Sunday, 22 November 2009

Always Know When to Re-Group.

So as storms rage above the 'shack I pull the throat, heart and lungs out of the Rooster's torso. Yep, carbs are off with all associated plumbing including carb warming pipery. This was a system that utilised hot engine oil diverted from the main engine feeds to try and ward off the carb icing that plagued pre-injection 2-valvers on winter mornings. You can learn about carb icing here:

I mentioned taking off the airbox, battery and coils  in an earlier post - this is what the bike looked like when they were still on:

 If I go the expensive Keihin FCR route (see this very informative site: ) then I will probably use separate K&N filters. This will mean that the coils and associated components, and the battery, will have no mounting. I will have to fabricate a battery box etcetera. However this may be a chance to clean up wiring and pipework and make everything simpler. The Keihins don't use a choke and they don't need carb-warming kit. Additionally a lot of the battery mounting clutter was rotting away. A previous owner had made up a support from a piece of tupperware box, a bit of alloy mesh and silicon sealing gel. It worked well but it was pretty primitive - it remains to be seen whether I can do better. It looms large in my mind that all I have done so far is take things to bits, by far the easiest part of the process.

Two nights ago I drained the oil and took off the oil filter in a frankly shameful bout of botchery. Thinking I had no filter wrench I used the ancient method of banging a screwdriver through the filter to use as a lever. All that did was make a succession of holes which released dirty oil which slicked the now jagged metal surface of the filter....nice. Various experiments with G-clamps and other unsuitable devices left me further de-moralised. The watchword in these times? It doesn't have to come off today - take your time, and definitely don't hurt yourself..

Then Captain Cro-Magnon's one brain-cell stirred fitfully. Wasn't there something in the bottom of the old toolchest? A weird socket with a bit of bike chain attached to it. Wasn't that some sort of filter wrench? Did I actually have one after all? This was pressed into service, carefully due to an intrusive bit of crankcase. That 's another watchword - don't break anything expensive (either in time, hassle or money), anything else is fair game.... Earlier I had used a T-bar socket handle with a hex-headed socket to get the sump plug out. Putting a pair (grammatically a pair although actually a single length of pipe - although they tell me the fashion world is calling a pair of tights a "tight" now) of drag bars (yes, yes the concurrent use of the words "tights" and "drag" was coincidental not Freudian) over the T-bar made for a powerful lever or "breaker-bar". You have to go careful whenever you bring extra force into play like that, but a sump plug and a crankase are a hefty combo and unlikely to see any shearing or stripping. So I thought and so it proved, this time anyway.

With the carbs, battery, airbox and coils off things look like this:

So a few other bits need to come off before the engine can be easily dropped out. Wiring to alternator, oil level sensor, and so on, vacuum fuel pump, gear change shaft connector, and exhaust system. I started taking the exhaust off with some trepidation, but the studs and nuts holding the manifold on were in good condition and pretty loose. I had taken the precaution of soaking them in WD40 a few nights before, but the fact that they weren't over tightened or corroded adds to my feeling that the owner before last was a practical and mechanically sympathetic bloke.

However, my good luck run came to a halt with the jubilee clip style connector that links the rear cylinder down-pipe to the the rest of the system. The hex bolt on this was bent and rusty, and rounded out straight away. Due to the routing of the pipes I don't think the system can come out without separating it at this point so I was temporarily scuppered. The exhaust system runs back from the front cylinder under the crankcase where it meets a four way union of pipes. Two of these are the left and right feeds to the silencers, the remaining junction rises up through a gap in the swinging arm up to the cursed rusty connector. It may be possible to play about with the order of disassembly when dropping the engine, which is fixed at four points on the frame and at the swinging-arm pivot point, but this looks like a potential nightmare. More likely I need to get working with a hack saw on the rusted bolt and get the connector off.

At this point I had been in there a while and achieved quite a bit. I was excited about dropping the engine and I had a borrowed car jack sulking in the corner ready to do this. But with several tasks between me and that goal, and one of them now a problem, it was Time To Stop.

One of the most important areas of discernment in any field I reckon, knowing when to stop. Re-group and come back in a positive frame of mind and with a sense of perspective. And be realistic about your task schedule. Bit like this blog malarky really - Top Gear is starting and I need the loo and another beer. Oh, and before I go I've had another colour scheme idea, but it breaks all my rules about reference and quoting so I am going to keep it secret and see if it's a stayer. Laters.


  1. Want to borrow my purpose made Ducati oil filter removing wrench? Oops, too late...

  2. This is still the colour scheme that does the most for me: Not perfect, but I just know that it's going to have to be blue...

  3. So here it is: my tribute site