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Discussion Starter #1
Smelled coolant a short way from home. Looked down and it wasn't coming out of the drain pipe. Scooted back home. As you can see in the photo attached, the head gasket blew. Coolant is just pulsing out of the area.

I am devastated to say the least. This was and still is my dream bike. Just about to hit 60,000 miles. I've had it for 8 years and ride it almost every day.

On top of that, ramifications from the pandemic have made the job insecure and a cut in pay, plus just the general we're in the middle of a pandemic thing. Fortunately, so far, my family has remained healthy - so yes I have a lot to be thankful for.

But... right now, really upset.

Not sure what I'll do next. Will of course search the forum, look through the manual and do some research.

Gutted.
Head_Gasket.jpg
 

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Sorry to hear mate. Blown head gasket isn't the end of the world. Strip her down and rebuild over time. Might even help take your mind of the silliness going around. Pretty sure there are a couple of threads in here about how to fix it you could follow.
 

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Like Glenno said, it's not an impossible job. You support the bike/engine and the frame flips up so you can remove the valve cover. The engine manual is pretty good and you can get the plugs and other stuff done at the same time. The guy I bought a valve cover from actually found the gasket after he shipped it. It's from a 2012 F4 1000 R so if you can find out if it's the same thickness I'll put you in touch if you want. He told me 15 bucks iirc.
 

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60K miles on a superbike is insane. I am actually really impressed.
 

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Sorry to hear. But as mentioned, if your problem is indeed the gasket, it’s doable and relatively cheap.

But I would take a very good look on it before assuming it’s the gasket. Your problem may be somewhere else and easier to solve.

I would start by filling up the coolant and running it still without fairings to check better where it comes from. Take a good look to hoses, joints, radiator and thermostat valve for leaks. It may be spraying coolant on the engine.

Then if you really need to remove the head, download manuals and take a look.

Forum sponsors are working and shipping. I just got a cylinder head gasket from Italy a few weeks ago.

Take a look at my other topic on engine failure and you will see some pics and have a good idea on the job.


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Sorry to hear, but on the bright side you did make it home and it's a good opportunity to learn the engine. I hope that's all it is. My Ducati 748 blew a connecting rod bearing when I was 3 hours from home and left me stranded. That was an expensive tow, not to mention the cost to fix it.

And good on you for putting the miles on! My last 3 sportbikes were all sold with 60k km on them. It's nice to see someone else ride the dang things!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks all. I may have been a little dramatic since that post was right upon arriving home, but I really am bummed. Not only about the bike itself, but also because riding is very therapeutic for me and I know from past experience, these things tend to take a while (parts, bolts breaking, etc).

Like Glenno said, it's not an impossible job. You support the bike/engine and the frame flips up so you can remove the valve cover. The engine manual is pretty good and you can get the plugs and other stuff done at the same time. The guy I bought a valve cover from actually found the gasket after he shipped it. It's from a 2012 F4 1000 R so if you can find out if it's the same thickness I'll put you in touch if you want. He told me 15 bucks iirc.
Thanks for connection, I'll let you know.


Sorry to hear. But as mentioned, if your problem is indeed the gasket, it’s doable and relatively cheap.

But I would take a very good look on it before assuming it’s the gasket. Your problem may be somewhere else and easier to solve.

I would start by filling up the coolant and running it still without fairings to check better where it comes from. Take a good look to hoses, joints, radiator and thermostat valve for leaks. It may be spraying coolant on the engine.

Then if you really need to remove the head, download manuals and take a look.

Forum sponsors are working and shipping. I just got a cylinder head gasket from Italy a few weeks ago.

Take a look at my other topic on engine failure and you will see some pics and have a good idea on the job.


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I could actually see the fluid pulse out of the gasket so I am pretty sure, but I will check again.

I have taken the bike apart enough to adjust the valves twice now, so after looking through the manual, it looks like the head removal isn't much of a step beyond that. I am a little worried about the 12 (!) bolts that hold the head to the rest of the engine. I will feel really lucky if they all come out without a hitch. I know I've seen on this forum people having them break.

Beyond getting the parts, the question that also arises: Should I replace the cam chain and gears while I am deep into it. I think if I could do that without having to drop the bottom of the engine (to access the intermediate gear at the bottom of the engine), I probably should give it a go. We'll see.

I'll start taking her apart tomorrow.
 

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Head bolts won't be the problem the cam cap bots can be. Get after it.... will be easier than you think if you have already done valve adjustments in the past. Measure the chain for stretch before you make a decision on replacement.
 

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Not much after removing cams. The hardest part is to clean everything before remounting.

As mentioned, those 12 nuts are easy. Just make sure you have a good long 8mm Allen socket. And be sure to apply proper grease when reassembling.

If you never changed the timing chain, I would do it also.

Let us know if you confirm it’s really from the gasket and if you remove the head post a pic of the gasket.

Good luck!


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Discussion Starter #11
Well, I've gotten down as far as I've been before when adjusting valves. I of course checked the valves and they were all good for the first time (I've checked them twice before and had to adjust valves both times). I last checked/adjusted the valves a year and a half ago (10,000 miles ago), so it's nice to see they've all maintained their tolerances. No problem with removing the 16 cam bolts this time!

I hate messing with the exhaust - especially reattaching it. I have the original exhaust and it is all one piece that fits very tightly. Ugh. I've only had to touch it once before when I had to fix a leaking oil pan. That was admittedly worse because I didn't remove the radiator that time. At least the bolts on the head are easier to get to now.

