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Discussion Starter #1
I am tired of my bike fouling out the plugs due to leaking valve stem seals. my combustion chamber is all cruddy and i had used "STOP SMOKE" oil additive to solve the problem and it worked for a few weeks but now its back to it again only this time it seems to have gotten worse so the next step for me is to replace the seals. i plan to do all the work myself with help from a buddy who knows way more about heads than i do. I am mechanically incline but not as much as he so he is willing to help do what ever i need him to do free of charge. i am looking for the list of parts i may need other than just the seals. while im in there, do i need to replace the guides and valves as well? i just need a list of recommended things to replace while im in there and i also need help with getting the head off. Will the head come off easily without pulling the whole motor out? how do you get the cam chain off. i looked at it and couldnt figure it out, remember this is my first time pulling the head off of a bike, ive done it to a car a million times but this looks different. I have a 91 kawa zx 1100C with 23k thanks for the help
 

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I suspect you can remove the cylinder head without removing the engine from the bike but can't swear to it. If you have a factory service manual, it will say for sure. On newer bikes, like yours (I working on vintage bikes), the valve cover generally has reed valves built in so in order to remove the valve cover, you may need to remove the reed valve covers and hoses. You will need to remove the carburetors, etc. Generally, the valve cover can then be slid to the rear and removed. Once off the bike, you will see your cam chain which likely is not center mounted. It will have some sort of tensioner which will need to be removed. There will also be a guide called an idler assembly on your cam chain... once those are off, you remove the bolts holding your cam caps in place. The cam caps retain your cam shafts. It is generally a good idea to put the 1 & 4 cylinders to TDC at this point as it makes reinstall of the cams easier. After removing the cam caps, you can slide the cams out and will have to tie up your cam chain so it doesn't fall down into the engine.

Once the cams are out, I am not sure if this is a water cooled engine but if it is, you had best drain the anti-freeze and remove any water lines going to the cylinder head and then remove cylinder head stud nuts... there may be a couple of 6mm bolts on the ends that need to be removed as well... a shop manual will give the exact steps...

Once everything is removed, you pop the head on all sides with a rubber mallet and then find the pry points suggested in your manual and work the head up... it may seem stuck as the head gets stuck to the gasket below which is stuck to the cylinder block.

Once the head is off, you can disassemble. The factory manual will give you MAX valve stem lengths with the valve stem inserted in the guide. This stem length is a good indication of wear on the valve seats. Use a digital caliper to measure stem length (the end extends out for measuring depth). It is hard to determine valve guide wear since most of the guides I am familiar with have only a 7mm bore width. I can tell if there is excessive wear by rocking a valve in the guide (after disassembly) sideways but if you haven't a feel for this, you may want to just go ahead and replace the guides with the seals. If the valve lengths are not excessive (outside spec), you can probably clean the combustion chambers and replace the guides and seals and then lap in the valves prior to reassembly.

Disassembling the valve train isn't all that hard if you have the correct adapter and a valve spring compressor. The adapter will be the same size as the bucket where the shims are retained. There is a Kaw special tool (adapter) I am sure but you may be able to buy an adapter and compressor in the aftermarket. You compress the valve train which makes the split collets accessible and you can fish them out with a small magnet and/or tweezers. Once the split collets are off (also called split keepers), the parts are come apart. I suspect you had best keep an eye on the valve springs as they may be directional... windings may be more dense on one end and there will likely be two springs; one inside the other. Replace all components where they came from.

Anyway, the job isn't all that big a deal. I would suggest before you start tearing apart the head to consider a leakdown test to verify the source of the oil and crud... it is a bit unusual for seals to make that much mess. The problem may also be the piston rings... Might save you some money to diagnose this issue properly before making assumptions on the valves/head.
 

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The Cruising Gunsmith
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i am looking for the list of parts i may need other than just the seals.
You will need a valve spring compressor. A good one costs about $175. I have seen cheaper but they looked scary.

i am looking for the list of parts i may need other than just the seals. while im in there, do i need to replace the guides and valves as well?
You won't know if the valaves and guides are hosed until you get them out and you can run a micrometer down the inside of the valve guide.



how do you get the cam chain off.
Normally, you don't take the cam chain off the engine (it cant be done). You unbolt the cams and take them out. That lets the head lift off and the chain passes through the hole in the head. You need to support the chain so it doesn't fall down into the cylinder.

i looked at it and couldnt figure it out, remember this is my first time pulling the head off of a bike, ive done it to a car a million times but this looks different. I have a 91 kawa zx 1100C with 23k thanks for the help
You really need a factory service manual> I don't think I could have done it without one.
 

