I give up. As I whined about in my last post I have been waiting for a timing chain roller, which I ordered off EBay, to show up. Well it has been 6 weeks and still nothing. I suspect it is located in the cracks of a USPS mail truck in Muscogee. So I figured that if I wanted it to show up I would need to install my used roller therefore the very next day my new one would be sure to show up. Still no luck, it never showed. Oh well…it looks like the engine is going to get the finally assembly done with the old part.

Triple oversize NOS rings gapped

Machined and powder coated a kick starter block off plug for the side cover. It gets bolts on from the inside to help give it a super clean look.

So as I posted a couple weeks back  time I was able to get the lower engine case sealed up. It was time to move onto the top end and get the pistons, cylinders, and head all assembled. Everything went together as planned. The rings were gapped and installed onto the triple oversize pistons. The pistons were mounted onto the connecting rods using NOS wrist pins and clips. With fresh new gaskets installed the barrels slide on smoothly.

Timing chain threaded and pistons loaded ready for the cylinders.

The freshly machined head was reassembled using new outer valve springs. The cam was slid in and the rocker arms were nestled into place. With the head dropped on top of the cylinders the cam timing was set and the valve lash was adjusted to spec. Valve cover then placed on and everything was torqued down into its final resting spot.

Valves and seats ground and head reassembled.

The fun wasn’t over yet. I finally get to start bolting on all the bling. All the polished hardware was installed and bolted into place. The carbs were mounted and the Uni-Filter foam air filters were clamped in place. The engine was finally starting to provide some visual satisfaction. The color choices that I stressed over previously seemed to be working out and the look of and industrial machine was starting to take shape.

Cylinder head set in place, camshaft timing done, and valve clearance adjusted.

Assembly torqued together for good.

As the parts continued to disappear off the work bench only to find a home on the engine I was coming close to having nothing left to install. This was the point where I could stand back and ponder the work with a certain amount of appreciation and satisfaction. It was a moment that was to be basked in for as long as possible. For the next step would involve liquids and with liquids come potential leaks. Anyway…no sense in ruining the moment. For now I will take pleasure in the engine reassemble stage and be happy with the product. Next I will need to focus my efforts on the technicalities of getting the power plant running. If you feel like getting lost in the mechanics and beauty of machinary then join me below in some metal admiration.

Completed top end

Old side cover I had from one of the broken engines. The cover was dented and broken so I beat it back staight from the inside and drilled a hole in it to allow me to set ignition timing. The cover will only be used temporarily.

The rest of the pictures show the final assembly with the carbs, air filters and other hardware installed.

  1. Larry says:

    A work of art! I wish you lived close to me. Would love to learn from a master.

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks Larry, the engine worked out well. I’m not sure I am a “master”, I usually take the expertise I learn from others, in different areas, and combine it all together into one project. I like projects that inolve more then just 1 process.

      If your ever in the area stop in and we’ll hot rod something, maybe a lawn mower.


  2. Seriously that engine looks awesome.

    • gordsgarage says:

      Thanks Drew, I was stressed about my powder coating color choices however I think, all things considered, that the color scheme worked out fine. I think I was able to maintain that mechanical/industrial look to it.


  3. meetlucille says:

    Hi Gord.
    I too have gone with triple over (.75OS) although I was originally looking for one over (.25OS). Triple seemed the easiest to find.
    My factory manual reads as follows for the piston clearance and the ring gap on a standard piston and ring set:
    a) Cylinder / Piston clearance – 0.1 to 0.2mm
    b) Ring gap (compression x2) – 0.15 – 0.35mm
    Oil – 0.10 – 0.30mm

    Any other considerations before I have the cylinders re-bored at these specs for the NOS pistons and rings?


    • gordsgarage says:

      Hey Andrew, it sounds like you are making great progress with the engine rebuild, glad to hear. I currently do not have access to the specs I used but the ones you listed sound correct. When I checked my ring gap clearances they were all 100% perfect and required no adjusting. As far as the piston clearance went I left that up to the machinist.

