Follow me on my project as I purchase a Yamaha XS650, get it running and registered and then chop it into what hopefully is a sweet scoot that I can get out on and tear up the roads.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Tearing down the carbs continued

Today I continued on with cleaning the carbs both internally and externally. They are looking 100 times better now that they have had a really good scrub all over with carb cleaner and a toothbrush.

I have used a can of carb cleaner per carb so far, and I will probably use a half of another to go over the butterfly valves and inlet again while I place the order for the carb rebuild kits and some new screws for the bowls and tops as most of the screw heads are torn up.

I have only run into one little problem so far, and that is that the second carb's Needle Jet has not been able to be tapped out. All of the manuals and tutorials that I have seen on these carbs use a little piece of timber or dowel to tap out the brass needle jet. The first one tapped out with a toothpick and the handle of a screw driver, but so far nothing has allowed me to get out the other needle.

I tried soaking the needle jet every few minutes for a couple of hours and then trying again but it hasn't even moved the smallest amount.

I have asked a few people I know that have worked on these carbs a bit and I am waiting to hear back from them.

Until the next update on the carbs, here are some pics of them looking much cleaner.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Degreasing the engine

As planned, earlier today I degreased the engine to see how clean I could get it and to make it a little easier to work on.

Before degreasing it all, I grabbed a roll of cheap garbage bags and a roll of duct tape and went to town covering everything that was electrical or had electrical wiring running along or through it.

Once wrapped up, I wheeled the bike aroudn the side of our house and got to degreasing it. Don't worry, that drain is just a square pit that doesn't go anywhere at all, so no I did not wash degreaser and sludge into the sewer system) I used all four cans of degreaser as well as a couple of brushes and toothbrushes to free up as much dirt, oil and grease as possible.

The outside of the engine didn't clean up all that much from what it was before, as the aluminium is actually pitted which makes it look dirty. It is however not oily or greasy to the touch which is a good change.

Where you really notice the work is under the side cover besides the gearbox where the front sprocket is. There was a thick black sludge under there before I started (Forgot to get pictures of it) and I think it was up to a centimetre thick in some places.

It is now almost spotless with just a few minor patches that I will try and clean up again at a later date.

I also pulled the spark plugs out and turned the motor over by hand for about 30 revolutions. It turned over really easily with a big breaker bar on the 17mm nut, so the engine is fine and obviously not seized. I will do a compression test at a later date, but I think it should be fine to run for a while without having to do any major work on it.

In the next couple of weeks I will start ordering some parts from . So far I will be getting carb rebuild kits (which consist of new float bowl gaskets and float valves) electric ignition kit (although I will try starting the bike initially with the current ignition system before selling it on) sump and oil filters, plus a few gaskets small little bits and pieces as I find them while going over the bike.

My goal is to start the bike by Anzac day (25th of April) which should be quite achievable.

Here are some photos from today:

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Starting to tear down the carbs

This morning I started to tear down the carbs. It isn't an overly complicated process to tear them down and clean them but it is one that you want to be careful of so that you don't have to replace any more parts than needed.

The outside of the carbs is still filthy - I am told by the guy that I bought it off that he spent several hours cleaning the outside of the carbs just to get them looking this good!

So far the gaskets are still pretty good, and the diaphragm from the first carb is in good condition with no holes or tears that I can see so far.

I still have a way to go tearing these down and then I need to actually clean them, but I think I should be able to get the bike running pretty well with these stock carbs after a clean up.

I also purchased some degreaser and silicon lube this morning ready to start degreasing the engine which I want to try and start on this weekend. Hopefully these four cans plus the other degreaser that I have should be enough. These and and a good old scrubbing should get some of the grease and grime off the motor.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Project funds

One of my goals with this project besides making a cool as hell scoot is to try and do it on a reasonable budget. I sold the CBR for $2300 a couple of weeks back now, and I purchased the XS650 for $1500 with all the parts plus a few spares.

I am hoping that I can get the bike cleaned up, running, registered and then hardtailed for a total of $5000 which will mean that it is only a maximum of $2700 out of my own pocket, which I have already actually saved.

