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  #1  
Old 29th May 2020
bobandy bobandy is offline
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Default '81 Gasket/Rebuild Questions

Hi,

I Have my 81 down to the engine/frame and want to solve the oil leak i have on the rear cylinder head gasket and have a few questions,
  1. Who makes the best Gasket kit?
  2. Since most top end Gasket kits come with the cylinder bse gaskets can i pull the jugs replace this gasket and reassemble without any further work on the bores/rings etc?
  3. Can i reuse hardware like the head bolts or do I have to replace these?

Any help will be very well received.

Thanks

Andy
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  #2  
Old 29th May 2020
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1. I like James gaskets. Their kits are spendy but nice.

2. You generally don't need to do anything to the cylinder, piston, or rings if you're just pulling the cylinder and as long as you don't mess with the rings. Don't hone the cylinder either unless you have reason to - it messes up the ring seal.

3. That's a "can" vs. "should" question. You can reuse head bolts - I've done it and so have many others - but the factory manual says you shouldn't. Inspect them carefully, especially if they're original, and decide whether or not you're comfortable reusing them. New sets are around $50.
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  #3  
Old 29th May 2020
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If the cylinder base gasket is not leaking, don't change it. If you pull the cylinders off the pistons, check the bores for taper and wear grooving, if too much taper, overbore to next over-sized piston set with matching new rings. Pulling cylinders off a worn in engine and putting it back together will guarantee you WILL be redoing it. 81's had low compression pistons, so I would recommend the copper .016 thick head gaskets. Do it right the 1st time by not taking short cuts.
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Old 29th May 2020
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"Never dismantle a good running engine" was said to me several years ago by a world class mechanic [motorcycles, trucks, boats, etc].
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  #5  
Old 29th May 2020
bobandy bobandy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigMek View Post
1. I like James gaskets. Their kits are spendy but nice.

2. You generally don't need to do anything to the cylinder, piston, or rings if you're just pulling the cylinder and as long as you don't mess with the rings. Don't hone the cylinder either unless you have reason to - it messes up the ring seal.

3. That's a "can" vs. "should" question. You can reuse head bolts - I've done it and so have many others - but the factory manual says you shouldn't. Inspect them carefully, especially if they're original, and decide whether or not you're comfortable reusing them. New sets are around $50.
Thanks for the good info! used James gaskets for the primary, a lot better than some of the other gaskets ive used in the past!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1Scooter View Post
If the cylinder base gasket is not leaking, don't change it. If you pull the cylinders off the pistons, check the bores for taper and wear grooving, if too much taper, overbore to next over-sized piston set with matching new rings. Pulling cylinders off a worn in engine and putting it back together will guarantee you WILL be redoing it. 81's had low compression pistons, so I would recommend the copper .016 thick head gaskets. Do it right the 1st time by not taking short cuts.
100% agree about not taking short cuts, I'm deeper in it than originally planned so may as well spend a bit more time and money making it as good as i can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IronMick View Post
"Never dismantle a good running engine" was said to me several years ago by a world class mechanic [motorcycles, trucks, boats, etc].
She runs like a champ but the weep of wild id ruining my happiness with its wee snail trail.


Thanks for the replies! will be fun getting this sorted!
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  #6  
Old 31st May 2020
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well i'm a bit late but nuthin but James for me
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Old 31st May 2020
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Critical sealing like head,oil pump, pipe, and base gaskets. Usually James.

Non critical sealing like primary . I drink a 12 pack and re-pupose the carton it came in.

Dudes tripped out when I fixed a dragging kicker on FL four speed by good bike lean, pocket knife, pencil, and a 12 pack of beer.
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  #8  
Old 31st May 2020
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SHAKY DAVE View Post
well i'm a bit late but nuthin but James for me
Anpther good word for James thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by rokytnji View Post
Critical sealing like head,oil pump, pipe, and base gaskets. Usually James.

Non critical sealing like primary . I drink a 12 pack and re-pupose the carton it came in.

Dudes tripped out when I fixed a dragging kicker on FL four speed by good bike lean, pocket knife, pencil, and a 12 pack of beer.
HA! I usually pop for the Kellogs cereal gaskets on things like that on other bikes but with this being my first Harley i want to do things right

Thanks

Andy
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  #9  
Old 1st June 2020
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Hi,

I use the blue Teflon coated head gaskets on my 81, very happy with them.

I've reused the head bolts, never had a problem with them either.

Cometic gaskets are also a good make.

Andy.
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