tm100_crankcase_hole_smallI had a bit of a disappointment tonight as I was cleaning up the little Suzuki motor to ship off to the engine builder. Upon turning it upside down to clean the gunk I discovered a hole along the centerline of the engine cases. “Uh oh, this can’t be good.” It’s an odd little hole, sort of square. It’s located in a place where someone may have tried to pry the cases apart with a screw driver, but it’s not broken like that would be. There’s a bigger picture here. The bike wasn’t leaking gear oil, and it wasn’t empty because I drained several hundred CCs out of it before I pulled it from the frame. That means it must be under the crankshaft – which could explain why the engine ran so poorly, but the cylinder shows no sign of sucking dirt. It’s weird. But anytime there is a hole in the motor it means my repair bill could be significantly higher. We’ll just have to see.

dualsport_trailer_interiorHere’s another very nice example of a rider-modified trailer. This one by the owner of the web site. It’s a little Wells Cargo flat nose, looks to be about a 6’x10′ or maybe 6’x12′, he doesn’t say. He started out to make it camping trailer because he didn’t even own a bike when he bought it. Later he got into dual sport riding and converted it to haul bikes. But he did some really neat mods, including:

  • deep-cycle battery powered electrical system
  • custom-built cabinet with refrigerator and microwave
  • 1,000 watt DC/AC inverter
  • Solar Power
  • custom stereo

kreem_comboI have a very nice, low-hour 1974 Yamaha TY250 trials bike. I bought it last year and it’s in good shape but has two issues I need to fix – it leaks oil from the bottom of the motor somewhere, and the fuel tank is full of crap that keeps clogging the petcock. We’re going to have seven trials events within a 2-hour drive of the ATL this year so I want to get it ready to ride.

The problem with the fuel tank is two-fold:

  1. it’s full of rust that is sluffing off
  2. the rust is underneath a very bad KREEM sealer job that has detached from the metal and is actually making things way worse.

After digging around for a few weeks trying to figure what to do with it I pretty much decided to just buy a Sammy Miller fiberglass tank/seat combo, as I need to replace my trail kit seat with a trials unit anyway. But those SM units are over $400 here in the US, and you still need to coat the inside of them with POR-15 or something to keep the alcohol in our gas away from the resin. Anyway…

That spending $500 thing made me go back and look at the original tank again and I finally found a phone number for KREEM Products Inc in Somis, CA. I gave them a call and the tech there told me that if I fill the tank with acetone or MEK the KREEM sealer will go back to liquid. Of course, MEK and acetone will also eat the paint off the tank. Sadly, the tank has a very nice, resto paint job that someone paid pretty good money for. And was one of the reasons I paid a little more than I should have for the bike. And there’s no way I’m going to be able to get the crap out of the tank without messing it up. I don’t think.

Still, I thought I’d post the tech info here, in case someone else needs to undo a really bad KREEM job in the future.

2156999480_106f8698b8_mFor my New Year’s Eve and Day I celebrated by starting the tear-down on my little 1975 Suzuki TM100M. I bought this little guy a couple of years ago from a kid in FL. It’s been taking up space in my garage ever since. But since AHRMA is running a 100cc class this year I’ve decided to at least start on the rebuild. My first step was to pull the top-end and see what sort of shape the motor was in. The bike ran when I got it, though not real well.

I was pleasantly surprised. The motor could easily have been ragged completely out but it was a nice, clean bore only 0.5mm over stock (1st over) and the cylinder wall is in good shape. Even better, someone took the time to do a respectable blueprint and polish job on the cylinder. As you can see in the photo the intake port has been cleaned and matched but the surface has been roughed up to improve air/fuel mixture. The port bridge has been smoothed and knife-edged per standard late-’70s practice. Overall it’s quite nice. Here are a few more pics of the porting work if you like that sort of thing.

I took it all over to John Astleford this afternoon. John runs an industrial machine shop but has been making vintage parts for almost two decades. I don’t have micrometers or anything and I wanted to see if the bore was straight, etc. The cylinder also had a bolt broken off in one of the exhaust flange holes. So John mic’d the cylinder out for me and said it was in good shape. He also drilled out the broken bolt and Heli-Coiled the hole.

