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Discussion Starter #1
Hey there, I'm service manager at a small repair shop and me and my mechanic are having difficulty resolving an issue with a customer's 2007 GSXR 600; although I believe we have isolated the problem I thought it might be appropriate to get some feedback and I found this forum seemed to have a lot of knowledgeable folks. Any ideas or input will be much appreciated.

The customer brought the bike in because it was overheating. We found the coolant was drastically low and the oil in the sight window looked almost white, so we drained the oil and it looked like a latte.

Upon doing a little research, and consulting with my mechanic, I suggested that we replace the water pump and see if that resolves the issue, since it seemed the most likely cause and least expensive solution.

After replacing the water pump and completely flushing the oil (drained and replaced oil three times, running the bike for a few minutes in between each oil change), we found the oil was still creamy and light in color, like a latte, and the coolant was low again.

We removed the oil cooler, cleaned out the channel through which the oil normally passes and filled it with water, then sealed one of the coolant hoses coming off the oil cooler and applied compressed air to the other, and watched the water for bubbles (to test for cracks between the coolant channel and the oil channel in the oil cooler). There were no bubbles; we repeated this test several times and managed to apply considerable pressure and had no air bubbles, making us confident that it was not the oil cooler. However, we did note that in the engine block, the oil in the upper channel leading from the oil cooler had less water mixed with it than the oil in the lower channel leading from the oil cooler (when dipping a screwdriver into the upper hole we found it came out covered in almost-clear, relatively normal looking oil, while the lower channel had milky oil).

We proceeded to pull the engine out of the bike, and take off the valve cover, where we saw remnants of milky oil on the valves; then take off the cylinder head, exposing the cylinders and pistons. The cylinders showed no signs of having been exposed to water. All four pistons had black carbon deposits on them; none were cleaner than any other, and the head gasket appeared intact. If the head was warped and the seal was failing for that reason, I would have expected to find evidence of water in the cylinders and on the pistons, such as one being much cleaner than the others, or all of them being too clean, but there was nothing.

Through process of elimination, I have concluded that there must be a crack in the block somewhere below, allowing coolant to flow from the coolant channels into the engine. However, before I present this unfortunate news to the customer, I wanted to see if I could find any other possible explanations or causes, so that I could be more confident in my assessment.

We have not performed a leakdown test or compression test but at this point having torn apart the engine I'm not sure if that would be necessary as the visual cues from inspecting the pistons seem to provide us with enough information to be confident that the head gasket is not leaking.

We also have not yet pressurized the coolant system in it's entirety, but again I'm not sure if that would provide us with any valuable information, considering that we already know it is leaking and we have already checked the individual components leaving us with very few possibilities.

Any feedback greatly appreciated! If there is anything other than a cracked block that would lead to this set of symptoms I would like to hear about it.

If anybody would like to see photos of anything let me know and I will post them promptly.

Thanks in advance for any help,

Henry
 

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Henry its sounds like u are gonna have to tell your customer the bad news. cracked block . I would have to say you have narrowed it down pretty good. give him the bad and expensive news.
 

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I was about to suggest the oil cooler but you have checked that appropriately and it is good.

A couple of things:

The water pump will never put water in the oil on these engines as there are individual seals for each side with an air gap in between and that air gap has a drain hole. (you can see it on the bottom of the pump behind the impeller housing section, oil or coolant will drain out of the hole)

There seems to be very few head gasket problems and those seem to be caused by massive overheating. Yours would be the first cracked block I've read about.

The other not uncommon area for coolant to get in the oil are the "freeze plugs" in the head in the camshaft area. They do pop out or leak rarely. With the age of these bikes the steel plugs may be rusted through if only water was used. (track bike for a while?)

I would have done a pressure test on the coolant system before removing and disassembling the engine. That much leak should be obvious. Too late for that now.
 

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Freeze plugs under the cams are the first thing to check, aside from the water pump. I hope they checked those first. Other things are not common.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Freeze plugs under the cams are the first thing to check, aside from the water pump. I hope they checked those first. Other things are not common.
Yes we checked the freeze plugs. Anything else that could cause this issue?
 

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I would have done a pressure test on the coolant system before removing and disassembling the engine. That much leak should be obvious. Too late for that now.
this ^..
informing the customer that they have a cracked block without knowing for sure :headshake
 

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I was about to suggest the oil cooler but you have checked that appropriately and it is good.

A couple of things:

The water pump will never put water in the oil on these engines as there are individual seals for each side with an air gap in between and that air gap has a drain hole. (you can see it on the bottom of the pump behind the impeller housing section, oil or coolant will drain out of the hole)

There seems to be very few head gasket problems and those seem to be caused by massive overheating. Yours would be the first cracked block I've read about.

The other not uncommon area for coolant to get in the oil are the "freeze plugs" in the head in the camshaft area. They do pop out or leak rarely. With the age of these bikes the steel plugs may be rusted through if only water was used. (track bike for a while?)

I would have done a pressure test on the coolant system before removing and disassembling the engine. That much leak should be obvious. Too late for that now.
Pretty much +1 on the above.

