After the restoration: 12,000 Mile Service
Monday, Oct 10, 2005
It’s not quite time for the 12K service, but the front end is getting twitchy; so twitchy that it is sometimes a bit scary. You want to be sure you’ve got both hands on the bars when decelerating at about 30 MPH. I’ve checked everything I can think of checking. The only thing I haven’t done is change the front tire. There is lots of tread left on the front, but it is over 5 years old. The fact that it is 5 years old bothers me a bit… the tire was purchased and mounted in May of 2003. They’ve been used a bit over 6000 miles. The odometer is at 11,6xx.
Tuesday, Oct 11, 2005
After some discussion on the slash2 mailing list I decided to go with the Bridgestone S11 Spitfire. I ordered a pair—front and rear—from Southwest Moto tires Monday morning. They arrived today! Yes, this means I’ll be changing the rear tire which was mounted less than 4 months ago and has less than 1000 miles on it. So be it. I want to try the new tires as a matched pair.
Wednesday, Oct 12, 2005
Have I mentioned how much I hate changing tires. What takes others 20 minutes winds up taking me about 4 hours. Yeah, I’ll check spokes, wheel bearings if it’s been a while, polish the rims, clean the brakes, lube cables and linkages, and generally try to make everything just right in addition to changing the tires, but still… four hours! I started today by putting the bike on the lift.
First things first. I removed the front wheel and checked
out the condition of the front brake friction material. Looks good.
I wiped out some excess wheel bearing grease from the inside of the backing plate and cleaned the friction material with brake cleaner.
The backing plate was then turned over and the outside wiped down with some WD-40. It’s ready to put back on the bike.
I’ve learned in the past that it’s easy to ding the hub cap when tire irons slip. I removed the wheel bearing retaining nut, the hub cap, then put the retaining nut back on the wheel. The hub cap was put out of the way where it will stay until it is time to balance the wheel.
After much cussing but, to my surprise, no busted knuckles, the tube came out of the tire then the tire came off the rim. It was easier than last time, but that’s not saying much. Have I mentioned that I hate changing tires?
I put the wheel on a spare axle, clamped by a 2x4 in my bench vise. Out came the spoke wrench, aluminum polish, and rags. The wheel looks good when spun, no obvious out-of-round or side-to-side motion. The spokes checked out OK. I gave maybe 1/8 turn to 2 or 3 spokes to bring them to the proper tension. The aluminum polish and lots of elbow grease when into making sure the area where the tire bead sits was good and clean.
With old rubber and other grunge cleaned away the rim manufacture date can easily be seen. This rim is almost as old as I am, having been made in 08 of 51. It’s a lot older than the bike (made in 12 of 65). It’s got 50+ years of dings in it, but still looks pretty good.
After more cussing and fussing the new tire was mounted
with the old tube. Air was added after bouncing the wheel on the floor
a few times. Then I noticed that I’d forgot to check for balance dots.
Sigh. There is a white dot close to the valve stem, but a yellow circle on the other side of the tire from the white dot. Usually a yellow dot goes next to the valve stem. Color me confused. I’m just going to check the balance before I worry about it too much.
I grabbed the hub cap and put it back on the wheel. It and the rim were then polished, now that I’ve hopefully finished messing it up. Now it’s ready to balance. The tire was put on the balancer and I found I could get it balanced, albeit with a bit more weight than I like (1 1/2 Oz). I’ll try it this way for a while.
The wheel was put back on the bike and the axle torqued.
The brake cable hasn’t been connected yet as I want to lubricate it first. The pinch bolt won’t be tightened until I can bounce the front end a few times. That’s all for today. Tomorrow I’ll do the rear tire.
Thursday, Oct 13, 2005
Jeff came over this afternoon. After lunch at a local burrito place we tackled the rear tire. The hope is that with two of us it’ll take less than the 4 hours that it took me to do the front by myself. The downside of two of us working is that I didn’t bother to stop and take many pictures. So it goes.
I removed the rear axle and pulled the wheel easier than I should have been able to do; more about this cryptic remark, below. The tire came off quickly with 4 hands doing the work. Jeff said he’d find a use for the tire given that it is only a few months old with less than 1000 miles of use.
I cleaned up the rim, noticing that this one is almost 10 years newer than the front rim. It’s also more beat up with the marks of 45 years of tire irons wielded by those who didn’t care about marring the pretty alloy. I checked the spokes. None were found to need any tweaking and the wheel looks good when spun. Time to mount the new tire.
