Some of you may have seen another set of articles I am doing on the restoration of a 1976 Suzuki GT250 two stroke. Something happened the other day that I thought may interest despair shop regulars so I thought I would write about it here.
When I got it the brakes were inoperative and appear to have been drained of fluid many moons ago, which required a rebuild of both the master cylinder and the caliper. When attempting to free off the nipple on my caliper it broke the ally casting so a new one had to be found – no problem, got one off a well known auction site, refurbed it and all was well. About 6 weeks passed between doing that and fitting it to the bike. I used the original hose, which looked in good condition and had the right length / fittings. It’s longer than a standard one due to the fitment of the aftermarket front mudguard.
The problems came when I attempted to bleed the system. I filled the reservoir and did my usual trick of leaving the banjo bolt at the master cylinder end loose so I could let the air out. Surprisingly I got pressure almost straight away and what felt like a really good, firm brake lever. Trouble was that the caliper wasn’t operating. Weird.
I took the hose back off at the caliper end and was a bit surprised to see it totally dry. When I squeezed the brake lever with the hose still disconnected it was still firm but no fluid was coming out. I have never seen it before in 40 odd years of playing with cars and bikes but the hose was blocked and no amount of pressure on the brake lever would cause it to unblock. I prodded a carb jet cleaner down each end but couldn’t find a block in either metal fitting – it looks like it’s somewhere in the middle of the hose. Thank God it happened in the workshop and not at 70 MPH in some sort of pant ruining sub optimal scenario sort of thing.
I put on a different hose from my scrap box to make sure everything else is fine and dandy and have ordered a nice shiny new one. I guess the lesson learned here is Sherlock Holmes was right when he said about the problem being in the least likely thing if everything else has already been eliminated. Or something.
Anyway, enough of that the full story is published elsewhere on classic-motorbikes.net, so now it’s back to other stuff. That “other stuff” at the moment centers around a very untidy Honda Varadero XL1000V that arrived at Powell Towers recently. I got it from Ian, part owner of this very web site. It was cheap because it was so nasty looking, I think it may have lived in a swamp for the last 10 or 15 years. It was a non runner, had no battery and had a tank bag, which always raises my suspicions. The KH I bought when I was 16 had a tank bag, what I found underneath will haunt me for the rest of my life. Anyway, when I removed this one, expecting the worst, I found a pretty decent tank wit only surface corrosion around where the fairing panels had abraded the paint. It will clean up ok and I will stick on rubber strips to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
Anyways, I had left it on the van for a couple of weeks due to a lack of storage space and decided it was now time to do something with it. Anyone that knows these bikes will know they weigh as much as a small planet and with 2 flat tyres it wasn’t going anywhere. I pumped the tyres off, got it off the van and had a proper look at it. The tyres were going to be an issue, the carbs were seized up solid, the choke cable wouldn’t move and there was a lot of rust and crud on it pretty much everywhere. They do sell for much cash though so I thought it was worth persevering. I hooked up a battery and checked all the electrics – everything worked except the hi / lo beam switch was a bit sticky. A burst of WD40 soon sorted that out. I gave it a good blast with the jet wash so I could see everything more clearly and found from the bubbles that the front tyre going flat was because the valve insert was leaking, and the rear was going flat because of a leak around the valve stem. Result! The tyres have loads of tread and seem in really good condition so that saves a couple of hundred quid and changes the equation more towards a do up job rather than a brake it job.
I managed to get it started after all my usual process of oiling the bores, checking for spark and compression etc and it sounded rather decent. I left it running until the fans came on and shut it down, I was unable to rev it very much because of the seized carbs but at least now knew I had something worth doing up. I pulled the carbs – which is no small job on these – the number of pipes etc has to be seen to be believed. A good clean and lashings of WD40 had the carbs operating again and then the insides were given a thorough seeing to before going back on the bike. New throttle and choke cables have been ordered and I will put it all back together once they get here.
Next time I shall be sorting out the leaky tyre valves and getting it running properly, see you then.
Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.