GL1200 Engine Rebuild - Part 2

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Rednaxs60

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Dan mentioned that my original thread is getting rather long, so I will be doing a second thread that is related to the assembly and install of the engine.

But first a synopsis of what I have done and why.

Why do an engine rebuild. Have to go back to when I bought this '85 Limited Edition some 5 years ago. It was bought as my retirement project, and other personal reasons. It had 115,000 Kms on the dial. It always started with a bit of smoke from the engine, but had progressively worsened over the years. I am guilty of trying new things and adding what I need to make the bike more user friendly such as:

Side stand safety switch
Direct 12 VDC supply to the coils
New ground fuse block for accessories
New fuse block for accessories to isolate what I do from what The OEM wiring is
New leather upholstery
External alternator mod
Upgrade horns to Fiamm Freeway Blaster low/high tone horns
USB adapter(s)
Various mounts for GPS and such

Did a lot of maintenance:

New brake pads and rotors
Rebuild of front/rear brake calipers
Clean, and rebuild brake and clutch MCs
Rebuild of clutch, clutch slave
New bearings all round - wheel, steering stem, swing arm
New non-air Progressive rear shocks
Race Tech front fork springs and Gold Valve Emulators
New stainless steel brake lines
New radiator core
New thermostat
New timing belt pulleys

Electrical/electronics:

New Ns sensor using a PG sensor harness from an '85 Aspencade
New to me Gr/Gl sensor unit
Injectors were cleaned and flow tested
New aftermarket fuel filter
New fuel pump

Probably not a complete list, but good enough to indicate why I'm keeping the bike long term.

Over the past 3 years I have been researching and gathering the necessary parts for an engine rebuild. Reviewed the parts list for this engine and started to purchase the required parts/pieces.
 

Rednaxs60

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The engine rebuild has always been on the list of future projects, as has the painting of the bike. I was planning on rebuilding the engine within the next two years, but the C-19 issue has made it practical to bring the project forward. The fact that the engine smoking/spewing blue smoke on start was getting worse also helped in making my decision to do the engine rebuild sooner than later.

Must mention that rebuilding/refurbishing an older bike is not inexpensive. You must determine what this bike is worth to you and will you keep it. I intend to have it for the long haul. Other than the electrics/electronics, once I'm finished it will be as mechanically reliable as a new/newer bike. It's a good project if you are a retiree. Have to have a good reason to get up in the morning, keeps the creative juices flowing.

A lot of people would ask the question about engine smoke on start. This happens with these older boxer engines and is a result of the engine cylinders being polished by the piston rings - called glaze - and the piston rings when cold are no longer sealing keeping oil out of the combustion chamber(s). The smoke from the engine on start will never go away regardless of how many miles you put on the engine, but can worsen. The only way to rid yourself of this problem is to have the cylinders honed and new piston rings installed. Best way to do this is to take the engine apart, have the cylinders honed if you cannot do the work yourself, install new piston rings, assemble the engine and install back into the frame.

These flat four engines are intimidating when assembled. When you start to disassemble and have the engine apart, there are a lot of parts/pieces but you may come to the same realization I did in that there's not a lot to these engines. Ziploc bags are your friend. Take your time to bag and tag everything.

Best to mention at this point that an engine rebuild can be time consuming when it's a DIY project. Life gets in the way, other responsibilities and such that makes the project timeline quite long. Best to have a second bike so you can still enjoy the open road as well.

Finding parts/pieces to rebuild the engine is a challenge. There are not a lot of OEM parts remaining to do a proper rebuild. I had to read a lot of forum threads to gather information and find possible sources for the parts/pieces I needed. Just about everything you would want to get for an engine rebuild can be identified and if possible procured without disassembly of the engine with the exception of the crank and con rod bearings.

Honda has colour coded these bearings and a key bit of information regarding these is inside the engine. My research indicated that these bearings are generally in good condition when the engine is disassembled: however, if you have to replace any, it can be a challenge to source a direct replacement.

I had always had a squealing emanating from the engine if the engine had not been started for a long time. Searched for this noise, but could never locate it. When the engine was taken apart, the alternator and engine output shaft bearings were seized:
Alt Shaft Bearing.jpg
New bearings have been installed and this issue should be a thing of the past.

