10 December 2013

Toasted coil packs and Triumph Gyronauts

This is what a busted VW Revision "C" Coil Pack w/ spark plug looks like

At least it blew at the end of my block instead of on the highway. About 10 minutes of work and 5 new Revision "F" packs and spark plugs gave me a car that runs like brand new. I didn't realize how down in power I was up to that point, I have a feeling a couple more were on their dying legs. I think I'll finally get a CAI and lose that ridiculous MKV engine cover and idiotic stock intake system.

but more exciting...

Saw this at Wayne's Speed Shop Toys for Tots Car Show on Sunday

Triumph Bonneville speed record bike, powered by 2 Triumph twins in tandem, never seen anything like it in person. Actually heard then when they were rolling it into position, one of the outriggers wasn't locked and they tipped the bike on its side! Just a beautiful piece of engineering, and my buddy Ranger sent me this video giving the entire back story of the bike. Nice piece of American history

Gyronaut X-1 Restoration Preview from GreeneHouse Creative on Vimeo.

19 November 2013

making the Chrysler air-cooled

My wife's car reminds me about everything I hate about American cars

* Water cooled
* Left hand threads on driver's side lugs, what's that about?
* Huge and heavy
* Mainly automatics

I removed the leaking radiator, so at least it's air-cooled for now. The guy at the radiator shop was really impressed with it and said it's likely all original. If it just needs a clean and repair it'll be $80-90, if it needs a re-core it'll be $500... ouch

I'm glad Rock Auto stocks so many parts for this car, with any luck she'll be able to drive it around reliably by the end of the month

this guy's not smiling about the car, he's smiling about the road-head

08 November 2013

new (old) project... my wife's

My wife's very first car and daily driver was a 1954 Chrysler New Yorker. Eventually she got tired of pushing it and went modern. Since then the car's mostly sat in the garage at my brother-in-law's waiting for us to find the space to store it and make it reliable again. That time is now, and for the time being I'll have another project to keep my hands busy for awhile...

It definitely need a new radiator, but I've heard that the shifting linkage may need adjustment, the front tire has a leak, and the carb needs an idle adjustment... In other words, nothing really that major, except for the radiator, which I haven't been able to locate on the aftermarket yet (if anyone has any ideas let me know). Then it'll be time to bolt in seat belts and prep it for carrying car seats, and then hand it back over to the wife. I really have no desire to drive it, a heavy, floating sled just isn't my cup of tea, but I do appreciate its beauty and period luxury.

19 October 2013

New rubber and Liqui Moly

My Metzeler Lasertec rear tire bit the dust on the BMW just shy of 5k. When I say bit the dust I mean the center tread was just about flattened, but there was still plenty of life left on the sides, I guess that's what I get for commuting on highways.

I wound up replacing it with a Heidenau K36. As the Lasertec front is only about 50% worn, that remains on the bike, not sure if I'll go with a K34 front like on my Macchi, or stick with another Lasertec.

I like the vintage look, and it's definitely a beefier tire than the Lasertec. I actually took it to a shop to get mounted because the sidewalls looked so thick I knew I would have a hard time. I'm glad I did though, because I found out that they now stock Liqui Moly products.

If you haven't heard of Liqui Moly, they're a small German oil company that makes some really great stuff. Mainly I buy their additives, but I use their fully synthetic 5w40 in my car (meets the VW 502.00/505.00 standard) and at one point I did use their Racing 4T 20w50 in my R90/6, until I read this BMWMOA thread. Where LM really shines is in their additives, though, I've been using the Molybdenum Disulfide additive in my gear oil for years now and found it to work brilliantly - no more fine sediment in the airhead transmission. Finally, I can drive down to a local shop to buy gear oil additive instead of having to order it online, and I'll finally get to test out the LM47 grease with MoS2 on the rear drive splines - up to this point I've been mixing Würth Sig3000 grease with Honda Moly 60 (50/50) for that application, along with the transmission input splines. We'll see how it holds up after the next tire change.

I also whipped out my Cycleworks Wheel Bearing Greaser tool that's been sitting unwrapped for months now.

