Help - Scary noise from my G/S engine

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by Freeagain, May 20, 2012.

  1. Freeagain

    Freeagain Adventurer

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    Hi All,

    I had a brilliant 1000km mountain dirt ride over the weekend. 1984 R80 G/S went really well. But.....

    At about 650 km's I thought I heard an extra tapping noise. At 800km's it was definately there and gradually getting worse. By the time I got home it was seriously bad.

    The bike is still pulling like a train, and smooth.

    It is a loud tapping sound, that is related to revs. It seems to quiet down alot with some (3000) revs, but hard to tell.

    It seems to be coming from the crankcase/front cover (as opposed to heads).

    Can anyone give me thought as to what this might be, what to do diagnosis wise, and any other tips that are relevant?

    Thanks in adavance,

    Toby
    #1
  2. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    cam lobe or rod bearings would be my 1st guess. Get a stethoscope and see if you can find the exact location.
    #2
  3. ritetwist

    ritetwist Been here awhile

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    Sounds like my '85 r80.One cam lobe gone bad, along with lifter.It still seemed to run good,albiet noisy.
    One cylinder removal will tell the story if that is what it is.
    #3
  4. Freeagain

    Freeagain Adventurer

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    Thanks Guys,

    So, what goes wrong with a cam lobe and why does it make the sound?

    What is the "one cylinder off" diagnonsis work? ie what am i going to see/measure with a barrel off?

    If this is the problem, what is the fix?

    Thanks again,

    Toby
    #4
  5. Freeagain

    Freeagain Adventurer

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    Hey one less,

    I just saw your bike, and mine is just like it, blue, beefed up racks etc. And I just bought a 24 litre tank to paint and add!

    Except my engine has the "special" noise!

    How would I diagnose rod bearings? Do you mean big end?

    Thanks,

    Toby
    #5
  6. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    some HPN tanks aren't paintable, make sure you have the nylon tank, if not then there is not point to even trying to paint.


    The only way I know is to pull the rods to check the (big end) rod bearings, others w/ more know how might chime in. You'll still need to pull the cylinders to check the cam lobes.

    Has the bike had good maintenance as in oil changes??? How many miles on the bike??
    #6
  7. Freeagain

    Freeagain Adventurer

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    The bike's service history is unknown. Most of it is very original but weathered. Miles uncertain too. 34,000 k's on the clock when I got it, but no idea if original.

    I have changed the oil four times in 4000 km's, and no sign of nasty bits in the oil etc.

    would these problems surface so dramatically in just a few hundred k's?
    #7
  8. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    You don't need to take a cylinder off to diagnose a worn lifter. Keep track of the valve lash. Your going to have a lot of valve lash on one valve if it's a lifter/cam. It's the lifter that goes bad and then wears the cam lobe. It's pretty rare and I doubt that is your trouble. It could be but it could be a lot of things. Get a stethoscope. The trick using them is to first listen with the contact rod removed to zero in on the noise and then use the contact rod IF it makes the source any clearer. Do that and you tell us where the noise is coming from. No need to be tearing the engine down just yet!
    #8
  9. Freeagain

    Freeagain Adventurer

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    So are you saying that I should reset the vlave clearances to spec and see if a single valve clearance increases over time?

    Could also explain what a contact rod is, sorry, not too experienced with diagnosis, but keen to learn!

    Thanks,

    Toby
    #9
  10. woodgrain

    woodgrain In-Dented Savant

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    If you think the rod bearings are gone, drain the oil and pull the oil pan off. If they're toast you'll probably find a nice little pile of copper coloured flakes/dust under the oil p/u screen.Easier than pulling a cylinder.Continue from there.

    Woofgrain
    #10
  11. Freeagain

    Freeagain Adventurer

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    SS,

    Cancel Contact Rod enquiry. I just googled up the tool and understand.

    Still keen to understand about valve lash

    Thanks,

    Toby
    #11
  12. supershaft

    supershaft because I can

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    Check and see what it is. Does one valve have a lot of lash over the others? That would suggest a warn cam lobe.

    Rods knock a lot louder under a load. I highly doubt that is the trouble. That problem could be seen in the oil.

    I would guess timing chain right now. Get the stethoscope and tell where the noise is coming from. Hot/cold? Load/no load? Etc.

    Four times in 4000km? Filter too? Why? Installed correctly? Maybe you have a leaking white O-ring and low oil pressure?
    #12
  13. ritetwist

    ritetwist Been here awhile

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    I may have jumped the gun on the cam lobe thing.as SS said, check the valve lash as is now.
    Could be as simple as adj.screw locknut backing off, increasing rocker/valve clearance.
    Tho that sound would be more in the valve cover,it is a quick and easy check.
    #13
  14. Freeagain

    Freeagain Adventurer

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    The oil changes are primarily because I don't know anything about the engine history, and just want to give it max love from now on. I think it is all installing correctly and never have the oil pressure light come on (apart from start up) so think the pressure is OK.

