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This is the personal homepage of Jonathan O'Brien aka Paddy, Padd, The Padd currently in Solihull England (but formerly of St Philomena's, Bemrose, Derby, Brunel, GEC, Level V, Software Intelligence, Eth(ix), Enfield, Cincom, Kalamazoo). It contains useful links, files and in time stuff about motorcycle drag racing, Santa Pod, my GPz750 racer, JIIWOB, and other interesting stuff. Any good ideas email me or call 07808 298002
Just got back from Ipswich! I have been exchanging emails with Tack1000 (Jeff) off the 750Turbo forum about parts from his 200mph bike. The whole bike was up for grabs but £6k was a bit steep for me, and I've got to get Fanny down to 11s first. So we made a deal for his front and back end. The front end is off a ZX9R and has modern lightweight wheels and sixpot brakes. The rear end is also a ZX9R wheel but the arm is off another bike and lengthened by Jeff to be much longer and really light. This means once fitted, Fanny'll be even longer, lighter, with less rolling mass, and better braked. Okay, will have to get a sprocket setup to suit, and work out a way to fit the clocks, but hey, a front end already modded for a turbo frame (which mine is) and a backend that will go straight in, is worth the money. Plus I can whack them in my turbo when I'm finished!!
Hadn't done anything on Fanny over the winter, too cold, too long till the season starts and little cash, but I picked up a couple of bits and pieces over the winter ready for the start of the season. Got a few main areas to work on. Sorting out the clutch which judders and makes launches a bit hit and miss, get the front end lower using tie downs, lowering the back end (by my adjustable doglegs and a lowered seat), lengthening the back end by adding chain links and getting the axle as far back as possible.
Aware that the clock was ticking I contacted Fast Ferret from the 750Turbo forum and suggested I go over and he help me do my clutch upgrade. There's a guy on the forum who made some new damper rubbers then a whole upgrade kit for other people. So last weekend I pulled the clutch apart then went up to see Fast Ferret (Phil) last weekend. Phil is a great guy, I must owe him loads of beer by now, and he didnt just help me, he did it all and showed me how whilst applying his engineering knowledge to the whole process (not to mention his very well equipped garage!).
I got the whole lot back together today, using a new clutch hub nut from Cradley Kawasaki. Couldn't fire her up tho' cos of the cold, almost flat battery and a neighbour who moans nearly everytime I start her up. It's not the noise of the engine but the starter motor!! Here's some pics of the process
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2010-10-02 Saturday Shakespeare County Raceway 11.74 @ 115.02mph NEW PB!!
Well I wasnt expecting to be there, but there was always the possibility of a run on this day, so a week before, I was talking to people about clutches and even had Lorcan Parnell offering advice on my 330ft times, so I bought some new clutch steels from Cradley Kawasaki and went to fit them. It was then I noticed that a) my inner 3 friction plates were all broken and b) I had loads of slop in the rubbers in my clutch basket (this is a major job and requires special parts).
However with my new plates fitted, she seemed ready for action. But that didnt stop me adding some washers as spacers on top of the front fork springs. Normally there's a lot of sag, which isnt a problem till you launch hard and the bike leaves the front end on the floor while it rotates backwards then tries to hoik it up in the air. They were a sod to fit, but it definitely removed the sag. On the days before the event there was talk of here or Santa Pod with other guys going to the Pod as it was nearer. But one guy Jez did turn up on his turbo to make a day of it (I even sat down the night before and looked at old tickets to see what I would need to do to run an 11.75, as that was my new goal).
In fact not only did he make a day of it, but we had 3 good runs against each other, my normally aspirated bike pretty much matching his stock turbo. I set 3 new PBs in one day and his very nice other half took photos and videos, which I cant wait to see!
That is the end of the season now, which still leaves me with a list of jobs to do (clutch, lower front end more, make a lower single seat, add links to chain to extend wheelbase, and rebuild the front forks which knock on hard braking) before one last charge for the elusive 11.00 in 2011.
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2010-09-04 Saturday Santa Pod 11.88 @ 114.3 mph and another new PB!
This was my first run in what seems like ages as had lots of social stuff going on. I had done nothing to the bike except changed the clutch plates to some I had that were original ones. These slipped under load on the road so a call to Ray at Debbens secured me some stiffer springs (mental note to document which springs they are, but they are much stiffer).
While I was at it I ordered some more clutch plates off Ray and soaked them in oil ready for the off, and then in a panic packed my new spares and my 4 good plates from the clutch, in case they were needed.
The new springs were great, but I couldnt get a good launch as the 20year old stock plates seemed inconsistent. So in a fit of pique, at lunchtime, in the full summer sun and black leather, I was there changing my plates again. The original 4 soaked plates and 2 new plates went in, leaving 4 new plates still in an oily back.
That made the difference and after 2 runs in the high 11.9s, I banged in an 11.88. I then dropped back into the 12s and couldnt work out why. So I got myself a new pic from the track photographers and called it a day and fitting end to the season (or so I thought!)
2010-07-10 Saturday Shakespeare County Raceway 11.95 @ 113mph NEW PB and first run in the 11s !!
After last weekend's success the missus asked me if there was more to come out of the existing setup and I said 'probably', so we headed down to Shakey, hoping for more success.
Overall it was a frustrating day, with several runs below 12.20, but only one good run at 12.05, but I knew I could get more out of her. There was still that hint of clutch slip, either between 1st and second or 3rd and fourth. However it was a good hot day so traction was good.
Someone told me the left hand lane was the better lane, as the right one had a dip after about 20ft which helped towards the front end lifting, so I moved to the left. Overall I was disappointed when with about an hours track time left, someone dumped oil on the left lane prompting half an hour's clean up.
So at 4:37pm, I lined up against a girl on an early Gixxer 750 streetfighter. I knew she had been down the track before and with a theoretical 100bhp and so much lighter, she should have given me a sound thrashing. I knew I had to get the launch right, and somehow I did, loads of revs, clutch slipping so the front end was light but not airborne all the way to my change up, revving it through to 11K through the gears and tucked in behind the fairing as much as possible.
I was right, if you check the timing slips she was catching me after the eighth, but as I've learnt, its all won and lost in the first 60 feet. I knew it wa a good run but not how good till I got back. The missus was trying to feign it was rubbish, but I saw through it, as I looked at the girls boyfriend's copy of the ticket. 11.95, my first run in the 11s, Yee Harrrr!!!
Looking at it after the event, I know I can do a better 60ft time than that, and there was still a bit of clutch slip from 3rd to 4th, so maybe I can squeeze some more out of her as she stands.
2010-07-03 Saturday - Santa Pod 12.0000 @ 112mph
Took the missus out for the day, so I rode over on to Santa Pod slowly with my support vehicle in tow.
The morning was good, with plenty of runs, but I couldnt get down below about 12.40, which is no good whatsoever. I know this engine is likely to be down on power over my 'race' engine but still. Not only that but the dreaded clutch slip was back, good job I took my other clutch out of my 'race engine' and bought it with me.
At lunchtime I decided enough was enough, leant the bike against the stands and started taking the clutch apart. Damn it was hot, in the sun, in black leather, working on a hot engine, but its an easy enough job and half an hour later, the job was done.
I returned to the fray and immediately posted a good time, and was keen for another, but they kept letting the cars through as it was the day before some Jap Car festival. Then I overcooked it on the start with a masive wheelie and had to back it off. Then they cleaned the track for some more (yuk) cars, and I had a good chance at one last run. It was going to be the last one of the day so I banged in a good one, I knew I might just get round on the back of the bikes and was lucky to be let on, the last bike, on my own. I was psyched, and the engine was hot and I nailed it.
Still not perfect, but a good launch and a good run. I got back to the pits and the missus and a guy from the 750Turbo forum was there. He was trying to chat with me but I was jumping up and down as the missus told me it was 12 seconds dead, great a new PB. Sorry mate.
I didnt realise that it was 12 dead, ie 12.0000 seconds till I got the slip, damn, 1 ten thousandsth of a second quicker at it would have been an 11 something. Oh well, I'm happy with a new PB and my other head is off at Debbens for more work, so maybe there's a lot more to come....
I finally got round to fitting the adjustable doglegs on the back of the bike. These can be made longer, allowing the swing arm to move up under the rear mudguard, lowering the back end. This lowers the whole bike and means you can launch so much harder without wheelie-ing.
It was a lot of fiddling to measure the gap, measure the length of the arms, mark the arms and fit them during the week, to find that the main suspension bolt was now too short. Still I managed to find one during the week, and the lowered back end was finally fitted, looking sweet. As standard it was a bit lower, and with 2 turns of the central body, a full inch was lost in height, this made a noticeble difference, and it no longer handles that well on the road being very slow to turn, but is so much lower, which has got to be good. Not sure when she'll get on the track as other stuff is going on, but there's 2 events at the start of July which look good
Yeah, didnt get anything done last weekend, as was busy checking out the Isle of Man, which reminds me I NEED to get that all sorted this week (only 2 weeks to my early summer hols).
In fact I didnt do everything I wanted to this weekend, which is bad, as I have much to get done for the strip this summer. But on Friday night I collected the 'spare' set of GPz wheels that came with the 750Turbo, and spent saturday scrubbing them clean and making them look actually pretty good. Then this morning I took them to the garage and filled them with air, then proceeded to bolt on the shiny new EBC discs, before fitting them in place of the old wheels. This took a bit longer than expected, as the brake slider pins needed regreasing AGAIN (they were only done 2 years ago), and the pistons forcing back into the caliper. Still, having done just about every job at least once before, saved me spending a lot more time on it.
I was planning to start the engine swap this weekend, but I couldnt help taking her for a quick spin (just to test the brakes and tyres, honest). Well, Fanny is becoming a revelation, she started immediately, cruised gently out of town without a hiccup, and when she was opened up, was still like a rocket, just great. But the revelation was the brakes...no longer knackered and mismatched pads on crap old discs, more like a modern bike, right from the word go. I was expecting a few miles for them to bed in, but they were great right from the word go. £350 well spent I say!
