Silver Ghost Restoration-Part 19 Engine, Carbs, Exhaust

Over the past couple of weeks, I got the pistons, cylinders, heads, carburetor and exhaust back together.  It’s almost looking like a motorcycle again 🙂

I cleaned the carbon off the pistons using a wire wheel prior to putting the rings back on.

Carbon Build Up on Pistons


De-carbonized Pistons


I put the new rings back on by hand.  The kit has all three rings clearly labeled.  Be sure the “top” on the rings goes “up”

Ring Kit

Ring kit.

Top of Ring 

“TOP” is engraved on the top side of the ring.

Then, I heated the pistons in the oven (175) and put the wrist pins in the freezer to make it easy to push the pins into the pistons.  I bought a new set of C-clips and inserted them being sure the gap in the C-clip didn’t align with the cutout for removing them.  There is a mark on the piston top “VOR” that indicates the side of the piston facing forward.  Be sure you have them aligned correctly when assembling on the connecting rod.

C-clip On Piston

C-clip covering the cutout in the piston.

Piston on Connecting Rod

Wrist pin assembled onto Piston and connecting rod.

Next, I assembled the push rod tube rubbers onto the ends of the tubes aligning them as shown.

Push Rod Seals

Push rod tube rubbers aligned.

Then, I put the base gasket on using Hylomor as the sealant on both sides of the gasket.  Be sure the holes in the gasket align with the holes in the base of the cylinder.

Base Gasket w/ Sealer

Base gasket with Hylomar sealant before smoothing it out over the gasket.

By hand, (I don’t have a ring compressor) I pushed the cylinder over the piston.  You can do this by hand if you are very patient and go slowly so you don’t break a ring.  I found using two wood sticks made it easier to compress a ring on one side, wiggle the cylinder a little so it covers that side of the ring then press the opposite side into the ring gap and wiggle the other side of the cylinder past a ring.  Easy and slow does it here.

Assembling Head

Cylinder over the piston.

Next, make sure you get the head gasket aligned the right way so it doesn’t cover the push rod openings.

Incorrect Base Gasket

INCORRECT – gasket covering push rod tube holes

Correct Base Gasket

CORRECT – no obstruction of the push rod tub holes.

Next, attach the head by sliding it over the cylinder studs and put the push rods into the push rod holes.  Then, add the rocker arm assemblies and using a cross-over pattern, tighten the nuts on the cylinder studs to pull the cylinders down onto the engine.  Check as you go that the push rod rubbers are aligned with the holes in the block, or you will crack them and have to replace them.

 Inserting Push Rod

Inserted push rod.

Assembling Heads

Rocker arm assembly attached to cylinder studs.

Assembling Heads

Cross-tighten nuts on cylinder studs to pull cylinder into the block.

Next, follow the torque tightening sequence and tighten the heads down.  Torque is brought up in stages, not all at once.  When that’s done, set the valve clearences, add the valve covers and move on to the other side.

Cylinder & Heads

Cylinder & Heads

I added the carburetors using the rubber spigots and then assembled the new exhaust system.  I found that assembling the muffler to the header first was the best way to go.  I had some troubles with one of the inserts that goes on the header pipe as it wasn’t round.  I finally got it back into shape.  Keep all the connections loose and attach the muffler to the rear mounts.  Then, be sure the header is pushed all the way into the head and twisted so the cross over pipe goes on.  This took some fiddling, but it finally goes together.  On the right side, I had to remove the brake peddle and grind a little off the the top of the peddel casting so the peddle would move freely.

Right Side - Almost an MC Again

Right Side.

Front - Cylinders and pipes

Front showing cross over pipe.

Left Side - Pipes & Carb

Left Side.

I’m replacing the choke cables and have to wait for them to come in before putting the air cleaner and housing back onto the engine.  That will complete the engine assembly.

Next up, paint preparation and finally, shooting the paint.


2 thoughts on “Silver Ghost Restoration-Part 19 Engine, Carbs, Exhaust

  1. Great job. And the engine looks outstanding. Did you remove the engine block from the frame at all during the rebuild… ? I know you removed all the individual detachable cases, but how did you manage to clean the block, mostly near the frame’s down tubes … ?
    Thanks, –Luis

    • Hi Luis,

      If I remember, I didn’t remove the engine on that project. I spot painted the frame with engine in it. I cleaned it in the frame with copeous amounts of Gunk engine cleaner and brake cleaner.

      Patience, persistence and Jazz playing in the background are my secret 😉

      I’m glad you find this content useful.


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