The rear brake looks about what you’d expect it to look if
you’d just been in there 800 miles ago. I wiped the friction material
down with brake cleaner just because and mounted the wheel. The S-11
110/90 rear just fits between swing arm and
brake shoes, providing you pull the left shock bolt out of the way.
There is no need to remove air from the tire. Comparing it with the Avon that came off the bike I see that this 110/90 has a smaller diameter than the Avon tire it replaced. It will be interesting to see how the bike handles on these tires.
After mounting the tire I looked at the rear pinch-bolt.
Hmmm, I forgot about the pinch-bolt when removing the axle. How’d I do that? Seems that somewhere in the last 800 miles the nut came off. I wonder if this had anything to do with the extra bit of twitchiness that started about 400 miles ago. I didn’t have a pretty stainless nut and washer, but did have the original pinch-bolt from pre-restoration and so used that nut.
We took the bike off the stand and I bounced the front and rear several times before tightening the pinch-bolts. I don’t think I’ll lose one this time. After putting the stand and rolling work bench away it was time to tackle the front brakes. Having Jeff’s extra hands proved to be helpful.
I lubed the front brake cable and then fiddled with the cables, adjusting cam, and brake drum levers until I got it so the front lever barely moves before making contact. The feel at the handlebar is very different than it was. The grip gets hard, fast. The wheel spins freely. I’m looking forward to a test ride.
No test ride today, though. I’ll let the bike sit over night and verify that the new tires are holding air. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll ride it to the store to get a prettier nut for that rear pinch-bolt.
Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006
It’s been cold. So cold that I’ve been riding my r1200gs so I can plug in my heated jacket liner. You can tell that I’m turning into a wimp in my old age. Today the temps were north of 50 so I took the R69S out for a ride. On my way home the engine started sputtering due to no gas. I switched to reserve and looked at the odometer. Hey, it’s just over 12,000 miles. I rode the bike to the gas station around the corner, filled up the tank, then rode home. Since the bike is good and hot I’ll change the oil now.
The odometer reads 12,011 miles. The tach/timer reads 30 hours since last reset, i.e. last service. This seems to be the norm: a service every 30 hours of engine run time. 1200 miles / 30 hours = 40 MPH average speed.
The schedule calls for not much more than an oil change this service, but I will be doing more primarily since been 8 months since my last service. There’s nothing like getting a new bike to cut down on the number of hours the old bike is ridden. Anyway, I pulled the battery (8+ years old, now) and put it on the charger.
I drained the old oil. It looked pretty black, but felt OK. There was nothing to speak of stuck to the magnet on the drain plug. Also, my notes indicate I didn’t add much oil the last 1200 miles. Good.
When I pulled the air cleaner housing I noticed not only the ugly paint job I did last time, but a few rust spots. I sanded down the old paint drips and the rust spots. I’ll pick up some primer and try to do a better job this time. Lets see… primer, sand, paint, sand, paint, polish. Something like that, anyway.
I filled the crankcase with oil. Tomorrow I’ll check the valves.
Wednesday, Feb 22, 2006
I picked up some primer for the air cleaner housing.
After painting the first coat of primer I checked the valves on the left hand side. Perfect. No need to adjust. Time for the right hand side.
What’s wrong with that picture? Give up? The center stud is missing. I think this is the side that some previous owner had done an epoxy repair on the stud. This is also the side that is showing the butterhead tendencies. It’s time to do something about that, even if only a short term fix. BTW: the intake valve on this side was correct, the exhaust valve was ever so loose.
I unhooked and moved the carburator out of the way, then took the head off. It took a lot of force to remove the head screws on the exhaust side of the head due to the butterhead tendency for the holes in the head to close up. The head screws go into the cylinder quite easy; they bind going through the head. They bind so much that I can’t be sure the heads are torqued correctly. I’m hoping Joe can ream them out. Even if that only gets me another 10K or so, it’s better than nothing.
The head is wrapped up in a plastic bag, ready to take to Joe’s. I’ll take one of the head screws along to show how it binds on the exhaust side. I first thought the head gasket came off so easy that I could re-use it. Upon closer inspection I see where a bit of gasket stuck to the head. I tried using a gasket like this once before: I learned my lesson that time. Gaskets are cheap.
I can’t paint. I can’t even prime. I don’t know what I did to get the ridges and cracks seen on the picture. I sanded it down, but didn’t do much better the second time. I decided to just put on lots of thin coats of primer, so there will still be primer left when I sand down all the ridges. Sounds good in theory. Will see what happens in practice.
