Oily substance all over the left side of the engine - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Oily substance all over the left side of the engine

Hi all,

after leaving my Bonneville standing unattended on the street for two months, I found the left side of the engine part covered in an oily substance. Also, at the same time, I found that the gas tank was empty (it was almost full when I parked the bike and the gas valve was closed).

It's covering the whole engine side cover, most of the cylinder, left cam cover, left carb and a lot of it was on top of the transmisson and even on the bottom rim of the gas tank (ABOVE the gas tank valve). See attached pictures.

The bike caught some dust so you can really see the wet part.

The stuff feels and smells like a mixture of oil and gasoline, but I cannot really identify it. Together with the fact that the tank was empty, this brings me to a hypothesis that the substance could be an old gasoline, but I always thought that when exposed to air, gasoline would evaporate. I have no idea how it could cover such a large portion of the bike.

Hypothesis 1: Someone tried to steal the gas from my tank and spilled some gas all over the engine (not likely but also not impossible in this part of the world).
Hypothesis 2: Someone dropped the bike and some of the fluid leaked - but why would the tank be empty?
Hypothesis 3: The gas valve was leaking - but why would the gas be all over the place? Maybe it was just dripping and because it was windy, the gas could be sprayed even above the gas valve?
Hypothesis 4: Magic

Any idea what I'm seeing here?

The bike seems to be running fine after refueling.
Thanks
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Last edited by ondrej.glembek; 04-25-2019 at 03:55 PM.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 06:55 PM
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I'm going for #3, the petcock leaked. Was it closed when you discovered the mess? Perhaps even someone turned it on 'just to see'...
That's a real mess, hope the stores sell Simple Green there, it'll do it quickly with no residue left.

Good Luck -

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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 06:59 PM
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Agreed. It looks like a little bit of gas and oil that then mixed with water and turned into a mess.

It's tough to rule out option 4, though

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-25-2019, 07:58 PM
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Someone siphoned out gas and split a fair bit. Explains empty tank and mess even on top of gas cap.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 02:37 AM
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I am surprised your bike was still there.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 06:01 AM
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Did you shut off the fuel tap?
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 08:16 AM
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It's a long shot but, have you considered other possibilities?


Joking apart. Many years ago an experienced mechanic told me that if you had a misterious leak on your vehicle the best way to identify its source was to dip your finger in it and taste it with the tip of your tongue. Stuff like anti-freeze has a certain sweet tang, transmission oil tasted different from engine oil, brake fluid a dry sort of taste, etc.

Seemed perfectly reasonable to me until I got to my car every morning and had strange sticky deposits over one of my wheels. I thought it might be brake fluid, but the level was not going down in the reservoir. After a a couple of days I started to taste it, but it had a certain sharp, tangy taste I could not identify.

A few days later I caught a dog pissing on my wheel.



Last edited by Forchetto; 04-26-2019 at 08:31 AM.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-26-2019, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forchetto View Post
It's a long shot but, have you considered other possibilities?


Joking apart. Many years ago an experienced mechanic told me that if you had a misterious leak on your vehicle the best way to identify its source was to dip your finger in it and taste it with the tip of your tongue. Stuff like anti-freeze has a certain sweet tang, transmission oil tasted different from engine oil, brake fluid a dry sort of taste, etc.

Seemed perfectly reasonable to me until I got to my car every morning and had strange sticky deposits over one of my wheels. I thought it might be brake fluid, but the level was not going down in the reservoir. After a a couple of days I started to taste it, but it had a certain sharp, tangy taste I could not identify.

A few days later I caught a dog pissing on my wheel.


Forchetto: I do hope that he was of a good pedigree.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 05:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for your answers.

Twintorsk: yeah, fuel tap was off.

LapinAgile: thanks - apparently I can get Simple Green here, but there are more options. Which kind were you talking about?

Forchetto: With that kind of mess, the dog would have to be cow-sized, but maybe I should have a taste...
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-28-2019, 07:58 PM
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I use the standard Simple Green All Purpose Cleaner for about everything, but there may be other types available also, best to do some label reading.

Good Luck -

'02 Bonneville - AI removed, 152MJ's, 42's 1.5 turns out, Air Box Gone/Uni Filters, TPS removed/capped, NH Togas, Nology Coil, Hotwire plug wires, TTP SafeStart, TTP Firestarter, D9 Bracket, Pingel petcock, 19 tooth sprocket, Michelin Pilot Actives.
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