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  1. There are many times when a light engine rebuild is possible. If cylinder taper (wear toward the top of the piston ring travel and TDC) is negligible and the cylinder is still "round" in bore shape, honing can restore the cylinder(s) to get a good piston ring seal on new rings. This is the traditional "ring and valve job" overhaul procedure, where the piston(s) are reusable and the rings will be renewed after cleaning the ring grooves carefully with the correct tool. This is a precisely honed motorcycle cylinder from the magazine's Honda XR650R. L.A. Sleeve has achieved this true, perfect cross-hatch with the use of a power cylinder hone. Machine shops strive for this type of cross-hatch pattern. For more details, see the magazine's how-to HD video series on the top end rebuild of the XR650R engine. Whether to "hone" or "glaze bust" is a matter of wear and how true the cylinder measures. A three- or four-stone cylinder hone is capable of truing the bore and also creating a "cross-hatch" pattern desirable for good ring seating and seal. The cross-hatch is actually done precisely on a boring/honing machine when an engine or cylinder barrel gets reconditioned at a machine shop. When performed at the machine shop environment, actual angle or "degrees" of the cross-hatch intersect lines achieve a precise angle. This is controlled by the speed of the hone going up and down in the cylinder. At left is a flex hone or "glaze buster" with silicone balls mounted on stiff wire strands. Note that the hone must match the bore diameter of the cylinder being serviced. At center is a three-stone hone, known for better control of cylinder "round" and best for truing a cylinder. The stone package at right is "240 Grit", there are other grits for different honing finishes and speeds. If you choose to hone your cylinder and not sublet it to a machine shop, there are two distinct procedures: 1) honing with a stone hone and 2) breaking the glaze with a silicone ball glaze buster or "flex hone". Again, for precisely truing, the stone hone will be best. The silicone flex hone is a brush-like approach with pressure at each wire/ball. The glaze buster will follow the contour of a cylinder, and unless round and true, the result will be a glaze bust with cross-hatch that mimics the bore's shape. So, the best start is to measure the bore accurately for taper, out-of-round and size. If you can hone without making the cylinder oversized, the new rings and piston-to-wall gap will be within tolerance. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for bore size, piston-to-wall clearance and the piston ring end gaps. Some like the flex hone for its ease of operation and relatively failsafe results. The stone hone, by contrast, must be used with caution and safely. There is the chance of breaking the stones or damaging the bore if you do not use the stone hone properly. See the forum on "General Repairs and Technical Tips" for details on the actual use of cylinder hones... Moses
  2. Before I start spewing accolades about the Harbor Freight 1000-pound motorcycle lift that I just bought on sale, let me make some qualifying statements: 1) I'm not a shill for Harbor Freight; 2) while it would be nice to get Harbor Freight advertising at the magazine, they're not on board yet nor have they been solicited, so gaining advertising is not my motive for the following comments; and 3) some of what Harbor Freight sells leaves much to be desired...tactfully put. I have been watching this item on sale at the motorcycle magazines for a couple of years and saw it close up at the Harbor Freight outlet locally. You've figured out by now that I'm a weldor and metal fabricator, and for me, the cost of steel, machining, stamping, hydraulics, forming and painting made this ramp type lift an absolute bargain... Its full retail price around $700 (U.S.), the chronic sale price at the magazines around $300, the lift deserves your attention! When it went on a three-day sale at $319.99 plus local sales tax (without freight charges since I could pick up a fresh, crated unit from the local Reno store), I took the plunge. My birthday and Father's Day this year will be remembered as the "Year of the Harbor Freight Motorcycle Lift!" The package weighs 317 pounds, mostly steel, and the crating is appropriate for getting the lift from China to the U.S.—and your shop. Harbor Freight loaded the package from a forklift into the Dodge Ram truck bed. I used an engine hoist to unload safely at my end. Note the stand/chock I added after reading the lift reviews at the Harbor Freight website. I also purchased the recommended bottle of jack oil and used 1/3 of it to top off the lift's jack before using the lift. A very small funnel is helpful for filling the bottle jack. Handle the barrel-shaped rubber fill plug with care. The plug is necessary, so resist the impulse to cut the plug into small pieces and toss it out...Harbor Freight could improve on the bottle jack's fill plug design. A threaded plug with copper or O-ring gasket would be one approach. For the most part, this is a pre-assembled, easier package, yet it still took me over an hour from opening the crate to the lift fully assembled (properly) and ready for use—plus another half hour to drill holes and mount the heavier stand/chock and add-on, heavy duty eye bolts at the rear of the ramp deck. Some say the lift can be set up in half an hour—really? I'm detail oriented, so maybe it took me 15 minutes longer than others. Incidentally, the stand/chock paid off big for tying down the motorcycle on the lift by myself. Note: The removable ramp end is hefty and diamond plate like the lift ramp...I found all of the steel and engineering suitable for my kind of motorcycle service work. Some reviewers boast about Harley-Davidson full-dressers being well within the lift's ability. Maybe so and great—I'm glad my cycles never weigh over 550 pounds these days, one GL1500 Goldwing was enough from both a riding and serviceability standpoint. Here are the features of my new lift, you can judge for yourself. If you do motorcycle or ATV work and are tired of bending down and struggling with minor or major repairs and powertrain work, take the pro shop level, ramp lift approach—at your garage, motorcycle shop or home shop! (Click on photos to enlarge. If you're visiting as a guest and find this kind of forum helpful, consider joining so you can enjoy photos and other member features—all for free!) All said, the 1000# Harbor Freight motorcycle lift is the best buy in the World at the sale price...I have other Harbor Freight heavy steel products and do use Pittsburgh heavy duty impact grade sockets and ball-joint tools—alongside my professional OTC, Miller, Snap-On, Craftsman, Mac and Proto tools! Moses
  3. There are many times when a pinpoint reading of brake hydraulic pressure is useful. Brake safety and vehicle handling require the right hydraulic force at each wheel of the vehicle—at the right time! Knowing precisely how much apply pressure is available at the master cylinder, combination valve, ABS system, wheel cylinders or disc brake calipers can help troubleshoot weak brakes, grabby brakes, brake pull, erratic handling under hard braking, hazardous wheel lock-up and more. Whether you tackle your own vehicle service or operate a 4x4, OHV or motorcycle shop that depends on customer satisfaction, one valuable tool for brake system diagnostics is a hydraulic pressure tester. Maybe you're installing a retrofit rear disc brake upgrade like some of our forum members. Or you put oversized tires on your 4x4 and now a major braking issue has developed...If you take brake work seriously or find yourself in need of pinpoint information on a brake system's performance, consider a hydraulic brake and ABS diagnostic tool kit like this: This tool kit can pay for itself quickly in pinpoint hydraulic brake system diagnosis. Click on images to enlarge. (If you cannot see the pictures, join the forums for free, and get full member access!) I find this tool valuable. You can separate hydraulic problems from mechanical issues, or ABS issues from defects in rotors, brake drums and friction materials. With the assortment of fittings, the kit can work on most domestic and import vehicles. If you're having trouble separating brake performance issues, don't waste time and money on parts replacing that fails to solve problems...Take the guesswork out of brake work. Know how the hydraulic system performs before you leave the shop or driveway—not by trial and error. Invest in the right diagnostic tools! Moses
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