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So I'm on a vacation visiting my mom in Ontario and I rode my 2014 Vintage here. I rode from Calgary by doing three and a half days at 1000 kms (600 mi) per day. After a couple hours of driving rain in Alberta on the first day, the rest of the trip went great.

I recently had the recall flash done on the bike and, due to crappy weather, haven't been able to ride much since. I was a bit surprised to find while crossing the prairies, I only seemed to be getting about 250 kms per tank of gas. Near the end of day 2, I started noticing the computer showing me about 320 km range after a fill which is more like what I expected. This continued on day 3 and my calculations backed up what the computer was showing. That night, while unpacking my gear at my motel in Blind River, I noticed what appeared to be oil residue on the real cylinder down pipe. I cleaned it up and had a look again in the morning and it seemed to be fine. That day, I finished the final 500 kms (300 mi) to my moms house and checked again. Now I see oil on the rear down pipe and some streaks on the right rear crash bar.

I don't want to head back across the country with this thing leaking oil but the Ontario dealer is another 400 kms away and they're closed Monday. I'm going to give them a call tomorrow but I'm thinking the best I'm going to get is for them to look at it on Tuesday. I was planning a leisurely trip home through the US but even if I can leave next Wednesday, I'm going to be a couple days behind schedule.

My questions: Has anyone else experienced oil leaks? Could the system have suddenly leaned itself out enough to cause a 30% decrease in fuel consumption? Could these events be related?

Any insight would be appreciated...
 

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with the re-flash it is possible your fuel consumption will change - but leaner usually means less fuel burned. Sound like your bike is running richer. Either way, it is possible the diff in fuel consumption is related to the oil leak - no common, but still possible.

If the bike runs excessively rich, its possible for fuel to get past the piton rings and into the crankcase - to diagnose this, 1st remove the dipstick and smell the oil on it. does it smell like gasoline? Check the oil level, is it a little over filled? If either condition exist, change the oil.
Also, pull the air cleaner cover and make sure the filter element is not oil/fuel soaked or clogged. clean or replace as needed.
Sometimes when the oil is diluted with fuel and /or over full, it will make the internal crankcase pressure too high, which in turn will cause excess oil mist foul the air filter and/or make mino oil leaks at some gasets/o-rings. Typically it most likely to occur during extended higher speed rides ( like covering 600 miles/day :)

Note: there is another possible source of an "oil" leak,
due to overly rich a/f mixture - but I'' address it at the end of this post.

Considering you had a 30% drop in km/l (mpg) I doubt the bike is lean - but let's discuss what can happen with a too lean condition and oil leaks: when the a/f mixture leans out, combustion temps rise to dangerously high levels - making localized hot-spots in the cylinder head. Over extended time/miles, like your trip, this heat can harden o-ring/gaskets such as the valve cover's formed o-ring, and the pushrod tubes' o-rings. They may seal at lower engine temps, but because they have lost some of their elasticity, they may weep when the engine warms up and metal expands/vibrates. It's the same thing that happens with age and high mileage. Typically, if your engine was lean enough to cause this condition, there would be other, more troubling signs of an over heating engine ( detonation, clacking, etc).

The next thing to do is to try to pin-point where the oil is coming from. Use a small flash lite, Q-tips, and a paper towel to carefully inspect. probe, and wipe the following areas, while looking for any oil film. Even tho the oil appears to be coming from the right side / rear cylinder area, check both cylinders. Also, you may want to go for a ride, warmed up the engine and oil, so it may leak again; then let it cool a couple of hours before inspecting :

