Wednesday, March 26, 2014

12 Step Process of Moped Ownership

1) get a stock moped from craigslist or a garage sale
2) get it running after posting 1000 questions on MA; JUST get it running, don't fix the forks or hook up a rear brake or tail light.
3) you are now the worlds greatest genius mechanic, but your moped only goes 20, time to hit up treatland
4) buy a bunch of performance parts and start taking shit apart on your moped, chop the fender, get some club-mans or just flip over your stock handlebars, cut some wires while you're at it.
5) install the parts poorly, get them barely running, break most of them in the process
6) post on moped army about how crappy moped performance parts are
7) get your bike going 50- you are now a performance god
8) seize your bike
9) park your bike in the back of your garage or post it on craigslist for a rediculous amount of money as it 'needs some tuning but runs good, oh yeah and rear brakes still don't work'
10) buy an enduro and ride it at moped rallies
12) profit

Sunday, March 23, 2014

DT Dreamin'

Well, guys and gals, I hate to say it but fate keeps pushing me further down the rabbit hole of Yamaha Enduros... yikes!

This one came to me last Monday. I finally posted my CL100 on craigslist because, lets face it, I'm just not that into four strokes, and after moving it across the country twice I just couldn't stand pushing it around my shop and having it in the way any more. I posted it at $400 because i saw a couple other CB100 projects on craigs for 500-700$ but they weren't selling.

A guy offered me a trade for a basket case DT100... he said it was running at one point but he had gotten into a restoration and, surprise, lost interest. He already had one CB100 and was eager to take on my project. The pictures weren't good but hey, I'd rather have a 100cc 2T than 4T any day so whatever.

When he showed up, I saw this gorgeous red tank right away and I was elated. The tank alone was enough to get me a little excited.

The rest of the bike wasn't so impressive, it was mostly in a couple boxes.

We did the deal... I told him the story about how I came by the CL and he thought it was pretty funny, he was about my age and had brought this DT down from Massachussets where he was from. Said his buddy had it and they rode it around till it died, then he started the restoration project.  Didn't seem too mechanically inclined, but he did have the patience and inclination to take something and sort it out piece by piece, clean it up, and do all that stuff that bores the hell out of me. Exactly what the CL project needs!

First thing I did, of course, was hook up the coil and see if i could get her to cough. The wiring harness and coil were a mess, it looked like rodents had been chewing on them. The key is missing (guy said he found it) so I wasn't sure if I'd get fire. There was no CDI box either, but 78 might have been points? I dunno, either way I was able to find the wires and get them all connected. I checked the carb and I pulled the air filter to spray some gas in there.

This is what was left of the 'air filter' ha. It looked like it had grown in there more than been made by humans. Yeesh. The whole thing was soaked with oil and the foam had completely returned to its hydrocarbon component states... a disgusting mixture of gritty, sticky and oily all at the same time.

Lucky for me, a previous owner had creatively used this wadded up piece of organic material inside the foam... Is it a coffee filter? Paper towel?

Nope... its a 3M dust mask! HA! Certainly one of the most creative homemade air filters I've ever run across!

The best part is, the celluloid material held up to many years of fuel and oil without disintegrating, and it completely kept the disintegrated foam from contaminating the carb, reeds and eventually washing through the bearings and crankcase... which would mean a total rebuild.. I had a kawasaki that happened to once, and it wasn't pretty!

The crazy thing is, this is probably what ended up with me getting this bike in the first place. I always start this process by trying to figure out what parked the bike to begin with... the original 'oh shit' moment before someone starts tearing everything down. 

With the air filter out, a couple squirts of premix gas from a windex bottle (way better for your engine than starter fluid FYI) had it pop to life and even run a couple seconds. Without the exhaust it sounded very healthy!

It only took about an hour and a half to put the whole bike back together. This guy did an awesome job of putting all the screws back in their place when he removed them, but he also did a really good job of stripping out all the screws. That's OK because I've been stopping at Fastenal on my lunch breaks (its about 5 blocks from where i work) and buying a lot of their cheap stainless SHCS's which are a lot better than the ones that 'hillman' are selling these days, and they have been running 30-50 cents a pop... which is damn good for stainless. 

I decided since I was starting with a box of parts, the best policy would be to first loosely assemble everything that I had, and try to put the puzzle back together. This is a process that I've gotten pretty good at, having bought a lot of bikes in boxes, and its kinda fun at the puzzle stage, especially if you are starting with something that was pretty close to an operable motorcycle before being taken apart.

Stuff like the Bridgestone, its a bit more frustrating with tons of parts missing, broken, rusty, etc. This was a lot of fun. I only finger tightened everything, so next weekend or the next time I get a chance, I'm going to tear it all back apart again, note all the bolt lengths and go shopping armed with a detailed list.  This worked out almost perfect on the DT50 and the engine reassembly process went swimmingly. I almost felt like some kind of fancy factory race mechanic slapping that engine together in record time, almost exclusively using a single M5 t-handle.

So that was the first half of an epic day of mad wrenching. Very satisfying! I still have to sort out a few things, in addition to the stripped fastners, the tank needs to have the rust acid'ed out of it.  The seat cover is just a hunk of vinyl wrapped around the foam and screwed into the seat pan... its pretty ugly but definitely dubs sized. The taillight is smashed, the headlight housing was cracked but i glued that with plastic welder... need to find a 6" 6v bulb.

Fork seals, blah blah, wheel bearings, tires, chain. There is a lot to do but its one of the more 'complete' projects i've taken on for awhile. Hopefully next weekend I can take some time to figure out whats missing screw wise and do the tank, maybe 2-3 weeks and she'll be on the road.

The second half of the day will take another post! The DT50 is back together and lit right up on a spritz of gas as well.  She needs antifreeze and trans oil, rear tire, tube and all the weird rando stuff that is missing. Good news is tons of compression and a very healthy feeling engine. It was so cool to literally bolt the engine in, plug in two wires, and get her to fire up on the first kick!  I usually get engines to start on the third or fourth kick, but very rare (and extremely satisfying) are the times when it literally fires to life on the first rotation.  She's so close to streetable that its hard to believe.

My mopeds are all waiting on bearings right now. Ordered them last week after a local bearing house was a bust. Good ol' allied bearing came through for me and I should be able to put together 3 engines early next week when this bearing order comes in.