Beyond your standard tool set, you’re going to need some more advanced tools to complete your motorcycle repair project.
The deeper you get into a motorcycle engine rebuild or full restoration, you’ll also find you’re going to need to either use specialty tools from the manufacturer or tools you make yourself.
Certain specialty tools are designed for one specific job on one specific make and model of motorcycle. Other specialty tools are designed for one job, but can be used across different makes and models.
Advanced Tools for Motorcycle Repair
Here’s a list of some advanced motorcycle tools that you’re bound to need on all types of motorcycle makes and models. This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good idea of what kind of more advanced tools will be handy in your workshop.
In addition to the tools listed below you may also need:
- Valve spring compressors.
- Bearing pullers and presses.
- Tire irons.
A torque wrench is absolutely necessary for any motorcycle repair or restoration project. Almost every bolt on your motorcycle, especially the ones that keep your engine together, will have a torque value that’s specified in the manufacturer’s motorcycle shop manual.
Bolts that are too loose are bound to back themselves out, lead to an oil leak, or worse. Bolts that are over torqued will strip the threads and you’ll need the next item on the list.
Invest in a quality torque wrench and make sure you tighten up your motorcycles bolts as per the shop manual.
Easy Outs & Tap Sets
Easy Outs will allow you to remove bolts that have broken on your bike – this can happen if they’re rusted and seized or if there was an attempt to remove them improperly.
You just need to drill a proper sized hold in the center of the broken bolt, insert the Easy Out, and unscrew the broken bolt.
The die and tap set will allow you to add new threads to holes. If you’ve removed a broken bolt, chances are good that you’ll need to clean up the threads. Make sure to use the proper size and thread pattern for the bolt that fits in the hole.
You’ll need a pair of circlip pliers to remove the various circlips you’ll find around your bike and inside the engine. Circlips are usually used to keep the fork seals in place and transmission gears in the right position among other things.
Some circlip pliers are designed to take interchangeable noses that are either angled differently or able to either pull or press the circlip. You’ll need different functions for different circlips on the bike.
A soldering gun will come in handy if you need to do any electrical work on the motorcycle’s electrics or wiring harness. A 200 watt soldering gun should suffice for most of your electrical work on your motorcycle.
Air Compressor & Air Tools
An air compressor and a set a various air tools will open up your workshop to a ton of possibilities. Air tools are much more powerful than electric tools, and can make quick work of an otherwise challenging job.
An air compressor alone is useful for inflating tires and dusting off parts.
Micrometers, Feeler Gauges, Dial Calipers
Measure, measure, and measure again is often the name of the game when it comes to repairing and servicing a motorcycle. If you’re rebuilding an engine, you’ll want to make sure a part you plan to reuse is within serviceable limits or you’ll be tearing into the engine again soon.
Dial calipers can measure shaft diameters as well as part/hole lengths, widths, and depths. These are used for measuring piston skirts and ring slots as well as the top and bottom of your cylinder bores.
Micrometers are used for measuring the inside and outside diameters of parts.
Feeler gauges are needed for ring gaps, valve clearances, points gaps, and more.
Valve Seat Cutters & Valve Lapping Tools
If you’re doing any work on the top end, you’re probably going to need to do some work on the valves.
Valve seat cutters and valve lapping tools will put your top end back into perfect condition. If you’re inexperienced or unsure of what you’re doing here, it may be best to outsource any valve cutting.
You’ll need a cylinder hone if you plan on boring the cylinders or replacing pistons or pistons rings.
Cylinder hones are available in different styles such as ball hones or blade hones.
The hone roughs up the surface of the cylinders so that the new rings can make a good seal.
A digital multimeter will come in handy for a variety of different electrical jobs from chasing down voltage drops to static timing your motorcycle’s ignition.
A timing light is needed to dynamically time the ignition advance when the engine is running.
A bench sync will get you off to a good start, but you’ll need a carb sync tool to make sure your carbs are synced at idle and all throttle positions.
Check out our section on motorcycle carbs to learn how to use these tools.
Specialty Tools for a Motorcycle Project
Special tools are often required for one specific task on one specific model of motorcycle. For these jobs you often have the choice of either:
- Buying the specialty tool from the manufacturer.
- Buying an aftermarket special tool.
- Making your own specialty tool out of old parts/tools you already have.
- Renting or borrowing the tool from a local motorcycle shop or mechanic.
Special tools you may need include:
- Clutch basket pullers.
- Flywheel pullers.
- Piston pin pullers.