Showing posts sorted by relevance for query xs1100. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query xs1100. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Rainy Day Carburators

A cold, rainy Saturday had me break down the carburetor on the Yamaha XS1100.  A Triumph Spitfire and Mercury LN7 owned as a teen made me pretty handy with carburetors.  In addition to multiple rebuilds I also got handy at jury rigging manual chokes thanks to the utterly crap Ford Escort carb set up.

The beautiful Mikuni unit on the Yamaha looks like a piece of industrial art in comparison to the pedestrian Triumph and Ford carbs, unfortunately it's seized.  After breaking down the top end I soaked it and freed up the seized throttle body.

The next to-do with the Yamaha is to clean up the gas tank and then reassemble the fuel system.  The engine isn't seized and spins easily, so I think I'll have an easy time firing it up for the first time in years (knock on wood).

Here are some pics of Mikuni's Yamaha masterpiece:




The throttle cable wasn't playing nice even after taking apart the handle bar - so into the carb I go...

The Yamaha XS1100 engine block with the carbs off - it got the Warhol treatment....


Like everything else so far, the internals look to be in good shape on the old (35 year old!) Yamaha

Cleaning up the fasteners using the caps from each carb to keep things organized.


XS1100 is in for surgery

Not many riding days left as the weather turns up here in Canada

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Midnight Thoughts

What we have here is a Yamaha XS1100 'Midnight Special'.  It looks like it needs some love and is for sale for $500 along with some extra parts.  The flash from the phone makes this '70s bike look pretty disco!

The XS1100 is a late '70s/early '80s 'super' bike.  From what I've read it's Yamaha's Vincent Black Shadow.  You're spoiled for choice as far as customization goes with the XS1100.  It's a big, air cooled engine with the old fashioned dual rear shocks.  It begs to be cafĂ© racered a bit.

As a tear down/rebuild, this makes a pretty good basis for a winter project.  It would be my first air cooled bike, as well as my first tear down/rebuild.

The Clymer manual is readily available (I'm finding Haynes manuals lacking in covering many motorcycles).  This could be a winter sanity thing.



Sunday, 29 September 2019

My First Honda: Fireblade!

I've had a pretty diverse group of R&R  (repair & recover) motorcycles to date.  My first R&R bike was the '94 Kawasaki Concours ZG1000 back in 2014.  Purchased for eight hundred bucks and cut out of long grass to get it out of the field it was in, the Concours got sorted over the winter and put back on the road where it took us to Indianapolis and went on to over twenty thousand kilometres of mileage before I sold it on for what I purchased it for this past summer.

The Concours became my regular riding bike so I sold on the Ninja.  Eventually a KLX250 off road bike came into the garage, but didn't last long as I struggled to find ways to use it in Ontario: land of no fun.  That led to a too-quick purchase of a Yamaha XS1100 from an entirely dodgy kid that led me into the headaches of sorting ownership.  That experience has made me more cautious in buying used bikes.  The belief is that all motorcyclists are salt of the earth types, but that isn't my experience; shifty would be a better description.


So far I've been able to make money on my R&R projects, Shed and Buried style, but I don't make it easy on myself.  Both the Concours and the XS1100 were big, four carburetor bikes with spaghetti loads of vacuum tubes and complex wiring.  I've taken my time looking for the next project and tried to look for something simple, air cooled and single cylinder, but bikes like that don't come up often.  As the summer fades and winter approaches, it was time to commit to a new R&R project.


This 1997 Honda CBR900RR Fireblade came up on Facebook buy and sell.  I've found the local nature of Facebook's marketplace offers up interesting opportunities that you don't find on the hardened semi-pro sellers of Kijiji and Autotrader, where you are much more likely to find shady characters who sell a lot of crap.  This twenty-two year old non-running Honda got me curious enough to contact the seller in Alliston.


It turns out the bike had gotten tangled in a divorce and was then sidelined.  It was eventually used to settle debts between the estranged couple, but now it belonged to a non-rider with no mechanical experience who just wanted it gone.  Her new partner was trying to sell it for her, but with it not running he wasn't getting any calls.  A late nineties CBR in safetied, running condition was going for about $4000, he was asking $1200 for this one as is.

We exchanged a number of emails, both of us cautious as we'd both met idiots from online sales (it turns out the internet is actually full of idiots).  As we got to know each other I asked increasingly direct questions - was is repainted to hide crash damage? (no, the former owner didn't like the stickered stock look)  - why is it in this state?  (where I got the bad karma backstory this bike was unfortunately wrapped up in).  The last problem to solve was how to get it here.

