Monday, January 30, 2012

Making Amends for Past Transgressions

You may have noticed that since the first ride on the bike that the little cover that hides the one side of the clutch “release screw” and a small grease-nipple has been off in all the pictures since.  This was the result of a long battle with some Phillips-head screws that ended up being stripped out.  In attempting to take off the drive sprocket cover to clean behind it I boogered up three Phillips-head screws and ended up having to drill them out to get the cover off.  Then when I was taking trying to use and ez-out to get one of the remaining bolts that had held on the small cover out of the drive sprocket cover I ended up snapping the ez-out

Finally I ended up chiseling the surrounding aluminum from around the bolt to get it out.  Talk about a headache!

Yesterday I finally made it all better.  I started by removing the drive sprocket cover again.

You can see that current state that the drive sprocket cover was in.  I stated in an earlier post that I thought that there was enough “meat” left to just tap the hole deeper down and use a longer bolt, that was my plan of action yesterday.

This is just a shot of the drive sprocket cover with the clutch release cover in place.

I used my Dremel with it’s flex-shaft attachment to clean up the area where I chiseled out the aluminum.

That’s about as clean as I could get it without sacrificing valuable material, so there are a few spots where you can see remaining divots from my attempts to drill around the stuck bolt and ez-out.

Looking at the back side of the cover it didn’t look like there was any reason not to drill all the way through the cover to give me some more effective threads after I tap the hole.  You can see in this second picture that it the drilled hole (on the right) is pretty close to the one of the clutch release screw mounting holes I made a note but a bolt that did not go past flush with the surface as it would interfere with the correct mounting of the clutch release screw.
I brought the whole assembly to my favorite (only place in town with a real selection of metric fasteners) hardware store Dorn True-Value to find the right ones I need.  This place has everything I could ever need!  Unfortunately as mentioned many times since this is a shoestring budget project, I had to go against my gut inclination to replace all the Phillips-head bolts with socket-head cap screws (which they have a full selection of) and only replaced the missing fasteners with new Phillips-head bolts.
After I knew for sure what bolts I had (M5 X .80) for the small cover I knew what tap I needed to use and was able to tap the hole.  The ones that hold the drive sprocket cover on are M6 bolts of varying lengths.
I took a wire wheel on the Dremel to the heads of the old screws but you can still tell which ones are the brand new ones.
And here it is back on the bike again!  It is a little detail and I have the feeling that I could have ridden the bike without the little cover indefinitely but it does feel good to have to fixed the mess I made.  I guess you could call it closure.
I think the next step that I am going to work on is testing the compression on the cylinders, replacing all the old fuel lines and vacuum synching the carbs.  That will be next week some time please check back for that update and thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Saying Goodbye to the Lollipops Part 2

It's been a good three day break from work, I spent the last two days in the garage, yesterday building a shelf to get my beer fridge off the ground and up to a more serviceable height...

...and today Making the spacers I needed to properly mount the rear turn signals onto the bike rear fender. Yesterday it was warm enough to work with the garage door open the whole day! Today was a lot colder but hey... Its January!

I had some plastic spacers in my misc tool box from god knows what that looked like they would do the trick. Naturally they would need some tweaking to make the useful for the task I had in mind. First the holes in the spacers were too small so I had to drill them out. It is times like these that I wish I had more space in my garage, as it sits right now I operate out of three tool boxes and each time I work on something out come the boxes and subsequently all the tools I need and then when I am done everything ha to go back into the tool boxes (because I am a neat freak). It would be nice to have a work bench where everything that I use frequently could be laid out and a large tool chest to keep all my tools in one place. I am holding out hope for the tool chest not too much of a chance for the work bench though. It would also be nice to have a drill press for tasks like drilling out spacers etc...

It is a good thing that I had 4 of the spacers because on two of them I did not do such a good job of drilling the holes so straight. If you look at my cobbly setup it's hard to believe I had issues right?

Anyhow, as I am writing this I am realizing that I didn't do a very good job of taking pictures for this one. After drilling out the holes I went out and measure the angle of the pitch on the side of the fenders off vertical, which turned out to be 10 degrees off the vertical. I used a hacksaw to cut the angle on the spacers (a little tedious but it did the job). After I got the angle cut I trimmed the spacer down to 1/4" minimum thickness with the same hacksaw.