The next step is to get in touch with a top-notch engine builder. I want to have this motor gone through by someone who really knows their business and really cares about what they’re building. Once the motor is out the rolling chassis will go back in the shed until such time as the motor is ready to go, whenever that may be. The bike needs both wheels rebuilt, the tank de-rusted or replaced, and various odds and ends. But one step at a time.

hydrosorbentHere’s a nifty little item you might find helpful if you live in a really humid area like I do – hydrosorbent packs from The self-contained, rechargeable moisture absorbers come in a variety of sizes , change colors to let you know when they’re full, and can be recharged with a few hours in an oven. I put them inside the RubberMaid containers I use to store engines and engine parts, clamp the lid down tight, then slip a big 2ml garbage bag around it. Any moisture that gets in the bag gets absorbed by the gel pack. Over time it will even suck out whatever moisture may be in the engine and really keeps the rust out of the internals. Good stuff and pretty cheap insurance if you’re going to keep a good motor on a shelf for a year or two. (I know, who does that?) From $5-$12 depending on size. Oh, don’t eat them.

tedstrailerWhile on the subject of workshops and trailers and such, here’s a link I found a while back to Crazy Ted’s Motorcycle Trailer page. Ted is just a guy whose wife got him a trailer for Christmas one year. He was so stoked he made a web page just to show off the stuff he did to it. That’s my kind of guy.

Ted has some nice, cost-saving mods, like the tie-down hanger made from conduit, and the rubber mat he uses for cushioning the floor. I also like his setup with the little Mr. Heater Portable Buddy Heater and the insulation. Lot’s of other tips here, too. Nice stuff.

motorcycle_workshopOne of my favorite things to do at big races is walk through the pits. Not to see the bikes – they all look the same – or even the racers. No, my favorite thing to see is the factory rigs and the pit setups. I love seeing what sort of cool, labor-saving jigs and tools and setups they have. It’s the next best thing to seeing inside a professional race shop, which I have never done. I am always looking for things to do to my own shop or trailer to make them more efficient. So when I ran across this book from White Horse Press I bought it right away even though I didn’t expect much (I find low expectations are a great way to avoid disappointment.)

I was pleasantly surprised to find the book is nice a collection of reviews of different shops – ranging from small, personal workspaces all the way up to the Yoshimura Racing facility. The author, C. G. Masi, does a great job describing the shop, the work done in it, and the various trade-offs the owner made for space, layout, etc. There are lots of pictures and plenty of helpful advice for anyone looking to revamp a shop, build a new one, or just rearrange the garage. It’s chok-full of tips for cheap storage, effective layout, and guidelines for things like compressed air plumbing. If you like to plan things out before you start renovating you’ll probably like this book a lot. Add it to the list of things someone can get you for a birthday. You’ll both be happy.

147324829_c672f7b755_mThis is a product I’ve used in my shop for over a year. It works really well with ca 1969-1975 CZ motors. From what I can tell it will work with almost any vintage single – two-stroke or four-stroke. It’s highly adjustable, easy to use, and Mike Kincaid over at Rampant Racing is a great guy.

When you buy a lot of products over the internet, sight-unseen as I often do, you never know what’s going to show up at your door. Often it’s a decent product taped into a shoebox or grocery bag or somesuch. Mike doesn’t deliver that kind of nonsense. The Rampant Racing stand came fully broken down and fixed in a custom wooden shipping fixture. It was the best-engineered shipping container I’ve seen and made sure that everything arrived in order and undamaged no matter what the chimpanzees at the freight company did.

That might seem silly, but a guy who puts that kind of thought into how to package his product isn’t going to make a cheesy product to go in it. You can bet the engine stand is first-rate — solid engineering, excellent manufacturing quality, nice finish, and easy assembly. If you work on engines out of the frame this is a tool you wqant under your Christmas tree.