Saturday, April 16, 2016

In for a penny….

First thing I did was check the compression. Zip. Nada. Zilch. Which shouldn’t have come as a surprise given the age of the machine and the fact that someone had put it away 40 years ago for some reason and not looked at it since.

I pulled the engine from the frame and started the dismantling process, only to discover that some hack had been there before me. IMG_20160416_140823996Phillips head screws were chewed up, 1/4” bolts were jammed into 6mm stripped thread holes, a snapped off timing socket bolt was deep in the cam end, bolt heads were rounded off, and so on. Some people should never be allowed near tools. Perhaps instead of licensing cats and dogs the government should license hand tools. (Step 1: Prove you are actually responsible and mature enough to own this screwdriver.) Also makes me wonder if the 7,000 miles on the odometer is real. No reason you should have to open up these engines that soon, so now I was really suspicious.

The head looked good but when I pulled the valves to clean and reseat them I found a broken exhaust valve guide that will have to be replaced. I think I can salvage the valves. The cam and followers all seem okay – or will be once I get the broken bolt out of the cam.

Removing the cylinder brought more surprises as two of the piston rings fell out in pieces. Hard to get compression when the rings aren’t doing their job. Cylinder walls are scratched a bit but still pretty good, so hopefully a hone job and a new set of rings will fit the bill. The piston is already .50 over, again raising the question about the real mileage on this motor.

IMG_20160416_152037701Since I was this far, or in for a penny as they say, I cracked the cases to see what the gearbox looked like. I knew the kick start shaft was stripped and needed replacing but I wasn’t ready to find a bent shifter rod and a broken shift fork. Someone had also welded up a break in the case where the shift rod seats in an inner wall. It looks like at some point this engine took a major blow on the end of the shifter shaft which bent the rod and cracked the interior case. And then someone did a half-assed repair job, never got it running again,and parked it.

As I write this it occurs to me that working on a 50-year-old engine with a questionable history is much like Christmas – just one surprise after another. But I think all the packages are now opened and what I got is what I got.

So now with my (longer than I’d hoped for) list of needed engine parts it’s time to start the search.

15 comments:

  1. Jeez-Louise... With such Christmas-like "surprises", you must have been bad.

    You didn't find any lumps of coal in there, did ya? ;-)

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    1. LOL. The only lump of coal I found was the broken shift fork arm.

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  2. Sounds like time to move to the other one...

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    1. Richard - Considered that but this one is more of a challenge I think. :)

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  3. Looks like it was about high time for these bikes getting much needed TLC, David. Good luck!

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    1. Sonja - That's the truth! I'm hoping I can bring at least one of them back from the dead.

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  4. It's going to be a long project....I hope you didn't pay much for it?

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    1. Charlie6 - Given the unknown engine condition I did pay too much, but that's the risk with these old machines - you just never know, and there is no warranty.

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  5. A couple of weeks ago I only as deep in your blog as the first photo of the VT500. Now I start the first two paragraphs and couldn't believe that anyone would have left a V Twin 500 in that sort of shape, only to discover that the mid-80's was only a potential project and not this one.

    I had fun with my little singles and will enjoy witnessing your fun. Good building!

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  6. David, I've got my 500 on the lift right now, almost ready for it to see some Spring sunshine.

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  7. Way, way back in junior college there was a girl who rode a Honda 90 that looked just like your blue bike. Her's was that classic Honda red. If you get that one roadworthy, I'll trek out your way and bum a little ride.

    I remember wanting one of those but knowing it just couldn't be.

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