Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Disappointing String of Setbacks

Last Sunday was not a good day for the Suzuki GS 425L project.  There weren’t any major setbacks but just little ones, some silly mistakes that If I had thought more about it before doing I would have never made in the first place.  Sometimes those are the most frustrating ones, when you don’t have anyone to blame but yourself.
The day started off with optimism; I had gotten the o-rings I needed for the carbs’ emulsifier tubes so I set about checking the putting the new o-rings on and reassembling the left carb and disassembling the right carb.  I was still amazed at how the littlest thing can bring a project to a stop.

After I disassembled the right carb I double checked all the passages for good flow and checked the gasket on the emulsifier tube on the right carb which did need to be replaced, good thing I ordered two.

Now here is where I make the first mistake, the starter feed tube and jet (circled below) came out pretty easily on the left carb but the right one was really hard to get out.

It turns out that there is a very good reason that it was hard to get out; THEY AREN’T SUPPOSED TO COME OUT!  Long story short, I damaged the starter feed tube and jet and now I will have to get a new carb or set of carbs since they don’t sell replacement starter feed tube and jets because THEY AREN’T SUPPOSED TO COME OUT!

What sucks about that is that they will inevitably have to be used carbs with will have to be went through and cleaned all over again.  These are the times in projects where you have to show some fortitude and keep pushing forward even though you are starting to feel a little beat down.  So, soldiering on I put the carbs aside again and decided that I would clean out the drive sprocket cover and try and use the EZ-Out I had bought to get some of the stuck bolts out from the engine case.

Some parts of a project aren’t; all that glamorous, this would be one of them, just a sticky, greasy, filthy mess.  I got the inside of the cover pretty well cleaned up and successfully  removed 2 of the three stuck bolts I was cruising and then BAM.

EZ-Out not so easy… at that point I was done for the day, I am not sure what the next step is going to be considering that not only is the bolt still stuck but there is now even harder tool steel stick in the middle of it.  I will have to call in a favor (which the quantity I have left are dwindling) from my machinist buddy to try and get that thing out.  That is the clutch cover bolt if you were wondering.
I’ll have some free time this weekend and more free time coming up over the next few weeks so hopefully I will have more steps forward to share next time around!
Thanks (as always) for reading!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Front Fender Reinstalled New Seat Acquired

As I mentioned previously after getting the lower bars on the bike, the seat was becoming more and more of an eyesore, so this last Wednsday I went out to the local motorcycle salvage yard and found myself a new seat.  They had a large cache of old cycle seats up in a dimly lit attic in their “warehouse.”  After some searching I was able to find the above number and it was exactly what I had in mind!  I wanted one the long flat seats that some of the more sporting Suzukis of the period had.  This one as far as I can tell is off a Suzuki GT185, probably a 1975 model judging by the pictures I have looked at on the web, and while it wasn’t a requirement, the fact that it has the “Suzuki” on the back of the seat is pretty cool.

The seat itself was not labeled when I found it so all I knew for sure was that it was about the same size seat pan (I brought the old one with) and that the rubber mounts on the seat pan that ride on the frame rails were approximately the same place as the stock “king and queen” seat.
The mounts however were not the same, the hinges and the locking mechanism is mirrored in respect to the old seat so in the pictures the seat is just set on the frame so I could get an idea of what it will look like.

I will have to either take the mounting brackets off the stock seat (thus making the old seat useless) or make up some custom brackets to fit the new seat to mount it on the bike.  I am leaning towards the making up custom mounts for the new seat, even though I don’t see why anyone would want a “king and queen” seat maybe someone else could use it.
I did remove the grab bar and the turn signals off the back, the grab bar will most likely not go back on but I will have to make spacers the same thickness as the pint where the bar grab bar went to the shocks in the back as  I want to keep the rear shocks aligned.  The turn signals as well as the front ones are going to a friend’s place to have the stalks shortened.  The bike does seem a lot slimmer and a lot more sporting with the new seat which was the goal.

I couldn’t be happier with the seat purchase it didn’t look too pretty when it found it in the attic at the bone yard but a little Armor All and it looks practically brand new!
I also finally got the right bolts to put the front fender back on the bike.  It’s not the prettiest but with such skinny fork legs the forks need to be joined together for strength and stability.  As I spend more time with the bike I will think about how I want to trim the render as it doesn’t need to be so big.  I will probably take the bulk off of the front as that is not all that necessary, but I have to think about how much I want to leave on the rear.  I don’t want stuff being slung up from the road onto the engine.