      I only have 2 comments. I went triple (.75) over because I had no choice, the pistons that came out of the engine were already double over. The cylinders had some scoring so I was actually lucky that going up only one size still left enough meat on the walls to clean things up. My comment is that by you going up 3 sizes you are missing out on 2 servicable machinings however…I understand the parts availability situation and it’s not like you can drive to your local Honda dealer and pick up a .25 set therefore you do what you have to do and I wouldn’t sweat it in the end. Go for it!

      My second comment is use a reputable machinist. Don’t cheap out cause it is not worth it. I paid a veteran Honda technician to act as a middle man between me and his machinist to ensure everything went smooth, which it did. There is a lot of poor quality work out there and although it can never be avoided 100% doing as much research ahead of time is the best defence you’ve got.

      Sounds like you have things handled. Good luck and keep me posted.



      • meetlucille says:

        I may keep looking for the single overs before I get the cylinders to Gord Bush Performance in Toronto. Gord does Honda Racing work as well as CASCAR builds and he comes highly reccomeded. I do have a question about valve seats. Is it possible to have them cut too deep? At this point I was thinking of lapping the valves first with coarse then fine paste. However, if they are only taking a thou out I the seat, probably won’t effect much other than the clearance when the valves are adjusted. Make sense?


      • gordsgarage says:

        Hey Andrew, I ended up buying a good used cylinder off ebay that had not been punched out yet. I did it because I feared that the machinist would not be able to clean up my double oversize. I already had the pistons and rings and I didn’t want to have to buy a bigger set if the machining didn’t work out. Anyway…I didn’t need my “back up” standard cylinder so now I have it as an extra. Should I ever have to do any top end work to my bike I can always start over from standard size.

        I have been told that the valve seats are fairly tough and therefore suffer very little wear. I know in more precise automotive applications when the seat is cut the valve stem also needs to be cut in order to compensate for the increased depth of the valve in the seat. In the case of the CB160, like you said, the extra seat depth is compensated with the valve lash adjustment. I had no choise, the seats had to be cut on my head simply because the intake valves were pounded right out. I replaced the intakes. Yes the valve seats can be cut too deep however that is why you use a reputable machinist.

        The Meetlucille blog is looking great. Sounds like you have things handled.


  4. meetlucille says:

    Hi Gord. The head for my ’65 CB160 came back from the shop with new valve seats for both intake and exhaust. The intake valves are new and my exhaust valves were reground. When you reassembled your valves, did you lap them at all since they were new valves and new seats?


    • gordsgarage says:

      Hey Andrew, sounds like you are clipping along at a fairly good pace. Nice work! Then machine shop lapped my valves in so I didn’t need to. If yours have not been done I would highly recommend it. It doesn’t cost much and the little time it takes would be well worth it. I checked out your blog, looking good. Looks like the roller made its way into good hands.


  5. Larry Yancy says:

    Hello Gord, Just came across your blog and must say you do some great work! Your attention to detail is amazing. Currently I have a 1964 Honda CB160 and it has been a labor of love. It’s the bike I wanted 48 years ago but couldn’t have. During my review I notice your air filters and search the web but was unable to locate. I wonder if you could point me in the right direction for these beauties? I’ve attached a Youtube link for my 1964 CB160 if you have interest. Once again keep up the good work, I will continue to follow your blog and great source of mechanical information!

    Regards, Larry Yancy

    • gordsgarage says:

      Hi Larry, thanks for the video, that is one seriously clean looking CB. Nice work! I always think doing the custom modifications are ALWAYS easier then the restoration projects. The research and sourcing of parts is incredibly time consuming. Fantastic bike!

      My air filters are Uni-filters part number UP-6152AST. They are 2 stage filters for a 38mm card at a 15 degree angle. I just took off the read outer stage since I didn’t need it. You can view them here .

      I bought mine off EBay however they should not be hard for you to source.


      • Larry Yancy says:

        Gord, thank’s for the Uni-Filter air filter information. This conversion will help solve the job sourcing new original units which are expensive and hard to find. Once again, thank you for your time and effort. Keep up the good work!


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