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I have to replace my head gaskets on my '85 aspencade, and since it looks like I have to take remove/disconnect the radiator, timing belt, exhaust and intake, I am wondering if there's anything else I should do as long as I've got everything torn apart?

I've had the bike for about 4 months, it has over 100K miles.

For example, there's a tube of some sort that connects the left and right carbs that is pretty rusty, so that's a pretty obvious thing to investigate. What other sort of maintenance would make sense to do at this time? In other words, the gasket kit cost about $150 and I don't want to spend it (or the time) again.

Should I do a preventative rebuild of my carbs? Replace all of the vacuum hoses?
 

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yes , replace all vacuum lines.
check idler pulleys
do you know the age,mileage of the belts?
are water hoses still pliable ?
what does the inside of the radiator look like?
is the sealing washer on the rad. cap ok?
most importantly-- is everything clean going back together ! thats a few of the things to look at and check on. take your time and have fun.
 

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Ah, it looks like that tube that I thought was connecting the carbs is actually the coolant tubes -- I can't seem to find a part number to replace them. Does anybody have that handy? Is there something I can do to a replacement to keep it from getting so corroded?
 

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Did the same thing to my '79 a few years ago. My problem was a lack of compression. I did a valve job (just lapping with clover compound). I soaked the heads in Berryman's Chemdip and it removed all the carbon. That really boosted compression and made it even on all cylinders. Helped a bunch.
 

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unixguy wrote:
Ah, it looks like that tube that I thought was connecting the carbs is actually the coolant tubes -- I can't seem to find a part number to replace them. Does anybody have that handy? Is there something I can do to a replacement to keep it from getting so corroded?
If you're looking for preventive maintenance... there's o-rings that you can change. And if you decide to change out the o-rings, once you pop off the tubes, there'll be a small coolant mess to wipe off. That should elicit a few curse words from even the religious.
I don't know about preventing corrosion on those tubes, other than changing them outor just painting them. If you do want to change them, I should have some decent spares if you're interested.
 

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Thanks Iraqi Ram, I am interested. Are they new, or salvaged, and how much do you want for them?

(Sorry for the delay, I was trying to make sure that I either had the o-rings on order or could get them.)
 

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My spares are used. 20 bucks plus shipping. If you're taking yours off, you could just use some emory cloth on yours, and wipe off the rust and spraypaint them with high heat paint to get them looking good again. Just be careful not to spray where the O-rings sit.

by the way... you could just go to Harbor Frieght and purchase an O-ring set, they're about 5 or 7 bucks, and you'll the set has a lot of different sizes. It's a nice set to have on these old bikes.
 

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Put a little plumbers grease or KY jelly on the tube O-rings when you slide them together. It keeps them from getting pinched. If you see signs of oil leakage around the cam seals you should probably change those. I'm a believer in changing all the seals and O-rings you come across. They age harden lose their ability to make up for wear. That includes valve stem seals. Once you have the heads off you might as well do the full monty on them. The valves themselves have a hard coating that you don't want to hurt so be gentle on the lapping.
 

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I'm appreciating all the advice I've received so far.

I've made it down to the cam shaft, and have discovered some wear on one of exhaust rockers and its cam lobe. It looks like both sides have valleys (like you'd see if you put your fists together where the knuckles interlock). It's worst on just one of them, but it looks like all of the exhaust rockers may be showing some signs of it (in fact I missed seeing it on all of the others until I noticed it on the last one, and then went back and inspected all of the others).

At $50/rocker, I'm not sure I can afford to replace all of them right now, but I'll probably at least replace the worst one and try to get the cam lobe fixed.

My question is-- what would cause this wear pattern?

And for fixing: Are there places that might be able to weld some material back onto this rocker and then get it back to spec?
 

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My spares are used. 20 bucks plus shipping.
Thanks Iraqi Ram, I elected to just get a couple of new ones from ronayers.com -- I just ordered them last night and hope to have them by next week when I'm back in town and can hopefully start reassembly.


After trying a NUMBER of things I saw mentioned on the forum to get the heads off (putty knife at the corners of the head; rubber mallet; wooden dowel in the intake) and not having any success with any of them, I finally went to lowe's and bought a 36 inch wrecking crowbar. Even with all of that leverage, it still took a fair amount of force to get the heads off, but they finally popped off. (Note to self, put something soft underneath to catch it next time.)

The mess that's on the pistons looks "oily wet", and in a few places there's 1/16" of (presumably) carbon build up (I scraped that down with my fingernail).

My plan is to reassemble (after I get all my parts) and then use lots of seafoam in my gas to get rid of the carbon. From this description, does it sound like signs of something else I should be fixing? (Or should I just plan on lots of seafoam in my tank for the next year?)

BTW, when I removed the head bolts, it seemed to me that each head had at least one bolt that wasn't torqued down. I am really wondering if what seemed to be a blown head gasket was really just a loose head.

Thanks!

PS. Here are some photos of my pistons-- they seem to look a lot worse in the photos than in real life. I think it's true, the camera really does add 10 lbs (of carbon in this case). photobucket album
 

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The pistons will clean up. I like my dremel tool with the little wire brushes for de-carboning the pistons and heads. Due care will keep you from marring the piston tops. Try not to leave anyloose carbon in the cylinder bores because it can get down around the rings.

Some cam and rocker wear is normal. Fresh cams and rockers would help performace a tad but you have what you have. The rockers should go back in the same position because they have worn to the cam "as a matched set". When they are adjusted correctly they will be fine. Excessive wear comes from the valve adjusment being too tight. If your cams show wear on the low side of the lobes then overly tight valve lash adjustment was likely the problem (instead of the rockers only getting worn when they are opening/closing the valve they wear thru 360° of cam rotation).
Remember to grease (high moly grease) the threads and under the heads of the head bolts before you put them in to torque them. Also remember to put the oil orifices back in. Each gets two o-rings.
 

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Clean out and add a ground wire inside the starter motor, possibly replacing the brushes too.
 

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New timing belts is a must. I would suggest you consider replacing the radiator hoses and thermostat while you are in that deep.
 
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