Oldbike: Making Amends for Past Transgressions

You may have noticed that since the first ride on the bike that the little cover that hides the one side of the clutch “release screw” and a small grease-nipple has been off in all the pictures since.  This was the result of a long battle with some Phillips-head screws that ended up being stripped out.  In attemptingto take off the drive sprocket cover to clean behind it I boogered up three Phillips-head screws and ended up having to drill them out to get the cover off.  Then when I was taking trying to use and ez-out to get one of the remaining bolts that had held on the small cover out of the drive sprocket cover I endedup snapping the ez-out

Finally I ended up chiseling the surrounding aluminum from around the bolt to get it out.  Talk about a headache!

Yesterday I finally made it all better.  I started by removing the drive sprocket cover again.

You can see that current state that the drive sprocket cover was in.  I stated in an earlier post that I thought that there was enough “meat” left to just tap the hole deeper down and use a longer bolt, that was my plan of action yesterday.

This is just a shot of the drive sprocket cover with the clutch release cover in place.

I used my Dremel with it’s flex-shaft attachment to clean up the area where I chiseled out the aluminum.

That’s about as clean as I could get it without sacrificing valuable material, so there are a few spots where you can see remaining divots from my attempts to drill around the stuck bolt and ez-out.

Looking at the back side of the cover it didn’t look like there was any reason not to drill all the way through the cover to give me some more effective threads after I tap the hole.  You can see in this second picture that it the drilled hole (on the right) is pretty close to the one of the clutch release screw mounting holes I made a note but a bolt that did not go past flush with the surface as it would interfere with the correct mounting of the clutch release screw.
I brought the whole assembly to my favorite (only place in town with a real selection of metric fasteners) hardware store Dorn True-Value to find the right ones I need.  This place has everything I could ever need!  Unfortunately as mentioned many times since this is a shoestring budget project, I had to go against my gut inclination to replace all the Phillips-head bolts with socket-head cap screws (which they have a full selection of) and only replaced the missing fasteners with new Phillips-head bolts.
After I knew for sure what bolts I had (M5 X .80) for the small cover I knew what tap I needed to use and was able to tap the hole.  The ones that hold the drive sprocket cover on are M6 bolts of varying lengths.
I took a wire wheel on the Dremel to the heads of the old screws but you can still tell which ones are the brand new ones.
And here it is back on the bike again!  It is a little detail and I have the feeling that I could have ridden the bike without the little cover indefinitely but it does feel good to have to fixed the mess I made.  I guess you could call it closure.
I think the next step that I am going to work on is testing the compression on the cylinders, replacing all the old fuel lines and vacuum synching the carbs.  That will be next week some time please check back for that update and thanks for reading!


Oldbike: Saying Goodbye to the Lollipops Part 2

It's been a good three day break from work, I spent the last two days in the garage, yesterday building a shelf to get my beer fridge off the ground and up to a more serviceable height...

...and today Making the spacers I needed to properly mount the rear turn signals onto the bike rear fender. Yesterday it was warm enough to work with the garage door open the whole day! Today was a lot colder but hey... Its January!

I had some plastic spacers in my misc tool box from god knows what that looked like they would do the trick. Naturally they would need some tweaking to make the useful for the task I had in mind. First the holes in the spacers were too small so I had to drill them out. It is times like these that I wish I had more space in my garage, as it sits right now I operate out of three tool boxes and each time I work on something out come the boxes and subsequently all the tools I need and then when I am done everything ha to go back into the tool boxes (because I am a neat freak). It would be nice to have a work bench where everything that I use frequently could be laid out and a large tool chest to keep all my tools in one place. I am holding out hope for the tool chest not too much of a chance for the work bench though. It would also be nice to have a drill press for tasks like drilling out spacers etc...

It is a good thing that I had 4 of the spacers because on two of them I did not do such a good job of drilling the holes so straight. If you look at my cobbly setup it's hard to believe I had issues right?

Anyhow, as I am writing this I am realizing that I didn't do a very good job of taking pictures for this one. After drilling out the holes I went out and measure the angle of the pitch on the side of the fenders off vertical, which turned out to be 10 degrees off the vertical. I used a hacksaw to cut the angle on the spacers (a little tedious but it did the job). After I got the angle cut I trimmed the spacer down to 1/4" minimum thickness with the same hacksaw.

I used the mounting holes on the back of the frame rails as a point of reference and center punched the point for the holes I wanted to drill 3/4" below and 1/4" rearward of the bottom center of those mounting holes.

From there it was just a matter of running the wires through the wire loom in the underside of the fender, through to the top and re-connecting them. I cleaned them up with some zip-ties while I was at it.

That was pretty much it. I am glad that once I had all the signals reconnected the flasher relay worked again which you can see in the video below.

That is pretty much it for now. There will be some more engine troubleshooting coming up. Time to get this thing running reliably. I'd like to have that taken care of and have the thing titled for the Spring Crud Run!

Thanks as always for reading!