During our give and take the seller offered me the bike for $1200 instead of $1300, and then said he could trailer it down to my place for $100, so I got it at asking price with a $100 delivery charge.  The bike showed up and we had a good chat and ended up being given a milk crate full of pears from his parent's farm too.  Bonus Honda pears - good deal.  This low mileage, non-runner seemed like a steal upon first look.  The paint's a bit rough, but for a 20+ year old low mileage bike, she cleaned up a treat.

I was told the bike was a non-runner due to the carbs.  As I got into the bike mechanically I figured I'd look at the fuel system as a whole rather than only looking solely at the carb since I didn't know how long it had been sitting.  I'm glad I did.  The fuel tank had a worrying amount of rust in it.  I talked to people on the Practical Sportsbike Magazine Facebook group (one of my go-to bike magazines and a great place to talk to DIY types) and got suggestions around various acid etching and chemical routes.

I went out to Canadian Tire aiming to get some industrial grade hydrochloric acid but found Metal Rescue Rust Remover, a water based environmentally friendly solution that neutralizes rust and prevents more from forming.  It also helps the tank retain its structural integrity whereas acid eats holes in it.  My first go at a motorcycle tank cleaning (I've been lucky so far and not had to deal with it) went well.  I left the chemical in the tank for about six hours before recovering it back into the bottle (it can be reused).  With the tank sorted it was time to look at the rest.


The vacuum operated fuel pump in the bottom of the tank was clogged and a mess, but it too cleaned up nicely.  With the big end of the fuel system sorted out, I turned to the carbs.

Compared to the buried in the frame carbs on the Concours and XS1100, the Honda's are a joy to access.  Having seen the mess that was the rest of the fuel system, I figured the carbs were crammed full of guck, and they were.  The only other issues seemed to be more about mechanical cack-handedness than wear.


Once on the bench I've been able to isolate some obvious problems.  I found a spring laying under the carbs on the engine case.  If you're fixing a carb it generally helps to use all the parts.  I also found that one of the choke pins were broken, so the choke was only working on three of the four carbs, and the choke cable itself wasn't attached correctly, so the choke was only moving about 2/3rds of the distance it should.  These are all things that would prevent the bike from starting properly.

Yesterday I took the float bowls off and had a look at the bottom end of the carbs.  The ethanol in modern fuel is not a good mix with older fuel systems, like carburetors.  Not only can it eat away at the rubber and gaskets in older systems not designed for it, but it can also leave varnish, and worst of all, it's a water absorber, so it can lead to corrosion in older, gravity fed systems.  If there was ever evidence of modern ethanol based fuels making a mess of a carburetor, it was here in this old Fireblade, where every carb bowl was worse off than the one before it.


Thanks to some judicious use of carb-cleaner, they cleaned up nicely, but does ethanol ever do a job on mechanical fuel delivery systems!  Fortunately, if I stick with super unleaded from most stations in Canada, it means I'm not running any in this old bike from now on.

I run super in my bikes anyway because they're very fuel efficient anyway so it doesn't cost much and, at least on the Tiger, the power commander means I can maximize power out of it.  For the Honda or any other carb fueled bike, you should be running super just to stay away from the ethanol.

Today I'm going to pull the tops of the carbs and have a look at the state of things (I'm hoping better than below) and finish cleaning them.  I'm also going to see if I can fix that broken choke pin on carb 4 or else I'm going to have to track down the part.  Bikebandit has it for $50US, but no one else seems to have one available.

There are other bits and pieces in this poorly looked after carb that are suspect.  Rather than use boot clamps to attach the carb to the engine, the muppet who owned it before me appears to have put some kind of rubber sealant on them and attempted to 'glue' them to the block.  This is stupid in all sorts of ways.  Bits of this rubber seal would deteriorate in the gasoline rich air-fuel mix and get sucked into the engine, and there is no mechanical connection ensuring the carbs are tight and leak free to the engine.  For a system that runs on vacuum, this is a disaster.

The boots have cleaned up nicely, so I also need to source some ring clamps for them.  The Honda specific ones are hard to find, but I'm hoping I can find some aircraft grade ones that are an engineering match and easier to source.  Oetiker Clamps, ironically based in Alliston where the Honda came from, do some nice, high quality options that I should be able to fit.

So much of mechanics come back to common sense.  The guy who owned this before seems to have had a startling lack of it.  I'm hoping for $1200+$500 in parts I can get this Honda humming and ride it for a year before seeing if I can double my money on it (unless we bond).  Safetied bikes of similar vintage with twice the mileage are going for four grand.  Even with all the work done so far, the bike hasn't cost me a penny in parts and I may be within spitting distance of sorting out this abused Fireblade.



