Oldbike: An Oil Change and an Interesting Development

After my first successful ride away from the house I turned my attention back to maintenance.  First on the list would be an oil change. I picked up a Hiflofiltro HF133 filter and some Mobil Delvac 1300 Super SAE 15-W40 motor oil for Oldbike.

At this point I can't even remember the details of the forum discussion that brought about my particular motor oil choice, it was a long time ago but I seem to recall that the decision was based on the motor Delvac having the highest zinc content.  None-the-less I have been using it in my 2002 SV650s (Newbike) for years without issue and it is around $13 for a gallon which is a good price.

When I pulled the drain plug and the oil started coming out I noticed a distinct gasoline odor, which is not normal (more on this in a later update) I made a mental note of this and proceeded with the oil change. After the draining from the plug I loosened the oil filter cover and let the oil drain from there as well and removed the oil filter and cover.

The filter was about as dirty as expected with the same gasoline odor. the inside of the lid didn't have any metal deposites or gunk that would indicate any issues, the gasket was pretty much pressed flush with the lid so it was a good thing that the filter came with a replacement rubber gasket.

After I re-installed the (new) filter and gasket back in the engine and made sure the drain plug was re-installed (very important), I added the new motor oil. The Clymer manual stated that 3 quarts would be enough for an oil change with a new filter I found that it was closer to 3.5 to get the oil to the full line in the site glass.

Here comes the interesting part; when I started the bike to get the oil circulating I noticed that the right muffler had white smoke coming out of it! That was certainly a new development!  So I let the bike warm up hoping it would go away but it didn't go away so I took the video, shown below, to document the issue.

My first thought was that the piston rings were bad and that having fully filled the crankcase with oil was allowing some of the oil to sneak past the rings and burn up. So I decided that I should check the compression on the bike.

I went to the local O'Reilly Auto Parts to see if they had a tester I could rent.  I was also hoping that they had the equipment necessary to do a leak-down test too.  They had the compression tester but not the leak down tester.  The rental fee is $40 but you get it all back when you return the tool, a pretty nice deal!

To do the test basically you run the bike until it is warm.  While I was doing this the thing was still smoking. After it was warm I pulled the spark plug wires and remove the right plug and replaced it with the threaded end of the tester and snugged it up. Then I put the gauge on the other end using the connector similar to that on an air compressor hose.

Once that is done you thumb the starter switch to turn over the engine and until the gauge hits it's peak, and record the number.  Then you release the pressure with the valve below the gauge.

My Left cylinder was 100psi and the right was 110psi the rule of thumb is that they should be within 10-15 lbs of each other I need to do some asking around to see what the lower acceptable limit is for the bike though but those numbers seemed acceptable to me so I figured I'd have to look elsewhere for the cause of the smoke.  I still would like to do a leaks own test to see how well the cylinder holds it's pressure and for how long, if I can find the equipment to do that it will be the next thing on the list to do.

Check back for an update soon, I have a few to crank out and this is the first installment.


Oldbike: A 20,000 Mile Rebirth

Over the last week things had been looking up with Oldbike.  I had been taking it for short rides through the neighborhood and down the road with longer and longer distances each time.  The idling issues were alleviated with a simple cleaning of the plugs and the battery is holding a charge without issue.  When I was out on one of my rides I had a close call, riding past a police cruiser. With these things in mind I decided it was time that I registered the bike to avoid any unfortunate encounters with the authorities.

 During the last week I had noticed some exhaust leaking from H-pipe joints, I decided that some of my sub-par welding might be in order.

I also decided that I would try to weld the header pipe, reducers and silencers together to avoid any exhaust leaks. 

Once again my results were not pretty but they seem to be functional, I will need to get a grinder to clean these up and to see if here are any holes hiding beneath the ugliness.  It should be said though that if you d weld your pipes up like this getting them back on the bike becomes a little more challenging and some "armstrong" power is required to  flex the headers around the frame down-tubes and also that you should take care to make a number of aligning marks with the exhaust system still on the bike if you don't you could end up never getting them back on the bike.

When I got the welding done I decided to take my newly registered bike out on the town.  It's a thrilling thing to take a bike that you took from a non-runner to a fully functioning bike again.  A thrill balanced out by the awareness that of all the things that you have fixed and addressed and the lack of doubt that you have in your own work.  Your ears listen to every little noise and you wait for the inevitable failure to strand you miles away from home.  But when the failure does not come and you are finally in the back in the garage the true feeling of accomplishment comes.

I couldn't think of a better place to go on my newly minted street ride than to visit a good friend with a project of his own in the works.

Though his is much more near and dear to his heart as he has owned it since new; a 1972 Kawasaki H2.  he's been having some issues with the clutch as of late.  If anybody knows whether or not the waviness on the clutch basket is normal or not post up a comment on here.

The ride was not without incident though with all the riding I was doing was the speedometer cable finally gave way. When I first pulled the forks from the triple trees I had forgotten that the speedo cable was attached and stretched it a bit.  While it held up for a while it was not to last and finally the inner flex shaft broke.

I went to a couple of the local shops and found a replacement cable and also picked up an oil filter for a fresh oil change and a pack of bulk UNI filter foam and air filter oil as I had identified earlier that the air filter foam needed replacing.

The bike's performance did not change much with the new filter but it is good to know that it is no longer a lingering issue.

I wanted to stop and buy some concert tickets at the Coliseum box office too and while en-route there I rolled the bike over it's 20,000 mile mark.

It felt good to see that happen, to take something that really would have been destined for the scrap heap, or potentially to sit in someone else's garage and collect dust and never run again and give it a new lease on life. 

The Coliseum box office was closed when I got there but that just means I have another reason to go out and ride Oldbike!

There's a lot more to be done with my project, so as always stay tuned and thanks for sharing a milestone with me today.


