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Offline stevedo

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2011 XC Cylinder Head Removal
« on: June 17, 2020, 08:37:33 PM »
Bit of a long shot maybe. Does anyone know for sure if it's necessary to remove the engine from the frame in order to remove the cylinder head on a 2011 800XC. Manual calls for the engine to be removed but there are other procedures where the manual calls for things to be removed when it's not really necessary.

Background for why I'm asking. I changed the coolant in September last year as well as completing a full service. Rode to Ushuaia (Argentina) and am now locked down in a small town in Patagonia by the name of Esquel. During this free time I've taken the opportunity to perform various maintenance tasks. It was during this time that I noticed that the coolant was black. I mean really black. The expansion tank has a very light black coating of a slightly oily feeling substance on it. The coolant itself does feel slightly oily (maybe my imagination, can't see how oil would actually mix with coolant). I removed and emptied the expansion tank and as well as the coolant being black there are also small black particles in the coolant. When rubbed between my fingers they disappear. There is no oil floating on the coolant, the oil in the sight glass looks to be a normal colour and there is no sludge in the oil. I didn't notice anything untoward last time I changed the oil about 2,000 miles ago.

My suspicion is that the head gasket has failed. I'm going to try and get one of those combustion leak tester kits to get a better idea of what may be going on. If I need to remove the engine I may need to find a garage/space to rent as the bike is currently outside and it's mid winter here i.e. bloody freezing.

Been stuck here for the last three months due to C19 and can't see the situation changing in Argentina any time soon. Tourist activities are a no no, we cannot travel between states and there are no land borders open. Has somewhat curtailed our RTW trip on Tigger but we're better off than many.

Saludos
Steve
Orange 800xc ABS travelling around the world. Currently in Chile. www.tiger800rtw.com or https://www.facebook.com/Tiger800RTW/

Offline Stevie.P

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Re: 2011 XC Cylinder Head Removal
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2020, 10:25:48 PM »
Given all the positive things you say regarding the oil I wonder if, with the age of the bike, it could be age/chemical related failure of the inner lining of one (or more) of the flexible coolant hoses, forming a black sludge that has dispersed throughout the coolant?
As you are stuck with time on your hands it might be worth checking as there aren't too many.  :027:

https://www.fowlersparts.co.uk/parts/8506/tiger-800-to-vin-674841/cooling-system
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Offline chuckxc

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Re: 2011 XC Cylinder Head Removal
« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2020, 12:01:31 AM »
First, to answer your question, yes the engine does have to be dropped down out of the frame to remove the head. This was recently done on my XCX.

But.....before you do that, suggest you do your compresion check, and if all 3 cylinders are close, flush the coolant thoroughly, replace with  1:1 or more mix and just monitor.
And as Stevie.P suggested, replace rubber hoses.
« Last Edit: June 18, 2020, 12:03:18 AM by chuckxc »
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Online Rtwo

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Re: 2011 XC Cylinder Head Removal
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2020, 05:18:16 AM »
As well as the hoses pull the heat exchanger and thermostat units off for a good inspection/clean.
The heat exchanger in particular has potential to allow contaminants into the coolant

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Offline Stevie.P

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Re: 2011 XC Cylinder Head Removal
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2020, 11:28:50 AM »
If available (the OP being abroad) I would maybe use a hose and try to flush the system through while a hose is off before refilling with coolant but I don't see the heat exchanger (oil cooler) being the source of any contamination as a leak there would be oil (high pressure) in to coolant (low pressure) and the OP hasn't indicated any oil in the coolant. If corrosion in the heat exchanger then a good flushing would hopefully remove and flush out any loose particles.

However removing the heat exchanger is straight forward, ideally requiring just a new O ring and sealing washer. Removing the thermostat would definitely be needed to do a system flush as the thermostat wouldn't allow any flow through the system.

If you could get something similar where you are you could run some rad flush fluid through the system (even if only letting the bike sit idling with fan kicking in for a few days) if you felt it might be beneficial clearing the sludge out. I would suggest it would be a good process after a cold water flush through and help remove any sticky sludge. :027:

Something like ...
https://www.halfords.com/tools/garage-equipment/tyre-inflators-and-pressure-gauges/holts-speedflush-250ml-741462.html?utm_medium=affiliate&utm_source=viglink&utm_campaign=phgreferral
Also owned my 1979 Bonnie T140E from new!

We don't stop playing because we grow old .. WE GROW OLD BECAUSE WE STOP PLAYING!!!


Offline stevedo

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Re: 2011 XC Cylinder Head Removal
« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2020, 06:37:30 PM »
Thanks for the replies guys.

I'm trying to source the hoses etc. here in Argentina. Funnily enough these were on my list of things to get on our next visit home (been on the road 6 years now). I've no idea at the moment if the hoses are failing but it's probably wise to swap them out for new anyway. I read somewhere that changing hoses should be done every 4 years (probably a hose salesman :-) ) If I can't get parts here I'll have to get them from USA or UK. Not sure how feasible that might be given Covid-19.

I'll do a thorough flush of the system, no problem doing that.

Currently trying to find someone locally to get a compression test done (or borrow a tester). Worst case I can probably order one in as they're not too expensive. Probably try and get a leak down test at the same time as a compression test. Explaining that to someone locally may be a slight challenge as my Spanish is OK but not the best. Still, a chance to practice.

If it does turn out that there's a head gasket problem at least I know that the engine will definitely need to come out (thanks chuckxc).

Saludos
Steve
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Orange 800xc ABS travelling around the world. Currently in Chile. www.tiger800rtw.com or https://www.facebook.com/Tiger800RTW/

 


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