As you can see, it has a zerk fitting on one side to feed the grease in, two holes in the body to let the grease out, and 2 o-rings to seal the tool inside the wheel hub. All you have to do is remove the axle, put the tool in (once on each side of the hub) and pump in new grease. I know most guys only give it a few pumps, I kept putting in new grease until I saw clean red grease coming out the other side. BMW oldtimers swear by this tool, I'm not so sure about it, but I guess in theory it's essentially the same as using a bearing packer tool, except your using the hub to contain the grease instead of a plastic cone... Again, we'll see how things look when I have to change the tire again.

05 October 2013

new house, new (old) stuff

Finally moved, finally have decent workspace

the motorcycle bay/welding station, may even put a motorcycle lift in, all depends on my wife's '54 Chrysler. That'll occupy the space where I took this picture from, it's biggggg...

Also got a hold of one of these:

 BMW savvy people will identify this as a parts book for /5 models through about 1984. Did I NEED this? No. But I own one for every other vehicle and it saves me from having to go on the computer to MaxBMW every time I'm working in the garage and need a part number. This book will be full of greasy finger marks and oil stains in no time.

Then this:

That's right, vintage Harro race suit. Got it on Ebay so I had to go off the measurements the guy listed, which were my size, come arrival, pants are perfect, jacket sleeves and chest are perfect, length not so much. Going to have to get a piece of leather to extend the length of the jacket so I can actually bend when I'm on the bike. That being said, the suit feels good when it's not zipped together, even if the jacket turns into a belly shirt.

Still getting my bearings and setting things up, more to come soon, maybe even another build...

17 September 2013

gotta get one of these tags for the Macchi

I'm just about to move to a new house, but I'm definitely going to be getting one of these after I get settled in

ITALIAN MOTOR magazine: New in the ITALIAN MOTOR store: repro vintage Ital...: More excellent stuff to spend your hard earned cash on. If you're as obsessed as we are about the details of Italian motorc...

10 August 2013

Hill climbs... well bridge climbs

I've been riding the BMW like crazy this month and have been neglecting the Aermacchi a little. I went to go for a ride the other day and found the battery was just about dead, so I figured I'd take it on a more adventurous ride today to test some things out and charge the battery. Up to this point I've only taken the bike on 3-5 mile jaunts, today I wanted to at least get 15 miles out of the bike - and test the new mirror and tach cable adjustments.

I climbed this twice without any issues (other than realizing I wasn't going to go any faster than 60 mph going up and 72ish going down). Photo credit: http://deschner-usa.de/

Went down the coast and back without any issues. Got quite a few stares, probably wondering what a 6'2 guy is doing on a little 1960's 250cc bike...

I'm pleased with the bike and it got a good charge. Pretty soon I'll be moving and have some real workshop space. I think I may be making a batch of centerstand kits for the Aermacchi as well (cleaner and more refined than my prototype from months ago), contact me if you're interested. Probably won't get started on them until at least October and will only be making an initial batch of 5

11 July 2013

tach cable disappointment and mirror addition

When I bought this bike it had a broken tach cable (I think I mentioned that way back), I replaced it with a NOS one with the sheath from eBay and also bought another NOS cable by itself.

Despite greasing the new cable and even applying moly on the cable ends (where it enters the tach drive and the tachometer), after 38 miles of use the cable snapped in the exact same place as the broken one that came with the bike - just above where it enters the tach drive

I replaced it with my spare, and this time sprayed teflon throughout the cable sheath to line it with PTFE like BMW does with their cables. We'll see if that helps any, but I'm open to suggestions. I'm going to keep my old cable and maybe put a weld on it, you don't find these things everyday

Also bought a mirror from Moto Guzzino

I'd been running mirror-less since the bike's completion because I couldn't find any bar ends that I liked and also couldn't bring myself to drill into the new Tommaselli controls to mount conventional mirrors. This clamp-on one saved me from all that trouble and is seemingly built pretty well. We'll see how it turns out. I really didn't think I'd need a mirror, but honestly I get nervous at stop signs and traffic lights without one - I'd like at least a warning when someone is going to slam into the back of me.

04 July 2013

1955 Motogiro d'Italia

How cool is this? Love the gestures and expressions (and the racing), reminds me of old Sunday dinners

30 June 2013

photo shoot and ride review

Just finished up a photo shoot with my buddy Pat. I guess you could consider him a semi-pro photographer. Took a total of 113 pics, of which I've seen 3. Can't wait to see the rest of them, Pat enjoy the Rolling Rock!

