Yamaha RD350 LC 4L0 engine

1980 Yamaha RD350 LC 4L0 Restoration – Part 2

Project Elsie Episode 2 – Operation get the engine out

So here we are at episode 2 which I have cunningly called operation get the engine out because this time I intend to get the engine out. I told you it was cunning.

Since the frolics of the last write up I have dropped the barrels off to Scott and Ian at Classic-motorbikes.net who will try and procure a new right hand one and then get them both bored out the same. It may be an idea to try to get a pair of pistons for it at the same time, they run so much better with pistons in. Looking at the deep scoring while it may be possible to offset bore it the process would leave a very thin bore that could be prone to cracking. It seems daft to spend a wedge of cash on getting it done only to end up with an unreliable end product where the barrel could end up having to be replaced anyway. So they will deal with that while I get on with the other more interesting and more oily stuff.

1980 Yamaha RD350 LC 4L0 clocks and keyWhile I was in the equatorial region of Crowland they handed over the key that Ian had previously accused me of having but not being able to find. I can not understand how he could possibly think that I could be so disorganised. Apart from the fact that he knows me and he has seen my workshop and store room of course! Anyway, I digress, as I now had the key I thought I would have a quick look and see what electrical bits and bobs work and which don’t, just so I know what I am up against really. The red oil light came on, shining like a beacon of hope – the neutral light didn’t. The indicators work and both idiot lights flash for the benefit of any idiots that need to be informed of the fact they just switched their indicators on. The headlight works, the sidelight doesn’t and neither does the brake light. The horn may work, who knows because the button is broken – I’ll put it down as a maybe.

While I was in the mood for actually doing something closely resembling work I took the left side engine cover off with the clutch cable attached in readiness for pulling the engine. No dramas there, it all came off easily, it will need a new clutch cable as the one in there is not exactly perfect condition wise. It’s nasty.

Yamaha RD350 LC 4L0 engineI discovered to my utter dismay that my ½ inch to ¼ inch socket converter is, or rather, was made out of Chinesium. For those of you that don’t know Chinesium is a new wonder material that looks exactly like chrome vanadium. They mix low quality steel with 25% cottage cheese to ensure that while it looks good it has the knuckle crunching ability to let go at very low torque levels. I may have got some blood on your bike Scottie – sorry mate.

Anyways, on to getting the engine out, this is so much lighter than the big Jap fours that I am used to manipulating and with the barrels and head removed it weighed very little indeed. Once all the bits have been removed it came out very easily from the right hand side of the bike. If doing this yourself it’s easiest if you remember to undo the tacho cable from the engine first. Ask me how I know.  All bolts were stored and put somewhere safe so that I can spend a few hours swearing later when I can’t remember where I have put them.

Before I took the engine out of the frame I had the astonishing foresight to drain the gear oil first – much easier when it’s in the frame. There was very little oil in the box but what was in there was clean and there were no particles or lumps of gear that came out with it which was nice. I put it in to gear and the box feels pretty good, it will get a full inspection once out on the bench but I think it’s going to be fine. I suspect it had been refilled with new oil when it was last rebuilt and ran for very little time before the circlip got all intimate with the barrel. There is silicon sealant everywhere which could well have contributed to the problems, I will have to be careful to make sure every trace of it is removed while it’s all stripped down, the correct Yamaha stuff will be used upon reassembly.

Another quick check I decided to do was to see if the tacho works by attaching my drill to the drive cable. It did.

Yamaha RD350 LC 4L0 drilled airboxOne thing I forgot to mention last time is that the air filter top has been modified – somebody has drilled a multitude of holes in it. I will have to check the jets to see if they have been increased from standard, if they haven’t the holes will all have to be blocked or the top replaced otherwise it will most likely run unacceptably lean. Just another thing to check – I’ll be getting to the carbs soon, jets are still easily available if they do need changing.

Anyhoo the engine is now on the bench, the frame is looking very empty and the next phase of the strip down will happen soon, watch this space.

1980 Yamaha RD350 LC 4L0 fuseboxJust one final thing to wrap up this episode – and a great example of worst possible practice – when removing the fuse box and battery holder for easier access to the electrical cables coming from the engine the lid popped off the fuse box. No words are required.


Article sponsored by Wemoto.

Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.

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