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post #1 of 4 Old 05-10-2013, 2:57 AM Thread Starter
 
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954 Engine Rebuild Woes

Hi Guys, been a while but I'm back with a new story for you...

My stoic 2002 954 gearbox finally gave up the good fight during a trackday back in March. No big deal as I knew it had been developing problems over the past year or so with the odd missed shift from time to time.

I think to myself, well, if I have to pull the engine apart I might as well freshen it up while I'm at it. So I start softening up the financial controller at home (my lovely wife) with the expected all up price of $3500-4000K, cheaper than blowing $12-15K on a new race bike, and I had always intended to keep my 954 as a garage show piece eventually so what the hell, lets get on with the job !.

Wanting to get it done ASAP so as to not miss too much of the 2013 season I cordinate everything with my local bike shop who are doing the build. I get going and order a new set of Wiseco 75mm pistons (I had intended to go with the 76mm version, but was "advised" to stick with the standard pistons). The first thing we discover is that the bores were more worn than anyone expected (my 954 has 37Kms on it - probably 10Km race track use) and we may need to bore it, but, lets send the case away to he experts and have the bores honed - it came back with the AOK from the shop to use standard 75mm pistons - happy days.

Then we found that 12 of 16 valves were leaking or otherwise damaged - another 4 week wait to get 16 new valves and oil seals, then the head shop tells us that the exhaust valve guides were shot - two more weeks wait (even I should have picked that one up ! - new valves = new valve guides).

So we start rebuilding the bottom end (new bearings and seals all-round) so we can get on with a few other jobs I want done while the bike is in the shop - then the bike shop calls to say the bores are not AOK and that they should be replaced - Arrrrgh !. $2200 for a new case or "maybe we can find one off a wrecked bike"...what about boring and replating I ask ? - no, can't be done because of the Alusil coating - bullshit - there won't be any alusil left after 0.5mm has been carved out of the bores...

"Nope, on one in Australia will do it without new fancy liners etc ($1800+ in total), or you'll have to send the cases to Europe or The States" (US Chrome quote $757 on their website plus freight).

I haven't sighted the bores myself yet - they were still all wrapped in plastic last time I was in the shop - but I'm starting to think that if the engine top end was fine before (by that I mean reasonably quiet and making good horsepower), then after a hone plus new pistons & rings it'll be fine (enough) again.

Now, before you start telling me that 'this' will break or 'that' will wear prematurely, my 954 had 151HP at the rear wheel before this rebuild and I was hoping to push closer to 160 as a result of the high compression pistons, new valves, and adjustable cam sprockets (which will enable the cams to be dialled in post run-in) so there's no way the engine was ailing that bad to start with...

And for those doubters, I've attached a dyno chart for the bike done earlier this year in Brisbane.

I guess I'm just sounding off as the whole process has stumbled from one disaster to the next, and a fairly straight forward gear box fix and engine freshen-up has turned into a major rebuild. I feel I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place with the bores/pistons - logically the best thing to do is get it bored and drop the 76mm pistons in, but the process seems endless and it'll add another $1000 to the rebuild...

Oh, and as for the gearbox, well 3rd and 4th dogs needed replacing along with two of the shift forks - about $1500 worth of parts with all the engine bearing and gaskets thrown in...but I've also spent $600 on piston kits, $600 on valves, and a couple of hundred on a new dynojet quickshifter (to help the new gearbox last a bit longer next time).

Any suggestions ? - especially from those 954 fans who've done it all before...

Cheers, Spanky.
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post #2 of 4 Old 05-10-2013, 6:15 AM
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Re: 954 Engine Rebuild Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
Hi Guys, been a while but I'm back with a new story for you...

My stoic 2002 954 gearbox finally gave up the good fight during a trackday back in March. No big deal as I knew it had been developing problems over the past year or so with the odd missed shift from time to time.