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The Cruising Gunsmith
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Ii am looking for the list of parts i may need
You need a top end rebuild gasket set. They sell the complete set of gaskets and O-rings to do the ehad job as a complete set and it saves a lot of $ that way. Some of them include the valve guide seals, some don't.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
wow thats alot of info to take in but i got it all. thanks so much for the replys. i feel that with a lot of time, i could do this easily but yeah i am thinking i need to buy a service manual. i think that will help alot. thank you so much
 

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Bountyhunter wrote, "You won't know if the valaves and guides are hosed until you get them out and you can run a micrometer down the inside of the valve guide."

I am very interested in hearing how to run a micrometer down the inside of a 7mm bore. Please explain! Thanks - In the past, I have used a tee bore gauge to pick up the inside diameter than transfered this measurement to a caliper or micrometer.

As far as valve spring compressors go, K&L sells one with the correct adapters (adapters match to bucket size). I build my own compressor... 9" C clamp with a nut welded on one end so the cee can reach around and contact a valve to hold it. My friend makes adapters out of old buckets by welding a U shaped piece of steel to the top (for the clamp to catch) and cuts a hole in the side of the old donor-bucket for fishing out the split keepers. Most car-type compressors won't work as they don't come with the correct sized adapter (matched to bucket).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
well i am working on getting ahold of a buddy of my father who owns a machine shop and i am going to see how much he would charge to just lap the valves and ill do all the other work. I have a friend who is going to help me with the head he is a mechanic that i work with that rebuilds heads all the time so i trust his knowledge and he is going to do it for me free of charge were is a good place to get all the parts that i will need as far as stem seals maybe guides top end gasket set and maybe some valves, depending on what kind of shape the old valves are other than the dealership that will charge an arm and a leg for it.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
and also. i do know already that all of my intake valves are wet with oil so i do know that i will need to do the heads and the rings should be good. the bikes motor had a rebuild around 7k miles ago so i dont suspect the rings are shot and not to mention that a main sign that suggested the rings are shot is that it will smoke all the time especially during acceleration. i do know that she has been leaking oil into the cylinders for about 2k miles now but never seen any smoke period. i just noticed that the oil level would slowly get lower and lower until she started blowing smoke at the start up and then cleared up so now i want to fix it. it is fouling my plugs way to much now. but ive never done a compression check but i will be doing on this week to find out forsure. thanks for all the help guys.
 

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The Cruising Gunsmith
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Bountyhunter wrote, "You won't know if the valaves and guides are hosed until you get them out and you can run a micrometer down the inside of the valve guide."

I am very interested in hearing how to run a micrometer down the inside of a 7mm bore. Please explain!
It's a trick tool the machine shop guy had that measures ID as he pushes it through the hole in the valve guide. He set it to nominal diameter and then it shows any change as it goes along the inside surface on the dial gauge to a resolution of about 1/10 of a thousandth. I have no idea what you call that tool, sure was cool. He actually showed me my "old" guides had a tighter fit than the new ones I had bought from kawi, although both were inside nominal spec. So, I kept the old ones.


Thanks - In the past, I have used a tee bore gauge to pick up the inside diameter than transfered this measurement to a caliper or micrometer.
That might work. FYI, the head expert told me that valve guides usually wear very little unless the head is set up wrong and there is "side torque" twisting force at work. Mine had 75k miles on them and were still readin new spec diameter all the way through.

As far as valve spring compressors go, K&L sells one with the correct adapters (adapters match to bucket size). I build my own compressor... 9" C clamp with a nut welded on one end so the cee can reach around and contact a valve to hold it. My friend makes adapters out of old buckets by welding a U shaped piece of steel to the top (for the clamp to catch) and cuts a hole in the side of the old donor-bucket for fishing out the split keepers. Most car-type compressors won't work as they don't come with the correct sized adapter (matched to bucket).
Yeah, I hear everybody makes their own (probably because of the ridiculous price). I don't have a welder so I am stuck. For what the head shop charged me, it was a bargain to get it done. I think it was about $200 to do the head and that included a polish job on the intake and exhaust ports.
 

