Monday, 27 February 2012

Rolling Chassis Two

Whilst I was planning to be showing you my paintwork this weekend, the bodywork has sat on the back burner for a while, and is still unfinished. All is not lost though as I thought seemed a good idea, with the surprisingly nice weather, to roll the bike outside and fit the engine.

The first obstacle was to remove the engine block that I had temporarily fitted, which was an easy task. This block almost immediately went into my Dads chassis so that we could sort his engine(s) out on a bench rather than in a frame. I also had my eye on the Indian silentblocs.

With Dads 2011 engine on one workmate and mine on the other, we changed the engine mounts. Removing the Indian mounts went fairly smoothly aside from a small niggle with an exhaust bracket. However, one of the engine mounts in my engine posed a greater problem, our tool simply would not work properly. Even after dressing back the welds so that the tool would fit, the mount was so long that it could only be extracted part way. But after a bit of innovation on my part, we finally removed it thoroughly. Pulling them in was a much more easy task.

However, before the engine went into the frame, I had a couple of things to do to it which would be much easier with it on a bench.

For a start, the exhaust needed to be thought about. After popping over to Replay Scooters in the Bongo, Chalkie had repaired my cracked/holed exhaust and re-attached the bracket – great news. As soon as I got home, it received the standard treatment of some black exhaust paint to be drying so that I could properly mess around with it on the Sunday.

While I was at Chalkies, he also re-iterated the advice he had given me about the exhaust bracket mounted to the magneto flange. Basically, we want as little vibration there as possible. This involved removing the flywheel to get access to the bracket bolts but luckily I was going to be doing this anyway due to having a replacement, lighter flywheel.

I also wanted to have a look inside the engine as I knew nothing of its components or history. In fact, the only part that I had been told about was the LI150 gearbox inside; perfect for a beginner.  After taking off the engine cover, I was pleasantly surprised to find a few great things. For starters, everything inside was shiny. It had a new chain and what looked to be a fairly unmolested eight plate clutch. The oil was still green in colour so in summary, everything inside was fresh and exactly what I would have hoped for.

By the late hours of Saturday, I had successfully got the engine back together and in the frame. I was even lucky enough to slide the engine bolt straight through, which I am told is a very rare occurrence. The hard part came on Sunday morning when, with no hub or wheel fitted, I wanted to move the bike. I now realise how accustomed I had become to having a rolling chassis, so this had to be rectified as soon as possible. With the help of my Dad and a few arm aching minutes, we positioned the bike outside, in the Sun.

Thinking about the cabling was the next major hurdle for the day and as I was jumping in straight away with a non-standard rear brake, I was understandably nervous about its position with regards to the exhaust silencer. So as the exhaust had now dried, I delicately moved it temporarily into position, making full use of a bungee to help hold it. It also allowed me to test the replacement bracket I had made, which now just needs a bit of shaping. In any case, the brake was luckily clear of the exhaust silencer, not by much though.

After this panic was over I had to fit the rear hub and wheel to make it into a rolling chassis once more. However, until this weekend, one of the things I had neglected was the rear hub. We had drilled out the extractor studs that had got stuck in from the previous owner, but we had not tapped out the M7 thread required as we simply didn’t have the taps. After receiving delivery of these some months ago, they were finally used and we have a hub that can be removed. The hub was fitted and wheel added in no time.

In all of the excitement, I even treated myself to a sit on ride down the drive – she handles well at 3mph. On a serious note though, I had a productive weekend through the blood, sweat and tears. We are a few steps closer with mine but I have inadvertently aided my Dad too with the removal of his engine. I have even tidied the garage to help with working on our bits which should speed things up.

Thanks again to Dad for the time, advice and help he has given me over the weekend. Chalkie also deserves big thumbs up for giving me honest advice and useful suggestions and of course the repair welding. Lastly but no means least, Mum for providing the food, spirit and putting up with my grubby hands constantly making a mess in the house. Who knows what I’ll be writing about next week? I don’t think I do yet.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Odds and Sods

I mentioned in a previous post that, I was going to be doing a few bits during the week. The plan was that I would be cutting and laying safety walk on my newly painted floorboards from KAS Racepaint. The week’s activities went to plan and they are now only short of their mountings.

