Building the Beast

It has been a week since the build was completed and some hard miles were put on the old girl to break her in. Now that I have lost some of the paranoia about every noise being the end of the engine I can confidently write about the build.

I am NOT showing you how to do this, I am merely showing you HOW I did this. I made a few mistakes which I will describe along the way. I’m also not showing every single little step I did, just an overview of what went on.

The night before the actual work started I HAD to at least put the new piston on to see how well it would go on. The removal of the old one was easy and the pin came out no problem. The new pin slid right into the connecting rod with no binding and the clips went into the ends easier than I thought they would.


The next day I started nice and early by spreading out the new parts, old parts for reference, bags with bolts and hardware that was removed and labeled as I went and some misc. stuff like rags and cleaners.

The first thing I had to do was slide the cylinder down onto the piston and compress the rings at the same time. This was a 2 person job but really was not as hard as I expected it to be. I removed the alignment plugs from the left side stator cover to line the crank up to TDC. I also tied a shoelace to the timing chain to fish it through the hole in the cylinder. My wife gave me a hand with the installation. First I put the gasket on the base of the cylinder, then I had my wife hold onto the cylinder and lower it down close to the piston. I took the string from the timing chain and fished it through the hole and had my wife grab on to it. I then took the string from her and pulled the chain up and through the cylinder. I pulled it tight and tied it off to the frame to hold it. Now for the fun part. I compressed the top ring and she lowered the cylinder a little, I was able to guide the piston in and get it started. Here is the the problem I had from this point: Trying to hold the rings in and push down on the cylinder made the piston push down on the crank and turn it. I put the wrench back on the crankshaft and turned it back to TDC. Then I kept the wrench on the crank and used my elbow to keep pressure on it while my wife pushed down on the cylinder and I worked the second ring in. It went in fine and the last ring was no problem at all. I slid the cylinder all the way down and put on the acorn nuts. I torqued then to the proper spec and this is what I was looking at:

Once I tightened down the acorn nuts I decided to do a full revolution on the crankshaft to make sure everything moved freely. This is where I had a mini heart attack because I wasn’t using my brain. I started turning the wrench and the piston started going down, awesome. Then it stops in the middle. I back it off and try it again, it stops. The first thing I think is that the crank was fucked up too and I didn’t realize it. I assumed it was just the top end and I am now screwed. After a few minutes of calling myself a moron I realize something: I am in fact a moron. The timing chain was tied tightly to the frame and when I was trying to turn the crank it bunched up inside and jammed. Duh. I then untied the chain and allowed it to move while turning the crank and what do you know, it worked this time. What an idiot.

Next, I put on the upper cylinder gasket and installed the head. That went fairly easily and was trouble free, for now…


Next was to put the cams in. I put a little oil on the journals before I set the cams on them so they would be nice and slippery upon first start up. Before I actually put the exhaust cam in I made sure the TDC mark was lined up on the crank. I pulled the timing chain so it was taught and put the exhaust cam in. I noticed the lines on the side of the cam gear weren’t parallel with the head so I had to lift the chain off of it and rotate it to the next tooth. It was now lined up right. I did the same thing with the intake cam and had to make a slight adjustment once I had it in. I put the left side cam caps first because the exhaust and intake cap are connected by an oil pipe. I put the right sides on and bolted them all in and torqued to spec.


All of the hard stuff was done now (nope, stay tuned) so I was close to being done. I needed to put on the timing chain cover before the valve cover goes on. The 2 lower bolts are about 2″ long and stainless while the short upper bolt is steel (Thank god). Since it is hard to reach with my fingers I put the 2 long bolts into the holes before I lower the cover down. I lowered it down and got both of the threads started with no problems. Now for the easy bolt. It is about 1/2″ long and steel. I start to put it in the hole and look next to where it’s going. It is the hole between the timing chain and goes WAY down. As I think about how I shouldn’t drop the bolt into there, I drop the bolt into there. Of coarse I do.

Now I get my flashlight and the fun starts. I can’t see the bolt anywhere. I have to stop everything and drive to the nearest auto parts store for a extendable magnet. I finally get back home and carefully fish the magnet down between the chains with no luck. I keep trying and trying but nothing.

I was forced to do a LOT more work then I planned on doing. I have no pictures of the next step due to my trying to hurry up and find this bolt. I had to drain all of the oil out of the engine and remove the side stator cover. As I do this a few gears fall out onto the ground. I get the cover off and still don’t see the bolt anywhere so I shove the magnet in and move it around between the gears. Still nothing. I decide to turn the crank around and maybe the bolt will fall from above somewhere and into the bottom. No luck. I then just shove the magnet in to a random spot and flail it around and hear it “click”. I slowly start to pull it out and there it was. I then stuffed a rag between the timing chain and installed the lost bolt. Putting the gears back in was a little tricky and puzzle like. I managed to get it right after a few tries and put everything back together.

It was getting late so I put the valve cover on and finger tightened the bolts before the rain started to fall.

The next day I managed to bolt everything else on and fill it with oil and coolant. I installed the carb and hooked up all of the hoses. The choke cable is by far the hardest part of the carb installation. If you can avoid removing it to work on your carb, I recommend it. I put the gas tank on and plug the hose in. I cranked my starter over for a few seconds and get a chug out of the engine. I keep at it a few more times and it fires up beautifully.

It sounds so much smoother than I remember the stock motor being. I let it run for a short time then shut it off and check for leaks. Everything is fine. I then install all of the fairing and seat then go for a short ride.

I took it nice and easy but still noticed a huge difference from what I remember. After a week of riding it and about 120 miles, I am very happy with it. It has more power, a better sound and runs smoother. Stay tuned for more to come.


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