I think to myself, well, if I have to pull the engine apart I might as well freshen it up while I'm at it. So I start softening up the financial controller at home (my lovely wife) with the expected all up price of $3500-4000K, cheaper than blowing $12-15K on a new race bike, and I had always intended to keep my 954 as a garage show piece eventually so what the hell, lets get on with the job !.

Wanting to get it done ASAP so as to not miss too much of the 2013 season I cordinate everything with my local bike shop who are doing the build. I get going and order a new set of Wiseco 75mm pistons (I had intended to go with the 76mm version, but was "advised" to stick with the standard pistons). The first thing we discover is that the bores were more worn than anyone expected (my 954 has 37Kms on it - probably 10Km race track use) and we may need to bore it, but, lets send the case away to he experts and have the bores honed - it came back with the AOK from the shop to use standard 75mm pistons - happy days.

Then we found that 12 of 16 valves were leaking or otherwise damaged - another 4 week wait to get 16 new valves and oil seals, then the head shop tells us that the exhaust valve guides were shot - two more weeks wait (even I should have picked that one up ! - new valves = new valve guides).

So we start rebuilding the bottom end (new bearings and seals all-round) so we can get on with a few other jobs I want done while the bike is in the shop - then the bike shop calls to say the bores are not AOK and that they should be replaced - Arrrrgh !. $2200 for a new case or "maybe we can find one off a wrecked bike"...what about boring and replating I ask ? - no, can't be done because of the Alusil coating - bullshit - there won't be any alusil left after 0.5mm has been carved out of the bores...

"Nope, on one in Australia will do it without new fancy liners etc ($1800+ in total), or you'll have to send the cases to Europe or The States" (US Chrome quote $757 on their website plus freight).

I haven't sighted the bores myself yet - they were still all wrapped in plastic last time I was in the shop - but I'm starting to think that if the engine top end was fine before (by that I mean reasonably quiet and making good horsepower), then after a hone plus new pistons & rings it'll be fine (enough) again.

Now, before you start telling me that 'this' will break or 'that' will wear prematurely, my 954 had 151HP at the rear wheel before this rebuild and I was hoping to push closer to 160 as a result of the high compression pistons, new valves, and adjustable cam sprockets (which will enable the cams to be dialled in post run-in) so there's no way the engine was ailing that bad to start with...

And for those doubters, I've attached a dyno chart for the bike done earlier this year in Brisbane.

I guess I'm just sounding off as the whole process has stumbled from one disaster to the next, and a fairly straight forward gear box fix and engine freshen-up has turned into a major rebuild. I feel I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place with the bores/pistons - logically the best thing to do is get it bored and drop the 76mm pistons in, but the process seems endless and it'll add another $1000 to the rebuild...

Oh, and as for the gearbox, well 3rd and 4th dogs needed replacing along with two of the shift forks - about $1500 worth of parts with all the engine bearing and gaskets thrown in...but I've also spent $600 on piston kits, $600 on valves, and a couple of hundred on a new dynojet quickshifter (to help the new gearbox last a bit longer next time).

Any suggestions ? - especially from those 954 fans who've done it all before...

Cheers, Spanky.
Attachment 55694
Send the case to US Chrome and have it done right. They can also repair them back to 75mm so you can use the pistons you already ordered.

Yes, you can bore and hone it to 0.50mm over from memory without replating, but then you'll need to order bigger pistons as well.

Without actual measurements of the bore wear, taper and ovality we can't tell you if it'll be okay with a hone and fresh rings. I tend to agree with you though, that if it was fine before it can't be that drastically worn. Since you're clearly paying somebody else to build it for you though do you want the risk of having to pay for it again if the result is marginal?

Don't expect to see much increase in output just from a small compression increase and dialing in the cams, maybe 2-4hp I'd guess. Replacing the K&N with OEM filters might get you that back already.

How does your dyno run compare to other bikes he's done?

Are you buying the parts out of the US or locally? Locally is probably double the price and four times the wait.

