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ATF Leaking from primary chaincase

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ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Started at 05:04pm on the 29th November, 2017 by Lord-Toady
Lord-Toady Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Hi I recently bought a 1993 Indian built Bullet 500 which has a few oil leaks, the worst leak of all is from the primary chaincase. A new rubber seal was provided with various spares that came with the bike so I took the chaincase cover off and drained it. I read that you can use ATF in the chaincase and had a gallon of TRIPLE QX ATF Plus Transmission Fluid in the garage so filled it back up with that after cleaning up the mating surfaces and installing the new seal with a bit of general purpose grease. It looks like ATF was in there before as what came out was red. Anyway it is still leaking, the leak is not as bad as before but its still quite bad so that after I have run the bike and park it in the garage I have a red patch of ATF under the bike. The owners manual calls for SAE 20 oil in the chaincase so I am wondering if the ATF is a bit too thin and is leaking past the seal more easily than a thicker oil would. I can't find a litre of SAE 20 available cheaply but I can find SAE 30 marketed for lawnmower engines, would that be suitable for the chaincase? Kind regards Graham
Posted: 05:04pm 29th November, 2017
PeteF Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Just check it's not leaking from the back of the clutch. Difficult to spot sometimes.
Posted: 05:29pm 29th November, 2017
Lord-Toady Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
I got down on the garage floor and tried to have a look under the bike. There is a drip on the back of the case behind the clutch but I am pretty sure the worst of it was coming from the front chaincase rubber seal as could feel the ATF along the seam. I will need to clean everything up and check properly.
Posted: 05:53pm 29th November, 2017
BulletNige Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Hi, I have run my primary (2003 Bullet 350) chain in Red ATF for the past six years with no leaks at all, I have also found that the clutch performs very well with this oil - no drag or sticking.Could the outer case on your bike be slightly warped or have a gouge in the mating surface? Cheers Nige.
Posted: 06:31pm 29th November, 2017
Revband Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
If it only leaks when being ridden, Pete is probably right, look to the gearbox shaft seal.
Posted: 06:33pm 29th November, 2017
stinkwheel Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
I use ATF in mine and it doesn't leak.

I've got ATF in the one I've just built and it has a 1950's meteor minor outer chaincase fitted on an early 90's bullet inner chaincase and it's not leaking either

It's easy and very tempting to overtighten the chaincase nut so check you haven't because it can deform the casting and actually cause a leak. It's also very easy to persuade yourself to keep nipping it up a little bit more and a little bit more to stop a leak when you actually need to undo the nut and tighten it up just enough. Too far down this road and you or a previous owner, can permanantly deform it. So if you have to remove it again, check it's flat against a bit of glass.

The fact it came with a new o-ring means the previous owner knew it had a leak. The fact he didn't take the 5 minutes to change it suggests he may have known a little more than that because if i was selling a bike, I'd invest 5 minutes in making sure I wasn't selling a leaky bike, especially if I'd already bought the part. But maybe I'm too cynical...
Posted: 06:49pm 29th November, 2017
Lord-Toady Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Well the bike was supplied with a full set of gaskets bought by the previous owner who sold it to the guy who I bought it off who is a bit of a bike dealer on ebay. It was meant to be a low mileage bike but turns out the speedo cable was broken for a few years so I don't know now. I have a receipt in the paperwork for a new piston and cylinder. Will laying the cover on a sheet of glass be enough to see if it has been deformed and can they normally be fixed?
Posted: 07:59pm 29th November, 2017
binary Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
I agree with stinkwheel on this one in that the past owner knowing that the seal was leaking should have spent the 5 minutes it takes to fit the new seal instead of selling the bike with a leaking seal. Sounds like it has had a few previous owners as you are the 3rd owner. Saying that you bought it off a bit of a bike dealer on eBay does not inspire confidence. There are some motorcycles put together in India and sold on eBay that can be a bit of a problem. I know because I bought one 3 years ago and had to do a lot of work on it to get it back to how it was when it left the factory. You can use a strait edge to check how flat the case is, but to do this properly you may have to take the inner primary case off and with out the rubber put the 2 cases inner and outer together and check the gap to see how well they are mated up. I have heard that you can use a sheet of glass with some abrasive to get the covers flat again but I do not know about that. I took mine to our local engineering shop and they took care of every thing for me. My cases have not leaked since.
Posted: 08:31pm 29th November, 2017
Mark M Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Yes, a piece of glass will give you a flat enough surface to get an idea of the truth of the outer cover, however the inner case may be warped as well or it may be the warped part itself. Taking the inner off is a lot more involved! A quick fix may be to run a thickish bead of silicone sealant into the groove in the inner case, let it part set and then push the rubber bead in, let it fully set and then put the outer cover on. I did this as a temporary fix on a twin and although it wasn't a 100% solution it got the leak to a point where I could actually test the bike!

