Tag Archives: oil

Yamaha YZF R1 Engine rebuild with pictures, part 1 of 3

We have a Yamaha R1 in that was, unfortunately, run with little or no oil, as as we all know, it could cause catastrophic damage to the engine internals, as the oil lubricates all the internals.

This blog post is part 1 of three – as the project can be divided into three parts (and the blog posts will be divided likewise). Stage 1 is the disassembly, and diagnosis, Stage 2 is the actual repair and stage 3 assembly and testing. If we make other discoveries or realise the extent of damages are far worse than we imagined, this structure may have to change.

Firstly we went to get the bike on the bench and start stripping it down. The engine was not run after we had learnt that it had been ran with little or no oil, but we turned it by hand to check for strange noises, and indeed, it was a little rough and  sure enough, there was a knocking sound! Didn’t sound good at all.


First step was to turn the engine by hand to check for any potential damages. It was pretty rough and didn’t feel right.


We then proceeded to removal of the engine from the frame. Several skinned knuckles and some help from another technician and the heart of the beast was plucked from its torso!

The next few pictures show the engine disassembly, to look and see where the problem was.


Engine on the bench.


And we started off from the clutch side.


Proceeding onto the sump, to check for any lumps or debris caused by bits grinding or breaking off.


A closer look at the clutch side.


Removed the pump to check the gearbox for anything out of place.


We then went on to dismantle the crankcase upper and lower sections, to check the actual crankshaft itself.


Crankshaft removed, with bearing shells on the right hand side of the picture (on a shop towel).


The shells did look battered and abnormally worn. Along with the channels that the shells sit in. The crankshaft also had some damage too.


The pistons and conrods were, thankfully, saved. Had the engine been run for any longer, the build would have been taken to another level, of work, and expense!

We then checked over the rest of the parts, as below, and thankfully, nothing much to report here;


Piston bores were fine,

As was the top end and head, valves etc.

The  camshafts are another delicate part, and damages to these could be costly, and if gone unnoticed, it could really ruin your day! We removed these and checked for run-out and ensures all the cam lobes were smooth and as intended by the manufacturer.

The damaged crankshaft has been sent to a good friend of ours, and an expert with engine internals and engine building, for repair. We will post up part two when it arrives.

Take care for now!


Clean bike? Or can’t be bothered? It may just save your life

How many times has something like a split hose, broken chain, or other avoidable problem, come along when you least expect it? Miles away from home. During the dark hours. In the rain.. (you get the picture).

Now, cleaning your motorcycle wont only keep these avoidable issues at bay, it will also keep your bike looking good.

There are many on-line tutorials on cleaning motorcycles, so I wont go too much into it, but a quick Google search will bring you step-by-step guides. In a nutshell, be sure to use bike specific cleaner, rubber-safe cleaner for rubber parts, plastic-safe cleaner for plastic and so on. Most commercial bike cleaning solutions nowadays are safe to use all over the bike and are formulated as such. Wax on the paintwork will also keep it looking clean for longer and protects the paintwork.

Whilst you’re cleaning, it’s the perfect time for the real topic I want to write about:-

Preventative Maintenance

Preventative maintenance is maintenance carried out to prevent problems. A good example is your motorcycle chain. As the chain wears, it stretches and must be kept at a correct tension setting. To loose and it may come off, too tight and it may snap as you go over speed humps or potholes. The correct tension also helps increase its life. Now, ensuring it is always set at the correct tension will prevent it being too loose or too tight. Similarly, frequently checking brake pads is also a good idea, so as you don’t realise you got no brake pad life left all of a sudden. The same goes for clutch/throttle or any control cables. Checking them often could avoid that moment when you’re miles away from home, about to downshift, and realise the you press the lever and feel no resistance, and you somehow fluke it to a stop only to figure that your clutch cable has snapped.

Whilst you are washing your bike, it is a perfect time to carry out essential checks and preventative maintenance. Below you will find a list of things that are frequently checked, and I recommend for you to check. I may have missed something, so feel free to comment or get in touch for additions or amendments.

  • All lights, signals and horn working (including electrical switchgear – brake light switches, clutch switches and so on)
  • Tyres: wear, condition and pressure
  • Wheels: condition
  • Grips, handlebar, pegs all stable and not loose
  • Mirrors, fairing and all bodywork secure
  • Brake pads and discs
  • Chain and sprockets – clean and lube chain, adjust if necessary
  • Bearings – May need a friend help with these:
    • Wheel bearings, check wheels for sideways movement by tugging along the top and bottom from either side of the bike, with the wheel off the floor
    • Steering, push and pull bottom of forks (with front wheel off the floor using a stand that doesn’t hold it from the forks or headstock). Also, ensure that the steering movement is smooth with no knocks or notches.
    • Swingarm, it helps to have the rear wheel off the floor but isn’t necessary. Check for unusual side-to-side movement of the swingarm. The only way the swingarm should move is up and down (to compensate for speed humps and potholes, of course!)
  • Front forks, compress them a few times, then check to make sure that they aren’t leaking any oil and compress the front forks to see if the suspension works. Also ensure that it is a smooth movement with no nasty sounds.
  • Rear shock(s), press down on the back of the motorcycle to ensure that the rear suspensions works and the bike come up again. Also ensure that it is a smooth movement with no nasty sounds.
  • Rubber hoses/fluid pipes/brake hoses can perish over time if they are rubber. Certain metals can rust though too, so be sure to check over all of them. Even a tiny hairline crack can and will expand, so be sure to get it looked at quickly.

