Monday 27 May 2013

Busy weekend

Had a busy weekend working on the bikes.

I gave my silver Traveller a full service ahead of its trip to Belgium and France in July (more about that later). I didn't have to adjust the valves or carbs, so it was just a change of oil, filters and sparkplug. It's probably been a year since it was last serviced, for its last trip abroad, and that time I changed the drain plug in the sump for a magnetic one. Happy to see that it hadn't picked up any fragments of ferrous metal, so the filter must be doing its job.

I'd previously changed the carbs on the SZR 660 for an old Skorpion pair. I hadn't adjusted these, just bolted them on to see if I could get the bike started. It started a week or two ago without too much effort and settled down to a steady tickover without any undue noises or smoke from the exhaust. I was aware that it seemed to be be running a bit hot, so didn't run it for very long.
I drained the coolant to find that there was about a third of the amount that should be in it! I tried to top it up, but the water just 'bubbled' out of the filler. A quick read of the manual, and I found that I'd have to take the fairing off to top up the radiator properly.

Almost all of the screws had chewed heads, so it was out with the Dremel to cut a slot so I could use a flat bladed screwdriver. I eventually got the screws out and was amazed by how dirty things are behind the fairing!

I topped the radiator up with plain water (I'll flush it out a couple of times before refilling with fresh coolant), and started the bike again. It ran smoothly and soon got up to running temperature (C. 100 degrees on the gauge). I stopped the engine and drained the oil – needless to say it was very black and gungy, and the oil filter screws looked like they had never been out before! The odometer shows about 14,000, but I'm not sure if this is miles or kms. The 'big' numbers on the speedo are km/h, so I assume the odometer reads in kms.

The filter itself was very thickly clogged with black gunge and didn't appear to have a maker's name. (?) I replaced it with a Champion filter (just over £3 from Halfords), and filled the oiltank with full synthetic oil. I've found that engines run on synthetic tend to be very clean inside (as well as lasting longer), and my theory is that if I run the bike every couple of weeks or so, the oil will clean any gunge out of the engine, trapping it in the filter.

Looking more closely at the bike, it's a bit of a mess! It's been neglected then abandoned in a garage for a number of years, so almost everything needs cleaned and repainted. There's a lot of rust and corrosion, and most of the fasteners will need to be replaced. I want to get the CL 350 back on the road first, so the SZR can wait until I've got that out of the way. It's going to be a long term restoration, so don't be surprised if I don't mention it for a while.

Rusty steel bolt, corroded alloy frame - plenty of work ahead!

I had intended checking the valves and replacing the sparkplug, but access to them is EVEN worse than on the Skorpion. It's going to be impossible to check the exhaust valves or change the plug without removing the radiator, which in turn will be difficult to remove due to rusty screws – who said this was going to be easy!

Looking down on the top of the cylinder head. You can see the HT lead disappearing under the frame tube, and the hexagans on either side of it are the covers over the exhaust valves - look how close they are to the radiator!

I also cleared my workbench so I've got enough room to reassemble the Honda's engine – that's the next job, so 'watch this space'.

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