The Four Fifty - Items filtered by date: June 2013

Cleaner Lines

What is the saying? "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right?" Something like that. So I ended up taking the grinder to the work that I already did for the rear light cluster. I just wasn't happy with it. Too clumsy looking. So with a new combined LED light cluster with license plate holder in my hand (I found it on eBay here), I held it under the seat and saw what needed to be done. Chop chop chop.

M3 Bender by JD SquaredI have some 1" tube on order from Metal Depot, arriving later this week. I'll make a loop around from end to end of the chopped frame; not quite a curve, but not quite super angular either, following the shape of the seat. I did look at a lovely pipe bender by JD Squared, and maybe in the future when I have a full shop I will get one of those. But for the time being I will make do with whatever makeshift bends I can do without the proper tools. I don't need much, just 15-20 degrees, so I can probably do that in the vice with some form made out of wood. It's only 0.060" gauge pipe so should be relatively easy to bed, but also relatively easy to crush. We will see.

Because I cut out the existing top suspension mounts I am going to have to make my own new ones. The originals were just bolts that were welded into a preformed piece of 18ga metal, so I will clean those out and make 4 flat brackets out of 1/8" flat bar, with the correct size hole for the bolts. Weld the bolts in place, then mount them onto the suspension, and make sure everything lines up before welding it all together. They will be almost exactly where they were before, just a lot cleaner looking.

(You will notice in one of the photographs I used the pieces I cut off the frame to support the bike. Conveniently enough they were exactly the right height to maintain the same distance of the swing-arm relative to the frame as with the suspension on.)

Current hours on build: 18.0

...Gallery Loading...




So if you remember during the tear down of Natasha I broke an exhaust header bolt in the engine. I was going to drill it out and re-tap the hole to a larger bolt size, but during my surfing of Amazon looking for the appropriately well made tap to do the job I stumbled upon a company called Time-Sert.

Basically their product allows you to drill out the broken bolt and the existing threads, then recut new threads such that a small steel insert can be screwed in and locked in place. The beauty of this system is that it allows you to retain the original bolt size. I ordered the kit from Amazon (You'll find it here), and was really surprised by the quality of the tools that came, but then again the little kit cost me $67.30; and that covers only one thread size! The tap and correctly sized drill bit are all really good tool steel in a nice little box to hold everything; the instructions are pretty clear and simple. I had this little problem taken care of in about ten minutes. 

Second good thing to happen today was that the parts that I ordered from Dime City Cycles arrived a day early. It was almost like Christmas had come early as I unpacked all the parts and looked at everything that was shiny. I am most pleased with everything that came, especially the tires which are going to look awesome on Natasha. I went with a dual sport design as she is going to be riding on some dirt roads on the island; that super aggressive grip might be a bit noisy on the roads, but come time to go down a slippery gravel driveway, you'll be thanking me for my fortitude. These will also give Natasha a bit of a Mad Max look to her. If you don't know that that means, shame on you! Educate yourself here.

Oh, and the weather here in Canonsburg has been getting unbearably hot. The inside of Misha turning into an oven (>85F), so I went to Lowes and bought a small window AC and installed it on the driver's side. Things are a lot cooler now!

Here is the list of things I ordered:

