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Need opinion on head shaving and port polishing

This is a discussion on Need opinion on head shaving and port polishing within the Mean Streak Performance Upgrades forums, part of the Kawasaki Mean Streak category; I am hoping someone can give me an insight on these engine works. I was talking to a local performance shop about getting more HP ...

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  1. #1
    Up-And Comer Key Man's Avatar
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    Need opinion on head shaving and port polishing

    I am hoping someone can give me an insight on these engine works. I was talking to a local performance shop about getting more HP out of my 1500MS. I had the big three done already. the shop suggested the big bore kit , but I said that would reduce my range, it is short enough as it is and it is more than what I want to spend at this time. They suggested shaving the head to increase the compression to around 10.5:1, and polish the port to get better air flow. They said I should get 10% more HP and probably better gas mileage after the work is done. BTW , he said something about tunning or adjusting the cam to a more exacting degrees too. It was beyond my comprehension.

    Anyone can tell me the pros and cons of his suggestions? Thank you in advance for the education.
    2002 Mean Streak 1500,
    I call it Blue Gypsy
    V & H Straight Shot
    Kuryakyn Hypercharger
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  3. #2
    Site Elder DreamStreak's Avatar
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    The only bad thing about porting the heads is it isn't cheap either. If you can't pull the motor yourself, you'll have to pay for that labor anyways. In terms of bang for the buck, you'll get more hp from porting the heads and changing the cams than from installing the big bore kit. The thing is, you'll want some compression to compliment the other mods that increase power in a higher rpm range. You can increase compression by shaving the heads, but I can't see them shaving enough material off the heads to give you a 10.5:1 ratio. They'd have to remove enough combustion chamber material to equal the amount taken out of the piston's "dish". Even if it is possible to take that material out, you could still have clearance issues between the piston and valves when trying a better cam. Shaving the heads could also cause issues with the intake manifold lining up. If you are worried about range at all, i'd think twice about doing anything that would make you regret the extra power. If you don't mind getting an average of about 35mpg, then I would suggest doing the mods in stages. Porting the heads is going to cost about the same as installing the big bore kit unless you do the work yourself, so go ahead and do the big bore kit first with Thunder cams and later on when you can afford it, you'll just have to pull the heads off and have them ported. You also won't have to worry about any misalignment of intake manifold or piston to valve clearance as these kits are made to work without shaving the heads. Just my 2 cents.
    2006 Mean Streak
    Muzzy Big Bore Kit
    Thunder Cams
    Heads Ported by Me
    Intake Ported by Thunder Manufacturing
    PCIII-Custom Map
    Forcewinder Air Intake
    Muzzy 2 into 1 Megaphone Exhaust
    Reed Valve Block Off Plates
    Mustang Seat, Fender Bib, & Tank Bib
    Jardine Forward Controls with mini floorboards
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  4. #3
    Supreme Being Streaker's Avatar
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    I was thinking of possibly going with a Big Bore kit but after seeing everybody that has done it have so many problems along the way I am staying Far Far away from that.
    2006 Mean Streak

    http://www.meancycles.com/owners2/ho...0&OwnerID=1837

    List of Mods
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  5. #4
    Site Elder DreamStreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streaker View Post
    I was thinking of possibly going with a Big Bore kit but after seeing everybody that has done it have so many problems along the way I am staying Far Far away from that.
    Who had problems besides Abneya? I've actually heard of very few problems with the big bore kit and mine is running strong after 3,000 miles.
    2006 Mean Streak
    Muzzy Big Bore Kit
    Thunder Cams
    Heads Ported by Me
    Intake Ported by Thunder Manufacturing
    PCIII-Custom Map
    Forcewinder Air Intake
    Muzzy 2 into 1 Megaphone Exhaust
    Reed Valve Block Off Plates
    Mustang Seat, Fender Bib, & Tank Bib
    Jardine Forward Controls with mini floorboards
    Kuryakyn ISO Grips with Stilletto ends

  6. #5
    Up-And Comer Key Man's Avatar
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    Dreamstreak, thank you for the insight. I was afraid no one took me seriously. The shop I am dealing with is reputable, but they do performance improvement mostly on sport bikes like Ducatis, very few cruisers. I personally do not even have the ability to remove the gas tank, let alone the engine. You are right about shaving the head, it sounds a lot more involved than I am comfortable with at this time.

    I don't want to spend my money on the big bore kit just yet. It is over a $1000 plus about another $1000 for labour. It probably will cause $3000 before the smoke clears, eg. redyno, adjustment etc. I really would like to see first what Kawasaki will come out with for the next generation of Mean Streak , possibly in 2010. It seems like most of the cruiser manufacturers are increasing not only the displacement, but compression as well. which means more horsepower and efficiency. of course, belt drive and 6 speed is on the menu too.