Preventative maintenance is that little extra that bikers should put in, to avoid big unexpected bills and odd breakdowns. Regular checks and greasing the right bits will keep your bike looking clean, feeling clean, and riding well. Ride a well maintained bike, your life depends on it.

We can do the above for you, as well as servicing and MoTs.

Get in touch for further advice to to book your bike in for one of our services.

Ride safe,


Changing motorcycle oil – simple and effective

This is a quick post – part of a series of instructional posts that I will be writing.

Changing your motorcycle oil is a simple and straightforward job, depending on the bike, age, mileage, condition etc. The oil acts as a lubricant for the engine and all its internal gubbins.

Firstly, ensure that your motorcycle is secure and raised on a centre-stand or auxiliary stand. For the demo bike we used, we opted for an auxiliary stand (it’s more secure, and this bike does not have a centre-stand).


Our demo bike has a sump-guard, which we need to remove. Remove the sump guard, bellypan or fairing if the bike has one.



Next, you need to locate the drain bolt. It’s usually on the bottom part of the sump, and with a clean container (needs to be clean so you can see if the oil has been contaminated with any debris – or even metal shavings – we’ve seen it all before!) placed, unscrew it.





Also, using the correct tools, remove the oil filter.

Grab a can, or a coffee, and relax for a while (half an hour is usually more than enough for it all to drain out).



Post-coffee, replace the filter with a new filter, using the same tools (only tighten to 10nm, or just past hand-tight), and lubricating the rubber seal with engine oil. Replace the sump drain bolt – new sealing copper washer – tightened to correct settings. Fill up oil with the correct amount, and check the quantity. Usually, it’s a dipstick to check the level, or a sight glass – all bikes are different, so do check your book for the correct procedure.

The type and quantity of oil is in your handbook or owners manual.


Start the bike up, check for leaks, and if all good, reward yourself for a quick quid saved!

Please note: we accept no liability whatsoever of the accuracy of the above info. The above guide is a reference only. Your motorcycle may be different, and require a different procedure. Please always consult your owners manual and technician for any advice. Alternatively, give us a call!!

Service Your Motorbike Properly & Live Part 1

Somewhat dire words maybe but ask any traffic cop especially the ones on 2 wheels and they will tell you that a poorly maintained motorcycle is far more dangerous to its owner than a car.
Let me explain
If you do not inspect and properly maintain / service you motorcycle there are many ways in which you could end up in pain physical and or financial

Lets start at the front and work slowly backwards

1. Front Tyre – obvious really but when did you last check the tyre pressure or for that nail that was slowly working its way in. A soft tyre on any corner is going to cause you unthinkable problems. A lack of tread may give you more grip in the dry ( probably a popular myth and I’m not going to test it ) but when you have just ploughed into something hard or even worse for that matter something soft at a zebra crossing the first thing Mr serious and his flashing light are going to look at is your tyres.

2. Wheel Rim – bent or buckled ? well this may not actually be a MoT failure ( I am blessed by the house of VOSA and have a card to prove it ) but if your running anything bigger than a sloped ( remember those ? ) this sort of damage is indicative of worse faults elsewhere and a general degree of abuse. If buying a bike this is a sign saying “walk away “. If you are inspecting or servicing your bike and find a bent rim repair is a must.

3. Wheel spindle – When did you last look at yours? Not normally an item to go wrong but is it secured properly ? Try removing it , is it corroded ? and whilst its removed what condition are the bearings in ?( corroded spindle may mean corroded bearings ) Is the bearing seal even working effectively ? Bearings tend to work well then even when dry and corroded  they function and then Mrs Calamity comes to call on your high speed rush home one night in the rain ( guess your wallet and mobile are in the office as well ) you know the rest. Modern bearings are sealed so not much you can do but they can be inspected and tested. They can last for decades or just a few years. Bearings are “inspected ” as part of the MoT but must be ” excessively worn ” to fail . I will write further on what that means. Mechanical speedo drive ? let that run dry and you could be in for a new set up ( £80.00 ish for the sake of a few pence worth of grease )

4. Forks – twice this week I have had bikes in with leaking oil seals. Leaking sounds like a minor annoyance. Oil on your brakes and tyres ( which it where it ends up ) is very unwanted VERY indeed .
A slight misting is only a “advisory” but can get very bad very quick so keep an eye open at the first sign get them changed. Better still get them changed before they go , its cheaper in the end . Fork oil on any performance bike should be changed every 2 years anyhow so do the seals then as well. Best case scenario you will be in for a new set of pads and a degrease if you do not , worst case is not worth talking about but I will……. You will crash and it will only be a question of how bad.

5 Steering head bearings – the new tapered bearings with the dust seals are pretty bullet proof but again grease may be the word but it does not last for ever. Depending on mileage I would re grease every 5 years. If you have the front wheel off why not do the fork seals , if you have the forks out its not much more to do the head bearings.

This is getting a bit more involved than I thought so Ill issue part 2 tomorrow.