Sunday, November 4, 2012

Not so bike related...

I've always had a soft spot for Cressidas.  I know most people think of them as Old Man cars, but my Dad had one when I was a kid and it left an impression.  When I was in my early 20s I bought an MX83 Cressida with a blown motor and then proceeded to put a 1JZ twin turbo motor into it.  It was a great car and went REALLY well.

From time to time I get stupid ideas in my head and I just can't shake them.  For some reason I decided to sell the Cressida and drive some other crap car and I just can't help but think that I should have stuck with it.  I had put so much work into it and it was so close to what I wanted that I should have faced reality and not tried to play with any other cars.  I just have trouble staying focused some times... no kidding I hear you say.

Another one of those stupid ideas was to sell this very rare and fun to drive car!  What the hell was I thinking...

Anyway, years later I bought another MX83 and this time didn't do all the work.  I just drove it in stock for and fixed a couple of minor things that went wrong with it.  It suited my purposes at the time and was nice and reliable... 'till it blew a head gasket about two weeks before the rego was due.  Oh well... I figure it didn't owe me anything so I just sold it for parts on ebay.

I've never really been into Subarus, but the wife and I had been thinking about buying a Forester as our family car.  The plan was to buy an 04 XT for the wife, but when my Cressida gave up on me we decided to buy and older and cheaper GT and it would be my daily most of the time and then double as the family car when we do trips and need the extra space.

So this is what we bought.

I have to say that after now having the car for a few thousand ks and doing some work and modifications on it, I can understand why people buy a Subaru and then never drive anything else again.  It is well built.  Goes hard.  Parts are cheap.  Servicing is a bit exy but that is the price you pay for all the other benefits.

So far mine has got a WRX turbo, an STI exhaust, full STI springs and shocks and several other smaller mods.  It already had an ECU tweak and I have to say that I am REALLY happy with the car now.  There is always more I would want to do, but really... I think a nice set of Liberty mags is all that is likely to happen now.  It handles well, runs well and just does what I ask.  What more could I want... except two wheels and no body?

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

So what's the plan?

Well the business is going well and since we need a bike to start testing a few parts on I decided to rego the XL600.  I was also listening to one of my podcasts the other day and there was a comment made about not putting too much off in life 'cause we should enjoy life now as well as enjoy planning for the future.  This motivated me to get back out on the bike and ride.

So on Tuesday I pulled out the XL to take it in for it's rego inspection.  I looked it over and all seemed fine.  I kicked it over and it started after about 3 kicks.  All was going well and I was really looking forward to going for a ride.  It has been a few months since I even sat on the bike and I just wanted to get going.  Then I noticed something.  Petrol was dripping from the bottom of the carbs.  DAMN IT!

After a bit of closer inspection it wasn't so much dripping as as running freely...  that will teach me not to leave the bike untended for too long!  Then, to add insult to mechanical injury, one of my two air filters broke!!!!  Just a little of the rubber came off, but it was right where it mounts to the carb and it aint going to stay on there now!

So I wheeled the thing back up to the shed and got in my car and headed to work... not quite as nice, but at least the petrol stayed where it should and not running down onto the ground.

When I got home I pulled the carbs off and started to look through them on the bench.  The jetting is too lean, so I really should look at that while they are apart.  They just look like they need a good clean and a couple of the linkages were a bit bent, but went back into shape nicely and the staggered action is working really well.  I'm planning on taking the left carb up to a 120 and the right to a 130.  We'll see how that goes and then make changes from there.  Not sure I'll mess with the pilot at first as it idles well.  I also should get my act together and upgrade the muffler, but I figure I can just leave that 'till the rear frame is redone the way I want.

So while this is all going on I came across this...

If you go back to one of my earlier posts you'll see that this is quite similar to my old motard.  The wheels are a bit different as they are cast and YELLOW, but I do like it a lot.  I'm seriously considering making an offer on this one, but not sure where the cash will come from.

That said, it would be the perfect bike for the business to use as it's demo bike for all the DRZ bits we stock.  We have so many parts for these bikes and it would be great to make some videos of how to fit things and do some reviews of other parts that our customers might be keen on... So how do I convince the business partner that we do need another bike?  There is a shelf in the workshop where I put one of each new part we stock, just in case we get another one of these... it would take me a week to put all the parts on there are so many (and I'm a bit slow too :).

