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Thread: 1997 R1100rs Valve Cover Leak through plug well?

  1. #1
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    1997 R1100rs Valve Cover Leak through plug well?

    Good morning!
    Cycle has 90k miles on odo. Adjusted my valves a week ago. Took a day long ride about 4 days later. Found oil spray on the left side. Covered my boot, sprayed back to luggage.
    Thought I under/over tightened valve cover (tricky. Think 2 on the right side are stripped. Think PO did it, because I was super careful)
    Got around today to cleaning up the oil and thought I would be removing valve cover, put on some gasket dressing and tightening it back up.

    Went to pull out plug wire, and a flow of oil cam out of the plug well. That is the source of the leak!
    My question is: It is that donut at the center, base of the valve cover isn't it?
    I re-installed them on the head first, as per the instructions. There's a chance I did it incorrectly, but I think I did it right.
    Does that mean the gasket is probably ripped or just failed with age, or I installed it incorrectly?
    Do you guys replace them at intervals?
    I'm going to dealership right now to check price, and see if it is worth it to just replace and forget about it. Plus, be super, super careful about re-install.

  2. #2
    Those gaskets are really easy to dislodge slightly when installing the valve cover. If that happens the gasket gets crushed, deformed, or cut and will leak. Take it back apart and see what you have done. My memory says that the round gasket slips over the tunnel of the valve cover and the flat face engages the head.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  3. #3
    Registered User m_stock10506's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenmachine1100 View Post
    Good morning!
    Cycle has 90k miles on odo. Adjusted my valves a week ago. .........................
    Went to pull out plug wire, and a flow of oil cam out of the plug well. That is the source of the leak!
    My question is: It is that donut at the center, base of the valve cover isn't it?
    I re-installed them on the head first, as per the instructions. There's a chance I did it incorrectly, but I think I did it right.
    Does that mean the gasket is probably ripped or just failed with age, or I installed it incorrectly?
    Do you guys replace them at intervals?
    I'm going to dealership right now to check price, and see if it is worth it to just replace and forget about it. Plus, be super, super careful about re-install.
    Yes, almost certainly the donut is the source of your leak.
    There's a cutout area on the head where the donut sits. It causes an indented area in the donut face where the cutout is. The donut has to be completely flat when inserted. If it's installed tilted a little, it will leak. When using the donut more than once (twice, 3x, 4x which I do), it's better to rotate the face so that a flat area goes on that cutout, cause you'll never get the indentation to fall exactly into the hole.
    If that's the original donut, after 22 years it is probably not very flexible anymore. A new one might be best. Yes, occasionally I treat my bike to a new donut and a new valve cover gasket.
    Michael Stock, Trinity, NC
    R1100RT, R100, R60/6

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    Thank you for the input

    Going downstairs to disassemble and take it out, now. Will check back in a couple of hours.

  5. #5
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    11 12 1 341 707 INTERIOR GASKET

    Install on the valve cover squarely first, and when mounting the cover go straight in while wiggling gently - do not back up once installing, if you do check that the gasket is still correctly seated.
    '
    Ufda happens..........

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by greenmachine1100 View Post
    Thought I under/over tightened valve cover (tricky. Think 2 on the right side are stripped.
    You might want to fix these sooner than later.

  7. #7
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    Lip of gasket was folded over

    Thought I was following instructions, to place gasket into head first, then lower the cover into the hole/into place. That seems to have caused the valve cover spark plug well to catch on the lip of the gasket.

    This time, I snugged gasket over the valve cover hole, then snugged that onto the head, and felt the gasket sliding into the hole. Then hit the bolts, slowly and in a star pattern. That seems to be a better order of operations to me? We will see if it seals.

    Tomorrow, I'm going to spin it around town at least twice and see if any oil appears in spark plug well. (it really made a mess of the left side of the cycle. Cleaning it has been much harder than wrenching on it ) The gasket is 11 bucks a side. This is all an experiment, since I will probably just stop by my dealership and get two new ones and re-do the whole thing over for peace of mind! :-)

    Thanks for the quick response! I did search the site for well over an hour, but couldn't find any specific advice for that gasket. Everyone just glosses over it, but it seems easy to screw it up :-(

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by greenmachine1100 View Post
    Thanks for the quick response! I did search the site for well over an hour, but couldn't find any specific advice for that gasket. Everyone just glosses over it, but it seems easy to screw it up :-(
    It is easy to screw up, which is why we knew how to respond to your issue.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  9. #9
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    Tighten the bolts until they just bottom against their shoulders. STOP.
    Don't torque, don't do anything else.
    The rubber washers crush ensure the bolts won't loosen.
    '
    Ufda happens..........

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  10. #10
    Registered User dieselyoda's Avatar
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    A little bit of thick grease inside the gasket, a little smear on the face of the gasket can help as well.
    1997 R1100RT, 1981 KZ 440 LTD, R80RT, R90/6 sidecar, K1100RS,1983 K100RS (Cafe now)

    “The major civilizing force in the world is not religion, it is sex.”

  11. #11
    Pepperfool GSAddict's Avatar
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    I prefer the inside to be dry so it adheres to valve cover as much as possible and won't slip off.
    '
    Ufda happens..........

    Need your R11xx Hall sensor rewired? PM me.

  12. #12

    Oil Leak

    I've the same problem intermittently with my 110k '04 RT. I've found that installing the same donut gasket, dry onto the cover works best. What also works for me is to orient the gasket so the indent mark on the gasket re-aligns with the opening. IOW, I try and install it the exact same way it came out.

    RPGR90s

  13. #13
    Registered User m_stock10506's Avatar
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    Yup. Everyone has their own favorite method. If it works for you then that’s great.

    I place the donut gasket into the head and rotate the gasket so that a flat section is against the cutout. When I put the cover on, I line up the screws into the holes and then rotate the cover in my hands maybe 5 or 10 degrees - wiggle is the technical term. When I feel the nose slide into the gasket I push the cover on the rest of the way and tighten the screws.
    Michael Stock, Trinity, NC
    R1100RT, R100, R60/6

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