Mechanic Experience 4: Assessinging the Damage – Barranquilla, Colombia

Back at Honda SuperMoto Atlantico (Carrera 43, 67-23) for taking the engine apart and looking for ring / cylinder / valve seal damage. We spend all day at the shop and by the end of it, we’ve got the following results:


1. The valve seals need to be replaced
2. The cylinder needs to be re-bored as it is very scratched.
3. The piston kit will have to be replaced as a result. (Examination
of the piston shows a lot of carbon and dirt build-up on it and – guess
what – a couple of metal cuts from Leonardo’s thread chasing manoeuvre)

4. The bearings supporting the CAM shaft are also worn and need

5. The valves and cylinder head need to be polished down to ensure a
good seal (this is a standard step to combine with such a job I’m told)


This confirms our worst fears:
1. that the we have the worst case scenario
2. that we probably don’t have the spare parts in Colombia and that
3. it will cost a lot of money!

Top-Right of the piston you see metal shavings from the thread chasing at Rivera Motors. Nasty! I believe this could have been responsible for the worst of the cylinder damage…

The gasket kit that I bought in Boa Vista, Brazil just in case I ran into trouble in Venezuela isn’t great either: the head gasket is missing some holes the original has, so it’s useless.

The engine is re-assembled for me to use during the time it takes for us to gather all the needed spare parts and get ready to begin the repairs.


Before we leave, I ask – unbelievably I have to ask! – the mechanic to give me a list of recommended steps going forward. (Another one of these South American traits that I cannot understand: we have a major job to be done, lots of money involved, but people are pay no attention to detail, you have to watch and chase to be sure that things are done and done in the right order.)

The list of recommendations includes:
– Check oil level every 500Km if riding
– Re-bore cylinder and install new piston kit 0.25mm + gaskets
– Install new valve seals
– Transmission is worn

Interestingly, even now after the change to the larger 148 carb jet, the electrode is coloured white, suggesting lean mixture…

He hasn’t included the cam shaft bearings, which he confirms we need after I ask him. (The “attention to detail” part I was talking about…)


The clutch is still slipping but the he tells me the new disks need to wear in. I seem to remember this being the case the last time I changed the friction disks.

The rest of the spare parts we need are not all available in Barranquilla. I spend time chasing up the spares lady to check on her inventory system. The only piston kit in the country seems to be a 0.50mm in Bogota (I knew this already from checking the system myself), but after long deliberation, we ask her to call up the shop directly ( another little pulling-teeth exercise) and she confirms that they no longer have it. We find ourselves with a problem. 30-45 days waiting here is not an option.

Eventually she tells us to speak to that guy in the office over there – his name is Andres and he is the sales manager and apparently head of this franchise. Good.

It’s near closing time and he indicates that he may be able to get the piston kit we need, and have it sent up on Monday on a 2-3day emergency-delivery time, but we’ll have to come back and confirm next week.