Troubleshooting & Rebuild Tips

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The pages in this section will cover some general motorcycle maintenance and rebuild tips that can come in handy for most projects.

Things like stuck bolts and seized engines can be common on older bikes that have been sitting for a long time. The tips on these pages will help you determine how to fix the issue and how to put the bike back together properly (without creating more problems for yourself).

General Trouble Shooting & Tune-Up Tips for Project Bikes

A motorcycle that’s not running properly or won’t start can be caused by a whole lot of different things. It always makes sense to start with the basics and moving on from there when trying to troubleshoot your bike. This page contains tips on how to troubleshoot and diagnose your motorcycle’s problems and get it running again.

Your motorcycle might die if you’re in the rebuilding and testing phase of your project. Knowing some ways to start a dead bike is an important thing. Find some tips here.

Once you’ve got your bike rebuilt and running, there are still some important maintenance routines you should perform periodically. Checking the right systems at the right times will keep your bike running right, will help it last longer, and will help prevent bigger problems down the road. Learn how to perform some common tune up procedures and get an idea of how often you should do it.

One of the most common issues you’re going to face when rebuilding an old motorcycle is seized bolts. Overtime the bolts on your old motorcycle can expand, corrode, and their threads can seize. If you try to approach these with brute force alone, the result is often a broken or stripped bolt that you’ll need to drill out. Learn how to deal with stuck bolts properly and avoid more difficult fixes.

A seized engine probably means you got a good deal on the project bike. And fortunately, a stuck engine is not a deal breaker. Learn how to free a seized motorcycle engine and get your project back on track.

If you’ve got an old motorcycle, you’re going to have to learn how to use the kickstarter. Learn how.

How to Jump Start a Motorcycle

General Motorcycle Rebuild & Restoration Tips

After you’ve rebuilt your motorcycle’s engine, you’ll need to break it in properly to ensure the piston rings seat correctly and all the new parts “get to know each other.” Learn how to break in your rebuilt engine.

A motorcycle that’s not running properly even after a tune up or refresh might have a compression issue. Fortunately a compression test is easy to perform and will help you determine whether or not a full rebuild is necessary.

Most older motorcycle tend to be pretty cold blooded – meaning they require some extra care and attention when starting up cold. You’ll want to start up a cold bike properly to avoid any issues and keep it running right.

A properly calibrated torque wrench is probably one of the most important tools during your motorcycle rebuild. If you’re unfamiliar with proper torque values and sequences for rebuilding a motorcycle engine, this is the place to start.

If you’re doing a full rebuild and restoration and stripping the bike down to the frame, making sure all your motorcycle’s parts are clean can be worthwhile. Learn about some of your options for sand blasting parts here.

If you live somewhere where you can’t ride in the winter or have plans to store your motorcycle long term, you’ll want to make sure you do so properly so everything works when you’re ready to ride again.

Common Motorcycle Repair Questions

Can you use car oil in a motorcycle engine?