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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone. It's been a long time since I have posted any thing on the site.

My 03 954 has 46,000 klms on her now and she's starting to show the signs of abuse from before I got her. Friends of mine are saying that I'm blowing out blue oil smoke under deceleration (bad valve seals I believe). Last night second gear dropped out on me. The dreaded piston slap is there even after warm up.

Before I got the bike I knew it was badly treated. It had been sitting for eight years with out protection. Had been used as a motocross bike I heard. Aswell being run with out a proper sealing airbox. So it has been dusted.

I'm certain that the block will need to be rounded out again. I got a quote from LM ELECTROPLATING saying it would be $1000 AUD for a worst case scenario job. still $1800 cheaper than a new OEM case. Bearing in mind this will be Nikcasil plating. For those who wonder, Nikcasil is not directly compatible with the Alusil coating the 954's have.

If I have the money I plan on doing some weight matching to try make the engine smoother and last a tad bit longer:idunno:

With the gear box I'm thinking of buying a second hand motor or just a new complete set will be the go as a few shops have quoted well over the price of the new OEM set. Again knowing I might only have to replace one gear that may have bad dogs. I'll just have to wait and see.

I have a decent background in motors being 22. But most of that is in light automotive and heavy diesel. I have always serviced my bikes from since I can first remember dad teaching me. #sidetracked.

So other than the general overhaul parts that Ive listed here.
Pistons?
Rings
Main journal and big end bearings
Reconditioned bores
Valve seat facing and guides
Possible cam
2nd gear
Twenty thousand bloody circlips
Torque to yield bolts
And so on

I'm hoping Bladeracer or Ian will chime in on this and give any info on nuances of the 954.
Also my main goal with this rebuild would be a good solid engine (not that the 954s aren't) back to stock or slightly higher HP. I don't have figures on the exact ponies yet but there is a dyno day on the 5 of next month, I feel she may have 115- 123 horses.
 

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You could bore it to 76 mm. It shouldn't cost much more then just the plating. And get some headwork done to it while you have the engine apart. You could allso get the tranny undercut if you find any shop that will do it on decent price. My gearbox is cut and it shifts much better and hadn't buy any new gears. I would ask prices from u.s. from uschrome or millenium. It could be cheaper even with the freights. And i would probably choose some pistons with little less compression then the 13.5:1 Wisecos i have now. Probably the 76 mm JE:s with 13.0:1 compression.
 

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Mika listed good points. Sometimes just going overbore and new Pistons can be cheaper and better that trying to re-coat what you already have. You'll most likely find you'll need the overbore anyway. Sounds like you already have a pretty good handle of what you will find once you open it up.

I'm not a 954 knowledge junky as much as I am for the original 900. But I think a lot of issues with the cylinders were more directly related to the real short skirts on the Pistons. So I'm probably not going to provide you much "insight" as much as other guys. From what I've seen Mika post, he's been into these engines pretty well, and has a good working knowledge of the internals. For whatever reason, I think Honda blew it with the coated cylinders walls. As far as I know, all it does is cause problems upon rebuild when it ruins, it's a real pain to re-coat properly; weight savings, friction reducing nonsense. In my experience, a nice cast iron set of liners is the way to go :) Anyway, you seem well on your way to getting it worked out yourself. Just make sure you have a good manual to follow for to torque specs and bearing sizes, etc. I'll add that you might want to look into a new cam chain, tensioner, sliders, and cam gears etc. the ones I took out of my 93 were all smoked. Oh, and don't let it get out of control, that can happen very fast!

Good luck, post pics if you get into it so we can see any damage/wear if there is any.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So what sort of measurement should I go off for the cam gears? Visual inspection of the gears last time I did the clearances 5000km ago, they looked fine. The cams only measured. .001" under brand new on the lobes.

With the oversize pistons I'm a little on the fence about. I'm fairly certain that the 954 has only 4mm of Metal between each cylinder. And with the Nikcasil coating, they have to oversize 1.5mm dependent of the condition of the bore to make sure there is no Alusil to interfere. These are words from the boss who has owned the shop for 11 plus years. If this is the case. It will only have 1mm of metal and. . 5mm of coating between either side. At this point I think I would be better off getting liners. So what I want to do maybe is keep 75mm bore diameter and up the compression a smidge to achieve close the the same affect and get custom solid head gasket.