So I got back and just as a thank you before putting her away, I adjusted the gear lever. My new boots have a heel so my foot sits on the peg differently. This resulted in one or to false neutrals, not good for the strip. I was suprised but the rear-set linkage is fully adjustable so that was done easily. Not sure about the setting quite yet, but I'll test it on a run up to Nottingham to see Fast Ferret next weekend.
Hahaha, I had fun yesterday. Had to get my stock GPz 'Betty' ready for the Isle of Man next weekend. Put the battery in, topped up the oil and headed off for the garage to fill up with fuel and air (for the tyres). Got halfway there and realised I hadnt put the oil filler cap back on, and oil was all up my leg and all over my new SIDI Black rain boot, how appropriate! Still she sailed up to Sandbach at very naughty speeds two up with luggage later, so its all good for next weekend.
Today I was going to swap the engine for my spare 810 but I was a bit jaded after 'drinks' last night, so decided to swap the exhaust can for the street one, with another bolt so I dont knacker the nice black chrome harris one. Then I took the clutch apart again (its a pretty quick process) and put the clutch plates in a soak of amsoil. I checked the steel plates and they all seemed good and straight, but the inner one looked like it had burnt on oil on it. So I gave it a good rub down with P1200 paper and moved it to the outside. I'll finish the job off during the week, as I want to start sorting out the ride, and getting it less hard and bouncy at the back and dead feeling at the front. Then I must swap the engines so I can get the head off my 'race engine' and get the squish sorted out! But that will be after next weekend as I'm away on my reccy mission.
2010-04-17 Shakepeare County Raceway 12.06 @ 111mph
Hmmm, wasnt a good day really. I got my new clutch plates from Debben on Friday, they really needed a good soak in oil, but were pre-soaked by Ray, so thought I'd be good to go. Turns out they needed more of a soak, as the clutch was juddering and it just wasnt giving me the launch I wanted. The best 60ft I could do was over 1.9, plus they kept losing my timing slip, or mixing me up with another bike. The final injustice was...I got home and discovered I'd left my rucksac at the track, so dumped the bike and went back in the car to get it. That exhaust is so loud I'm very concerned I'm gonna get pulled real soon.
2010-04-10 Saturday, Santa Pod - 12.05 @ 109.64mph NEW PB**
What a funny day, I have had a sore throat and chest infection for the last few days, but had decided that I was definitely going to Santa Pod. And to be honest I felt okay despite a rubbish nights sleep, dreaming about everything that could possibly go wrong. But by the time I had my lucky Ace Cafe T-shirt and leathers on, and my earring in, I was feeling good.
Fanny started up almost straight away, and I dawdled over to Santa Pod, conserving my 99octane Shell V-Max for my runs. I usually aim to get there with half a tank to reduce weight but leave enough for plenty of runs.
My mate Dick met me there as I was dumping my rucsack full of tools, spare visor, my summer gloves, waterproofs etc. I had already signed in, so I was ready to go. There wasnt very many people there so it was only 5 minutes before I was on the track against a mad stretched scooter. It whooped me off the line but I easily had him at the end. It didnt feel fast, but it as my first run, so I didnt care.
The next run did highlight a problem though. Clutch slip! Not only was it slow off the line, but it started to slip again at about 8,000 rpm or 9 or 10, it seemed totally random! But I was going quicker, so decided to see if I could get one sub 12s run. I was getting closer, then a guy I had met before with a home brewed (blowing through carbs) GSXR1100 turbo chucked a load of oil down the track calling an early lunch.
I tried everything I could after lunch, but the problem seemed to be getting worse, but I did leave with 2 consolation prizes of a new PB of 12.05, and a new terminal speed record of over 113 mph. Also a journalist came up to me and asked me stuff about my bike, so I explained the project. I was a bit chuffed about it, especially when he took some pics as well. However afterwards I felt a bit cheesed off. If I had completed the project and cleaned and painted her up and had all my stickers on (which I'm saving), I would love it be run in a magazine. But she is still scruffy, and not finished yet, so I kind of hope it isnt mentioned....YET!
Still I had good blast over to Dick's place after, through sunny English countryside, where we had drinks and his wife did a great curry. So all in all a good day, with more to come I'm sure!!
2010-04-04/05 Sunday/Easter Monday
Hadnt done much constructive in the garage for a while, as I had other stuff going on and its been so blinking cold!!
I had spent the previous couple of days trying to do a complete front end rebuild of the forks on my 'other' GPz to get her through the MoT test. The forks were leaking badly and I thought it was time to bite the bullet and fit new fork legs, bushes and seals, an expensive proposition. But the fork legs were an inch too long (and have been sent back), so I said 'stuff it' and just fitted the fork seals, which worked just fine.
The fork seals were weeping on Fanny as well, so I went to work and pulled the front end apart and fitted the new seals. With no anti-dives on Fanny, it is a way simpler process. You just unbolt the brakes, wedge the front end up in the air, undo the fork legs (once the front wheel is off) and dismantle them. No having to bleed the whole brake system (6 bleed nipples) that you get on the standard bike. While I was at it, I pulled the discs of a Turbo front wheel I had, which weren't great, but were within tolerance, and will at least use all the pad, when they have bedded in.
Took her for a spin, god that pipe is loud, and it sounded like the exhaust was blowing a bit. Got her home and on cylinder no 2 the exhaust clamp was off completely, no nuts, no collets and an exhaust stud was knackered! Great!
So on Monday, I spent 5 hours, trying everything to remove the offending stud, which I had loctited in (never again). Finally I removed it by filing it flat on 2 sides, getting a pair of molegrips on it and wiggling it from side to side. Then I loctited a nut on the now bent stud and slowly extricated it. Found 2 perfect nuts in my nut and bolt box, some spare collets (thanks FF), and just happened to have a spare stud, result!
While I was there, I also polished up the paintwork a bit, ready for her first outing of the season. It still looks crap, but will do until I get to repaint her properly.
Got up yesterday, full of a stinking cold, and was going to call Craig at DynoTorque and tell him I wasnt bothering, so he could get other stuff done. But he told me that he'd made space for me and get over there asap. So I yanked my leathers on (it was freezing) and went down to the garage. Of course she wouldnt start straight away, so I had to push her over to my old Mondeo and get a jump.
She did start eventually, with that race baffle making sure no neighbours were getting a lie in. I pootled over to the dyno as quietly as I could, scared that any cop who saw me would pull me over. Craig was literally waiting for me, and as usual the place was a hive of activity with some guy grinding engine covers in the entrance, and another guy wheeling a late 80's Gixer out of a van.
We put her on the dyno, and Craig gave her a few runs before we compared the results. Up by 4 bhp to 81.5, not bad.
We discussed the next step, squish being the preferred route, but I still need to check the dyna coils and taylor leads I have acquired and checking the valve clearances/timing.
So today I had just over an hour to fit the coils and leads. The coils were a piece of cake, as the previous owner had already done mounts for them, but the leads were a pain as each had to be cut to length, terminated and sealed. Still I had them done in the time, so decided to fit the road baffle before starting her up. Hmmm, its a bit awkwrd to fit and I hadnt got it in properly and couldnt get it out again. Oh well, let's see if she'll start and loosen her off. Damn she nearly started 3 or 4 times when I realised I hadnt got the choke full on. Too late, battery now weakened she wasnt going to play, and I was out of time. I'll have a proper play next weekend when I'm feeling better and have more time.
Fun and games, fun and games. This Harris pipe has been a right palaver to fit, but its finally on. I had to modify the rear bracket (open up the mounting hole vertically with a file) and make number 2 pipe fit. It wasn't going far enough into the head, but was actually making look like the whole system was wrong. I spoke with Norman Hyde during the week (who now have the licence for Harris Race Series pipes) and was told that the pipe uses standard collets. So armed with some new spare studs, some more collets (I found loads from somwhere), and wrapped up to the eyeballs (only 3C) I went at it refusing to give up.
Once I had modded the rear mount, and cleaned the end of pipe for cylinder no 2, and tapped it in with a rubber mallet, we were in business. I really wanted to fire her up but the battery was flat again, so I started playing around with the seat. I had ripped the cover and foam off a crap seat I had and started trying to mock up a single seat with card, but I couldnt find any tape, and was losing the feeling in my hands, so called it a day. If I can do it though, it will give me a much better seat for racing, lower, with a proper seat back, allowing me to tuck lower behind the screen.
Nothing will happen next weekend as I'm away, but will be on the dyno mid feb, then its time to whip the head off and check my squish, then get the head off down to Debben to redo the head ready for the 010 season !
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I managed to get Fanny down to Craig at Dyno-torque and the results were all good. The 530 chain and sprockets had given me another 3+ bhp and more importantly no power losses in the upper gears when the rear wheel is spinning up to 125mph. So well happy with that.
So today it was time to get the Harris pipe I had bought from a guy on the 750Turbo forum and bolt it on. It is a beautiful piece of work expecially with the new springs (thanks Phil), but hell was it a swine to fit. No matter what I did it just wanted to fight me all the way and even when I'd worked out the best way to do it, it turned out the collets I had were just too long. Maybe it needs special harris collets, or I will have to grind each collet down individually. Still I've left her half on at the front and loosely at the back. The rear mount is also a bit off, so I may need to do a bit of bending, and fabricate a rubber bush to damp the vibrations as well. So I wont be on the dyno again next saturday (boohoo), I'll be busy sorting that pipe out. Still it does look the bollocks!
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After 4 weeks of horrible freezing weather, snow and ice, its nice to see the thermometer in my car about 5C
I was hoping to get Fanny on the dyno this weekend, but Craig at Dyno-torque is snowed under with work. So I'm trying to get a slot for next weekend. I did however get in the garage to get her started up, which wasnt too bad a job, starting without the help of jump leads, considering she hasnt been warm for nearly 3 months.
Took her for a spin to the gas station to get some more air in the tyres as my tyre inflator was dead, and all was good. Tightened up the chain just a little bit (how can a new chain have tight sections and loose sections??) and then fiddled with a spare seat I have, removed the awful cover and chopped around foam. Hmm, with a bit added it could make a nice single seat, that could be swapped over for a dual seat at a moments notice.
