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Idiot v. Motorbikes, Round 4: Elsa

I don't know .... those carbs stand out like sex worker on Main St. .... you're gonna have to buff that whole engine before you're done! :smile6

That's the idea! On my /6, I rebuilt the carbs first but didn't BLING them and always regretted that.

Bare cast parts will be retaining a bare cast finish after clean up.

Indeed, the mounted carb pix look like there's been some filter applied to make them stand out. Nope, straight outta the camera (phone).
More progress. I managed to have a key made, which is simplifying things considerably:


All hooked up, it was time to have a look at compression. I ended up with 80ish on the left and 110ish on the right. My guess is that the left side had valves open for 37 years. It left some evidence after turning things over for a bit:


The mufflers are rusted through and will be getting replaced if I'm going to ride this thing even for a few test miles. I still have the adapted aftermarket Harley mufflers that I'd used on Edgar for a wee bit.

I've installed fresh plugs and started buttoning things up on the motor in general.

Parts sufficient to hear the motor roar should be in next week. I'll probably roll it outside for the first start.
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Things lined up this week. Hansen's got some critical bits in and I had some time to fiddle with the bits. Fuel system in place:


Safety gear in place:


And I had the younger boy ready to act in the case of an actual emergency this morning. But we were denied! The same points that were pointing a week or so ago, weren't, today. So I cleaned them up:


And got ready to try again this evening. I have to say, I actually like the points in the bean can. The gap can be set on the bench while you, the mechanic, stand upright in good light. Downright civilised.

Here's the result:

Lotsa stuff blew out the back:


But eventually things settled down, and I did some baseline idle sync:

Not bad for a bike that's been parked since at least:


Next steps are freeing the clutch and then assembling the airbox with parts that are coming. After that, I've got to work out the brake and tire situation for some evaluation test rides. Ernst (my R75/6) may be loaning his wheels and front brake setup for this. Along with his mufflers. I'm hoping to burn through a tank of gas to see what needs to be done before it comes all apart for chassis refinishing and detailing.
The clutch was an issue. As I got the bike, the cable moved very freely but didn't seem to be acting on the release mechanism. I cranked up the adjustment all the way and got some resistance at the lever, but testing it, the clutch was not releasing at all.

I pulled the transmission this morning. No real surprises other than this visitor:


I think he'd been in the shop a couple days. He was a bit dried out. I took him outside to where my grapevine gets watered every day and he's recovered. That, and it's rained a bit today.

Shit got real yesterday when the Sawzall came out to deal with the mufflers:


This evening, my son and I pulled the clutch. Here's the lightened flywheel:


And here's why the clutch didn't release:


Yes, that's a disc of friction material that has left the clutch plate. More carnage:


I have a fantasy that there's someone who knows how to resurface the big cast iron piece. At the very least, clutch disc and pressure plate are ordered. I'll have the transmission in the repair stand to check the throwout mechanism in the meantime.
I sent a pic of the carnage to Craig Hansen and he said they had tried resurfacing the cast iron bit BITD and it just didn't work. I can see that--hard to fixture it like an automotive flywheel.

Right now, and for the next couple weeks, is perhaps my busiest time of year for work but paradoxically I get more done because I make a point of stepping away from the desk and into the shop for an hour or so every day. So here's about a week's progress:

I put the trans in my adapted VW engine stand for clean-up:


Scrubbed it all over with a 'red' Scotchbrite:


I took it outside and sprayed it down with etching mag wheel cleaner, then after some more cleaning gave it the soft Scotchbrite finger painting method to get to here:


I did the clamshell also. Left is mostly finished, right is after red SB and mag wheel cleaner:


The method is spraying some silver alu engine paint onto a green Scotchbrite pad and using that to apply the paint. It basically puts paint into the pores while leaving the metal mostly bare.

Nice shiny clutch bits got mounted:


This came up here or on another board. New driveshaft boots are being made with worn-out molds, so the installation directions aren't as clear. Left is brand new, right is from 1979:


Oben is German for 'over' or 'top.' They're also marked for which end goes to trans. Old on the left this time:


Getriebe is transmission, seite is 'side.' Getriebeseite is on the same side as the 'oben' marking. I'm going to be reusing the boot for now as I expect the whole bike is going to come apart for a lot more work after I get addicted to the RS experience.

I've never liked the pin that holds the clutch actuating arm on /6 and /7. It looks like something that wants to fall out. So here's what I do instead:


That's an M8 x 60 screw, a couple spring washers (because German), and a plain nut and a Nylock to jam against each other. Installed, looks like this:


In a perfect world the shank would be closer to a true 8mm and the threads would be shorter but I've run similar on Ernst for over a decade.

