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I'd like to learn engines so I thought...

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by kinch, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. I'm interested in learning engines. Enough so that I could fault-find most common problems, and repair them myself. Enough so that I could do most servicing myself (those not requiring computers and such anyway). I've always had an interest in engines, but I've never had a place to learn or an engine to work on 'myself'.

    I've heard from alot of people that 'working on one yourself' is the best way to learn, so my thought was to go out and buy a cheap, second-hand bike, that I can fiddle with and play on and rebuild the engine a few times without stressing over warranties, whether it's working, or anything like that.

    I have a new bike under warranty, and I don't really want to mess around with it now, because it's my primary mode of transportation, and I really can't afford to screw it up.

    So, I'm asking for opinions on whether I'm doing the 'right' thing, the 'wrong' thing, or if anyone has any advice or guidance or ideas that they think might help me.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Do you need a complete bike?

    Go to the wreckers and get an engine out of a wreck.

    Strip, catalog, rebuild, learn.
  3. Definitely the right thing. Best to start off simple - you should be able to find a single cylinder SR or GN 250, or perhaps even an early twin cylinder CB or GS250 that's running rough fairly cheap. Then not only will it be a perfect opportunity to learn to work on but if you improve it along the way you should be able to sell it for more than what you paid for it so it effectively pays for itself.
    The trick though is in picking the difference between a bike that's running rough simply because it's out of tune/neglected - and one that's completely stuffed. You can still learn how to take an engine apart with the latter, but you'll pretty much be stuck with it when you're done.

  4. Agree. Definately a good idea and will save $ down the track.

    I happen to know of a Spada that needs some engine maintenace... going cheap too :wink:

    Without pushing my own cart too much, it would probably be a good starter for engine mechanical work as it runs fine, it just needs some integral parts replaces and serviced. Body work is a bit rough but you did mention the engine is what you're interested in.

    Let me know if interested and we can work something out i'm sure
  5. Vic's spot-on; just buy an engine.....
  6. But to learn how to tune an engine properly you'll need an airbox, you'll also need something to safely and conveniently hold the fuel, and to really know if it's working properly you need to put the engine under load - so you need something to connect to the output.
    Besides not much you can do with a working engine once you've finished, whereas a neat learner-legal bike you'd be able to sell pretty easy. If you just want to work on an engine, buy a lawnmower.
  7. I can't see the point. Unless you are into 2-strokes or some of the newer more highly strong four stroke trail bikes, you are unlikely to ever need to crack an engine.

    there is not much inside them you can do yourself, other than the actual assembly and disassembly.

    If you are keen to learn what you need to know for a motorbike, get an old whole bike and ride it. You'll soon learn all the important things.

    Other than tappets and cam chains/tensioners you'll hardly go near the engine.
  8. Thanks to everyone who's replied. To clarify one or two points (probably should have done it in the first post huh?)

    I have a bike, but it's a small-engined (225cc) piece'o'crap. It was a bad buy on my part (still a newbie with bikes) and I want to get a bike around the 500-750 mark with a larger fuel tank and a bit more power. I also don't want to spend a huge sum of money on a new model, so I figured I'd go for a second hand bike. The problem is that I don't know a good one from a bad one, nor would I know what to do if it conked out on me, nor would I know how to test/examine a bike for potential problems. I thought I could hit 2 birds with one stone and get a 2nd hand bike that's relatively cheap, and I can fiddle with it and learn on it and then when I'm confident, 'fix' it and make it my main bike (too naive? you tell me, you're the experts :))

    I've always had an interest in taking stuff apart, to see how it works, why it works, what happens if I fiddle with this thing here (usually resulting in a broken thing hehe). Engines too - but I've watched all the animations at howstuffworks dot com, and I've read all the books on how an engine works, but when I'm standing in front of an engine, basically I can identify the spark plugs and nothing else - it's all foreign to me. I'm hoping that rebuilding an engine will give me more insight and knowledge.

    Lastly... there's a girl I know, who I'm very interested in... and she's very much a gearhead. A throbbing harley turns her on... so... (hehe). Not that I'm saying that this is any kind of justification, I just consider it a nice litle extra bonus ;)

    Thanks again to everyone, greatly appreciate your assistance :)
  9. :LOL: :LOL: fail.
  10. Like I said before if you just want to see what's inside an engine buy an old lawnmower - it has pretty much all the same parts as a basic/older bike engine.
    As ibast pointed out taking the engine apart is not something that's usually done with a 4-stroke unless it's absolutely necessary, and you know what you're doing. Put it back together slightly wrong and the whole thing will be scrap.
  11. Do it even cheaper and buy a lawn mower engine from a wrecker. Get that to work then go onto a motorcycle engine.

    Thats what we did in our auto class at college.

    EDIT: Just read jd's post. He beat me to it
  12. Do a tafe course and use their engine!