So I am going to be keeping a running total for costs to my project. So far I have sold the CBR, purchased the XS650, set of dogbone style risers, a manual, tool chest, rotor from a Yamaha Banshee, Magneto Adaptor plate.

Although I am still ahead +275 dollars, I am currently bidding on a Stator from a Honda VF500 which once purchased gives me all of the parts for my magneto system, which will allow me to run battery-less (although I will run a battery for rego and roadworthy) which is the aim along with going kickstart only.

I will then still need to purchase an Electric ignition pack ($200US to get the ignition, another coil, the mechanical advance parts, spark leads and caps) plus new oil filters, a couple of gaskets for the motor plus parts to overhaul the carbs along with anything else that needs replacing.

I am putting the large outlay down now and over the next coming weeks for the magneto system and the electric ignition, as I would much rather get the bike running with all of the most reliable parts I can get rather than stuff around the notoriously weak/flaky charging system and relying on the current Ignition system.

I will be able to sell the current ignition system (pending that it still works now) and possibly even the charging system to re-coup some costs towards the project.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Weekend work

When I got the bike home the other day I looked at the garage and worked out how I was going to try and get the bike in, let alone work on it. So on Saturday I decided it was time to clean up the garage, cut down on the amount of junk that was hanging around and make some room to work on the bike.

So after a few hours of cleaning things up, tossing things out of the garage I had started to make some progress, but I was having issues on where to place all of my tools, as they had been spread out between my bedroom and the garage and where sitting wherever I could fit them, which would not suit trying to work on and rebuild a bike to a running condition.

So I headed off to man heaven - Bunnings and I purchased a tool chest and box combo. I am happy with the purchase. It is just the right size for all of the tools I have now with room for more to come, so I shouldn't need to upgrade too soon, and if I do need to, I can purchase additional boxes that stack on like the top toolbox with anywhere from 3-9 more draws.

So I got it home placed all the tools into that, and continued on cleaning.
By the end of the day I have managed to have the garage cleaner than it has been since before we moved in!

With the weight bench where it is now, I can still move the bike over enought that I can get to both sides of the motor to do any work. If I need more room I just push the bench and weights up the back of the garage and I can lay on the floor and do what I need.

Friday, February 19, 2010

The bike is home

So Thursday morning nice and early I helped load up the bike and all of it's bits and pieces and bring it home. Here is how it sits at the moment (minus tank and seat) and the there are the pics with the tank and seat on to show you how it will pretty much look once I finish getting it running and registered, which I am aiming to have completed by June 30. Hopefully I get it done in that time or less.

The bike is in a few pieces, things like the carbs, tank, brakes etc all need to be cleaned up, gone over and then installed once the bike and motor get a good clean and service.

I also got a few choices for handlebars which is cool. I am thinking either the pullbacks or the drag bars with the set of risers that I got from Toowoomba Swap Meet will look great.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The new project bike

So I have made plans that my new project will be coming home to me in the next week or so. I have these pictures available that show you a little of the bike until I get it and take some more.

Making my project a reality

So now that I knew that I wanted to build a chopper of some sort I needed to work out exactly what I wanted out of a bike and how to go about it.

I started doing some research online again and found out that many people love the Japanese bikes as a basis of their choppers, bobbers and cafe racers as they are fairly cheap, reliable and parts and support are plentiful.

Having owned a Japanese sports bike for the last 3 years I agreed with this and searched on.

I came across many builds using the Honda CB750 bikes both here and in the States, but there was one more bike that had an even bigger cult following. The Yamaha XS650.

This is a classic bike being a Parallel twin motor which bears some resemblance to the British Singles and Twins that are very well known for their use as choppers, bobbers and cafe racers.

Just reading about the XS's pumped me up and got me searching straight away for bikes for sale that would make a suitable project. I saw several bikes that where reasonable priced but had already sold, leaving only highly priced restored bikes available.

