Saturday, December 19, 2015

Cadmium & Black Phosphate Plating

After thoroughly cleaning and bead blasting all CAD plated parts, they were taken to a plating service a couple of hours away. I elected to drop them off and pick them up as I have family and work contacts in the area. The new source has a long history of motorcycle restorations and the plating came out great.

The smaller parts came out very shiny while larger ones had a frosted finish to them. The only issue I had was that the larger parts were scratched up. Maybe during the heat treat process to remove embrittlement?  Bead blasting took care of this and it was not an issue.  My last plating experience came out well but I had to re-thread everything. This does not seem to be an issue this time and will be a significant time saver. I think the prep work I did this time - documented in a  previous post - enabled this success. CAD adds thickness. If you do not strip the old CAD before adding new you will need to clean up the threads. I had a few threads to clean up this time but not many. 

Out of the box and ready to sort. 
I am matching them up to the parts book and photos I took. 

Making progress....

Spokes look great. 

Scratched parts .... on to the bead blaster. 

Matching up oil cooler hardware. 

I also had the black cap screws and lock washers finished in “black phosphate”. I have used home blue kits on firearms in the past and have not had the best luck with it. These parts came out well but do not exactly match the original plating although they are very close. Phosphate is a durable finish that should not wear or rust any time soon. I think it will look fine and work well although I plan to research other options next time.

Original on the right, black phosphate on the left. 

Another diversion.....granpa's 1964 Coleman 220F.....not running since the late 1960's.....carb cleaned in the ultrasonic, a new generater and mantles installed, and we're ready to go.... a carb rebuild is a carb rebuild. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chrome Parts & Ultrasonic Cleaning

The chrome on the Interceptor was hit and miss. Some parts were rusted and pitted while other pieces were good upon cleaning. Everything that fit into the ultrasonic parts washer went in and it was de-greased and cleaned. Most of the rust came off too. The next step was to buff all of the parts on a cloth wheel. It quickly highlighted what could be saved and what needed to be re-plated.

Parts before cleaning above.

The seal holder on the left uncleaned.....the right after the ultrasonic. 

Many parts cleaned up and will not need to be re-plated.

Parts in need of help. 
The two cable adjusters, bottom middle, had chrome removed in the cleaner. 

The ultrasonic has been a great addition to my process. It has done well on any metal part I have put in it so far. One chrome part that was left in too long was stripped to the copper. That surprised me and I was careful on following pieces. It was a re-chrome part and I have had no issues with OEM chrome. The longest cycle on the machine is 8 minutes. I usually run it four times but this varies depending on the condition of the part. I check between every other cycle to see if it needs to go longer. I always run the heat element and make sure the bath is at full temperature before starting the frequency cycle.

I have used several different cleaner / de-greasers in the unit. I tried baking soda but it hardened into a plaster around the inside of the tank and blocked its effectiveness. I have settled on “Simple Green” as a cleaner of choice. Plain water also works but not as fast. There are specific Ultrasonic cleaning agents but I have not tried them as of yet. They caution against using on soft metals which has scared me away at least from my aluminum parts. More testing in the future…..

The ultrasonic and cleaners. 

Parts that were too big for the ultrasonic where hand washed and buffed. The brake rod was pretty rusty but not pitted. I was able to soak it in white vinegar which removed all of the rust. This method worked surprisingly well and I will expand its use in the future. This may be a better method for removing rust stains from chrome than the ultrasonic. 

The brake rod - uncleaned - and nut after ultrasonic cleaning. 

Satin chrome parts cleaned up well. 
The brake rod was soaked in white vinegar and came out great. 

The fenders had light pitting but were in decent shape. They need to have dents removed and then will get new chrome.  The chain guard, exhaust pipes and rims must also be refinished.

Large parts heading for new chrome. Next step.....find a chrome plating source. 

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Hardware Prep for Cad Plating

The hardware on the Interceptor was in fairly good condition but a bit rusty overall. After dis-assembly all hardware was removed, photographed and cataloged. I put increased efforts into documenting hardware on this restoration as it will simplify sorting when it is returned from the plating company. It also allowed me to develop a “missing & damaged” list of items to hunt down.

