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Bring your cylinder head cleaning tips! (It's really bad)

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The bike is a 1982 XT550J. I need to clean the head up but would like to get some advice on how to go about doing it. It's pretty bad, so what are your recommended techniques?

I was going to stick with custom made tools and a lot of scotch brite. I was wondering, is soaking the head in soap and water an okay thing to do?

Also.. feel free to comment on the condition of my valves. I'm going to clean and measure them to see if they really need to be replace, but wow the intake valves look bad!

Thanks for any and all suggestions.

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wire wheel on the valves ,stay off the stems with that .

find someone with a bead blaster/sand blaster with very fine media. Tape off the gasket surface with duck tape and have at it . Then lots of soap and water and compressed air to get all the glass bead/sand out "very important"

then get the valves and seats ground by someone that knows what they're doing and you should be all set

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Great! Thanks for the advice. Will the valve guides need to be replaced after blasting the head?

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Take a look at the threads by KDN. He cleaned up the SL100 SL125 heads.

Make sure you can replace a part before you destroy it. I'm finding it's impossible to get a few parts. Valve guides for old Honda SL's are rare.

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Kev_XR, that thread helped me figure out what I need to do, thank you. There seems to be good availability of parts for this bike. Although I haven't checked the guides yet, if I don't have to replace them i'll be glad.

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I found SL 125 exhaust valves and guides are no longer available, which is why I said look before you destroy. I've used the ServiceHonda.com website to look up parts to see if they are still available or not.

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I just joined a few weeks ago. Happen to know the SL/CB/CL 100 125's very well. I have a dedicated blast cabinet filled with course baking soda. Excellent media for cleaning heads etc. Best part is baking soda dissolves in Hot water unlike glass beading or aluminum oxide etc. I use it on engine cases as media in oil passages is a bad thing.

    Secondly why replace valve guides with original iron guides???? I use bronze guides in all the 100-125 motors I build. Added bonus is valve seal on both sides instead of just exhaust.

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wire wheel on the valves ,stay off the stems with that .

find someone with a bead blaster/sand blaster with very fine media. Tape off the gasket surface with duck tape and have at it . Then lots of soap and water and compressed air to get all the glass bead/sand out "very important"

then get the valves and seats ground by someone that knows what they're doing and you should be all set

^^^ What he said.

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FYI, if you can't find a part for the XT550 (82 or 83), see if you can find the same part for the TT/XT600. I've found there's a lot of parts that are dimensionally the same even though the part numbers are different. But try the 82/83 XT part first. The 600 motor had a much longer production run so fewer parts have been discontinued. Also, I read, but have not tried top end swaps between the two. http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=549363

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