Bearings, if needed, should be easily sourced.

These flat four engines are inherently balanced. The con rod and crank bearings are colour coded, and matched to each location. My crank bearings were one black and two brown coloured bearings. The con rod bearings were all the brown colour. Another aspect of the balancing of the engine is that each con rod is weighted the same. If you have to replace a con rod, you should get one that is the same weight as the one being replaced.

Other issues that will/may happen are stripped screw heads, broken bolts, stripped holes - steel bolts in aluminum, special tools required, and of course the unknown when you start the project.

Lastly, make sure you have the OEM service manual, and pay attention to it especially the fine print.
 

Rednaxs60

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After some 35 years the bike starts to look tired. You should take stock of what you have done, what you intend to do and what snowball effect may be encountered. I have combined this project with a complete paint job of the bike which is a separate major project unto itself. Painting will be something you will inevitably do if you do an engine rebuild.

There are several options available to you regarding this.

There is the DIY clean, prime, paint. There is media blasting and vapour blasting, each having benefits. Type of primers - prefer epoxy primers, paint colours to match your vision of the end result. I had looked into the many products and cleaning solutions available to me on Vancouver Island. Found a fellow who does vapour blasting just up the street from me. Looked into what this was about and decided to have the engine, and its bits and pieces vapour blasted.

Vapour blasting does not remove material but does make the finish extremely smooth such that painting is not an option afterwards. This presented a challenge in finding a protectorant that would preserve the finish over the long term. The fellow who did the work recommended ACF-50, but this is a fluid film that will eventually attract a lot of crud and require the engine to be cleaned after a while. This would be very inconvenient considering the engine is about 80 percent buried and cleaning is a PITA when the engine is installed in the frame.

I did further research and found a product used by the firearms people called CERAKOTE. It's claim to fame is that of being a very thin 0.3 mm thick ceramic coating that protects whatever it is applied to. Another plus is that it dries, should not collect crud, and be easy to clean.

With this in mind, and the requirement to have the product adhere to the vapour blasted finish, I contacted the company. The company has a product that will adhere to any type of aluminum finish, MC-5100. The company mentioned in an email reply that any of its MC clear coat products should work the same.

I purchased the MC-5100 and applied it to all the engine parts/pieces that I had vapour blasted. The resulting finish is very smooth to the touch. Have found that nothing sticks to this product - have tried taping the areas where I have applied this product and the tape will not stick to it.

Have found additional uses for this product such as coating the swing arm, final drive, wheel rims, centre stand, and brake calipers. This product adheres to paint as well.
 

Rednaxs60

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The engine rebuild consists of:

New piston rings
Honing cylinders
New primary chain
Alternator and output shaft end bearings replaced
New con rod and crankshaft journal bearings
New con rod bolts and nuts
New water pump

Vapour blasting the engine cases and associated parts
CERAKOTE protectorant applied to all vapour blasted parts/pieces

Associated projects that are being done in concert:

Polishing of aluminum parts/pieces
Clean, polish and protective coating applied to front and rear wheel rims
New paint job including the brown trim pieces
Removal and painting of:

Brake calipers
Brake and clutch MCs
All switch housings
Swingarm
Centre stand

Finding and using products that are not generally considered such as water based paints for switch housings, aftermarket faux chrome finish applied to the air wings hardware. Testing to get the best combination of paint products for the various additional paint requirements.

There are a number of parts/pieces remaining that need to be addressed, but these items can be done now or at a later date without the bike being disassembled.

I will be reviewing the wiring that I have done to determine if any changes need to be done to optimize the wiring. This would entail changing wire size, consolidating ground wires, routing of wires for better usage.

Having mentioned the above additional items, one might think that the snowball effect is alive and well. I can honestly say that it is, but the reality is that most of what I mention as an add on to the project is keeping the refurbishment of this bike going. I could easily down tools whenever a setback/oops is encountered, but I would recommend that if you have a to do list, these are the times when you whittle away at this list, especially if you already have the parts for the small bit of work.

I have an issue at this time with the engine case bolts. Need one because the threads are stripped. Do I wait for the bolt from Honda, approximate due date end January 2021, or do I order from another company - pay the premium for shipping, exchange and possibly duty and get it before Christmas. Other issues have come to the fore during this project and it is good to have work to do in the interim.