Cataloged and ready for cleaning. 

My bead blaster does not like grease and plugs up if I do not thoroughly clean parts. I have been looking at ultrasonic machines for a while and picked up a two liter model at Harbor Freight. I will cover more of its utility in a following post. I filled it with de-greaser and turned on the heating element. The hardware came out clean although a bit rusty.

The ultrasonic hard at work. A great tool for the shop. Why didn't I buy one sooner?

As in my Hornet restoration I added new hardware for plating. Newer parts have zinc that must be removed. In the past I used lye to accomplish this task. After further research into this issue I learned that white vinegar will accomplish the same task and is less toxic. I bought a gallon, soaked all parts for a several days, and all CAD and Zinc plating was removed. Most rust came off too. I bottled up the used fluid to take to the hazardous waste facility in my county.  The hardware was rinsed with boiling water to make it dry fast and reduce rust. 

Parts came out of their bath with no finish. 

Cleaned, out of its boiling rinse, and ready for blasting. 

A thorough cleaning of parts before blasting paid dividends as it took significantly less time to do and I used much less media. Time well spent. Holding parts was my biggest issue during my last rebuild. This time I made an aluminum window screen sack to hold small parts. It greatly reduced the aggravation for accomplishing this task.

Parts came out great. Now if only I can get them all to the plater and back without losing anything.... A new source is within driving distance. At least "lost in shipping" hazards should be eliminated. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Frame, Parts and Fuel Tank Finishing

 I tried not to mar parts up too much during dis assembly as I thought I may get by without repainting many of them. I was wrong as there were many scratches upon cleaning off the dirt, and rust through the paint on many of the welds. Most of the parts were in good shape. The right foot peg hardware was bent quite a bit and the steering head travel stops were welded together crooked at the factory while one weld was missing. These issues were remedied.

Steering stop missing a weld on the far side and a bit bent. 

One difficult piece to take apart was the steering head. The fork tubes were lightly rusted and would not go through the triple trees. I found that carefully wedging a chisel in the bottom clamp joint opened the holes up enough that the forks were easily removed. I was careful not to expand this too much as I did not want to crack the castings. I was hoping to save the fork tubes but rust pits make them unfit for reuse.

Spreading the lower fork tree to release the fork tube. 

All parts were cleaned with kerosene to remove heavy grease and then washed with Sam’s Club commercial de-greaser.  I am adding all of the factory options for 1969. The reflectors and brackets as well as the front fender brace were missing and new ones were purchased. The skid plate was NOS and a bit rusty so it is heading for paint too.

Parts ready for Precision Motorcycle Painting in South Bend Indiana. 

My last point was to figure out which tank transfer type to use. Through the Royal Enfield Interceptor Group on yahoo, which I am a member of, I found the original transfer was a stick on and not vinyl. The original transfers degrade quickly upon contact with modern fuels and vinyl is thicker than the original transfers. I am going with painted transfers as an alternative as I think this will best replicate the originals and be compatible with modern fuels.

The tank restored by Ross Thompson and ready to paint. Ross does beautiful work. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Restoration's Target - Interceptor II

My intent is to take the Interceptor back to its as new factory condition. It was delivered to its original owner with no options. No air cleaner (was the air cleaner back the?), skid plate, grab rail or oil cooler. These will all be added and with this as my intention I am moving forward.  

The front end of the Interceptor was sourced to Norton and shares parts with them as a result. The SLS brake plate is interchangeable with the DLS of the Commando. Many years ago I purchased a 1968 Norton Commando Fastback that had been turned into a chopper and then promptly crashed. No surprise if you have ever driven an extended fork bike. Anyway, along with a good engine and transmission I also have a DLS brake plate I will use for the Interceptor. I think it was an option in 1970 but I am not sure. I like good brakes so it is a deviation I will make even if it was not. Of course I will keep the factory plate and put it back on if I get marked down at shows. Pictures I am working to are below. 

The right side showing grab rail, oil cooler and skid plate. 
Air filter missing & DLS brake added. 

The left side showing the air filter on an original '69. 

