the edges on the end of the ring you juste filed (square we hope!). As my buddy (rip) used to say," motors hate sharp edges"
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:21 PM   #19
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You could do that but the rings are lapped to a specific dimension so they will be a slight difference in the radius. But it will wear in quickly as the tension will be a little higher.
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:42 PM   #20
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Default Re: Ol smoky the shovelhead

Quote:
Originally Posted by shovithead View Post
I spent over 30 years doing work on diesels, and yeah, some of them are pinned. But, in all my years of building motors, some multiple times, I have my own design of how to stagger ring gaps. I run into the same motors over and over, and end up doing top end jobs for the same people. When I pull the cylinders, I recognize the stagger that I do on all my motors. Within a degree of exact, less the little rotation pulling the cylinder off. So, I am in disagreement with Wikipedia on that one. Not sure how many mechanics agree or disagree, but in my 40 plus years of motor building, I have never noticed it that they move in the bore. The engineers at HD even tell you to stagger them. Why would they tell you stagger them, for them to eventually find a way to line up, causing pressure leakage? HD, is no the only one to tell you to stagger them either. So, not to be argumentative, but it just don't make sense to me, that a engineer would tell you to waste your time with the stagger. For nothing....

I totally agree 100%. When I read that I thought that was the craziest thing I have ever read. I've built race engines for 30+ years and like you I set my rings the same way every time. And I have never seen them move one bit when I tore them down.

Like you said if they move why bother installing them in a certain way?
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