That brings me to the ride review.

I never got a good opportunity to take the bike through its paces when I got it. It had broken spokes, oil leaks, and a bad tune. I took it around the block 3-4 times to check for any mechanical surprises, and then started work on it, so I really don't have anything else comparable to compare the current ride to. What I know now is kinda surprising to me though. I think I like this bike better than my cafe BMW R90/6. Don't get me wrong, for long trips and 100mph+ highway blasts, the BMW is my go to bike, but lately that hasn't been happening as often as I'd like. Instead I'm left with low mileage, varying speed jaunts to and from work which this bike is perfect for.

It's incredibly light, well handling, and shifts eons better than my BMW despite its relatively long throw between gears. It redlines higher than the BMW, but the top speed, despite all the weight I took off of it, is still in the 65-70mph range, and from what I'm told, it's really not good for the bike to stay up there too much - a direct contrast to the BMW which can stay 90-100 at near redline for hundreds of miles to no ill effect. I bought a Dunstall replica muffler for this bike, similar to the ones I have on my BMW and was looking forward to the performance gains and sounds realized on the BMW. I found neither performance gains, or that great of a sound, in fact it made the bike run super lean. I ran the bike with header pipes for a little bit, and while the sound was great, the low-mid range performance suffered. I ended up just cleaning up and putting back the stock muffler, this is the best solution at this moment - go figure. I didn't realize how far I had to tune the carb to run on header pipe only until I warmed up the bike with the stock set up and then had to wind down my idle speed another 3.5krpms to get a good idle!

While the short trips on my R90 were a chore, never really finding the appropriate gear for the traffic, and constantly longing for the highway, this is an absolute pleasure. It really is the perfect complement to my garage. My wife continues to remind me that I bought this bike to work on with my daughter (going on 3). She's right, this is my daughter's bike, and I fully intend to title it over to her when she comes of riding age, but this bike is gonna need service every 500-1000 miles. she's going to be wrenching on this thing faster than you can say righty tighty, lefty loosey (another win for the BMW).

Anyway, here's some pros and cons

* very light and handles like a dream
* the M50 seat with additional springs makes you feel like you're riding on air
* loves short trips and low speeds
* shifts very cleanly, despite a longer than anticipated throw between gear selections
* high redline
* has kickstart... really wish my BMW had one that wouldn't self destruct if I retrofit it (see Snowbum for the reasons)

* rubber mounted bars are a little strange, I may still work around that
* doesn't like long trips and generator fails at extended high speed runs (so I'm told)
* low wattage generator system
* compact size makes it very difficult to mount effective mirrors. Still haven't figured that out yet and am running without them
* kickstart only. though on a bike of this displacement that's not really a con. You decide

This bike is taking over commuting duties for the time being. We'll see if I still love it after the first break down or once the novelty of the new bike wears off, hopefully not for a long time. At the time being, I'm absolutely enamored, except for one thing. The lack of a project has left a void inside me that'll need to be filled soon. Maybe I'll finally get that Triumph project Chris keeps harassing me about... Time will tell.

Until the next time

20 June 2013

Il "Veltro Nero" è quasi finito!

Took the bike into work today and had my first official test run exceeding 2 miles. Put about 10 on today and the bike performed brilliantly. Despite some cold start issues at 530 AM on my way to work, when it was time to head home the bike started with one kick. Excellent
The rest of the tank decals arrived today and I think they fit the look of the bike perfectly. The only thing left to do at this point is modify the M50 Sport seat that I have for fitment and maybe put on rear sets, but I may just hold off until the end of the summer for that, I'm thinking I'd rather just enjoy this for awhile. 
This is the deepest I've ever gone into building a motorcycle and am psyched to see 9 months of work finally paying off... Il "veltro nero" è quasi finito!
 Here's a sneak peek

18 June 2013

petcocks, lines, and mounts

With the tank cured, it was time to mount it to the bike. I removed the fabric bumper on the tank when it was powdercoated, and I wasn't happy with the rubber plug I was using on the frame, so I had to improvise. The solution was a polyurethane bump stop for a VW bug that I had laying around from my VW Thing project. Works like a charm.

Next, OMG petcocks.

