Motorcycle Engine Rebuild: Everything You Need to Know

Whether your intention is to repair broken or worn parts or to install an upgrade, you don’t have to pay the costly fees to have your motorcycle engine repaired. You can do it yourself from the comfort of your garage. As long as you have the necessary tools and an adequate amount of time, you can rebuild your engine using the below instructions.

Keep in mind, whenever you’re working with engines or larger equipment, it’s important to keep safety as a top priority. The number one step you want to complete before starting any project is to make sure your space is clean and organized. Clear out any potential tripping hazards or any lingering debris that may cause damage to yourself or your bike. Once you’ve established a clean workspace, you can prepare the necessary tools.

What you’ll need:

1. Your motorcycle’s repair manual

2. Basic hand tools (including sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, pliers, and measuring tools)

3. Torque wrench

4. A Tool pouch to keep your tools organized and within easy reach

5. Catch containers

6. Lubricants

Depending on your make, model, and engine type, your necessary tools will vary. However, the above list provides the basics you’ll want to acquire before starting. For a comprehensive list of tools that you’ll likely need, refer to this comprehensive guide. By researching the specs of your motorcycle before starting the project, you’ll know which tools you’ll need. With adequate preparation, your project will go more smoothly and quickly.


Once you’ve purchased or gathered the necessary tools, you can move on to step 1 of the rebuilding process. Keep in mind that to properly remove the engine, you’ll have to disconnect and remove various elements and parts from your motorcycle. A professional mechanic would follow the below steps to ensure the engine is properly removed. These steps also allow you to inspect other parts of your motorcycle and notice any damaged or worn pieces that should be replaced. Also, if you want to install any motorcycle accessories while you’re completing your engine rebuild, then this will promote easier installation.

Step 1 – Clean Your Bike

Similar to working with cars and other vehicles, it’s important to clean your motorcycle before you start disassembling parts. By doing so, you will reduce the risk of damaging bolts or your bike’s exterior. Also, this step will reduce the amount of dirt and debris entering your workspace.

Step 2 – Ensure Your Bike is Secure

As previously mentioned, safety is the number one focus when working with engines. To ensure the safety of yourself and your bike, use a wheel clamp or another stabilizing device to keep your bike secure. Most parts are not easily removed and may take some elbow grease to effectively loosen.

Step 3 – Drain All the Fluids

Once your motorcycle is safely secure, you can drain your fluids into separate catch containers. On a side note, it’s important to research the proper fluid recycle or waste process for your state or region. For a list of fluids that require a dedicated waste management system, visit this helpful list that will walk you through dangerous chemicals and methods of disposal. You can also contact your local waste management site and ask for assistance.

If you’re unsure of how to drain your bike’s oil, refer to your owner’s manual or research your make and model online.

Another side note: if you plan your rebuild accordingly to a time when your engine oil needs changing, then you can accomplish two tasks in one project.

Step 4 – Remove Back Brake Pedal

Depending on your bike, this step may be necessary now or at a later time.

Step 5 – Remove Battery, Header Pipes, and Muffler

For added safety measures, remove your battery. To perform this step accurately, refer to your owner’s manual.

If you’re unsure how to remove the header pipes and muffler, refer to this video by Eric Grass, a recognized Honda mechanic. However, watch carefully, because he goes through the process quickly. This video also provides a helpful tutorial in the other necessary steps for engine removal.

Step 6 – Remove Gas Tank

For most models, removing the fuel tank will give you better access to your engine. To make this step easier, consider ciphering out the gasoline before removing the tank. This step will make the tank lighter and easier to control. Also, you may have to remove any side paneling that prohibits your direct access to the fuel tank.

Another safety precaution: make sure you perform this step in a well-ventilated space without sparks or open flames.

Step 7 – Take Out the Carburetors and Air Box

If your carburetors are removed from the top, then disconnect the cables first. However, if they come out through the sides, it’ll likely be easier to remove the cables after. For more visual information on this step, consult this tutorial.

Also, while you have your carbs removed, you may want to consider cleaning them.

Step 8 – Take Out the Final Drive

The final drive on your motorcycle could include the following drive types:

• Chain drive

• Belt drive

• Shaft drive

Depending on which drive your bike contains, you may or may not have to remove it to access your engine.

Step 9 – Take Out Cases

Removing the cases at this stage will allow the engine disassembly to go much smoother.

Step 10 – Remove the Clutch

Your first step in disassembling the clutch is to remove the clutch cover. Keep a rag handy in case any lingering fluid remained inside. It’s also important to keep your clutch plates in the order of removal. That way, when you are reinstalling them, you place them back in the appropriate sequence. Also, you may consider inspecting the condition of your plates and updating them if they appear damaged or overly worn.

Step 11 – Remove the Mounting Bolts for the Engine

Removing the engine mounting bolts is the final step involving parts. When completing this step, be careful not to drop and damage the engine. It’s recommended that you find an extra set of hands to stabilize the engine as you remove the bolts.

Before removing your engine, do a visual inspection to make sure all plugs and wires are disconnected.

Step 12 – Carefully Remove Your Engine

On some makes and models, you may have to twist and smoothly pull the engine out from the side of the frame. If this is the case for your bike, then make sure you don’t accidentally pull on any hoses or wires that are hanging loose.


Twelve steps later, you have successfully removed your engine from your motorcycle’s frame. Now that you have complete access to your engine, you can open it up and complete any of the necessary or desired alterations and improvements.

The above instructions are the likely sequence of steps you’ll take to remove your engine. Keep in mind that different models will require more or less additional steps. It’s important to consult your owner’s manual and perform outside research before starting your project. Also, video tutorials (many of which I’ve provided in this article) are a great place to start.

Author Bio

Jessica Smith is a blogger who loves to write in different verticals. She co-authored Supercharge Organic Traffic: A popular course focusing on Organic Traffic for E-commerce.