Vehicles

xs1100 - top end refresh, addressing oil leaks, oil change, valve adjustment, new tires

I stopped riding the bike a few years ago due to a couple of reasons. First, there was an oil leak that always resulted in my pants getting covered in oil. Second, the rear tire was bald. During those years, I started the bike periodically and a couple times I took it around the neighborhood. It ran terribly.

Fast forward to today. The bike is running perfectly again. In short, the bike was weeping oil from both the head gasket and also the cam end plugs. The pilot jets in the carbs had gotton plugged with oil dried up fuel.

While I was in the engine replacing gaskets I took it as an opportunity to clean up the valves. I found that the valves in 2 cylinders held kerosene overnight with no leaks. One leaked very slightly. The 4th leaked more significantly. After 24 hours half the kerosene was gone. I decided to lap all the valves. I also installed new valve seals, but these are made out of viton so hopefully they should last a long time and handle ethenol in the gas just fine.

Throughout this process I made plenty of mistakes and learned lots. I have been into engines before, but never the xs1100. The process of reinstalling the cam and realigning everything is confusing and not well described in my manual. Ultimatley I had to do it twice, though I never bent any valves thankfully. I also had problems with gaskets. I got a copper gasket that was made specifically for the xs1100. Too bad the cylinder bore sizes were impossibly off. The gasket was unusable. I eventually just bought an aftermarket Emgo gasket set. I don't think they are the greatest gaskets, but they are available which is obviously a big deal.

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one carb leaks outright, the other appears to be seeping gas
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will cut exhaust after the tape line
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cam chain sprocket bolts. These are very special, shouldered
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all these pieces have an arrow and a stamp indicating intake or exhaust and the number
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all retainers removed, ready to remove cam shafts
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hard to believe these plugs were weeping oil, piece of the rubber stuck to the head
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Note one of the two bolt holes has an extra nipple above the hole, these must point when reinstalled
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cams are cast with Intake or Exhaust so you cant mix them up
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cam shafts removed
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removing cylinder head nuts
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dont let that chain fall into the case!
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ready to be cleaned
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poured kerosene in each one to loosen up carbon build up and also to look for leaks
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next day: you can see that cylinder #3 leaks the worst
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kerosene didn't do much to break up carbon
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trying paint stripper
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thats better but still not clean
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soaked in 100% concentrated simple green for a few days
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now its clean! Simple green did the best
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removed extra rubber from cam end plug area
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special tool to remove valves
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soaked in simply green for a day, also had a few sessions of hot water and ultrasonic cleaning
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needs cleaning, the carbon build up is pretty bad
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only used the fine paste. I even think the fine paste was a little aggressive
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seats are still pitted after lapping, but for cost and complexity reasons I am not maching them
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the dull gray band is clearly visible after lapping
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band thickness is about 1/8 inch thick
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lapped on right, not lapped on left
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left one, before lapping
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left one, after lapping. Still pitted in spots but at least its smoother
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about to be lapped
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after lapping the band is obvious
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cleaning up the gasket surface
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ready for a gasket
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I was really excited about the all copper gasket I got
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too bad the cylinder bores are so far off that the gasket is unusable. Garbage
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you can see just how off the copper one was. It needs compression rings but the seller was clueless
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original valve shim sizes
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trimmed exhaust hoping to lower sound output but allowing more of the muffer to work
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This is obviously why the #3 carb was leaking fuel, the rubber head came off the float needle
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stupid screw stripped out, will replace with a bolt
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bolt installed
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They stopped making the fram oil filter I used. I got this microgard on a cross reference
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too bad it is not as deep as the fram. It leaked. I ended up buying a fram filter online
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valve shim sizes after adjustment
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a look at my shim collection. Not bad
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new tires
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rear tire was bald
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old front tire is not too bad. I kept it so I could install it on my xs650 someday.
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the right fram oil filter. No leaks with this installed.

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