"The Coveted" Mikuni VM34mm Carburetor -Left Side - (Standard Jetting) 001-030 1 $114.95
"The Coveted" Mikuni VM34mm Carburetor, Right Side - (Standard Jetting) 001-052 1 $114.95
K&N Air Filter Pod - (57mm/2-2/10") 005-636 2 $91.90
The Cafe Racer TV "Everything Old Is Cool Again" Graphic tee - (Black)
CRTV-LRIDER-L 1 $21.95
Kenda K761 Dual Sport Tire - (110/80-18) 28-6153 1 $89.95
Clubman Handlebars - (Chrome) 23-12538 1 $39.95
7" Chrome Classic British Style Headlight Assembly (DOT Approved) 6635-26 1 $74.95
Acewell 2853 Digital Speedometer/Tachometer - (Chrome) 19-2853-CH 1 $209.00
Black Fiberglass Exhaust/Header Wrap - (1" Wide x 50' Roll) 66-0804 1 $49.95
Vintage OEM Style Fork Boots aka: Gaiters 716-1001 1 $19.95
ProGrip Style 717 Grips - (Black w/ Red) 19-7173 1 $14.95
"Retro-Slim" Chrome Eye to Eye Shock Absorbers - (320mm/12.50") 32-0227 1 $97.95
12" "Shorty" Muffler 80-03310 2 $59.90
Mikuni Carburetor Tuning Manual 002-999 1 $13.00
Retro Glass & Chrome Inline Fuel Filter 603514 1 $11.95
UNI UP-123 Push In Crankcase Breather Filter 14-9855 1 $13.95
The Cafe Racer TV "Everything Old Is Cool Again" Text tee
Kenda K761 Dual Sport Tire - (120/80-18) 28-6154 1 $98.95
Subtotal $1,160.10
Shipping & Handling $60.60
Grand Total $1,220.70

Current hours on build: 16.0

...Gallery Loading...



Scrub A Dub Dub

The cleaning of the engine continues, and with that task, my patience is gradually diminishing. There are so many corners and crevices to clean in an air-cooled engine, it feels like I will never be done. For a little instant gratification I took off the heavily rusted cylinder head acorn nuts, picked up the right sized bolt to screw them securely onto, then used a brass wire brush on my drill to give them a good cleaning. Yes, it scratched them to pieces but since I'm going to be spraying the whole cylinder head with high temp black paint (I think anyway, depends on how things start to clean up), the imperfection created by this somewhat brutal cleaning method will be hidden. I also did the same with the starter motor cover. Shiny shiny now.

Secondly, none of my cleaning brushes can fit where I need them most. So a little 'Necessity is the mother of invention' moment later, and a slightly longer trip to Lowes, I came back with some 3/16" brass tubing, some braided wire and a crazy idea. As you can see from the photos, it is a remarkably simple idea, and works none too bad. Yes, the strands of the wire get really messed up after a while from being jammed in between the fins, but you just put the tube back in the vice and pull a new section of wire from the tube and cut off the messy part.

Still a long way to go though.

Current hours on build: 14.5

...Gallery Loading...



Engine Out

So it has actually been months since I worked on Natasha. A combination of being ill for 5 solid weeks and not really having any energy after working 12 hours of tech support everyday has meant that I've not been very productive at all. This is bad news. I should have been finished by now. I should have been riding Natasha back and forth to work in the summer sun. Bad boss.

Anyway, I've finally got back into the workshop and pulled the engine out of the frame. If you remember when I started to dismantle everything I broke an exhaust header bolt in the engine. So I drilled a pilot hole, hammered in an ez-out and tried to extract it. I have to say I was pretty disappointed with the quality of steel of the ez-outs. It started to twist without really that much pressure. I opened the hole out to a larger size and used a larger ez-out but with the same result. I think I'm just going to have to re-tap the hole. Bugger.

Cleaning the engine is both rewarding and frustrating. 32 years worth of oil and grime, as well as a fair about of oxidization of the alumiunium, means that it's going to be a long haul to bring this engine back to something like it was when it rolled off the production line in 1981. I was going to mix up a solution of baking soda and see what I can do about the cooling fins, but I think in reality, with time against me, I am just going to get them clean enough to paint with some high temperature black paint. The side covers I will pull off and polish with the buffing machine, so there will be some shiny bits on there.

Current hours on build: 13.5

...Gallery Loading...


Subscribe to this RSS feed

Rebuilding, restoring, and recycling classic bikes into unique custom-made cafe racers.


Social Links

The Four Fifty

170 John Street

Friday Harbor, WA 98250

United States

(360) 298-2374

Log In or Register