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Thread: DIY Fix: Fan fuses blowing/Rocker Boxes leaking! *BIG*

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    OK here goes.
    1)- This is a Do-It-Yourself repair thread for leaky rocker box gaskets that cause your fan to blow fuses from dripping oil all over it. This is one way of many to repair this problem. Follow what I did or not, but use common sense and you should be fine. I wouldn't recommend you attempt this if you haven't done any mechanic work yourself before.
    This repair is for the experienced.

    2) - Read this ENTIRE TUTORIAL before you proceed on your own. I may have left things out or put things in the wrong order here and there, and it helps to read it all once first at a minimum before you begin work.
    this was a huge DIY and I put a lot of work in to it, but it's far from perfect.

    A leaky rocker box gasket may manifest itself as oil seeping down the parts surrounding your engine. Most likely, in the back cylinder, near the fan, which was blowing fuses. Mine happened to look like this from outside the bike without tearing any parts off:

    Egad! an obvious oil leak and some sort of problem with the fan blowing fuses and getting oily! Time to investigate further! Can't be riding our bike around overheating, now, can we?! Nope! Not if we can help it!


    Who am I? I've been riding sport and super sport motorcycles since 2005. I've done many adjustment valve jobs for a lot of people on one of the Ninja forums I used to visit as well as Suzuki GSXR forums and BARF as well and have accounts with both back to 2005. I've opened lots of motorcycle engines and have never ruined one of them. I've owned over ten bikes, most of which were GSXR's, one Yamaha, one Ninja and now this Buell XB12R that I bought used with 14,000 miles on it for $4500 about 2 months ago. I've always done all the work on all my bikes by the manuals since I am good with tools and mechanic work. I have worked as a real mechanic before in a garage, but now days I work as an Electromechanical Engineer for Lam Research in Tualatin, Oregon.. building silicon wafer fabrication machines for the semiconductor industry. I've even worked for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory building particle accelerators. You could say I've been around the block.

    But at the same time:
    3)- My practices here could be somewhat controversial. If you don't like the way I did something here, don't follow it.
    I did things the way I did for reasons, and I'm not perfect. I'm not responsible if you ruin your bike's engine. I can't control everything on your end of the screen, and have no idea of your mechanical aptitude to work on your bike. For all I know, you could be a monkey with a wrench and have no reason to be holding a tool to your motorcycle. In such case, please... put the tools down and step away from the vehicle!

    "There is a proper tool for every job, and if it's too hard, you're doing it wrong." Please remember this while working on your motorcycle. It's a good mantra to have with the rest of your electro-mechanical devices as well.
    Use tools that fit, or you'll be buying more tools, replacing broken parts and stabbing yourself with screwdrivers left and right! "Ask me how I know!" :D

    Also, when you remove a screw from a part, put the screw back in the part after it has been removed so you don't lose it. Very simple idea behind this one and helps greatly. You'll never be looking for another lost screw again.

    OK OK enough is enough. Don't chew me out if you don't like the way I did things. They're working just fine for me!
    I have about 100 miles on this rebuild so far and will report when I have more.

    So here we go. Time to rip this baby apart and get to the rocker boxes. Make sure you have your gasket kit before you start. For the 07 and up bikes, you're gonna need this kit
    James Gaskets Kit #JGI-17049-07-X

    The kit for earlier bikes is here:
    James Gaskets kit #JGI-17049-04-X

    The main difference being the older bikes have the square rubber area on the rocker box gaskets and the newer bikes don't.. As shown below. In this pic from the manual, this is what the old gaskets look like.

    and here is what the newer year later bike's gaskets look like. See the main difference?!

    OK now that that is out of the way, let's get to the DIY.

    Disconnect your fuel pump. Then, turn on the bike and run it "dry".. until it runs out of gas.
    You'll find the fuel pump located behind the rear tire on the frame. The connector looks like so..

    Strip off the seat and the "tank" (airbox cover). If you can't figure this out, time to turn back now!

    Disconnect or remove your battery.
    I prefer to remove it. I've seen weird things happen where wrenches get welded to your frame after touching the battery terminals etc etc. Just safer to remove.

    Remove the 7 bolts to the lower chin fairing.