Should have used a pressure tester on the cooling system. You could have by passed the water pump and ruled it in/out, same with the oil cooler and also ruled in/out head gasket leaking from cylinder to cooling system.

just because coolant is not leaking into the cylinders from a head gasket does not mean there is not a leak between an oil and coolant gallery, but i have not see a late model gsxr head off to see if this is possible.

I would be looking at a S/H engine now
 

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Discussion Starter #8
this ^..
informing the customer that they have a cracked block without knowing for sure :headshake
GIX7FIDDY--Definitely not. We have been in constant communication with the customer and are entirely open about the entire repair procedure; he can come in and look at it at any stage; and I will be explaining the present situation to him in much the same words as I used to explain it here. If I determine it is necessary and appropriate, I would go so far as waiving the cost of the gaskets and any additional labor required to reassemble and put the engine back in to perform a pressure test on the cooling system with the engine in place. However, I'd first like to be certain that this would be necessary and appropriate.

Pretty much +1 on the above.

Should have used a pressure tester on the cooling system. You could have by passed the water pump and ruled it in/out, same with the oil cooler and also ruled in/out head gasket leaking from cylinder to cooling system.

just because coolant is not leaking into the cylinders from a head gasket does not mean there is not a leak between an oil and coolant gallery, but i have not see a late model gsxr head off to see if this is possible.

I would be looking at a S/H engine now
Bala--I see your point that testing the entire system as a whole would have been more effective than individually testing the various components. However, my question for all of you is this: At this stage, having ruled out the oil cooler, having a brand new water pump, and having determined that the head gasket is not leaking and the freeze plugs are not leaking, can we be certain (by process of elimination) that there is a leak between an oil and coolant galley, or are there other potential failure points that I have overlooked?

My point being that if there are no other possible failure points, there would be no cause for reassembling the engine and pressure testing the radiator--We have already determined that coolant is entering the oil (as evidenced by coolant being in the oil), and we have determined that it is NOT entering through the oil cooler or the head gasket or the freeze plugs; the only item still theoretically suspect is the water pump which as I said is brand new, therefore not a likely suspect though I suppose it is theoretically possible that the factory would ship faulty unit.

I don't want to go through the motions of running a pressure test if it will not tell us anything; we already have a lot of information and I would only consider it worthwhile if we would gain some new information by doing so.

So once more for clarification--if we rule out the water pump, head gasket, freeze plugs, and oil cooler, are there any other potential failure points to consider or are we left with a cracked block as our only possible explanation?

Thanks a lot for all the feedback and help.
 

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I will disclaimer that the last gsxt engine I had the head off was about an 85 model.

I believe as was stated, as long as the tell tale hole between the water pump and oil pump is clear, if you have a faulty water pump coolant will leak out there before is will go into the oil.

What is the history of this problem? I would suspect it had a coolant loss, low coolant event that lead to an overheat, then to coolant in oil?

I did suggest the proximity of oil galleries close to coolant at the head gasket so I would look at that. Straight edge on the head, you also have the base gasket to look at for a possible leak of coolant into the sump.

Are there sign of corrosion on the alloy parts of the cooling system you have looked at.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I will disclaimer that the last gsxt engine I had the head off was about an 85 model.

I believe as was stated, as long as the tell tale hole between the water pump and oil pump is clear, if you have a faulty water pump coolant will leak out there before is will go into the oil.

What is the history of this problem? I would suspect it had a coolant loss, low coolant event that lead to an overheat, then to coolant in oil?

I did suggest the proximity of oil galleries close to coolant at the head gasket so I would look at that. Straight edge on the head, you also have the base gasket to look at for a possible leak of coolant into the sump.

Are there sign of corrosion on the alloy parts of the cooling system you have looked at.
The customer stated that the bike ran fine last season, and when he first took it out this season it started overheating. We did not detect any external leaks. The customer also stated that the bike had never been run with water as coolant.

I'm confident that the water pump is not leaking.

Straight edge on the head--While I will check this for good measure, if it were leaking at the head there would be water in the cylinders.

There is no abnormal corrosion on any of the coolant system parts that I have seen so far.

Base gasket for leak of coolant into the sump--This is the first new idea I have heard so far; if the base gasket is compromised that would also result in coolant mixing with oil; I'm very thankful to you for pointing this out--as obvious as it is in retrospect, it was not a possibility I had considered so far. This would give us reasonable cause to continue dis-assembly in order to check the base gasket.

If it's the base gasket, then maybe it's not a crack in any of the actual castings, and maybe we can simply replace the gasket and put it all back together--which would be a much better solution for the customer than having to buy a whole new engine.

We did not want to continue dis-assembly if there was no new information to be gained by continuing, but when considering the possibility of the base gasket being compromised we have a reason to move forward. I will speak with the customer on Monday and let him know that there is one more possible cause that we can check before we make a final verdict.

If anybody thinks of anything else that could cause water to enter the oil, anything at all, please mention it here. At this point I'm simply trying to identify every possible cause of this problem and check all of them, so that I can be sure to give the customer a fully accurate diagnosis.