The fender is a close fit for the tire, probably only 1/16 of an inch clearance, I will have to look into that and make adjustments if necessary for safety before it heads out on the road.
Speaking of heading out on the road, yesterday I finally got the replacement o-rings for the emulsifier tubes on the carbs so that project can be brought back to the front burner and after that I still have to clean up the chain and clean out the drive sprocket area and cover, as well as remove some stuck bolts for the drive sprocket cover!  I am 3 days into my 7 12 hour shifts in a row stint so it will be a bit before I get to any substantial work but there is lots to do so stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Front Inner Tube Inserted and New Handlebars Installed

This Tuesday I decided to ignore the mess I found in the drive sprocket “compartment” for the time being and to continue on with the initial project I set out on doing;  Removing the tubeless kit from the front and rear tires and converting back to tubes in the front and rear wheels.  I should probably talk about why I would do this a little more.  First off when I first got the bike I was attempting to put air in the tire with my bike pump (all I have at my house) and the Schrader valve wouldn’t engage the pump enough to press the little valve release in the valve to let air flow into the tire.  So I removed the retaining nut (not understanding at the time that the cast rimes were not tubeless rims) and almost lost the Schrader valve assembly into the tire and all the air came out at once.  Honestly I don’t see a huge advantage with the tubeless conversion if you have a problem with the valve assembly you are basically effed anyhow where if you have tubes in there you could conceivably carry a patch kit or a spare tube and provided you have the right tools (or are as industrious as myself as you will see in the video) you could do a roadside repair.

With my reasoning explained a little better I’ll let you watch the video I made, fair warning it is about 15 minutes long and that is with me cutting out a lot of the struggling and fighting I did.  I hope that I was able to capture the process pretty well still though.

In the pic (Below) you can see the setup I used to support the bike when I removed the front tire. I actually pulled the front wheel without the stands there and used one hand to lower the forks to the ground and then lifted the front to place the jack stands underneath each fork leg.  It’d not too heavy to lift with the bike being near balanced on the center stand.

After it is all said and done about an hour’s work to put a tube in the front tire.

There’s plenty of pics around the blog of the bike with it’s bullhorn handlebars but as I was disassembling I thought I’d take one more for reference.

The main reason that I decided against going with a set of clubman bars or clip-on bars was that if this bike was going to be a daily commuter it would be nice to still be upright and have a lot of leverage.  Clubman bars cost a lot more than MX bars and can potentially dent your tank if you have the wrong kind.  And not only would clubman or clip-on handlebars cost more, they would have forced me into designing rear-sets for the bike to keep the riding position comfortable.  This bike isn’t really foing to fit the cafĂ© racer stereotype so I figured I’d go with something that has a little more utility and in my opinion looks pretty badass.

As you can see the overall height of the bars has dropped significantly, also there is a lot of excess wire, cables and brake line in the mix now; yet another side project spawned by the parent project.  In the above pic, I really like how slender the bike looks, but those Popsicle stick turn signals really mess up that look.  I think I will enlist my nackinist friend in shortening those stalks down so that the signal lenses are right next to the headlight bucket.  It will fix the lines of the bike without me having to but new signals, a win-win solution for a budget build.  I will have him do the same for the rear turn signals as well.

In the next pic you get a feel for how much lower the bike is with the new bars now that is what I call a “low slinger.”

It really does need a different seat, I might have to make a trip to the local cycle bone-yard and see if I can find something a little more sporting to match the lower stance.

One issue that I did run into was that there were locating tabs inside the bar-mounted control housings that were causing clearance issues with the new bars.  On the left control housing I was able to fold it flat and on the right side housing I had to clip it off and file it down with some tin snips.  I finally installed the “Spider” handgrips that I had in waiting for the project.  They go pretty well!

This update pretty much catches you up to where the bike is at the moment.  I have a few more days before I start in on my next run of shifts but there will be time in there for me to keep plugging away and I will keep the blog updates as time and progress permits!
As always, thanks for reading!