    I will get the stethoscope and have a listen, check the valve clearances/locknut security and pray.
    #14
  15. Freeagain

    Freeagain Adventurer

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    Hi Guys,

    I got the stethoscope, and here what I see(hear):

    It sounds very much in the middle of the engine (ie not in a head)

    It seems to be closer to he front (louder/clearer on the front cover than the rest of the crankcase etc)

    It happens hot and cold pretty equally.

    When you blip the throttle, it (momentarily) stops the sound (when you close the thottle/unload the engine).

    Thoughts?

    Thanks,
    #15
  16. hardwaregrrl

    hardwaregrrl ignore list

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    Timing chain. edit Opps, SS got to it first.
    #16
  17. Bill Harris

    Bill Harris Confirmed Curmudgeon

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    Ditto, +1.
    #17
  18. patanga

    patanga BMWAirheadsDownunder

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    Hi, Just chimed in to read you have some noises. Based on the rough location and description, I agree that it could be in your timing chain area. Assuming that's the case then it's more likely that the chain guide plate and tensioner guide that are badly worn and the chain is starting to slap around. Unless you know that the chain and guides have been replaced in recent times then it would be wise to have it opened up, inspected & likely replaced. Better safe than sorry. At the same time I'd recommend replacing the crankshaft nose roller bearing and possibly the crankshaft timing chain sprocket. I've yet seen a cam sprocket worn to the point of needing replacement, but the crank sprockets do wear and are often overlooked. So they should, they turn twice the number of revolutions as the camshaft.

    As you aren't overly familiar with the bike, I'd also recommend dropping the pan at the same, so the camshaft lobes and lifters can be inspected. It's not easy to see from underneath but if you can't get decent visibility try getting marco photo's of the camshaft and lifters and inspect them closely on your computer. Much easier some times.

    While the pan is off keep an eye out for a small steel dowel pin (4mm from memory) that can end up in the pan and should be in the No 1 front main bearing carrier. Very rare that it happens, but if I've seen it twice where this pin has fallen out and made its way to the oil pan. The only way to replace it is to remove the timing chain gear and heat up the block and then with special puller tools extract the front main bearing carrier. Big job but best to check while the timing chain is apart, rather than find out a week later and have to do it all again. A standard check for me with every timing chain.

    Assuming the cam lobes are ok, then pay special attention to the lifters as they are known to wear out on the ends and as mentioned earlier the resulting metal breakdown can be aggressive on the cam shafts. If the camshaft and or lifters need attention then the time to sort that out is while the timing chain & gear is apart. Cut corners with any of this and it will likely come back as to bite you one day.

    You mentioned that the noise was not in the heads, but I'd check the rockers anyway. If you end up having the chain checked etc then you'll be resetting the rocker clearances anyway. While rare I have experienced rocker arm needle roller bearing failures in the past and they will make nasty clattery top end noises. If they are the problem you will likely find bit n pieces of rollers in the rocker cover, With the right tools and know how that one is not such a biggie.

    Good luck & keep us posted on the result. Cheers.

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    "The only reason people get lost in thought is because it's unfamiliar territory" (Joe Garcia)

    Check us out on facebook at "BMW Airheads Downunder", (The Australia and New Zealand Airhead Community). "B.A.D" :wink:
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/anzairheads/
    #18
  19. Freeagain

    Freeagain Adventurer

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Sydney - A long way from the dirt
    Thanks to each of you for the invaluable input. I am really grateful, and excited to be getting help from some of the legends (I have been lurking a lot) of the airhead world.

    Here is my plan, please feel free to comment, suggest or trash any or all of it;

    1.) Take rocker covers off, check valve clearances, check for bits of rocker bearing in the covers.

    anything else to look for , measure, inspect whilst I am there?

    2.) Drop the oil and filter (a week in the bike), drop the sump. Look for copper cloured bearing bits in the sump. Look for the carrier bearing dowel/pin in the sump. Look for any other bits that shouldn't be in the sump. Clean the oil pick up strainer noting bits that stuck to it. Make sure strainer is fitted properly. Visually inspect the cams and lifters from underneath (will use the photo trick!).

    Can you guys give a bit more detail on how to inspect the cams and lifters? I guess I need to turn the engine over and get several looks at it to cover the cams? How do you see the lifters? Or is it obvious once I am there?

    Anything else whilst under there?

    3.) Take front covers off. Change timing chain, guide and tensioner (I already have these as was intending to change as part of the "Max love for an old girl" philosophy). Check the crankshaft timing sproket for wear (???). Check the nose bearing for wear/replace???

    Anything else I should do whilst I am in there?

    How do I assess the state of the Crank spocket?

    How di I assess the state of the nose bearing?

    Again, Thanks for the help, and I feel much better about diving into the innards of my old girl with your support.

    Cheers,

    Toby
    #19
  20. Beemerguru

    Beemerguru Beemerguru...G/S guy

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,199
    Location:
    Redwood City, CA
    You could also use a timing light as see how the S mark holds when the revs go up and down ...should be a sharp image..double or blurry means a loose chain.
    #20