Friday, September 24, 2010

Collecting Parts

Once again, the project has come to a crawl. Not that it's not going to get done, it's just stalled for the time being. Over the Summer, I got wrapped up in Summer classes, which really consumed my time. Now I've got this Fall semester keeping me busy. This change of career stuff isn't all that easy!

I did, however, get a chance to acquire a bunch of cool parts! I had a friend work on my triple-crown and fill in the holes and give it a sweet paint job to give it that classic race look, since I'm going to go with clip-ons. I also put in some fairly big orders to finish up restoring the carburetors- now I just need to get the proper size main and pilot jets. I bought some new intake joints and a crossover pipe, while a very nice friend donated a brand new Y-boot and Uni-Filter setup. I also bought all brand new control cables- most of them are still available through Yamaha, so don't waste your money on Ebay, buying those aftermarket replacements. Also, I found a front master cylinder in really usable shape, so I'm in the middle of tearing it down to marry the parts with my original cylinder.

One of my favorite gets for the season was a brand new (still in the box) Hella halogen headlight and bulb that I found on Ebay. It was a total score- I bought it for less than $30!

Also I started working on refinishing the Daytona head. I tracked down some phosphoric acid from my local Home Depot and gave it a nice overnight soaking. Then I began the wet sanding portion, but decided that I need more grit. Then things got busy. 

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hmm....Cylinder Work

I found some nice inexpensive tools on Ebay. I bought some electronic calipers and a set of bore gauges, so I can measure my cylinder holes. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, since I've never torn down a motor this far before.

I meticulously measured the cylinders and found out that the bores were two different sizes! One hole was at 66.0mm and the other one was 64.5mm! My guess is that one of the previous owners burned up a cylinder, so he just grabbed a jug and piston from friend, who just happened to have a spare part on hand.

So I can either bore the smaller hole out to match the bigger hole, in effect doing a "big-bore" kit on my RD, busting the displacement out to 427cc, or I can find another matched set of cylinders with more lining, or I can re-sleeve the larger hole. Re-sleeving will cost too much money, so forget that. I found that even at 66mm, there is still a little room to bore, if necessary, so the first choice is probably the way I'm going to go. I found an automotive shop in San Jose that will bore out the hole to the larger size for $90. Not bad at all!

At least now, I know what size pistons to buy!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

My Frames- Amazing, But True...

I was actually wondering what the status of my frames were, since I dropped them off at the Frame Man six weeks ago. I called the shop this morning and those frames just happened to be on today's schedule to get jigged up and measured. I was just hoping that one of the frames wouldn't be too out of whack, so I could start building on it right away.

I just got a call back from Pat, one of the main technicians at the Frame Man. After the evaluations, as it turns out, BOTH frames were "well within serviceable specs", meaning that they were in great shape! They checked all the measurements and the angles and everything was fine. As a matter of fact, he told me that there wasn't even a whole lot that they could do to either of the frames. I was totally surprised, since one of the frames took a pretty good pounding, when I rear-ended a car coming down Highway 17, through the Santa Cruz Mountains on my way to San Jose. I guess the forks took all the energy- thank goodness!

Both frames have their steering stops knocked around- one of them is missing entirely. Pat offered to weld on a new stop at a nominal fee, which I am considering, since checking the frames came at no cost to me.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I Love Mondays!

This afternoon, there was a knock at the door. The mailman had brought my parts. Here's a picture of that awesome swingarm I got from Dave. It's been blasted, painted and rebuilt with cool parts! It was powdercoated in a fashion that it follows the finish of the factory paint. sadly, it's going to be a while until I can bolt it up.

A NOS throttle cable also got delivered today. I found it on Ebay for $25! I don't think anyone was looking for it, since it was labeled as a Daytona cable. Yay, for me!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Struck Gold!

I found a promising ad on Craigslist with someone selling an RD400 for $800. In the picture, it was kind of a basket case, but I did spot some pretty nice looking chambers on it, so I tried calling the phone number posted, as there was no email address on the ad. I left two messages, but I didn't get any calls back. Later that night, I spotted someone on a 2-stroke forum drawing more attention to the ad. So I figured that the guy had already sold off the bike.

