Chasing a Leak—Removing the Rocker Box Covers

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a passible, although self-taught, motorcycle mechanic. Which basically means I’m slow and methodical in how I approach things. If I was doing this kind of stuff every day, I would probably not have to sit and think about things as much as I do, but since I don’t. I tend to take things slow, think about what I’m doing, and then come back for more. This is particularly true when I’m trying to diagnose something like the leak I picked up on the Salt last fall.


I know people who can take stuff apart, put everything in a box, or bin, and know where everything goes and not give it a second thought. There are days when I can’t remember my neighbor’s name, let alone where that little tiny fastener went—so I tend to bag things up as I dismantle or (as above) create a template to remind me where everything goes. As you might guess, I tend to cut up cardboard boxes for use in these templates. Another reason ordering stuff from Amazon is good shop practice.

Anyway, if you haven’t guessed already, the above photo represents the rocker box covers.


Because my hypothesis is that I’m leaking oil out of the pushrod covers, the first step is to get the rocker boxes off so I can eventually get to the pushrods. It’s a pretty easy four allen head fasteners to remove. The cover comes in two parts. I pulled them both off and removed the rubber gaskets.


This is an image of the rear rocker box cover (notice the label from the last time I had this off). As you can see, I must have tweaked, or pinched the rubber gasket, causing it to fail (you can see the tear in the upper left corner). My first thought was, “Maybe this is the issue,” But after sitting down and further inspecting the jugs, I don’t think so. I’m sure there could be some oil escape out of this torn seal, but I’m not sure yet. The tear is on the pushrod side of the bike, but it’s hard to imagine enough oil leaking out here—and, there is more oil in the pockets where the pushrod covers are. I’m still thinking there is a failure there. Maybe I installed them improperly?


It’s looking like the next step is to pull the heads, which means pulling the exhaust (which is not a fun job with this bike—I remember wrestling with this to install the big bore kit.)

We’re getting serious now, but at least I’ll be able to remember what fasteners go where.