Follow up:
Tops of the carbs were fiddly - the plungers are a pain to reseat properly, but I worked through them and all the top ends have been cleaned, though they were all in good shape as befitting a low mileage bike like this.  The nastiness was all in the float bowls.

I gotta say, I'm enjoying Honda engineering.  Kawasaki has a real heavy industry feel to it by comparison, though my Kawi experience is mainly on a big sport tourer and this Honda is built for one thing only... getting down the road quickly.  But this bike has an engineering elegance to it that makes it a pleasure to work on.

With the cackhanded way this bike has been worked on, there are a number of fiddly bits missing or broken. I was sourcing ring clamps (x8), a choke plunger and other odds and ends and found the price quickly creeping up.  I reached out to local bike breaking yards and only heard back from NCK in Woodstock, ON, who seem organized and on their game.  They have a donor carb in used, rust free (stored inside) condition for $250CAD.  That's within fifty bucks of where I was with buying bits and pieces and means I'd have a lot of spares I could always sell on after.  I'm going the donor carb route this week.

Oh, and Oetiker clamps got back to me and apologized for not having what I needed because (of course) the Honda's clamps are a special size and would require special manufacturing.  My quest for carb hose clamps continues.



NOTES:

One of the tricky bits of working on old bikes is getting the documentation you need to work on them accurately.  The internet is a gold mine for this.  If you're working on a late '90s Honda CBR900RR Fireblade, you'll find this handy:

1996/7 Honda CBR900RR Owner's Manual:  https://mototribu.com/constructeur/honda/1996/1000cbr/doc/revuetechnique_900rr.pdf


It has lots of good technical graphics in addition to all the specs you need.

***


I was also able to source the Haynes Manual for this bike from Fortnine on sale for only $35.  Most other places were over $40US, so finding that on sale was a good first step in this project.

At the moment I've got emails out to The Bike Yard in Caledon and Oetiker Clamps in Alliston.  With any luck I can source the bits I need and have this Honda purring even before the snow starts to fly, then I can spend the winter sorting out the other fluids and maintenance before it hits the road in the spring.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sense of Satisfaction!

After all the Maker talk this week at a conference I attended, I was keen to spend some quality time in the garage working on the 35 year old XS1100 basket case.  It's easier to walk the walk than talk the talk when it comes to Making.  Unlike the education approach infused with collaboration for your own good, I did it the way I always do: alone in a garage.  It's wonderfully cathartic to get something broken working again, and meditative when I don't have to explain everything I'm doing.

How do you get a 35 year old motorcycle left outside for several years unattended working again?  Very carefully!

The front brakes were seized, the throttle body was seized, the rear brake is still seized, as are other things I haven't found yet.  Motorcycles aren't like cars, when they're left in the world they don't have a shell protecting the mechanicals from the weather.  Restoring a car tends to be more mechanically salvageable as a result.



I ended up having to take the end carburetor off the rack of four Mikunis that line the back of the Yamaha engine.  It was the most carboned up and filthy one, and the grit had seized the throttle body rod.  A complete dismantle, cleaning and reinstall has the carb working again (before this you couldn't move the throttle body without great effort and a nasty creaking sound...



It took a couple of hours to break it down, find the problem and rebuild it.


It was pretty before, but the Mikunis are even prettier now that they work!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

XS1100: Steps Toward Resuscitation

Snow last night, the XS got some mechanical
attention today as a result.
After looking over some internet advice (sic) on how to start a long dormant motorcycle engine (and ignoring never ending discussions on it), I got the XS1100 to the point where it would crank over (with spark plugs removed).  The plugs look brand new, but sooty.  Cleaning them up and regapping should be all that's needed.  It's nice to know it isn't seized, the electrics aren't pooched and the starter motor sounded solid.

I also have the airbox off and the carbs cleaned (though they look pretty clean before I did them).

The gas tank is a rusty mess, it was left outside and empty for a length of time.  I'm thinking about doing some instructables chemistry on it, just to try it.  Failing that, I think I'm going to try Evapo-Rust.

Here's what it looked like today:



Makes you wonder how many motorcycle tires don't get worn out before they need a change.

With the airbox removed, the wall-o-carbs is easy to get at.

Carb internals look to be in good shape.  Only the throttle cable is suspect.


The air box has cleaned up nicely

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Yamaha XS1100: The Midnight Saga

Buddy Jeff gave me a hand getting the XS1100 home the other day; he's an enabler.

