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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a Speed four from a pretty decent size dealership near my house. Overall I got a fair price on the bike. It has a complete D&D exhaust. Brand new battlax tires and overall is in good condition. I noticed after a few days of ownership that I was finding oil on the ground on the left side. Now I did research and it is not coming from the drain tubes. Took it to a Triumph dealership who found the shifter seal was cracked. After almost three weeks I was finally able to get it back in to them and have it fixed. So imagine my frustration when I found more oil the exact day I picked up the bike from the dealership...
So I took it back to them yesterday. I am about 90% positive it is coming from the front sprocket. I have found oil behind the sprocket cover and now matter how much cleaning I do after riding for 5 miles or so I get this oil leak.
Has anyone ever seen this before? Oh, chain oil has been 100% ruled out. And there is no oil higher on the bike than the sprocket.
 

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Sounds like either both the shift-shaft seal and output shaft seal were leaking, or the output shaft seal was leaking oil onto the shift-shaft and the dealership misdiagnosed it as the shift-shaft seal. In any event, it is not unheard of that the output shaft seal is bad and needs replacing. Did you happen to see the old shift-shaft seal? If it was in good shape and was not the problem, you should not be charged for the replacement. Such oil leaks are hard to diagnose in a shop without extensively running the engine, so I feel for a dealership who has a technician who doesn't hit his/her mark; it is nonetheless not your fault that they cannot get it right, and I would argue that they either replace the output shaft seal free of charge (assuming their time estimate is the same for a shift-shaft seal and output shaft seal) or return your money so you can go elsewhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Ok the dealership replaced a o ring on the shifter shaft that is located behind the sprocket. They also sealed it with "ducatiseal" I think they called it. Now it is still not fixed. I would say about 60% of the leak is gone. But I am still finding oil. Way less than before like I said...
But man this is confusing. The dealership ran the bike for an extended period of time and did not see any leaks. So now there is is only one place left...
it also must be coming from the front sprocket itself. I just hate having to take it back to the dealership over and over again.
Also I forgot to mention that the dealership I actually bought the bike from overfilled the oil. I have drained enough out to make it right at this point, but would it have blown through the o rings?
I just pulled off the front sprocket cover and it is dry. And I really didnt find any oil around the sprocket or the place they just fixed. No wonder they are having such a hard time finding it. I am a pretty mechanical guy so to not be able to find it myself just baffles me.
Also is it just me but are the bolts easy to get cross threaded on these bikes? I already screwed up one and when I was putting the cover back on just now I for sure started cross threading the top bolt. So that will for sure have to be retapped at some point. At least it is tightened at this point.
So advice??? I am supposed to take the bike in next wed. I plan on riding it as much as possible until then. Is there a possibility it is residual oil coming off of the chain or the sprocket from the actual oil leak? Should I just keep riding it to see if it goes away? Thanks guys.
 

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The terminology is getting confused. There is no sprocket on the shift-shaft, only a circlip and shift lever. Also, there are no o-rings to be replaced, only radial shaft seals. The output shaft is what the front sprocket is attached to, located behind the cover. From what I gather, the dealership replaced the shift-shaft seal only?

It is confusing that the dealership would say they used any kind of sealant on the seal, as this is not needed or correct for the application and actually softens the seal's rubber. I suppose they could have used some on the outer metal ring where the case and seal meet, but this is unclear.

955cc Triumph engines have an issue that when the oil is overfilled the output shaft seal can blow, causing an oil leak. I'm not 100% sure that the 600/650cc engines share the same problem, but they could. Are you checking the oil with the engine warm and the bike upright on a level surface? How much over the full line was the oil?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Sorry to be confusing. Bikes are new to me. If it was a car I would have had it solved...lol
ok... they intially replaced the shift shaft seal. This is where the shifter actually goes into the transmission. That was first. The second thing they just fixed was right under the front sprocket. It is a torx bolt. The shaft selector maybe? They said the o ring there was bad and the oil was working its way out of the threads. They replaced the o ring and used a seal on the outside of it. I did see something similar on speedfour.org when a guy was having a leak as well there. He also replaced the o ring, put some silicone in that area and no more leak.
As for the oil level, I checked it when it was level. It was cold. But I took alot of oil out to get it within range of the oil dipstick marks. It was definatly over. Also the dealership didnt say it was too low or anything when I have taken it in. So I dont know. As I said, this is a little new for me, but I have always checked oil on my car when it is cold.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Also I am supposed to take it back in to the dealership on Wed. I am off on Monday so I can dig around. I am fully willing to try and fix this myself, but I am at a loss as to where to start...
 

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If you are planning on doing work on the motorcycle yourself, I recommend buying a paper service manual from either a dealership, bikebandit.com, or used. FYI, pdf/electronic manuals are illegal copies.

Depending on what radial shaft seals you change, it is usually a matter or walking the old seal out with a seal removing tool or acceptable substitute (aka screwdriver or the like), cleaning the engine case, and driving the new seal in with an appropriate size drift (a socket or piece of pipe works best) so that the outer steel ring takes all the force until the seal is seated.

