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Sportster Motorcycle Motor - Top End Discuss Sportster Motorcycle Top End issues. Rockerboxes, Valves, Cylinders, Pistons, Rings, Lift Rods, etc...

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  #1  
Old 31st December 2011
bmel17 bmel17 is offline
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Default need help with head gaskets

I have an 08 nightster and have an oil leak from my heads. Is it worth it to have a shop fix it or is it easy enough to replace on my own? I am handy. I have a service manual somewhere. If I do do it myself, what gaskets should I go with, james, cometic or stock?
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  #2  
Old 31st December 2011
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Head gasket..my preference would be cometic and yes very easy to do.

Everything stock on your scoot? If so .040 for gaskets.
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Old 1st January 2012
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If it's rocker cover or rocker box gaskets, use HD gaskets.
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Old 1st January 2012
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if you should do it yourself mostly depends on how comfortable you are in doing serious work on your sporty and where they do leak.
ig the rockerbox is leaking i'd say go for it or let your 6 year old kid do it.. there's nothing to it!
if it is the head gasket it gets a little more complicated. yes you can do it, but you need the correct tools like a torque wrench and such.

and never forget to give the headbolds a 1/4 tighter turn once they are at torque. i always torque the heads go out for a smoke and a coffee and then give the bolts the 1/4 extra turn. the coffe break give me the feeling the gaskets and cylinders can settle a little before the last stage of torquing

and for gaskets i like james..
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Old 1st January 2012
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Default

thanks guys! I'll be all right doing it. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't anything crazy and if I had a shop do it, would I be wasting money.

I have all the tools too so it looks like I'll be good to go!
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Old 1st January 2012
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remember: loosen headbolts and rocker box bolts 1/4 turn at a time, until loose, working your way around. i usually pull both heads at once.

when putting rocker boxes back on, do one cylinder at a time, making sure that engine is rotated so valve pressure is relieved. after you button up the first box, wait for and ensure bleed down of the lifters before rotating the engine to do the next one. and after you button up the second rocker box WAIT AGAIN and ensure lifter bleed down before going any farther.

bleed down can take anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending. you ensure bleed down when you can spin the pushrods by hand at the rocker arm. they will always have some pressure but if you can spin them (it will not be easy) it is safe to proceed without bending a valve or worse.

i don't use loctite of any kind anywhere in the top end. nowhere.
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  #7  
Old 1st January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bitpusher View Post
i don't use loctite of any kind anywhere in the top end. nowhere.
There's one place it's factory applied ... the rocker box top bolts.
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Old 1st January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aswracing View Post
There's one place it's factory applied ... the rocker box top bolts.
the 2 layers of rubber gaskets seem to do just fine at keeping them from backing out. IMO. but it is a fine line between just tight enough and too tight. one way you end up with spurting oil leak at exactly the wrong time an the other you have your rubber squeezed out.

some blue would make sense on these as long as the bolts are in good shape and haven't been torqued down too many times.

if you look at the bolt between the head and the threads and it appears slightly thinner in spots, that is where it has stretch and twisted due to torque.

this is where it is going to snap on you. replace them before you think about loctiting them or you will first be pissed and then sorry.
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