Gouging the cylinder head - salvageable? Cam question as well


Been Around the Block
So i'm refreshing an 82 virago 920 and, because i'm an idiot, gouged the cylinder head while pulling out a stuck dowel pin. You can see the outline of where the circular head gasket sits...right on the largest of the gouges.

Is this thing salvageable or should I just order a used one off ebay for < $100?

Also, the cam lobes are measuring just at or just a hair under the wear limits. The lobes also look pretty worn to my untrained eyes. It doesn't seem like I can find new cams anywhere though, should I just get over it and ride?




Over 1,000 Posts
That's what I was thinking about the cams. Now I wonder where the heck I can get replacement cams for an 82 virago 920!?
Patient haunting of ebay (set several watches) and putting your location in your profile would be my advise. Meanwhile, move forward on other things.


Over 10,000 Posts
PIDJones is correct, that cam is past its Use By date. See if megacycle have a replacement cam for that motor. Won't be as cheap as a used ebay cam but could put more pep in her step.

For the head, it's not bad but I would try to clean that up a little. I use and very flat surface and a a sheet of say 320 grit wetted out with WD40 to keep the paper from clogging. Use an even pressure and try to avoid teh head rocking or lifting as you clean the face up. It should be enough to get is to seal.


Been Around the Block
You can have the cam lobes resurfaced Ive had it done and it looks brand new..Can cost more than a 2nd hand cam but if you cant find one its an option..


Therapy is expensive. Riding is cheap. You decide.
You could have that head skimmed at a machine shop for around $80-$100, I used to do them all the time when I was machining. Just be sure to have them record how much they take off so you can make up the difference with a thicker gasket for timing purposes.

However, I agree with the others... cam is toasted. You could maybe find someone to resurface it at a speed shop, but it would definitely be $$$.


Been Around the Block
I will fall back on my usual suggestion, since you are planning to have a 40+ year old bike that you would like to ride, get another one to se as a parts/ reference bike. It is way easier to have old unobtanium parts close to hand. I see old Virago parts bikes on craigslist and marketplace for < $300 all the time.
As bad as that cam is, what is the condition of the other cam and the rockers and valve stem tips? I suspect there has been an oiling issue at some point in that poor bikes life, probably neglect with old oil and too low.


Been Around the Block
Thanks for the replies everyone. I appreciate the direction and advice.

I ended up just grabbing another head off ebay for $40. I just don't want, after painting and rebuilding and everything, to have a head gasket leak and have to drop the engine again. Not worth the risk for me when it's only 40 bucks.

As far as the Cams go....megacycle will only grind my cams with one of their hot grinds, they won't return it to stock or send me rebuilt ones. The cost of their mildest grind is $500 and they suggest a spring kit with that. I think i'm going to send them in to Delta Cam in Washington state and have them regrind/weld as needed for half that price.

The rocker pads look good with no visible pitting or gouging.

I haven't pulled the valves yet to inspect, but as long as the lips aren't too pitted the plan is to just lap them and call it a day.

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