    Remove the connector to the exhaust valve servo on top of your airbox. (Sorry this pic is upside down, I'll fix it later when I'm done with the tutorial)

    Remove the three screws holding the servo to the airbox and drape it down into the battery compartment.

    Sorry, another upside down pic. I'll try not to do that too much.
    Remove the gas/overflow/breather tube. It's easy to do if you push on the end with a screwdriver.

    Remove the airbox cover and air filter.

    Remove the four screws holding in the airbox.

    Cut the two zip ties on the breather tubes going to the engine from the airbox and disconnect the air temp sensor from the airbox at the same time. Proceed to remove the airbox bas from the frame.

    Ziptie the prongs on the velocity stack and remove it.

    Disconnect the 02 (oxygen) sensor plug that runs from the rear header pipe.

    Now disconnect the temp sensor. You might need to free it up first by removing a zip tie.

    Disconnect the coil controller wire.

    Disconnect the coil from the plug wires and remove it from the bike.

    Disconnect throttle position sensor.

    Disconnect the fuel line from the throttle body.

    Remove your right side engine cover. (right side scoop for those of you with them)

    Go ahead and pull the left side scoop as well.

    Now reach under from below the bike and disconnect the throttle position sensor wire...

    the front injector wire...

    and the rear injector wire...

    ...and then you'll be free to remove the wiring harness from the engine bay. I ziptied it to the forks to hold it out of the way for now.

    Remove the belt cover from the bike

    Undo the rear axle pinch bolt from the bottom of the bike.

    Loosen the rear axle. This loosens the belt for when you rotate the engine down and forward.

    Remove the belt tensioner.

    Loosen the rear exhaust straps.

    Loosen the front exhaust strap.

    Undo the torca clamp and remove the exhaust from the bike.

    Push the cam on the exhaust valve open and unplug the exhaust valve servo cable from the exhaust.

    Pull the front exhaust mount off the bike. You'll need the mount under it as a jacking point.

    Remove your front fender. Just in case.

    Remove your clutch lever and disconnect it from the clutch cable.

    Unhook the clutch cable from the guides on the engine mount. Now unbolt the clutch cable and engine mount strut at the front of the block as shown.

    Support the engine with a scissor jack. Most people have one of these in the trunk of their car next to their spare tire and don't even realize it.

    Unbolt the right side engine mount strut from the frame near the right side rearset.

    Remove the upper engine mount strut from the top of the frame on the bike.

    Start unbolting the V-harness. Get all three bolts.

    New you can begin to remove the front engine mount. Be sure your jack is placed sturdily. The frame and engine and everything are free to rock around and can be a bit tipsy so be sure to keep everything well balanced and tied down.

    Once the main mount bolt is out, you can remove the engine mount from the engine by the two bolts to give your more clearance to the engine head.

    You can now (CAREFULLY!!) begin to rotate the engine down/forward/out of the motorcycle.
    I went far enough until my kick stand touched the ground.

    On the way down, while watching for clearances, I noticed it would be a good idea to disconnect the throttle cables also. If you don't, they may bend and shoot out a little piece that you will have to put back in and bend them closed to fix. I'll explain this more later. IF the pieces do fall out when removing the cable don't worry to much about it. You can fix it later, if you didn't break the throttle cable mount altogether. At any rate, you don't HAVE TO pull the throttle cables but I'd highly recommend it! Otherwise you are implying unnecessary strain.

    Another shot of the cables disconnected and the pieces that can fall off of them from the cable mount that we can re-install later with a bit of care and luck.

    Now keep on lowering the engine assembly until you have a clear shot at both engine head covers.

    The kickstand will rest on the floor. Careful! The bike is kinda wobbly like this!

    You can see where the old leak was when the engine is out.

    Now is a good time to pull your plugs and wires and inspect.
    My bike had the 08 iridums in it. I'm moving to the 09's. (update: didn't notice much difference there)

    Time to yank the engine covers. Loosen and remove the four bolts on each cover and pull the cover off and out of the bike.

    Some of the old fiber washers are going to be stuck to the engine cover and hard to remove. I used a flat head screwdriver and a fulcrum point on the engine cover to pry them off.

