Friday, 25 February 2011

Manifold Blessings

Before (well actually after first pass abrasion with scotchbrite disk and some chemical cleaning):

 After (The PJ1, yet to be heat cured...)

The nasty collars, bottom right in the paving stone pic above, are being replaced with these (an ebay find):

 So one more day at work and then I have a week off dedicated to 'shack life! Hallelujah, a chance to make some real progress, and children, believe me the to-do list is long.

However, there will be no pressure. This is also a chance to take the tank to the painters in deepest Essex to have the hinge plate re-welded where it rusts, a dent filled and my paint scheme applied! So a little sketching has been required.

Colours are not indicative of the final shades, but it's all about red and green on a white background. It's just how dark the colours should be and how white the white. I really don't want that thing where the red ends up looking orange. Plus, I do like a bit of US auto badge cool, if you know what I mean...., the the red and green will be much darker than is typical and may well be kandy. This has to end up looking motorsport clean, rally retro, hot-rod, and Italian all at once. Well it will in MY head and that's all that counts. The idea is to have tricolore without looking like ice cream van and bunting. To look a bit traditional without copying an existing scheme. The two stripes on white background give me tricolore without three stripes.

Is to top-stripe (offset) to over stripe? That is the question....

I am very, very excited about getting the tank painted - it's going to be highly motivational when it comes back. I am going to see a gentleman at a company called Boyz Toyz. The guv'nor is an aircooled Ducati fan and builder himself,. I have seen his work in the flesh on a customised Sports Classic, it's proper as Guy Martin would say. Full report when I get the tank back. This weekend I need to get the petrol and the fumes out prior to transportation.

I also hope to talk to some seat makers. Still wondering whether to re-profile the shape to something more "two-four" cafe, and whether to go for a tan leather. Brown is always tricky. Here's a rough idea of the over-all scheme.

BTW I have my 'storm back with a younger engine in it. Having my daily ride back where it should be makes me whole again.

More reports during or after  'shack week....

Monday, 7 February 2011

Back on the rollercoaster of doom...(temporarily of course).....

...still, feck the backside of a warthog!
Having done a nice big update, I went down to the 'shack in fine mood. My optimism was to be rewarded by a slap in the chops with a wet mackerel. Started trying to put the ignition key unit in place only to find it fouls on the Cyclecat top yoke. This rubbed a little powdercoating off the back of the yoke - no matter - I have grown accustomed to keeping a few dings and rubs in proportion - my alter ego is, after all, Captain Not-Perfecto. However as I looked closer I noticed flaking around the stem nut. Couple of big chunks just came away, apparently not in any way connected with the ignition unit rubbing. It just looks like the polished alloy surface didn't take the coating well enough. Now having the yoke back in it's original finish might not ordinarily be such a bad thing - it was lovely. However, it was powder-coated black along with the bottom yoke, to minimise the difference in machining between them, and fit in with blacked out frame, headlamp etc etc. Hurrumph.

Going to have solve the key block problem, and possible take apart the front end again and get the top yoke re-coated, or painted or anodised or something....maybe abrade the surface. Back to powder-coaters for the n'th time. For now clouds hang over 'shack.

Project Status

Things are gathering pace at the 'shack. I've procured and fitted an Oberon clutch slave cylinder. Also got Venhill braided clutch hose which will go on when I'm ready to put hydraulic fluid in (you fill the slave first):

I've cleaned up the rear brake caliper as best I can using brake cleaner, Gunk and various other toxic gear. I now learn that getting rebuild seal kits is not easy. Trying to decide whether to just wack it back on for now, but have ordered some red rubber grease, so I think I will take the pistons out and see what's what. I have bought Venhill braided hose for this too. Depending on how looking at the seals goes (I hope to re-use them) I will then tackle the front calipers. They already have Goodridge hoses in good nick so no need to replace those.
 I love being able to clean up little parts like the pin and retaining spring with a scotchbrite pad on a drill. They looked like they had spent 50 years under the sea before I did that.
Note the horrible original old rubber hose in the foreground. Venhill braided steel hose, covered in clear PVC and on hard chromed fittings that rotate into position on their banjo bolts - even sounds sexier eh? Not that I'm writing-off rubber missus - just not for hydraulic lines (phnaar phnaar chortle chortle.....)

I finally got the paint to stick and harden on the valve covers. When the motor finally runs the Smoothrite will get baked on and get even harder:
Then with baited breath I turned my attention to the Keihin FCRs. This is getting pretty real now. As mentioned in earlier posts I have forgone the pleasure of pod filters and stuck with ugly plastic airbox. This may change in the future, but I wanted to stick with the advice from Chris of California Cycleworks who recommends stock airbox with the lid cut away exposing a K&N stock pattern filter. Here's a before and after on the filter lid. It's a bit Barney Rubble where I've cut it, will try and straighten the edges up a bit:

Chris's instructions suggest taking the rubber inlets out of the bottom of the airbox and fitting them onto the Keihens' adaptors first before re-positioning in airbox. They make the carbs look even more evil!

I've transferred my tear-down photos on to my laptop so I can take it down to the 'shack to check what goes where underneath the carbs, as they will obscure an area that holds various bits of wiring, connectors and mounting plates. The carbs go onto the inlets shown below, and then are covered by the airbox which includes the coils mounting plate and the battery box.

In other news a good bloke on the fabulous UK Monster Owners Club forum is providing me with a nicer oil cooler and associated pipery from a newer model of Monster. Not so good is that my second "special screw" (this post is turning into Carry On Ducati) has failed while being torqued up to the figure given in the Haynes manual. This is a little bolt with a hex flat cap on one end and a thread on the other. It is secured with a self-locking nut and goes through the bracket on top of the swingarm to hold the rod-end bearing on the suspension arch in place. They cost almost a fiver each and have to be ordered from Ducati so take weeks to get here. Bit of a pain - still no biggie.

I also killed a scotchbrite disc trying to clean up the exhaust manifolds. I followed that up with some mega scary stainless exhaust restoring fluid, but there is plenty of rust left on them even so. I am trying to prep them for painting with PJ1 High Temperature Flat Black paint. Trouble with painting at the moment is most of these paints want room temperature application. While the weather is milder at the moment it still isn't warm so either heat or ventilation, not both, is possible. We'll see...

Compared to my geologically slow progress rate this is approaching the speed of light! I have even contacted the paint shop, and booked off the first week in March both to take the tank there, and spend a few days of concerted 'shack time working on the bike. I want this ride ready for the summer - too long have I slumbered!
Don at  Boyz Toys Paint is a Ducati builder himself and has quoted me a good price for re-braze of tank hinge plate, general restoration and paint job.

So what's to do?

 Getting loom back in while incorporating the new speedo with it's super small wiring. Fabricating brackets for rear no. plate and indicators, exhaust cans, speed sensor, and speedo itself. Designing re-cover pattern/materials etc. for seat, drawing up definitive tank paint design for the painter. Re-fit coils, rectifier, fuse box etc. Get seat to work with or without conventional seat catch mechanism. Caliper re-builds, master cylinder tart-up and fit Oberon levers. Mounting headlamp where top fixings melted while being powder coated. Deal with taking left side of engine apart again if sprag clutch is wrong way round. Source and fit carbon mudguards. And probably loads more I've forgotten about.

Bizarrely enough, one of the things taxing my brain is how to dispose of old fuel which I have in my Monster and my son's scooter project. The local recycling centre takes oil but not petrol as far as I know. I will have to phone the council. Anyway, it's all happening at the Chickenshack... stay tuned!