I finally received the billet front sprocket from John Hemming, and it is a work of art, hand cut from a solid lump of steel it is a thing of beauty to behold. So after going over to 'Farth's' house, and making space in the garage for a 750 turbo (potentially), I hit the garage.
The new front sprocket slipped straight on, and was soon tightened down with the locking tab washer bent over to lock it all in place. Ideally I'd have liked to fit a new tab washer, but as its coming off again, when I clean and paint the engine, I'll do that then.
Then it was time to remove the back wheel, which is a lot quicker now I've turned the axle round, and remove the old rear sprocket. This was genuinely easy and the new one was fitted in no time at all. Soon the rear wheel was back on, and it was time to fit the chain. I was worried about this, as it was the one area I wasn't sure whether I had calculated right. I remember adding 6 links on as I ordered it, as I was sure I had calculated the required number of links wrong. Guess what? I wrapped the chain round the sprockets and had 6 left over! I used my chain link extractor and soon had the extra links removed and the end reconnected. I must admit that a DID X-link chain has funny O-rings, so that link may have only one of its special X-rings, oh well!
Then it was just a case of lining up the sprockets. The front to rear alignment was just about perfect, but the rear to front was far from it. You can't trust the alignment marks, so I set the alignment with the laser pointer, with the chain side set first (to get the chain tension right) then the other side. All tightened up and re-checked, it was just perfect.
Then it was a race to see if I could get her all back together before the light went. I only really had 2 hours all in, and had forgotten that I had removed the left hand engine cover, chain guard, air filters etc as well as side-panels, seat hump, tank and seat. I got the first bit done and then conceded defeat. I would love to get that done and get her on the dyno next Saturday, but we'll have to see if that materialises.
Still not done much, lots of crap going on, but hopefully coming out of it now.
However, I did get the chain and sprockets and dicovered that the front front sprocket needs to be offset. This has turned out to be a pain in the ass, as no-one does an offset 530 sprocket for GPz750A with the required 6.5mm offset. I asked Debben for one and they sent a 10mm offset one, but thats no good, as I saw the effect of being 6.5mm out, and it lost me about 4 tenths on the quarter mile! Fortunately a few people on the 750turbo forum were able to point me in the right direction and I have ordered a custom made billet sprocket from John Hemmings, should be here next week.
I did go out and give Fanny a good wash with degreaser today though, and as soon as I can (its blinking cold out there) will start working on the various jobs that need doing. I already have a big list to do before the start of next season!
I haven't done much recently, as there has been other crap been going on, but I did manage to order a 530 chain and sprockets from BitzforBikes, who have a good selection of JTSprockets and DID chains. I had a bit of fun and games as they only wanted to sell me a stock setup, but we got there in the end. Its fun when you swap from a 630 to a 530 setup as you need to add links for the length (as there's more per foot) and increase the number of teeth on the sprockets to get the required diameter and get the gearing right.
However, my main desire was to get a Harris Exhaust that was offered for sale on the 750Turbo forum. A guy called Phil or Fast Ferret had one for sale, then before we could meet up, he went and tried to kill himself on his ZZR600. But we eventually met up today to swap goods for cash, and I'm well chuffed. In my original plan for Fanny, there was a decent exhaust, preferably a Kerker or Harris. This is the black chrome Harris one with the road and race baffles, Mmm. Phil also let me have a decent sprocket cover, some Iridium plugs, and 2 wheels. Bloody hell, soon my garage will be full of GPz and 750 turbo parts! He's looking well, if a little sore from his crash, and his 750 turbo is a beaut, so I'm trying to tempt him out onto the strip next year.
But MORE IMPORTANTLY.... we discussed chains and sprockets and he told me that you dont just laser line the back to the front spocket, but also from the front to the back, as the back wheel you think is in line may be way out. Hmmm, I needed to check this as various guys on the 750Turbo forum had suggested that the turbo and NA rear ends were identical, and that if the GPz needs an offset sprocket, then a flat sprocket is just wrong.
So when I got back, I hit the garage, got Fanny up on the centre-stand, took the sprocket cover off and checked the theory. Front end was fine when squared up with the rear sprocket. So I did the rear from the front (which cant move so has to be the benchmark)... bloody hell, the red dot was half way inside the sprocket, ie inside the chain line. Damn, I quickly fitted the original GPz sprocket and hey presto perfect at the back. Balls, now I need to re-order the right front sprocket, fit it all, then use the laser pointer to set the marks on the swing arm, to get the rear sprocket lined up perfectly. I feel a bit of a lemon, but it just goes to show, if you have a nagging doubt in the back of your head, then there's probably a good reason for it!
It may also explain the loss of power as the chain speed goes up and why I went backwards 4 tenths of a second from Shakey to Santa Pod at the end of the season!
2009-10-17 Saturday Dyno-Torque Tyseley
I decided that before I started looking into further improvements I would get a baseline of the power being produced by the old girl. I had it on the dyno back when the timing was out, but that figure wasnt good, showing about 70bhp at the rear wheel. So I organised with Craig to get it on the dyno and see where we were.
I must admit, the last time this was done, I wasnt in attendance, and I now understand what the ear defenders are for. Standing next to a 750 motorcycle as it accelerates up to stop speed is noisy and a touch scary!
Well, the results were that the engine was making more power, up to about 75bhp, but this wasnt great really for a 810cc bike, plus the power seemed to decrease as you went up the gears. Okay a tyre, with lower pressure in than was ideal, wasnt helping (I always thought you lowered the pressure for more grip, but this plays against you further down the strip), but still the power losses were bad!
After some kicking around of ideas, we decided that we needed to get the chain and sprockets replaced, then try a decent exhaust, then look at what the compression was, so we could look for some more squish. I already knew that there was a decent clearance between the valves and pistons so maybe I can skim the head further. We'll see!
So the firts thing to do is get those sprockets ordered, get it re-dynoed (with the right amount of air in the rear tyre), get a decent exhaust (I know of a Harris thats going, in black chrome Mmm), re-dyno it, then see where we need to go from there. I probably do need to skim the head some more, but I need to check out one thing at a time!
2009-10-11 Sunday - Santa Pod
After spending a good while the previous day making sure this would be my best chance at the end of the season to get down into the 11s, I was disappointed with the day to say the least.
On Saturday, along with various other things I had to do, I emptied the tank, so I could ill it up with only Shell Optimax (now V-Power fuel), fitted a manual camchain tensioner (over £50 from Debben) which involved removing the carbs, adjusting the tyre pressures (too much in the front, lower in the rears) and adding some air to the forks. This was all a bit of a ball ache as yet again I spilt petrol on the tank taking the paint off (crap paint) and had to sand an spray it so it looked vaguely acceptable for her last run out of the year.
So when Sunday dawned and it was damp from overnight rain I wasnt too happy, but the forecast was good, so I set off towards Kettering with a good feeling and took it easy on the way. I wanted to get there with about a quarter of a tank left to make the most of the weight reduction, and not have to fill up. As I went east it got drier and by the time I got to Kettering it was bone dry. Pity I turned south round Wellingborough as it got wetter and wetter and Santa Pod was doing nothing as they tried with a blower to dry the track.
I signed on (with a proviso I could get my money back if there were no runs) and joined the bikes by the scrutineering van. A conference was called saying there would only be one running session, and if it rained again, the Straightliners crowd would have to decide how their championship was decided. So I went and got some lunch and a coffee.
We did finally run, for 2 hours, and that meant only 3 runs. There was a headwind that did die down a bit, but only a 12.44 @ 105mph was rubbish after 3 great launches, the first was so hard I had to ease off to stop a wheelie with attitude. Oh well, it was nice to chat with a few of the guys I'm kinda used to bumping into and a few that were new faces. Lorcan was there with Storm, but didnt run, I was going to say hi, but he was busy trying to connect a laptop to his beast, so left him to it.
On the way back I gave it some serious beans. I joined the A14 behind a more recent GSXR750, so it was a race all the way back to the NEC, and I won despite stopping at Catthorpe to investigate an idea I have. That's it, season over, now do I continue this madness next year, or sell off all the bits I've accumulated and buy a standard bike, or a car.....I've always fancied a Ford Capri, MkIII with a BDA engine under the bonnet!!!
2009-10-04 Sunday - Shakespeare County Raceway 12.06s @ 111mph NEW PB
I didnt have a lot of time on the Saturday for final prep but did manage to adjust the chain, and adjust the rear shock a bit more. Its softer now and doesnt feel like a pogo stick.
So Sunday, I pootled over to Shakey, paid to get in, scrutineered, dumped my rucsac and paid to run. I always get straight into the queue, bang a quick run in, then get a coffee. It was quite busy, there were a few bikes lined up in pairs so I pulled alongside a rider on a little 500 honda with wheelie bars and a mechanic. Turned out the mechanic was HER father and he'd built the 17/18 year old's bike, originally with a super-charger, but taken it off while she got the hang of it. They were hoping to run low 13s, so I said I'd give her something to chase.
She took my usual favourite left lane, so I took the right, warmed up the rear tyre and went for my first run, wasnt watching the revs, dumped the clutch, lifted the front wheel, rocketed down the strip and felt pretty good. I picked up the ticket and 12.21 @ 109, new PB on my first run, excellent (and a 1.865 60ft time) !
Next run against a guy on a GSXR1000 again on the right, and really nailed the start, a bit of lift, good launch and good run up the track, that is after I straightened it up (oops), but not as good, only 12.257, but at 110mph eh thats not right. Okay, time to calm down, work out my launch, check my changes, keep my head down, and then improve each bit.
Next run, I planned to go with five and a half K on the launch, 10K on the up changes, see how it went? But some old pillock on a Tri-JAP had dropped bits off his bike and I had to wait on the line. Shit... didnt launch well, was slow, balls 12.3 @ 109.
Sod this, lets have some lunch, a coffee and work out a plan. I took a while, not because the burger was great and the coffee hot (they werent) but just needed to get my head into gear. Then I lined up with the girl again and we went to go for another run. I was distracted when Lorcan Parnell and his crew wheeled Storm up beside me, and I asked how he was getting on. He'd had one run at 8.3s and 165mph but was hoping to get into the 8s! But they were having turbo problems.