I continued researching the idea for the last few months, reading up about the bikes, their issues and the common mods that everyone does to them. It was at this time that I ran accross a company called Slice N Dice Kustoms that where located on the Gold Coast. This seemed to be perfect. I shot a few emails to Dan at S'N'D and organised to meet him, check out his shop and purchase one of his cool T Shirts. He is a great guy with a passion for building some cool bikes. I met him and chatted for a while about the bikes and the mods that he does including the Hardtails for the bikes. If I am going to build a chopper I want to go for a bare bones hardtail bike and this is what he specialises in.

I was loving the idea of this project so much that I started planning to sell off my current bike to make room for the project and give me my starting funds.

At around the same time as planning to get rid of my CBR I put up a few wanted ads for an XS that would be a suitable project. I was looking for a basket case or a runner that needed work so that it would be affordable. I ended up getting a few offers of bikes for sale, but nothing was really working for me price wise, with people in Australia demanding a premium for these classics.

I ended up getting an offer from a guy on the Gold Coast for his 81 XS650 Special Heritage project bike for $1500 that he has had for a year. He purchased it at a swap meet this time last year and started to give the bike a cleanup and get it running right but slowed down on the project and has now decided to mod one of his other bikes. I checked out the XS and made plans to buy it off him within the next month or so as he was in no hurry to sell it and was happy for it to go to someone who was willing to work on the bike and make a nice little project out of it.

The bike has been partially pulled down and a few parts have been cleaned and some replacement parts sourced. It will take a bit of work to get the bike back together and into a running state, but this is exactly what I was looking to get for my project.

So fast forward to last week, I make a plan and get the CBR inspected and get a roadworthy certificate done so that I can sell the bike with Rego, giving me the best chance to sell it.

I put the bike up for sale at a fair price, given the condition of the bike, and within 24 hours of the ads going up I had a deposit down. Another 2 days and the bike was paid for and sold to the new owner.

$2300 for the CBR was a great deal for the new owner and a great start to my new project. As much as I will miss the CBR, I know that the money is going to something that will give me a lot more enjoyment.

The beginning of my project

I have been searching for something for about 6 months now. I didn't know if I wanted it to be a new vehicle, a used vehicle or a project to work on. At first I was just thinking about different options that where available to me.

I currently have a BMW E30 318IS that I own and am doing some basic work and mods on. As much as I love the car I just do not see it as being a long term project beyond cleaning it up aesthetically and mechanically. I also have owned my Honda CBR250RR sports bike since January 2007.

I love riding the bike, be it the commute to work or a blast up Springbrook and Tambo on a cool morning, it is involving, enjoyable and as most things are, even better when you do it with some mates. For 2 years now I have been talking about upgrading my bike and license to something bigger and with more poke that the asthmatic 250, but so far nothing has really motivated me to do so.

Sure the latest crop of crotch rockets from Japan are all absolute speed demons and to boot they all look alright too, but the difference between all of those models is negligible. They are pretty much the same thing in a different colour with a different badge. Did I want to purchase a new bike and try and get my kicks that way?

Well no. As much fun as I could have doing that, I already know that purchasing a new bike is just not going to fill in that something that I have been looking for. Neither is another car.

Sure I have a few projects that I could finish, but they just are not capturing my attention at the moment.

After several weeks trawling the web and finding some very cool hobbies and projects that people have put together in their garages, I realised that I wanted to do something with a bike. A bike is reasonably easy to work on. They don't take up heaps of room which is great, I already know that I love riding them and that I didn't want to just run down to a bike store and pick one off the lot and tick a few boxes to individualise it. \

I want to make something that is my own.

One of the problems with sports bikes, is the fact that there is very little to do besides tune it up and bolt on a lot of mass produced add-ons, unless you go for the street fighter look. I love a cut down bike like the street fighter, but I wanted to go back to where that began. The Bobbers and Choppers of yesteryear.

Guys used to take their bikes, whatever the make, and cut it down to remove anything that was not essential. They would shave off as much weight as possible, change things around to suit both their riding and their personality. They often did all the work themselves and with mates on their nights off and weekends and then ride to work again the next day.

I don't want any of the chromed up bling machines that so many people think of when you mention the words custom, bike and chopper.

I want to take from that old school mentality and get a bike, cut it down into something light, agile and something that is mine.

So a chopper it is.