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The Cruising Gunsmith
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and also. i do know already that all of my intake valves are wet with oil so i do know that i will need to do the heads and the rings should be good. the bikes motor had a rebuild around 7k miles ago so i dont suspect the rings are shot and not to mention that a main sign that suggested the rings are shot is that it will smoke all the time especially during acceleration.
Depends on the rebuild, they may not have replaced the rings. You said it's at 23k miles now, so that rebuild would have been at 16k miles. Very few engines need it that early, yours may not even need it now. The rings on my KZ750 were still giving good service at 75k miles.

Smoking under acceleration does usually mean rings are completely hosed, but that's not the only symptom. On mine, I wasn't smoking that way but was seeing a compression shift of about 35 psi cold to hot. After new pistons and rings, it was less than 10 psi change cold to hot. If you are not seeing a big shift cold to hot, the rings are probably OK.
 

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Eddie Lawson is God!
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Which is why, whenever I am involved in a thread like this, I advocate COMPLETE troubleshooting including leakdown tests. Once a wrench touches that bike, the ability to do a leakdown is gone. A leakdown tells you WHERE compression is going. Using it you DETERMINE if rings need to be replaced, instead of guessing. If you're me or George or Darrell, we've seen enough bikes to hipshot, you haven't. (Not meant to be an insult AM)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
well i did some shopping around and on of my co-workers told me about a guy that does all his work (he builds race motors so he has alot of work done with this guy) and he asured me that this guy was cheap and good. and i went to see him yesturday and explained what i had going on and heres how it breaks down. I will need to bring him the motor entire engine with the head off. he is going to machine the head (lap the valves, replace the seals and what ever else needs to be machined or replaced) put the head back together and adjust the valve clearance within specs then he is going to hone( i think i spelled that right?) all the cylinders and replace the rings and put it all back together for me all for no more than $300 for labor and then whatever the parts costs which i dont imagine to be that much (gaskets, seals, rings, maybe guides and maybe a some valves but thats a just in case the valves are bent but i doubt that is the case) im guessing around 150 to 200 for the parts and he said the 300 for labor was high balling it just incase it needs extra stuff. but no more than 300 oh and i will need to get the specs for the head so he can make the proper adjustments and bring the tool to do the valves something about a special bucket tool or whatever to do valve clearance i guess? i figure i can borrow on from someone if i have to. he told me that even if the rings arent fried, it wouldnt be a bad idea to just replace them while you have it apart now so you know they are good for a while instead of only doing the head only to find out that the rings need to be replaced 2 months later and then spend another 300 only doing them just get it all done at once it makes sense. i am checking another guy out though, he is a good friend of my father so maybe he'll be cheaper but either way, i cant get it done til after xmas, round january the guy i talked to said its best for him to do it after xmas (the guy who said 300) and the other guy is on vacation from last week until january so that gives me plenty of time to tear the motor down. what do you guys think about that price is that a good price for all that work or a rip?
 

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I think you're getting a very good deal. Most shop charge between $75 and $100 per hour. I would go for it.
 

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The Cruising Gunsmith
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no more than $300 for labor and then whatever the parts costs which i dont imagine to be that much (gaskets, seals, rings, maybe guides and maybe a some valves but thats a just in case the valves are bent but i doubt that is the case) im guessing around 150 to 200 for the parts
You might be in for sticker shock on the parts. Piston ring sets run in the neighborhood of about $80 PER PISTON SET from Kawasaki, the discount price from Bike Bandit for my 750 was about $50 (per set). A top end gasket set (aftermarket, not OEM) will be about $80, from Kawasaki I can't even imagine what they would charge... they quoted $70 just for a single valve cover gasket. Valve guides run about $30 - 40 each, valves are also in that ballpark. valve guide seals probably will be around $10 each.

IMHO, it would be quite unlikely that your guides or valves are unservicable, but you won't know until they take it apart.

BTW, the research I did says about 95% of blowby from "ring wear" occurs in the top and bottom surfaces which go into the groove on the piston, not where the ring meets the cylinder wall. Unfortunately, the rings are very hard steel and the pistons are aluminum (so guess who loses on that rubbing) .... check the piston groove width and make sure they are in spec.

I definitely agree $300 is a very good price for all labor. I just did this whole process to my 750 and I would NEVER do it for that. I kept track and it took me a good ten hours of labor just to put it back together from the point where it was fully apart (connecting rods waiting for new pistons, cylinder and head completly rebuilt). Including disassembly, reworking the head, cleaning things, and re assembly it would have to be a minimum of 25 hours work. In my case, it was probably at least twice that because I had to do it all over when the cylinder base gasket failed.
 
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