    I like the way my MS handles, if Kawi comes out with a new MS with the same handling, 1700CC , 6 speed, belt drive to cut down the weight, 100HP and 100ft/lb. I'll trade mine in tomorrow.

    Meanwhile, I am willing to throw in $1000 for labour to do some the port work etc. for this winter. We store and work our bikes in the winter here in Canada, our riding season is only 7 months max. Did you say I get the biggest bang for the buck with porting and new cam? what about just porting, will that make a significant improvement?

    Dreamstreak and Streaker, sorry for rambling on, I have just finished cruising the new Kawi web site and motorcycle.com. I really appreciate both of your comments.
    2002 Mean Streak 1500,
    I call it Blue Gypsy
    V & H Straight Shot
    Kuryakyn Hypercharger
    PC III USB, Dyno mapped
    Pop Top Memphis Shade
    Cobra freeway bar
    Meanmachinist risers
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    Metzeler Z4

  7. #6
    Supreme Being Tom_E's Avatar
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    Porting, by someone who has done dyno and flowbench work with the motor you have, is definitely a good thing. To really get it's benefit you need cams with enough lift to take advantage of the airflow. Higher lift, (usually) longer duration cams will reduce your cranking pressure so you need more compression to get it back. As far as "shaving the heads", usually you cut the barrels to set the piston to head clearance on heads with squish bands. Cut very much and you end up with manifold aligment problems and the cams need degreed. But they should be degreed anyway. It's a chain with a lot of links.

  8. #7
    Up-And Comer Key Man's Avatar
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    Huhh, lots links in the chain is right. Sounds doable though. I now know a lot more about what the guy at the performance shop was talking about than a week ago. Thanks guys.
    2002 Mean Streak 1500,
    I call it Blue Gypsy
    V & H Straight Shot
    Kuryakyn Hypercharger
    PC III USB, Dyno mapped
    Pop Top Memphis Shade
    Cobra freeway bar
    Meanmachinist risers
    Hot Grips
    Metzeler Z4

  9. #8
    Supreme Being troop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Streaker View Post
    I was thinking of possibly going with a Big Bore kit but after seeing everybody that has done it have so many problems along the way I am staying Far Far away from that.
    Have to agree with Dream here. Monitoring here/VROC, I see very few problems, especially with the basic big bore kit. Many owners at VROC have just installed the basic Thunder kit and have been very happy with the end results. I have a very knowledgable tech ready to do the work but I have a lack of funds My OT has been down this year and I just can't come up with the cash for parts/labor as I lack both knowledge/equipment to do this project myself. What little $$ I saved has gone to Jardine forwards/HotBox. I will start saving again shortly for 13 months from now. Problem is, a new Voyager will probably be whispering my name. We'll see.....
    ** Gone But Never Forgotten **
    2005 magna red with candy blue/marbled flames
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    *Now a H-D bagger owner with a 103"/cams/head work build in progress *







