Question about 2001 Yamaha V Star 1100 Classic

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Bad compression after 3 year slumber- Yamaha Fazer 700 1986

I bought this bike not running and went through the badly gummed carbs. Unfortunately, I have 5,30, 65,20 for compression and she wont start of course. Manual seems to say to pull engine to take the head off but says the pistons can be done engine in frame. I don't have air to do a leak down but wonder if there is any use trying to soak in some marvel m oil. I added some oil for a wet comp test and saw no increase.
I guess I could sell it and take the loss but really like these old fazers.
Only gave 900.00 for it. Thinking of shooting some starting fluid in there while cranking, perhaps if it fires up it will get hot and free up the rings or valves of other cylinders? Or will that just make it worse if I have to tear it down?

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  • zapackm Dec 26, 2008

    Thanks guys, I appreciate the input and info. Bike has 20k miles and looks pretty good. Has a few scrapes but overall not too bad. I may pull the valve cover and see if anything can be done there.

    Happy New Year,


  • zapackm Dec 28, 2008

    Update, Engine out, head off. Rings look great, not varnish or stuck at all. End gap in spec. Cyl walls look good too.At 70.00 per cyl, will probably reuse. Cant see any hung valves and they all move by thumb pressure but will yank them all out to clean, wiggle and perhaps grind or lap as necessary. Happy New Years.

    Now to find a ring compressor that comes apart???

  • zapackm Dec 30, 2008

    Thanks for the link. I checked the std rings there and they show 56.00 per piston. This is about 80.00 bucks less than dealer but still 200.00 I found the end gaps in spec using mm. I don't agree that sitting will cause a ring to lose tension. Overheating perhaps. They are not gummed or sticky at all so I am going to "reload" those babies.

    Might be a few days till I get the valves out, the weather has turned awesome and I must ride!

  • zapackm Mar 01, 2009

    Ok, it took me a while but the Fazer Lives! Machine shop ground the valves and seats. They have a .4 to 1.4mm thick coating of stellite so it should be fine there. The pilot jets could not be cleaned so when I put new ones in (20 instead of 15 due to availability) she fired right up! Compression was check with 3 different gauges. Two snap on and an off brand. Since it runs so good now I believe the 150 psi.

    I was too cheap to shell out 180 for valve shims and measured clearance with old ones, ground and measured and ground and measured the shims to get right gap after the valve job. After a 14 mile test ride I rechecked clearance cold of course and they were still right on!

    Thanks for the assist and support all.



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With compression that low you are in trouble. I'm sorry to say but you are going to need to spend some money to fix the old girl up. A few things to think about first:

  1. How may miles does the bike have on it? Reason being the connecting rods may be of concern. If you spend the money to rebuild the "top end", (pistons, rings, bore, and valve job), you darn sure want to make sure the rods are good.
  2. Think about refreshing the clutch because when the engine is fresh it will most likely slip. This can be a very minor expense, you may need to simply replace the clutch springs.
  3. Consider the condition of the rest of the bike. If it is cherry and you plan on keeping it then it may be worth making the repairs.
  4. You may get away with a nice AN 400 hone job and a new set of rings but I'm confident you are going to need to do a valve job.
  5. These newer bikes use a stellite coated exhaust valve and therefore are not to be ground, if you do you will ruin the valve. So any exhaust valve work means replacement. The exhaust valves will be pricey, they can be anywhere from $11.00 - $30.00 US each. So be prepared.
  6. Before you decide to do all this work find a reputable shop that can do the honing/boring, and the valve job. No sense in starting the job if you cannot find the help you need to complete it correctly.
This information should give you something to think about. Hopefully I have given you enough to consider so you can decide which way you want to go. Personally if you like the bike and it's in good shape, then you can afford to spend another $900.00 and have a cherry running bike. I dont think you can find a bike of that caliber with a "newly rebuilt" engine for that price. So it may be a good investment. I'm a fixer upper guy and I like the older stuff as well.
Good luck and holler if you need more help.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008

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  • Rob Selvy
    Rob Selvy Dec 28, 2008

    The rings may look ok but after sitting and not being used they lose their tension. The ring end gap for that bike should not be more than .026". I'd STRONGLY recommend replacing the rings. You have spent a lot of time taking the old girl down and to put old rings back in is almost a cardinal sin. You wont need a ring compressor actually, if you are careful the cylinder has a taper at the bottom that will help you when you go to slide the jug on. I rarely use one when assembling most engines unless you plan on installing from the top down, which in your case is not wise.
    Don't grind the valves, they are stellite coated and you will ruin them. Do lap them with a very small amount of very fine lapping compound and oil. I'd also recommend replacing the valve guide seals, they get hard and leak after sitting.
    Please keep me posted on how the bike turns out, I'd like to hear you say she runs great!

  • Rob Selvy
    Rob Selvy Dec 30, 2008

    I have a web site for you to go to for your parts. You have been grossly misquoted on the rings, they are only $23.00 a set so you can replace the entire engine for what you were quoted on for one. Just click on the blue link below and it will take you to the site to get all the parts you need and they have all the prices listed on the site as well, it makes it realy nice when you need an idea what your cost will be.

    Piston Rings

    Please let me know how you do with this and also let me know if I can be of any more assistance,

  • Rob Selvy
    Rob Selvy Dec 31, 2008

    My Friend,
    You are looking at the wrong number and price for the rings, they are $22.86 each set. The item number was 6 on the sheet I was looking at. I don't have the time to explain how rings lose their tension and I understand your thinking they will be alright but what do you suppose caused the engine to have no compression? Rings are so cheap compared to what you have done. You have her all the way down and there is no way you will be able to re-install the rings in the exact same place as they were before you broke the ring seal. When the rings seat they do not spin on the piston, for the most part they stay put. They cylinder wears in an oblong pattern as do the rings. You are asking them to reseat to the old pattern with old rings? I'm truly trying to give you some good advice, I have built some of the fastest bikes in the world and I would not try to sell you a bad bill of goods here. I have spent hundreds of hours testing different types of rings for better ring seal and better longevity. Try putting say the top ring in the cylinder and hold it up to the light, I can almost guarantee you will see light at some point between the ring and the cylinder.
    None the less I wish you all the best of luck with your bike and please don't hesitate to ask me if you have any further questions. I'll always be happy to help you.


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If you were able to turn the engine over enough to get a good compression check in every cylinder the Marvel won't help you much. Starting fluid won't help either, with only 5 compression in #1 cylinder the best you could hope for would be running on the other three anyway. You're looking at a rebuild in my opinion. The starting fluid may cause serious detonation and destroy pistons or rods too.

Posted on Dec 26, 2008


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