The next day, as a last ditch effort, I called the number again, and unexpectedly, someone picked up the call! The bike had not been sold and he had two sets of pipes available. The chambers I was interested in were first thought to be Spec II pipes, but after more careful examination, he reported that they were actually Factory Products. I gave him my email address and he sent me a few snaps of the pipes and they were good! We made arrangements for me to drive out and check out the goods over the upcoming weekend.

On Saturday, I drove out to meet the seller. He was putting his house on the market in a few weeks and his wife asked him to liquidate his pile of bike parts, since he hadn't riden any motorcycles for years. Basically, he had three RD400's, all in different phases of decay, the worst being he one stripped to the frame and was about to chuck the frame. He had boxes and plastic crates of parts, some parts had never been used before! The Factory pipes were in pretty good condition- some minor dents, but no serious rust, and the silencers were in excellent shape. One of the silencers got bent in a little at the end of the pipe, but it was no big deal. He was happy accepting $125 for the pipes. What a great deal!!

We got talking about bikes and other stuff. As the conversation lingered, he kept pulling parts out and offering them to me. He gave me a bag of new engine gaskets (minus a few gaskets), so I kept asking if he had other parts. The end result was I drove home with the chambers, a stator (with that rubber plug that I was missing), a practically new headlamp with the undented, uncrashed ring (it will need to be replated), and two NEVER BEEN USED VM28 Mikuni carbs!! These carbs have never even touched gas! There are a couple of jets and gaskets that have corroded, but that's not a problem. He was going to give me all this "extra" stuff, but that would've been like stealing from him, so I offered him another $40. He was pretty indifferent about the cash, but I felt better that I gave him something.

In summation, for $165, I got everything you see in the picture, plus a small green container full of extra miscellaneous carb parts, like main jets and the such (again, never been taken out of their bags). I was due for a little luck coming my way- I have nothing to complain about here!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

A New RD Friend

A funny thing happened, while I was cruising the web, looking for parts.  I just did a general search for "RD400 parts craigslist" wondering what I might find across the U.S., hopefully within recent times, and I found a very intriguing posting from Cresent City, California, which is a ways up the coast from me, but nonetheless, still in California.

The posting had all sorts of assorted goodies listed, so I emailed the author to see if he had any chambers.  Dave emailed me back and responded that he did not, but he had some cool Goki air caps, which he sent me pictures of.  The emails went back and forth, as we shared our enthusiasm for RD's and 2-strokes in general.  We talked about the old staple RD400 stores, like Moto Carrera and Spec II, and where the industry has gone to.  He used to live here in the Bay Area, owning a motorcycle shop at Sears Point Raceway, back in the day, before they sold their name to Infineon.  He got to work with some of the first roadrace bikes, as Yamaha TZ's were coming and going through his shop with regularity.

One thing led to another and I bought a very sweet RD400 swingarm that has been powdercoated and refurbished, pressed with bronze bushings, fitted with a TZ350 spindle with some other custom work done for $110 shipped!  This thing is ready to bolt up and go into service immediately, which is going to save me money in buying all the parts separately, plus having to get the old swingarm blasted and painted.  It's something that I wasn't necessarily looking for, but after Dave read my blog, he felt that the swingarm would be a perfect match for my project.  In addition to the swingarm, he threw in a 2-stroke vintage tuning book, something that I'm sure went out of print long ago.  I know that he could've sold the piece for a whole lot more, so for that I am SO appreciative.

I find it interesting how my long journey in trying to get this bike restored/built has introduced me to a lot of nice people who share the love for these crazy 2-strokes.  I wonder what new surprises are in store for just around the corner....

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Clutch Time

After trying a few different methods, I finally got the clutch apart.  I didn't want to hit it with an impact wrench for reasons that  1) I don't own a compressor nor an impact wrench and  2) I didn't feel like buying them items.  Since those old-time clutch holder tools aren't readily available anymore (unless you want to spend $40 on one from Motion Pro and I've read that the fit is kind of iffy), I ended up bolting together a couple of steel and friction clutch plates together, which worked terrifically!  Once the clutch was locked down, it hardly took any pressure to break that nut.