After the restoration: 19,200 Mile Service
Thursday, Nov 26, 2009 (Thanksgiving) [18,821 miles]
On the way back from dropping the rear shock of my GS off for a rebuild earlier this week I noticed a loss of power. The hump in the San Mateo - Hayward bay bridge was easily taken in 4th on my way to Livermore; I had to downshift to third on the way home. Plus, the bike wanted to die at stop signs. And I ran out of gas after turning off the petcock on the way to my garage. Normally I make it to the garage plus 15-30 seconds of idle before the carbs are empty.
Today I did some testing:
- Gas flow: OK
- Carb floats: OK
- Spark plugs: OK
- Compression: Not OK.
The exhaust was way too tight, one half of what it should be. The intake was a bit tight. I crossed my fingers and re adjusted both valves. Maybe I’ll get lucky. After getting the valves set to spec I re-attached the compression tester.
No change. The head will have to come off. I hate working on two bikes at the same time and the GS is already apart due to the shock rebuild and I need to pull its FD to get a cracked wheel flange replaced. The R69S will have to wait.
Sometimes two bikes are NOT enough.
Tuesday, Dec 1, 2009 [18,821 miles]
Today I turned the bike around in the garage to to get access to the left side. The GS is still waiting for parts and is a bit hard to move with a missing rear wheel. The goal is to pull the head and see what might be wrong.
Everything is off that needs to come off to pull the head. It was easier to remove the muffler and loosen the clamp at the footpeg than to try to force the head off a non-moving header.
Look at that! Sometimes you get lucky. I was fearing something like a valve seat walking its way out of the head. It looks like the loss of compression went from the combustion chamber to the channel that returns oil from the head to the sump. No wonder I didn’t hear or see anything.
I dressed the head and found a slightly used gasket that was too good to throw away in my parts drawer. I think I’ll give it a try. If it wasn’t for the slight bubble around the void near the oil return you wouldn’t know that the gasket wasn’t brand new.
I re-installed the head, torqued it down, re-adjusted the valves, hooked up the exhauts, and stuck the compression tester in the spark plug hole. Yes! Back to normal compression for this bike. Time to put everything else back together.
I see that I need to add carb gaskets along with head gaskets to my need-to-order list. It’s just about time for new tires, too.
The last image is just to show how serious I am about not losing any more mufflers as I go down the road.
Tuesday, Jan 5, 2010 [18,904 miles]
My current tires have been on the bike since 2005. There is lots of tread left, but the rubber has become so hard the bike is squirmy in the rain. Time for something new.
These are Heidenau K34 tires that I picked up today from Moto Amore in Santa Clara. They look right and are in the correct size 3.50x18. I’ll thought I’d give them a try. The question is how well they’ll handle on rain grooves.
Wednesday, Jan 6, 2010 [18,904 miles]
Today I took off the rear wheel to mount one of the tires I picked up yesterday. I had to loosen the left shock mount to make room to remove the rear wheel. This should be the last time I have to do that.
While the wheel was off I cleaned up the brake shoes, the drive splines, and parts of the frame that are harder to get to with the wheel on the bike. The old tire and tube came off the rim without issue. Then I looked at the tube.
I don’t know that the rust on the valve stem is a problem, but since I got a new tube why take chances. A little talc, a little air, and the the new tire went on the rim about as easy as the old tire came off. The only issue is one of tire direction. There are no arrows on the Heidenau, yet the tread isn’t 100% symetric. The difference probably doesn’t mean much. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Balance time brought up the only issue: I didn’t realize I was out of new wheel weights. Hmmm, I’ve heard of others using some RTV to stick old weights on. Only down side I can see is that I have to wait until it sets. I cleaned the back of the weights and the mounting location with some denatured alcohol then put a thick bead of clear RTV on the back of the weights and pressed them into place, wiping up the excess RTV. It’s curing as I type this. I won’t put the wheel back on the bike until the RTV has had some time to set.
About 3 hours later I figured the RTV was set enough to put the wheel back on the bike. First I put some moly paste on the wheel splines and then I put the the left shock mounting bolt nut back on the bolt and torqued it down. As expected, a 3.50 x 18 tire fits with the shock bolt and nut in place so I put it back before mounting the wheel.
I put the wheel back on the bike then installed the cleaned and lightly greased axle. Axle tightened, then pinch bolt, then the fender. The bike is ready to ride… but tomorrow is a Mid Week Ride where I’ll be on the GS. And maybe Friday I’ll put the front tire on the bike.
Friday, Jan 8, 2010 [18,904 miles]
Getting ready to change the front tire. The bike wasn’t parked in the best spot for lift placement, but I was too lazy to move it.
The bike was stable enough with the jack where it was to remove the front wheel. As is normal it took a few love taps with the dead blow hammer to free the brake hub from its slot in the frame.
No fancy tools needed to break the bead on these tubed tires. The tire irons (cheap clones of the 16 inch motion pro irons) are all that is needed.
I levered the tire over the rim on both sides. This lets me push the wheel into the tire to get at the tube. Once the tube is out the tire pulls off the rim with little effort. I dont even have to use any tire lube.