There is a metal tube that goes from the top of the head to down near the oil filter. The bottom connection is too close to the oil filter for me to fit a allen wrench, so it looks like I have to drain the oil - not a big deal, but wasn't anticipating it and am tired - so done for today. So, once I get back at it tomorrow, I will get that tube detached, and then I guess it is time to remove the head.

By the way, I've noticed on looking at other threads that usually people clean the top of the pistons. Is this something I should do? How and with what is it safe to clean the top of the pistons?

I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow!
Frame pivot.jpeg Down to Head.jpeg
 

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You have to change the oil and filter anyway doing a head gasket.Coolant and crap will contaminate the oil.
You can scrub the top of the pistons with a stiff wire brush and wash with brake cleaner,then wipe clean.They don't have to be perfectly polished.
Just rotate each piston to top dead center as you go.
 

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Check your cam drive sprocket bolts while you have the opportunity. I had two break and cause mayhem inside the head. Both damaged bolts were missing the thread locker from the factory.

Eric
 

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+1 on cam sprockets bolts. That’s the cause of my nightmares. 12.9 steel grade m6x16 with nordlock there.

For the oil tube, you do not need to disconnect the bottom. But as mentioned, oil and filter change after remounted will be needed.

Make sure to clean cylinder walls very carefully after piston clean up.

And do not forget to post a picture of top cylinders with gasket on. Very curious on the path of that leak...


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Discussion Starter #15
Well, I got the 12 nuts (I thought they were bolts originally) holding the head removed. Normal sockets won't work because of clearance and the only long hex sockets I could find today locally at least, had a ball end. I bought them, but just didn't like having the smaller surface area in the nut. So, I used my hex key and a 2 foot pipe for leverage. I had to have my wife kind of hold the bottom of engine/wood stand while I worked the nuts loose (otherwise the whole thing kept shifting). But, in the end all removed. Sigh. Now I am trying to work the head free and it is only jiggling slightly. Not really sure how I am going to pull it off unless I can somehow hold the bottom part of the engine down (otherwise I just end up lifting everything together).

Taking a break and then back at it this afternoon.
 

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I also had to buy a long socket and it was also ball end. Just cut the ball end and you are good for using it on reassemble with torque wrench.

Mine came of pretty easily. Not sure if any special trick is needed. Just take your time. When you get it loose, a lot of coolant will fall. Put some wipers on the floor.


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Discussion Starter #17
Okay I got the head off. I ended up putting in the frame bolts on either size and then with a block of wood against the bolt, tapped it with a hammer. Never been this far into an engine before, I did not know that the head gasket is actually two pieces of metal stuck together. At first I didn't see anything amiss, but then I noticed that around the area where I saw the leak, the two pieces of metal weren't "stuck" together like they were around the rest of the gasket. I am assuming that the material between the two pieces of metal "blew" out in that area?

There is supposed to be a mark on the tabs showing what size it is, but I am not seeing anything. Should it be obvious? Anyone have one around as an example?

I assume I need to clean both surfaces of the head and cylinders - do I need to get all of the "black" stuff off, in other words down to bare metal?

What grease did you all use for the nuts? It says HSC MOLIKOTE, but I can't find any readily available to consumers??

I also had to buy a long socket and it was also ball end. Just cut the ball end and you are good for using it on reassemble with torque wrench.

Mine came of pretty easily. Not sure if any special trick is needed. Just take your time. When you get it loose, a lot of coolant will fall. Put some wipers on the floor.


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That sounds like a good idea. I will do that!

Thanks again for everyone's help.
 

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Iirc the size is indicated on one of the tabs on the inlet side.
Eddypro has done a strip down on his 1078 due to broken head studs. It might pay to do a search of his threads.
 

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If head and cylinder is not machined your should use the spec indicated at the manual.

Anyway you can see number part and thickness on the side facing up. It might be just dirty.

Take a look on mine for example (mine is on the front side, in the picture part number bellow cylinder 4 and thickness bellow cylinder 1):



I did cleaned everything the best I could. Take a look at the diference bellow. Be careful to not damage the metal though.

I



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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
If head and cylinder is not machined your should use the spec indicated at the manual.
Anyway you can see number part and thickness on the side facing up. It might be just dirty.
Take a look on mine for example (mine is on the front side, in the picture part number bellow cylinder 4 and thickness bellow cylinder 1):
I did cleaned everything the best I could. Take a look at the diference bellow. Be careful to not damage the metal though.
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Thanks for the photos - that helps a lot! The tabs were completely black and when I cleaned them, it just was bare metal, so no numbers. All I did was rub the black away, no cleaner, but I must of rubbed the numbers off, too?? They must be printed on, not engraved? I feel like if I look at the tab with the size I can barely make out a faint "7", but can't be positive.

I measured the thickness of the two gaskets. The base gasket is ~0.38 mm thick which is what the manual says every base gasket is. I measured the top gasket and it came out to ~0.26 mm. That is approximately 0.64 mm. Because of the material in between the two, trying to measure them together results in different measurements all around the gasket and depending on how tightly I put the caliper together. If I assume (dangerous, I know) that the manual's three listed gasket "types" are the nominal thickness (listed as 0.70, 0.55, 0.40 without a unit of measurement), my guess is I have the 0.70 gasket or listed part number 8B00A2300.
 
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