Will You Perform Open Heart Surgery On Your Motorcycle This Winter?

Winter projects are upon us and there is no better time to put away the bike and get on with jobs that you’ve been putting off. In fact you may have been unable to ride for some time due to mechanical difficulties yet to be addressed…so what better time to get on top of it than now?

It is a daunting task to start breaking apart an engine to attempt to fix that which ails it. As long as you have some of the basic tools and some fundamental knowledge there isn’t a lot that you cannot do, as long as you have a workshop manual to keep you company.

Even so, breaking apart an engine is a tall order for most people but all it is is a big puzzle piece that has a sequence. Once you know what that sequence is, then mostly it is child’s play to take it apart and put it back together. I hasten to add I was never very good at puzzles nor was I ever patient enough to complete them. Full disclosure!

Anyway, so here are a few tips to help you along your way this winter motorcycle engine rebuild project puzzle thingy.

  1. Get a workshop manual for your bike and engine
  2. Do lots of research. Watch lots of videos on the subject of the engine you are about the break down.
  3. Make sure you have the right tools for the job or you can borrow them…and return them without the owner having to come round asking for them back because you’ve kept them six months longer than initially stated.
  4. Ideally you will have a covered space to work on your engine and and safe place to store all the pieces. Be sure to keep everything together and keep track of everything otherwise your nightmare has only just begun and you’ll think that Freddy Krueger is a kitten in comparison.
  5. Make sure you have the time to dedicate to doing it. So many winter projects starts, but fail to be completed too.
  6. Thoroughly was the exterior of the engine and degrease it before you start working on it. It just makes for a cleaner job all around and less chance of getting any crucial oil bores and vents blocked up with crud.
  7. Study the workshop manual and make small steps with purpose. Take your time and document each stage with photos. Even if this takes longer, it will pay dividends later when you are trying to put it all together.
  8. Label and bag everything. Make sure that you separate each components and store them separately with labels too. This will help to not get things mixed up. Take photos or even quick video clips to help to remember along the way. It will also be a great reference guide for someone else should you wish to share it later on.
  9. Clean everything – inside and out. Have all the necessary parts disassembled and laid out in front of you with all necessary fasteners, gaskets, compounds and tools at the ready, before starting the rebuild process. Be methodical and slowly graduate onto the next stage but do not proceed until each stage is complete. Ensure you have torque wrench to get everything tightened correctly too.
  10. Once you have completed the final stage make sure you do not have any pieces left over. It might seem silly to think, but virtually ever build there is always something leftover, so you’ll need to trace back where you’ve gone wrong. Once complete, then all you need to do is put the engine back into the bike and hope it starts up.


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