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Old July 14th, 2014, 05:05 PM   #1
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Is there a DIY on piston rings?

My bike only runs on cylinder 1. Cylinder 2 stays cold. I did a compression check and cylinder 2 is at 1/3 compression of cylinder 1. I did a leak down and the valves seem to be ok, so it looks like I'm pulling the engine. I would LOVE a DIY for idiots, just so that I don't skip a step and I make sure I have all my tools lined up.
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Old July 14th, 2014, 06:15 PM   #2
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Ball flex hone
engine oil
power drill
feeler gauge
bore gauge


edit:
http://www.dansmc.com/hone_cyl.htm

got lazy lol.
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Old July 14th, 2014, 08:19 PM   #3
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Thanks! I'm looking more for the steps for taking the engine apart once I get it out. You know, tips for taking the cams out, indexing things, etc.
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Old July 15th, 2014, 04:49 AM   #4
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You speak about this like it's a simple multi-step process.. it is not simple. You screw up one thing and the engine is toast.

A short block rebuild is not a basic DIY project, not like say, replacing the clutch, or adjusting valves, or even rebuilding the carbs.

If you've never done internal engine work before, just make sure you know what you are getting into. In which case, best of luck.

I dont think you're going to find an online resource that instructs you step by step how to re-ring the lower end. You may wish to buy a Clymer manual at the minimum, actual shop manual preferred.
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Old July 15th, 2014, 06:02 AM   #5
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More checking first !!!

Don't tear it down yet. I think you testing so far is inconclusive.

What were the actual numbers on you compression and leak down test? How were they done? Engine warm or cold? Oil put into both cyl to check rings? Did you use a leak down tester for small bore cyl? (the differential orifice should be 0.020" dia) What do the plugs look like? Good spark on both sides?

These are the first things I would look at; and then follow the detective trail, replacing the cheapest/easiest first.

I am a retired A&P mech for 50 years; and I recently got nailed by not doing the above correctly. I spent $2,000 on a top overhaul of a small diesel, by not testing the injector pump ($200) first. Yep, it was the pump that' "Oh no, they never go bad"'

Let's spend some more time scratching our... er, heads first.

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Old July 15th, 2014, 07:13 AM   #6
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These motors are not hard to build for the most part... Get a factory manual.. there a fellow selling electronic versions cheap on fleabay. Everything you need to know is in the manual and what's not is on this site somewhere...
You can check out my build project that I posted to get a quickie looksee on a motor build... it's posted here

Main thing is don't be afraid to tear the motor apart, stay organized and just be paying attention to what came where... it's all pretty basic really. Good luck!
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Old July 15th, 2014, 08:55 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soonerbillz View Post
These motors are not hard to build for the most part... Get a factory manual.. there a fellow selling electronic versions cheap on fleabay. Everything you need to know is in the manual and what's not is on this site somewhere...
You can check out my build project that I posted to get a quickie looksee on a motor build... it's posted here

Main thing is don't be afraid to tear the motor apart, stay organized and just be paying attention to what came where... it's all pretty basic really. Good luck!
Ooooo... this looks like a good read and helpful. Thanks!
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Old July 15th, 2014, 09:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim L View Post
Don't tear it down yet. I think you testing so far is inconclusive.

What were the actual numbers on you compression and leak down test? How were they done? Engine warm or cold? Oil put into both cyl to check rings? Did you use a leak down tester for small bore cyl? (the differential orifice should be 0.020" dia) What do the plugs look like? Good spark on both sides?

These are the first things I would look at; and then follow the detective trail, replacing the cheapest/easiest first.

I am a retired A&P mech for 50 years; and I recently got nailed by not doing the above correctly. I spent $2,000 on a top overhaul of a small diesel, by not testing the injector pump ($200) first. Yep, it was the pump that' "Oh no, they never go bad"'

Let's spend some more time scratching our... er, heads first.