But then we were moving again and it was time to go for my run. The rear tyre was cold so I gave her a good warm up, lined her up early which gave me time to plan my revs, I saw her pre-stage set the revs at about six and a half, she staged, the Christmas tree flashed down to green, I lit her up, lifted the front wheel slightly but shot forward hard, hooked her up to second and then ran 10.5Ks through the box. Dunno about the time, its so hard to tell at the end of the run. So went to get my ticket. 12.19 at 110! Yes, down into the 12.1s, rock and roll !
I rolled back into the queue, and got my phone out to call home with the news, but with Lorcan having a failed second run, chatting with another rider, then being joined by the rastafarian guy on the blown GSXR1100 (who lent me gas at Santa Pod in May), as we jumped the queue a bit, I never made the call. It all happened so quick, I was on the line again, and the plan was a few more revs and watch all the changes, aiming for 10.5. Did I get it right, I dont know, but it just felt like another good run, with a funny sort of clutch grab at the start. I went and got my ticket. What the F***? 12.064 at 111.11mph. F*** me sideways!
I pulled over and called home. "Get the champagne on ice!" But the question in my head was made audible. Can I get below 12??? I didnt know, I lined up again and had another shot. This time the right hand lane was the only one I was having. My launch was good, my run was good, but it just wasnt as fast. As I slowed down at the end of the run I heard a tapping from one of the cylinders, I'd heard it before, and I knew it was the exhaust blowing, damn.
I pulled over and got my tools from my rucsac. I tightened up the exhaust but wasnt sure that was going to do it. I collected my ticket, 12.2 @ 109, still not bad. But the next run was proof of my theory 12.31 @ 108. The exhaust was blowing noticeably, so I went to the loo, grabbed my tools and headed home. I could have pulled the exhaust off and used some sealer, but it was getting late and I prefer to use proper gaskets. I was also going to stop and ask Lorc how things were going, but there was a debate going on over a non-functioning bike so I decided to split. He'll probably be at Santa Pod next weekend anyway.
I got home okay, just need to decide what I can do before next weekend. I've heard that Shell Optimax can boost your power by 2% on a tuned engine, so should I drain the tank, re-seal the exhaust and go for it? Or do I need to tighten up those 2 loose valve clearances (which I dont really have time to do)? Watch this space!
2009-09-26/27 Saturday & Sunday.
I had a bit of a coup during the week, in that I swapped a few forum entries with fastferret on the 750Turbo.com website. Seems he had a laser chain alignment tool that he would let me borrow, and after a quick phone call, it was delivered to my door. Brilliant! And an example of the sort of help I've had along the way with this project.
So on Saturday, straight after lunch, I hit the garage and pulled the front sprocket off to see how my chain was lined up.
I had already placed the flat side on my glass desk top to check the height of the laser line about the flat with my new steel engineer's rule. It measured approx 7/16". Placed against a cleaned up rear sprocket arm and pointed at the front sprocket, it showed hardly any measurement at all, maybe 2/16". Hmmm, this wasnt right. But then I had a GPz front sprocket on that seems to be dished. I tried to check the amount of dish with the laser light, but it was impossible with the nut in the way, it looked like it may be 11/16, but I couldn't be sure. So I put a feeler guage flat across the top of the sprocket and used that as a measure. Exactly a quarter of an inch!
That meant that my sprocket had a 1/4" dish and my sprocket was about 1/4" too far out. Hmm, I'm sure I had a flat sprocket from a 750 Turbo kicking around. I found it, checked the teeth (both have 15) which werent perfect but useable. Then I swapped it over which was a 10 minute job. Checked it again, and now the laser was pointing pretty much on 7/16", so an almost perfect alignment. This makes sense (sort of), as the turbo has an offset in the frame dictating a flat sprocket. Anyway, we'll see how we go next weekend.
The next job was to fit the stronger valve springs, so I leaned the bike over on the left against a chair (take the battery out first) and then removed the clutch cover. The five springs take very little time to remove and the new stronger springs fitted. The new springs dont seem thicker steel, but there are only 5 coils rather than 6 in each one, which means that for the same compression the steel has to go through 16% more torsion (well that's my maths anyway). As usual it took 2 attempts to get the clutch lever lined up with the cover on, but no real hassles. The only problem was that in removing the cover I did lose of Fanny's rather expensive Amzoil. So I need to get on to Debben on Monday.
On Sunday I set out to fiddle with the tappet clearances, but I needed a 0.275mm shim and I didnt have one, so the two on the larger side didnt get changed. However I did find out 3 things. That when you check the clearances it doesnt really matter where you measure them, on the side or the bottom of the cam as it only varies by about half a thou. If you want to get the correct cam duration you need all the valve clearances set to more like 5 thou than 8 thou. AND I checked the timing on my exhaust cam and it was pretty much spot on!
I then put her all together and started her up just to make sure she was ready to go. Yep starts well but still sounds like a bag of spanners when she's cold! Hmm must speak with Steve Debben about these billet camchain tensioners I've heard so much about! (I did take some pics but these will have to wait till tomorrow)
2009-09-19 Saturday, Santa Pod 12.49 @ 108mph
Got up relatively early, but by the time you've had breakfast, got your kit together, dressed, got the bike out, got cash, got fuel and ridden to just south of Wellingborough, its gone 11:30 again.
There were quite a few bikes there, a couple of guys I had met before and it wasnt soon before I was getting a few runs in.
The times just seemed slow, and despite getting it all right on the launch I wasnt getting the sort of times I was hoping for. One guy I had met before had turned up with his new creation, a GSXR750 with everything stripped off, and I mean everything (even the tank was just the top skin with a plastic fuel bottle underneath)! He reckoned that dropping the forks through the yokes was de rigeur and had found him over 2 tenths. So what the heck was going wrong? My terminals were okayish, but my 60ft times were pants.
It was getting close to 5pm and no-one was running, so I went to chat with the guys who had rolled out a top fuel dragbike called Storm. It was a big engine and transmission in a super long machine, but it was the spaghetti of pipes and tanks and turbo's at the front that baffled me. Anyway this guy was trying to explain to me when the lad sitting on the bike turned and made a comment to the rider, callin him Lorc'. I said "Is that Lorcan as in Loracan Parnell?" and he said "Yes". Lorcan runs the 750Turbo website and I had swapped some emails with him recently re a longer swingarm for Fanny (next year maybe). Lorcan is the expert on 750 Turbos and holds the record for the fastest one at over 210mph! We discussed this briefly to the amazement of the lad sitting on the bike, who didnt even realise they made turbo-charged factory bikes back in the 80s.
Anyway I called it a day, hit the road and headed home. On the way, I had a few blasts up to top speed and it seemed that when I whacked the throttle open in top, it was loud then I got speed. Maybe the clutch was slipping slightly. Quite possible, as the engine seems to be getting stronger as it gets more and more run in. And if the new plates were just enough before, but arent now, then I'd be getting a bit more clutch slip as I left the line and losing that precious power!
I have stronger clutch springs ready to go in, so go in they will in time for Shakey in 2 weeks. Phew that's better, at least I've got a plan now, I'd love to see the 11s before this years out!
Just taken her for a spin and feels goooood! Need to adjust the chain and bleed the rear brake and she'll be ready for Saturday. I do like the lower seat height, feels lower, tauter. And the lower and wider angled bars are cool as well. Fingers crossed for some better times!
Hurrah, my clip ons turned up, but a Stag Do last night mean that garage time was going to be tough.
Its Santa Pod next Saturday, so this job had to be done today, despite the 'tiredness' I was feeling. I did a bit of eyeing the job and measuring before taking the front end all apart again. The taking apart bit is quite easy, its just when you get it apart that you find the new clip ons foul the idiot lights on top of the yoke, and they dont have all the clamp on the leg and they are shorter so you need to push everything up which means cables and brake pipes need to be moved.
Still I got it all done, with the spacers above the bottom yoke and the cutouts in the idiot light holder so it would fit in okay. It all seems pretty tight, but will have a shake down run tomorrow or tuesday to test it!
2009-09-06 Sunday, Shakespeare County Raceway 12.23 @ 110.5mph ** (NEW PB!!!!!)
What a weird weekend. On Friday, I went to the funeral of a childhood friend who had died of a brain tumour. It was a long drive down to Exeter and back in one day, but growing up we did all the same things including having matching pushbikes and matching first motorbikes, we even went out with girls from the same (other) school, so I HAD to go, despite hating bloody funerals.
On Saturday I went to implement my plan to lower the front end of Fanny by an inch. I had contacted Mario who sold me a spare engine a few weeks ago, as he had his own engineering company, and got him to make me 4 spacers, internal diameter 37mm, outside diameter 43mm and 25mm long. The plan was to drop the forks through the yokes by 25mm, and use the spacers at the top to hold the handlebars down and above the bottom yoke to lift the balance pipe on the air forks up by 25mm so the holes lined up. It was a great plan, only mired by the fact that I hadnt checked it out properly. I had the whole front end apart (which admittedly, now I have made a few mods, only takes about an hour), fitted the lower spacers, no problem, then discovered the bars which fit above the top yoke, dont fit over the forks, and have only a 32mm hole. Bugger! So I had to put it all back together as it was originally.
So I headed over to Shakespeare County Raceway with not much hope of any great shakes, but hoping the cooler and stiller weather might make up for the headwind at Santa Pod and I might find another couple of 10ths. In fact anything in the 12.3s (or 12.4s) would have made me happy. I did make one tiny change that I had been thinking about for a while. I had read that the standard Kawasaki fuel tap with its vacuum opening restricts flow. I know that at half throttle and 100mph on the road, you open it and it shoots forward, but at the end of a 12 second full throttle run it seems to be lacking something. If the flow was really reduced, the float bowls would start to empty, the mixture would change and rob you of the vital hp you need. I had tested the tap on prime, and I knew the flow was strong, so switched the tap to prime (ie no vacuum control and no reserve, just full on) and hoped it might help.