The next task for the weekend was the collection of our race transport, the Mazda Bongo. It turns out that the cylinder head had cracked due to lack of maintenance. The functional fix it was treated to make it driveable, so it was driven homeward bound for a cosmetic – erm –clean. As we had taken delivery of it in the snow, neither one of us had properly spent long enough inside to see how dirty and messy it was! The Bongo was in a bit of a state. Needless to say one very long afternoon was spent giving it a well needed valet.

We also had an opportunity to test the other features of the vehicle including the electric windows! We quickly figured that the passenger side window only goes down; which was a bit of a disaster. However, despite these few teething problems, I already think that the vehicle is fantastic. Really good quality and it will serve our purposes extremely well.

Other good news during the week was that I was featured in Scootering, a little write up with a picture is a small step in the right direction for the team. Really proud to have been included, here is a scan of my piece.

However, the last part of this blog really wasn’t planned. After the manufacture of a crash protector for my exhaust (genuinely made from my floorboard off-cuts), I had the part tack-welded on at Replay Scooters.

Unfortunately, on cleaning up the exhaust for black paint, I discovered the mounting point was loose – no biggie I thought, we’ll just get that welded on. However, on further investigation, it dawned on me that this loose point was masking a crack on the exhaust. Bit of a problem so definitely watch this space.

However, rather than leave my blog on a negative point, I want to identify a few positives about the problem: I did find it, I did find it before painting and I did find it with a few weeks to get it sorted. I most definitely will be keeping an eye on it over the season but in all honesty, I’m not too shocked bearing in mind the treatment it has had over its short life.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Engine and KAS Racepaint (Batch Two)

Gary kindly collected my batch of paintwork on Monday. This had been completed at KAS Racepaint over the weekend. I was certainly looking forward to recieving the professionally painted batch of Lambretta parts. However, it appears that my week was in for even more of a treat. I received a call from Chalkie of Replay Scooters on the Wednesday to say my engine had been built and was ready for collection. The grin I had just acquired went form ear to ear! The only negative to all of this good news was I would have to wait until the weekend to see it all.

Saturday morning was cold but despite the weather, we ventured out to collect the bits. So with great pleasure, I present to you, the pictures:

As there is still so much to do, I painted the temporary Legshields in a makeshift spray booth. Pictures of the finished product will appear in the coming weeks. Here is a couple of the spray booth for now though.

I also had a car issue over the weekend that put a strain on my timings but this was fixed by my Dad so a shout-out goes to him for keeping me on the road. A shout-out also must go to my Mum who provided us both with excellent bacon sandwiches at the weekend and of course for letting me spray paint in the house. Lastly, a thankyou to Steve of Ambivent for coming to visit on the Sunday and keeping up the morale.

I am hoping to get a few bits done during the week so I expect I will have a few more odds and sods off the list by next weekend.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

KAS Bodywork - Preparation Week Three

I have had a good time visiting KAS Racepaint over the last few weeks and really appreciate how much Paul has done for me. This weekend I saw my parts along-side Gary's move into the booth for the last time. And I also managed to catch a glimpse of what they looked like in their gloss black - terrific.

In a rather tight turnaround and we also squeezed in the trip up to the BSSO AGM in Walsall. This was my first time at the event and I found it really interesting. The discussions were thought-provoking and it was great to imagine that I will be a prospective racer in the coming 2012 season, something I have been looking forward to for a long time. Chalkie also gave me some useful updates regarding my engine. 

This weekend also saw us gain possession of our race transport - a Mazda Bongo. These little beauties are well known in surfing fraternities and we hope that ours will serve us as well as the recommendations suggest.

I have also partially painted my temporary Legshields over the weekend so expect a more complete update on these soon. Hopefully, the final majority of the professional paintwork will be collected during the week. Next weekend is lining up to be an exciting one!