Getting it on the trailer was a bit tricky as the front calipers were seized.  A couple of whacks with a rubber hammer loosened them up enough to get the wheel rolling.  It took three of us to get it up onto the trailer - it's heavy (600lbs), had mostly flat tires and was still grabbing the brakes, but we finally got the job done.  We ended up settling on $400 as is, which gives me a working budget of about $1500 to get the bike back on the road.  It think it's doable.  The only other one like it for sale at the moment is asking $3300.  After looking at the bike again critically before agreeing to buy it, it's in surprisingly good shape for what it has been through.















Once home we had a victory beer after wrestling it off the trailer.  A bit later I had a go at it with a garden hose and some S100 cleaner.  The ride over had blown away most of the cobwebs, but the rest of the bike is quite astonishingly clean considering it has been sitting outside.  The S100 also has a corrosion inhibitor, but I also soaked the bike in wd40 in preparation of trying to remove any fastener on the thing.

Trying to muscle the 600+ pound bike into the garage earned my my first Yama-scar, but I eventually got it nestled in there.

In other news, here's something to know about bike ownership in Ontario (and probably elsewhere): if you're buying a bike off someone who bought it and never transferred ownership to themselves, you need to make sure you've still got chain of ownership intact.  This means either a piece of writing from the legal owner saying that the bike was sold to the intermediary or a signed ownership.  The kid I bought the bike off had neither (can't find them).  He's looking.  More updates to follow.

It's getting crowded in there - once the season ends
the garage will only need to hold the Concours &
the Yamaha, everything else will winter in the shed.
In the meantime, the history of this old bike is long and storied.  I'm the fourteenth (!) owner (almost).  It's a 1980, not a '78 as the kid selling it thought it was.  In the early '80s it went through three owners before finding itself at Norwich Collision Service in South West Ontario in the spring of '82.  The crash owner had owned it since Christmas and had probably been on the road for a few weeks in the spring before spilling it.  Idiots buying bikes too powerful for their experience level isn't a new thing then.  He got the bike back from repair and immediately sold it.

After the n00b crash and the repairs it got picked up by a guy who owned it for six years.  He then sold it on to a series of owners through the '90s and zeroes, the longest being eight years by a guy in Halton.  The last legal owner was a guy from Stoney Creek in 2009.  

Whoever said the Ontario vehicle history was boring or a waste of money?  This one reads like a Jane Austen novel!

I'll update the ownership situation as I hear more, hopefully it'll be resolved by the end of this weekend.  I'll hold off on working on the bike until I know I can own it, that seems prudent.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

Fireblade Fountains

I finally got the carbs sorted on the Fireblade project (sense of achievement!) and when I fired it up they felt very responsive... but then a giant geyser of oily water spewed out of the valve cover exhaust pipe and hit the ceiling (!).  Never seen that before.

Rather than repeat the fountain, I put a pipe on it, ran it into a container and videoed the weirdness...
(it's a 360 video, you can move the mouse to look around - like at the oily water dripping off the ceiling)

So the fountain happened both times I ran it, and the stuff that came out looked like watery oil rather than oil with some water in it.  Next step:  drain the oil...
... which looks like water.  That's not good, and it's something I've never seen before.  Why on earth would anyone ever put water or coolant in an engine like that?

I've done head gaskets on cars before and I'm pretty familiar with the consequences of oil mixing with coolant.  It usually goes both ways (oil gets in the coolant, coolant gets in the oil, but the coolant looks brand new and the level is good.  When running there is no bubbling in the coolant overflow (usually a running engine will force gas and oil back into the coolant reservoir if there is a blown head gasket).  As amazing as this sounds, I think the idiot who owned this before me filled the engine with coolant instead of oil, but I really can't understand why.  It's either gross incompetence or he sold me a bike with a known blown engine, which is a pretty shitty thing to do.  Incompetent or nasty, not a great set of choices there.


Next up is actually putting oil in the engine and running it again.  I've got some used stuff out of the Tiger which is the right weight.  If it works, then the guy who owned this thing before me might be the dumbest human in history.  Once I've run the old synthetic out of the Tiger and confirmed everything works, I'll drain it and put some new stuff in.

My first sports bike has been a bit more baffling than the XS1100 (air cooled, nothing weird there other than the ownership) and the Concours sports tourer which had been through hell, but was owned by a guy who knew what he was doing.

The muppet who owned this bike before me will have me going top to bottom on it before I get it out on the road - I can't trust anything that was done to it.



Follow up:  the engine was full of gasoline because the petcock that portions fuel out of the gas tank had failed, causing the gasoline to run into the carbs, fill up the bowls and then dribble down the intake manifold into the cylinders, where it ran down into the engine.  This is evidently not uncommon on motorcycles because of the way they carry their fuel above the engine.  A new petcock, a carb rebuild and a couple of engine flushes and the 'Blade rides again.  Point to remember: check for leaking petcocks on older bikes!