Before mounting the new tire I clean up the inside of the rim. Then I stick the valve stem back in the tube, lightly inflate it, and stick it inside the new tire after dusting with talc (baby powder).
The new tire goes on easy. The hardest part was getting the valve stem through the rim far enough to start the nut on the threads.
30 PSI and the tire is ready to move from wheel stand to balance stand. I checked with the old weights. No go. I remove them and did some more general rim cleaning before finding out I needed 2 oz of weights.
As with the rear tire, I stuck the weights on with a bead of clear RTV. While that was curing I notices some rust on the edges of the brake drum. A bit of rubbing with emery cloth got rid of that. I alse cleaned the brake surface with brake cleaner, and took the brake hub outside to spray with the same.
I put the wheel back on the bike and cleaned, greased, and re-connected the front brake cable. The bike is ready for its test ride. That will happen tomorrow on the way to Joe’s. If the weather isn’t too bad I’ll take the bike on some grooved highway to see what it feels like after brunch.
This picture shows the one question I have about the new tires. You can see that there is a slight pattern to the tread. I haven’t a clue if it makes any difference which way the tires are mounted. For what it’s worth I mounted the rear one way and the front the other.
The tire sucks on rain grooves. Fresh, deap grooves such as found on one local road are so bad I do not feel like I can control the bike. I will not buy these tires again. I may replace the front with something else long before it will otherwise be due for a tire change.
Tuesday, Mar 6, 2010 [19173 miles]
I’m one hour and 27 miles early for the next service. Close enough. The “one hour” part is based upon past experience. Seems like it typically takes about 30 hours of run time for me to put on the 1,200 miles between service. Perhaps I had more freeway miles this service interval.
This service would normally be not much more than an oil
change and control lube. Because I changed a head gasket not long ago
I’ll also need to retorque the head and adjust the valves, too.
Starting with an oil change I found some grit on the oil drain plug. No slivers, but I could feel a small amount of grit when I rubbed the sludge between my fingers.
I also found some leakage around the left cylinder base.
Not sure, it might be coming from the pushrod tube seals. I checked the base nuts. They are tight. New oil added after replacing the oil drain with a new crush ring.
This battery likes to eat positive terminals. Don’t know why. The stainless screw I used last time held up better than the stock screw. I cleaned everything off, neutralized the acid, put a new connector on the end of the positive lead, and stuck the battery on the charger. The green light came on within 30 minutes.
The air filter had to come off to get to the battery.
While off the bike I checked that is it is still OK. It and the housing gasket are fine. I also cleaned up the housing while it was off the bike.
Once the battery was back in the bike I checked the lights. All are OK
The front tire was down a few pounds; not unexpected. The
rear, on the other hand, was less than half what is should have been.
I’ll need to keep a close eye on that is it is a new tube, replaced just a few months ago. There are no obvious nails, etc., in the rear tire.
Before running to the eye doctor for a checkup and to replace the glasses I broke a while ago I lubed brake and clutch linkages and checked the controls on the handlebar. That’s all for today. Tomorrow I’ll retorque the head, adjust the valves, and give the bike a good cleaning.
Wednesday, Mar 7, 2010 [19173 miles]
It’s been about 350 miles since I replaced the head gasket on the left side, past time to do a re-torque. With the ending at a compression stroke TDC for the left I retorqued the six head screws one at a time.
I did not check the valve settings prior to re-torquing the head. After the re-torque the intake was the correct .006 inch. The exhaust was a touch tight and needed some tweaking. When done I buttoned up the left side.
Since I had all the tools out and my right side is the one that usually gives me problems I decided to check torque and valves there, too. The exhaust was fine. The intake was ever so tight. The plug was a touch sooty, but not bad.
Once the right side was buttoned up I dumped the small amount of oil that drained from the cylinder heads into the waste containier and started putting tools away.
I didn’t forget the timing hole plug, this time. A also gave the bike some TLC in the form of a wipedown. It’s got to look good for Darryl’s tech day this coming Saturday!
The grit on the drain plug and the low rear tire pressure are two areas of concern. Replacing or patching a tube, if that is the problem, is no big deal. Digging into the engine, if required, will be. Last service (1200 miles ago) I found two, small slivers. Not sure if going from slivers to small grit is an improvement.
One of the participants at the vintage/airhead/r90s tech day mentioned how she’d recently cleaned the headlight reflector on her R100RS using Isopropyl alcohol. It looked new. Mine looked dingy in comparison. Given a half bottle of alcohol in the medicine cabinet that was past its use-by date I thought I’d give it a try.
After pulling the headlight off of the bike I pulled the clips holding the headlamp lens and reflector to the bezel then separated the two components. I dripped some alcohol on the reflector and swirled it around, repeating several time. Then I put the reflector aside and cleaned the lens in a similar manner.
And these images show what it looks like today. There still isn’t a lot of light, but when you’ve got only 35 watts to play with getting every possible candela on the road is a good thing.
The grit found in March is on my mind. I’ve decided to tear down the engine and find out why. The story starts here.