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  #1  
Old 1 Week Ago
CaptainZoop CaptainZoop is offline
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Default Top end rebuild, what size rings to get?

Hey guys, I'm tearing in to the top end of my 77 sportster to hopefully resolve some overheating issues. I picked the bike up from a guy who said it sat for 10+ years, and I've already gone through the whole thing and got it running smooth. The only problem now is the rear cylinder overheating. (The rear cylinder runs at 400+ degrees and smokes while the front only runs at 200+). Worn rings and carbon build up were my guess.

I have the heads apart and will be honing the cylinders and removing the carbon deposits from the pistons, combustion chamber, and valves as well as lapping the valves if needed.

My only question so far is what size rings should I be getting if I am going to be honing the cylinders? The stamp on the top of the piston says "030", so I have to assume that means ".030", right? (My first time honing).

Any advise is appreciated. Thanks
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if the rings are worn the cylinders may be too.the only way to know is to have them measured,pistons also.measurements need to be taken in several places.
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If you are only honing, then I feel like you will want the same size rings to put back in. You will still want to check the ring end gap, and make sure to clean the fire ring - both heads and cylinders.
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The next smallest ring oversize is frequently recommended, which will (probably) give negative end gap (the gap is proportionate to the size × Π (.040" is .031" tighter than .030") and require grinding back the ring ends to meet your specs. The factory says ".010-.020" but IMHO .004" per inch of bore is preferred, .013" or slightly more (.010" is dangerous).
Unfortunately, this also increases the radial tension on the ring and may cause elevated wear.
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Okay, duely noted. I think I will go with a new set of rings that are the same size. The cylinders don't look that bad but I will find out how to measure them before reassembling. Thanks guys
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if you do custom cut end gaps, there is a correct way so research. i always custom cut. as far as radial tension goes, not much to worry about.
your biggest issue will be taper and i believe hd limit is .006. excessive taper leads to ring fatique.
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That and the ridge at the top of the cylinder catching on the new ring....
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This is only my suggestion, do you have the cylinders off the bike and in your hand? If so, take them to your local machine shop along with the pistons and get them measured properly now for out of round, taper and piston clearance, they will either be in tolerance or they won’t. If you have taken the time to strip it this far and then build it back up with new gaskets etc it’s better to do it right while you’re there. Have a good look at the valve seats, guides and stem protrusion too. If you have gotten this far stripping down to this level without any help then you are probably quite a capable mechanic. This is a great forum with plenty of helpful advice from guys who have been down this road numerous times. There may be other issues causing heat in the rear or even the lack of in the front.
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Wobbly points cam?
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install valve seats. unleaded fuel leads to recession.
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