Ariete fuel lines, for period-correctness

I had some inline fuel filters for this too, but between the screens on the brand new petcocks and the new filter screen in the carb, I went without it. Unless the sealant I applied craps out, I can't imagine needing one.

Filled the tank with gas, kicked over the bike, and aside from a small hiccup, went for a short 2 mile test ride. Loving this bike, who would've thunk that doing 45mph could be so fun. The bike handles great and will be ideal for my short work commute, or just back road pleasure rides. As much as I love my BMW, this is going to be taking over a lot of riding duty.

In other news, I'm still waiting for the Aermacchi tank decals to arrive, and now waiting for another seat to come in.

I always loved the look of the Moto Guzzi Stornello sport seat (or the Ducati Diana for that matter), and even though I refinished the stock Bates style seat on the Macchi, it just wasn't doing it for me. I had almost made up my mind that I'd make my own seat, when I found a NOS Aermacchi M50 sport seat on Ebay and the measurements and aesthetics look perfect. For sure the frame will need to be modified, but I can weld, so no biggie. More to come later in the week.

14 June 2013

Caswell Tank Sealer Meets Benelli / Aermacchi Tank

Yesterday I got around to applying the Caswell Epoxy Tank Sealer to the tank innards.

Like I mentioned before, the tank was solid, but very rusty. Caswell is supposed to bond to rust, but they advise to throw in some sheetrock screws and acetone to break up the loose bits, which I did, but didn't feel like I got enough of the flaky rust off. I then decided on doing the vinegar trick, but instead of a day I just used it for half a day and then applied a pressurized stream of water for the rinsing and acid neutralizing (just used baking soda). That worked out much better at getting some of the stubborn stuff out and did a decent job of cleaning the rust - if I left the vinegar in for a whole day or two it probably would have cleaned everything, but this epoxy doesn't really care about rust so neither did I. As far as drying off the tank, I connected the hose for my vacuum to it's exhaust port, essentially turning it into a powerful blow-dryer, worked like a charm. Onto applying the sealant.

Caswell tells you to wrap the tank with glad wrap, followed by a layer of aluminum foil, and then another layer of glad wrap. As you can see above, I skipped the aluminum foil part and instead went with 3 layers of plastic wrap, followed by some masking tape for extra protection around the top of the tank where I'd be pouring in the epoxy. I found that this much protection was unnecessary (especially if you drain the epoxy out of the petcock holes) for the most part, but I did get a few drops on the masking tape part when I flipped the tank over after draining the excess sealant, let me explain. This Benelli tank's petcock holes are internal thread, so in order to protect the threads from getting epoxied over, I threaded in some M10x1.0 bolts wrapped with teflon tape and had to drain the excess out of the top which was a little messier. I'm confident that if you are careful and have externally threaded petcocks (like on my BMW) you could drain out of the petcocks and not spill a drop on the tank... but anyway...

The stuff is the consistency of a thick molasses or honey and must be spread around the inside of the tank slowly - Accomplished by sealing off all holes and sitting for 15 minutes with a tank in your lap rotating it around. They advise to do the job at a temp of 70F and that just happened to be the temperature inside my house exactly yesterday (we don't have central air). Caswell says half the supply they give you is good enough for a tank of 5 gallons or less - I found that to not be the case. This tank is 3.75 gallons and I got about 70% or so coverage, so I had to mix up the remaining supply and add it (I waited 4-5 hours after the first batch as the stuff was still tacky, but more or less set in place, Caswell says a second coat can be added within the first 24 hours as long as the stuff is tacky). After all was said and done, there was only 4oz. of excess epoxy using the entire kit, so I'd advise using the entire kit right from the start if you're doing a similar job. If this was the stock Aermacchi peanut style tank I think the half would have been fine.

It's been close to 24 hours of curing and the stuff is rock hard. They recommend letting the epoxy cure for 24-36 hours before adding any gas to it, but it'll probably be 48 hours before I get a chance to gas it up. I couldn't get a good picture of the coating, but it looks like a layer of glass, probably a a couple millimeters or so thick. I love the thickness of it, but I don't like the fact that it's clear, because ignoring the gloss finish of the sealant, it still looks like a shitty tank on the inside (i.e rusty, even if encapsulating and no longer rusting). I wish they added a black dye to the epoxy or something, just to mask the appearance of the tank inside. Oh well, as long as the stuff works and it definitely seems like it will.