I don't want to say these are bad ideas, because they aren't. But I don't like the idea of that little material between a fire pit and the green stuff. This bike is my only transport and a daily driver/track bike.

I think my money should go towards longevity more than power, so there is a case to be made for liners but the budget may dictate no, being it's $1800 from the same plating mob.

Depending on head condition, if it's getting close to max tolerance. I may get the cam journals line bored and fit bearings.

In regards to porting, I'll give the old man a few cartons of beer to Port it for me. Before you guys worry I've seen his work before on many motors with substantial gains in torque. He used to be head mechanic of a super stock drag team that ran a low eight second car in the mid 80's. I'm definitely goings to get the valves Syncro cut.

Now back to the pistons. I've heard that aslong as I'm not redlining the bike all the time. Which I hardly do, there is no need to balance pistons with the cranks if the weight is no more than 12grams from stock. What is your take on this?
 

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I am in the same spot you are in right now with my motor. I am doing a rebuild currently and plan on keeping stock 75mm bore but I am actually going to send the top and pistons off to U.S. Chrome for their nicom plating on the bores and to have the pistons skirts coated and maybe the tops.

I am planning on balancing the pistons also but doing the rods as well and maybe even the crank for efficiency and reliability. The crank will definitely be polished. I want to deck the top as well as the head to achieve a perfectly flat surface for re-mating but also to raise the compression ratio slightly since I am keeping the stock bore and pistons.

As far as the head goes I am doing some very slight port work mostly to clean up casting marks in the ports and chamfering all fluid passages for efficiency and reliability as well. A valve job will be done and any other necessary work that needs to be done to the head (valve guides, springs, etc.) I have even thought about coating the combustion chamber to reduce heat and friction. Still iffy on doing the piston top and chamber because this can potentially cause detonation.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I was talking to a guy who plates 2 stoke bores. He said thathat any plating had to be done after port work so that there is overlap on the ports. Other wise when the piston slides past the intake or exhaust ports the coating will flake off due to the sharp finish on the plating. I believe the same would apply to the valve seats on the head if you were going to plate it.

Also I'm not sure of the heat transfer characteristics of the Nicol plating. As you mentioned, pre detonation could occur because of hot spots on the head. But again. I don't know.

With raising the compression alongside other slight mods. It would be wise to buy a power commander aswell.

One thing I forgot was that I will need to buy new measuring equipment too. Vernier dial gauge with a clamping or magnetic base, I good solid flat bench made of something ferrous. Straight edge, prussian blue to see how everything mates together. Larger micrometers and V blocks.
 

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Nicasil coating has better heat transfer characteristics then alusil or steel but the head won't be plated with it. Stuff used the plate combustion chamber and piston crown is different stuff and it will be added while the valves are in place. And the coating used on the skirts is a moly coating.

My bike is with oversize 1 mm oversize Wisecos, billet rods, crank polished and all of them balanced etc. Haven't opened it after the rebuilt but seems to work.
 

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Mika is correct and the nicom will strictly be for the cylinder bores and the pistons will be a moly coating. Like Mika said the nicom is basically a better replacement for the alusil or nicasil bore coatings. The reason I am having the piston skirts coated is due to the scuffing or scarring issues that have plagued the 954 due to the shorter skirts on the pistons. Plus it helps reduce friction, wear, piston slap, and can help increase horsepower.

As far as the piston tops and the combustion chamber goes those would be a ceramic coating and would mostly be used to displace heat in the cylinders and can also help increase power while minimalizing hot spots.

I have already purchased a PCV w/ the auto tune feature and will be running that once the bike is back together. I will be letting the machine shop that will be doing all of the polishing, balancing, and porting measure everything for me. And then I will be doing the assembly of the engine once everything checks out.
 

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Wouldn't it be easier just to buy another bike? In saying that, I don't know prices where you're at.
Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It's hard for the true enthusiast to give up on their bike, especially when it comes to turning wrenches on them. We kinda get a little stubborn and want to fix what we have because we've fallen in love with them:inlove: Or we're just plain stupid and don't listen to reason :rotfl: Either way, having a build/rebuild and enjoying the bike afterward for a period of time is just plain awesome.
 