What do you guys thing?  Should we add a DRZ to the list of bikes in our stable and mod the hell out of it?

Monday, March 5, 2012

About time I had more of a plan than just copy others

I've been thinking about this for a while now and while I started off with that XL tracker from my earlier posts... the vision has evolved since then.  Seeing that XL was a real eye opener for me.  Since then I've started reading Pipeburn and BikeExif every day (and The Knee Slider when I have time to really read) and while I don't like all the bikes on these sites, I can see something in every one and the overall effect has been that my views on what I want have changed.  I still think back to my DRZ Motard with fondness and watch them on ebay, but if I had the choice I'd take the XL as a finished project as it will be 100% unique and pretty much what I want.  That said, down the track I'll be modifying a DRZ to be something a bit left of centre so watch this space.

Anyway, today is a bit quiet at work, mainly due to the fact that I'm not meant to be here 'cause number two child should have been born by now, but with no baby showing up as yet, I'm at work.  The problem is I've set everything up to be done and with other people... so it's time to do a bit of drawing while I wait for work to be ready to do.

Here is my first sketch and I have to say, that it is pretty much right.  You can see the CBR wheels (a bit rough) and the new CRF forks.  The tank is about what I'm after, but it remains to be seen what I can do with the XL175 tank I have on the shelf... it will help having a bare frame to work on (when it arrives).  The question is, what do you think of the exhaust?  I'm thinking a stubby muffler off a modern CBR with the two pipes merging under the engine and coming out on the right.

So after that first pic I was happy with the stance.  I just wanted to rework the tank and tail.  To be honest, the lines of that tank are a bit of a copy of the BCR Armadillo but it's such a stunning bike!  I also drew in some clip ons and the HD Sportster headlight.  I know a lot of people don't like the little headlights, but I don't ride much at night and I like the HD unit.  It just seems to have some substance when you hold it in your hand!  I've added a set of rear sets and left off the muffler.  I think I will go with the shorty muffler and bring it up under the rear sets.  I don't like the seat and tail on this one as much, but you can see some quick sketches at the bottom of the tail with two round sets of LEDs and the plate.  I don't need a battery or much wiring so I'm going to have the bike very open and I'm going to look at cap on coil for the spark, to drop some weight and more bulk from under the tank.  Oh, the swing arm is going to be black and I'm thinking the wheels will be too.  I don't like to polish and those big flat alloy surfaces on the swing are just look too shinny!

I'd add the muffler, put on the seat and tail from the first bike, raise the rear sets and add a support frame for the seat.  I'm thinking about a 25 degree angle or close to that.  Maybe picking up a line off the header pipe or something in the engine?  Also, I do ride when it rains, so I need a front and rear wheel guard.  The rear will be right down on the swing arm, so I'll have to do a bit of looking at what's out there.  The front will also be down on the wheel and I have a lead on a GSX one at the mo.  It's cheap so I'll see how it goes and change to another if needed.  I was originally going with something motard, but this bike would look silly with a short and high front guard... maybe I should draw it and see?

Update on the bathroom?  It's 100% functional and working.  There is a sink, a toilet and a shower.  The nice frame-less glass shower screen will be put in early next week and the cabinet for the built in vanity is coming.  I  also ordered the ceiling paneling today and it might even be in for the weekend!  It's pretty cool really as it's tongue and groove, and shiny white!  I know that sounds weird, but I'll chuck up some pics when it's finished.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Life getting in the way of life...

I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, but when we bought our house it was a DUMP!  The first time I walked in I burst out laughing... that is how bad it was.  The agent didn't seem too impressed, but he came around when I made an offer all the same.  Every room was filthy and all the walls and ceilings were stained with nicotine!  The guy who lived there before was a chain smoking widower who didn't clean for 10 years!

My wife couldn't even get the kitchen clean enough to use so I just tore it out.  We also took out a couple of walls and joined the dinning, kitchen and laundry into one room.  Took out all the asbestos and then put in fresh gyprock.  It all came up really nice with a new kitchen, some polished floors and a bit of tilling.  I also painted the rest of the house, with some help from my Mum and a bit from my little brother.  I've never had blue walls before, but the wife liked it and I think it feels quite cool.