where valve cover to head seam
- use your flashlite. a q-tip can be used to reach in between fins to probe for oil. There are actually two covers per head: The outer finned cover held on with 3 bolts that screw into the inner cover. These 3 screws use a Torx 40 bit if you can get access & want to check if they're tight. ( the front head's are easy to see, get at. for the rear head's cover, there are 2 screws on the right, and one, just inboard of the sparkplug wire connector on the left. the right rear screw is easy to see, the tank covers the forward/right one, but you can see it.) They only torque to 88 INCH-lbs, so just snug by hand if no torque wrench is available.
The inner valve cover is hidden under the outer cover - it is sealed with a form o-ring to the top of the cylinder head. The inner valve cover is held to the head with 9 small 8mm hex-head capscrews. If the oil is found along the seam between the valve covers and head, its likely coming from a defective form- o-ring, or one or more of these small capscrews are loose.
Unfortunately you cannot see these screws without removing the outer valve cover, and you can't remove it without removing the engine from the frame :-(

where push rod tubes meet the head, and the engine case.
There is an o-ring at both ends of each of the tubes. If oil is weeping from one of these tube o-rings, clean the tubes with brake cleaner, and clean any oil from your hands ( or wear clean dry latex gloves) then grip the tube with your fingers, as hard as you can, and twist/rotate the tube. Even a tiny bit of twisting motion will often allow an o-ring to "re-seat" and stop a minor oil weep.

where the cylinder (aka jug) meets the engine case. This is a tough area to see - so use the flashlight, q-tips, do a chant if needed, and be patient :) The jug is sealed to the case with a thin gasket. If the leak is coming from this location, there's not much you can do without disassembling the head, jug, and replacing the gasket.

where the cam cover meets the engine case. Its unlikely oil will be leaking from here - but heck, you're already crawling around looking things over, so check all the way round and under the bike for a leak at this seam. It's sealed with a thin gasket and held on with ten M6 screws. If you find any oil weeping from this seam, try loosening & retightening one screw at a time, in a criss-cross pattern. Sometimes this will re-seal a small oil weep. Otherwise, drain the oil, remove, clean, and install a new gasket. If a new gasket is not available, carefully coat the old gasket with a thin film of aviation-type gasket sealer (Permatex PO4, or Yamabond from a Yamaha dealer, etc) Some techs will use hi-temp grey RTV-silicon sealer...use a tiny thinn bead, and let it set up about 2 minutes before re-fitting the cover. Alternatively, you can use this old aviation engine trick : drain the oil, loosen all the screws (criss-cross pattern!) and pull the cover away from the case just enough to wrap a length of silk thread around the perimeter from bolt to bolt, overlap the ends about 1/4" near one of the bolt. Tighten the cover bolts up to squish the thread (it acts like a bead of sealer on the gasket, without the mess or risk of contamination that using silicon sealer can present.) Remember - tighten the bolts in a criss-cross pattern, in two stages ( 1st pattern just snug 'em, 2nd pattern torque 'em, so the cover doesn't warp. The M6 bolts only torque at 88 INCH lbs ( a hair over 7 ft-lbs) so don't go Mr. Big Wrench on 'em and strip one out. ( if a torque wrench is not available, this may help: imagine pushing 7 lbs of force on a 1 foot long wrench. Go push with your palm on the bathroom scale to see how little pressure it takes. If your wrench is only 6" long, try pushing 14 lbs to = 7 ft-lbs of torque.
You may need to remove the right footboard & brake master cylinder to gain access to all of the M6 screws. The footboard & master cylinder can be removed as a unit, far enough to get at the cover's bolts. It is not necessary to disconnect any brake lines. Just keep the footboard in an upright position, & only move it enough to get at the cam cover screws, taking care not to kink any brake lines. The footboard is held on with two M10 bolts torqued to 35 ft-lbs.
again, its unlikely the oil is leaking from this cover - but look it over anyway.
---------------------------------
The good news is, for most of these possible oil leak sources, their rate of leakage is often stable for quite a while - they'll likely remain small/slow enough for you to safely ride it back to Calgary and to your dealer for repairs. Just monitor the leak / mess, and monitor the oil level frequently, at gas stops. If the oil leak rate gets worse, you'll see the mess get bigger, and if the oil level drops, add oil and check more frequently ( half-way between gas stops?). Also, as every old Harley rider knows, when oil leaks, the wind spreads it so that a few drop will look like a liter spill :) It may not be "purty", but you should be able to get it home and into your dealer for repair.
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As mentioned at the beginning of the post, there is one other source of what can appear as an oil leak: often when an engine runs rich, the excess fuel will wash some oil off the cylinder wall and some carbon from the outer area of the head's exhaust port ...turning it into a carbon/fuel/oily gool. Most of the time this burns off, and goes out the tail pipe. but under some throttle and engine loads, it can thin out and seep around the exhaust donut gasket; where your exhaust header pipe mates to the cylinder head. It will run down the header pipe, and the wind blows it back on the bags, crash bar, etc. There is a heat sink/trim cover hiding most of this joint. Remove it by taking out the two M6 screws. The exhaust pipe flange is held to the head with two M8 nuts. Check to be sure they're tight. They torque to 15 ft-lbs. If they're not sealing, replace them. They are the same as those used on late model Harley Twin Cam engines.