I'm still waiting for the Aermacchi tank side decals to arrive, but I couldn't resist adding the ones I bought for the stripe area.

It's looking good and now I really can't wait to get this thing back on the road. We're in the home stretch!

12 June 2013

generator, tank, and stove

I think I got to the bottom of why the generator wasn't charging. Having read on an Aermacchi yahoo group that the most common cause of generator problems is the generator warning light grounding out, usually happens during restorations. Well I started at the generator and worked my way through the wiring, up to the warning light and sure enough, I forgot to put the plastic insulating washer back on when I switched dash pods. It amounts to a thin, white piece of plastic that fits between the light socket and the aluminum dash pod, and there it was sitting in the bolt dish I have on my workbench. Put it back in and it appears that I'm getting a charge again. Haven't taken the bike for a test run yet, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed...

Powder coating is finally done on the gas tank

I still have to put some epoxy sealer on the inside (no holes, but a lot of rust), but today was so nuts I didn't get a chance to - maybe tomorrow during the apocalypse storm the weather man is predicting. I did clean up the loose rust on the inside with some acetone and dry wall screws, and while that was drying I test fit the tank on the bike

Bad photo, but it's looking good. I found the vintage Aer Macchi decals I bought from MotoMacchi to be too small for this tank, so I went ahead and ordered these on eBay. I don't like the design as much as the MotoMacchi ones, and I'm not crazy about the gold lettering, but they're still nicer than the Harley Davidson decals

Also got a bid on a Guzzi Stornello Sport style seat, we'll see how that goes...

In other news, my buddy Joe was getting rid of an Elmira Stove Works 1850 range that came with the house he just bought. Not his style, but definitely my wife's, gave me a killer deal on it, all 500lbs of it that we had to move. Now it's just going to sit idle in storage at my parents' place until we sell our house and move into a new place, whenever that will be...

Hoping to have the Macchi back on the road by next week, maybe the next update will be a good one

01 June 2013

aermacchi generator

I disassembled the generator today as the armature I got off eBay arrived. Still waiting for the field coils, but I had the house to myself so I figured I'd get an early start.

I bought this nifty puller months back. It has the left hand thread to secure it self into the threads for the tachometer drive slot and then presses the rotor off the crankshaft. 

The old armature was well worn and scored up, but I've been advised that these are German built and almost never fail (don't know why the BMW bosch ones suck so bad then...), but also to buy another if you find one to keep as a spare because these are pretty rare. The problem is, I was supposed to be measuring 1.5 ohms on the slip rings and I didn't measure that on the old one or the replacement. The new one is in much better condition so I'm hoping that I just received the wrong info. The part is guaranteed if it doesn't work, but I just really want to fix this problem.

The replacement was then mounted on, awaiting the field coils/housing I bought off eBay which were described as testing good and also carry a guarantee. We'll see what happens...

Now the old BMW one has company on my bookshelf. Maybe I should start a collection of scrap rotors. They do make excellent paperweights

26 May 2013

start-ups, decals, and nonsense

Well... I'm still without my tank back from powdercoating, so I threw the old one on to test out some things.

The video is short because when I went to lower the idle speed I accidentally stopped recording. I was too lazy to make another video so this is all you get... I didn't like the Dunstall replica muffler, so I took it off for shits and giggles and just ran the header pipe. The video doesn't capture the loudness of it, but I really love the sound, may even end up keeping it like that if the tuning isn't a nightmare. By the way, that blue beacon on the instrument cluster means my generator isn't charging, still have to figure that one out, but there's a really good electrical test process in the H-D service manual. For once that manual is good for something

Since I've been sitting on decals for over a month waiting for the tank to come back, I finally got a little antsy and put some on the rear fender. I was dying to get that Italian Air Force roundel on the bike somewhere given Aermacchi's aviation history.

Note the NOS tail light. In lieu of hunting down an unobtainium plug, I just soldered the wiring right to the bulb. It works, but it'll have to be corrected someday

Anyone else think this looks like it should be a box of condoms instead of gloves? 70% Thicker for NO pleasure

Also got around to welding up a new battery box. Smaller = less weight, and I still haven't even turned it to Swiss cheese. There's a certain charm about the old Italian bubble boxes, but on this bike I think less is more.

