Scary scene under timing covers

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Mar 20, 2022
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My Bike Models
1976 GL1000
I got his bike a few weeks ago. I haven’t tried to start it or use electric started. I DID use the kickstarter though. The first kick had some resistance and I felt a pop right when the motor turned. I kicked it 3 more times CD with no pop (or snap).
I just got new belts and removed radiator and then timing covers. You can see the nightmare in the photos. Both belts snapped but essentially in place.
Where to start??
Maybe the belts snapped on that first kickstart kick?


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Everything looks great under left and right head covers. the idler wheels both spin. I definitely looks like the belts broke on the first kick. They both advanced around 12 teeth after breaking.
Just staring at it now. I want to start cleaning it up and seeing what’s trashed, but I don’t want to make things worse.
What the next step?
If it’s been turned over without belts then likely bent valves. I suppose you could put the belts on with the timing set and kick it over to check compression. Might get lucky and only one cylinder low but both heads likely need removed.
I really don’t think the motor was running when they broke. I think I broke them with the kickstarter. The belts are still on the pull-ups and in the teeth. It looks like each belt advanced 12 teach after breaking.
If it only went through a cycle or 2 with the kickstarter, would the valves get bent? It’s not like it was running at 3000 rpm when they broke.
It is an interference engine. One revolution will bend valves (at any speed). That is why we said to change the belts. If it were mine, I would order head gaskets and start pulling heads now. You may find little damage, but it is better than causing more and possibly holing a piston (although that is rare). Take care of these engines and they will do 100s of thousands of miles.
I really regret using that kickstarter. I hadn’t done my homework. I wanted to know if the engine was locked up before I bought it. I only got the message to change belts first after I got it home.
Looked with a bore scope but couldn’t tell much. It was dirty in there and some surface rust. Decided to take a closer look so I pulled the left side heads off. Here are pictures of both left side pistons.
When I first got my '75 it didn't have a kick starter. I found one many miles later at Bent Bike and put it on for a test. The thing was frozen up after many years on never being used. After research I found this to be common on the early wings. I finally stood on it hard and after a big snap it worked fine. That may be the pop you heard.
Got the right side cylinder head off. See picture. Not indication of valve/piston collision. Leak testing valves tonight.
This side looks better than the other. No surface rust here.


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The valves looked normal from what I could tell. No signs of impact. The bike sat for 8 years and there’s quite a bit of crud on the valves and the pistons. Some surface rust. Going to do a water/air leak test tomorrow.
I bought a kick lever for the '75 engine in my '78. All that I have ever used it for was to bar the engine over for setting timing and points. Now I don't even do that. found a socket and ratchet that fit the alternator bolt well.
Leak test came out good. You think I should definitely lap them while it’s out? What do I need to order if I do that.
If it's not leaking down it needs no valve lapping ...I would oil up things around the guilds and stems and operate the head's by hand using cam pulley and rubber hammer tapping valve spring to check for good movement and no sticking going on ...if it sat so long ...rubber tapping will loosen up valves good ..with just easy tapping while putting cam through its entire cycle ..then just put it back together ...get it time right ..sink all pistons halfway down to put heads on ...before putting belts on so you can get cams close to timing marks to put belts on ...your llucky so far don't mess up now ..
If you do decide to lap the valves, don't get carried away. They have a thin Stellite facing that you don't want to take off. Light hand lapping should remove any deposits. Pits or gouges require valve replacement (not that expensive).
Light lapping if any. While the heads are off, you may want to do the valve stem seals, but what you would be doing primarily is ensuring the valves have not been bent. Remove the valve springs, ZipLoc bags are your friend, keep the parts and pieces together, label the baggies. If the valves slide in/out freely probably not bent. Have a look at the valve seats. If good and clean, leave alone, only touch up if needed.
I’m waiting for gaskets and stem seals. No sign of bent valves. While waiting, I checked the electrical system on this bike. Once I reconnected the ground wire in the headlight, everything lit up. Horn works, high beam indicator (no lights on the bike now), oil light. No blown fuses or any signs of wiring having been wet. What else electrical should I check? I didn’t try the starter. Heads are off and I don’t know if it’s bad to use starter when the motor is disassembled.

I’m really happy that some of the electrical stuff works. I don’t see anywhere on the wiring harness where it looks like it had been submerged.

Thanks for everyone’s help on this.

Carbs look good also. No dried mud like you’d expect after a Mississippi flood.

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