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Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Modern 961 Norton Commando Motorcycles

Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby RKF848 » Sat Feb 25, 2017 11:35 pm

Anyone else having oil leak issues with their MKII?

Thought the oil leak issues were supposed to be resolved on the 961 MKII bikes, but mine is pooling oil on the cooling fins at the front of the motor and oil is also pooling at the back of the motor on the base. Assuming this is working its way down from the valve cover. This started on the very first ride, only put 50 miles on the bike.

Dropped it off at the dealer today for warranty repair.

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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby richard-7 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:53 am

Thats a new one for me. Ive never heard of oil leaking out the cover or upper engine. Could be a simple hose loose from the oil tank. These bikes are hand assembled. Keep us up to date with this please.
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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby TonyA » Sun Feb 26, 2017 9:13 am

RKF848 wrote:Anyone else having oil leak issues with their MKII?

Thought the oil leak issues were supposed to be resolved on the 961 MKII bikes, but mine is pooling oil on the cooling fins at the front of the motor and oil is also pooling at the back of the motor on the base. Assuming this is working its way down from the valve cover. This started on the very first ride, only put 50 miles on the bike.

Dropped it off at the dealer today for warranty repair.


Hello , Are you saying that it appears that it is coming from the rocker cover gasket seam , from the head gasket seam or the base gasket seam ? Do you also have oil pooling under the starter ? Give the engine a good washing and carefully take some pictures close up after your short ride. Send those here and let us have a look please. How many miles on the bike and is it due for a head torque check ? Also , If you don't have the trans vent install asap..
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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby RKF848 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 1:34 pm

I believe it is coming from the rocker gasket seam and working it's way down. Most of the oil is pooling underneath the exhaust headers outlets. There is also some oil underneath the starter. I'm unable to post pictures at this time.

Picked up the bike with 2 miles on the clock, it now has 50 miles. It's at the dealer now.

Dealer had a 961 and 961 MKII in inventory, so I decided on the MKII with a build date of Oct. 2016, figuring most of the earlier issues would have been sorted out. Funny thing was, both bikes had a drop of oil underneath the starter motors and these were brand new bikes. I showed this to the dealer and they did not have an answer as to where the oil came from. Dealer is new to Norton and I'm their first customer, so they don't really have any history with 961 issues.

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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby GKRyder » Sun Feb 26, 2017 2:02 pm

Have a close look around banjo Bolt/breather area.

Don't touch or tighen them - as I'm sure Richard will say - but that's where my leak was.

Very very subtle but flows to gasket seam and makes it look like from gasket then goes into to the front of canted cylinders.

Also because oil is mist from there worked it's way back when I was riding.

Original cover also had misaligned oil baffle (siliconed) but doubt that would mean much in terms of leak
Dealer tighted banjo too much ....unbeknown to me during a service.

I changed rocker cover and bone dry since.
Last edited by GKRyder on Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby richard-7 » Sun Feb 26, 2017 3:23 pm

99% chance if oil around starter its the lack of transmission vent. Which is an easy fix but factory wont pay for it. So save yourself the trouble and just get one and install it yourself. As far as rocker cover. It you still had in your possession then check how tight the bolts are. But be warned. Tighten evenly or you could warp the cover.
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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby Britfan60 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 7:20 am

I had an oil leak pooling underneath the starter. They determined it was the starter gasket, (not) the crankcase seam (doubt it) and it WAS actually the started itself. Once the changed the defective starter, never leaked again. They had gotten a bad batch of starters with bad O rings inside. It only took two years and practically a total rebuild. :? Good luck. Mines a 2013. You may fare better with the MKII
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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby richard-7 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:41 pm

Here is the issue;
There is no vent for the trans. So pressure builds. I know about the starter seals and what not, and agreed 9/10 times thats the spot the pressure pushes oil out of, but a better seal just holds it better or forces the oil to find the weakest spot. A vent (make your own if one feels inclined) completely solves this issue. Better seals is just a band-aid.
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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby richard-7 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:47 pm

My dad was determined to find the best seal and did. Because of the same issue. Then discovering that oil started coming out other spots when he fixed it with viton. Looked to see if the vent was clogged and at that moment discovered there was no vent. Couldn't believe it when he went to Oregon a year later and seen Kennys design had a vent. So that proved he did the right thing. Thats when we started making them for the public.
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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby richard-7 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:51 pm

I am willing to bet the leak is assembly error at the factory. Either a loose hose clamp or the valve cover needs a tighten. Although its upsetting, don't loose sleep over it. The bikes are amazing. But they are hand built so these things happen. Once dialed in, you will have no regrets of purchase.
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Re: Oil leaks on 961 MKII

Postby Britfan60 » Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:35 pm

Richard. No doubt the vent is a vital piece and should be installed, but even after I installed that AND Norton upgraded all the venting systems on the bike that they put on the newer models, the starter still leaked. It never really worked correctly anyway. Always a loud "whack" when starting. As soon as that was replaced, the bike started beautifully and the oil leaks stopped. I'm not saying this is the original posters problem, just my experience. By all means...I bought the vent and so should any other 961 owner.
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