"pickling" a motor w transmission fluid ?

jkphila

New Member
I have a 71 cb450 with a blown up motor. There is a guy on cl that has what he claims is a matching motor w 5000 miles on it. He said its been out of the bike for 10 years and that he "pickled" it. I didn't know what that meant so I asked him. Apparently he filled drained the oil then filled the case with transmission fluid. Then he pulled the plugs and filled the heads too. Has anybody heard of this? Is this right? Is the motor still good? If it is, is there a process to get the stuff out, especially the heads? The guy seems to know what he's doing but I thought I should check this out. Thoughts?
 

luke000

Been Around the Block
Sorry still a bit of a noob but when i think of someone pickling something metal its usually soaking it in really strong acid. Usually to remove just nasty shit like rust or stains (i did it alot with making jewelrey). IDK what it does to engines. im sure someone else does
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
I'm guessing after so long the trans fluid has worked its way past the rings and into the crankcase with the rest of the trans fluid. Auto trans fluid is very thin oil with lots of detergents in it, so it can protect like regular oil and will even remove some grunge. Enough of it should have stuck to the walls of the cylinders to protect everything.

If you do get the motor, you're going to have to drain the crankcase, pull the plugs, and very carefully turn over the motor by hand. If there is a lot of trans fluid in the cylinders, you don't want to hydrolock the motor by trying to compress oil. If there is a lot, it will come out the spark plug holes. Left over trans fluid will burn off when you first start it - make sure you start it outside, as burning trans fluid is nasty shit.

Assuming that all goes ok, I'd add regular oil and run (idle) it long enough to get up to operating temperature, and then dump that oil again. The trans fluid will thin out motor oil, so after running it for a bit to hopefully mix all the remaining trans fluid with your new motor oil, you should be able to get most all of the trans fluid out. Running it at idle should prevent excess wear from the thinned out motor oil.

Fresh oil again, and then you should be good to go. I imagine all the trans fluid did protect against rust, so assuming the motor was in good shape when it was "pickled" lol, it should be in good shape now. Good luck!
 

jkphila

New Member
update.
got the motor and installed in the bike. pulled the plugs then pumped what remained of the trans fluid out by turning the motor by hand. shot right out. then just to make sure i poured some gas in the plug holes and shot that out. changed the trans fluid in the case to oil and fired it up. let it warm up then changed the oil again. made some tweaks and took it around the block. seems good. think i need to touch up the timing cause the left cylinder is running a bit hotter than the left.
 

620dark

You can always get it running with time or money.
That's great to hear that you got a good motor!

You might want to check the carb on the hot cylinder. You could have a stuck / low float or clogged jet making that cylinder run lean - I've run into that problem before. You probably also want to sync the carbs to make sure they're both pulling equal vacuum; I used the "$1.55" carb sync tool on my old Duc and it worked great: http://www.powerchutes.com/manometer.asp
 

Big R

Heaven is so far away.
Just a thought: the clutch in the pickled motor is probably worthless. The fiber clutch plates, that is.
 

Hoosier Daddy

Earache my eye...
Big Rich said:
Just a thought: the clutch in the pickled motor is probably worthless. The fiber clutch plates, that is.
Ya think Rich? interesting... I was thinking ATF would have been a good choice. A cars automatic trans has friction discs in it and they need to not slip bathed in it. Not like the friction modifiers found in todays motor oils designed for cars that we shouldn't use.
I use ATF to wipe down freshly honed cylinders, with a toothbrush as a cleaner, even thinned with kerosene as a parts soak,. Do it all the time because of the detergents in it. It even loosens carbon on pistons if you have the time to let them set.
 

Big R

Heaven is so far away.
No - I could be very wrong. I've never looked at ATF in any kind of detail.....but just wanted to bring it up in case there was a problem in the future.
 

Big R

Heaven is so far away.
Ha! Chances are........no. I would take your experience and wisdom over my shot in the dark any day Hoosier!
 

jkphila

New Member
Thanks for the carb sink tool link. I will Put that to good use. Haven't had a change to tune it yet. Probably won't know if there was any long term damage to the clutch till next season. Seemed fine going around the block though. Thanks for all the advise. Isn't the interweb amazing?
 

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