Cheers,
The engine was cold, because it doesn't run. I know that's not ideal, but it's all I can do. I used the same gages, procedure, and a cold engine for the last 3 checks. (At one point I used a different gage and the readings were too different so I had to borrow the initial gage back from my ex.)

January 1/2/13 (when I got the bike) Cylinder 1 145 psi, 18% leak down, Cylinder 2 135 psi, 24% leakdown
July 7/13/13 (a year ago) Cylinder 1 154 psi, Cylinder 2 130 psi, no leak down done
June 6/28/14 Cylinder 1 170 psi, forgot to write down the leakdown, Cylinder 2 60 psi, 25% leakdown

The plugs looked ok. I tried swapping plugs and swapping coils. I also tried sparking the plugs with the coils grounded to the engine and both sparked ok. The battery is charged. The carbs are clean and properly adjusted (I'm a pro at that). The air filter is clean. The fuel lines look good. There's no vacuum leaks around the hoses on the carbs.

I have not re-built an engine by myself, but I really really want to. I freaking love mechanical **** (mechanical engineer). I really just want an excuse to rip into this thing. I have re-built various parts of various engines with various levels of assistance. I know how engines work and the general idea of what needs to be done. It's the specifics of "take this bolt off and hold the cam chain like this" that I'm looking for. The idea of getting a manual is a good one; I was hoping someone had already posted it with a lot of pictures.
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Old July 15th, 2014, 06:00 PM   #9
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More questions...

Thanks for the info.
How many miles? Do you have access to a smoke generator tester?
When you say leak down, do you mean two gauges showing differing pressure? What's the input psi? Where do you hear the air leaking out, carbs? exhaust? case breather? I'm still not sure it's rings; a valve can cause the same symptoms.

If it is rings, either manual will be quite satisfactory. You will just be getting the parts off and to the machine shop for them to measure, bore and hone. Then all back together.

As an engineer, you should enjoy the experience. Let us all know what you find and how the tear down/build goes.

Cheers,
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Old July 15th, 2014, 07:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cookiebug79 View Post
.........It's the specifics of "take this bolt off and hold the cam chain like this" that I'm looking for. The idea of getting a manual is a good one; I was hoping someone had already posted it with a lot of pictures.
The repair manual tells you step by step all you need to know.
A copy in PDF has been going around the Internet.

This thread is long, but has info related to what you attempt:
https://www.ninjette.org/forums/showthread.php?t=132069

Keep the top and bottom of the bearings of the camshaft paired, they are machined after they are bolted together.

Try the oil test to have more certainty about the rings.
Normally, rings don't go bad from night to morning.
They could be also dirty and stuck in the seats if non-synthetic oil has been used for long time combined with short trips, in which case SeaFoam may help.
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Old July 15th, 2014, 08:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim L View Post
Thanks for the info.
How many miles? Do you have access to a smoke generator tester?
When you say leak down, do you mean two gauges showing differing pressure? What's the input psi? Where do you hear the air leaking out, carbs? exhaust? case breather? I'm still not sure it's rings; a valve can cause the same symptoms.

If it is rings, either manual will be quite satisfactory. You will just be getting the parts off and to the machine shop for them to measure, bore and hone. Then all back together.

As an engineer, you should enjoy the experience. Let us all know what you find and how the tear down/build goes.

Cheers,
About 16K miles. The last 1000 miles have been a hard life where I've been riding it on the track and it's been high up in the RPM's and hitting the rev limiter.

I do not have access to a smoke tester.

By leak down, yes I mean 2 gages, one with a pressure dial and one with % leak down. The supply pressure from my air compressor is 125 psi, the pressure gage used up to 100 psi. I was hoping it was a valve but I'm not hearing any air out if the carbs or the exhaust. Also, the leak down numbers are the same as when the cylinder had much more compression.

I have not done the oil test yet. I likely won't' be able to until next week. But it is a good suggestion.
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Old July 15th, 2014, 08:53 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Motofool View Post
The repair manual tells you step by step all you need to know.
A copy in PDF has been going around the Internet.