    They leave behind more junk when they come off that has to be cleaned and scrapped free. You don't want any of this left behind on the cover or you will have another oil leak on your hands to fix. Ask me how I know... I did a valve job on a 636 that I had to redo once because of the value cover bolts not sealing right. The customer was surprised to see oil leaking out of his fairings when he got home! No bueno!

    You should have something that looks like this.

    Here is all the gunk on my fan that caused it to blow 10a fuses and caused the bike to overheat. More on the fan later. that all has to be cleaned up.

    Don't forget to remove the front cover on the front of the engine too.

    Now you can carefully fish out the old seals from the top of the rocker boxes.

    Then you can go ahead and begin to pull the rocker boxes.
    Start with the two bolts that are similar on the left side of the engine.

    Then there is three bolts shaped the same inside the rocker box. Remove these three before the last four.

    These last similar four bolts on the rocker box should be removed a half turn at a time to even out the spring pressure (if there is any) left on your rocker box when you remove it. The manual says to rotate the crankshaft until the valves of the rocker box you are trying to remove are closed. Personally, I found this to be unnecessary in my case, and just removed the four screws one half a turn at a time in a criss-crossing pattern and the rocker boxes came up evenly and without a hitch.

    If they don't happen to pop right off by themselves, you can wedge a screwdriver between the engine pieces and press down on the handle lightly. The rocker box will pop free and you can lift it off by hand. Don't let the screwdriver scratch or gouge anything in the process.

    Now you have your rocker boxes off and the valve springs and rods exposed. Once I had both opened and marked front and rear, it was time to tackle each cylinder one at a time from here on out.

    I removed the old gaskets and cleaned up all the mating surfaces with alcohol and let them air dry.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Here is where things could get slightly controversial. If you don't like what I did, feel free to do it your way =)
    I chose to just grab some simple high temp silicone gasket dressing from the local auto shop. The gaskets said do not use sealant, but if these gaskets are gonna be blowing out all the time, I figured it would be better to use at least a tiny bit of sealant to help it get a better seal. I know from experience that it couldn't hurt, so why not? As long as I did my best to use a very small amount... right?!

    So here was an attempt at "a small amount". lol not as good as I planned. But oh well, we're doing this.

    I aligned the gasket with the cleaned rocker box surface and applied sealant to the other side. Hey wait, man! What happened to using a small amount of well placed sealant?! That stuff is tricky to work with! :o Well, I'll just have to change the oil a few times after I run the engine in and make sure I remove any sealant that might get in.

    Torque the 4 main rocker box bolts bolts down 1/2 a turn at a time, keeping the rocker box even as you tighten, to 20ft-lbs with a known good torque wrench. You can see a fine blue bead all the way around the head from the sealant. If you have access coming out, you can wipe it up with a rag, but you shouldn't see a lot.

    Now you can fit the three similar bolts back to the inside of the rocker box and torque to 12ft-lbs.

    ...and finally, the two bolts on the end that are similar, and torque to 12ft-lbs.

    Now you need to clean the rocker cover and rocker box gasket slot with alcohol to make sure it's free of debris and oil.

    You can sift through your gasket kit box and get your orange cover gaskets ready. They've been bouncing around in the box with other metal parts and will have flakes of stuff imbedded into them from their journey to your front door through the mail system. You will need to clean this stuff off of the gaskets with an alcohol rag. Do it several times, using a few new paper towels each time with each gasket and inspect to make sure they are squeaky clean and no particles are left on them anywhere. Otherwise you might as well give up on the gasket job now.

    You can just barely see some of the metal flakes in this pic, but I can assure you they were much worse off camera.

    Wipe them down good, several times, and let them dry clean.

    Lots of crap comes off of them.

    Don't forget to do the inner gasket too.

    Cut a TINY hole in the applicator tip of your sealant. It will help to shape the tip in a wedge shape some too. You'll need to get a tiny amount in the groove on the rocker box very carefully. A very small amount! Don't use a lot! You don't want this stuff all over inside your engine. Just use a very small amount. Just enough for a hair of added leak protection.

    You can see a fine bead.

    Now, install your freshly cleaned gaskets.

    After making sure your rocker box cover mating surfaces are clean, run a very thin layer of sealant around the mating surface of the cover.

    Install the lid.

    Torque to 12ft-lbs.

    That's the front done! We're almost there. Half way! Time to remove the rear rocker box cover. Start with the two edge screws.

