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Hey everyone. I decided to document my replacement of the pistons and cylinders on my 15 RM to finally cure the dreaded clacker. Last summer I purchased a set of pistons and cylinders from a fellow forum member that did a stage 3 conversion on his 2018 Cheiftain with only 25 miles on the bike. The pistons and cylinders look practically new. Remember that the newer designed pistons came out in 2018 (p/n 3023065). Changing the cylinders is not really needed but since I was going to the trouble of doing all this and my RM has over 50K miles and they were part of the package of parts that were for sale it made sense. Researching this project it is clear that a good lift will be a must. I went out and purchased an 1500 lbs Aplus Lift. With free shipping it was $1100 with the side extensions that make the lift table 4 ft wide. Loading and unloading the bike is a big plus with those extensions. It is worth the extra $100 for the upgrade. Very impressed with the lift and it handles the weight of the RM with ease. Took the bags and tour pack off before putting the bike on the lift. I got all my parts except for the new high lift valve springs. They are still back ordered till early next month. I will also list all the gaskets and seals needed for this also. As I proceed with this job feel free to add pointers and advice. While I am an aviation mechanic with over 30 years of experience, tackling the 111 is a new venture. Enjoy, Dean
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I would very much like to know that if after you change the pistons if the engine feels like it has more vibration than before.


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Not fitting the new pistons into the old bores was a wise move. It's normal practise to grade pistons to bore diameter so they run optimum clearance. Don't cross over your replacement pistons and barrels either. Of course you knew that....
 

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I would very much like to know that if after you change the pistons if the engine feels like it has more vibration than before.


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Will do. Once I get the original pistons out I can weigh them and compare. Dean
 

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Let me know if you have any questions. I’ve done a top end rebuild (116 conversion) or 30 on these things.
 

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Let me know if you have any questions. I’ve done a top end rebuild (116 conversion) or 30 on these things.
@Wrench123 I appreciate that. I do have a few questions. First, did you drop the engine down altogether or pivot it down off of one of the aft attach bolts? I do have a center scissor platform jack that came with the lift. It compresses to about 4". Is that good enough when lowering the engine to get the cylinders off or do you need to raise and block the tires to get more clearance? What did you do with the brake lines that run back to the anti skid control valve assy? Do you have any pics of doing the stage 3? I'd be happy to give you my cell number so we can discuss some of this in detail. If so I will send you a private message. Thanks again. Dean
 

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I run the scissor jack parallel below the motor, don’t have to disconnect brake lines or anything. Take all of the motor mount bolts out and lower it down. Also put a 4x4 beneath the front of the motor to keep things stable. Shoot me your phone number in a PM.
 

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Working from home today with snow dumping outside. Started about 6 am and is suppose to go until early tomorrow morning. Could get up to 12 inches here. Well back to the bike. I removed the front fender. From what I have seen this is not necessary but with black paint showing everything and the little amount of work it takes to get it off I consider it cheap insurance. Next was the gas tank. Here is the first gotcha you got at least on the early RMs. There are three connectors to remove the valance panel on the gas tank. The ON/OFF switch is simple enough but mark the grip heat and lock/unlock switch harness. There are not keyed and can be swapped. Also these two come off a bit different. Can't standardize these things to disconnect. Look at where to put the small screw driver to get these to separate.
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Once those three are off you can slide the valance panel off to the side and remove it. Remember you do not need to remove the front valance screw that is next to the steering head lock. Just loosen it and the valance will slide forward. Now to get the gas tank off you need to remove the fuel line that is behind the ignition coil. This is easiest with the coil pack out of the way. So I disconnected the ground terminal on the battery. Be extremely careful when removing the ECM Some of these bikes do not have much protecting the ECM from the positive terminal of the battery. Short the ECM to the positive terminal and you are buying another ECM! Lift the ECM off and protect it until you get the ground terminal removed and out of the way. Then you can lay the ECM back down.
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The above pic is shown with the horn removed. Don't worry about marking the ignition wires, they can only go one way. Here is where anything that can go wrong can happen. I remember taking the gas tank off before and when the fuel line connector is removed I thought it dribbled a second or two and stopped. Not mine, when I removed it it ran like a faucet. Had to do some backyard engineering to stop from making a mess since my tank is 3/4 full. A clean piece of heater hose came in real handy here.
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I'll post more later, got to start moving snow. Dean
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I run the scissor jack parallel below the motor, don’t have to disconnect brake lines or anything. Take all of the motor mount bolts out and lower it down. Also put a 4x4 beneath the front of the motor to keep things stable. Shoot me your phone number in a PM.
Sent you a private message. Thanks, D
 