The trans is mostly in:


I stopped here for the big work as I was in no mood to deal with the driveshaft bolts but I had a bit of time to change the shocks. Here's old and new:


The shafts on the old shocks are rusty and pitted. I have a fantasy that there's a way to rebuild them as I'd like to keep the vintage mods but I jumped on the Hagons a while ago just in case. Mounted up:


Next steps are bolting up the driveshaft, remounting the battery box and battery, bleeding the front brake that my /6 is loaning, swap the rear wheel with the one from my /6, and do the rest of what needs done to hear it roar again. It could be a few days.
Yesterday I bled the front brake. I like to reverse bleed, feeding fresh fluid through the bleeder. The bleeder screw itself has teflon tape on the threads to keep fluid from seeping out the threads while there's pressure with the screw cracked open. Here's the basic setup:


That's a 50cc horse syringe from the feed store. The process starts with using it to drain the MC reservoir and disposing of the old fluid properly. Then tilt the MC so the feed hole is on the high side so any air bubbles go into the reservoir:


The brake is firm and happy now, at least as much as an ATE brake can be.

Craig Hansen mentioned when I was picking up the clutch bits that it helps to run the motor for a few seconds with the trans mounting fasteners just a touch loose and operate the clutch to make sure trans and clutch disc are centered in their axes, and tighten at least one trans fastener while it's running. Apparently the trans doesn't necessarily center when just offering it up. In extreme cases, it can make a sound just like rod knock. I'm always up for an adventure:

Turn the volume up if you like--this will be the last time I run this one with open headers.

Looking like this last night after I put the clamshell back together:


Today I've reconnected the choke cables and will probably swap the rear wheel for one that doesn't have a tire from 1982. Then the mufflers go on and it will be time for some test 'n' tune.
Rear wheel borrowed from Ernst:


This is not Schoedinger's Cat:


As he clearly exists. But Elsa has Schroedinger's rear brake, existing in the duality of stopping/not stopping. And that's all I'll say about it.

This has to be the wrong sidestand spring:


So I borrowed the spring from Ernst for now.

Mufflers on and the younger boy helping:


It fired right up and was nice and quiet with the mufflers. About 15 seconds on full choke, another 15 seconds on half choke, and then it idled right at 1000 rpm. I had my kid spin it up to 3K rpm and my multimeter showed 14.0 V at the battery. But there's some oil trying to leave the scene on the left cylinder:



I'm going to retorque that side in the morning but I don't expect much.

Otherwise ready for a test or two:


And the ergonomic check:


For comparison, here's Ernst, naked with low bars:


And Edgar, faired with high bars:


I'm interested to see how it feels on the road.
So now I know what state the last valve adjustment was in when it was interrupted in 1985. PO had de-torqued the left cylinder head.

Two of the nuts moved at 10 ft-lbs and they all moved at 20 ft-lbs. The valves needed readjusting, of course, and I checked the other side where all the nuts were tight, thankfully. Both valves on the right side had tightened up a tiny bit in the 3 minutes it's been running but no big deal.

I cleaned up the oily spots and will be watching for further trouble.
OK, here's the 20 mile report:

OMG! I like this thing! Power power power smooth smooth smooth comfortable comfortable comfortable

I had my younger son follow along on Edgar in case there was a massive failure out there. His SV650 is not suitable for a grown man to pillion on.

Getting ready:


At a roadworks, he pulled alongside and said, "Something round fell off back there." Took us a second:


I think the oil leak is solved. My son says there's some smoke out the left pipe. I was running it up and down the rev range in 2nd and 3rd gear for the most part. Lots of pull. There will be some more test 'n' tune and a ride to DMV to get proper Oregon title and registration in the next couple weeks.

It most certainly needs more than a single 38mm ATE disc up front! But even this ad hoc setup is stronger than the 40mm setup on Edgar, so I should probably spend some time fettling that, too.

My head is in the air, but it's clean air. Quieter than the Lufty on Edgar. There will be some time getting used to how this one moves underneath me, but I think we're starting to gel.

OK, today is the 50 mile report. Out 'n' about on mostly backroads but with five miles on I-5 included where I was ein Linksfahrer winding it out a bit. This RS is a calm happy thing in the left lane on the slab!

Running well and when I got back home I did a carb sync. Idle was right-dominant and off idle was left-dominant. Corrected.

Then I pulled the plugs and carbs and did a compression check. 140 psi on the left eventually rising to 145. 145 psi on the right eventually rising to 150. I'm downright tickled.

There was a little oil on my left boot after the first ride but that may have been the stuff I couldn't clean off. There doesn't appear to be any new oil on my boot today. Regardless, I'm not wearing my nice boots until I'm sure.
OK, today is the 50 mile report. Out 'n' about on mostly backroads but with five miles on I-5 included where I was ein Linksfahrer winding it out a bit. This RS is a calm happy thing in the left lane on the slab!

Running well and when I got back home I did a carb sync. Idle was right-dominant and off idle was left-dominant. Corrected.

Then I pulled the plugs and carbs and did a compression check. 140 psi on the left eventually rising to 145. 145 psi on the right eventually rising to 150. I'm downright tickled.

