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Sportster Motorcycle Motor - Top End Discuss Sportster Motorcycle Top End issues. Rockerboxes, Valves, Cylinders, Pistons, Rings, Lift Rods, etc...

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blue smoke, compression test, rings, valves

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  #1  
Old 4th August 2018
T_worth T_worth is offline
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Default blue exhaust smoke but good compression test

So I noticed that my rear cylinder exhaust blows blue smoke with any amount of throttle. Wiping the inside of the rear exhaust pipe with a rag leaves a black wet oily/greasy residue. I performed a compression test. Got the engine warm, left air cleaner on, WOT and with 7-9 stokes had a gauge reading of F-170psi and R-175psi. Front and rear cylinders are within 10psi of each other. Curious how I have good compression but have signs of burning oil. I poured about a teaspoon or so of oil in the rear cylinder to see if the gauge would read differently. 7-9 strokes later, and it reads 190psi. Clymer manual says if compression increases "significantly", the valves are good but the rings are defective.

is 15psi considered a "significant" amount? If my compression test is good, why am I burning oil? What else could I look for?
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  #2  
Old 5th August 2018
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A leak down test should tell you how your piston rings are doing. If your valves are good the rings should be the issue. Only other way oil will get in there is if your head breather is still routed into the carb and is puking so much oil out of the vents and putting it into the intake and burning it.
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Old 5th August 2018
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Default

I did a leak down test, and the rear cylinder went from 175psi to 190psi. I don't know if thats "significant" enough like the manual states.

I have an S&S Super E carb, the breather bolts are routed back to the carb. I just put on a new air cleaner and noticed 2 small oil stains that dried up on the gearcase cover that must have dripped from the air cleaner cover. But I took it off and it wasn't covered in oil. I don't know if its leaking that bad that its going back into the intake. I feel like there would be more of an oil mess in the air cleaner if that was the case. But maybe I'm wrong
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Old 5th August 2018
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Default

having good compression rings and good oil control rings are two diff animals. yep, you can have it both ways.
also, having good valve closure has nothing to do with good valve stem seals.
also of note is excessive bore taper. since the oil control is basically a squeegee and really not designed to hold compression, they can become miniature oil pumps.
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Old 5th August 2018
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If the oil burning was from the breathers going into the intake wouldn't both cylinders be seeing blue smoke out the exhaust?

Compression Test Results

Code:
Compression low on first stroke, builds            Ring trouble
up on the following strokes, but does not
reach normal. Improves when oil is
added to cylinder.

Compression low on first stroke, does                Valve trouble
not build up on following strokes. Does              Head gasket leak
not improve with the addition of oil.               Incorrect pushrod length
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Old 7th August 2018
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Default

Thats true. I am 80% sure I am not blowing smoke out of my front cylinder. I haven't noticed, and the exhaust pipe has dry carbon deposits, not oily residue like the rear. I'll have to take a closer look next time I'm at the garage though. My front cylinder compression reading was 170psi, and I only did a leak down test on the rear cylinder because I knew blue smoke and the oily black residue.

My rear cylinder went up 15psi with the leak down test. Is that "significant" enough? (sorry I'm caught up on this word so much) like the manual says? Or, is any amount 5psi-45psi mean its damaged rings?
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Old 7th August 2018
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Before taking the heads off for oil consumption or blue exhaust smoke check:

Check Prior to Cylinder Head Removal
1. Oil tank overfilled.
2. Oil carryover.
3. Breather hose restricted.
4. Restricted oil filter.


My 2013 service manual shows a 1200 compression being okay at 150 psi, the earlier ones may be a little lower. The 2013 1200s have a 9.7 to 1 compression ratio.

Compression is below specification if the readings
are 100 psi (6.89 bar) for 883 cc engines or 150 psi
(10.3 bar) for 1200 cc engines.




Did you do a leak down test?

That requires making sure the engine can not turn, getting the piston on the compression stroke and then putting compressed air into the cylinder to see if it holds the pressure.

You can normally tell if air is escaping through the valves if you get air from the intake or exhaust.
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If you're burning oil on hard acceleration, it's 9 times out of 10 going to be bad rings. Like bustert said above, bad oil control rings won't show up in a compression test (or leak down) as that's not what they're designed to do.

I've had to replace ring sets due to burning oil (bad oil control ring) even though they had perfect compression numbers.
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