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I am looking at a winter project to replace my pistons and cylinders on my 15 RM. Just got back from a trip to the Black Hills and my piston noise is definitely getting more noticeable and at a wider RPM range. I just purchased a set of 2018 pistons and cylinders that came off bike that went to stage 3 that have very little time on them. Trying to find out how much work this will be and if any special equipment is needed to make this happen. Been a mechanic most of my life and not afraid of the work but never taken an engine down on an Indian. I have the service manual but looking for insight from others on what they have done on this. Thanks ahead of time. Dean
 

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Clean used pistons and cylinders thoroughly from any carbon deposits!

Lots of tips on da tube!

Inspect used pistons for any small knicks at the edges ... including skirt edges. Many shops don't treat pistons coming out as carefully as they should. Small dmages can be "blended in". Larger knicks/kinks can have lead to underlying microcracks ... not good.

Inspect cylinders as well: besides a clean and smooth inner surface (with criss cross hatch) you might want to check the sealing sufaces and the edges of the spigots for any damage.

Higher mileage pistons should be check for out of round issues.

Get new base and head gaskets!

A good engine builder once recommended to me to get NEW sets of piston rings!

Check piston ring gaps (see youtube) and correct if necesary!

Don't confuse 1st and 2nd piston rings (not the same!). Oil rings are more "unique".

Pay attention to what side of piston ring is up!

Don't forget to clock the piston ring gaps!

Get a good piston ring compressor tool which you can remove from the rod side of the piston.

Dont forget to apply some black RTV to the case splits below the base gaskets.

Not sure if I got it all ...

(sorry ... am I telling a mechanic? That was my own checklist for my coming Frankenbuild 116 )

Sent from my SM-N976Q using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Clean used pistons and cylinders thoroughly from any carbon deposits!

Lots of tips on da tube!

Inspect used pistons for any small knicks at the edges ... including skirt edges. Many shops don't treat pistons coming out as carefully as they should. Small dmages can be "blended in". Larger knicks/kinks can have lead to underlying microcracks ... not good.

Inspect cylinders as well: besides a clean and smooth inner surface (with criss cross hatch) you might want to check the sealing sufaces and the edges of the spigots for any damage.

Higher mileage pistons should be check for out of round issues.

Get new base and head gaskets!

A good engine builder once recommended to me to get NEW sets of piston rings!

Check piston ring gaps (see youtube) and correct if necesary!

Don't confuse 1st and 2nd piston rings (not the same!). Oil rings are more "unique".

Pay attention to what side of piston ring is up!

Don't forget to clock the piston ring gaps!

Get a good piston ring compressor tool which you can remove from the rod side of the piston.

Dont forget to apply some black RTV to the case splits below the base gaskets.

Not sure if I got it all ...

(sorry ... am I telling a mechanic? That was my own checklist for my coming Frankenbuild 116 )

Sent from my SM-N976Q using Tapatalk
Pistons and cylinders have only 25 miles on them before removed for stage 3. Everything looks new and so far have not seen any damage from removal. Asked Racnray if the rings should be replaced and he stated with only 25 miles on them that the original rings should be fine. Looking more for the process on what needs to be done to do the R and R. I have a center lift (J and S) and a nose dock. Also got a small ATV center stand (Harbor Freight). Dean
 
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I'm swapping in new piston also, this winter. 2017 RM classic. The noise is driving me nuts. I got new style pistons already loaded with rings and pins; and am watching to see how this post goes. I've been a mechanic since 1982, so the wrenching part is easy. My question is, how do the pistons & rods go in and out? IE out the top of the jug, or do you pull the jugs off the pistons? Some other bikes have a taper on the jug bottoms that works the rings into the pistons as you wiggle the jug down. On others you have to pull the rod caps and slide everything out the top (like most cars). Or maybe load the piston partially in the jug and insert the pins during assembly, like a Subaru/Harley.
I'd rather leave the bottom end alone, just less of a hassle. I've never found a procedure or video to explain all that yet. I'm sure it will be obvious once I get the jugs off. I'd like to be prepared if I need any special compressors or tools.
Black bikes matter!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm swapping in new piston also, this winter. 2017 RM classic. The noise is driving me nuts. I got new style pistons already loaded with rings and pins; and am watching to see how this post goes. I've been a mechanic since 1982, so the wrenching part is easy. My question is, how do the pistons & rods go in and out? IE out the top of the jug, or do you pull the jugs off the pistons? Some other bikes have a taper on the jug bottoms that works the rings into the pistons as you wiggle the jug down. On others you have to pull the rod caps and slide everything out the top (like most cars). Or maybe load the piston partially in the jug and insert the pins during assembly, like a Subaru/Harley.
I'd rather leave the bottom end alone, just less of a hassle. I've never found a procedure or video to explain all that yet. I'm sure it will be obvious once I get the jugs off. I'd like to be prepared if I need any special compressors or tools.
Black bikes matter!
From the pics I have seen of those that have done the stage 3 mod you pull the jug off and slide the piston out the bottom. From the IPC breakdown the piston pins are floaters that are held in with C clips. I have the stage 2 cams in so no worrying about springs or the connecting rods. Just more interested in how to properly lower the engine down to get clearance for pulling the heads and jugs off. Bit more of a twist being that the engine case is a stressed member of the frame. I might end up asking the local dealer in town what they would charge for this especially if some specialized tooling is needed but so far I see no special tooling required unless you swap cams out or put new connecting rods in without splitting the case. Dean
 

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The cases have to be fully assembled, with the rods on the crankshaft, before the top end is installed. So the cylinders have to be lowered onto the pistons from above.
Cmoalem lists good info above. But the single most important thing is to check ALL the measurements before assembling the top end. If you think that your engine is noisy because of "piston slap", then you need to be sure that the piston-to-cylinder clearance is within spec. The manual says that maximum clearance is .0026". But that is too loose if you want a quiet engine. I would not assemble an engine with more than .0015" piston-to-cylinder clearance.
 

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The cases have to be fully assembled, with the rods on the crankshaft, before the top end is installed. So the cylinders have to be lowered onto the pistons from above.
Cmoalem lists good info above. But the single most important thing is to check ALL the measurements before assembling the top end. If you think that your engine is noisy because of "piston slap", then you need to be sure that the piston-to-cylinder clearance is within spec. The manual says that maximum clearance is .0026". But that is too loose if you want a quiet engine. I would not assemble an engine with more than .0015" piston-to-cylinder clearance.
Now this is for the 111s ... do you (or anyone) have the equivalent page for the 116s?

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Now this is for the 111s ... do you (or anyone) have the equivalent page for the 116s?
That's a reasonable question to which I must say that I do not. My manual covers the Thunder Stroke 111 models. Having said that, I would bet a significant sum that nothing changes with the newer models in so far as engine building tolerances. And when it comes to ANY engine that has BOTH aluminum pistons AND aluminum cylinder bores the fitment has to be as close as stated above. The hard plating (typically called "Nikasil") of the cylinders has no effect on the expansion/contraction of the cylinders, so the cylinders and pistons have similar rates of thermal expansion and their fitment has to be close to avoid piston slap.
Perhaps someone with a late model manual that specifies the 116 will chime in. :unsure:
 
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