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HELP! Smoke coming from under the right side engine cover

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HELP! Smoke coming from under the right side engine cover

PostAuthor: gestaltabilly » Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:44 pm

Hello Virago folks,
I am restoring a nice 1984 Virago XV700 with 10K miles. I have it running very well but after it heats up it smokes from under the left side engine cover. I laid underneath it for 1/2 hour and can't figure out exactly where it is coming from. It sort of looks like it might be coming from a leak in the side cover gasket, but what the heck would heat up and smoke like that? It doesn't seem to be exhaust because of the smell but also because of how the smoke looks when it comes out. It doesn't come out with any movement as would be expected from an exhaust leak. The smoke moves slowly and streams out like it is from a small fire. I would love some guesses as to what is causing this. The smell is not quite electrical, oil or exhaust. Before I go pulling things apart I'd appreciate some help. Thanks! -Nick in Denver, Colorado

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Re: HELP! Smoke coming from under the right side engine cov

PostAuthor: bstig60 » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:21 am

There is nothing electrical under there except for the oil level switch. How about oil on the bottom of the case? Since the front exhaust is so close, I would suspect that its heating up. There may be some residual oil on the exhaust pipe. If you have the engine idling without a fan on it, the engine is going to get really HOT.
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Re: HELP! Smoke coming from under the right side engine cov

PostAuthor: Jake » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:36 am

Since this is your first post, we don’t know your level of knowledge about the VIrago, whether you’ve owned them before or just bought it recently etc.

The only thing I suspect is causing the smoke is oil dripping on the exhaust. If you changed the oil, or even if you didn’t, and someone else did, the small o-ring on the bottom of the filter cover was not replaced.

It’s common for a person to lose that o-ring when changing the oil filter, and someone with little or no knowledge of the VIrago would overlook that easily.

Incidentally, I lost mine in the oil drain pan the first time I changed oil and filter. The smoke looked like it was coming from the cover when in fact it was coming from the oil burning off the exhaust.
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Re: HELP! Smoke coming from under the right side engine cov

PostAuthor: Flyingdog » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:54 am

:yup:
What Jake said.
Buddy was describing same thing. Took a look and sure enough..oil drip waay away from origin. What's deceiving bout those leaks..the oil can travel when moving. Dripping elsewhere on the exhaust. Pretty much like a roof leaking water. Leak on the west side...shows up on the east side. :bg:
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Re: HELP! Smoke coming from under the right side engine cov

PostAuthor: gestaltabilly » Mon Jul 09, 2018 9:59 am

Thanks everyone, I appreciate the fast replies! I will definitely check for oil, but it all looks clean as a whistle and there are some other features of the smoke that make me think it's something else. I recently changed the oil (the smoke was happening before the oil change) and it does have the tiny little black o-ring on the bottom most bolt hole. It doesn't smell like burning oil which I am familiar with from being sloppy with oil changes on other bikes. It doesn't smell distinctly electrical, or have the distinct oil or clutch smell. Also, the smoke doesn't seem to fade, the hotter it gets the more it smokes. I will find the oil level switch and look into that.

PS. I couldn't find how to edit my original post. It is on the RIGHT side of the bike right around the exhaust.

Jake, I have had a 1985 Virago 700 for several years. I just got this '84. I have worked on a variety of motorcycles including complete restorations from the frame up and complete engine rebuilds. I haven't really done anything on my Viragos other than the clutch, change the infamous idler starter gear and rebuild the carbs.

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