Month: August 2020

Latest Obsession

I’ve bought a 1988 V twin, shaft drive, naked Honda as my next challenge.

20200821_160238 (2)20200821_160245

The camera flatters it, it’s a bit rusty and the paint isn’t as lovely as the on the pictures.

Apparently it was stood for about 14 years, someone put it back on the road last year, and it’s blown up.

The guy selling it said he thinks it’s dropped a valve into the barrel, whilst running. (Which will have done all kinds of damage to the front pot.)

Here is the one of the front spark plugs. I’m inclined to agree.

20200823_215319

The manual says you can strip the pot with the engine in frame, which is a bonus, but it’s still a huge faff.

Just to move it into the shed (I’ve relegated Nath’s to outside, under plastic) I had to remove the seat, tank, side covers, air filter box, (must get a new air filter) take the radiator covers off, disconnect the radiator hoses from the engine, then remove the radiator.

Once I’d done that I was free to move the bike into the shed and start work.

There was a bunch of other fiddly little jobs that took twice as long as you’d expect, but I got there.

And I’m here.

20200823_175501 (2)

To be honest, that all looks deceptively pristine.

I’ll take the cylinder head off tomorrow. Then it’s all going downhill.

Fun times.

I gave it a go. There’s quite a bit to it, not just unbolt the head and pull it off.

I drained the coolant, then the oil. This came out in the oil.

20200824_200210

It’s not large, but it looks like the stuff of which the engine is made. And nothing metal should be in the oil, especially not that size.  Oh dear.

Then I had to take two 10mm bolts out. I turned the engine over a bit by hand to get at them, but you’ve only got about 3/4 of a revolution then it jams solid.  Oh dear, oh dear.

I can’t revolve it far enough to get a socket on it, to apply my breaker bar or impact driver, to stun it loose. All I could get on was a small 10mm spanner and that was rounding the bolt head. I was very frustrated. It’s simply impossible to access because I can’t revolve it and the frame is in the way.

I was despairing. Beaten at the first hurdle by a 10mm bolt, and a dead engine with metal in it.

I gave up.  As I was putting my tools away I realised the solution was in the statement. I can’t access the bolt because the frame is in the way, so remove the engine from the frame.

I said to Wendy, “if there’s metal in the works I’ll be getting a replacement engine anyway.  Either that or strip it right down…”

As I was saying it I realised I’d lost sight of the goal. I was rushing to get the bike back on the road and ride it. That’s not what this is about. I want to practice and acquire mechanic skills. Stripping the engine completely is perfect for me.

I’m refocusing.

It takes as long as it takes. Better to have a year long project to keep me busy than throw another engine in it and learn nothing.

Start again tomorrow.

Another bout of plague weakness has been slowing me down, but over three sessions I’ve managed to strip the assorted parts off the engine to drop it. It has been a pain, but tonight it finally came out.

Then I was stuck. The frame comes down in two arms, which, if the engine were on the ground, would give you just enough room to wriggle it through the V of the engine. As it was on my trolley jack it wouldn’t fit. In the end I had to get Wendy to move the trolley jack as I lifted the frame off the engine. Well, she tried. The inch she moved it was, oddly, enough. Bless her.

20200827_201249 (2)

So, here we are. I’ve moved the frame out of the shed and covered it in plastic.

I’ll try jacking it up again tomorrow, see if it’s any easier to lift, but if not I may have to strip it, at least partially, on the jack. It weighs a ton. See how it goes.

 

Another thing I’m thinking about is upgrading my shed. This is a great shed, but just not big enough. With the front wheel wedged in the gap between the bench and tool cabinet (shown above) I still couldn’t shut the shed door fully. And I have to step over the front wheel to work on each side of the bike, or swivel over the bike. Then squat awkwardly to work on each side. I undid the wrong bolt twice tonight, because I lost sight of the right one as I stood to get better leverage to break it free.

A new shed is a lot of money and faff but it would make life a lot better, if I’m sticking with this. And there’s the rub. I get mad enthusiasms, then lose interest.

Anyway, progress. Get it cleaned, and stripped. I’m dying to see the devastation under that cylinder head.

 

The good news is: once I’d raised the jack up fully I could keep my back straight and use my legs for the lift. If you think of Caine moving that cauldron at the beginning of Kung Fu, it was like that but more painful.

Kung_Fu

Done though.

20200828_180347

The bad news is that stuck 10mm bolt was a pure pain. I had to drop the engine just for that, but when I did it was too late, the damage was already done, the bolt was rounded. And, I realised after, it took my 10mm socket with it. I’ve had to buy a new one. I spent two days trying to get the bolt out. I couldn’t impact drive it, and it was too rounded to use a spanner, socket or breaker bar on it, I tried to cut a groove in the bolt head and use the impact driver to shock it loose. Nothing. I bought some toughened drill bits and and extractor kit (left handed thread, so as it bites and turns it screws the bolt out) but after two days of trying to drill it I’d only drilled in about 2mm, the extractor couldn’t get a grip. In the end, in desperation I used my angle grinder to grind the bolt head off and yanked the sprocket off. Just to rub salt in the wounds, the remaining bolt came out quite easily with a a pair of mole grips after that.

