How to identify Nikasil coating

7 replies to this topic
  • DSTerry

Posted May 27, 2006 - 09:31 PM


I am getting ready to purchase a 1996 cylinder for my 1989 XR600. I had a thought that what if the cylinder on my 89 had been replaced in the last 17 years of the bikes life. The reason I was buying a new one is because the cylinder is out of spec, and I assumed the cylinder was the original nikasil plated and couldn't be bored to the next oversized piston.

So I wanted to make sure that I indeed have a nikasil plated cylinder (not a replacement steel one). How can I tell by looking at the cylinder?

Also, why can't a nikasil plated cylinder be bored? Is it because the plating is to hard. I would think I could just bore out my cylinder and run an oversized piston. But I really have no idea of how the nikasil cylinders are built.


  • xr500_89

Posted May 27, 2006 - 10:31 PM


well i dont know who told you that it cant be bored is on crack, of course its possible to be bored and sleeved to the next size over

  • DSTerry

Posted May 27, 2006 - 11:25 PM


Not quite sure I understand what you mean by boring and sleeving to the next size over.

Typically you can rebore a standard cast iron cylinder to the next size. So if the original bore was 97mm, you can go to a 97.25mm bore, then buy new piston and rings to match. Boring is pretty cheap that any machine shop can do.

On the other hand, if you resleeve, the original sleeve is removed from the cylinder and a new one is installed. But you will end up with the original bore. Resleeving costs around $200 at LA sleeve.

I was just wondering if I could bore my nicasil cylinder, and use the next oversized piston and rings. I don't want to resleeve the cylinder because then I would just end up with a standard cast iron sleeve at the stock 97mm bore. And I can achieve this by buying a used good cylinder for 1/2 the price.

And since I have a cylinder waiting to be purchased, I just wanted to make sure that the cylinder I already have is nicasil. Because if it is not nicasil, I will just rebore it and save some money. Unless nicasil can be rebored which I don't think it can but I am not sure.

  • The Way Out

Posted May 28, 2006 - 06:35 AM


Your machine shop should be able to tell you if it's NSC.

If it is, another option would be to send it to Millenium Technologies. They've done a few snowmachines for me and it ran ~$225. Then you'd get another 17 years out of it.

Here's their web site.

Visit the ThumperTalk Store for the lowest prices on motorcycle / ATV parts and accessories - Guaranteed
  • xr500_89

Posted May 28, 2006 - 07:52 AM


or instead you can go buy a sleeve thats the size displacment that you want like the 660 kit

  • bubby6

Posted May 28, 2006 - 08:20 AM


get a magnet and if it does not stick to the inside of the clinder then it is Nikasil.

Send it to Millenium technologies they are in Wisconsin and it will run between $160 to $220

  • DSTerry

Posted May 28, 2006 - 09:09 AM


Thanks for the link. Their services look good. I've compared the costs with my different options and what makes the most sense for me is to purchase this 1996 used cylinder. I can lightly hone it and run a new set of rings with my stock piston which is well within specs. Even if I re-bore my cylinder (assuming it is not nicasil), it will cost me for the reboring, and a new piston. That alone will be more than the cylinder I am purchasing.

Thanks again.

  • cleonard

Posted May 28, 2006 - 09:22 AM


Look at the top of the cylinder. If it's a sleeved, it's obvious. The steel sleeve is about 3/8 of an inch thick. The magnet method will work too.

For honing brand new bores, I like the ball hones. For a used one I prefer the 3 stone type. The 3 stone type will grind down on the high points. When it gets to the low points you are done.

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