Cleaning cylinder and head

Just wondering if anyone has any tips or tricks on really deep cleaning a cylinder and head that has 17 years of dirt and grime on it. They are off my '89 XR600.

Actually, they are not that bad, I have cleaned them pretty good, but their is still that dirt stain in between the fins, and in all the small cavities I can't get my fingers into. Also, around the exhaust ports is tough to get too. I already used a wire wheel, lots of scotch bright and steel wool.

I am getting ready to re-assemble the engine and since the rest of the bike was completely restored, it would be nice to have the top end looking nice and new.

The cylinder, head, and valve cover are all completely disasembled right now.

Thanks

Autoparts stores have this "Foamy Engine Bright" stuff. It *may* take off some of the baked on dirt. I've never used it personally, so beware. Otherwise, it's all elbow grease and special custom made scrubbing tools to get in between the fins. Good luck.

After cleaning off all the dirt/mud/crud, spray on some aluminum wheel cleaner, scrub with a soft brush and rinse with water, does pretty good.

I've got an 89 XR6 also. So I'm wondering how the motor looked when you took it apart? what kind of work did you do to the motor? :thumbsup:

Just wondering if anyone has any tips or tricks on really deep cleaning a cylinder and head that has 17 years of dirt and grime on it. They are off my '89 XR600.

Actually, they are not that bad, I have cleaned them pretty good, but their is still that dirt stain in between the fins, and in all the small cavities I can't get my fingers into. Also, around the exhaust ports is tough to get too. I already used a wire wheel, lots of scotch bright and steel wool.

I am getting ready to re-assemble the engine and since the rest of the bike was completely restored, it would be nice to have the top end looking nice and new.

The cylinder, head, and valve cover are all completely disasembled right now.

Thanks

I've used the engine degreaser products before, and they work pretty good on grease, but I don't think they well get out the baked in dirt. Plus the engine should be hot for it to work the best. Now if I had a steam cleaner with a powerfull spray, that might work.

Sounds like I'll have to hit up the auto parts store and see what type of brushes they have. I don't mind the elbow grease, I already have an endless amount of time put into this, and I enjoy it.

I've got an 89 XR6 also. So I'm wondering how the motor looked when you took it apart? what kind of work did you do to the motor? :thumbsup:

The motor looked ok. The camshaft and rocker arms were completely worn out, and the oil ring on the piston was stuck. I'm replacing the camshaft, rocker arms, cam bearings, and rings. The cylinder looked good. It is a little out of round near the top, but still within the Honda specs. It is Nikasil, so their isn't much I can do with it unless I send out the cylinder and get it resleeved.

I miced the oil pump, it looked good, so I just replaced all the o-rings and seals in the oil pump, pipe, and crankcase. I'm installing new valve seals, and getting a new valve job. I cleaned up the exhuast ports on the head. I didn't take off much material at all, just smoothed out the casting marks throughout the port.

If you have specific questions on rebuilding this motor, let me know since it is all fresh in my mind.

I have been told, but have not confirmed, that placing these parts in an ordinary dish-washer on "pot-cleaning mode" will make them very clean.

I'm not a mechanic. All I have really done is adjust the valves and I took the carb off once to clean it. Did you run into any problems while doing the work? Did you need any special tools to do the job? Did you need to take the motor out of the frame? How long did it take to do all of the work?

Thanks,

Ed

The motor looked ok. The camshaft and rocker arms were completely worn out, and the oil ring on the piston was stuck. I'm replacing the camshaft, rocker arms, cam bearings, and rings. The cylinder looked good. It is a little out of round near the top, but still within the Honda specs. It is Nikasil, so their isn't much I can do with it unless I send out the cylinder and get it resleeved.

I miced the oil pump, it looked good, so I just replaced all the o-rings and seals in the oil pump, pipe, and crankcase. I'm installing new valve seals, and getting a new valve job. I cleaned up the exhuast ports on the head. I didn't take off much material at all, just smoothed out the casting marks throughout the port.

If you have specific questions on rebuilding this motor, let me know since it is all fresh in my mind.

It took me one evening to strip the whole motor apart. I did not take it out of the frame, the head and cylinder came off just fine. It is a little tight, but it will come off. I highly recommend buying the original Honda manual. I bought mine from my local dealer and it covers 1988 to 2000 and has the specs and detailed procedures to do everything.

The only difficulties I ran into was removing my rocker arm bolts since I was replacing the rocker arms. They were stuck, and I had to dremel a groove in the head and use a chisel and hammer to break them loose. Then I had to spend $20 each on two new bolts! Other than that, everthing went smooth. I have been tinkering with car and motorcycle engines for 15 years, but I am by no means a professional. I always follow the shop manual and it has been good to me.

Since they're dissassembled parts, take them to a machine shop for cleaning. I doubt you'll ever get them as clean as you'd like without doing that--I know I've never been satisfied with a variety of home-brew methods.

I don't know if they use some sort of hot acid bath or bead blasting or what, but the parts I've gotten back from a machine shop looked like new.

Unless you are selling the bike, won't it just get dirty again? I just do simple cleaning on my XR6 with some wd-40 and a toothbrush. If I can't get it all off, then oh well. Not trying to be sarcastic, just realistic, because I know next time it will come back dirty again.

yeah really unless your painting it... then bead blasting

you could use some kind of oven cleaner or a/c radiator cleaner,both are good at cleaning aluminum.what you will have to keep an eye on is the time you leave it on before rinsing since most of this products are caustic/acid.They work great tough

I have a big sink and solvent tank in my garage, so I can rinse the parts very well. So maybe I'll try some of these degreaser / oven cleaner products.

I thought about taking them to the machine shop where I am getting my valve job done. They might be able to hot dip it into whatever they use for their engine blocks. I'll see what they charge. Might be cheaper than buying cleaners and scrubers.

As far as getting it really clean, then dirty again. If you have a nice new bike, it is easy to keep it clean for years and years. Just wash it after every ride and the engine and bike will stay looking really nice. The problem is when you buy a 17 year old used bike like mine, which looked like it had never been washed, the dirt starts to bake in ride after ride until a regular scrub and wash just won't get it clean. So I am hoping to get it looking nice and clean and new again, then it should be easy to keep looking good even after a fun mud ride.

Thanks for all the great tips.

Just talked to the local machine shop and he said that hot dipping would not gaurantee getting that baked on dirt off. I'll just invest in some very stiff wire brushes and some strong cleaners and see what happens.

Good luck on your cleaning DSTerry. I too have been cleaning up my motor, (especially around the cylinder head) primarily with red scotch-brites and assorted wire brushes. Man your fingers sure do get raw after a while! :thumbsup:

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