"Knocking" on deaths door

Hello everyone,

So I bought my '84 VF1000F three years ago and it was in good running order, but it wasn’t the prettiest thing to look at. The plastics were worn and the tank had a few bruises. I rode it for two seasons here in Ohio and had a blast. I was checking the oil regularly and it seemed fine. It wasn’t burning any that I could tell and then one day the oil light went on and the knocking started. I checked the oil and it was bone dry. The bike has been out of commission for the last year, 1 I live in an aprtment and have nowhere to work on it, and two I do not know how much this is going to cost. I am moving to Colorado next month and don’t know if I should part ways with the bike at this point or move it and put the time and money into it. I love this bike, but do not know enough about the engine to make this call. Any help would be appreciated.


If you choose to keep it, I would suggest you start by looking at the sump plug and sealing washer, oil filter seal, oil lines, any signs of oil on, under, or on top of the motor, but if there are no visible signs from the outside then start looking inside, but for this to suddenly happen you would almost need to have broken rings or a cracked valve guide, cylinder or cylinder head.
Have you done a compression test? First with the ignition off, throttle wide open, crank it over 7 or 8 revolutions, write down the results, then squirt a teaspoon of oil into each cylinder and repeat.
The first test will give you an idea of overall condition, the second test will tell you if it’s the rings or valves, if the compression increases a lot after adding oil to the cylinders, then its your rings, if not then start looking at the valves, or in your case the valve stem seals or guides, I have seen a valve guide crack and let oil past but this is in no way a common fault. Does it smoke when running? Another possible cause could be the air filter, if your fuel consumption increased, it could be a blocked air filter, not normally a problem but if it cannot draw enough air through the air filter, it will suck the oil vapour out of the crankcase and you will burn oil very quickly.
Just a couple of things to try.
Sorry to hear about your problem, I hope you find the reason for the sudden increase in oil consumption.

Thanks for the information Tony. I’ll give it shot and see whats what. I might have some extra room to transport the bike to Colorado right now, so I may have some additional time to make a final decision.


Frank, in your situation Id forget a rebuild and go for another engine from a "scrapper". Obviously youll need to be careful youre not jumping from the frying pan into the fire by being careful what you buy but itll be cheaper and easier in the long run and there should be some half decent engines available to you ?


Marmite, you may well be correct, but some simple diagnostic work may save a heap of time and money if it turns out to be something easy to fix, after all engines seldom start burning oil suddenly for no reason, maybe serious, maybe simple. Eliminate the simple first, then look at the serious.
Could be as simple as a mouse nest in the airbox, but may be a more sinister problem like broken rings etc, but before you start throwing money at the bike, do the checks first.

Did frankb suggest a rebuild?

Why throw away what may be a perfectly good engine by buying a “scrapper” engine of unknown condition?
Please don’t take what I have said the wrong way but some simple checks may prove very beneficial.
Maybe it comes from being a tight arse on my part, but I always eliminate the basics first.
If any of this is beyond frankb’s ability, then maybe scrap the bike and move on as workshop labour rates will soon become prohibitive.

It sounds like you had a oil blockage in the lube system ,maybe the gauss in the sump and it staved of oil to the big ends,end story.
Filter changes regular
[8D]If the rings are Knackard then it will not run at all
Sounds like a oil issue.
Flush system, new bottom end shells and rebuild carefully.
Regrind crack best option new shells[8D]

Maybe Lloyd, but frankb mentions a lack of oil or sudden oil consumption, the cause you mention would not change the oil level.
I think that if this engine is not leaking oil, then it must be burning it, or it was drained and accidentally not refilled properly.
frankb doesn’t mention topping the oil up again to see if the knocking persists, or how bad the knocking was, but I suspect that if the oil light had not come on before, then the engine must have had some oil still circulating during to this event.
Did you drain the sump to see how much oil was still there frankb? Have you done any investigative work on the bike since or did it just get parked and not touched?
In hindsight, replenishing the oil level would be the logical starting point.
Regards, Tony

Yep its a difficult problem.
like trying to help someone on the phone with a computer fault[}:)]

Too true Lloyd. I hope he sorts it before yet another VF1000 goes for parts.

No offence taken Tony, just an idea for the melting pot ( ooops - sorry, wrong metaphor)
Id say, once youve heard the dreaded “knock” from the bottom end - thats it. Apologies if this sound like Im being alarmist - just many years of incidents like this.

Fingers crossed.


As we say here in Englandland

[:D]If it starts knocking you need a big stocking</font id=“size2”>[:D]

Most likely the case Martin, I guess I hope for the best before discovering the worst Haha.
It may just look like a melting pot if ever frankb ever opens her up. Hopefully not.

Sorry for delay guys and thanks for the input. I was out of town finding a new place to live. Bad news for me, no room for the bike at the new place, good news for the VF I think I found a friend willing to take the bike and attempt to get it back on the road himself.

Back to the bike… I did refill the oil and the knock did not subside. I was afraid at that point to do anything but park it and was cash strapped, so sending it in for repairs was not an option. I did some more reading on other’s experiences and I am not happy at what I read. I fear the worst. It has been awhile but I started thinking about any other symptoms that I may have not included in my first post. The bike was not idling well…in neutral, if you rolled onto the accelerator it would go to about 4k and then cut out/ bog down and get stuck at about 3k to 3.5k. I don’t recall ever having this issue while riding.

Looks like that scrapper engine is a good suggestion Martin.
Whilst it may not explain the odd running, it would seem that Lloyd and Martin were on the money…unfortunately for your VF.
The odd running would most likely indicate a carb/inlet/tuning problem that you may also need to rectify, but since the engine will be out anyway it would need tuning again once refitted.
Sorry to hear the bad news frankb, but not all bad if you have found a home for it.

Hi Everyone,
All sugestions are great but i would like to think outside the box for a bit. sounds like it could even be a timing issue, too far retarded causes a knock/too far advanced causes a ping.
the incorrect timing would explane not running properly. when timing is out, you will not get it to rev properly.
I would be checking the timing for jumped cam chain or even sheered woodruff key on magneto as this could be causing these types of symptoms. Out of timing will increase oil consumption as well.
This is not a complete fix all and i am DEFENATELY not saying that the others are incorrect, but like Tony said, do some checks first, after all, it may save you a ship load of money in the long run.
Good luck.