I used the mounting holes on the back of the frame rails as a point of reference and center punched the point for the holes I wanted to drill 3/4" below and 1/4" rearward of the bottom center of those mounting holes.

From there it was just a matter of running the wires through the wire loom in the underside of the fender, through to the top and re-connecting them. I cleaned them up with some zip-ties while I was at it.

That was pretty much it. I am glad that once I had all the signals reconnected the flasher relay worked again which you can see in the video below.

That is pretty much it for now. There will be some more engine troubleshooting coming up. Time to get this thing running reliably. I'd like to have that taken care of and have the thing titled for the Spring Crud Run!

Thanks as always for reading!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Customizing A 1970 CB350 Tail Light for the GS

Back in November I took the gigantic tail light off of theGS, and had originally planned on using a small tail light lens that I had literally found on the side of the road on a run.  After comparing it to the size of the stock turn signals (which I decided to keep and just shorten their stalks) it was pretty obvious that the proportions were not right.  The Turn signals looked huge in comparison, something had to be done.  I went out to the local bone yard to look around and found that they had probably a thousand huge tail lights just like mine hanging from the rafters.   Luckily after closer inspection they did have a few smaller ones too.  A lot of them had the mounting hardware to attach them to the fender as well.  Unfortunately the one that I really wanted, from a 1970 CB350 did not.  Undeterred I decided that it wouldn’t be too hard to modify the original tail light mount and mount the new tail light to it.

I brought the new tail light and the old tail light to my weekly (when my schedule allows) Wednesday night garage beer session at a friend’s house to start the work, which can sometimes be a good idea if the correct amount of booze and inspiration is applied, if there is too much booze best case scenario nothing gets done, worst case scenario something gets ruined!  After a lot of staring at the part and a good amount of bullshitting I came up with a plan of attack that would net me the desired results.  First, the license plate would have to go.  Mainly because with a tail light half the size as the original I decided that it would look ridiculous being that high up off the fender.  In the above picture you can see my plan of attack.  The scribbled out areas would go, where my thumb is, is the portion of the base of the mount that attaches to the fender.  Using a straight(ish) piece of petal that lat a 90-degree(ish) looking corner on it I drew lines parallel to that portion of the base since the mount would be going back on the same part of the rear fender the angle needed to be the same.  Truthfully I eyeballed a lot of it and freehanded the curve connecting the two straight lines on either side of the mount.  I was a drafter for 9 years so I am pretty good at eyeballing things also the other drafter in the house concurred that my lines were good.  The little tab that you can see in the above picture is meant to be folded in and under, making the portion of the mount where I will drill the holes to attach it to the fender.

I used your basic run of the mill hacksaw to make most of the cuts, holding the mount in a bench vise and working my way around the piece.

After a little discussion we decided that the last cut on the curved portion of the mount should be done by a cut-off wheel.

After folding the tabs down (again in the vise) and drilling a couple of new holes in the back of the CB350 tail light to align with the mounts holes we were at a point where I was satisfied to focus on drinking and smart talk for the rest of the night.
The next morning I gave the CB350 lens a good cleaning in preparation for the next step I had in mind for it.  In looking at the lens from a side view I could see that there was about ¾” of clearance between the front of the tail light lens and the reflector inside the lens.  The bulb sticks out further than the reflector but conveniently it is centered on the round raised portion of the lens and is still a safe distance from the plastic!  My plan was to cut away that excess plastic slimming down the entire tail light assembly.
You can see how much of the lens material I plan on removing in this picture.

The Dremel workstation that I got for Christmas came in handy for this portion, it basically changes the Dremel into a drill press with adjustable height for the entire press assembly which can also be rotated in 15-degree increments up to 90-degrees off vertical for grinding and cutting sort of serving as a third hand, also it has an extension and hooks to hang the Dremel from when using the flex shaft.  What I did basically was set the desired height and then pivoted the piece around the cutter following the line.  Now if I would have had a larger diameter cutting wheel I would have been able to flip the lens over and cut the lens that way rather than having it teeter on the round raised portion of the lens.  This would have gotten me a better initial cut and resulted in less filing to smooth out the edges but you make do with what you have.
I was slightly concerned about cutting the transition between the red plastic and the clear plastic on the lens and took it easy on the transitions and things went smoothly.
This first couple of pictures look worse than it really is the plastic just got so hot when I was cutting that it melted.  The two pieces weren’t really stuck together and a little cleanup with a pocket knife took off the melted excess.