    Then get the three screws inside the rocker box.

    Now get the four screws on top of the rocker box, 1/2 a turn at a time, in a criss-cross pattern to release the spring pressure on the rocker box evenly.

    Yank the old gasket off the rear rocker box and make sure you clean of any left over debris.

    Clean all the mating surfaces on the rear cylinder head and rocker box and rocker box cover etc etc.

    Make sure you carefully scrape all the old fiber gasket material off the cover screws as well. Get it all off. All the time you spend cleaning things right now will lead to a better seal later.

    Install the new fiber washer gaskets.

    Use a thin layer of "goob" on the new gaskets and install. I tried to use the least amount I could but ultimately my patience isn't the best working with glues and artsy type stuff. That's why I'm a mechanic! lol..
    In case any sealant gets into the engine, it's a good idea to change your oil a couple times after doing something like this. However, I've seen sealant in engines before and my opinion is that a steel engine won't be harmed by some sealant floating around. However, you do want to get it out, as it can clog oil-ways and oil screens and things like that and reduce flows and cooling ability. You don't need your oil cooler full of sealant, that's for sure.
    Be sure to coat both sides of the gasket.

    Put the rocker box back into place in the engine and tighten the four main rocker box bolts on top to 20ft-lbs each, 1/2 a turn at a time, to evenly compress the rocker box, valves and springs.

    Now you can do the three bolts inside the rocker box.

    ...and finally the two on the end.

    Now clean out the rocker box gasket groove.

    Clean all the gaskets with alcohol to wipe the metal shavings off of them. Carefully apply a very thin bead of sealant into the rear rocker box gasket groove again like you did on the front. Then install the gaskets. There shouldn't be any sealant splurging out the side and making things messy.

    Add a thin layer of sealant to the cover and install. You can add a thin layer to the cover fiber washers as well. It won't hurt anything. Then install them and torque to 12ft-lbs. There you have it! The engine is all sealed back up!

    Jack the engine back up into place, just enough to fit the front engine mount back on.

    Torque the mount mounting bolts to 50ft-lbs.
    Then use the jack to align the hole in the mount with the hole in the frame and toque the main mounting bolt to 50ft-lbs as well. Don't remove the jack yet, at this point the engine is still swinging around.

    Torque the rear engine brace to 25ft-lbs.

    Install top engine brace to 25ft-lbs.

    Install front frame brace and clutch cable mount bolt to 25ft-lbs.

    Install the three V-brace bolts to 12ft-lbs and you can drop the jack from under the engine. =)

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Redo the ziptie on the idle adjustment screw. Zip it to the V-brace.

    Now's a good time for new sparkies!

    Here's how you get the rear one in ;)

    Now install the clutch cable into the lever, and the lever onto the perch.

    Plug your fuel pump back in.

    Put the front fender back on.

    Put front muffler mount back on. Leave it loose for now.

    Install the exhaust servo cable through the mount in the exhaust and back around the cam.

    Slip the muffler back on the header.

    Align and install the rear muffler clamps. Tighten them alternately into place to 55inch-lbs. You can tighten the front muffler strap to 108inch-lbs at this time as well, but don't tighten it's mount.

    Torque the torca clamp to 30ft-lbs.

    NOW you can tighten the front exhaust strap mount to 23ft-lbs.

    Connect the lower throttle cable mount first. Make sure the little barrels that can fall out are mounted back into the throttle cable mount. You may have to remove the mount and pinch the cable barrels back into the mount prongs and bend them to hold the barrels in place like it came stock. I'd imagine I'm not the only one who will be running into this, which is why I mention it. Once the bottom cable is in place, you can slide the top cable into the slot in the cam....
    Slip the barrel into place on the upper cable mount, pinch the metal to make sure it will stay without killing you later, and slip the cable through the slot into place in the barrel on the mount. You'll then want to snap the throttle open and closed several times to make sure everything is working smoothly and you have no binding or sticking in the cable and the throttle grip still has 2-3mm of free play when the throttle is closed.

    Reinstall the throttle position sensor.

    Connect the fuel line to the throttle body.

    Install the coil. Torque to 10ft-lbs. Install the plug wires. Longer one goes to rear.

