Dear MOby,

Hi, I wondered if you can help. I have a ’99 Suzuki Bandit 600. When I remove the cover that conceals the ignition rotor and oil pump, on the right hand side of crankcase, a small amount of engine oil is present in the bottom. If I start the engine with this cover off, engine oil spurts out from the oil seal on the crankshaft. Is this one of the main crankshaft oil seals or a secondary one, and is it costly to repair or is it normal on an old bike? There is always a small amount of oil that drops out and not loads, but would this affect the ignition unit?



Dear Bikerkev,

This totally reminds us of the old doctor joke: If it hurts to run the engine with that cover off, then stop running it with that cover off. We consulted Suzuki’s Senior Product Marketing Specialist Avery Innis about this one. Mr. Innis, who’s been playing with Suzukis and others for over 40 years without seriously hurting himself, told us:

Never run the engine with that cover off.

The engine in that year Bandit GSF600F is based on the SACS air-/oil-cooled engine from the original GSX-R750. When you remove the right engine cover you will see some oil come out, perfectly normal. At that end of the crankshaft there is no oil seal, and the oil that comes out when the engine is running helps cool the ignition pickup coil that’s mounted on a plate under the cover.

The right end of the crankshaft and its last main journal are behind there, so if the cover is off and the engine is started, some pressurized oil beyond the regular “splash” lubricating oil will spray out. When the ignition cover is on and has a good gasket seal, the air pressure within that chamber is what keeps oil from spurting out. The little bit of oil that is there, is there by design.

Sounds like everything is perfectly normal, then. Not to worry.

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