Junkyard dog petrol tank - pre paint

Junkyard Dog Part 4

Custom motorcycle tail lightsLast time I went to see Scott and Ian the latter told me of some rather decent tail lights he had found. Both were very nice heavy chrome, proper quality stuff. One would be perfect for fitting to a full length rear mudguard, the other would be perfect for a side mounted number plate sort of arrangement. I haven’t decided yet which way to go but it’s nice to have that sort of choice to make when the time comes.

Work continues with making brackets, cutting off unwanted brackets and generally planning things as I go. I need to sort out a front mudguard, I think I have found one that I quite like in my own stash of valuable artifacts, I just have to modify it a bit and attach it to the forks. I don’t do TiG so I am thinking u bolts and spacer blocks – I’ll think some more on that before committing. Once I have made my mind up the forks will get cleaned up – I need to decide on the polished ally or painted black route – time will tell.

I found a few other bits that will come in handy, namely an alternator, a sprocket cover that also houses the clutch release mechanism and some headlight brackets. I want a pretty small headlight on it – I have this vision of a quite deep bowl quite small thing that looks a wee bit like a bullet.

The instrumentation will be kept really simple – tacho, bicycle speedo and just neutral and oil lights – I want them to be as unobtrusive as possible. As with everything else on this project it’s going to be a matter of seeing what turns up.

Another job I want to do before I go much further is to make a stay bar for the rear brake hub. The one on there is too long and not wide enough for the VZ800 unit so a new one must be made. The old one was a strange affair, somebody had built it with a ball joint at the end where it bolts to the frame – quite why you need that on a hardtail where the swingarm doesn’t move is beyond me. The new one will be a simple affair whose sole job is to stop the brake hub from rotating when braking. It needs to be strong.

Before That though it was time to put some thought to the electrics and where they are all going to go. I have this old 50 cal ammunition box that I think would be ideal but it does need a fair bit of modification to make it perfect. The first thing is that the lid hinges uo from one end and you have to lift it all the way up to get it off, that’s no good for me as there is not enough room in the frame to allow that. So all I did was a very simple mod that allows the lid to be lifted up a couple of inches and then be slid off it’s hinges. Simple but effective.

ammo box Next problem is that the chain wants to occupy the same place as the ammo box. I thought about this for a long time, I considered cutting the box down and all sorts then I had the idea of running the chain through the box. I just think it would be a cool little touch. I made two slots in it, each one rounded at both ends, the rough edge will have some u shaped rubber trim applied to neaten it up a bit.

I could have just mounted it off center but that would have looked a bit pants, in my opinion, I think it will look better with it central and the chain running through it. I will make a panel to seal the box so I don’t get chain oil all over the electrics.

Next job to get some attention was the tank. I had a painter lined up to do some cool artwork but Scottie and Ian quite rightly pointed out that we don’t have the budget for such frivolities. They assure me that we had agreed a max spend of £500. I think they made that up but what the hey, I will go along with it. That did however mean that I had to do my least favourite thing – paintwork.

Custom motorcycle tail lightsCustom motorcycle tail lightsI’m just not very good at it, I don’t have the patience or skill set. Anyway, first job was to strip about 40 bloody layers of paint. I tried all sorts and in the end used a blow torch and scraper which removed it far quicker and more effectively than I could have hoped for.

Sadly it revealed a tank in much worse condition than I had thought, it was dented all over, some minor, and a couple major. Nothing for it, I just had to get on and fill, sand, swear, fill, sand, repeat.

I have got it looking half decent now but I am out of daylight and out of energy so it will have to wait until next time. So until then – seeya, Dave.

Article provided by David Powell of Boston Bike Bits.

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