This thread, GL1200 Engine Rebuild - Part 2, is a Reader's Digest version of the main thread GL1200 Engine Rebuild at viewtopic.php?f=24&t=14067 The paint project for my bike is at: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=14073

Will be doing a Part 3 for the engine assembly and install. Thanks for reading.
 

Rednaxs60

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More thoughts on doing an engine rebuild. I have mentioned this is other threads but time to bring back to the fore, refurb of the top end - heads, without doing the bottom end - rings/bearings and such, can aggravate other issues. When I worked as a teenager in my father's garage, my father told me many times that if you are going to do an engine top end - heads, you should consider doing the bottom end - rings, cylinder honing, and if required crank and con rod journal bearings. This sentiment was followed by some, not followed by many.

Living with engine oil smoke on engine start is an issue with these older flat four boxer engines. This generally clears up as the engine heats up and all components expand. The issue with this is it will never go away, never get better, but can worsen. The only way to remedy this is to take the engine apart, hone the cylinders and new rings. At the same time, a head refresh would be in order.

The crank and con rod journal bearings are generally not an issue. The main reason for this is Honda practically balanced the engine in the design.

Doing an engine refresh is beneficial in other ways as well. You get to clean the engine, address smaller issues, and take stock of what you have. Replacing the engine with a different used engine is exactly this, a different used engine - similar in age.

Minimizing expense, you could be looking at new rings, honing of the cylinders, new valve stems, lapping the valves, gasket set. Whatever else you do would be more of a personal choice. To keep the costs to a minimum, doing the work yourself is always a good plan.

I must caveat this post with one undeniable consequence, the snowball effect. I have found so many extra items to replace, or refresh, and still identifying items that would be nice to refresh. I've mentioned I am retired, and this '85 Limited Edition is my retirement project so this keeps me busy and off the street - for this year. I also look for many ways to minimize expense, do most of the work myself - taking into account time and resources, and what is the best way to progress.

The last issue with an endeavour such as this is you have to put it back together and on the road. Do not get discouraged and turn your project into a basket case, I've had this thought on more than one occasion wanting the chaos to stop.

Just a few more thoughts on these engines and why I do what I do.

Thanks for reading. Cheers
 

mcgovern61

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You are right about the snowball effect! Engine rebuilding is a great idea and with the terrific engineering built into these machine, you will certainly add reliability and longevity to one of these old girls.

But, it is important for folks to weigh out all of the costs (aside from the time). These bikes are great hobbies as well as stable transportation. The cost to do a complete engine rebuild can easily exceed the financial value that could ever be recouped in a sale. That is part of what makes the hobby fun, the sense of accomplishment and the stability of a great road machine. But like all hobbies, you have to have an expectation that it might cost more than you will ever recoup.
 

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[url=https://www.classicgoldwings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=220182#p220182:2dl2c8c0 said:
mcgovern61 » 38 minutes ago[/url]":2dl2c8c0]
You are right about the snowball effect! Engine rebuilding is a great idea and with the terrific engineering built into these machine, you will certainly add reliability and longevity to one of these old girls.

But, it is important for folks to weigh out all of the costs (aside from the time). These bikes are great hobbies as well as stable transportation. The cost to do a complete engine rebuild can easily exceed the financial value that could ever be recouped in a sale. That is part of what makes the hobby fun, the sense of accomplishment and the stability of a great road machine. But like all hobbies, you have to have an expectation that it might cost more than you will ever recoup.

Thanks for the comment and 100% in agreement. The cost of the engine rebuild and new paint job is more than the bike is worth, but I will have bragging rights.

In my case, I'm keeping with the reason I bought this particular make, model and year of motorcycle. It is my retirement long term project, inexpensive insurance, fuel injected, and would be a daily rider and touring machine. Once I have the bike back together and on the road again - me and Willie - it is going to give a lot of trouble free riding.

The cost to me, I've kept track of the majority of costs such as tires, insurance, parts and such, and when I amortize these over the last 5 years, it's not that bad. Another 5 years down the road and it will be that much better. A lot of these costs should never have to be repeated during my riding career.