First run, 12.63 at 106. Not baaad, and I know I hadnt nailed it, and a good terminal, considering I was on my own, in my favourite left hand lane.
For the second run, I was up against a guy who works for Kawasaki on a ZX10, who was complaining he couldnt get off the line very well. He wasnt wrong, as I nailed him at the start and he didnt catch me up till half way down the strip. He he!
I pulled in for a coffee and then joined the queue again. The place was packed and I was thinking it might be a crap day. The queue was all the way back into the pits area, and it was a pain to keep pushing your bike along. The ZX10 rider found me and pulled in and started talking about his crap run, having pulled out his timing slip. He said something about my 60 foot time (THE measure of how good your launch was), so I grabbed his ticket. A timing slip shows both lanes usually (and they print out two, one for each rider), so he had a copy of my slip. I looked at the time, I gulped, swallowed hard, missed everything he was saying to me and wanted to dance a jig. 12.246 @ 110, a new PB and a sub 1.9s 600ft time. He was moaning about his clutch and I was deleriously happy.
The next run I went even quicker, 12.234 @ 110.54 but back into the 1.9s on the 60 ft time. By now I was sure there was even more to come, so I messed with my gear changes, tried a harder launch, but it didnt get better, as is often the way.
As per my usual way with losing things, I took my rucsac of tools, which was needed when I noticed 2 bolts missing from the alternator cover and the other 2 were loose! I tightened them up with my fingers, did the run and then swapped them around so I had an upper and lower and tightened then up well.
Other than that not much to report, I still need to test my fuel tap theory, but next its getting the front end lower. I've already put a snipe on a pair of 37mm clipons, so will hopefully be ready for Santa Pod in 2 weeks time. Plus I can mess around with valve timing and camchain tensioning as well. So I'm going to upload this, crack open the champagne and re-live that perfect launch in my head!
2009-08-23 Sunday, Santa Pod 12.59@104mph
Got up late as usual and packed my bag ready to go over to Santa Pod, the weather was forecast warm and sunny, but I packed my waterproofs to be sure, in the rucsac with my tools. I had lowered the back end of the bike, by rotating the eccentric adjusters on the swing arm so the axle was towards the top. This had noticeable lowered the seat height, so I was feeling good as I headed over to just south of Wellingborough, where the home of British Drag Racing nestles in the Northamptonshire countryside.
Fanny was clearly in a mood to get there, and we made good time till we got closer to the circuit, where I noticed the single mirror I'd fitted was starting to wobble around. I pulled over and noticed a bolt had worked loose and come out, so there was nothing for it but to remove the mirror and live without it. I too my rucsac off and discovered to my horror that the zip had come undone and the bag was wide open. While my tools were safe, the waterproofs had gone. The waterprrof trousers I'd had for ages, but the jacket was recent and designed to fit snug over a leather jacket. Bollocks!
Still I got to the circuit, signed on, locked up my rucksac and got in the queue for my first run. The guy from Essex who was at the North Weald Straightliners do was there, and we chatted as to how he was doing. He was running an old GSXR1100 and was already running mid 11s.
I was hoping to get plenty of runs in, but as there were loads of cars around, it wasnt looking too good, so after the usual interminable wait I was eager to bang a good run in straight away. But as usual, I'd forgotten it all and my first run was up in the 13s, awful.
Next time around was better, but I still wasnt getting enough revs on at the start, not winding it open fully in 1st gear, and not getting my weight foward enough. But as I was to find out later was already down to 12.85. I wizzed back to the line and stuck myself at the front of the queue. Another bike joined me and the marshall waved us onto the back of the queue of bikes to get another run in. This is like gold dust, as you've just had a run, you know what you did right and wrong, and can immediately put it right. So I lined up, in my favourite left hand lane, set the revs, pushed into stage and nailed the throttle on the green. You know its good, cos you can fell the tyre bite, and you launch forward, front end all light and as you hook it into second the front end lifts momentarily. Deeeeelicious.
This was going to be my best time of the day, a 12.59 @104.78mph , a new PB and it felt gooood. I ended up having about 8 runs in total, but spent most of the day chatting about bikes, keeping out of the sun (it was a glorious day and hot sun and black leather dont mix!) and formulating my plans for mods, the first of which was going to be to lower the front end. Still 12.59 into a headwind wasnt at all bad, and there's more to come I know it.
I have to tell you that as a minor distraction during the day, they had a rocket car run (SOOO LOOOUUD) which was cool and a (in fact I was told it was the only) Lancaster bomber flew over. Cool or blinking what?
I didnt have another loss during the day. At the end of one run I thought I had blown something on the engine, but it was just a header pipe come loose, and a nut disappear. I found a perfect matching nut screwed on a bolt in the fairing that does nothing, so I stuck it on, tightened her up and was away. A tiny bit of good luck to make up for earlier in the day!
In the queue at Santa Pod
2009-08-09 Sunday, North Weald 12.71 @ 107mph
Went down yesterday after getting tools together adjusting and oiling the chain and stopped at a local hotel.
The weather was perfect (hot and sunny), so I was hoping it would be an ideal opportunity to get loads of runs in. So got there about 9:30am, registered while being scrutineered and joined the line of bikes waiting for a run. I thought that with the bulldog bash on and a RWYB on at Santa Pod, I'd get loads of runs in, but it wasnt to be. There was a classic bike day on as well, and they seemed to get 2 runs to every one that the Straightliners guys did, which was a tad frustrating. I did manage to get 6 runs in, but with the overnight stop it was expensive way to get track time. I did manage to do a 12.71, but I didnt have anywhere near enough runs to get my launch sorted or the 1st gear part of the run. So if I can get that better there's probably another .2 of a second to come off that. Oh well, I had a good chat with a couple of local guys, one of which was running in my class on a GSXR1100, so needless to say he was ahead of me on the day. Plus I bumped into a guy I met at Santa Pod 2 years ago. He'd bought a ZZR1100 off a guy in the pub for 50 quid and was running low 11s on it. Turns out he had got it down to 10.45, the fastest time ever run on one of those bikes anywhere! He was now running a 'Busa so had clearly got the bug big style.
So overall not a good day, fortunately I had my pit crew with me, so she could get the drinks and ices in to keep me cool between runs. This was pretty essential as 25C and black leather dont mix, and underneath that hide I was dripping wet! However there was one bit of good news, the starting problem seems to have disappeared, as she started without any tinkering this morning, but still sounds rough as anything.
So I've come home with a whole list of jobs that I hope will give me those precious tenths of seconds so I can start running down in the 11s and hopefully one day that yearned after 11 second run.
Okay, I admit I still have a ways to go to get Fanny to start properly. She still didnt want to start after my last entry and it finally ended up with me taking the carbs off, taking the dynojet jets out and putting them in the spare set (off Mavis). This still didnt work perfectly, but it was much better. So I wedged the tank up in the air, used a long piece of fuel line, and adjusted the idle mixture on each carb so lean that it nearly died, then so rich it chugged and found the optimum for each carb. I say each carb, as No. 2 didnt do anything. Aha! it must be a blocked idle jet. I replaced the jet (that means draining the carbs taking them all off, taking them inside and taking the float bowl off) and all was well. I say all was well, I managed to drop the tank in the process adding a dent to numerous scratches and paint streaks from spilt fuel.
So I finally managed to get a running if battered and bruised bike running by about 2pm on the 5th of July, just in time to miss every event in the first part of the season. The next 3 weeks there was nothing on and I had other things arranged, which mostly involved eating and drinking too much and avoiding the rain on what has to be yet another sad wet summer.
So this weekend I intended to hit the garage hard and get Fanny sorted with some indicators, some new footpeg holders (with working rear pegs) after one of my other ones fell off, and general prep for next weekend. I was also going to fit the small LED rear light I've bought, but that would take some time and effort and I wanted to at least get some track time so didnt want to get caught short. So on wednesday I went out to check she started okay. Err no joy, battery a bit low, but the starter didnt want to turn the engine, wel the compression is up, so I put the battery on charge and waited till sunday morning.
I got over to the garage early and went to start her up, still didnt want to start, so I wound the tickover all the way out (exactly 15 clicks) then turned her over, she caught straight away and I held the throttle open while turning the tickover up exactly 15 clicks. Perfect, took her for a spin and she was fine.
So I then set about the task I needed to do ready to go to an event. I fitted the little tiny indicators I had bought (vital for any kind of motorway work), this was a pain in the ass as they need a 200ohm resistor fitted in the circuit which needs cable-tying somewhere and new connectors fitted on the loom, still they worked first time, even if it turns out the front ones are chrome and the rears black!
then I put some paint on the tank to make it look a bit better then fitted the new (used) footpeg hangers, which was a fiddle. In the process I discovered the centre stand was hanging on with one bolt, so used a wrong bolt to do the job, then removed it completely. Finally I adjusted the chain, added some more air to the fronk forks (8.5psi) and pumped the tyres up to the right pressures.
Finally she was all together and (okay, still not totally finished, brakes, re-wire, poss ignition and proper paintjob yet) ready for a proper ride. I did the 15 clicks out turn her over and 15 clicks back in again, grabbed my jacket helmet and gloves and hit the road. The plan was to go out round the M42, then hit some country lanes south of Longbridge. The M42 was choked, but peeling off at J2, I was on familiar roads with a weapon underneath me. Okay, the suspension still isnt perfect, but the engine is divine, sounds flat below about 4k rpm then sounds like a giant gargling with rocks, then sounds like a race car above about 7,000rpm. Spins past the 10k redline onto 11 happily, then on the way back, an empty patch of motorway showed it would easily hit the redline in top at 135. Okay that isnt real mph, but should be good enough for a better time on the strip.
One last thing, as I was coming back, down the last main road before home I came up behind a TVR as we approached a speed camera. The driver was burbling along, totally unaware that as soon as we were past the marks on the road, the god of thunder was going to scream past his ear, front wheel lifting, the pilot listening to a soundtrack of his own maniacal laughter with the backing vocals of a giant gargling rocks, pure hedonism, fantastic!