Monday, August 3, 2015

Dissassembly - Interceptor II

One lesson learned from my last build is to take photographs through the dis-assembly process. This was not as important on the Hornet as it had all been apart so I could not tell what was original in most cases. I have also been organizing my dis-assembly photos by category as I take them. This will aid in reassembly. In the past I relied heavily on the parts manual which I have found to be accurate in most cases but off sometimes. Pictures will clear this up. I also keep a parts list as I go. When I find something missing or in need of replacement I note it. This will make reassembly smoother as I will be held up by missing parts less frequently, which occurred with the Hornet.
Everything going good so far........

I am now the proud owner of a big ass socket and 3/4 drive breaker bar. 
This nut was a challenge. Thanks PB Blaster!

My daughters gave me offset spanners for my birthday. 
These things are wonderful!

I was afraid I would run into parts that were frozen up. I was surprised to find that most things came apart easily. A few exceptions were the crankshaft sprocket nut, fork tubes, and a few of the transmission outer cover screws. My next step is to sort everything out and note what is missing, what needs fixing, and then start the restoration process.  
Clutch locking tool used to remove the basket nut. 

Engine on the bench & ready to rebuild. I need to buy a large socket for the fork nuts. 
My collection of large sockets & special tools is growing. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Starting Point - RE Interceptor II

My first order of business was to get the Interceptor title transferred over to myself, which is not normally an issue. The bike was last titled in 1974 and the latest plate was from 1978. Unfortunately there was a typo on the original title so a request for change had to be sent to the state. This worked out alright and I owned the bike after a month or so. I live in Western Michigan and the bikes were purchased close to where I grew up near Flint. I was surprised to see the Interceptor belonged to a man who lived in the same small town. I remember seeing him ride bikes and probably the Interceptor. The BSA was also owned by a different person a couple of houses down from him.

The starting point. 

After checking the oil and putting gas in the fuel lines the Interceptor started and idled very well. There were some noticeable issues with the bike. Turn signals had been added and non-standard handlebars replaced the original ones. The rear number plate was fabricated to include turn signal mounts, a few splices in the wiring were found, but other than a few small things the bike is original. The rear wheel bearings were completely shot and probably took the bike out of commission. This prevented me from taking it for a ride.
A nickel in the tach drive? I will have to find out what this is all about. 

A spacer to accommodate a stretched primary chain. 
At least it wasn't a lug nut like I found in the Hornet. 

Interceptor Video:

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Switching Gears

The Hornet which has been the center of my previous posts is completed and running quite well. I have a few things to take care of such as forks that leak a bit out of the bottom, and a rear wheel that took twice as much weight to balance as it should have. Both of these things will be alright for the summer but need to be looked after once the riding season is over. I also rattle canned a few gloss black brackets which will be refinished correctly when I have parts painted for my next project.
2014 auction finds. 

It’s time to start my next bike which is a 1969 Royal Enfield Interceptor. The following posts will detail its restoration. I will try to cover the unique features of the restoration and not duplicate previous postings. I will apply my lessons learned to this project and streamline my process. The Interceptor is close to complete and original which will make it a more straightforward project. I hope to complete it within two years which is a year faster than the Hornet. Spreading out the spending, working around my day job, accommodating bike rides and vintage bike shows, and making family events a priority are all things that will make this length of time necessary.

A nice diversion this summer. AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days. 

The Interceptor was purchased I year ago. A high school friend told me about an auction that had many British bikes and parts for sale. After reviewing the auction bill I decided to bid on the Interceptor. There were two for sale in this auction which is hard to believe. There was also a 1964 BSA lightning Rocket which is their first dual carb hotrod. I was attracted to this bike as it was made the year I was born. I knew I had enough money to win one bike but probably not both. I ended up winning the pair along with a box of side panels and lot of Monoblocs & Concentrics. I should have bid on the box of gauges offered but I didn’t. They went quite cheap and I did not realize their value at the time. A miss on my part. Both Interceptor tanks were in a separate lot. The guy who won the second Interceptor wanted them worse than I and he got them. I later found a refinished one on eBay which cost half the price of the bike. Holy S….t!. The most interesting thing about the bike auction is that the pickup was on my 50th birthday. I told my wife it was fate but I don’t think she is buying it.  