I had my wife sit on the bike so I could better visualize the lines with a rider on it.

Other than that dreadful stock tank, I think it's looking pretty good so far. It definitely needed those Condor bars and a more forward posture. The foot controls fit her pretty well, but I'm a bit taller and the bike is begging for rear sets when I'm on it. I'll have to weld on extensions onto the frame like the Sprint H had for the passenger pegs (my SS model was never intended for two-up use), and then find some nice Tarozzi's to mount on it. Money, money, money.....

It's beautiful out now though, I think I'm going to take the Beemer out for a nice midnight ride someone and enjoy this

22 May 2013

slow progress

well the stripped banjo bolt threads on the cylinder head got fixed. I actually disassembled the head the morning after I found the problem and 4 hours and $15 later I had a nice heli-coiled head in my hands. Even better, through this predicament I met a great machinist just three blocks away who will definitely be getting more work in the future - hats off to you Greg!

Today this arrived in the mail:

1960's NOS Delco Guidex tail light for the Macchi. This is the tail light that would have actually been stock on the bike, which is strange because most other years used typical Italian CEV lamps and this is Made in USA by a GM subsidiary. I'm psyched to have it, pretty psyched to add a little American accenting to the bike as well despite all signs of this build pointing to the contrary. As cool as the vintage NAPA one that came with the bike was, it really just was a POS, I'm glad to have a brand new, well built light. Now I just have to figure out where to find a vintage plug that'll work with it

Talked with the powdercoaters and was informed that the tank should be ready this week, I'm keeping my fingers crossed. While I wait, I ordered some new brushes for the generator in an attempt to quickly and cheaply fix this apparent non-charging issue with the bike. I'm really hoping this is the cure because I hate dealing with wiring, and I have no idea where to find a good used armature for this bike.

Any vintage electric gurus are welcome to throw fix suggestions at me, as far as I'm concerned electric works by magic.

17 May 2013

And the top end needs to come off again

Called the powdercoating place and found out that they haven't even started the tank. I was pissed until I put the old tank on the bike, started it up and noticed a significant oil leak out of the head-side oil feed bolt. Took that off and realized that the threads on the head were stripped out about 1/2 way deep. Ran a tap to see if I could salvage anything to no avail. Looks like that wacky head is going to need to come off again so I can heli-coil it and then figure out how to blow the metal shavings out of the oil passages... Big sigh

16 May 2013

Aermacchi brake arm and small steps

I noticed some fraying on the brake cable so I wound up replacing it with a NOS one. Upon adjusting the front brake to the proper tension (which I didn't do last week), I found the brake arm to be fairly useless under pressure. Took apart the brake arm and realized the square hole that connects to the drum looked more like a pentagon. Figured the best option at the moment would be to weld a little bead on the rounded out sections and then file it down. The job probably would have been a lot faster if I had a dremel, but instead I had to use a drill and the smallest file in my tool box to somewhat square it off again. This is what I ended up with.

It's not square per se, but it does work, and more importantly it'll do the job while I search for a new replacement. It amazes me that what should be 5 minute jobs on this bike keep turning into 2 hour jobs because I keep finding something else wrong.

I'm still waiting for the gas tank to come back from powdercoat and that's holding up a lot of things, namely seat mounting (and possibly more fabrication) and carb tuning, but I suppose you can't rush quality. Since I haven't found any oil or gas leaks after reassembling the top end and running the engine briefly, I figured I'd finally mount the front fender.

I still have to knock out welding up a new battery tray, that'd be a good little job while I wait for the tank to come back.

11 May 2013

the bike breathes again

Attached header and new Dunstall replica muffler

Typical of this project, looks like I'm going to need to modify some more. First off, I scratched the chrome on the muffler when I attached it as the centerstand tab was just touching the edge of the muffler. It was barely touching it, and I didn't even feel it or see it (it's behind the side stand bracket) when I assembled everything. Doesn't appear to actually go through the chrome, just looks kinda shitty, but it's out of view at least. The next issue is that other than the clamp to the header pipe, there's nowhere to attach the rear bracket to the frame. The stock Aermacchi clamp is too large, so I'll have to make one of my own as this is way too wobbly as it stands now. But hey, I finally got to use the exhaust wrap that I abandoned on my BMW build...