Oldbike: Quick Update (Fouled Spark Plug)

Yesterday I pulled the plugs to check them out at the suggestion of a member at The GSResource Forums and I found what might have been causing the idle issue I’ve been experiencing as of late.

The first (left) plug, looks fine to me dry and not soot to speak of.

The second (right) plug on the other hand looked sooty and a little wet.

So I put the plugs back in as is and started the bike.  Now comes the time where I admit to a newbie mistake that at this point I should not have made.  The last time in the videos I just put my hand at the back of the exhaust and thought I was feeling hot exhaust exiting the pipe.  This time I actually felt it at the header and could tell that the cylinder on the right was not firing.  When I pulled the right plug again it was even wetter, so I cleaned the plug and dried it with some compressed air and put it back in.  This time it ran noticeably better and both headers were heating up.  I guess I’m not really sure that the plug didn’t foul when I was riding it last time but at the end of the day it was fouled and I missed it.  I checked the plugs after the ride and they were both good.  I plan on riding it every day after I get home and see if the problem repeats itself, also I am not going to charge the battery after each ride to see if that is an issue yet too.

Just thought I would throw a quick update for my latest discovery.

As always thanks for reading.


Oldbike: Trying to Diagnose an Idling Issue

This update is going to be mostly videos, I was going to edit them into one long YouTube video but thought that it would be good to split them up so that I can comment on each part.

In this part I and just running you through what the bike has been doing and some speculation on what could be the cause.

Just a quick one of me attempting to start the bike from cold, had to set the camera down to give it a little gas to get it to start.

Another quick one after seting the camera down to give it a little gas to get it to start it she fired right away, the I realized I forgot to take off the gas cap, which was one of the tests I wanted to try.

I start the bike again after removing the gas cap, I should mention that the ideal idle for the bike is really 1300 RPM so it was idling a little on the low side.

As I was tooling around in second gear I decided to see if I could take some video while riding the bike (bear in mind that this generally is a BAD IDEA and shouldn't be attempted) I did get some footage although it's not the best. I really just wanted to give the followers an idea of how the bike was behaving while riding.

Sorry for the wind noise it's was a horribly windy day.

Just pulling the bike back into the driveway, excuse the couple of camera jostles, I thought I had down shifted into first and had gotten neutral and had to put the phone down to pull in the clutch.

Upon arrival back at my garage the bike was still idling good when it stalled right on camera and didn't want to start again.

When I was putting the bike away threw it on the charger and saw that the battery was pretty much dead, could there be something wrong with the charging system?

In my next post, it looks like I will be doing some testing of the charging system, not sure what exactly yet I will have to consult the clymer manual.  I will probably also check the coils too.

Thanks for checking out the videos and the Blog.  If you have any suggestions please feel free to post them!


System Ops: MG&E Sights

A morning view of the Blount Generating Station taken from the crosswalk that goes over Railroad St.

A view from the MG&E courtyard. This is looking out towards Blair St,


Oldbike: Sync the Carburetors

With the unseasonably warm weather I have found renewed motivation to work on OldBike.  I decided that it was time to vacuum sync the carbs.  This was not my first rodeo when it came to carb syncing; I have been doing this on my SV650s regularly for years.  After looking through the Clymer manual I realized that there are some slight differences.  Whereas the SV650s process has you attaching the sync tool to fittings on the carbs, the GS has holes drilled and tapped into the barrels of the engine directly after the intake spacer where you measure the vacuum.

I had always wondered what the brass threaded tubes that came with my carb sync kit were for.  I am sure glad that I never lost them.

 They thread into the holes that were drilled and tapped into the barrels of the engine giving you a place to attach your tubing.  Once you have the tubes attached you can fire up the engine and start syncing the carbs.  In the Clymer manual they go through a whole thing about setting up the synch tool to test at 2000 RPMs this is if you have the mercury filled monometer type tool.  As far as I know the dial type that I have is not adjustable.  I have always just revved the engine to a point where the needles settle down and try to match them by turning the adjuster screw.  If I am wrong about that feel free to let me know on here.  It didn’t take too much fiddling to get them matched, check out the video below to see the results.

After I did that I washed NewBike and took both of them for a spin around the neighborhood, by far the best riding weather I’ve ever experienced on a March 13th!  When I got out of the driveway with OldBike is stalled and upon closer inspection I noticed that the vacuum connection to the left carb that tells the petcock to send fuel had worked its way out and was VERY loose and kept popping out.  My hypothesis is that when in the bath of carb cleaning solution enough material was eaten away on the carb bodies that the brass part of the elbow fitting no longer fits snugly.  I even tried the extra elbow fitting from my other set of carbs and the same issue.  My solution was quite shad-tree if I do say so myself.  I fished a Blatz can out of the recycle bin and cut a small ¾” long strip of aluminum,  I stuck it into the hole that the elbow fitting goes into as deep as the brass portion would go and bent the remainder over 90 degrees.  Having done that, for good measure, I put a small rubber o-ring on the brass portion of the fitting so that and air that might try to sneak out would be stopped.  I used a tuning hammer to tap the elbow fitting back into the hole (with the strip of aluminum still in there) and the fit was much more sung.  Snug enough that I got good squish on the o-ring, allaying any concern of a vacuum leak.  Problem solved!  Can you see the Blatz can in the picture below?!?

One thing that I will need to look at is that the OldBike seems to not want to idle when it warms up, I have to keep revving the engine and eventually that doesn’t even help.  In my next post I will try and do some diagnosing of the cause!

'Til then thanks (as always) for checking out the Blog, if you ever have questions or suggestions please post them below!

System Ops: Not All Glamour & Glitz

Ugh... Thought I was coming in to work for some training in my "training day" instead I get to do data and functionality checks.