New Hardware

I’ve picked up a ’79 Honda CX500C motorcycle. It runs, but has a few issues. Leaky left carb, bit of an oil drip and in need of some paint and mirrors are the big ones. I’ll take the time to tinker with it, get it running nicely and practice some zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance.
I’m hoping to get back to the three wheeler build, but I have to get the Texas rules figured out. Texas won’t allow car and motorcycle parts to be mixed, so I won’t be able to use the truck frame I brought from Maui. Just as well, it’s very heavy. So the key is how to construct a legal frame for the build. That will take some research. The three wheeler Morgan replica build will have to wait until I get the BMW 2800CS back on the road however since it needs to be protected from the weather and have it’s rust stopped as soon as possible to avoid damage to it’s still very nice interior.

IMG_4532 (1)

Howdy from Austin

I’ve made the move back to the mainland and brought most of the project with me. I had to leave the CX650 engine behind but brought the New Old Stock CX500 engine with me.
Texas law states that you can’t combine automobile and motorcycle parts in a vehicle. Probably due to too many VW trikes failing due to poor construction.
I’ll have to rethink my project and begin anew. Although I liked the torsion bar suspension of the Datsun truck frame, it’s heavy and not quite suited for the project.
I’m in a smaller space and the three wheeler project will have to wait till I get things setup for this project.

Bring the rain

Ah, progress has been slow of late, though I can’t blame the weather. Well, Not much anyway. With the end of the year, the available daylight at the end of the work day is nonexistent and we have had a very wet winter. No complaints, we need the rain, but since my workspace is not well protected, work stops when it rains or gets dark.

The frame had short supports sticking out to the side to help support the cab and I’ve cut those off and welded them back on at the ends of the frame to allow for easier connection to the body work. I’ll also be able to use the flanges that were for the rear transmission mount for attachment. I’ve been waiting to start the bodywork until I have the frame fully painted.

I finally got a day when the wind was right, not much rain and I had the time to make a bit of a mess. I bought most of a gallon of POR-15 rust protective coating at a discount. The local paint shop had a damaged can they transferred to a new empty and marked it down quite a bit as it had been exposed to air and wasn’t quite full. POR is unusual paint, or coating as they prefer to call it, in that it hardens when exposed to moisture, in addition to flashing off it’s solvents. I painted the outside of the frame with a brush and black POR-15 and it leveled out to look quite smooth and professional. The gallon I bought wasn’t black, but instead was grey so its easy to see where the paint dripped out from the inside. Not the prettiest, but it won’t be very visible. I will have to touch up the front. POR isn’t UV protective, so it should be overcoated anyway. Since I live near the ocean and this frame is already 40 years old, I wanted to protect the inside as much as possible against corrosion.
Eastwood has a new product designed the inside of frames, but it’s a bit spendy at $20 for a can and I’m not sure I’d be able to get it shipped here because of shipping rules with aerosol cans. And I’d have to drill more holes in the frame which I’m not keen on.
It’s called POR-15 Rust Preventive Coating. http://www.eastwood.com/internal-frame-coating-w-spray-nozzle-qt.html

Now that I have the messy bit done and the coatings have cured, I’ll be moving the frame to the covered protection of the back lanai, or porch for those not from the islands. I hope to get the basic frame of the bodywork done fairly quickly. I’ll be able to get the position of the engine and seats figured out and thus the spacing for the rear suspension and drive shaft placement. It’s all been theoretical until now.
I did find that the frame is just at my limit for single handedly moving it about. My lower back complained the next day about the stress placed on it hoisting and turning the frame. It’s easy enough to move with a dolly at the moment, but when I add the bodywork, it will have to be moved on small trucks. I have to do some careful measuring, I’ve been counting of being able to turn the build on its side to get out the door and back around to the garage when the frame building is done, but it will be very close.

Morgan side view line drawing

Perhaps I’ll just have to get everything set, begin the body build and only weld in the lower half. Then I can more easily move the build to the garage and complete it there. There’s another project currently in that space, so it will have to be completed and the vending machines moved out to their retail locations before that happens.

