Motorcycle Blown Head Gasket Gasket: ( Know Everything )

Motorcycle Blown Head Gasket Gasket: ( Know Everything )

The motorcycle’s head gasket plays a big role in creating a seal between the cylinder head and engine block to avoid and prevent leaks. So a blown head gasket of a motorcycle can cause severe problems such as permanent engine damage if it’s ignored.

A blown motorcycle head gasket will cause the coolant & engine oil to seep inside the combustion chamber where it will get burned and the excessive build-up of carbon deposit and oil or coolant remains will damage the engine if the blown head gasket is not replaced.

You can see some early signs of a blown head gasket which can tell you how severe the problem is. We will also discuss the replacement cost of the head gasket and what are some causes behind a blown head gasket of the motorcycle.

And to finish it off, we will discuss prevention methods to keep the engine and head gasket in good condition and prevent it from blowing or cracking up.

Can You Ride A Motorcycle With Blown Head Gasket?

Once the head gasket is blown the seal between the cylinder head and engine block is compromised. This causes the air-fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber to mix with coolant or oil so you can only ride for a short time with a blown head gasket until the engine starts to seize.

Air and fuel mixture is compressed and burned inside the combustion chamber so a crack or damage to the head gasket will let the oil, water, or coolant get inside the combustion chamber and mix with the fuel which will cause a problem in the efficiency of the combustion process.

The fuel will not get burned properly causing the motorcycle engine to sputter with unresponsive throttle input. 

If you continue to ride with a blown head gasket, the lack of proper lubrication and heat management will permanently damage the parts of the engine (e.g. Pistons, Cylinder Walls, Valve Seals, Piston Rings, etc.)

An exhaust leak near the headers can also cause overheating which will contribute to damage to the head gasket. Here’s a quick article on how to fix a motorcycle exhaust leak properly to avoid further damage to the components of the engine and exhaust system.

What Causes A Blown Head Gasket On A Motorcycle?

A low coolant level, oil level, or damaged radiator will cause the engine to overheat and will be poor at discharging the heat since the material of the head gasket is made up of a thin layer of steel and cooper it will get cracked or damaged under prolonged high temperature.

Whether it be an air-cooled engine or liquid-cooledheat should be discharged away from the engine effectively and an adequate amount of coolant and oil is required to do that.

The purpose of coolant or oil is to flow from the engine to the radiator to carry the heat away from the engine and get cooled inside the radiator and repeat the process as long as the motorcycle is running.

Damage to the radiator such as a faulty radiator cap or thermostat valve/coolant temperature sensor will disrupt the flow of coolant or oil circulating inside the engine passages to the radiator, which will cause the motorcycle engine to overheat.

For air-cooled engine motorcycles, the heat is controlled by the direct contact of air to engine fins which are designed to cool and regulate the engine temperature. 

Regular harsh riding of air-cooled engine motorcycles under prolonged periods causes the engine to overheat and can cause damage to the head gasket.

So if the motorcycle is ridden under high engine temperature with ineffective engine cooling, the heat gasket will get blown(damaged).

Motorcycle Blown Head Gasket Symptoms?

There are some telltale signs/symptoms of a blown head gasket which can be easily spotted by anyone who is riding the motorcycle.

Ignoring these symptoms of a blown head gasket will cause some severe damage to the engine within a few riding sessions.

So here are the top symptoms of a blown head gasket in a motorcycle that you can easily spot.

1. Excessive Smoking From The Exhaust

The first symptom can be easily spotted and it’s the excessive amount of smoking coming out of the exhaust pipe.

This happens when there is a crack or significant damage to the head gasket where the (antifreeze) coolant or oil gets past the blown head gasket into the combustion.

The mixing of air-fuel mixture and coolant or oil inside the combustion chamber causes motorcycles to smoke from the exhaust in an excessive amount.

Here’s a super quick article on why is your motorcycle smoking and how to stop it.

2. Discolored Engine Oil

Another symptom of a blown head gasket is the discoloration of engine oil. 

Since the oil circulates inside the engine to keep the parts well lubricated, a crack or damage to the head gasket lets the circulating coolant used as antifreeze from the small passages in the engine get inside the combustion chamber and crankcase too.

Mixing of coolant and engine oil causes discoloration and changes the color of engine oil into a brownish or milky color.

This simply means the engine oil is burning or getting repeatedly heated super at high temperatures which causes discoloration of engine oil.

So here’s a quick helpful article on Why is your motorcycle burning oil and how to stop it.

3. Loss In Power & Performance

So it’s pretty common to experience loss of power and performance in the motorcycle once the head gasket is blown, and it happens because of an imbalance in compression level inside the combustion chamber.

For your motorcycle to produce power the piston has to compress the air-fuel mixture inside the combustion chamber and it gets ignited by the spark plug completing the process of combustion.

blown head gasket causes external air, coolant, or oil used as an antifreeze to get inside the combustion chamber where the compression level gets imbalanced resulting in a loss in power and performance output of the motorcycle.

4. Engine Overheating

For a motorcycle to operate without getting overly heated a coolant or oil is used as an antifreeze.

A bad head gasket causes the coolant to seep inside the combustion chamber where it will get burned and won’t be able to circulate through the engine passages to lower the engine temperature. 

This will also cause the coolant level to drop, which results in ineffective engine cooling, and the mixing of coolant and air-fuel mixture will cause the piston to work harder which will also cause the engine to overheat.

5. Engine Seize Or Stalling

If you keep riding your motorcycle even if its head gasket is blown then at some point it will cause permanent damage to the moving parts of the engine like pistons, crankshaft, etc.

Coolant or oil getting inside the combustion chamber and getting burned will also cause a huge amount of carbon buildup inside the cylinder and combustion chamber.

This will cause the motorcycle to burn the fuel properly and damage to the parts of the engine due to a blown head gasket will cause the engine to seize or keep stalling.

Motorcycle Head Gasket Replacement Cost?

The total replacement cost of the head gasket including the labor charge and a set of new head gasket will cost you around $1000-$2000 USD.

Since replacing/repairing the head gasket of the motorcycle is considered to be one of the most difficult processes, I would advise you to take it to highly qualified professionals to do it.

And some people say is it worth fixing the head gasket? For your motorcycle to run efficiently a good quality head gasket is essential, not fixing the head gasket will cause permanent damage to the engine parts.

Each motorcycle’s head gasket is slightly different but typically an Aftermarket or OEM head gasket costs around $50-200$ USD. 

So finding a head gasket for your motorcycle online is not going to be a big problem.

How To Prevent Blown Head Gasket?

There are multiple methods & maintenance routines to prevent a blown head gasket of the motorcycle. 

Avoiding engine overheating from prolonged harsh riding conditions, and regular oil and coolant checks to maintain their level will prevent motorcycle head gasket damage.

Maintenance of the motorcycle’s cooling system whether it be a liquid cooled motorcycle or oil cooled is a must.

Checking the motorcycle’s radiator from time to time is essential as is a major part of the motorcycle’s cooling system.

So a holistic maintenance routine and preventing or minimizing engine overheating from harsh conditions such as hot weather, heavy traffic, and prolonged harsh riding will keep the head gasket in good condition.

Blown Head Gasket FAQ

Is it hard to replace a motorcycle head gasket?

Replacing a motorcycle head gasket is a tedious and complex process and should be done by a qualified mechanic.

How long do head gaskets last?

A head gasket last can last up to 200,000 miles.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts