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Old 06-23-2011, 08:24 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I have been wondering about this since before I bought the bike, but is it possible to rebuild the Goldwing engine without replacing everything but the cases? I have rebuilt a number of car engines, mostly small block Chevys and air cooled VWs. I have never tried to rebuild a motorcycle engine, because nothing is replaceable. I have a GW manual, but have not really had time to look through the engine section yet. It appears the con rod and crank bearings can be replaced. Can the crank be reground, or does it have to be replaced if worn? On most Japanese bikes, the crank is a pressed together assembly, and you have to replace the crank, crank bearings, and non removable con rods together. Then you have to replace the cams and heads, because the cams run directly in the heads, without replaceable bearings, making it cost more to rebuild an engine than it is worth. It is much cheaper to rebuild most car engines than a motorcycle engine. I added up the cost in parts to completely rebuild a Kawasaki Vulcan 750 engine, and it came to over $4000. I can rebuild several small block Chevys for that. That basically makes the VN750 a throwaway motorcycle, wear it out, scrap it, and replace it with something new. Where does the Goldwing fit into that scenario?

My reason for asking is because being a vintage vehicle enthusiast, I have always wanted a bike that could be kept going forever, just like an old car. I don't mind putting money and work into my old cars, because I know that no matter what happens, it can always be repaired or rebuilt. Japanese bikes are not like that. Before I wind up putting a couple thousand $$$ into my Goldwing, I would like to know if it is something I can keep for awhile, or is it also built to be disposable?
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:26 PM   #2 (permalink)
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it is cheaper to replace for an used working engine :P
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Old 06-23-2011, 08:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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They are somewhat rebuildable but it is expensive. I don't think you can get undersize crank bearings so regrinding the crank would be out of the question. The bearings are replaceable as long as the crank is still in useable condition. There are oversize pistons and rings but they are costly. The heads are fixable as far as valves and guides but if the cam bearings are gaulded the head is shot. The good thing is that if taken care of you will probably never wear the engine out.
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Old 06-24-2011, 08:40 AM   #4 (permalink)
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As William says, a used engine is the cheap option. Rebuilds on any of the Wings is an expensive business. Undersize shells are not available, but the crank journals can be metal sprayed and reground to factory size. OEM shells are getting scarce.
Re-bores are expensive due to the blind bores on the one side.

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Old 06-24-2011, 11:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Any kind of Engine is rebuildable. It just depends upon the amount of machine work and money you are willing to spend to rebuild it. For the most part it is more cost efeective to just get a good used engine. In rebuilding old cars people rebuild to keep matching numbers. As a car with matching numbers car is more desireable for collectors. There doesn't seem to be as many collectors of bikes as cars, but they are out there.

As far as rebuilding the engine, that would be totally up to you as to how much you want to spend and if you want to keep it as a numbers matching factory Bike. If money is of no object to you, you can do whatever you want to.

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Old 06-24-2011, 01:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Reading your post Jerry, I think you already know the answer. It will always be cheaper to get a used engine, especially for larger bikes where parts tend to be expensive.
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Old 06-24-2011, 01:34 PM   #7 (permalink)
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You can always re-coupe some of your money you spend on a nice used engine, by selling parts off the old engine. There are a ton of wrecked 1500's out there, with few miles on them. Maybe a couple timing belt covers and valve train covers and yer off!!! Best of luck. You will love the Goldwing. Damned near indestructable if taken care of. jimsjinx
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Old 06-24-2011, 04:26 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I do wonder why motorcycle engines are built this way. I was hoping the Goldwing engine wasn't. With cars I am not into the matching numbers thing, that is for rich people. I just want to keep them going. An old car engine can be easily and cheaply rebuilt, usually several times. The cam and crank can be reground, you can get undersized bearings, you can also rebore the cylinders several times and get oversize pistons and rings. It seems the older the engine is, the more times it can be rebuilt. The old blocks used thick walled castings that could be rebored several times. And parts are available. I have a stack of vintage car parts catalogs six feet tall.

If you want to take the easy way out, you can also get rebuilt long blocks for most vintage cars. I have yet to see a place that offers rebuilt Japanese motorcycle engines, including Goldwing engines. You are pretty much stuck with getting a used engine with no real idea what kind of condition it is in.

And yes, anything CAN be rebuilt, but when it costs more than the engine or bike is worth, it doesn't make much sense to me.

I know Harley engines, and possibly older BMW engines can be rebuilt same as old car engines. But the Japanese philosophy seems to have always been to replace something when it wears out, rather than rebuild it. The Goldwing engine, due to it's size, automotive design, and quality, can last a very long time, but not forever. Most Japanese engines form the '70s and early '80s have long since bit the dust.

I used to belong to the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, and by far their biggest problem, and main reason for existing, was to help members locate parts and information for their bikes. Many members had several old Japanese bikes in non running condition, due to a lack of parts. Very few Goldwing owners there, they have other sources of information and parts, from excellent sites like this one.
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