Category Archives: Scavenger Stuff
Oops – I did it again!

Couldn’t resist …. like one of those ugly puppies that just stands there with it’s sad eyes and yards of drool.

Would transpire that as soon as we started pulling the bike apart to check it over … that the engine is made up of all manner of types of the model. We did wonder why there were two sizes of carburettors to start with and so sought advice from the fella who sold us the bike who very kindly sold us some later K68 carbs as the 301’s were mullered anyhow and not the best design. …. strange how the bike ran so well….

Whilst awaiting the carbs the front wheel was stripped, new bearings and brake shoes and a bit of shed engineering to get the cable to sit in an adjuster that didn’t slide through the drum housing. Josh hit the electrics (all six wires) – but more to do on this …. when the sun actually shines and everything isn’t covered in snow …. It’s great to see some of the antique / agricultural technology on the bike …. like the cable on the handlebars to the headlight … that operates the high / low beam ….. brilliant.

Rear wheel checked and greased …. it was then that we realised that all the wheels (presumably on a side car too) are the same with drive splines in the hub …. make perfect sense really .

The K68s had horizontal bolt patterns and the 301’s vertical so a set of adapter plates were aquired …. however on putting the new ones on we saw that the cylinder heads also mismatched. Photos on a ‘Soviet steeds’ forum suggested that one cylinder is from an MT- 9 and one from a K650 – both having different valves and compression so swopping one or both was a no brainer….. this of course then rang alarm bells as to why the exhausts didn’t sit right …….. time for new exhausts.

New exhaust acquired – came in bare metal so treated to lashings of VHT paint and are now stored up awaiting the cylinder heads to arrive from Russia.

In the mean time the tank has been cleaned of 50 years of rust courtesy of some dodgy industrial strength chemicals (Thanks Heisenburg) and an internal coating of tank sealant. …. what to do next?

How’s about some panniers?? Shiny Givi jobbies wont do on this bike (with so much ‘Patina’) so onto ebay …. two used jerry cans for 17 quid posted, a couple of hinges, a clamp and some edging and hey presto a pannier. Not sure whether i’ll do two or just mount this one for now… who knows.

Got my “new / Old stock” cylinder heads from Russia today …. Wrapped in a thick layer of some orange grease and 50 year old grease proof paper. Now this is real shed therapy …. sitting for half a day with a toothbrush and some petrol cleaning orange scum reminiscent of six month old ear wax out from between the cooling fins.

Unfortunately whilst unwrapping one cylinder hear it became obvious that a lower fin had not survived the trip back from Russia … hardly surprising given the state of the box it arrived in.

Well after some weeks of Sh1t weather my boy and on seized the opportunity to take advantage of the sunshine and crack on with the project.

New heads on, torqued down properly (two of the bolts were finger tight when taking them off) both heads now have valve caps (none on before) and the valve gaps sorted. Oil in (after removing and cleaning the sump as below) and it seems to be staying there to avoid any further arguments over the pool of oil on the patio.

Carbs on, new fuel lines with filters (as the tank had to be cleaned and sealed) but I will need to get some new rubber hoses as these no longer marry up due to the new carbs. Exhaust on and treated the girl to a new set of rubber boots as the old Russian ones were a little tyred and pickled (see what I did there?) Bought some 4.00 instead of the 3.75’s which look great but were a bitch to get in the rear as you now have to rmove the nearside shock absorber so that you can wiggle the wheel back onto the dif. Looks awsome!

FXR rear end

I was lucky enough to get the FXR with a fat rear end in it already … however this has caused all sorts of issues with clearance for a rear mudguard and nothing I have will sit over the rear tyre and still squeeze into the frame. I didn’t want to do the whole small mudguard thing and so whilst playing around with the bike I decided to junk the whole mudguard idea and instead go for a tail unit instead which should give the whole bike a more aggressive look. Enter a fibre glass unit from evilbay. Far too narrow for the American bottom sized frame so it was cut up the centre and re fibre glassed with strengthening plates. Once I’m happy with the strength of it it’ll be time to pretty it up.

Seen below as I’ve started peeling off the cardboard ‘mould’

Hours of filling and shaping (stupidly in the garage as it was so cold ….. and covered everything) and finally it started to look like it might actually work … time for paint. I went for the same gun metal grey as the XS was being sprayed in both for simplicity cost and I actually well love gun metal grey.

After receipt of the paint the centre console (also painted) was reunited to the tank with it’s new digital rev counter mounted. It looked a bit bland so I added a splash of carbon fibre to perk it up a bit.

