Tips on rebuilding chinese happy time engines


Local time
4:11 PM
Jan 22, 2008
Essex, England, UK

Before you disassemble your engine, power-wash the engine and the rest of the vehicle. That will reduce the risk of dirt and debris falling into the engine. Once you remove the cylinder, stuff a clean rag down into the crankcases.

The cylinder and head use alignment pins to hold them straight in position from the crankcases on up. The pins make it difficult to remove the cylinder from the cases and the head from the cylinder. Sometimes the steel alignment pins corrode into the aluminum engine components. Try spraying penetrating-oil down the mounting studs before attempting to remove the cylinder and head. Never use a flat-blade screwdriver, chisel, or metal hammer to remove the cylinder. Instead use this technique; buy a lead-shot plastic mallet, swing it at a 45-degree angle upwards against the sides of the cylinder. Alternate from left to right, hitting the sides of the cylinder to separate it from the cases evenly. Clean the steel alignment pins with steel wool and penetrating-oil. Examine the pins closely. If they are deformed in shape, they won't allow the engine parts to bolt together tightly. This can cause a dangerous air leak or a coolant leak. The pins are cheap at about $2/£1 each. Replace them if they're rusty or deformed.

Never re-use old gaskets. Remove them with a razor blade or gasket scraper. Don't use a drill-driven steel wool type pad to remove old gaskets because they can remove aluminium from the cylinder and head. That will cause a gasket to leak.

Always check the ring end gap on a new ring by placing it in the cylinder between the head gasket surface and the exhaust port. The gap should be between .012 to .024 inches.

Always install the circlips with the opening facing straight up or down, that way inertia will hold it tight into the clip groove. Place one clip in the groove before installing the piston on the connecting rod. Its easier to install a clip with the piston in your hand rather than on the rod. There also less chance that you'll drop the circlip in the crankcases.

Always install the rings on the piston with the markings facing up. Coat the rings with pre-mix oil so they can slide in the groove when trying to install the piston in the cylinder.

Always install the piston on the connecting rod with the arrow on the piston crown facing towards the exhaust port.

The traditional way to assemble the top end is to install the piston assembly on the connecting rod, compress the rings, and slide the cylinder over the piston. That can be difficult with larger bore cylinders, or if you're working by yourself. Try this method instead. Install one circlip in the piston, install the piston into the cylinder with the pin hole exposed, install the piston pin through one side of the piston, position the cylinder over the connecting rod and push the piston pin through until it bottoms against the circlip, install the other circlip. It only takes two hands to install the top end using this manor and there is less chance that you,ll damage the rings by twisting the cylinder upon installation.

On cylinders with reed valves and large oval intake ports, take care when installing the piston assembly in the cylinder because the rings are likely to squeeze out of the ring grooves. Use a flat-blade screwdriver to gently push the rings back in the grooves so the piston assembly can pass by the intake port.

For steel head gaskets, place the round side of the "bump" facing up. Don't use liquid gasket sealer, use aerosol spray adhesive types instead. For hybrid fibre/steel ring head gaskets, place the wide side of the steel rings facing down.

When you initially start the engine after a rebuild, manipulate the choke to keep the engine rpm relatively low. Once the engine is warm enough to take it off choke, drive the vehicle around on flat hard ground. Keep it under 2/3 throttle for the first 30 minutes. Two common myths for proper engine break-in are:

Set the engine at a fast idle, stationary on a stand.

Add extra pre-mix oil to the fuel. When the engine is on a stand it doesn't have any air passing through the radiator and it is in danger of running too hot. When you add extra oil to the fuel you are effectively leaning the carb jetting. This can make the engine run hotter and seize.

I didnt write it, found it on the internet could be useful, hopefully stop you making expensives mistakes!

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when replacing bushing what do you use to "press" the bushing in?

You simply put bushing on top of connecting rod hole and then use a c-clamp to squash the thing in?

Also, you press bushing in while pin is inside or can you insert pin after pressing bushing?
A simple way to press bushings in, If there's enough room, is a long grade-8 bolt, nut, and 4 fender washers (2 on each end) and careful constant pressure.

like so... -nut+washer+washer+Bushing+hole+washer+washer+bolthead

Simply tighten the nut & bolt, to draw the new bushing into the hole. the washers will provide a solid surface to press against both the bushing & hole, while also keeping the bolt & nut movable. (and away from the bushing, so it won't get scored)

NEVER use the new bushing to press the old bushing out. drive out the old bushing with a slightly larger bolt. (but be careful not to score the hole it's coming out of.)

I've used the nut & bolt press on lots of things, from small engines, to even seeing used to insert spring bushings on the buses at work,

Stephen (gelfling6)