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hey, newbie here, just got my son a good deal on a nice 97 lakota 300, and knew when i bought it that it was smoking and valve tapping, previous owner said they did a valve job on it, but who knows???, figured id have to do piston, rings, bore, and new seals and gaskets, but figured id get some second opinions ??? might do a compression check first, ???
any thoughts and or experiences ????
 

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Start with the compression test. You want 11.6 kg/cm2 STD at 500 rpm which is 160 psi at 500 rpm. 500 rpm should be what the starter will spin the engine at with a fully charged battery. You can run 10% below that compression and still be good, but below that it is history.

But, the if it is burning engine oil that pretty much says you will have to tear it down at least as far as the head being removed.

If the spring on the compression release lever expires they will develop a tap. If they are run with the compression level spring broken or missing they force the camshaft into the head and wallow out the journals and score the cam. That can lead to excessive oil being forced out the head vent, and into the air cleaner on California models.

What I would look for low compression and leaking at the cylinder head gasket. There are two oil passage sleeves between the head and the cylinder. Improper head installation can bind one or more of those sleeves and allow oil to run into the cylinder and then it will smoke to the point it is worse than an old two stroke.

If it is black smoke from excessive fuel, then I would look for a high float level, leaking float valve, or pilot air bleed set way too rich. But, check the air filter for any plugging or oil contamination. If they get rolled they tend to oil the filter and choke the engine creating tons of black smoke.
 
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