Oldbike: Customizing A 1970 CB350 Tail Light for the GS

Back in November I took the gigantic tail light off of theGS, and had originally planned on using a small tail light lens that I had literally found on the side of the road on a run.  After comparing it to the size of the stock turn signals (which I decided to keep and just shorten their stalks) it was pretty obvious that the proportions were not right.  The Turn signals looked huge in comparison, something had to be done.  I went out to the local bone yard to look around and found that they had probably a thousand huge tail lights just like mine hanging from the rafters.   Luckily after closer inspection they did have a few smaller ones too.  A lot of them had the mounting hardware to attach them to the fender as well.  Unfortunately the one that I really wanted, from a 1970 CB350 did not.  Undeterred I decided that it wouldn’t be too hard to modify the original tail light mount and mount the new tail light to it.

I brought the new tail light and the old tail light to my weekly (when my schedule allows) Wednesday night garage beer session at a friend’s house to start the work, which can sometimes be a good idea if the correct amount of booze and inspiration is applied, if there is too much booze best case scenario nothing gets done, worst case scenario something gets ruined!  After a lot of staring at the part and a good amount of bullshitting I came up with a plan of attack that would net me the desired results.  First, the license plate would have to go.  Mainly because with a tail light half the size as the original I decided that it would look ridiculous being that high up off the fender.  In the above picture you can see my plan of attack.  The scribbled out areas would go, where my thumb is, is the portion of the base of the mount that attaches to the fender.  Using a straight(ish) piece of metal that had a 90-degree(ish) looking corner on it I drew lines parallel to that portion of the base since the mount would be going back on the same part of the rear fender the angle needed to be the same.  Truthfully I eyeballed a lot of it and freehanded the curve connecting the two straight lines on either side of the mount.  I was a drafter for 9 years so I am pretty good at eyeballing things also the other drafter in the house concurred that my lines were good.  The little tab that you can see in the above picture is meant to be folded in and under, making the portion of the mount where I will drill the holes to attach it to the fender.

I used your basic run of the mill hacksaw to make most of the cuts, holding the mount in a bench vise and working my way around the piece.

After a little discussion we decided that the last cut on the curved portion of the mount should be done by a cut-off wheel.

After folding the tabs down (again in the vise) and drilling a couple of new holes in the back of the CB350 tail light to align with the mounts holes we were at a point where I was satisfied to focus on drinking and smart talk for the rest of the night.

The next morning I gave the CB350 lens a good cleaning in preparation for the next step I had in mind for it.  In looking at the lens from a side view I could see that there was about ¾” of clearance between the front of the tail light lens and the reflector inside the lens.  The bulb sticks out further than the reflector but conveniently it is centered on the round raised portion of the lens and is still a safe distance from the plastic!  My plan was to cut away that excess plastic slimming down the entire tail light assembly.

You can see how much of the lens material I plan on removing in this picture.

The Dremel workstation that I got for Christmas came in handy for this portion, it basically changes the Dremel into a drill press with adjustable height for the entire press assembly which can also be rotated in 15-degree increments up to 90-degrees off vertical for grinding and cutting sort of serving as a third hand, also it has an extension and hooks to hang the Dremel from when using the flex shaft.  What I did basically was set the desired height and then pivoted the piece around the cutter following the line.  Now if I would have had a larger diameter cutting wheel I would have been able to flip the lens over and cut the lens that way rather than having it teeter on the round raised portion of the lens.  This would have gotten me a better initial cut and resulted in less filing to smooth out the edges but you make do with what you have.

I was slightly concerned about cutting the transition between the red plastic and the clear plastic on the lens and took it easy on the transitions and things went smoothly.

This first couple of pictures look worse than it really is the plastic just got so hot when I was cutting that it melted.  The two pieces weren’t really stuck together and a little cleanup with a pocket knife took off the melted excess.

I did end up filing the edge of the lens I was keeping so that it wouldn’t let water leak into it and also so that it would look less cobbly.

The rubber gasket had shortened over the years and would not fit properly with the lens and the back cover of the tail light anymore, the way I got around this was to break out the arts and crafts hot-glue gun and glued one corner of the gasket down worked my way around the lens gluing and stretching the gasket as needed, the glue was strong enough to hold the gasket in place so that it properly sealed when reassembled.

For reference, on the 1979 Suzuki GS 425L the brown wire going to the tail light is the running light, the white wire is the brake light and the black wire with the white stripe is the ground.  On the 1970 Honda CB350 light the brown wire is also the running light and the green wire is the brake light the grounding point on the tail light is the little tab pointing down with the small hole in it.

Connections are soldered together and I soldered the ground wire directly to the grounding tab.

You can see the tail light and mount attached to the rear fender, the original mount used three holes in the fender to attach, but due to the having much less space I could only use two for them this time around which I lined up by hand and then marked the holes to drill on the mounts tabs to get the right position before drilling the holes.

I couldn’t be happier with the results, the tail light is basically the same width of the fender…

…and it is slightly taller than the turn signal and about twice as wide which I think are good proportions.

I also think that the ¾” I took off the depth makes a big difference too it just looks a lot better!  At a glance you really wouldn’t notice that anything is not stock and that is kind of what I am going for, subtle improvements without sacrificing functionality.  I did take a short video of the initial test of the tail light and a little walk around which you can see below.

I still have to make some spacers for the rear turn signals to properly mount them to the fender so that will be what the next update will be about in the next week or so.  Thanks to all who stop by and check out the blog!