There was a little oil on my left boot after the first ride but that may have been the stuff I couldn't clean off. There doesn't appear to be any new oil on my boot today. Regardless, I'm not wearing my nice boots until I'm sure.
Another 50 miles today, after a quick valve clearance check. One exhaust had tightened up to .007"

Ergonomics need some fine tuning. I got some of it handled by resetting the pillion pegs further away from the pilot pegs. Things were particularly tight on the right side. I'm generally on the balls of my feet when I ride. It's the comfortable spot on a bicycle, too.

I also want to pivot the hand controls down a bit, but they're bumping into something. I can get the movement I want by moving the whole bar just a tad and will do that the next time I have the tank off. The issue here is I'm moving my wrist just a bit to operate the clutch lever. Again, a bicycle thing--I always set up hand controls on a mountain bike to work without having to reposition the hand(s).

In other news the mirrors adjust easily and when I'm wearing my slim Alpinestars jacket more than half the mirror shows the road behind. This may not be the case with the Aerostich.

No new oil on my boot. With the recent carb sync, it pulls smoothly from 2K rpm in every gear. Still needs that second disc up front!

I expect to ride Elsa another tank and 1/2 and then she comes apart for chassis beautification, brake and fork rebuilds, and maybe another vintage chassis mod or two.
Oh, it's been a bit! We actually had a bit of a winter this year. In fact, there was fresh snow at 5000' last night so I'm not riding in the mountains quite yet.

Waiting six months to work on Elsa meant a fresh battery to replace the nine-year old one that had done time on both Ernst and Edgar. It seems that even if the RS clock isn't moving, it's still draining the battery. I figured it was also time to change the break-in oil to the regular stuff and for new gear oil in all the places gear oil goes. I got out for 20ish smooth and happy RS miles to get things up to temperature for the draining.

First, my parking plinth is telling me a story:


It may be the rear main seal, possibly a pushrod seal or two, or even the pan gasket. I'll be retorquing the pan when it cools down. The others can wait for the full disassembly and bling-a-thon.

The fluids came out without drama. The trans oil looked pretty good for 35 years of moist storage:


There's also a leaking fork seal, so I'll be doing that more sooner than later. RS tubes are exposed to grit and stuff and living on the coast all her life didn't help:


I do have some extra fork stanchions to go in. I'm curious about the Sport Pac settings and will try to carry them over with the rebuild. I will also probably use full gaiters as I've yet to see any damage like this on a gaitered bike.
I got fresh Michelins for Edgar as I'm taking him to Montana in June and with 5K miles on them, last year's Michelins wouldn't have made it there and back. But they definitely have enough life left in them to go on Elsa once the wheels are ready (Elsa is borrowing the /6 spoked wheels from Ernst presently) so I had the tire people (Hansen's) take the 1983 tires off Elsa's wheels. Today I started the wheel bling-a-thon with some disassembly. And we're off!

Ugh. Grubby!


Craig Hansen says this disc is done. The groove on the inner diameter of the friction surface is on both sides. You can feel the taper as you run your fingers over it. I'm curious and a little fearful about the caliper:


The fronts look good and I'll be reusing those.

After dealing with hubs that needed heat to disassemble and assemble on Ernst and Edgar it was kinda relaxing to just set up the puller and pull stuff (steel sleeve on both wheels):


I'm a little concerned about how little grease there was in there, both on the OG rear wheel and the recall front wheel. The internals have had just a wipedown with a paper towel. No solvent yet:


But it looks like 15K miles isn't enough to hurt things. I'll get a better look after I really clean things, but I think I can reuse all the bearings:


I'm kinda seeing some witness marks and kinda not. We'll see what's there after a proper solvent cleaning.

Next steps are to de-crustify the wheels and get them to the powdercoat people.
I've been having too much fun riding this summer and have only been picking at the Elsa project for an hour or so every couple days. What I've been doing is de-burring the snowflakes. BMW left a lot of casting marks in the wheels and I've been smoothing them out. Things like this:


Become this with a bit of sanding:


And then there's the parting line on every spoke. I found it was easier to make tools than to use anything else I had on hand:


I have a few different shapes like that. A wooden paint stirrer is also great for getting into the acute corners. This is where it's going:


Just knocked down enough that there won't be a 'fin' poking out of the powdercoat. These should make it to the powdercoaters in the next couple weeks. Then to repack the hubs and get the slightly used tires mounted.
Part of what I'm doing here is finding new vendors here in New melvilleville. Back in Old melvilleville there was just the one powdercoater. They did great work and even though I was in there once a year at most I was always greeted by name by the lovely gal who took in the work.

So here I tried the shop that was furthest away, 20ish miles, and it's just the one guy running the shop. He looked at the front wheel as I brought it in and said, "I've got powder to match that finish!" He took me back into the shop and showed me the Rally wheels on his AMX (!!!!) and said "Just like that!" So it's a slightly pebbly finish and I'm very happy with the results. Here's what came out of it:



For comparison, here's what I got done in Old melvilleville on Edgar, sadly after a bird strike yesterday:


So please look past the feathers of the poor departed birb and compare for the results of the deburring I've done on this set.

Next steps are rebuilding the hubs and getting the bearing preload right. This will free up the spoked wheels to be returned to Ernst, my naked R75/6.
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