Also, since I ditched the stock battery and tool boxes, I'll need to make my own battery tray. No biggie, I think 20 gauge will do the trick

I worked out the cable issue by simply cutting off about 6-8mm off the end barrel on the cable. Cables are nice and smooth, and since I now have throttle, brake, and clutch control, AND the important stuff is assembled on the bike, I couldn't resist attaching the battery and trying to start it up.

Since I don't have my tank back yet, I siphoned some gas directly into the carb, gave it a little choke, and it started right up (well 3rd kick anyway)! The generator light that used to never light up which I wrote off as being broken, now doesn't seem to go out, but I didn't get to rev the bike enough before I ran out of gas so I don't know if it's really not working or if the generator just wasn't sending out enough charge yet. The wiring job I did for the headlights and horn also worked fine, and I'm glad I went through the wiring and replaced the bits I could.

Can't wait for the tank to come back and give this bike a proper test run

08 May 2013

new shoes, clean head, no-leak jug, and an entirely new set of problems

It's been a good few days of progress with the bike. First and foremost, I got the last wheel back from truing and got the tires mounted. Put them on the bike immediately. Also mounted the rear fender that was recently powdercoated, and now the seat won't fit. In fact, it's off by a good 0.25." Not sure how that's even possible, but I can either modify the existing seat (easy) or make a new one (not as easy). Once the tank comes back I'll decide on a course of action.

Otherwise, I'm liking the look already. By getting the wheels back on, the bike would be self supporting and I could remove the jackstand from below the cylinder, which, up to this point was the only thing other than the center stand holding the bike up.

Once I pulled the cylinder, I inspected the piston and con-rod. Turns out there is horizontal play in both the piston and the con-rod. In the case of the piston, the play was due to me being able to actually move the wrist pin with my finger (no heat applied) and seemingly the only stops on the pin were the snap rings. As for the connecting rod, there was only slight horizontal play. Figures the seals I was waiting on came in the same day, so instead of being able to reassemble everything I had to wait until the next morning to call Moto Macchi and see what he thought of the play. Apparently the play I noticed is normal, the con-rod is good since there's no up/down - forward/back play, and play with the wrist pins is hit or miss between batches but normal. It was good to hear that. If I saw that kind of play on the BMW I'd start disassembling the bottom end immediately.

Put everything back together this afternoon. Between a brand new cylinder base gasket, upper and lower pushrod tube seals, valve cover gasket, and the permatex silicone sealant I used on top of everything, this bike shouldn't puke oil anywhere other than the breather (I hope anyway)... I know I praised the design of the Aermacchi cylinder head in my last blog entry, but I retract that statement now. Having to shim the rocker ends on assembly, while holding the pushrods (which cross), and then drifting the rocker shaft on a horizontal head is not fun; in fact it downright sucks. I had to re-shim the rockers because I used new thrust washers and trying to check alignment with a mounted wheel getting in the way constantly didn't help either... But it's done now, just waiting on getting the tank back, making a new battery tray, and attaching the control cables and the bike should be pretty much done. Shit pic, but it doesn't hide the old oil stains

That reminds me. While I was waiting for the remaining seals to arrive, I mounted the bars, controls, and the dash pod.

This introduced an entirely new set of conundrums.

First, I didn't want to drill into the new Tommaselli condor bars, so I relocated the headlight/horn switch to the top of the dash. Because it was a new switch I had to solder up some new connections so I hope everything works right once the battery is hooked back up, otherwise I'll have to cut and re-solder again.

Next was the controls themselves. They look nice on the bars, but they definitely weren't intended for Aermacchi cables.

Tommaselli barrel on left, stock Verlicchi barrel on right, Aermacchi clutch cable below. The Verlicchi one won't fit into the Tommaselli controls, and although the Aermacchi cable can make it into the new barrel, the cable end is too long to fit into the lever. I think the easiest option will be to trim down the cable end and pray it doesn't come apart. To be continued...

Another smaller issue that arose was with the Tommaselli QA race throttle. I knew when I bought it that it was reduce the "pulling" distance of the cables for faster application of the throttle, but they really weren't joking... It's probably only 1/4 turn of the throttle and the slide is fully opened. I'm not sure how I feel about this just yet, I'll need to test it on the bike first to check the response, but I have a feeling I'll be reverting back to the stock Super Practic B throttle.