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In my opinion the 954 is probably one of the best bikes ever created. It is powerful, weighs hardly anything, and is absolutely gorgeous. There is a reason why magazines and media outlets have compared newer renditions to the 954 and it is still competitive with those bikes 14 years later. I am looking at spending $1,500 - 2,000 on my engine rebuild but I also never plan on rebuilding or buying another bike. I wanted this bike when I was in high school and I am now in my early 30's so she is a keeper. :eyebrows:
 

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Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It's hard for the true enthusiast to give up on their bike, especially when it comes to turning wrenches on them. We kinda get a little stubborn and want to fix what we have because we've fallen in love with them:inlove: Or we're just plain stupid and don't listen to reason :rotfl: Either way, having a build/rebuild and enjoying the bike afterward for a period of time is just plain awesome.
I can relate to that, I've driven Fiat Coupe turbos over the past 8 years, you have to be your own mech and often:rotfl:
 

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In my opinion the 954 is probably one of the best bikes ever created. It is powerful, weighs hardly anything, and is absolutely gorgeous. There is a reason why magazines and media outlets have compared newer renditions to the 954 and it is still competitive with those bikes 14 years later. I am looking at spending $1,500 - 2,000 on my engine rebuild but I also never plan on rebuilding or buying another bike. I wanted this bike when I was in high school and I am now in my early 30's so she is a keeper. :eyebrows:
certainly is and I've always wanted one and happy as a pig in **** I finally have one, they're scarce in Ireland and ppl tend to hold onto them. Blades died from 04-08 in my opinion, 954's will always be a must have model :thumb:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think the hardest part about the rebuild is going to be setting a budget and sticking to it. I can see already that if I don't I'll be ordering new parts for ages and have a bike not being ridden.
 

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I think the hardest part about the rebuild is going to be setting a budget and sticking to it. I can see already that if I don't I'll be ordering new parts for ages and have a bike not being ridden.
My build got out of f hand just like that. Originally plan was to change everything that has worn and get 76 mm pistons, mild regrind to cams and ported head. It has now hd valve springs, billet rods etc.. ???
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Exactly what I mean. I want this bike to last for another 200,000 ks with reasonable use and the love I give it. But the wallet can only take so much.

I was looking into engine porn so much that I found a supplier of a Teflon type coating for crank bearings. Omfg so good.
 

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Exactly what I mean. I want this bike to last for another 200,000 ks with reasonable use and the love I give it. But the wallet can only take so much.

I was looking into engine porn so much that I found a supplier of a Teflon type coating for crank bearings. Omfg so good.
I have a moly type coating on my piston skirts and it could be allso used on main and rod bearings. Could be little cheaper then teflon
 

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When I bought my bike it was a roll able frame with the engine in the frame and the head off the engine and the rest was in boxes. When I got home I started to take inventory of everything I had while on partzilla to see what I didn't. I ended up deciding to buy everything new with the exception of the major components that I did have. So all new nuts, bolts, gaskets, bearing, clips, etc. etc.

I stripped everything down and finished putting the engine together (had everything for that) and coated the frame, subframe, swingarm, etc. etc. When all of the new parts came in I knew where they went and assembly went really smooth. I don't know if anything was missing out of the boxes because I literally bought all new. The only thing that I kept was the engine, frame, subframe, swingarm, wheels, front forks, rear shock, calipers, clip-ons, plastics, and cluster. Everything else is 100% new and the parts that I kept were either rebuilt or freshened up to look like new.

Long story short budgets get out of hand and mine was no exception. And now I am rebuilding the engine and anything that needs to be replaced will be with new parts.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Mika. Where did you get your coating done?

Aswell as the rebuild I would probably find my self powder coating a lot of parts too.
 

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Mika. Where did you get your coating done?

Aswell as the rebuild I would probably find my self powder coating a lot of parts too.
Mine are coated with Techlines coating. A local company did them but you could apply it your self but the prep work needs to be done right.
 
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