Notice I haven't mentioned the bathroom.  Well it was the worst room in the house.  I ended up painting it with left over paint, just so we didn't feel sick going in there and then just ignored it for two years.  Then my wife got pregnant with number two and a deadline was created.  New bathroom before the baby comes...  Problem is that Christmas got in the way and then work and then it was Australia day and there wasn't too much time left.  I striped it out pretty quick, but one issue after another has stopped it getting done and now it is about 80% and usable, but not finished.  Hopefully this weekend will see the floor done and then it will just be a few finishing touches.

So between all this house work, one gorgeous daughter and another kid on the way, my wife and the trips away to see family and just have fun, I don't have as much time as I'd like.  So where is the bike up to????

Well it rides.  The brakes work.  All the lights work and the kick starter sits in the right place and does it's job well.  The bike runs ok, but REALLY needs some jetting.  NONE of my funky parts are on it... they are just sitting on a shelf in the shed.  I even had it inspected for rego and it passed.  Problem was, I had to spend the rego money on something else so now the inspection is out of date.  It's ok though 'cause the shop will just write me up a new one without too much fuss, when I get the cash.

Once it has plate on it, I will focus on the engine and it's associated stuff.  I'll start with the new 30mm carbs I got for it.  I'm also toying with setting up a pair of flatsides for it, but maybe that should wait 'till later.  I'll jet them nicely and then move to the exhaust.  Two pipes down the front and then a y join underneath.  Then a muffler swept up a little but still quite low on the left.

While that is all being sorted I'm going to do the wheels and stuff another way.  I picked up a spare frame so I'm going to build that up while I ride the xl.  It will get the new CRF450 front forks.  It will get the CBR wheels and the alloy swing arm.  I'll get it all set up and perfect and then just switch in the engine and take it down for rego.  That means I can ride right up to the last day of rego and then register the other frame the next week!

So no pics today, but I'm going to get more into this now that the house is settling down and I'll put up some pics of the build as it goes!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

1 year on and where am I?

Well I have managed to get a promotion at work, but it is just an acting arrangement and therefore only good 'till the end of the year.  I have got a few small jobs done around the house.  The kitchen is almost finished, though I could have said that last year.  I think there is only one door frame to paint and the pipe for the extractor fan to do.  We do have a 5000L water tank that has helped us to cut our metered water usage in half!  I love it when it's full and I run the whole house on rain water.  Nothing better than a hot shower in rain water.  Nothing but clean rainwater, except maybe a little bird poo!

So what about the bike?  Well it has a new home!  No I didn't sell it, but I have relocated it from outside, under a cover, to inside my new man cave.  Now I can work on it and not have to pack up at the end of the day.  I can do 10 mins here and 30 mins there so I should be able to get more done.  Also, due to the new storage, I should be able to find the missing air filter while I move everything around.  That said... I've moved half of the stuff now and still no sign of it?

This morning I was up a bit early so I went out and moved some things into the container.  I had my nice CBR600 wheels on the bench and decided to see if the sprocket thing I bought from the states fit it.  Basically I got a bare rim with none of the cush drive bits and no sprocket.  I did a bit of research and found that the CBR carrier would be way to fat anyway.  I came across one comment by a guy who rode SV650s and he said that lots of people put the CBR wheels on them and use a carrier from an old VF500 Interceptor that had a lot less bulk.

After a while looking around eBay I found someone who had the whole rear wheel of the VF500.  I did a deal to just send me the carrier, rubbers and sprocket.  The part was cheap, but the postage was steep.  I would rather pay the person a lot and skip USPS, but that isn't how it works.

So this morning I pulled out the carrier and the rubbers and the rim.  It took me 30 second to see how it all went together and the rubbers fit PERFECTLY! and are in great shape for such an old part.  The sprocket has almost no wear, but I'm not sure on the pitch and it also has 46 teeth... a bit to steep for me.  I like to cruise at low revs, but I think the 46 will just be too tall and have nothing off the line.  Time will tell, but the carrier is exactly right.

So we take the wheels from this bike

Then we take the carrier from this bike

The rear disk from this bike

And the swing arm and axle from this one

And we put it all on this bike

You have to love the Internet!  Where else could I find all the info to make a Frankenstein mix like this work.  That said, I don't know if it does work yet.  Stay tuned!

Well almost ridding...

So I pulled my finger out after the last post.  I got out my eBay special XR600 front brake and cleaned it up and fitted it.  Other than the me being a bit heavy handed with the spanner and breaking one part it all went well.  Luckily the part could be got from the old XL brake and reused.