"I won't forget that ride for a while. Maybe you're right. Living fast might be worth the final crash. Maybe that's the secret you fliers know." - Flight of the Intruder
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post #3 of 4 Old 05-10-2013, 9:25 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: 954 Engine Rebuild Woes

Hi Bladeracer, thanks for the response.

The bulk of the parts were ordered from the States (Ron Ayers - thanks boys !) which saved heaps.

The only comparison dyno work I can refer to on the same dyno was a mates '09 CBR1000RR track bike that was puting out 174HP which seemed about right to me. I was real happy with the 151HP as I know a standard 954 only delivers around 137-139HP at the rear wheel. I hope you're not 100% correct when it comes to gains from the new engine though - I'm thinking that if the majority of my valves were leaking then I wasn't getting the best compression and combustion possible. I've done a valve job before on a GSX750E back in the old days and gained what felt like a haep of extra get up and go as a result, so hopefully I'll get some benefit from the new valves on the 954.

As for the bore and replate. I know I should just pay the cash and get it done, but I'm out of work at present and spending an extra grand at this stage just isn't going to work for me. I'm thinking that the bike shop is looking for a 100% perfect finish in the freshly honed bores, but I think I'm prepared to accept a 95% job as I'm trying to build an engine to last 10,000Kms (admintedly on the track) and not 100,000Kms. I'll have a good look at them on Monday and make a decision then...

Thanks for the suggestions.

Cheers, Spanky.
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post #4 of 4 Old 05-10-2013, 10:19 PM
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Re: 954 Engine Rebuild Woes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spanky View Post
Hi Bladeracer, thanks for the response.

The bulk of the parts were ordered from the States (Ron Ayers - thanks boys !) which saved heaps.

The only comparison dyno work I can refer to on the same dyno was a mates '09 CBR1000RR track bike that was puting out 174HP which seemed about right to me. I was real happy with the 151HP as I know a standard 954 only delivers around 137-139HP at the rear wheel. I hope you're not 100% correct when it comes to gains from the new engine though - I'm thinking that if the majority of my valves were leaking then I wasn't getting the best compression and combustion possible. I've done a valve job before on a GSX750E back in the old days and gained what felt like a haep of extra get up and go as a result, so hopefully I'll get some benefit from the new valves on the 954.

As for the bore and replate. I know I should just pay the cash and get it done, but I'm out of work at present and spending an extra grand at this stage just isn't going to work for me. I'm thinking that the bike shop is looking for a 100% perfect finish in the freshly honed bores, but I think I'm prepared to accept a 95% job as I'm trying to build an engine to last 10,000Kms (admintedly on the track) and not 100,000Kms. I'll have a good look at them on Monday and make a decision then...

Thanks for the suggestions.

Cheers, Spanky.

Sounds like your engine was certainly strong then.
Exactly what was wrong with your valves that they required replacement rather than recutting and lapping?

I'd be very surprised if you saw any more than 2-4hp, especially since the engine was clearly strong before. As I said though, get rid of the K&N and you may well gain more power from an OEM filter than from the valves.
What exactly did a "valve job" entail on the GSX and what else was done at the same time? It would be unusual to pull the head to recut valves without freshening up other things while you're in there.

It's really impossible to advise you without seeing the bore measurements. Aluminium bores run roughly half the piston-to-bore clearance of iron bores so things do need to be within very close tolerances.

The problem when paying somebody else to build your engine is that, while you may be willing to cut some corners, they may not. If the engine performs poorly or lets go spectacularly it's their reputation that takes the hit. If they already honed the bores and somehow managed to take some meat out of them (they are VERY hard) then you're probably stuck with boring oversize. Which you can do to 0.25mm and 0.50mm I think without having to plate the bores. Talk to US Chrome about building them back to 75mm and plating them to fit the 75mm kit you've bought.

"I won't forget that ride for a while. Maybe you're right. Living fast might be worth the final crash. Maybe that's the secret you fliers know." - Flight of the Intruder
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