This thread is long, but has info related to what you attempt:
https://www.ninjette.org/forums/showthread.php?t=132069

Keep the top and bottom of the bearings of the camshaft paired, they are machined after they are bolted together.

Try the oil test to have more certainty about the rings.
Normally, rings don't go bad from night to morning.
They could be also dirty and stuck in the seats if non-synthetic oil has been used for long time combined with short trips, in which case SeaFoam may help.
The bike didn't get sick overnight. It's been getting worse and worse over the past few hundred miles. I thought it was the carbs and have cleaned/adjusted them and used seafoam more times than I can count.

Thanks for the link! I'm excited to dive into this engine.
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Old July 15th, 2014, 09:40 PM   #13
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More thoughts...

With a 100 psi start and a 25% drop in diff pressure, the air should be audible somewhere. Set the tester up again and hold a smoke up in front of the carb inlet then the exhaust outlet. See the smoke moves at all. Then disconnect the case breather and do the same. It will be coming from one of these.

With your regular comp tester, pull both plugs and test both cyls cold and dry. Do #1 first and count the number of cycles to get the max compress value. Then do #2 using the same cycles.

Drop the piston to BDC and squirt eng oil into the cyl all the way around the piston. We are trying to put a coat on the entire ring's surface. Repeat comp test for both #1 and #2.

It will show up on one of these checks. Then you can merrily dive into its guts. I'm still suspicious about the rings. Tracks and rev limiters are very hard on valves, but a high reving 16,000 miles is tough on rings. Maybe it's both.
I'm curious to see the results.
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Old August 12th, 2014, 04:41 PM   #14
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Whelp, I took some time to devote to this bike on Saturday, and it's seeming worse than expected. I tried squirting oil in the cylinder with low compression and I got the same compression numbers. So I decided to pull the engine. Upon draining the coolant I found lots of oil and crud in the coolant










I pulled the engine out. Now I have to find some more time to delve into the engine. Hopefully it's just he head gasket, but I am preparing for a cracked cylinder. In the mean time I'm looking for spare engines.

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Old August 12th, 2014, 08:18 PM   #15
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Well that's never good. Good luck!
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Old August 12th, 2014, 10:40 PM   #16
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Thanks!
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Old August 14th, 2014, 10:21 AM   #17
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Might be able to get away with a head gasket change. A good way to clean out that rad is use some gasoline and rinse it around in there, then drain it and use clean water to get the rest of it out.
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Old August 14th, 2014, 11:37 AM   #18
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The engine overheated for sure. How long have you had this bike? That engine may be toast after 1000 hard miles with a plugged up radiator.
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Old August 15th, 2014, 06:35 AM   #19
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More info from inside...

Yep, you got a mess, but not necessarily a done motor. I looks like you still had lots of coolant left inside. Any left is always better than none.

Is there any coolant in the oil? If there is, it should be easy to tell. The oil will be green and gooey. Drop the pan and look around. Any metal in the oil?

Please post pics after you pull the heads; both of the cyls and valves/heads.
Place a metal straight edge on the cyl & head mating surfaces to see if they are warped. Let's see if they show any warping.

If it was caused by a head gasket failure, you may get away just a new gasket. Or maybe a quick shave of the mating surfaces.

Hope this helps.
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Old August 15th, 2014, 08:25 AM   #20
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There was plenty of coolant still in the system. There was not evidence of coolant in the oil, BUT, once the engine started getting sick I changed the oil when I cleaned the carbs, and it hasn't run much since then. So I'm not surprised. The oil looked brand new.

I'm hoping to get the top end off tomorrow morning to know what I'm really up against.
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 10:02 PM   #21
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What happened? I don't see anything posted since mid-August.
Was it just a gasket?
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Old December 2nd, 2014, 10:18 PM   #22
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i think she built a new bike and tracks that now... with my seat!! lol
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Old December 3rd, 2014, 11:20 AM   #23
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LOLZ. I'm pretty sure it was a combination of a bunch of different things. I took the whole dang engine apart. The gaskets were fine. The water pump o-ring looked ok, too, but I'm replacing it anyway just to be sure. There was some junk built up on the valve seats so they may not have been totally sealing, so I ported them. I got new piston rings and new gaskets. I decked the head (and had the ports flowed) and I just got the cylinders back from the honing guy on Sunday. So the engine re-build will commence within a few more days. I'm hoping to get it all together by mid December so that I can sell it to someone for Christmas, but that might be a bit of a lofty goal.