That was my penultimate ploy. If that hadn’t of worked I had left was to use the angle grinder to saw clean through the cam chain, sprocket and bolt. That would have been awful. For one bolt.

Anyway, with the 10mm out of the way it didn’t take me long to get the head off.

There’s your problem, there mate:

20200829_181217 (2)

The valve has indeed fallen into the cylinder. And punched right through the piston.

20200829_181233 (2)

And smashed my cylinder head in. Like the piston the cylinder head should be smooth.

20200829_181411 (2)

It’s not as easy to see as the piston on that picture, but it is so deeply scored it’s basically scrap metal now.

The valve should look like the black one, top left on the picture above.

Not so much.

20200829_181240 (2)

It’s Sunday today, Bank Holiday Monday tomorrow, so I’m probably going to have to wait until Tuesday, but I’m going to ring and price a rebore/ pistons/ rings for both barrels. That would be my best option, at least I know I’ve got a balanced, good as new set of barrels and pistons.

If it’s a complete rip I can get a used barrel and piston, and just get new rings. Not the best option, but should be sufficient.

I’ve ordered a second hand cylinder head off eBay. It’s still got the valves( / valve springs, retainers) in but nothing else. I’ll read up on how to check the valves and such before I rebuild it, but hopefully that will be a bolt-on replacement.

Now I have to strip the engine right down and clean every bit of metal out of it. I was talking to a professional mechanic I follow on Twitter, and he said “and replace the oil pump, etc” I hadn’t thought of that. They’re not dear, 40 odd quid new, but it hadn’t even occurred to me. That would have been a disaster, rebuild it then the pump starts releasing metal fragments or just seizes.

Another top tip I’ve learned off a different mechanic on Twitter is PlusGas. She said it as a joke reply to me posting the pictures above, but I’ve googled it and it’s the go-to penetrating oil mechanics use to free seized bolts. I’ve lost two bolts already on this job, I’ll have some of that!  Here’s hoping.

Project: NTV600

I’ve bought a 1988 V twin, shaft drive, naked Honda as my next challenge.

20200821_160238 (2)20200821_160245

The camera flatters it, it’s a bit rusty and the paint isn’t as lovely as the on the pictures.

Apparently it was stood for about 14 years, someone put it back on the road last year, and it’s blown up.

The guy selling it said he thinks it’s dropped a valve into the barrel, whilst running. (Which will have done all kinds of damage to the front pot.)

Here is the one of the front spark plugs. I’m inclined to agree.

20200823_215319

After a frustrating day on Nathan’s bike’s electrics I made a start on this today.

The manual says you can strip the pot with the engine in frame, which is a bonus, but it’s still a huge faff.

Just to move it into the shed (I’ve relegated Nath’s to outside, under plastic) I had to remove the seat, tank, side covers, air filter box, (must get a new air filter) take the radiator covers off, disconnect the radiator hoses from the engine, then remove the radiator.

Once I’d done that I was free to move the bike into the shed and start work.

I had to disconnect the carbs and move them out of the way, take off the cylinder head cover, then found out I had to remove the radiator cap assembly just so I could swing the cover out. The other spark plug was wedged in tight. I think it was embedded in the piston. I got it out in the end.

And I’m here.

20200823_175501 (2)

To be honest, that all looks deceptively pristine.

I’ll take the cylinder head off tomorrow. Then it’s all going downhill.

Fun times.

 

I gave it a go. There’s quite a bit to it, not just unbolt the head and pull it off.

I drained the coolant, then the oil. This came out in the oil.

20200824_200210

It’s not large, but it looks like the stuff of which the engine is made. And nothing metal should be in the oil, especially not that size.  Oh dear.

I removed the covers to the crank bolt thing and the inspection cover. In the book it says turn the crank nut anti clockwise until the Top Dead Centre (TDC) mark on the rotor aligns with a notch in the inspection hole.

I turned it around a bit, but you’ve only got about 3/4 of a revolution then it jams solid.  Oh dear, oh dear.

In that space I managed to find the timing lines, so that was good, but the next thing was to turn the crank around until you can take out two bolts. Except I can’t get a full revolution of the crank. I got one 10mm bolt out (really stuck) but it’s really, really hard to get at the other one. I can’t revolve it far enough to get a socket on it, to apply my breaker bar or impact driver, to stun it loose. All I could get on was a small 10mm spanner and that was rounding the bolt head. I was very frustrated. It’s simply impossible to access because I can’t revolve it and the frame is in the way.