Lightning Rocket & Interceptor II in the back of the truck and heading to their new home. 
What a great 50th birthday!

I submitted an application to have my Interceptor put in the Royal Enfield Owners Group registry in England. From their organization I learned that the bike was dispatched from Bradford on Avon on June 23, 1969 and sold through a Warren Michigan distributor. Although it is titled as a 1970 is was made in 1969. So here I go, time to tear it down and see what I have. I can’t wait to get started as the Interceptor was on my “Dream List” of bikes and I thought I would probably not have one as they are hard to find and expensive when you do. Life is good. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Going for a Ride, Working out Bugs, & Final Thoughts

After the Hornet was timed and the carb idle adjusted I took it for a ride. The rear brake works great and the front brake needs to be seated in. If this does not occur on its own I will take it apart and tune it. The bike ran great up to 3000 RPM and then missed a bit. A few jetting tweaks and it is running well. I also had a small leak from the head gasket which disappeared after torquing it down again. A bit of a job but worth the effort. A small oil leak at the cylinder base was also fixed by tightening down the base nuts. I was a bit conservative on torquing these as I did not want to strip the threads. The only leak left is a small one coming from the right fork seal holder which was sealed with Teflon tape in the threads. It will come apart and I will reseal it with silicone.

The Hornet is a blast to ride. The open pipes, small tank and large front tire provide a feel which is different than my Lightning. The wheels run true and are balanced well and the bike runs straight down the road. These were areas of concern as I had not laced wheels before and had to straighten the swing arm to get it back in spec.

I am very pleased with the electrical system I put together. The bike starts easily and idles nice. The LED lights have held up well and add a higher degree of visibility. The horn is very under powered and can barely be heard over the exhaust - one electrical miss. The hidden toggle switch is nice while the horn and kill switch relays work fine. I set the Hornet up for a lithium ion battery but don’t think I need it as it starts easy "battery free" and light output of the tail light is acceptable at idle. I thought the electrical system had the greatest potential for rework but it turned out oil and gas leaks would be more problematic.

The old pipes didn't seal and leaked carbon from rich jetting. 
Jetting is fixed & ports are sealed. 

The tapered roller bearing steering head is smooth and I will go this route again. The aluminum tank and new push-pull taps work well and add a level of usability missing from the fiberglass tank. The 21 tooth sprocket gives a 400 - 500 RPM reduction at 50 MPH which was measured against my 20 tooth Lightning sprocket. This equates to 4 - 5 MPH increase at 3000 RPM. This puts me in at a good speed and RPM for cruising scenic back-roads. Another change worth repeating on future builds. I was also steered the right direction when I purchased cork clutch plates as they do not hang up each time it sits overnight like my Barnett plates do. Thanks go to Bob Goodpaster at Expert Motorcycle Works for that wisdom. 

One last point of business is to fit mufflers to my “old” street pipes. I purchased a set of mini’s but needed to figure out how to mount and support them. The baffles did not let the pipe enter as far as I needed to cover up holes the last guy left me, or to mount soundly for that matter. I did not want to use the chrome support bar provided but will leave the mount in case I need to add it later.

Slotting the muffler so it will clamp the pipe. 
Baffles were cut off so the ends fit inside of the exhaust pipe.  

Mufflers added...just need clamps to arrive. 

My daughter & I taking the Beezers out for a ride. 

Now it’s time to log a couple of hundred miles on the Hornet and see what happens. 
Nothing but fun I hope. Now its on to the 1969 Royal Enfield Interceptor II

End of July & everything seated in and running fine.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Starting it Up

So after 3 years of work it’s time to start it up. I found the bike laying in the front of a semi-trailer on a pile of old clothes and couch cushions where its owner said it had been since 1982. It was too far gone to get running when purchased, although I contemplated it.

Adding fluids & getting it ready to start. LED headlight not installed at this point. 

