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If your bike’s engine is on its last legs, it might be time to get a new one.

Or maybe you want to get your hands dirty by doing a complete engine overhaul?

Tune in to discover:

  • What an engine overhaul is
  • The differences between an engine overhaul and an engine replacement
  • 3 common reasons to do an engine overhaul
  • How must it costs


Hello, and welcome to another episode of 30-minute motorcycling – a podcast for those riders who are at the beginning of their own Dual Wheel Journey, where you’ll discover something new about how your motorcycle, moped, or scooter works – in less than 30 minutes.


After your bike’s been running a few thousand kilometers or miles, it might not run like it did when it left the factory. 


And if the repairs aren’t as simple as replacing the air filter or changing the oil, you might have to do something called an “engine overhaul.” 


And if you’re not sure what that is – then this episode is for you, because today, we’re talking about what an engine overhaul is. Not only that, but by the end, you’ll also know 


the differences between an engine overhaul and an engine replacement, 


the 3 signs that you need to do an engine overhaul and how much it costs.


So, what is an engine overhaul?

It goes by many names – “engine rebuild,” “engine refurbishing,” “engine restoration,” and of course “engine overhaul”


No matter what you call it, the goal is always the same – to bring life back into an old engine by replacing all internal parts with brand new ones. 


Yes – all internal parts. 


When you overhaul an engine, every little piece off the old engine apart from the case itself must be replaced – we’re talking gaskets, bolts, and piston rings.


Even the cylinder itself needs to be rebored completely by making a new hole inside the cylinders. 


In the end, if all goes well, you should have a brand new engine that runs like it was just assembled at the factory.


So now that we know what an engine overhaul is, what’s the difference between it and an engine replacement? 


An engine replacement is just what it sounds like – it’s a replacement of the old engine. But unlike an engine overhaul, you don’t replace any of the moving parts. 


Instead, you just take your old engine, remove it, and replace it with a completely new or slightly used one in better condition. 


Apart from loosening a few bolts here and there, you don’t open the engine up at all. 


An engine overhaul also requires more precision tools, like a micrometer to measure the size for the cylinder and a compression tester to test the compression, for example.


But above all, an engine overhaul takes much longer than an engine replacement. 


If you’d like to see what it looks like in real-life, I’ve included a link in the show notes to a YouTube video that shows the complete refurbishing of an old Honda SS50 engine.


So what are the signs that you need to do an engine overhaul?


There are many, but to keep it brief, let’s stick to 3 very common ones. 


The first one is engine knocking sounds. 


If you hear knocking sounds coming from the engine, it might be a sign that the connecting rod is either broken or bent.


And since the connecting rod is attached to the piston head, it will cause an ineffective compression of the fuel/air mixture. 


The second one is a neglected engine – also a common reason to do an engine overhaul. 


Remember how I mentioned earlier that your engine might not run as smoothly after a few thousand kilometers or miles?


Take that with a grain of salt, because a high-mileage engine doesn’t necessarily have to be a poor running engine. 


A neglected engine on the other hand, well, that’s a different can of worms. 


Even if the engine has only technically been running for 200 kilometers, but has been sitting idle most of the time, it can still run poorly.


And last but not least, if your bike is burning through oil quickly or belching out too much smoke, it might mean that the piston rings are worn-out.


And when the piston rings are worn-out, it means two things:

1: There’s no seal between the piston and the combustion chamber, which means that there’s a loss of power

2: There’s oil going into the combustion chamber, which causes excessive exhaust gasses


Finally, let’s talk about the cost of an engine overhaul.


From a financial point of view, it can cost anywhere from $500 to $8,000 – it mostly depends on the engine and how many parts you need to replace. 


Time on the other hand is a much bigger cost – it can take between 8-12 hours in total to overhaul an entire engine. 

And that’s what an engine overhaul is, the differences between an engine overhaul and an engine replacement, 3 common reasons to overhaul an engine, and how much it costs – both in time AND money.


If you’d like to read more, I’ve put a link in the show notes to the full article about this topic on The Dual Wheel Journey.


And as always, I hope you enjoyed listening, and above all, that you learned something new. 


If you have a topic that you’d like me to talk about in a future episode, email me at


Until next time, keep your helmet on and your eyes on the road. Bye!