New (Old Stock) Metal

I’ve gotten the New Old Stock engine shipped from St. Louis and it’s in the garage now. It’s a beauty, showing just now nice these were when new. I hand thought it was shipped empty and dry, but it has both oil and antifreeze. Fortunately there was no active leaks, but there are signs that there was some small leakage from the top radiator hose over time.

The truck frame was greasy from years of use and after several passes with the pressure washer and wire brushes, I’ve gotten it clean enough to paint. I power washed the inside of the frame tubes as well and have sprayed some “rust death” primer down them. It’s not going to be enough to give it a good coat, so I’ll have to pour some down each tube as well.

I’ve noticed some surface rust showing on the steel tubes I purchased, so I’ll have to get them painted pretty soon. I’ll dip them in a weldable primer to protect them and still allow ease of welding.

I’m not sure what the check list that came with the says, but the check marks make it look like all is good.

While I was painting the frame, I misjudged the length and dropped it on the my second toe. Fortunately it didn’t break anything but it did bruise it and I’ll probably loose the toe nail. I’ll have to be more careful in the future.

Honda Engine Logo 002

Honda Engine export checklist 003

Honda Engine crate 004

Datsun front end prepaint 005

Datsun truck frame painting 006

A giant leap forward

I’ve been hanging back a bit in buying part and materials for the build because I haven’t been sure the engine is in good order. The weather was beautiful this weekend so I made the time to diagnose the engine’s condition.

Major concerns centered on the upper end of the engine. I’d already looked in a few of the inspection ports and seen that the oil had kept the inside well lubed. However, it had been sitting for an unknown period of time with at least one set of valves open to the weather, although it did have exhaust pipes and carburetors attached fortunately. What was the inside of the cylinders like? Do the valves still seal?
I drained the oil and pulled the oil pan off the bottom of the engine. I examined the residue in the oil pan and found nothing alarming in the small amount that was there.

Turning the engine over with a 17mm socket on the timing gear on the front, I could feel that the pistons moved up and down smoothly. Excellent. But what about the cylinder walls and the valves? I have a rigid ureteroscope made for looking into your bladder, that was thin enough to put through the spark plug hole and could look at the cylinder walls and valves. I don’t have the light source that passes light out the end, but I put an LED on the tip and shined a strong flash light into¬† the open ports on the heads to light up the valves.

Good news! The intake valves all look good, although there was a fair amount of dirt on them. The sealing surfaces all look good. The sealing surfaces for the exhaust valves are darker and it was hard to tell if they were as uniform, but I didn’t see any great issues. I did see a small amount of spotting and pitting at the low side of the right cylinder where some water must have gotten in. And some small bits of scoring as well. Not good news, but not horrible either. I’ve elected to press forward and simply scope the engine from time to time to check that this issue stays minor.

Intake valve side dirt and edge
Intake valve dirt and clean edge
Intake valve shoulder and seat dirt
Cylinder wall spotting
Intake valve shoulder and valve seat
Intake valve dirt and valve edge
DSCN3965 starter removed and looking dirty
DSCN3970 Starter port and engaging gear

I took a couple of photos and videos through the scope. I also planned to run a compression test to see if I get a good seal. Pulling out a good battery and jumper cables, I applied power to the starter, but no joy. I was not rewarded with anything but a couple of sparks. I unbolted the starter and had to pry and jiggle it to get it out because of the corrosion holding it in. Applying power again got the same response, sparks but no spin. I grasped the gear end and found it binding, but able to turn with some force. After several turns, it seemed to work free, so I applied power and was rewarded. It spun up under power and made a nice hum. Back into the engine it went and I applied power again. The engine turns over nicely with no spark plugs installed. I didn’t want to stress the engine since it had no oil. I did put some oil in the cylinders to lube the rings. I was unable to run a compression test because of the small size of the spark plug hole. My tester doesn’t have the correct size fitting, so I’ll have to get one of those when I’m in town.

So far, good news. I’m looking forward to starting work on the frame now, though I can’t forget to make time to clean and rebuild the carbs.