Welcome to Netrider ... Connecting Riders!

Interested in talking motorbikes with a terrific community of riders?
Signup (it's quick and free) to join the discussions and access the full suite of tools and information that Netrider has to offer.

<Please help> White smoke gone, bike won't start...

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by pete the freak, May 2, 2005.

  1. So I'm riding to work this morning, make it all the way thorugh the city and coming out the other side, when all of sudden my bike starts pissing out copious amounts of white smoke. When I next stopped at a set of lights, I killed the engine to let it sit, but when I started it again, white smoke again. It was only 5 minutes away from my work, so I got there alright, and now when I start her up, there's still a little bit of smoke but it seems to be going away...

    Now I did just fill up the oil on Sunday, and I suspect that might be related to the problem.

    Any ideas??
  2. Isn't white smoke water in the engine? Check the water level (Spada's are water cooled right?) and if it's suddenly very low to empty I think you might have a bit of a problem and may be looking at a head gasket :(

    Check your oil as well, think it goes like a chocolate milkshake colour if it gets water in it.

    How many k's the bike done?
  3. Does sound a bit oil related, you didn't happen to over-fill the sucker did you?
  4. Re: White smoke everywhere

    Have you noticed a slight drop in power?

    Sounds like on over-fill, did the same thing myself first time round :oops:
    You have to look for spark plug fouling and air filter blockage (oil vapour reflux) as potential problems in the not too distant future. Dont mean to be alarmist, if the overfill was slight it will just burn away the excess without any major problems.

    Water in the oil would show up as an emulsion (whitish bubbly scum) in the sight-gauge or visible from the fill point rather than smoke. Other symptoms include the gasket being bypassed and internal engine reactions making it to the outside world.
  5. I'm pretty sure I didn't over fill it. It was pretty much dry when I refilled, and I only put a litre in, and they recommend 1.8 litres for a refill.

    I have started it up again a couple of times, and it seems to be going away.

    Haven't checked the water level though... Will check and post again soon.

    Thanks fo rthe help BTW guys... :)
  6. Overfill would probaly result in blue smoke.

    I'd say youv'e blown a head gasket. Your water will be pretty messy. If you get to it quickly it's a pretty easy fix. Jut replac the gasket. If you dont you will score a machine face and have to get it remachined.

    The only other thing I can think of is diesle (or oil) in the petrol. This smokes like nothing else. Are you sure you haven't got a mate playing tricks on you?
  7. Sudden plume after riding for a while - doesn't fit an overfill description. Oil bypass on the rings is more likely when the engine is cold. Water is unlikely to create a visible cloud when the engine is under load.
    I suspect this is more visible under acceleration, which would be oil smoke. You should know which it is. Smoke on acceleration indicates rings. More smoke when backing off indicates head gasket or valve problems.

    The oil fill on the weekend may just be coincidence, but we can guess all day without getting it right without seeing the bike.

    My only sage advice is the longer you ride the more expensive it becomes. Copious oil burning could result in engine seizure. Get someone who knows to diagnose this before you ride again - a new gasket and some labour is cheaper than a lump of fused metal that needs replacing.
  8. Out of interest, is it possible for an overfill to force oil past the rings or do modern engines have some kind of release valve?
  9. 'Kay, had a closer look at the bit and pieces, here's what I've got:

    *Smoke almost non-existent now, only when I give it heaps of throttle. Not at all when backing off or idling.

    *Oil is clean as a whistle and still all there.

    *Radiator is full of bright green stuff. Radioactive?

    Now have scratches on LHS mirror where I put the bike down while checking condition of oil. D'oh! :x
  10. Same as mine when I overfilled

    Good to hear. Water in oil is pretty easy to spot.

    Maybe, there are test kits for that. Do you spend much time in Lucas Heights?
  11. Not really. Was a bit surprised by thta though actually. Opened up the radiator and the thing was completely full. How often do I need to change the coolant? Does it run out or just get dirty and crap?

    Pretty confident that it was the oil overfill thing...

    Thanks for everyone's help...
  12. By your descriptions it sounds more and more like an oil overfill.
    So long asyour coolant is bright greenn then it is still good.
    If it starts to go greeny brown then it's time to replace the coolant.
    As a rule of thumb coolant should be replaced every 2 years.
  13. Hmm, have you got the bike back to full heat or just spinning in the garage? Hope your right!

    Overfilling the oil can create excessive oil splash. The upper cylinders are normally lubricated by small bore holes in the head injecting oil into the lower piston (below the piston head). Excessive splash can overwhelm the oil scrapers causing oil to enter the combustion chamber giving smoke, but usually this is quite a bit more than the high mark. I'm guessing that this became a problem when the oil thinned under heat, so I suspect the problem will resurface when the bike gets hot - so be sure to drain off some excess oil if this is the problem.

    Did you drain the oil or just top it up. Top ups should normally be done in a lot smaller amounts(say 100ml at a time until you learn the impact of each fill amount). Looking in the sight glass, what may look empty probably still has over half the available oil still in the sump/pump.

    To Nova's query, there is no protection for this. Oil pressure from the pump is regulated but you can't alter oil splash (although I'm sure BMW probably has an igenious solution for this ;-) )
  14. My old man had crap in his carbe (good old datsun Stanza) it also blew heaps of white smoke... It started all of the suden... no power loss and it slowly disapired... but my guess is that it is an over fill... if you have a window to check your level... make shoure you actualy see a bit of "empty" at the top of the window... (there should be actual marks on the side of the window indicating low and high)
  15. Oh yeah.

    Don't be a twit and do what I did: forget to stand the bike upright on a level surface while checking the oil level.
  16. I'm a bit worried about that statement. If it were empty, I'd expect some engine damage. But if it wasnt empty, you probably overfilled.

    From what I've seen, even when the the sight-guage thing looks empty, there's still heaps of oil in it.
  17. I agree, it seems like the bike was definitely overfilled.
    even with the sight glass on empty it should not take more than 1/2 a litre tops.
  18. Forgot to ask, did you drain the sump before you filled or was this a top-up. If you drained the sump first then it should take 1.8 litres easily (more if you removed and drained the oil filter as well)

    If you didn't, then it would be a good idea to drain the excess through the sump before your spark plugs and air filter get completely fouled.

    If it ran after you added the oil I am guessing you haven't drastically overfilled it.
  19. Okay dudes, update time:

    Couldn't ride it home last night so I took the train.

    Was starting yesterday, but kept missing and then conking out.

    I DID overfill the oil, have now drained it till it's just below the high line (while the bike is upright).

    She still starts, but only with the choke open and the throttle open too. She'll start and rev up, but if hold the throttle open at what should be a constant rev (i was holding at 5k), the revs will slowly drop away (about 10secs) and then die again.

    No more white smoke though.

    Any ideas? Time to take it to a bike doctor?

    Please help me!!!!!

    EDIT: Air filter looks fine, can't see anything wrong with the Sparks.
  20. If this is anything like my case you may have oil reflux on the air filter. It may look OK but could be blocked with condensed oil vapour. Run your finger along the wire mesh side, if it feels slightly oily then you have condensation. If you can get your hands on a new one, cool. However, you can also soak out the oil with kero or turps (well ventilated area)

    Try option 2 if convenient, could save you a trip to the mechanic. Or at least get you there under bike power.