⚠️ ATTENTION: Need to register or title your motorcycle? Be prepared to satisfy any insurance requirements. Click below for a free insurance quote.
Please enter your ZIP to get started:
You’ll need to remove the engine from your motorcycle’s frame if you plan on doing a major restoration, major customization, or bottom-end work.
Check your shop manual for the exact procedures that will require you to pull the engine.
How to Take a Motorcycle Engine out of the Frame
The typical motorcycle engine removal procedure involves the following steps:
- Drain the oil completely.
- Disconnect or remove the battery.
- Remove the gas tank, ignition coils, spark plug wires.
- Disconnect electronic ignition or points.
- Disconnect all hoses connected to the engine.
- Loosen and disconnect the clutch cable.
- Remove the airbox and carburetors.
- Loosen and remove the exhaust headers.
- Remove the shift lever, brake lever, and foot pegs on some bikes.
- Begin removing the engine mounting bolts, keep track of where the go and how they’re assembled.
- Remove the last mounting bolt and you’re ready to remove the engine.
The engine will typically need to be removed and installed from one side of the frame – usually the opposite side of the engine mounts that are welded to the frame.
You may need to angle it slightly as you lift the engine out and over the frame tubes. On some motorcycles, it is easier to lay the bike on its side and lift the frame over the engine.
If you do that, be sure to place some wood blocks under the engine to support it.
It can definitely help to have an extra pair of hands when removing the engine from the frame.
When you’re ready to install the engine back in the frame, follow the reverse order of disassembly.
Refer to your motorcycle’s shop manual for the exact instruction and engine installation and removal steps.
How to Clean Motorcycle Engine Fins
While the engine is removed and disassembled, it’s a great time to clean up the cylinder head fins and the bottom of the crankcase.
If you’re aiming for a restored bike that looks like-new, getting into the nooks and crannies of the engine is a big part of a clean motorcycle.
The outside of the engine is most easily cleaned when everything has been disassembled and the cases and covers are completely empty.
The engine fins and crankcase bottom are common places where grease, dirt, and road grime build up. Overtime as it heats and cures and builds up some more, it becomes more difficult to remove.
To clean engine fins, covers, and crankcases:
- Apply some degreaser to break down the grime.
- Use soft wire or nylon brushes to get into the corners and between the fins, and scrub.
- A medium to high grit sandpaper can be used as well.
- Use dental picks or pipe cleaners to get into hard to reach places.
If you’re going to repaint the engine, you can use a power washer or media blasting. Just take care that nothing clogs any oil passages or mars and gasket mating surfaces.