    Reinstall the wiring harness.

    Start with the injector and throttle position sensor plugs.
    My bike is a 07 XB12R. The rear fuel injector wire is green. The front is white.

    Connect temp sensor.

    Connect coil controller wire.

    Connect 02 sensor.

    Ziptie them back into place, where they came from.

    You're left with the airbox air temp sensor. You need to put the airbox on to connect that.

    Compress the spring on the velocity stack and install.

    Lay your airbox in place.

    Install a ziptie on the front breather line.

    Install the rear breather line.

    Be sure to seat the velocity stack correctly on the airbox.

    Install the airbox mount screws. I didn't torque these to specs, just snug.

    Put the air filter back in and the airbox lid.

    Reconnect the gas overflow/breather tube.

    Put the exhaust servo back into place. Snug down the bolts.

    Reconnect the line to the servo.

    Install the belt tensioner.

    Crank the back axel down to 25ft-lbs. Now back it out two full turns. Now tighten it again, only this time, to 50ft-lbs. Don't ask me why! It's in the manual. :D

    Torque the axle pinch bolt to 40ft-lbs.

    Put the right side engine cover back on. Snug the bolts.

    Install the belt cover to 20inch-lbs.

    Install left side scoop. Snug.

    Install chin fairing. Snug.

    Install battery back into place and fire up the bike! Now give yourself a pat on the back if it runs and kick yourself if it doesn't! But we're not done yet! Still gotta get to and clean that oil off the fan!

    Jack the bike up slightly under the rear muffler strap.

    Pull the front upper shock mount bolt.

    Now pull the rear one.

    Pull the shock partially out the rear of the bike. Takes a bit of work to do this..

    Pull the four screws to the fan, and then disconnect the fan connector and you can pull the fan out to be cleaned.

    Clean all the junk around in the frame and associated parts as well so it won't end up back in the fan. Look at all this gunk!

    You can see where the engine WAS leaking and you can also see it's new seal!

    Clean the hell out of the fan as best as humanely possible. If you are really fancy you might even get some electronic motor spray and spray it in there behind the fan to flush the oil out. I'm not sure if this will hurt the plastic fan blade or not though.

    Put the fan and it's four screws back into place. Don't forget the fan connector.

    Torque the bottom shock bolt to 16ft-lbs.

    Torque the upper shock mount bolt to 50ft-lbs.

    Drop the jack!

    Install the "tank"! (Airbox cover!)

    Let the bike sit and dry over night. Then bolt the seat back on and GOOOOO for a careful test drive for 100 miles to break in your fresh engine gaskets!

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Holy ****! That's one detailed write up!!
    Good job.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wally's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Bellville, South Africa
    The way every write -up should be!

    Very nicely done indeed!

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Excellent ! ...

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    great write up.

  8. #8
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    300 miles on the rebuild with no issues.
    Enjoy dudes.

    I also forgot to add the torque values for installing the belt tensioner/idler pulley.
    I'll get that fixed sooner or later.

  9. #9
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Agh, for some reason, edit button stopped working. Just wanted to add that the fan stopped blowing 10a fuses now too. All is back to normal. No oil leak and fuses work fine at 10a again. Sorry for double post.

  10. #10
    Senior Member lowkey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Bullhead AZ
    Great job on the write up!

    Where do the copper washers go that you can see in the background of this picture? There are 8 of them and they were packaged with the 8 fiber washers that go on the top rocker box bolts, are they to be used between the fiber and the built in washer on these same rocker box bolts? I'm at this point before I bolt on the rocker covers and put the motor back in the frame, just want to make sure before I finish up.

    Also I have 2 tips for people that plan to do this first is that the plastic on the wiring clips is very brittle so be very careful when separating them, my main clip on the throttle body has 2 securing clips on ether side and one broke when I released them.

    When you come to the point of dropping the motor down from the frame you will notice the only thing that will snag is the two throttle cables or at least they will have strain on them and prevent a full rotation. I found the best way to release these cables was to take off the 10mm nut at the end of the throttle body that keeps the wheel where the cables are attached to on. Once you have the nut off just pull the wheel off the shaft and you will have the slack needed to remove the cable ends easily from it without destroying them. Make sure to mark the top or bottom cable so you can reassemble easily!

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