Before starting the bike I put on my old pipes. My plan is to tune the bike and put some miles on it before the new ones go back on. I will also coat the inside of the new pipes with high temperature header paint to keep them from bluing. I am told this will work and it seems logical but I have not tried it. After I filled up all of the oils I pushed it up and down the driveway while in gear to check oil flow through the engine. Oil returned properly to the tank telling me it was good to go from a lubrication standpoint. I added gas and no leaks appeared from the tank but when I turned on the taps gas shot out the ticklers. Oops, you are not supposed to put the needle valve holder gasket on original Monoblocs or the needle seat will not close. Lesson learned, gaskets removed and leaks gone for the most part. There was also a small oil drip coming from under the engine which I traced an oil line clamp. It was replaced with a smaller one and the drip was gone. 

The bike started on the third kick and ran quite well. I hooked it up to a battery for the initial attempt but found out it was not necessary even for cold starting. It must be kicked over with the key off to charge the capacitor in the Sparx box before attempting to start it. The timing was set close to the mark and was adjusted with a strobe light to be a couple of degrees retarded to help with spark knock. This will be adjusted once I take it on the road. The slide stops were raised about a turn to make it idle properly.

It is amazing how loud the bike is with no mufflers. I will add a pair of shorty mufflers to my road pipes to quiet it down a bit. Next step is to take it out for a spin once my registration papers arrive and work on the details that need attention. Check out the video via the link below.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Gilmore Car Museum Antique Motorcycle Show

The Gilmore show is one of the biggest in Michigan and attended by enthusiast from all over the mid west. I have been going to this show for many years and have entered my BSA & Norton "riders" in the the general class which is peer reviewed. My plan was to do the same with the Hornet this year and pick up feedback on what should be improved before entering the Masters class which is a preregistered and judged section of the show. Due to the horrible weather there were a few no-shows in the Masters class. One of the judges asked me to enter my bike in it, which I did. It was a great experience and I think the restoration bug has firmly set in. I enjoyed meeting the other people who restored bikes, sharing restoration tips, and trading parts sources. The feedback from the judges was also beneficial as I now have a better idea for how to best show a bike and what they are looking for. Although I did not win any trophies, the bike received great reviews and will do better next year after minor corrections.

Staying somewhat dry in a torrential down pore under my "sunshade". 

One of the more interesting bikes. A parallel twin Indian scout racer replica. Some great workmanship and ideas went into this bike. It looks like it would be fun to ride.

A Rocket 3 won 3rd place in the Masters class. A gorgeous bike that  is on my wish list. The first two spots were won by a Bonneville and a Trophy 500 which were very well done.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Final Assembly

I have worked all winter with one goal in mind – to make the Gilmore Bike show on June 14. It has been difficult fitting the necessary time into a busy schedule as well as saving enough money to buy the remaining parts I need. Purchasing items for my 69 Interceptor & 64 Lightning Rocket, which are next on my restoration list, are part of the problem. A total lack of will power according to my wife and I agree.  The final assembly was completed after the wiring was finished. One problem set of parts was the herringbone oil hose which I had a hard time finding. Three different sizes were purchased from three different sources. Two of them were not exactly correct but will work alright. The original hoses were in pretty bad shape or I would have used them.

Overall things went about as expected. I had hunted down most of the parts I needed, such as; cables, a new exhaust pipe set, hardware, and I made spacers along with other missing bits. As usual things did not just go together exactly as planned. The clutch cable was too long by about 3/8 of an inch and the throttle cables were also a bit long. Spacers were made to take up the slack although I need to learn how to move cable ends for adjustment as this is a problem I have run into before.  

The rear brake return spring I received from a source on eBay turned out to be a kick start spring so the correct one was ordered. The bike did not have one when I tore it down as my original pictures revealed. The toggle pin for the brake rod was too short so I had to locate another. The foot peg rubbers were too long for folding pegs but I found the correct ones. The incorrect ones are a match for my Lightning Rocket and moved to its spares pile on the shelf.

The exhaust pipes looked good and fit close to the originals but mounting spacers had to be reduced, brackets re-bent, and the tie bar holes extended. The final fit looks good. 

I decided to build up fuel lines and purchased aluminum ferrules with a crimp tool. This system worked well and I am pleased with the final result. I also added a balance pipe between lines, although I didn't have much room. It all fit and will be a good feature to have, especially with such a small fuel tank.

After everything was assembled I cleaned off all of the finger prints, polished the aluminum, waxed painted parts and Armor All’d rubber & vinyl bits. Ready for the show.