Engine rebuild?

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I've just made the same mistake that many others have probably made. A week agao, the junkyard guy offered me a complete CB550 engine plus some other stuff for 50 bucks. Being a moron I jumped at the offer. I disassembled the engine and was in pretty good shape, I figured on rebuilding the top end new, and taking the best looking tranny parts from both my engines to make one good solid runner. I sand blasted the engine, taking good care to cover everything up, then took the engine to the parts washer, and made sure every spec of sand was out of it. Now for the questions. This engine had 18,000 miles showing, but I have no idea of how rough those miles were. What should I definitely make sure to look at? I've already decided to do new rings, a cylinder hone, lap the valves, new main and rod bearings, new seals and of course new gaskets all around. Am I being a sadist and biting off more than I can chew? Does Honda offer a rebuild kit that would include most of these parts? And lastly, working on a students budget, did my 50 dollar investment just become a tri-digit affair. Initially I was hoping that Honda offered a rebuild kit in the hundred dollar range, but now I'm less and less. sure. Should I put this project on the afterburner for a while?



-- Jeremy Farlow (jfarlow@antioch-college.edu), February 25, 2002


What year 550? It seems like there are a lot more Honda and aftermarket options for the earlier models, but the '77 and '78 (which is what I own) are a little tougher to get parts for.

You'll probably spend around $80 just for a full gasket set, and I wouldn't even hazard a guess at what the bearings would be.

Hind-sight being 20/20 (and, well, "hind-sight" and not particularly helpful), I think if I was in the same position trying to evaluate the condition of this engine, I probably would have tried to determine if the cylinders had good compression, once it turned over. My logic being, if it had reasonable compression, then the engine was probably fairly well-maintained and not overly abused, so you could probably assume the bearings are still OK as well.

18k on one of these engines isn't that much, and unless it was really abused, or exposed to the elements, I'd bet your bearings are OK. How tough was it to get it apart?

As far as your "sadist" question goes, I'd say you were more of a masochist, but both can be fun in the garage. ;-}

Let me know how you're doing as the work proceeds. I'd be curious to know if those bearings are still available and, if so, what they cost these days.


-- matt reinert (mjreinert@prodigy.net), March 07, 2002.

yes yhe mains bigends and piston rings are still available in the uk the crank oil seals are available and a complete gasket set top and bottom end can be had for about 55 uk try www.fowlers.co.uk and do a search for m and p motorcycles im sure they can ship to the us or try david silver spares im sure they also have a shop in the us while your at it i suggest you renew the primary chain as this will eventually eat through the main oil gallery mines on the way also renew the camshaft drive chain as these can snap without warning

-- dazz (dazz123456@hotmail.com), June 05, 2002.

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