REgards, Mark
Posted: 10:38am 30th November, 2017
Lord-Toady Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Thanks for the tip, I might try the silicon for now as I want to be riding this bike rather than having it in bits as I already have two other bikes in the the garage that are not ridable and the Enfield was supposed to be a riding bike. ;)
Posted: 01:30pm 30th November, 2017
Mark B Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Daft question I'm sure but, when you say 'I filled it back up,' how full did you fill it?
Posted: 02:30pm 30th November, 2017
Lord-Toady Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Hi I had the bike on the centre stand and filled it from the filler hole with a funnel until it started to pour back out of the drain hole at the bottom. Thanks Graham
Posted: 03:50pm 30th November, 2017
Alan R Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Hi --- I use ATF both in the primary chaincase and in the forks for a much improved ride....I have also tried the progressive fork springs but for my money I couldn't see any real improvement .... I seem to recall that Enfield specified 20/50 engine oil in the forks at one time ?............ooo-er missus !!
Posted: 05:29pm 30th November, 2017
Tv Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
G'day, you can use a closed cell foam to fabricate your own gasket. We used sheet of 5mm polyethylene closed cell foam sheet (it's grey and you can get it from the foam shop) and traced around the primary case cover. Cut it a bit bigger, fit to the the bike and nip up the retaining bolt, then remove and trim so it looks neat. We did a chronic leaking Meteor case and it hasn't leaked since. Good luck.
Posted: 11:06pm 30th November, 2017
Edward Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Did you ensure the groove that the rubber seal sits in was perfectly clean before you fitted the seal?
Posted: 10:06am 1st December, 2017
Lord-Toady Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Hi TV I like the sound of using the foam sheet as it looks like a simple inexpensive fix. Does the 5mm foam replace the existing rubber seal? I need to sort this as its a pain in bum leaving puddles of ATF wherever I go, and the new concrete floor of my shed is now one big oil slick after having the enfield for 3 weeks.
Posted: 04:28pm 6th December, 2017
Lord-Toady Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
Are you sure you used 5mm foam that seems a bit thin?
Posted: 05:56pm 6th December, 2017
binary Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
I think that you will ultimately have to take the inner and outer covers off put them together with out the seal and make sure that they mate together perfectly. Then you can use the proper rubber seal. If you use something else as a seal it may fall out every time that you have to take the cover off. With the covers off you would be able to change the behind the clutch seal as well. There is a reason that the big rubber seal is not sealing it just has to be found. Some second hand Royal Enfields need a lot of work when you buy them. Some RE's that are imported from India via unscrupulous dealers and sellers can be a whole lot of mismatched parts from any model that they can make fit. They build them up and with some polish they look good but inside they can be a lot of bodged mismatched parts that run just long enough to sell the bike on. This is a multi million dollar business carried on right across the world catching honest people all the time.
Posted: 08:14pm 6th December, 2017
Revband Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
You don't need a big strip to check the fit, remove the outer cover and the o ring, put the cover back without the O ring, and run a feeler gauge round the joint. No big gaps and that isn't your problem.
Posted: 09:50pm 6th December, 2017
Tim NZ Subject: ATF Leaking from primary chaincase
When you next have the outer cover off:
Remove the O ring, fit up the outer case to the inner, gently and progressively tap around the cover with rubber hammer to ensure it is seated, finger tighten central nut. Now see if you can slip a 0.001" feeler gauge in between the inner and outer, at as many points possible all the way around; it should not fit...

Not all O rings are the same, some are too hard (old) not all are the correct length.
Nor are the O rings always correctly or fully seated into the groove. I find that with a replaced O ring it is advise to gently Tap around the outer case with a rubber hammer to progressively seat the O ring so that it mates fully as the central nut is SLOWLY tightened.
If all else fails: a smear of RTV works every time!
Posted: 12:30am 7th December, 2017

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