I went over the oil system since I'd left it all finger tight after draining the oil a few months back.  I tightened the drain bolts, but on a new washer on the sump plug.  Tightened up the bit at the bottom of the frame where the mesh filter is and refitted the stone guard thing.  Then I got a nice semi synthetic oil at the correct viscosity and filled her up.  I kicked it over a few times to pump through some oil and nothing leaked.  You've got to love it when a plan comes together.

One of the foot pegs was still removed from when I had the engine side cover off to do the kick spring.  So I went to bolt that on and found the bolt that was there before was really worn out and not the right length at all.  I took the correct one to the shop and picked up a new one.  I cleaned out the thread and put the new bolt in and the foot peg is now as good as new. 

The battery replacement capacitor fits the old battery wires perfectly and will be temporarily cable tied to the frame.  Once the rego is done, I'll do a Saturday of wiring and find somewhere for the capacitor and the other bits to go as since the air box/battery box/ rear mudguard - Honda know how to make a part do lots of jobs - is now gone, they are just dangling in a big empty space.  And more than a little too close to the rear tyre!

I also test fitted the side plastics and they are going to need some loving.  New bolts and washers are needed and I might even have to rely on some cable ties where one of them is all torn up around the mounting hole.  They only need to be secure for now, but will be gone once I cut off the rear sub frame and make up a new one.  I just have to find a seat that I like the look of and let that guide me to what to build.

Then it was time to fill up the tank and start thinking about starting.  I found the jerrycan and jumped in the car.  5 litres of premium fuel should be a good start.  Back home again and I'm starting to get keen.  Think first... I'll have to rinse out the tank... then I remember that I haven't fitted the other air filter...

Air filter... where is that second air filter?  After a few hours of looking everywhere I knew it should be there is no air filter to be found!  Oh well.  I'm going to buy a car.  eBay I hear you say?  Well it just so happens that there is a Cressida on there I like the look of.  More on that later.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Time to ride... whether I like it or not.

Monday this week I drove to work as usual in my Commodore. I don't really like the car, but it was a gift and certainly did the job it was intended for. I've just jumped through all the hoops to get it registered again and the plan was to sell it in the next few months and then upgrade to something more to my taste, now that we aren't so broke.

Anyway, back to the story. I drove to work and parked in my usual spot. Grabbed my stuff, locked the car and walked off into work. 5pm came around and I headed back out to where I'd left the car, but was a little puzzled by an empty space. Maybe I parked further down the road? Nope, not there. Maybe the other way? Nope, not there. I guess someone likes Commodores more than me... It's been a few days now and nothing from the Cops. So time to rego the bike and see if we can be a 1 car + 1 motorbike family.

Even though I bought this bike with lots of great intentions and ideas. But it seems that between financial and family commitments, it just isn't that easy to mod a bike to perfection. So between the theft of my car and my lack of time and money, I've decided to change my approach. Fix all the bugs and rego the bike. Then add all the nice mods, as and when I can afford them.

All the little problems are fixed now and this weekend the vital fluids will be added. Some nice, yet cheap, synthetic oil is sitting ready to be poured into the frame (what a strange place to keep oil!) and 5 litres of premium petrol will go in the rinsed out tank. Then some filter oil on the two new foam filters and we'll see if I can get some life out of it.

One of the issues with removing the air box is the lack of a place for the battery. That said, there was no battery in the bike anyway, but I'm told that the charging system is designed to have one and tends to not last long without it.

"So what to do?" (as Doctor Joe would say - I so want to go back to Goa!) Some searching revealed that a few people have been here before and if your really keen you can buy a battery replacement thing from the US. The basic component is a large capacitor that acts like a battery and allows the bike to just get on with running the lights and spark.

After a bit of hunting down the specs I found the right part on ebay UK, for a fraction of the price of the brand name battery replacement in the US. A 19000UF, 25V DC Electrolytic Capacitor with screw terminals. Great thing is, it just fit straight onto the wires that use to go to the battery!

That thing in the bottom of the pic is a pen...  gives you an idea of the size of the thing!

So once I tape up a bit of wiring and double check everything, bolt down the tank and plastics and go for a little spin, it's off to the mechanic for a pink slip.  Lets hope that they aren't too picky and don't fuss about the few little mods there are and about the battery.  The XR600 never had one anyway!