Thursday, Feb 23, 2006
Not surprisingly the theory of adding many of coats of primer to sand down to a smooth finish didn’t work in practice. After some discussion on the slash2 mailing list I decided that the thing to do was strip the air cleaner housing down to bare metal and start again. The thought is that the crackling was caused by the primer reacting with the original base coat.
I used paint remover to to strip off the all the paint then sanded down the metal. When finished I washed the housing with soap and water and dried it. The primer was warmed by setting it in a pot of hot water. The pictures show the results after the first, third, and fifth coats of primer. Much better. I’ll wet sand it and apply more primer (if necessary) tomorrow.
I still have to decide if I’m going to try using the original paint over the newly primed surface or purchase new paint that may be better compatible with the primer. Decisions, decisions.
Friday, Feb 24, 2006
The epiphany came when looking at rattle cans at the hardware store. A white bike should have a white air cleaner housing, no? This picture is after 4 or 5 coats. I’ll let it sit for about 48 hours, sand it down, and then apply the final coats.
Saturday, Feb 25, 2006
I took the head to Joe’s this morning. The binding head screw problem was resolved in about 30 seconds. An 8 mm drill bit (or 5/16 inch if you don’t have metric bits) chucked in the drill press and passed through the head screw channels does the trick.
Normally Joe would repair the 8 mm stud by replacing it
with an 8 mm/9 mm combination. The hole was already too large for 9 mm
threads (remember, this stud had been repaired some time in the past).
The hole size was just right to tap for 10 mm.
Joe made a stud with 10 mm threads at one end and 8 mm
threads at the other. The 10 mm threads are on the long side so the stud
can be “bottomed” for a better hold. I also used some thread locker.
Hopefully this stud wont fall off when riding down the road.
Sunday, Feb 26, 2006
Sunday morning ride (on the R1200GS) is over. The rain, start of what the weather men say will be a weeks worth of storms, has begun. That means I’ll need more light in the garage what with the garage door kept closed.
I cleaned some of the carbon off the piston top and got the gasket surface of the head nice and clean, too. The primary tool for both jobs was a scotchbrite pad.
The discoloration on the head screws in the second picture shows where the screws were binding in the head. I was able to get all 4 of the long screws flush with the head using only my fingers. The head was torqued to 25 ft-lbs in a crosswise pattern in 3 increments: 15 ft-lbs, 20 ft-lbs, then finally 25 ft-lbs.
The new stud length is perfect. The decorative nut (Joe had one to replace the one I lost) was installed finger tight. I’ve never put any more force on this nut more than I can generate by twisting the socket on an extension with my bare hand.
The exhaust, that I’d spent time cleaning and polishing earlier, went back on the bike with lots of anti-seize. By the time it got on the bike it was covered in anti-seize finger prints, requiring more cleaning and polishing. A new battery was installed. This is not the battery I took off the bike which was still good, but 9 years old. This battery was a gift from a friend. Thanks, Jeff
It’s too cold and wet to paint. I did break out the 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper and wet sand the air cleaner cover. I tried to sand until I could no longer see any gloss in strong light. After initial sanding the cover was spotted in gloss as only the high spots were effected. Eventually I got most of the gloss. Then I dropped the cover putting two little dings in the new paint. I’m hoping the next few coats will cover these dings.
Friday, Mar 3, 2006
I wet-sanded down the cover using 1500-grit and got rid of most of the dings last Wednesday. I also added a few more coats of paint. That was probably a mistake as it was really a bit too cool to paint.
The pictures were taken after buffing with rubbing compound, polish, and then a coat of wax. The sides came out OK. I do need to find a less dusty/dirty place to let things dry in the future, though. The top is another story. It’s good enough to put back on the bike (especially as it’t next to impossible to see when on the bike :-) I can tell that my technique still needs work, though.
Last step was to put it on the bike. Looks OK. The blemish on the right side is the shadow thrown by some clear plastic I put on a portion of the cover to keep the speedometer cable from rubbing off the paint.
That just about does it for this service. I’ll re-torque the right head in 300 miles. The only other thing to do are the normal functions of checking gas and tire air pressure.
Tuesday, Apr 11, 2006
It’s been close to 300 miles. I re-torqued the head and re-adjusted the valves. The bike sits in the garage. It’s been a very cool and wet spring. That tends to keep me on my GS with heated grips and an alternator powerful enough to plug in heated gear.