Friday 28 June 2019

Everyday TR1 - carb work and paint

This post is about a lot of things going (rather dramatically) sideways on the old Everyday TR1. This is a story about (new) leaking carbs and paint that tries to fall off more than once. And once it finally stuck on, the petcocks decided to leak and dissolve the paint around them.

Mikuni TM38s over the years have undergone quite some iterations in their design. As it turns out, the newer style floats (left and middle) only offer more buoyancy for as long as they don't fill up with petrol and then are better described as sinks than floats. The older design (on the right) is of rather elegant simplicity and is a direct swap. Only downside: They will fall out of the carb, if you don't turn it upside down, when removing the float chamber.

Older versions used longer studs with o-rings on the end to prevent the floats from falling out, but that is a rather bearable price to pay. Talking about price: They are also substantially cheaper and readily available.

Next, I finally got my wideband lambda (afr) gauge working and instantly put it to good use on the TR1. (It will really shine on the XS-Triple to iron out the last niggles on that, but testing it against a known quantity was meant to give me some rough insights in how (well) it would work).

That's 11.3:1 at idle, which correlates perfectly with my observations: a tad too rich down low and pretty much spot on from the middle upwards.

And then there was a certain someone's brilliant idea to "quickly" repaint the metal bits and make a new rear mudguard. The latter worked just fine, but the paint... different story.

It all started so well...

If you look closely you will undeniable notice quite a few scratches on the new tank. That's because it decided to jump off its painting hook. 

The really annoying part came, when it turned out, that one batch of the clear coat had somehow become chemically incompatible with the paint and started dissolving the affore-mentioned.

Heat gun and scraper: actually works a treat. It made a huge mess, but it was all cleaned up again in about an hour or so. 

The rear mudguard then went on without any notable hickups and looks fabby the way it is. Also if someone is looking for inspiration: The usage of an old (and somewhat hardened) breather tube and R-clamps to route the cable of the rear light on the inside of the guard is to be highly recommended.

Then I decided to make some fresh gaskets to go between petcocks and tank and that's where trouble started again. I specifically used some thicker rubber, thinking that it would seal better than my normal recycled motorcycle innertubes.

Well the next morning I was in for a bit of a fix-it-in-the-morning-before-going-to-work workshop session...

The leakage in itself was bad enough, but after draining the fuel from the tank – I had of course filled the old girl up good and proper...

... the fuel had dissolved the paint. 

More by chance than by perfect planning, I had bought a set of (used) XVS650 petcocks a while ago, only to find that (for my application) the spouts were pointing in the wrong direction. Still, I decided it would be better than nothing.

As is rather apparent in the picture below, this petcock was leaking as well. Luckily this time it was only, because all the gaskets had shrunk quite a bit. Still some rather rude words might have been uttered in my workshop...

A couple hours later the o-rings had swollen back to their regular size and all is well again. Plus there's new filters and fuel lines on the bike.

Next stop: Time to get the exhaust on the XS-Triple built.

Friday 21 June 2019

The Dre-XT-Stück - gettin' all stiff

... handlebar mounts. The old girl has come a long way, but the stock handlebar rubbers have somewhere along the way decided to go soft again. Which sounds nice, but actually isn't when you move the bars and it feels as if you first have to call your front-wheel and then politely ask it to turn too.

So a set of solid handlebar bushings was called for. Unlike on the sidecar I didn't make them myself this time as I found a dealer, where proper POM stuff was actually cheaper than my raw-material.

Straight from the special parts bin (i.e. trash), came this one piece handlebar-clamp, which originally sported some sort of eagle and pitted chrome.

No matter of normal levels of brute force or heat or a combination of both had the original handlebar bushings move even by the slightest fraction of an inch. It wasn't this happy anymore after it met Mr. sawblade.

Testfitment, but that chrome is just too chromy. Sand it down a bit more, pre-heat it a bit with a heat gun and then blast it with some paint.

The verdict: is it a huge difference? Heck yeah. Especially with a 30mm raise of the bars, it's as comfortable as a hot bathtub in Winter. My hands fall onto the grips all naturally. Next steps on the old Dre-XT-Stück will be a 600 engine as the current 500 4-valve proofed to have a bit too much appetite for oil when pushed and I have to modify the pannier rack that came with the bike to be ready for whatever I want to throw at it.

Friday 14 June 2019

The XS Triple Sidecar - an extensive Spring cleanup

One might be under the impression that in the last 4 months nothing happened to the XS Triple sidecar, but in reality quite the contrary was the case.

First on the list was some electrical problems, which originally started with a burned out alternator and shortly after the reg/rect unit gave in and only worked on first two and then a single phase, which made it weirdly difficult to troubleshoot as the voltage was going up, but it didn't really push out a lot of current.

As I wanted to fix this as quickly as possible, I picked up a very cheap r/r unit, which had a burnt plug. (I also ordered a new one from China, to have a good spare for the future.) After a quick test on the bike it proved to be working, so next was to replace the molten 6-pin connector. Unfortunately this isn't anything unusual, normally coming from a combination of dirty connectors, which are loose on their counterparts.

The thing that I somewhat worried the most about, was the fact that the r/r unit sits on the bottom of the battery tray, which not only is a lot of work to get to, I was absolutely sure nobody had touch those bolts in QUITE a few years.

To my great surprise they came out fairly easily and after a few rust-touch ups everything went together.

And then finally, the bike is charging as it should, pumping out a healthy 14V at idle into a rather empty battery. From here onwards the charging side of things hasn't given me any more headache since Spring (yet). 

Next step was to clean off the protective grease and get her ready for the annual road-worthyness inspection. And a dirty girl she was.

(This level of shinyness is most likely unhealthy, at the very least it feels rather odd to me... Still nice to see that the protective grease did its job.)

Still the bike wasn't exactly performing to the fullest. Hanging idle, not starting up very well at times, sometimes backfiring like it was going out of style.

There were two reasons, another coil had rather quietly left the scene and decided to die and the other was the fact that after an unknown mileage the bob-weights of the ignition advancer had worn itself out so far that the ignition advance was wandering around at least 3-4 degrees at idle.

If that ain't a weak spark, I don't know what is.

The solution to the second problem came on the very last models of the XS Triple and was only available in the states in 1983 or 84. A fully electronic ignition with no moving parts that can wear out. 

Unfornately the slot on the rotor was seriously mangled, so it had to be welded up and then filed back to the stock size. 

Just for comparision that's the first version of the electronic ignition with the mechanical advancer.

Nothing improves reliability like a fresh coat of paint. (And a front mudguard that doesn't rub on the front tyre...)


When swapping tyres for the roadworthyness-inspection, I discovered a slightly odd looking rear shock...

So a "new" set of Konis was procured, but they needed some modifications to prevent this from happening. (Who knew that the correct Konis had a bushing in the right lower shock mount as there's a smaller diameter bolt going through...)

Aside from a new set of needles and subsequent multiple attempts at re-jetting this is pretty much what happened to the old girl.  A new set of SE-clocks and upper triples, a new exhaust and some more patching up on the sidecar is still due, but other than that it seems like we're in good shape by now. (Also I may try to officially get the sidecar brake removed from the paper-work as it just an incredibly heavy anchor that is insanely overpowered considering that I mostly ride around alone.)