I did end up filing the edge of the lens I was keeping so that it wouldn’t let water leak into it and also so that it would look less cobbly.
The rubber gasket had shortened over the years and would not fit properly with the lens and the back cover of the tail light anymore, the way I got around this was to break out the arts and crafts hot-glue gun and glued one corner of the gasket down worked my way around the lens gluing and stretching the gasket as needed, the glue was strong enough to hold the gasket in place so that it properly sealed when reassembled.
For reference, on the 1979 Suzuki GS 425L the brown wire going to the tail light is the running light, the white wire is the brake light and the black wire with the white stripe is the ground.  On the 1970 Honda CB350 light the brown wire is also the running light and the green wire is the brake light the grounding point on the tail light is the little tab pointing down with the small hole in it.
Connections are soldered together and I soldered the ground wire directly to the grounding tab.
You can see the tail light and mount attached to the rear fender, the original mount used three holes in the fender to attach, but due to the having much less space I could only use two for them this time around which I lined up by hand and then marked the holes to drill on the mounts tabs to get the right position before drilling the holes.
I couldn’t be happier with the results, the tail light is basically the same width of the fender…
…and it is slightly taller than the turn signal and about twice as wide which I think are good proportions.

I also think that the ¾” I took off the depth makes a big difference too it just looks a lot better!  At a glance you really wouldn’t notice that anything is not stock and that is kind of what I am going for, subtle improvements without sacrificing functionality.  I did take a short video of the initial test of the tail light and a little walk around which you can see below.
I still have to make some spacers for the rear turn signals to properly mount them to the fender so that will be what the next update will be about in the next week or so.  Thanks to all who stop by and check out the blog!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Properly Installed The New Seat and other Misc.

A while back I acquired a seat from a Suzuki GT 185 that was a much needed improvement to the original king and queen seat that the GS 425L came with.  Since then I have pretty much just had the thing set on the frame rails waiting for me to get around to figuring out the best way to get the seat mounted properly.  I had originally thought about keeping the king and queen seat because I thought it would be nice to use when I took my wife for rides but I finally realized that there wasn’t any real way to get the brackets I needed to mount the GT 185 seat without scavenging the king and queen seat.  It had to go…

But first I’d like to brag about my favorite Christmas presents that I got!

First, I got a complete Athena gasket kit for the engine as well as new carb boots, gaskets o-rings and clamps for the intake between the carburetors and the engine, where I suspect I have air leaking into the combustion chamber after the air and fuel is mixed.

Secondly, I got a Dremel 4000 along with the Workstation, Flex Shaft, Collet Assortment, Cutting Kit, Sanding and Grinding Kit, and a Cleaning and Polishing Kit!  You will see that I got to use some of these things already on this project!

The first step to getting this seat mounted properly was getting the seat pan separated from the rest of the seat.

The first thing that has to come off are the chrome accents that are on the seat, they are held on by these fasteners basically they way they work that they are flat before they are installed on the pin and when you push them on the pin they bend out and when you try to pull them back off they clamp down onto the pin even more.  The way I got them off was to just use needle nose pliers and wiggled them back and forth until they worked their way back off the pin.  Now the pin itself is made of a very malleable material and I didn’t have any trouble with any of them breaking and the fasteners themselves also came off without any being broken.  Your results may vary, keep in mind most of the stuff we (shade-tree mechanics) work with are old and should be treated with a little more care than new parts.

The seat cover itself is held on in the same fashion as shown on the king and queen seat repair I did a while back.  The material is stretched over the seat foam and then hooked over teeth punched out of the seat pan.   To get the seat cover off just pull down to free the material from the teeth and then out and release it from the teeth working your way around the pan.  I used needle nose pliers on this as well careful to not tear any of the stitching or poke through the seat material.

Once you get the seat cover free from all the teeth it should come off pretty easily there may be some remnants of adhesive between the cover and the foam that hasn’t been my experience with either the king and queen seat or this GT 185 seat I am working with.

There will be some adhesive holding the foam to the seat pan I just worked my hand in between the pan and the foam slowly and the adhesive gave way pretty easily without leaving any chunks of foam on the seat pan.