I was despairing. Beaten at the first hurdle by a 10mm bolt, and a dead engine with metal in it.

I gave up.  As I was putting my tools away I realised the solution was in the statement. I can’t access the bolt because the frame is in the way, so remove the engine from the frame.

I said to Wendy, “if there’s metal in the works I’ll be getting a replacement engine anyway.  Either that or strip it right down…”

As I was saying it I realised I’d lost sight of the goal. I was rushing to get the bike back on the road and ride it. That’s not what this is about. I want to practice and acquire mechanic skills. Stripping the engine completely is perfect for me.

I’m refocusing.

It takes as long as it takes. Better to have a year long project to keep me busy than throw another engine in it and learn nothing.

Start again tomorrow.

 

Another bout of plague weakness has been slowing me down, but over three sessions I’ve managed to strip the assorted parts off the engine to drop it. It has been a pain, but tonight it finally came out.

Then I was stuck. The frame comes down in two arms, which, if the engine was on the ground, would give you just enough room to wriggle it through the V of the engine. As it was on my trolley jack it wouldn’t fit. In the end I had to get Wendy to move the trolley jack as I lifted the frame off the engine. Well, she tried. The inch she moved it was, oddly, enough. Bless her.

20200827_201249 (2)

So, here we are. I’ve moved the frame out of the shed and covered it in plastic. I’ll pop the rocker box cover back on and give the engine a damn good clean with paraffin. (Don’t know why paraffin, but that’s what it says in the manual) then set about stripping it.

I’ll try jacking it up again tomorrow, see if it’s any easier to lift, but if not I may have to strip it, at least partially, on the jack. It weighs a ton.

See how it goes. If I’m really stuck I can always buy an engine hoist. They’re about £120, but once you’ve got it, it’s there for life.

Another thing I’m thinking about is upgrading my shed. This is a great shed, but just not big enough. With the front wheel wedged in the gap between the bench and tool cabinet (shown above) I still couldn’t shut the shed door fully. And I have to step over the front wheel to work on each side of the bike, or swivel over the bike. Then squat awkwardly to work on each side. I undid the wrong bolt twice tonight, because I lost sight of the right one as I stood to get better leverage to break it free.

A new shed is a lot of money and faff but it would make life a lot better, if I’m sticking with this. And there’s the rub. I get mad enthusiasms, then lose interest.

Anyway, progress. Get it cleaned, and stripped. I’m dying to see the devastation under that cylinder head.

 

The good news is: once I’d raised the jack up fully I could keep my back straight and use my legs for the lift. If you think of Caine moving that cauldron at the beginning of Kung Fu, it was like that but more painful.

Kung_Fu

Done though.

20200828_180347

 

The bad news is that stuck 10mm bolt was a pure pain. I had to drop the engine just for that, but when I did it was too late, the damage was already done, the bolt was rounded. And, I realised after, it took my 10mm socket with it. The socket has been rounded as well. I’ve had to buy a new one. I spent two days trying to get the bolt out. I couldn’t impact drive it, get a spanner, socket or breaker bar on it, I tried to cut a groove in the bolt head and use the impact driver to shock it loose. Nothing. I bought some toughened drill bits and and extractor kit (left handed thread, so as it bites and turns it screws the bolt out) but after two days of trying to drill it I’d drilled in about 2mm, the extractor couldn’t get a grip. In the end, in desperation I used my angle grinder to grind the bolt head off and yanked the sprocket off. Just to rub salt in the wounds, the remaining bolt came out quite easily with a a pair of mole grips after that.

That was my penultimate ploy. If that hadn’t of worked I had left was to use the angle grinder to saw clean through the cam chain, sprocket and bolt. That would have been awful. For one bolt.

Anyway, with the 10mm out of the way it didn’t take me long to get the head off.

There’s your problem, there mate:

20200829_181217 (2)

The valve has indeed fallen into the cylinder. And punched right through the piston.

20200829_181233 (2)

And smashed my cylinder head in. Like the piston the cylinder head should be smooth.

20200829_181411 (2)

It’s not as easy to see as the piston on that picture, but it is so deeply scored it’s basically scrap metal now.

The valve should look like the black one, top left on the picture above.

Not so much.

20200829_181240 (2)

It’s Sunday today, Bank Holiday Monday tomorrow, so I’m probably going to have to wait until Tuesday, but I’m going to ring and price a rebore/ pistons/ rings for both barrels. That would be my best option, at least I know I’ve got a balanced, good as new set of barrels and pistons.

If it’s a complete rip I can get a used barrel and piston, and just get new rings. Not the best option, but should be sufficient.

I’ve ordered a second hand cylinder head off eBay. It’s still got the valves( / valve springs, retainers) in but nothing else. I’ll read up on how to check the valves and such before I rebuild it, but hopefully that will be a bolt-on replacement.