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Great post,can't wait to see how you remove the rods without splitting the case.
Thanks for posting this
Great post,can't wait to see how you remove the rods without splitting the case.
Thanks for posting this
Don't need to do the rods. Not doing a 116 mod. Just pistons, cylinders, and new valve springs. Dean
 

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More progress today. First a dumb ass mistake on my part. All the fuel I drained out was a screw up on my part. I needed to remove the fuel line connector on top of the tank. One plus on that is it did get most of the fuel out of the tank to make it easier to remove and set a side.
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Next the main floorboards to allow access to the exhaust.
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Here you can see the Jackpot header I installed a few years ago. It is in great shape and a great design. Now off came the exhaust. Big tip here, before starting to take the exhaust off hit all the slip joints and clamps with a bit of WD40. Let it work in a bit and start pulling the mufflers then cross over pipe and finally the main header. Here you got to work the slip joint a bit to allow enough gap between the front and rear cylinder exhaust port to get the pipes to clear. Another tip when getting to the front exhaust header nuts. The front one can be a bit difficult to get on, take the oil cooler loose first and this give you much better access to take the front header nuts off. Next came off the highway bar and the Lloyds air cleaner assy.
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Next came the chrome access cover for the belt drive and the painted access covers
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Next will be to remove the down tubes and loosen the drive belt. But I will probably get to that tomorrow. Here is a pic of how much is removed so far. Dean
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@Wrench123 I appreciate that. I do have a few questions. First, did you drop the engine down altogether or pivot it down off of one of the aft attach bolts? I do have a center scissor platform jack that came with the lift. It compresses to about 4". Is that good enough when lowering the engine to get the cylinders off or do you need to raise and block the tires to get more clearance? What did you do with the brake lines that run back to the anti skid control valve assy? Do you have any pics of doing the stage 3? I'd be happy to give you my cell number so we can discuss some of this in detail. If so I will send you a private message. Thanks again. Dean
 

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I just finished tearing my bike down. Kit arrived yesterday. I found it interesting that the heavy. Valve springs didnt show. Mine didn't either. In reading the install manual, they weren't listed in the parts list, although they are pictured in the kit online. In the upper engine reassembly section it completely neglects the valve springs. Reinstall retained pushrods, reinstall rockers, and torque to spec. Then it says replace valve cover gaskets and install valve cover. I thought the kit online showed a new intake manifold that was polished inside. Not in the kit I got..
On tear down, I had to loosen the back bone and rock it in the air to get the jugs, heads and covers off the studs. No pulling of the motor.

Roche
 

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Keep those post coming Dean. I know you being an aviation mechanic your expertise will help you through this endeavor ! I'm looking forward to following you on this build. My 15 RM has 89 thousand on it but I'm not ready to do anything until its really time. Lake City Larry has set the goal of longevity for the 111 engine, but you never know with production engines. Maintenance is key I know you are quite aware of that fact. Thanks in advance for the well documented post.
 

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I just finished tearing my bike down. Kit arrived yesterday. I found it interesting that the heavy. Valve springs didnt show. Mine didn't either. In reading the install manual, they weren't listed in the parts list, although they are pictured in the kit online. In the upper engine reassembly section it completely neglects the valve springs. Reinstall retained pushrods, reinstall rockers, and torque to spec. Then it says replace valve cover gaskets and install valve cover. I thought the kit online showed a new intake manifold that was polished inside. Not in the kit I got..
On tear down, I had to loosen the back bone and rock it in the air to get the jugs, heads and covers off the studs. No pulling of the motor.

Roche
Make sure you have the correct kit. The springs were upgraded in 2019 so new springs may not be needed on the newer bikes.
 

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I am really not trying to butt in on anyone's conversation but I made a tool that resembled the torque adapter that Snap off has. Dropped extension under rod cap. Hooked bolt head popped it loose. The heavy replacement connecting rods have rod bolts that drop in from the top.
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I am really not trying to butt in on anyone's conversation but I made a tool that resembled the torque adapter that Snap off has. Dropped extension under rod cap. Hooked bolt head popped it loose. The heavy replacement connecting rods have rod bolts that drop in from the top. View attachment 621431 View attachment 621427
Now this is very interesting. Everything I have researched showed either hinging the motor down on the lower aft engine/chassy bolt or dropping the motor straight down from the bike. Also you removed the cylinder studs. I have not seen that either. How hard was it to remove the studs? I'm a bit more hesitant to loosen the backbone since it puts quite a bit of load on the down tube attach points. They don't appear to be as strong as the backbone for holding things together. Dean
 

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Another question for those who have worked this. Going thru the shop manual there is a big caution on NOT reusing the piston pin circlips. Really?! Circlips or snap rings have always been able to reuse as long as they were not damaged. Do I need to put these on order? Dean
 
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