Hope this helps you.
Tom - AMS
www.automotivemachine.com
www.amsmotomachine.com

P.S. Trivia: the reason older Harleys marked their spot with oil was because instead of routing the normal crankcase blow-by oil mist into the carb or throttle body, like all newer bikes do, they routed this oil mist onto the tranny's drive chain sprocket, to lube the chain. The oil would drip off the chain when the bike was parked. Some of the pre-1953 Indians did the same. Since Harleys went belt drive, and especially since 1999 they seldom leak oil... they're as 'house broken' as our 111 Indians <grin> Soichiro Honda rode an Indian 101 Scout for a number of years and it inspired him to build motorcycles that didn't leak oil :)
 

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So I'm on a vacation visiting my mom in Ontario and I rode my 2014 Vintage here. I rode from Calgary by doing three and a half days at 1000 kms (600 mi) per day. After a couple hours of driving rain in Alberta on the first day, the rest of the trip went great.

I recently had the recall flash done on the bike and, due to crappy weather, haven't been able to ride much since. I was a bit surprised to find while crossing the prairies, I only seemed to be getting about 250 kms per tank of gas. Near the end of day 2, I started noticing the computer showing me about 320 km range after a fill which is more like what I expected. This continued on day 3 and my calculations backed up what the computer was showing. That night, while unpacking my gear at my motel in Blind River, I noticed what appeared to be oil residue on the real cylinder down pipe. I cleaned it up and had a look again in the morning and it seemed to be fine. That day, I finished the final 500 kms (300 mi) to my moms house and checked again. Now I see oil on the rear down pipe and some streaks on the right rear crash bar.

I don't want to head back across the country with this thing leaking oil but the Ontario dealer is another 400 kms away and they're closed Monday. I'm going to give them a call tomorrow but I'm thinking the best I'm going to get is for them to look at it on Tuesday. I was planning a leisurely trip home through the US but even if I can leave next Wednesday, I'm going to be a couple days behind schedule.

My questions: Has anyone else experienced oil leaks? Could the system have suddenly leaned itself out enough to cause a 30% decrease in fuel consumption? Could these events be related?

Any insight would be appreciated...
I had an oil leak Rob but it was on the front jug and a very small, slight leak. Polaris fixed it under warranty, no question and no problem. Unless the leakage is excessive, I'd address when I got home....but that's just me sitting in my house, not out in the toolieberries of Saskatchewan or Manitoba. ;)

.
 

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Thanks a bunch guys. I've got an appointment for first thing Tuesday morning with the Ontario dealer.

Tom, as always, your reply is thoughtful, well reasoned and educational. I'm going to conduct a bit of an investigation on my own before I take the bike into the dealer.

Shuje, if all goes well, my return trip will take me through the toolieberries of Iowa, Nebraska and Wyoming. Still, I appreciate the reply and the sentiment.
 

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Good luck....I would check oil and ride it home for the dealer to worry about as long as it is under warrantee.....
 

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Keep an eye on the oil level and travel with a quart. A tiny bit of weepage can be addressed later. A single drop of oil can spread out and look like a much bigger deal than it is.
 
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