Not done much since the last entry as have been away on holiday, but got a couple of hours in the garage to check Betty's cam timing (just out of curiosity) and take some preload off Fanny's rear shock. I could do this without taking the shock off, but it does mean taking the chainguard off.
Nope, Betty's cam-timing was fine, but the valve clearances were a bit tight, hmmm, was that why she never went as fast as she should have done last year, or is it weight? I had to pick up a 20Kg case on my holiday, bugger is it heavy! Maybe if I lost a few pounds the poor bike would go a damned site quicker! Watch this space on this one, I've only been off the fags for 9 weeks now, so I'm still struggling not to snack!
Finally - some good news! I will expand on this more later, but I took Fanny out for a run today, tickover still a bit of a mess, but not revving like crazy, rear shock still a bit bouncy (and the forks maybe needing some air) but the engine was a revelation. Turns out the cam timimg was out, and now put right, you hit 6,000rpm on full throttle and its like someone pressed the hyperspace button. I went out for a ride on Betty last weekend and admittedly I was two-up, but this was like another world, more like the GSXF Suzuki (16valve) I had a few years ago, where you really have to hang on when it comes on the cam.
However it has been a story of expense and hard labour in-between.
As soon as I got back from Santa Pod I was hitting the credit card. First call was to Debben to talk clutch plates, springs and oil. Seems that you need specialist motorcycle oil, fully synthetic, when you start upping the power, or that hot engine will soon start to break. Plus automotive oil was never designed for wet clutches, so 4 litres of Amzoil was purchased, just to be on the safe side. Then I got some heavy duty EBC clutch plates, as they were gonna get some abuse. This should be enough, but I got some stiffer clutch springs as well, just in case the slipping re-occurs on the track.
The next thing to look at was the carbs, so the following weekend I was in the garage, seeing if I coax the spare carbs to get the motor to tickover. It wasnt having it, I tried all my tricks, filters off, filters on, carbs fully closed, various adjustments of the pilot screw, drained the battery twice. Not a light! So I decided to have a look at the cam timing and see if the slotted cam sprockets I had would sort out what I hoped was imperfect cam timing...
So I set about a major job of draining the oil, stripping the clutch, pulling the starter clutch out and putting it all back together again and sorting out the timing.
The starter clutch wasnt too bad, but still was a 4 hour job, stopping 3/4 of the way through to soak the new clutch plates in oil overnight. I hung on to the stiffer clutch springs, hoping I dont need them straight away.
The next day the bottom end went together okay, so it was time to check the cam timimg. I'd bought a timing wheel and was able to get it fitted on the end of the crank. The problem was that I had no positive stop tool which stops the piston at exactly the same height before and after top dead centre so you can get the TDC point perfect. So I improvised with an allen key in the plug hole and it worked just fine.
I checked the timing, which is damn near impossible as there is so little to get the dial guage on. The camshaft covers nearly the whole of the inverted cam bucket, and as soon as the cam hits the bucket, it starts to rotate. I checked both cams and it was obvious the timing was off enough to make the cam timing quite late. I checked the timing marks with TDC and they were off. I now know why, you line the marks up when you put the cams in, then you tighten them down and they rotate backwards. So you have to line them up wrong (about one notch forward) then when you tighten them, they are perfect. So I re-did it all, and put her all together.
Well you know the rest of the story, she runs okay now, still not perfect, but good enough for Santa Pod on the 4th of July!
2009-05-09 Saturday - Run-Wot-Ya-Brung Santa Pod
I have decided that I like the number 3, because I can say 3 positive things about today. 1 - I'm still alive, 2 - Fanny got me to Santa Pod and back again, 3 - Fanny isnt any slower than Betty. Apart from that it's mostly negative!
I set off a bit later than I wanted to today because I hadnt prepared the night before, and couldnt find things like rucksac, chain, bungees etc, and when I went down to prepare to go, I couldnt actually bungee my rucksac to the pillion (nothing to attach bungees to) so had to carry it on my back.
I made good time over there, but managed to get lost twice (I've got sooo used to a satnav), so didnt even arrive till about 11:45am and met up with my old mate Dick at the entrance. I was low on fuel when I got there but thought I had enough for the days runs. Plus less fuel equals less weight which is good, right?
I signed on, then we had a bite to eat as Dick needed something to help recover from a heavy one the previous night, then I went to join the queue for my first run. As usual you get chatting with the guys around you, the guy with the neat RD350LC, the couple with matching z900s, and a guy with a ZXR750 who was shaking his bike down before a trackday.
Then we wheeled out for the first run. Nervous as I hadnt run her on the strip before, and not sure what the power would be like, how grippy the rear tyre would be, and how to do my launch. I decided on 5,000rpm and let the clutch bite before nailing it. This is where Fanny had different plans and after revving her, she decided to tickover at 6,000 rpm!! So I just had to let the clutch out and open her up. The clutch just slipped and every gear change slipped some more. So by the end of my run, I looked down at the speedo and knew it was all going to be a waste of time. I picked up my slip, to see 13.45 at 101mph.
Still, I had come all that way, so decided to have a few more runs to see if I could make the most of a bad lot. But it was slow, there was loads of cars there, and they just seem to take forever. Whereas the bikes roll up, burn out, stage and go, with one pair burning out as the two in front line up to go.
The next run wasnt much better, 13.25 @ 102mph, all made up in the vital first 60 ft. So I hung around for a third attempt chatting mostly with the couple with the sweet z900s, his having a 1400cc big bore kit and 38mm Flat Slide Mikunis and a head breathed on by Mr Debben, like mine. Apparently they gave up smoking 5 years ago and have invested the money they have saved in their bikes. Inspiration!!!
The final run was awful, even slower than the previous 2, as I was trying to take gaps between gear changes to stop the clutch slipping. This is kind of a good sign, too much power for the clutch, but also very frustrating. Then at the end of the run, she conked out, I was out of gas. I blagged a lift back to the pits, managed to buy some gas off the rastafarian guy with the turbo bandit 1200 GSXR, then got Dick to take me back to my bike. We finally got her started and I headed back to the pits while Dick set off home (well drag racing isnt that exciting to watch).
I dropped off the guys petrol can as Fanny died again, and was a bitch to re-start yet again. But I finally got her fired up and set off home, a bit dejected. Still.... I'm still alive, she got me there and back, and she had her first run. Now all I need to do is sort the carbs, get some stiffer clutch springs and I'll be ready for Elvington on the 24th of May, I have already booked my room! Watch this space.
Hmmmm, what can I say!!
I started the weekend full of promise, 3 days (Mayday bank holiday) and nothing else needing doing. So Saturday I did nothing and didnt hit the garage till late Sunday morning.
I decided to do the valve clearances first, so got out my piece of paper, my new shims, and popped the right shims in the top of the right valve, dropped the buckets on the top, and refitted the cams. I turned the engine over slowly once then started to check the valves. Number one, 5 thou, perfect, Number 2, 11 thou ?? Number 4, 15 thou??????, shit damn bollocks! So I started to look for the old shims as I needed to change some if not all of them!
I had the (admittedly quite untidy) garage apart for the next half an hour then went inside for a coffee and a break. I know I only gave up smoking a while ago but I was furious with myself. I only took the damn things out and put them somewhere safe a week ago!
Anyway, after I'd cooled down a bit, I went back out to the garage, looked in my bag of manuals and unused gaskets, took out the micrometer, opened it up, and there were the shims. I had been in the garage under 2 minutes! So I double checked all the gaps, re-did the calculations, took the cams off, re-did the ones that needed changing (there was only 4) and re-checked all the gaps. Perfect, all 5 or 6 thou, (okay one is 7 but it'll have to do till I get a different shim and decide to fit my slotted cam sprockets). Now here's the rub, one valve had a 2.65mm shim in it and measured 0 thou (well less than 1.5 thou anyway), I fiited the 'right' shim (a 2.50mm) and it measured 11 thou, so I refitted a 2.65mm shim and it was 5 thou. Explain it to me, because I can't!
That was Sunday over, as visitors turned up early, so I had Monday to finish the job.
Anyway cams in, it was just a case of clean the mating surfaces, apply some RTV instant gasket, refit the head cover, camchain tensioner, carbs and coils (and the usual tank/seat/side panels) and she was ready to fire up. She started with a few turns of the motor, and ticked over perfectly. Sorted (I thought). So I fitted the new Hagon Progressive springs in the forks (with 10w oil as I couldnt find any 15w oil), which was as easy as whip the old ones out, check the oil level, add a little, drop the new ones in and screw the tops back on.
The weather was a little damp, but not enough to stop me working on the bikes, so I did an oil and filter change on Betty, which seemed so simple after all the fun and games I've had with Fanny. It was still only early afternoon, the weather seemed to be brightening up, so I went and changed, got my lid and took her for a spin.
Well.........the tickover problem still isnt sorted, so I need to get some more advice. The front end is much better, the back end is better but still a bit pogo-ey and the engine is.... well loud!!! The roar from the inlet is so loud it's almost deafening Is it faster than Betty? I think so, but I need a straight piece of track with smooth air to be sure. I had her up to an indicated 120 and she seems to have a good mid-range and top end, but I think I need to go to Santa Pod next week to be sure!!.
It looks like I havent posted for a while, so here's a quick update on the last 3 weeks:
After my success actually getting the bloody thing to start, the plan was to take her in to Craig at Dyno-torque to set up the carbs and see where we were power-wise on the dyno. The idea wa to take the bike in on good friday and collect her the following weekend. Ha ha ha, I used to have a car I called Christine, because she only started when she wanted to..... and Fanny had decided to join that party. Try as I might, I couldnt get her to start. So it was Easter Monday, before I had one last go, using the instructions with my DynoJet kit as inspiration.
I set the pilot jets at the recommended settings, set the idle so the butterfly valves were completely shut and turned her over, a few dull thumps from the can indicated something was going on, so I open the carbs a tiny smidge and she caught. Ha ha! so now I had a system. So I put my lid on and took her for a spin, got some more gas and hit the M42 to see how she went. Oh dear!!