It is not all that hard to do, but it is also easy to mar up the case and/or destroy a new seal if close attention isn't used. You'll probably need an air or electric powered impact gun to get the output shaft sprocket off, and you'll need a torque wrench to put it back on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So I figured out the leak. Assuming the shifter isnt adding to the problem by still leaking, it is 100% the output shaft. They fixed that last week but it is obviously still leaking. On Sunday I rode to work and the minute I got home I undid the sprocket cover and while was parked in the sun and using a flashlight I was able to see the oil forming a little river running from the output shaft. It is hard to detect because it flows into the crevices under the sprocket before finally flowing out to lower regions.
I didnt fix it though. Only because I paid the dealership to fix it and they obviously have not.
So I am taking it in tomorrow. But I am getting frustrated with them. If I pick this up again and it is still leaking then what???
I have another Triumph dealership I could take it to or even to the dealership I bought the bike from. Even though it is a Triumph I assume they could work on something like this. Not sure how that works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update...
bike is at the dealership. They had it on the lift Saturday afternoon.
Still not done. But they are going to try a larger oring and extensivly ride it to determine if it is truly fixed. Hopefully I will have an update tomorrow.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update...
They put about 20-30 miles on the bike. Kept it a day longer to make sure and rode it again yesterday. Put it on the lift, no leak.
Picked up the bike, rode home aobut 20 miles and no leak as well. I am taking a longer ride on Saturday. About 200 miles round trip. So that should definatly prove that it is fixed. But so far so good.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Still leaking... Took almost 80 miles for it to pop up again...
I went to the dealership I purchased the bike from. I spoke with the sales manager and explained the entire situation. he expressed his apologies and asked why I did not let them know this was happening. I come from the angle that it is a used machine and why would anyone offer to fix it for free? And the fact that they are not a Triumph dealer I thought just as in the car world, take it to a Triumph dealer.
Now he asked if they could pick it up from the dealership that was working on it and I granted permission.
They are going to look at it and if they cannot fix it then they will get it to a Triumph repair facility they know and trust.
If it still proves unfixable then we will go from there.
I may end up trading the bike in before the end of July.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I really need some help with a persistant problem

So I have another posting somewhere on here but I really need some help. I am more than likely going to try and get the dealership to take my bike in trade tomorrow because of this problem...
I have an 03 Speed Four. I have had a persistant oil leak coming from the output shaft. It has been in the mechanics 3 times to fix, I get no more than 20 miles on the bike and the leak comes back.
The dealership I originally took it to to fix tried twice to fix it and now the dealership I actually bought it from just attempted to fix it as well and failed also. They ordered brand new seals from Triumph because they are really trying to get this fixed. I bought the bike from them 3 months ago now and this is the first I have told them about it. I figured used bike, why would they care?, but they have been very helpful. I have worked on cars for 15 years now and I have never seen an engine act like this. The bike is in great condition and runs great, but leaks like there is no tomorrow. Guys before I ditch this bike tomorrow...is there anything that we could possibly be missing????
 

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Maybe the leak isnt the root problem?
Could there be too much pressure being built up on the inside and therefor causing the oil to break through the seal?
Maybe one of the oil channels is clogged and not allowing proper flow throughout the whole system but building up right behind the final drive shaft?

I dunno?

Im not a mechanic :p
 

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it could be worth running with a catch tank from the oil filler to release the crankcase pressure as Kovac suggested. also check that there is no play in the output shaft bearing and the shaft isn't bent or worn as may be ovaling the seal under load.
cant think of much else that it could be if the seals have already been changed
 

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Maybe the leak isnt the root problem?
Could there be too much pressure being built up on the inside and therefor causing the oil to break through the seal?
Maybe one of the oil channels is clogged and not allowing proper flow throughout the whole system but building up right behind the final drive shaft?
I doubt it is a excessively high oil pressure issue, as the output shaft and shift-shaft are not pressurized at the seals, but run free in the crankcase. The oil seals keep splashing or stagnant oil from exiting. There isn't going to be a buildup of crankcase pressure either, as the crankcase breather system will not allow it.

As I said in my response to your PM, drftfan, if the seals are the correct ones and they are installed correctly yet they, or one, still leaks, there could either be a groove worn in the shaft where the seal rides (unlikely on low-mile engines) or there is an issue with the shaft itself, as yimmit suggests. The mechanic should have checked the shaft for wear when removing the old seal, and he/she can check the shaft's trueness by running the bike in gear with the rear on a stand.

Some radial shaft seals are direction specific, like our fork seals, and will leak if put in backwards. They can also be damaged if the mechanic doesn't put them in correctly, causing leakage.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
the dealership is going to try again to find out what it is. It is definatly coming from the output shaft. But... The seal has been replaced twice now. In the Factory Service Manual it states that the "cap screw" (the bolt that holds the shaft in place) should be discarded. Is there some reason as to why you would want to do this? And it has not been done... just reused. Is there some sort of sealing propertys that does as well?
 

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My recently-acquired 2003 S4 has the exact same leak symptoms. I can't tell if it is the shifter or the front sprocket.

Given drftfan's experience, maybe I'm better off to just live with it?

Are a few oil drops normal for these machines?
 

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My recently-acquired 2003 S4 has the exact same leak symptoms. I can't tell if it is the shifter or the front sprocket.

Given drftfan's experience, maybe I'm better off to just live with it?

Are a few oil drops normal for these machines?
mine does not leak at all. but if it is very minor i guess it could be fine as long as you check the oil all the time. personally i'm anal about stuff like that so i would fix it, but your call
 
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