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New rings, 100 k's tons of smoke ,rode fine for 50 kms more, fouled the plug

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My neighbor / amateur mechanic installed some new rings, valve seals, cam chain in my 400 and reused the head gasket with red rtv silicone gooped all over. ***? anyways 100km into the ride it started smoking and got progressively worse with oil seeping out of the exhaust. Im talking smoke screen! lost a liter of oil in the next 50km and then finally fouled the plug.(kept topping up oil)

Pretty sure it was just a leaking head gasket sucking oil into the cylinder.

Question is should I re-hone the cylinder at this point to insure a proper seating of the rings?

FYI- Ive pulled the head and it was getting oil just fine. Head bolts were loose. I know he torqued them on install and Im sure it was the silicone giving way. tons of goopy , not sooty oil all over the exhaust port and pipe. Piston looks clean. Some carbon on the valves.

If I were to pour oil in the cylinder with piston at BDC could I get a good gauge of the rings fit in the cylinder.

Id love tho just throw a new OEM gasket on and put it back together but not sure. Hate to have to redo all this work.

ALSO!!! is it possible this is all do to improperly seated ring and not the gasket at all? could brand new rings loose that much oil that fast?

Sorry for the longish question, Thanks for any thoughts.

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First of all, never use any kind of sealant on the head gasket, it must be installed dry. Reusing a head gasket, even if you are very careful, is a gamble, sometimes it works, most times not. Get a new gasket and install it according to the service manual. If you don't have a manual, search the forum for procedure. If the cylinder was properly honed in the 1st place, it will not need it again. I don't know why you would want to fill the cylinder with oil. Improperly seated rings most likely would not cause the massive oil loss that you describe.

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Thanks Creeky.

I usually do my own work but sometimes Im pinched for time and I almost always regret it. I would have never dreamed of putting liquid gasket on a head gasket. Luckily no major damage was done and all Im out is $50 for a minibus to get my bike back home.

The hone was a very light ball hone but thats all I can get in my neck of the woods. My next trip back to the states and Ill do a proper top end job.

Thanks again. Nick

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XR's will smoke and puke out oil if they are overfilled!

Umm, many people don't know how to check the oil on an XR400.

The method listed in the manual doesn't really work.

If you don't get the transmission working by riding it, it will always read low.

I do two laps around my trucks, then check the oil.

My XR400 smoked like crazy. Turned out a piston ring cracked. I had the extended warranty, so Honda fixed it. When I fired up the bike, it still smoked. We checked the oil. The tank was full up. Drained nearly a quart of oil and it was in spec. The kid working at the shop kept adding oil.

Best way to check the oil on an XR400.

1) Drain all of the oil. (both bolts)

2) Fill with 1.8 quarts (per manual, slightly more for oil filter change.)

(Now you know the bike has the exact right amount of oil.)

3) Run the motor. Stop.

4) Check the oil. Keep running the motor or riding a little until the stick reads correctly. Now you know how to check the oil.

I'm going to start checking the oil at the end of rides and write it on the bike with a grease pen.

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XR's will smoke and puke out oil if they are overfilled!

Umm, many people don't know how to check the oil on an XR400.

The method listed in the manual doesn't really work.

If you don't get the transmission working by riding it, it will always read low.

I do two laps around my trucks, then check the oil.

My XR400 smoked like crazy. Turned out a piston ring cracked. I had the extended warranty, so Honda fixed it. When I fired up the bike, it still smoked. We checked the oil. The tank was full up. Drained nearly a quart of oil and it was in spec. The kid working at the shop kept adding oil.

Best way to check the oil on an XR400.

1) Drain all of the oil. (both bolts)

2) Fill with 1.8 quarts (per manual, slightly more for oil filter change.)

(Now you know the bike has the exact right amount of oil.)

3) Run the motor. Stop.

4) Check the oil. Keep running the motor or riding a little until the stick reads correctly. Now you know how to check the oil.

I'm going to start checking the oil at the end of rides and write it on the bike with a grease pen.

This is all after a top end rebuild so the oil was measured, but thanks for the tip.

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You know a leaking head gasket will just blow exhaust out between the cylinder and head. (No oil to suck in from a leaking head gasket)

However, as said before... never put glue on a head gasket, they just install dry.

This sounds like cracked rings. Did you check the ring end gap before installing them.

There's only a few ways to get oil into the combustion chamber.

1. Broken rings let lots of oil by.

2. Bad valve stem seals or worn out valve guides.

3. Cracked head leaking oil into cylinder.

I'd check the rings, reinstall with a new gasket set.

Perc

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You know a leaking head gasket will just blow exhaust out between the cylinder and head. (No oil to suck in from a leaking head gasket)

However, as said before... never put glue on a head gasket, they just install dry.

This sounds like cracked rings. Did you check the ring end gap before installing them.

There's only a few ways to get oil into the combustion chamber.

1. Broken rings let lots of oil by.

2. Bad valve stem seals or worn out valve guides.

3. Cracked head leaking oil into cylinder.

I'd check the rings, reinstall with a new gasket set.

Perc

I checked the rings and they are fine .They were gapped per spec. I would imagine there is a lot of oil flowing down the cam chain channel. there is only a cm between that and the cylinder bolt hole and another cm between that and the cylinder. right at that point inside the cylinder above where the rings peak is a patch of carbon buildup.

Do you think its possible that it could be the head gasket? The middle ring still has a bit of original black coating on it. They are not cracked. They are however +.05 rings on an original cylinder. This is common practice here and nobody seems to have had problems doing so. they were filed down to achieve proper end gap.

just to verify top ring =silver, second ring =black, .05 marking facing up, then the oil rings.

The only reason I thought it was the head gasket is because a local British mechanic hear said thats what he guessed it was.

If the rings are intact and within service limits, is there any way that much oil could get passed them?

Thanks a lot. Im so grateful for this forum and all of your feedback

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I checked the rings and they are fine .They were gapped per spec. I would imagine there is a lot of oil flowing down the cam chain channel. there is only a cm between that and the cylinder bolt hole and another cm between that and the cylinder. right at that point inside the cylinder above where the rings peak is a patch of carbon buildup.

Do you think its possible that it could be the head gasket? The middle ring still has a bit of original black coating on it. They are not cracked. They are however +.05 rings on an original cylinder. This is common practice here and nobody seems to have had problems doing so. they were filed down to achieve proper end gap.

just to verify top ring =silver, second ring =black, .05 marking facing up, then the oil rings.

The only reason I thought it was the head gasket is because a local British mechanic hear said thats what he guessed it was.

If the rings are intact and within service limits, is there any way that much oil could get passed them?

Thanks a lot. Im so grateful for this forum and all of your feedback

PS new valve seals and the guides are in really good shape. I was told that even without valve seals installed at all, that much oil couldnt get past. Even if one was damaged on install I cant imagine a liter getting through there in less than an hour. Maybe Im way off though. Im pretty new to this.

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If the head gasket is leaking between the cylinder bore and the cam chain gallery, the oil could very well be pulled into the cylinder. I would replace the head gasket and see if that fixes it.

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Wow! I'm not used to someone that actually goes out and physically checks all of the suggestions. (most just want to talk the problem away) :smirk:

Yes! I agree with you guys. It sounds like you did your homework pretty well and you have described your issue well from inside the engine (not guessing).

From your decription of the rings, oil should not be coming past them. So it sounds like silicon glue on the head gasket may have been the only problem. :bonk:

let us know how it works out.

Perc

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