How to Rebuild a Motorcycle Engine: Tips & Guides

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For those who are new to working on motorcycles and those who are approaching their first project bike, the engine can often be the most intimidating part. Use these pages to help you with your motorcycle engine maintenance work or rebuilds.

General Motorcycle Engine Work

Understanding the basics of your motorcycle engine will help you during not just the rebuild phase, but will also help you troubleshoot issues on the fly.

Not every motorcycle project you take on is going to require a full engine rebuild. Learn about some different ways you might want to approach the engine during a restoration.

Performing a compression test is often a first step when dealing with a project bike. The results will help you determine if what kind of rebuild may be necessary.

If you’re doing a full rebuild or major engine work, chances are you’ll need to remove the engine from the frame. Before you start remove stuff blindly, get familiar with the process and find some tips to help make it easier.

Frequent oil changes – especially on older bikes – are going to help keep your motorcycle running right and in good condition longer. Learn how to change your motorcycle oil yourself.

Surprisingly, removing old gasket material from your motorcycle’s engine can be some of the difficult and time consuming work! Find some tips on making gasket removal easier and how to avoid damaging the matting surfaces.

Motorcycle Leak Down Test

Top End Procedures

Checking and adjusting valves is a mark of regular motorcycle maintenance. Find out how to perform this common procedure for your bike.

If your top end only needs minor refresh, sometimes a quick lapping of the valve seats can make all the difference to your motorcycle’s performance.

Learn all about cam timing and how to install your camshaft properly as you reassemble your engine.

Crankcase Procedures

If you’re doing any work on the bottom end of your motorcycle’s engine, you’ll need to split the cases. Find some tips on splitting engine cases and get to work.

Learn how to perform work on and rebuild your old motorcycle’s clutch.

Learn about your motorcycle’s transmission gears and forks and how to service and reassemble then during a rebuild.

Learn about your motorcycle’s piston and rings – how to install the rings without breaking them, which way they should go, etc.

After replacing your rings, you may need to hone your cylinders to help them seat properly and prevent a smoking engine. Learn how here.