Now I have to strip the engine right down and clean every bit of metal out of it. I was talking to a professional mechanic I follow on Twitter, and he said “and replace the oil pump, etc” I hadn’t thought of that. They’re not dear, 40 odd quid new, but it hadn’t even occurred to me. That would have been a disaster, rebuild it then the pump starts releasing metal fragments or just seizes.

What Just Happened?

This is a weird one.

Out of the blue our Lisa called me to ask a favour. She’d seen the best ever antique chest of drawers for sale on some Facebook sales thing. And it was only a tenner!

The trouble was it was at Buxton (and she’s not confident to drive on motorways) would I drive her there?

Off the top of my head I immediately thought of rush hour traffic around the M60 (Manchester ring road), the queues from Stockport on to the A6, the roadworks on the A6, the crawling traffic unable to overtake the slow lorry or tractor…

Oh dear. But, it’s my sister. And it was something she really wanted. And it was cheap and she’s not got much money.

There was no point in driving her there, I’m the named driver on Wendy’s policy, which I’ve recently found out, means I’m not able to drive other people’s cars third party. So I couldn’t drive Lisa’s car, and if I was going in Wendy’s I might as well go straight there.

I googled it, an hour and five minutes. Ah well, get it done.

Then Lisa text me the postcode. Actually further away, and a longer drive (1.30) but google said I could go M6 south and cut across country at junction 18. Splendid! Heading away from Manc and completely avoiding the A6.

To be fair Lisa did read out the dimensions, which I roughed from metric into English, as about 3’ x 4’ x 2’.

No problem.

The first night I was supposed to be collecting it I was waiting around for hours, the woman selling it had given out Lisa her landline number, then gone out to Stoke for a few hours, so when I tried calling her she didn’t answer as she was out. In Stoke.

That was a bust.

The second night, she was going to be in. I set off. Nice nip down the M6, always a joy, then off at junction 18. I’ve never driven far across country from that junction. It is rally country. Small country lanes, single lanes at some points, blind bends and summits, in the rain. It was a nightmare.

https://youtu.be/E9IR_Drf1Zg

On the bright side, tired as I was, I was pretty damn alert.

I finally got to this huge mansion in the country and rang the number. The woman answered and said to drive in and park in the West Wing, (!) she’d wave to show me where to go.

I parked and went to the house. She answered in her dressing gown and let me in. She said there was no way I was going to get it in to a Mini but she’s show me what she meant. I followed her upstairs.  She explained I wouldn’t be able to lift it as she’d done her back and her fellah wasn’t here.

This was feeling a bit weird. Alone in a house with a woman I’d just met, in her dressing gown.

OK, fair enough.

She said I could take the drawers this time and come back for the rest. It was going to take me several long walks to the car, so while I was doing that she was going for a shower.

What?

Seriously, WHAT?

I’m not a rapist, murderer, burglar, but she didn’t know that. She’d let a random bloke into her house then left me with the run of the house while she went for a shower.

This was definitely weird. Still, crack on.

I was on my second or third trip, alone in this bedroom, when suddenly I heard a bloke come in downstairs, shouting the woman’s name. Presumably thinking I had raped and murdered his missus. She was a few door away from me, in the shower, so couldn’t hear him to reply.

Oh very dear. So not good.

What can you do in that situation except carry on as normal and wait for it all to resolve itself?

I managed to get all the drawers into the car, but that was it, it was totally full.

20200819_181835

I was renting a van anyway on Friday to pick up my next project (more on that in another blog) so I asked if she would hang on to the rest of it and I’d have to do the trip again.

I got home and did the figures. Unfortunately the van place shuts at 16.00 so I was going to be up against the clock the whole day. The only way I could do it was to pick Lisa up (I needed a second man to help me carry the chest of drawers down the stairs, -and chaperone me from mad shower woman-) at 08.00, get there early for the van collection, actually be on the road for the booking time of 08.30, down to Wellingborough, 20 minutes bike collection time, up the M1, across the A50, then up a fairly decent road to this place near Buxton, fly back, drop Lisa and the furniture off, which left me with, at best 50 minutes to drive across town, unload the bike, fuel up and get back to the van place and be inspected by 16.00.

It was going to be tight. And stressful.

Then this evening (Thursday) I got a call off Lisa.

She’d stacked the drawers in the corner where she was planning to have the unit, and, without the frame, they were already too big for the room. And not very nice. And not in great condition. And not what she wanted.

Hahahahahaha. *weeps*

In other news I’m interviewing for the position of ‘sister’, at the moment.

OK, that was a nightmare. A long, weird, pointless waste of time and effort. But on the bright side, tomorrow is now going to be a really relaxed affair. And I don’t have to see mad shower woman again. So, swings and roundabouts.

Later,

Buck.