Looks like my calculation re gearing was way off, and now she was showing an indicated 110 at the redline in fifth (top). Hmmm, what do we do now? Well I still had a week of evenings before I could take the bike in to Craig, so Tuesday night I hit the garage and went round Betty, Fanny and Mavis to check what cogs I had front and rear, so I could see what could be used. I wanted to keep Betty ready to ride, so I was thinking Mavis might yield the goods. Fortunately Fanny's front cog was the same as Betty's, and a spare rear cog that was the same was found, so all I had to do what whip the rear wheel out and fit the cog. This turned out to be a real blessing in disguise, as I found a spacer missing from inside the cush drive, which meant the chainside rear wheel bearing was being put under a sidewards load and would probably have failed when being highly stressed (like on the strip maybe??). Phew!
The current sprockets are okay for now, but as soon as I get a proper estimate of the gearing, I'll get new chain and sprockets, with the perfect gearing for my best possible run.
So all I had to do the following Saturday (last weekend), was take 6 links out of the chain (yes the rear cog was 6 teeth too many) then take her in. She was horrible to ride, and kept over-revving all the way there. By that I mean the idle would seem okay one minute, then next minute it would want to idle at 5000rpm.
Craig had a few ideas about what might be the problem, but was busy (he spends most of his time dropping V8's into Mazdas), and wouldnt look at it properly till during the week. He did do but wasnt able to get the idle sorted out. He suspected valves so checked the gaps and found 2 were way out, which upsets the timing and causes spitting back through the carbs.
However, he did get it on the dyno, and reckoned that it was the best 8valve 750 he'd had on the dyno, well it is an 810, and while we didnt have another bike to compare side by side, he reckoned it was about 15-20Hp up on stock. Then he ruined it even more by saying that the forks needed stiffer springs to compensate for the lack of anti-dive and the rear shock had too much pre-load and no damping!!!
So I rode her back home, tickover all over the place, and now leaking oil from the head cover and stuck her in the garage. I managed to get a few hours on her today, and he was right. Fortunately I can now have eveything above the head off in about 15 minutes, so it wasnt long before I was checking valve clearances and they were all over the place, mostly too tight! So I took the cams off (which means taking off the carbs again and camchain tensioner), and checked the shims (which are under the cam buckets). I could swap two to get the right gaps, and 2 were okay. But I still need to get 4 in to finish the job.
So as I had a few hours of daylight left, I took the rear shock off and reduced the spring pre-load by two turns and turned the damping up half a turn. This is a really fiddly job, so I hope I dont have to adjust the pre-load too many times to get it right!
I have ordered some Progressive Springs (again Hagon) for the front, so lets keep our fingers crossed that next weekend, I can get the damn bike running properly!
I got all the bits together to do the starter clutch, including borrowing a clutch holder from an ex Cradley mechanic, ready to hit the garage on Saturday. I had a few things to do in the morning so it was 2pm before I hit the garage. I hate bottom ends, all shafts and washers and bearings, so I decided to have a practice run on the 'spares' engine, before I did the real thing. This wasnt a great idea as a) I couldnt get the clutch nut off and b) the sump was full of crap. I couldnt go any further as you must get the clutch basket off or you cant do the job!
So I made a plan to drain the oil, get the clutch cover off, see if I can get the clutch nut undone and then if I couldnt, put it back together and take it to a garage. I didnt want to do this, as I wanted it to be all my own work, but it was a back up plan. So I had a good breakfast and got stuck in, and within about half an hour, I had the clutch nut undone, and it wasnt long before I had the oil pump off and the secondary shaft out. Then the starter clutch out, which is fiddly. I inspected it and though the rollers didnt seem worn, you could see how it works and its bound to wear them in the end. So I replaced them and wish I'd got a new cog as well, but too late now. Still at least I did get to understand how the starter clutch works and have the dubious pleasure of being able to see straight through my engine.
I was very careful putting it all back together, as I didnt want to have to do it all again, so it was actually quite late before I finally went to finish off. Then I noticed that the clutch lever (which connects to a cog inside the cover was misaligned which meant taking the cover off all over again and a spring which goes under the oil filter was left out. I wanted to see the GP (which I had recorded earlier), so decided to call it a day. I didnt have any fresh semi-synthetic oil anyway, so it would have to wait till monday.
I was able to get home early on monday, so whizzed off into the garage (with some more oil) and finally got the clutch cover fitted okay, this was a right pain and took about 4 attempts. Then I refitted the oil filter with the spring underneath it, and filled her up with nice clean semi-synthetic 15w40. I had cleaned the sump out thoroughly so now she's nice and clean inside!
Finally I stuck the gas tank on and hit the starter motor. It made a little screech as it didnt connect right on the first push, but I held my nerve and stabbed again. This time she turned over, not fast enough to start but definitely not slipping. Okay, now all I have to do is get the battery charged, start her up, get her over to my dyno-man, and we might make the straightliners event at Elvington in 2 weeks! Thanks Graham for the loan of the tool, I owe you mate.
To say this was a weekend of mixed emotions is an understatement. Remember the plan was to get 'Fanny' ready for a run-wot-ya-brung at Santa Pod next weekend. So I was hoping that the new battery and exhaust studs and gaskets was all I needed to do.
Went over to the garage early afternoon Saturday to get to work. I got Fanny and Betty out of the garage and took tanks seats and side panels off ready for the battery swaps, my ok battery back in Betty and the new one in Fanny. It was bitterly cold and I was just dropping the new battery in Fanny, when it started to drizzle, no it wasnt drizzle, it was sleet!! I finished the job off as quick as I could, then pushed the bikes back in the garage. Bugger!
Later in the afternoon, I went out to just take the exhaust off, thinking I'd finish it off the next day, but while you're at it..... soon I had fitted the new gaskets (GPz750R1's) fitted, the new studs fitted (at first the wrong way round as is normal on an A3 then the right way round) and bolted the exhaust on. By now it was getting dark, so I went in.
Late Sunday morning (well it was clock's going forward day) I went out to the garage and tried to start her up. Even with the new battery it was turning her over that fast, probably due to the raised compression. So I wheeled her over to the car, connected the jump leads and turned her over. The starter clutch was complaining already, but there was an occaisional thump thump, which meant something was happening, then the odd pop out of the exhaust, then she fired properly and ran. It took a little faffing around to get her to tickover okay, but she was running again!
I shot back in to get a jacket and my helmet, then took her for a spin round the block. Once warm she seemed quite lively and a few runs up to 5000 rpm showed some good potential. I noticed a few things on this oh so short test ride. The front end was nicely compliant, maybe too compliant, but that can be firmed up with more air or a spacer on top of the springs. The back end in contrast was hard, but the spring is new, so I may slacken the pre-load off till she's bedded in. The brakes are crap, but then again, the pads are old and probably not bedded in to the disks yet. I do plan new better brakes all-round but thats another £300 investment so will have to wait. But on a plus side, the engine seemed to be pulling nice and strong as a fresh engine should do, the roar through the K&N filters is nice, but not as cool as the growl from the Predator pipe, now working properly with the extra 72cc's. Finally a blast up to 5,000rpm in fifth (top) indicates she's geared for about 120mph at the redline in top, just about perfect for my quarter mile aspiartions. I was given the chain and sprockets (thanks Turbo Mick), and only put them on for the build, but hey, some things have to go right for you!
So I headed back, parked the bike and watched Jenson Button win the opening Aussie GP feeling quite smug. A year or more in the building and finally running on the road, still some bits to do but almost there.
Then of course I ruined it by going out to have a longer ride and fill her up with more premium unleaded. And to show me who's still boss, she wouldnt start, not on her own, nor with jump leads or a bump! I checked the plugs and they were whitish, so she's still too lean, even with the jet kit. By now the starter clutch was sounding pretty shagged, so I put the b**ch back in the garage and called it a day. A bit of research on the internet and it seems that the starter clutch is a known weak point and repair kits are readily available but its a bit of a crap job. With say next saturday doing that, I cant get her over to the dyno to get the carbs setup properly for another week, so Santa Pod is off for next weekend. I was a bit downhearted Sunday night, but she wont beat me, I just need to keep on going till all the jobs are done. However..... at this time, if someone said to me they were going to build a souped up 'race' bike, however old or new it is, I'd tell them to go to the pub instead, it'd be cheaper, easier and a lot less heart-ache!
2009-03-22 : Sunday
Okay, I'll keep this brief, because its Mothers Day and I have to go out shortly, but....SHE RUNS!!!!!
I need to update the last few weeks progress, but I had today to get her running. Yes, with the 810cc kit installed and yes, with the Debben tuned head fitted. I finally got her to fire up this afternoon, but then she died and wouldnt start again. So I went and checked the float levels, as I'm sure that was the problem last time. All seemed okay, so I connected the jump leads to the company car again, and after 3 or 4 false starts, got her to run. Okay the right hand exhaust is blowing (she really needs new exhaust gaskets) but she already feels very lively. Mmmmmmm.
I had spent earlier in the day refiting the anti-dive units, as I had taken one apart and discovered they are actually a critical part of the damping mechanism. So now they are on, but dont actually do anything. I pumped the forks up to 17.5 psi and they seem nicely compliant, wheras before they were rock hard (as they werent actually doing anything damping wise)!
I wont get any more done next week, but the week after I'll do the exhaust on the saturday, then take her for a spin to bed her in. Then hopefully Santa Pod on the Sunday.
Yesterday I took Betty for 2 new tyres and her MoT, she passed of course despite a leaking oil seal. Good job I bought that special tool for doing forks, seems like I'll need it on an ongoing basis!
2009-03-15 : Sunday
This was one of the best weekends and the worst.
I had no distractions this weekend so was going to try and complete the engine build on the Saturday, ready for Santa Pod and the opening round of the Straightliners championship on the Sunday. I had picked up a new base gasket during the week, and a pukka workshop manual, and the gasket cement recommended by the guy at the Kawasaki workshop so had no excuse.