I have mentioned on several occasions that buying an older motorcycle because it is an inexpensive purchase, whether it be on the road or needing to be made roadworthy, is not going to be inexpensive. The saving grace with these motorcycles is that once the work/maintenance is done, these motorcycles tend to be extremely reliable and provide a lot of riding enjoyment.

If I didn't have the skill set necessary to do my own work/maintenance, I would be riding a new or newer motorcycle. I will caveat this statement with the knowledge that new or newer does not guarantee trouble free riding.

It is important that you have a second bike to ride while this type of work is ongoing. This work can stretch into several months, and even a year, and you don't want to be married to a bike such that all you do is work on it and not get out riding. The second bike allows you this freedom.

Haven't thought about the follow on when I get all this work done. Probably think of something. :music:
 

Rednaxs60

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Picked up a bit of trivia on another forum by Sidecar Bob. He defined and discussed briefly the terms restoration, converting, customization and a new one resto-modding (think resto-modification would be more accurate) as follows: "The term "restoration" usually refers to returning a vehicle to the condition it was in at some time in the past (usually when it left the factory). Converting it into a different style is NOT restoration, it is customization. (Upgrading systems & equipment while keeping basically the original look is known as "resto-modding".)"

So using these, I have been doing a "resto-modification" of my '85 Limited Edition for the past five years - kind of like the sound of this term, it's different and sounds mysterious. These may be splitting hairs somewhat, but it is a different perspective. Regardless of what term you use, it's that the end result is what you want.

Just a thought or two. Cheers
 

mcgovern61

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All of the work I did to upgrade the Slug is restomod. From the outside, she is just another '82 GL1100. Underneath, the mods made have upgraded and modernized her systems for longevity. The wire harness fuse/relay panel upgrade really made a difference!
 

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[url=https://www.classicgoldwings.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=220281#p220281:3uaevj8l said:
mcgovern61 » Today, 5:06 am[/url]":3uaevj8l]
All of the work I did to upgrade the Slug is restomod. From the outside, she is just another '82 GL1100. Underneath, the mods made have upgraded and modernized her systems for longevity. The wire harness fuse/relay panel upgrade really made a difference!

Agree 100%. The wiring on early model vehicles is always an issue. I mentioned in other threads that I did research the best practices for an older vehicle and found the vintage car sites the best for information regarding upgrading the electrical system(s) on older vehicles, hence I do what I do with the electrical system. There are threads on this and one of the threads starts by mentioning that if there is add on wiring for whatever reason, remove this wiring, return the electrical system to the way it was from the factory, then install a new wiring system powered through a stand alone fuse block. Keeps the troubleshooting and potential issues too a minimum.

I like how you did the electrical system upgrade for the Slug. You took an '85/'86 FI model fuse block, configured it to meet all the OEM and your additional requirements, and wired accordingly. This fuse block had the benefit of having some 7 relays to use to provide switched power and such.

This could be done for my '85 Limited Edition, but it would require a significant work period. This would be a project where I would buy a second wiring harness, do the work, then swap out the old for the new. Found a wiring company in the eastern US that has wire that would be good for a project like this. The fuse block could be upgraded as well to accommodate the OEM systems and my additional requirements. Something to think about.

No more new projects at this time though.
 

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While I am happy with the results of the new harness, I do not recommend folks jump into that type of project without a good idea of how much work it really is. Plus, if you are not skilled with wire connections and understand the schematics and changes, folks could do a lot of damage.

Electric wire harness rebuilds are not for the faint of heart or impatient! :shock:
 

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Can't be any worse then what I have been up to this year.

Still have the Speeduino project being worked on. This is an aftermarket ECU conversion keeping all the functionality that I have now. Doing a wiring harness project/upgrade could fit nicely with this project, and make it easier to achieve. Mentioned this in a thread a while back that, once through this major work period, will be back on the radar. When I started looking into this, I found that the aftermarket ECUs that could be used such as the Speeduino project, Megasquirt unit(s), and a few others have different sensor requirements then what Honda has put together. I do have a spare ECU that I can use, and one that I need to troubleshoot,, so this project is one that is to keep me busy during my retirement - be great if I stumbled on the holy grail and figured it out.

With the GW '85/'86 FI models, there is a lot of wire. Don't know how much can be chopped out, or even if it would be feasible. I'm certain that the designers didn't use any more wire, size of wire, and wire runs then was necessary.
 
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