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2011 Yamaha VStar 650
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Discussion Starter #1
So, whilst converting my 2011 VStar 650 Custom into a bobber over the winter I found an issue with the final drive - it has a crack in the housing leading from the drain plug. I picked the bike up at the end of last season and didn't spot the issue when looking the bike over. I'm assuming that either the plug was overtightened or it's been hit with something. The housing doesn't currently leak oil but I'm sure it just a matter of time.
Has anyone else seen this issue before? If yes, what did you do? Replace the final drive? Weld the housing? Any other options?
92592
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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Welding would be a permanent fix. Welding that alloy takes a special touch. Any good welder should be able to handle it. I would suggest to completely disassemble and only take the case to the welder so heat will not destroy or warp other parts inside. Using a Quick Steel epoxy might work short term but definitely not the best way.
 

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whoa!

I dont think thats a crack - a crack all the way thur would be oozing oil

that looks like road tar was flung up like a thread and stuck to the metal - try some paint thinner or carefully wipe it with gasoline - I think that will wash off

if it really is a crack and its not leaking, JB weld filled epoxy would be my first solution. That gear case is not pressurized and it does not get hot.

Epoxy might last 10 years.
 

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I agree it does not look like a through and through crack. It looks like aluminum casting stress. Which happens as the aluminum cools and contracts. Technically that would be a crack, but it is only at the surface. Then dirt builds up along that line and makes it look like a crack.

Take some degreaser and clean the line up. Anything handy, like electrical contact cleaner, carb cleaner, etc. Compressed air then to really clean out the "crack". If it comes back quick, then it really is an oil leak.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the ideas - I'll see if it cleans up and post an update!
 

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As I’ve seen tracks like that on mine that cleaned off with brake clean and or goof off I wouldn’t be to concerned until you get it cleaned up and check the oil level inside of the final drive
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Update:-
Cleaned up the cracked area in hope that it was dirt and it's still there. BUT a closer look at the photo seems to show that it does not go through to the plug as I feared. I have removed the fill plug for the drive and have thankfully found that it is full. I guess the next step I need to take is to remove the drive from the bike so I can have a better look at it...
92672
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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After cleaned up it looks like a casting defect. Casting defects are normally only cosmetic and creates no issues. Google "casting flaws" and you will see what I'm talking about, example below.

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Was just looking around they seem to be running around $400.00 used at the moment.

Like lesblank just said possible that it is a casting mark maybe sand down and paint it up and keep a eye on it for a while.

Seeing that it isn’t a pressurized oil system you could sand it and use jbweld over it and repaint. My thoughts are you can buy a lot of gear oil for $400.00
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Was just looking around they seem to be running around $400.00 used at the moment.

Like lesblank just said possible that it is a casting mark maybe sand down and paint it up and keep a eye on it for a while.

Seeing that it isn’t a pressurized oil system you could sand it and use jbweld over it and repaint. My thoughts are you can buy a lot of gear oil for $400.00
Totally agree about the $400... The current climate doesn't make me want to spend cash either! I did consider the JB weld idea and I am considering painting the drive and brake hub black so might be worth a go. Would you notch out the imperfection first or just spread it thin over the surface?
 

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I would over fill it , then sand it down since you said you were going to paint it. Use it like you would body filler.
 

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sorry about giving you false hope that it was just road tar

there are two possibilities:

1. it is a casting defect or even stress cracks from an impact but it does not go thru. When you last wiped down the seepage that is normal on these final drives the dried 80W oil wiped into the cracks, making it look like it was just road tar. The cracks are not leaking

2. it is cracked thru and the black residue was oil slowly speeping thru

The housing is not pressurized, and I dont think that outer housing is holding any structural stress - its not keeping the final drive gears in place or taking any torque load, its just there to keep the oil covering the internal gears.

I would ditto what bpounds said, for a while at least. Check it every few days after riding. If the cracks stay clean then its just cosmetic and not a functional failure.

But if the cracks fill up with black oil/grease again its leaking oil thru the cracks, and you should clean it good and seal it with epoxy (from the outside) or consider replacing it.

Worse case situation: the cracks will open more under stress, the oil will leak out quickly, destroying the internal gears - in which case you will have to replace it anyway - but having that much oil leak out while riding it could oil soak your rear tire - not good.

Watch it for a while - let us know how this turns out.
 

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Right the only way to check it is put it in very light use for a bit and see if it gets oily around the suspected crack and as KCW said oil on tires not good.
 

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Update:-
Cleaned up the cracked area in hope that it was dirt and it's still there. BUT a closer look at the photo seems to show that it does not go through to the plug as I feared. I have removed the fill plug for the drive and have thankfully found that it is full. I guess the next step I need to take is to remove the drive from the bike so I can have a better look at it... View attachment 92672
To be honest that looks like a casting flaw and should have never been installed.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks for all the comments and suggestions. I'm planning to try to get it a little cleaner. Will then apply a thin layer of clear silicon to keep the crack/flaw (whatever it is) free of road dirt. This way I can monitor it and see if it does start to turn black again to determine if it's a leak or not
 

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I probably wouldn’t put any thing on it yet if you could take it for a couple rides around your neighborhood or at least some where close to home then check for a drip of oil. If it’s leaking then figure out witch way you’d want to fix or replace.
 
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