So I started on Saturday morning with high hopes and took the 810cc kit out with all my other bits to the garage. I did another quick scrape of the base of the block, then set about fitting the new pistons. This was all very easy as I had already fitted the rings and one circlip, so it was just lining them up, and fitting the gudgeon pin and other circlip. Next it was the base gasket (a funny sort of metal one with RTV instant gasket for the critical area near the cam-chain run), with new O-rings for the oil feed and then fitting the barrels. This is meant to require 4 ring compressors and 2 special tools to hold the pistons straight. But I didnt have those, so I lined the pistons up just higher in the middle, lined up the rings and slowly wiggled the barrels down over the rings. Its fiddly but can be done!
Now I was on a roll, or so I thought. So got out the bluetac and cut 4 strips to stick on the pistons (I'll explain later), got the new cometic head gasket that comes with the kit, dropped it in place, and then lowered on my pride and joy, the Debben tuned head. Soon I was tightening doen the 12 head nuts and 2 head bolts then fitting the camshafts, setting the timimg, and tightening down the 16 camshaft cap bolts before fitting the head cover and its 16 bolts. Finally re-installing the camchain tensioner so I could turn the motor over, just using the crank bolt. Please note that each time involved setting the torque wrench figure to the precise value, so no threads were stripped
Now I had to take it all off again! This first assembly was just to check the piston to valve clearance, so soon I was twiddling away, undoing all those bolts and nuts, and removing the head. I gently removed the bluetac on each piston and cut down the length carefully with a stanley knife, then compared the max indentation with 80 thou on my new digital micrometer. They were all easily 120thou, so if I need to skim some more head in the future I know I can.
Then it was time to put it all back together again with new o-rings on the oil passageway seal to the head as well and re-do that whole procedure, again!
I was just about to fit the head cover and was double checking the torque settings when I noticed on the diagram on the head, two hollow locating dowels, which I'd forgotten to install. It was now gone 4pm so I nearly died with diappointment. I sucked in my breath and took the head off again. Fitted the missing dowels and set to work bolting everything down. At abot 6:30pm I lost the light and couldnt see the timing marks so gave up for the night.
Sunday was a slow start as the previous day, about 9 hours straight without a drink or something to eat, had taken it toll. But the head was soon together (even if I had to trim the non standard head cover gasket to fit) and I set about the final assembly. I got the carbs on easy enough, then went to fit the exhaust. Damn, the head came back with just 4 exhaust studs, and the head was off an GPz750R1 as Debben stated, as the studs were smaller, so I couldnt use my spares. I put the bike away and went for some lunch.
After lunch I felt better, so went to have another look. Ah, I found some bolts that would do in place of the missing studs, dug out some exhaust gaskets I could re-use, and with a bit of firegum, started to bolt the exhaust on. Nearly there, but now too late to get to santa pod, I fitted Betty's battery and wheeled over to my car. I used the jump leads for extra juice from the car battery, and turned her over. An odd phump where she clearly fired only not with enought juice to get her to spin over. At this time a neighbour, a youngish guy came over to chat bikes. He races a GSXR1000, and was trying to be positive, but I was not in the best of moods. If you read this mate, I apologise, wrong time, wrong place, wrong f***ing bike!
So I put her away, noting that the elegent front end minus the anti-dive, but with a blanking plate to hold in the oil, felt like it was solid. Hmmph, need to investigate this. Next week though, I was shattered.
. . .
2009-03-08 : Sunday
Yay, I had the barrels, so I started the day working out if I could get the bits out of Fanny's engine, so that I could build the engine on the bench. No joy, so with time pressing, there was only one route to go. Strip the top off Mavis's engine and use her bottom end. This was fairly straight-forward, and it all came to pieces easily enough, with nice scratch free cams, which was nice, as these had to go in the 'race' engine anyway as Fanny's weren't perfect enough for my big bore, high compression screamer!
That was till I tried to remove the barrels, they were glued on! I tried everything and even chipped a couple of fins till it finally came free (with the use of a scredriver to break the seal, very naughty). This lost me the best part of two hours and then...
I noticed the state of the bottom of the block, ie the mating face on the engine, that mates to the bottom of the barrels. It was like either the gasket had turned to gunk or had been re-done at sometime with araldite! I know the head had been off before, so it could be, and this took me another 2 hours to get vaguely clean, with rags in the holes in the block, removing the pistons, and scraping away with stanley knife blades till I considered it good enough. By now the light was going so I took my new pistons back inside to fit the rings in the light of the kitchen. Lets hope for more success next weekend!
Wiseco 810cc kit and rebored barrels... no change from £700 ahem!
No bloody barrels still, I'm running out of time to get this damn engine together, so I just did the bits I could do.
I started by fitting the new banjo bolt and washers to the rear brake. This was a relatively simple task, and an hour later the bolt was fitted and the rear brake bled. This seemed to take longer than expected but eventually the final bubbles appeared and I was good to go.
Next came the NOS (new old stock) hagon shock that I got off a clearance sale on ebay. It came from Ireland, was a very dodgy process, took ages, but was well under half price so I was a happy bunny. Till I came to fit it that was. You see Fanny is a real mongrel, and whiles she's 80% GPz750, the chassis is pure 750 Turbo, so the lower mount was just too narrow. I had no choice, a new shock was over £300, so I just had to 'stretch' it a little (and bend and file). Finally she went on and all went together after that perfectly.
Now I have a chassis that's all hunky dory, just need the engine and we're ready to rock!
2009-02-15 : Sunday
Didn't get in the garage yesterday as had a load of bits of shopping to do, and then had to move into my new company car. So I hit the garage nice and early today and had 5 full hours. It was pretty much all assembly stuff so I started by putting the tank back together with a different fuel level sender, the LCD guages that work, a better filler cap, and the existing fuel tap. Then I put it on, scratching the side panels in the process, just great! Then the front mudguard (which meant taking the front wheel off again).
I put the fairing mounting bracket on, then the fairing plastic, then polished the worst of the scratches and discolouration out of the OLD screen I had, then fixed it on. I'm not super happy about the final result but its useable, till I get Betty's original screen scraped clean and polished up and refitted.
Finally I took the stainless steel predator pipe of Betty and fixed it on, before fitting the MoTad (which I had got new collets for) back on Betty. This was a real faff of a job as I had had to disassemble it to fit the collets, which meant getting all the pipes lined up, before it would bolt up okay. Betty now looks almost like when I first got her except for the new screen and the lower fairing isnt fitted.
So Fanny is pretty much there, except for the engine. The barrels should come back next week, then I have the fun of putting together a 'race' engine! Okay she still needs air in the forks and fuel in the tank (and the batteries a bit flat) before I can run her, but that's piddling! I just wish I had a black performance exhaust as she looks pretty mean in her all black colours. What do you think? (The race engine has no chrome engine covers which would really add to the black look)
2009-02-08 : Sunday
After the worst week of snow in the UK for 20 years was not a good day to approach rebuilding the forks. I had rebuilt them for the MoT test, but they were still leaking, and the guys at the shop did say that if you've used non-Kawasaki parts then it will happen, so I had to do them again, Damn!
Still the day started quite sunny, so I cleared some space on the bench and set to work. Forks arent that complicated and if you have the right tool they come apart a doddle. That doesnt help stop the fork oil going everywhere, though, and you need to make sure you find all the little bits that fall out when you've dismantled them (not when you've put it all back together and filled it with oil)! Still the right fork leg only took 3 goes to get it right!
Anyway I took the opportunity to spray a bit of satin black on each slider whilst I had them all apart, which meant that as I went to refit the front end and put the black wheel on (with the right tyre), the snow was descending heavily. Hmmmm. Still I did manage to finish the tank and place it in position with the new black plastics to see how she looks. Too be honest I think the black isnt that black, but hey it looks better than scratched and dented and worn and rusty! Need to chase up the barrells this week and get the parts for the back brake, so I can start assembling the finished item.
I know what you're thinking! Was it cold out there. Actually not too bad, but holding steel fork legs at about 1C soon makes your hands go numb!
2009-02-01 : Sunday
This was designated to be my last day on paint, but when I went to T-cut the side panels and tail I found a few thin spots, so a little extra paint was required, before they could be cut to a shiny finish. Then I lighlty sanded the fairing, did a few tiny touch ins, and then t-cutted that as well. Finally it was the tanks turn, but a thin guide coat of black and a quick rub down revealed so many depressions and hi-spots that lots more rubbing down was required.
I did finally lay two layers of black paint on the tank, but It was difficult to do this properly as I had retired inside the garage due to the fact it was snowing outside and I was running out of paint. I still need to flat and T-cut this, but I think I'll do it one evening in the week, inside in the warm. By the time I had finished my fingers were hurting with the cold and I couldnt feel my toes. Poor Betty (my first GPz) had been stood outside in the snow and went back in the garage with a nice coating off white icy stuff on her!
Okay the paintwork still isnt as perfect as I'd like it, but I've learnt lots of lessons along the way. Like, make sure you sand everything level and flat before you start, decals seem to have a special glue that goes through the paint into the plastic and you need to get to the bottom of that, then fill, sand, prime, guide coat, sand, paint everything. On the tank, just sand all the paint off and start from scratch, it'll save time in the long run!
2009-01-30 : Saturday
I hate bodywork, its so fiddly, especially in this cold weather. Its hard to find the lumps and bumps and smooth it all off when you cant feel your fingers. Still I've got paint on the fairing, side-panels, seat tail, and just have the tank to do. That in itself is a nightmare, it had a bad dent on the top where it meets the side, which meant recreating 3 seperate curves, and there was another ding at the base. The re-shape isnt perfect, but hey, get a decent covering of black paint on it, some kind of design and various stickers from the go-faster goodies manufacturers and it should look okay.
Sent my barrels off to Debben last week to be bored out for my new 810cc forged piston kit from Wiseco, and with the head already skimmed, ported and fitted with stronger valve springs, this should unleash the full potential of the motor. Not that I have much time, the first Straightliners event of the season is March 15th at Santa Pod. Still need to sort out the rear brake line (nice new goodridge build-a-line) front fork seals, and new Hagon rear shock. I do plan to fit EBC pads and new discs all round but that will have to come later.
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