Classic Motorcycle Build

Motorcycle How-To Tech Articles

The following articles were written for the mechanically inclined person who owns or has access to a fair amount of tools, has some mechanical background, and is willing to learn new skills.

Although there are numerous ways to approach any given problem, we have found these methods to be practical, reliable, and economical, while still providing a quality outcome.


Cylinder Boring and Honing

For the DIYer, boring motorcycle cylinders with a $200 hand-held tool will take much longer than a $5,000 shop machine can do it in. But, whether cylinder boring is done in your home garage or at a machine shop, the results will be as good as the operator.

how to bore motorcycle cylinders

Read: DIY Motorcycle Cylinder Boring

Read: DIY Motorcycle Cylinder Honing


Cylinder Heads

As an alternative to vapor blasting, cleaning cylinder heads with degreaser and a brass brush will guarantee every inch of the head is gone over. It will take longer than newer, modern methods, but it's cheaper and gets the same results.

remove carbon off cylinder head

Read: Clean Carbon Off Cylinder Heads

If you need valve guides, aftermarket ones are available for most classic bikes. Worn guides are usually pressed out and new ones pressed in.

DIY replace valve guides

Read: Remove Valve Guides

Read: Install Valve Guides

three angle valve job

Read: How To Lap Valves


Repair Stripped Threads In Aluminum

There's not too many 50 year-old aluminum engine cases that don't have a stripped thread or two.

repair stripped threads in aluminum

Read: Repair Stripped Threads In Aluminum


Replace Fork Seals

Most dealerships charge around $300 to $400 to replace a pair of fork seals, which is an hour or two of their labor plus the price of the seals and fork oil. And if you have a 30+ year-old bike, is not uncommon for a shop to decline the work.

fork seal E-clip

Read: Replace Harley Fork Seals 35mm

BMW fork seal replacement

Read: Replace Fork Seals BMW R-Series (Telelever)

Norton Commando replace fork seals

Read: Norton Commando Front Forks Overhaul


Aluminum Polishing

Polishing aluminum can be done by hand, but a buffing wheel is a lot faster.

Harley hydra glide sliders after polishing

Read: How To Polish Motorcycle Forks

how to polish aluminum valve covers

Read: How To Polish Aluminum Engine Parts


Motorcycle Carb Rebuild

best carb for Ironhead
Bendix Carburetor Rebuild
Linkert carb on Harley 45 flathead
Linkert DC Carburetor Rebuild
Super B rebuild
Tuning The S&S Super B



If you work on your motorcycle's engine and are unsuccessful, your bike doesn't run. If you work on your motorcycle's brakes and are unsuccessful, your bike doesn't stop.

Working on brake systems is not something to be taken lightly.


Rebuild Harley Brake Calipers

We all know that one front caliper with one big rotor will out-brake two front calipers with two small rotors. But back in the seventies, they were the best brakes Harley had, and they sure looked cool.

Harley dual disc brake overhaul

Read: Rebuild Harley Dual Calipers

This article explains how to rebuild 1977 through 1983 Harley dual front calipers.

To rebuild 1973 through 1977 Harley single front calipers click here.


Rebuild Harley Brake Master Cylinder

A master cylinder rebuild will involve removing, disassembling, cleaning, and reassembling with new seals.

rebuild motorcycle brake master cylinder

Read: Rebuild Harley Master Cylinder


Remove Stuck Brake Piston

When a motorcycle sits for a long time, all kinds of bad things can happen.

stuck brake piston removal

Read: Remove Stuck Brake Piston


Norton Commando Caliper Overhaul

This article includes information on how to remove frozen pistons from dual piston calipers.

brake overhaul Norton Commando

Read: Commando Brake Caliper Overhaul


For those of you with some welding skills, or if you can drill and cut metal and know someone who welds:

Motorcycle Engine Stand

This article shows how to build a Harley Big-Twin/Flathead engine stand.

DIY motorcycle engine stand

Read: DIY Harley Engine Stand

Flywheel Truing Stand

A truing stand is a nice luxury, but homemade units work just as well.

DIY flywheel truing stand

Read: DIY Flywheel Truing Stand


Cracked Cooling Fin Repair

The success of a cooling fin repair will depend on selecting the correct width and grade of metal, cutting and shaping the fin patch to fit, properly welded it in, and then final trimming.

repair broken cylinder fin on motorcycle

Read: Repair Cracked Cooling Fins

Repair Cracked Engine Cases

Aluminum engine cases can be repaired and made as good as new, provided the repair is done right.

Repair old motorcycle engine

Read: Repair Cracked Cases


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