While I do not claim that we made no mistakes in the diagnosis procedure (a compression test of the whole coolant system would have been a more efficient use of our time than testing individual components separately), we proceeded as logically as possible with the information we had on hand at the time, and I'd like to continue to logically check each potential cause until they all have been exhausted before declaring that it is definitely a crack in the block.

Thanks again folks very helpful and please if anybody has any other ideas for other potential causes, let me know.
 

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by not pressure testing the system you have really missed the opportunity to properly detect if there was an external coolant leak that caused overheating that lead to the internal problem that now exists. But you are where you are now.

The history is important. It was running ok, stored then first time out overheats,

Have you looked to see if the thermostat is stuck, this would cause an overheat event then problems can arise from the overheat. is the cooling fan working,

Did it get hot once and he turned it off , or did it overheat and boil and shut down, overheat numerous times.

Big difference between over heat with full coolant and boil with low coolant.

It can well have a leaking head gasket without tell tale carbon cleaned off pistons as it has not been run long, and so i would not discount a leaking head gasket, warped head. They can be hard to see on alloy engine especially if the problem has not been there long.

I would be thinking along the lines this engine could now have multiple problems caused from and initial over heat and another reason to carefully consider another engine price and avail dependent of course.
 

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just had a peep at the parts fiche, dont see a "base gasket"??
Upper/lower cases have only 1 joining point and no gasket there.. maybe I am missing something??
My $$ is on a head gasket..
Luck
 

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just had a peep at the parts fiche, dont see a "base gasket"??
Upper/lower cases have only 1 joining point and no gasket there.. maybe I am missing something??
My $$ is on a head gasket..
Luck
:Laughing: Shows how close I have looked at my bike in the 12 months I have owned it. Looks like you have missed nothing and the cylinder is part of the crankcase.
 

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04 GSXR 1000 With a Similar Problem

I have a '04 GSXR 1000 with a similar coolant leaking into the crankcase problem. I bought the bike used with ~22K miles (supposedly) and ran it thru the local dealer to have the coolant flushed and other stuff. Been riding it as much as I can and noticed the overflow reservoir low. Filled it and a couple weeks ago coming home from work noticed the temp was high. In the garage I saw the reservoir was empty and the oil was milky and high in the oil site glass. I took a compression check and all the cylinders were within 5 PSIG of each other. Though low (~140 PSIG) but the engine was cold. I took a chance and replaced the water pump. Drained the oil and filled the radiator but the same thing happened. I dropped the engine and pulled the head off and the head gasket looks to me not to be the culpret. So know what ? I've got the same problem, there must be a crack somewhere. Anyone have a better idea as to where to look ?
 

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I have a '04 GSXR 1000 with a similar coolant leaking into the crankcase problem. I bought the bike used with ~22K miles (supposedly) and ran it thru the local dealer to have the coolant flushed and other stuff. Been riding it as much as I can and noticed the overflow reservoir low. Filled it and a couple weeks ago coming home from work noticed the temp was high. In the garage I saw the reservoir was empty and the oil was milky and high in the oil site glass. I took a compression check and all the cylinders were within 5 PSIG of each other. Though low (~140 PSIG) but the engine was cold. I took a chance and replaced the water pump. Drained the oil and filled the radiator but the same thing happened. I dropped the engine and pulled the head off and the head gasket looks to me not to be the culpret. So know what ? I've got the same problem, there must be a crack somewhere. Anyone have a better idea as to where to look ?
Welcome.

You will usually get a better response if you start a new post with your specific problem.

That being said, if you did a search, you would have seen that the most common cause of water in the oil is the oil cooler leaking internally. Water pumps cannot cause this problem due to its design and head gaskets rarely fail unless the engine is severely overheated.

The freeze plugs in the head below the cams can also cause an issue but only if the bike is allowed to freeze or the cooling system is so neglected that the steel plug has rusted through.

Post an intro, with pics of your bike, in the "new riders and members" section when you get a chance.
 

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Another Question

10-4, I'm kind of new to this site and the use of this forum. I saw some responses regarding the oil cooler but what exactly do you mean by leaking internally ? The oil cooler is external and is an air cooler ??

Thanks for any advice and clarification !
 

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10-4, I'm kind of new to this site and the use of this forum. I saw some responses regarding the oil cooler but what exactly do you mean by leaking internally ? The oil cooler is external and is an air cooler ??

Thanks for any advice and clarification !
Well, I'm embarrassed. The 600/750s of that year had a water cooled oil cooler.

Yes, your 1k is still air cooled. My bad, I should have read your post better.

I'd suggest doing a cooling system pressure test to confirm the leak.

My next best guess would be the freeze plugs under the cams in the cylinder head.
 

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hi guys, didn't want to start a new thread and i am aware this is a few years back, but I have the same problem with coolant e mixing with oil after rebuilding the water pump.
did you manage to find the problem ? a solution maybe ?
thanks
 

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hi guys, didn't want to start a new thread and i am aware this is a few years back, but I have the same problem with coolant e mixing with oil after rebuilding the water pump.
did you manage to find the problem ? a solution maybe ?
thanks
:headshake

I've seen/heard of this happening when the bike sits over a winter, w/o proper % coolant solution. Cracks something- I'm not sure where the common place it fails is though.
 
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