The first part I aligned on the GT 185 seat pan was the lock latch.  I decided to use the one from the GT 185 as the contact points were exactly the same.  First I aligned the seat pan properly relative to there the pan would be relative to the gas tank and made sure the rubber pads on the seat pan were aligned with the frame rails.  Having accomplished that, I placed the locking latch in the proper position and held it that position with my hand and removed the seat pan, checked to make sure that the latch didn’t move when I removed the pan and marked the holes in the latch with a sharpie. The only issue came as you can see above was that for the latch to be in the correct position the latch was hovering over a valley in the GT 185 seat pan.  What I ended up doing was using a longer bolt and first fixing it to the seat pan with a nut and then adding a second nut to adjust the height level to seat pan not in the valley and then placing the lock latch where it should be and securing that with a third nut.  What you can’t see in those pictures was that there was a factory placed bolt similar to the one in the foreground inhabiting the space where I put the height adjusting bolt that needed to be drilled out because it wasn’t tall enough to accomplish what I did with the replacement bolt.

Above you see the two mounting brackets that I need to scavenge from the king and queen seat one will be simple to transfer as it is just bolted on and I can remove it and drill holes where needed in the GT 185 seat pan and mount it using nuts and bolts.  The second one is welded directly to the seat pan so I will need to cut it out and drill holes in it as well as GT 185 seat pan to mount it using nuts and bolts.

The welded on bracket resided in a valley on the king and queen seat which would be hard to get into and cut properly even with my new Dremel so I drilled small holes in each corner being sure that when I connected the dots to those holes on the other side of the seat pan that the lines would clear the thicker portion of the bracket making it easier to cut only dealing with the thin seat pan metal.

You can see I’ve connected those drill holes with a sharpie and will cut along those lines to get the bracket free.  It is much easier to cut in a raised position than in a valley on the other side.  As a side-note, notice how much rustier the king and queen seat pan is than the GT 185’s.  If you recall I repaired a tearin the king and queen’s seat cover  which appeared to have been there for a long time, this is the effect of moisture getting into that seat foam and working it’s was down to the seat pan and just sitting there causing all that corrosion.

As I got two of the lines cut I realized that I should probably drill out the mounting holes on the bracket while I still had it attached to the seat pan making it handy to hold still while drilling.

A couple more zips and the bracket was free!  As a not for those who are curious, I went through two of the Dremel heavier duty cutting discs to get the bracket free.  Also I am sung a regular corded Dewalt drill to drill the holes, not the Dremel.

To locate where the brackets should go I first set the seat ban on the frame rails and locked the latch into the lock giving me a fixed pivot point to adjust the seat alignment around.  I made sure that everything lined up as I did earlier and slid the bracket that was bolted on the king and queen seat into place and on the rear latch point and held it there while removing the seat and marked the holes again with a sharpie.  Once I had that one located I did a similar process with the bracket I cut out of the king and queen seat pan but this time I held I drew lines around the bracket while the seat was in place on the bike to make sure I had the proper placement.  In the above picture I am checking to make sure that the alignments make sense, since the seat frame rail is straight the brackets should be directly in line with each other (they were).

After that I center punched the markings on the seat pan and drilled the holes.  I used M7 bolds with lock washers on the top side of the seat pan and flat washers on the bracket side with ny-lock nuts to hold the brackets on.

Here is the seat re-assembled I thought about using spray adhesive to re-attach the seat foam to the pan but in the end did not I think it should stay together just fine.  If I notice any abnormal shifting I may have to take it apart and glue them back together.

Back on the bike.

As a follow-up I did go back and put shrink tubing on the wires I soldered for the front turn signals while I was at it.

I also removed the old gaskets, carb boots, o-rings and clamps and replaced them with the new ones I got.  This was pretty simple as I had to take them out anyhow to see what I was doing when re-routing the new (from the junk-yard) throttle cable I got (the bike now has two non-broken throttle cables) down to the carbs so I just re-placed them when re-installing the parts.  The only tricky part in that process was making sure that the o-ring stayed in place when sliding the spacer and the gasket into place as the clearances are tight.  Now I will have to go through and vacuum synch the carbs and set the idle again to see if the new intake hardware made a difference.

Also on tap for next time, while I was at the junk-yard I found a tail light from a 1970 Honda CB350 that is much smaller and more proportional to the turn signals that I will be figuring out how to mount to the existing bracket which will be lowered and then also I may shave some of the depth off of the CB350 tail light lens to make it a little slimmer.  I will also be making some spacers I need to mount the turn signals directly to the rear fender.

Stay tuned for some more updates as they come and as always thanks for reading!