    See more at : www.cruisercustomizing.com/troop

  10. #9
    Rising Star meanmachinist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by troop View Post
    My OT has been down this year and I just can't come up with the cash for parts/labor as I lack both knowledge/equipment to do this project myself. I will start saving again shortly for 13 months from now. Problem is, a new Voyager will probably be whispering my name. We'll see.....
    I'm with you on this. No OT all year til now means no big bore kit for Christmas for me. The bad part is that my engine is coming out anyway because it sounds like a deisel when you roll on the throttle. Over reving is bad on the hydraulic lifters. Wanted to get it all done at once but it's not looking that way. Also with you on the Voyager, especially the black and silver paint. Remove the tour pack, trim the windshield down to about 3-4 inches and you've got the closest thing to a metric street glide that I've seen. Would be nice to have for the really long trips. The wife is even cool with it, as long as I don't get rid of the MS. She likes it too much to allow me to get rid of it. What a good woman I have.
    2003 mean streak
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    also on:
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  11. #10
    Supreme Being Szamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by troop View Post
    Have to agree with Dream here. Monitoring here/VROC, I see very few problems, especially with the basic big bore kit. Many owners at VROC have just installed the basic Thunder kit and have been very happy with the end results. I have a very knowledgable tech ready to do the work but I have a lack of funds My OT has been down this year and I just can't come up with the cash for parts/labor as I lack both knowledge/equipment to do this project myself. What little $$ I saved has gone to Jardine forwards/HotBox. I will start saving again shortly for 13 months from now. Problem is, a new Voyager will probably be whispering my name. We'll see.....
    I am with you troop. I was going to do the big bore kit this winter but my house up in Jersey is still up for sale but Uncle Sam made me move to VA and I brought my family with me. I hope this economic bailout allows someone to buy my house so that I can get back to the normal life again. But for now all mods are stopping.
    2003 1500 Mean Streak
    Honda Blue/Lamborghini Orange Custom Paint, Kuryakyn Pro Series Hypercharger, Chrome Horn/radiator cover, Bub Jug Huggers Exhaust, Power Commander, 12" 412 HD Progressive Shocks, Engine Ice, Kuryakyn Turn Signal Mirrors, Kuryakyn Inspection Plate, Kuryakyn Iso Grips, Demon Cycles 1.5 inch bars with 8" rise, Cobra II Headlight, Chrome Cable Covers, Reed Valve Block off Plates, Danny Gray High End Raven Flame Seat, Kewl Metal Fat Fork Kit, Cobra License Plate Kit, Chrome Levers, Dakota Digital Gauge, Rectifier relocation bracket below radiator, Hot box, Mapam Forward Controls, Avon Storm 200 rear/120 front, meanmachinist risers, Stainless Steel Lines, chrome switch housings
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  12. #11
    Site Elder DreamStreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Key Man View Post
    Did you say I get the biggest bang for the buck with porting and new cam? what about just porting, will that make a significant improvement?
    Absolutely. The engine displacement isn't going to change enough that you will see a big difference in power. The head porting alone will make a big difference in power, but as Tom said, all these mods build off of one another. It's the combination of components and how they work together that will make good, useable power. So, you can increase the displacement and you'll need the capability of pulling in more air to feed it. You can add more air by porting the heads, but you'll need cams to compliment the added air flow (typically raising the power band). Once you add cams, you'll bleed off cylinder pressure and that is where raising the compression will suppliment that bleed off.
    2006 Mean Streak
    Muzzy Big Bore Kit
    Thunder Cams
    Heads Ported by Me
    Intake Ported by Thunder Manufacturing
    PCIII-Custom Map
    Forcewinder Air Intake
    Muzzy 2 into 1 Megaphone Exhaust
    Reed Valve Block Off Plates
    Mustang Seat, Fender Bib, & Tank Bib
    Jardine Forward Controls with mini floorboards
    Kuryakyn ISO Grips with Stilletto ends

  13. #12
    Up-And Comer Key Man's Avatar
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    I am beginning to see what I have to do or at least ask the shop to do. Let's hope it is within my budget.

    Dreamstreak, does the piston in the big bore kit designed to increase the compression? if so, do you know by how much?
    Last edited by Key Man; 09-28-08 at 08:41 PM.
    2002 Mean Streak 1500,
    I call it Blue Gypsy
    V & H Straight Shot
    Kuryakyn Hypercharger
    PC III USB, Dyno mapped
    Pop Top Memphis Shade
    Cobra freeway bar
    Meanmachinist risers
    Hot Grips
    Metzeler Z4

  14. #13
    Up-And Comer nightdragon's Avatar
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    I am convinced that these engines are not at all lacking in displacement. There certainly are other bikes with smaller bores that outperform the Meanie. Headswork and cam I'd bet are the biggest bang of any engine mod. You can bore it out but if the heads need to flow better and the valves and cam are too small, more displacement will amount to very little, if not take you backwards.

    Looking at similar bikes with more power, what seems evident from the outside (numbers on a spec sheet) is compresion ratio. Isn't the Warrior something like 11:1 and the Meanie is 9.5:1.

  15. #14
    Up-And Comer nightdragon's Avatar
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    I've also noticed that a lot of numbers out there are engine and not rear wheel numbers. The posted numbers out there (stock bike) are more than some of your Dyno numbers after mods. I wonder how many other bikes have incrrect numbers. Seems like some list rear wheel and some list motor and many charts listed for comparison are all together.

  16. #15
    Site Elder DreamStreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Key Man View Post
    I am beginning to see what I have to do or at least ask the shop to do. Let's hope it is within my budget.

    Dreamstreak, does the piston in the big bore kit designed to increase the compression? if so, do you know by how much?
    Yes, the big bore kit does increase compression. It is a flat top piston instead of a dished piston. There are primarily 2 kits available, Thunder's and Muzzy's. The Muzzy piston is 1/16" bigger than Thunder's which makes the compression a tad lower, but what i've been told is that both kits yeild about 10.5:1 and a stock meanie is 9.0:1. It is a big enough difference that you can kiss 87 octane gas goodbye, which I ran almost all the time before the kit.
    2006 Mean Streak
    Muzzy Big Bore Kit
    Thunder Cams
    Heads Ported by Me
    Intake Ported by Thunder Manufacturing
    PCIII-Custom Map
    Forcewinder Air Intake
    Muzzy 2 into 1 Megaphone Exhaust
    Reed Valve Block Off Plates
    Mustang Seat, Fender Bib, & Tank Bib
    Jardine Forward Controls with mini floorboards
    Kuryakyn ISO Grips with Stilletto ends

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