And, yes, while all of that machining was happening I was building the 2008 race bike on the side (thanks again for the seat, Alex!). Conflicting priorities for time!
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Old December 3rd, 2014, 12:56 PM   #24
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Here are a few pics of the engine tear down. This is no longer the state of the engine, as everything is well cleaned up now and ready to go back together. I'll try to get some pics later this week/over the weekend of the finished parts.





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Old December 3rd, 2014, 05:05 PM   #25
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Having seen what you have accomplished, well done.
My guess is the "gunk" under the valves was the culprit.

What you did with the rest of the motor was a great exercise. You can now rebuild any top-end on any motor - bike, car, etc.

Good on ya,
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Old December 3rd, 2014, 06:05 PM   #26
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hey jen how much did you take off the deck? do you know your CR now?
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Old December 3rd, 2014, 06:15 PM   #27
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It was decked 0.004"

I have not calculated the change in CR. I wish it just bolted on to the racebike, though! I know Matt decked his heads and he loves it. I've gotta do the racebike front suspension and exhaust chop, so pulling the motor to deck the head might be a project for next summer.

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Old January 11th, 2015, 09:47 PM   #28
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ok, I put some time into the engine this weekend so I figured I'd update this post.

First things first, I have both generations of Ninja 250's (2007 and 2008), and as such, I have both manuals. The manual for this generation SUCKS. When you order the piston ring kit, you get 2 piston rings, 2 oil rings, and an oil ring expander for each piston. The manual for the 2007 basically says that the piston rings are directional but the oil rings are not. THAT'S IT. I does not tell you how to tell which ring goes on top or which way they face. I spent much more time than I should admit to Googling, watching YouTubes, and texting people, until one of my friend pointed out that the 2008 manual is super explicit. SUPER explicit. So, to anyone who reads this, please do yourself a favor, and get a copy of the next generation manual.

2007 manual:


2008 manual:


Helpful because the rings look like this:


Once the pistons were all cleaned up and the rings were installed, I had to compress the rings just enough to get the cylinders back on. Enter the exacto-knife, a coke can, and some zip ties:





Next came the head:


I set the timing and indexed the cams. All was going well until that awkward moment when I was torquing the cam cap bolts and one of them yielded before reaching the torque



So I guess I'm gonna order all new bolts because they are probably torque to yield bolts and one-time use only. Bummer 'cause I wanted this all together today! Oh well, the saga continues!
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Old January 11th, 2015, 09:54 PM   #29
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that's damn lucky it came out
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Old January 12th, 2015, 09:29 AM   #30
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Iknowright? It's literally hanging on by a thread!
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Old January 16th, 2015, 11:55 AM   #31
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Old April 22nd, 2015, 11:02 AM   #32
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Update: I got the bolts within days of the yielded thread, but let the engine sit until last night.

I buttoned it up last night. I'm going to re-check the carbs (I used them in the interim on the other bike, just for funzies) and then try to throw everything back into some assemblance of a motorcycle. It feels good make some progress, even if it's few and far between :-)

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Old April 22nd, 2015, 11:27 AM   #33
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Excellent report, Jen!

Do you have a pdf copy of the Honda Common Service Manual? It's helped me a whole lot when it comes to understanding why motorcycle things are designed the way that they are. It's free and legal to download.

Link - http://goldwingchrome.com/Manuals/GL...e%20Manual.pdf

Rimantas has the current edition. It covers EFI mapping and other more modern stuff.

Wrench on,

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Old April 22nd, 2015, 01:17 PM   #34
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thanks Jeff!
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