Time to address the seats (need to do the XS too). 1mm metal bought and shaped, foam cut to suit and cap in hand to my lovely daughter to fire up her sewing machine to make the cover .. still more to do – watch this space.

the rear of the Harley has the indicators fitted into the frame tubes at the rear. So without cluttering up the rear with lights and number plates – where to put the rear light/ brake light?

New seat …. not much more to do now … just need the engine back (looking pretty)

Harley Choke

One of the many jobs I wanted to do on the FXR is to clean things up including the choke cable. On my sporty I made an adaption plate to mount the choke next to the carb – so seemed natural to make another for this bike.

Can you tell what it is yet?

Saw this in a popular furniture outlet as I was wandering zombie like behind a trolley. Saw it, wasn’t sure what I’d do with it but thought it’d look good on a bike…. somewhere.

Loving the look but will have to see how far it protrudes before I decide to use it.

Moving On

Things are moving on (a little faster than expected) meaning that I’ve had to jiggle stuff around to create space. The XS frame went off to paint along with the tank, tail piece and front mudguard and the Harley frame went off to powder coat, The XS frame came back sooner than expected and so is down in the cellar….. as much as I’d love to build it there’s little point as I’d have to pull it apart again to get it back up the stairs, so I’ve got as far as I can. I’m assured that the engines only a few days away from completion, the frame for the Harley will be back this week and …. the ‘sporty’ is due back (the fault was found to be a cracked carb and a faulty coil) this week …. I know “no Biker ever said” but I really do have too many bikes …. time to find some storage!

FXR Project.

I was finally able to convince ‘Oaken shield’ to part with his bike that he’d had sat in his garage for seven years.

Having started to break it down its obvious that he’d already put some work into the project but as happens to the best of us, time and funds dictate a different path in life …. so my gain ….. Hurrah.

This is my first venture into “Big Twins” and their ‘interesting’ engine/gearbox arrangements (the sporty was so much easier) … and who thought of having the gearbox as part of the rear swing arm?? Anyway the bike is almost stripped and as the frame has seen better days it’s time for a visit to the powder coaters and the engine will go off to my good friend John for him to go over it with a fine tooth comb to ensure there are no unpleasant surprises.

I’m unsure exactly what I am going to do with it yet …. I am assured that the frames for these bikes are well sought after so I’ll probably use the grinder somewhat sparingly and go for a mild custom / refurb job. I have been told by my good lady that this is not to be a keeper ….. but the more I’m working on it the more I like it…….. Ummm.

Ok – Soon established why this bike has never been fully stripped down … evidently a “common problem” is that, through poor maintenance, the swing arm shaft ‘welds itself’ to the inside of the gearbox housing through which it runs . It was obvious after a few delicate slaps with a hammer that it wasn’t gong to budge – so what next? For those of you (that included myself until this week) that are unaware .. the swing arm runs either side of the gearbox that in turn bolts to the engine which is suspended solely by a rubber mount at the front of the frame … So how to progress???

Immovable object?
So … Undid the bolts that held the Motor /Engine and disconnected the oil lines then lifted out the engine.
Then with some ‘wiggling’ managed to remove the gear box with the swing arm still attached.
Plan is now to leave it on its side and drizzle penetrating oil down the shaft (fnarr fnarr) and then after a day or two introduce it to my copper hammer and see if it budges. If this doesn’t work, Heisenberg has promised to visit with his Acme Chemistry set.
Frame – free of clutter – ready for a coat of Bright Stuff

Freedom !!

Following a visited to the marvellous and talented Mr Chris ‘Cooperman’ Cooper, He managed to undo what 34 years of mother nature and poor design had done to the shaft servicing the rear swing arm (that runs through the gearbox housing).

After what seems like forever of soaking in all manner of oils, fluids, acids, snake oils and bodily fluids, then heating and freezing (then repeat the above over and over)… then hitting it with a variety of hammers …. we placed the offending item(s) onto Cooperman’s 15 tonne press and I was a little upset (given the effort I’d put in) that it ONLY took six and a half tonnes to get the shaft to part company with the ally casing – with, I must add an alarmingly loud bang! A few extra slaps with a hammer and the bearings we free. Happy bunny!!


Frame back from powder coating …….. Hadn’t really thought this through so for the time being this and the XS project are living in the cellar / bar.

Couldn’t resist

After seeing what Heisenberg has achieved with his XT / Honda hybrid I must admit that when I saw this on evilbay I had to have it ….. even though I have no idea what I’m going to do with it yet. A trip down to sunny ( yes it was sunny) Bournemouth and greased the palms of a lovely fella called Andy it was time for chips on the sea front before bringing this lot home. Now ….. what to do???

Monkey – done

My boy done good. He dragged the monkey bike from where I’d left it in the garage to “finish it later” , cleaned up the charging system, re wired it, put new points and condenser and after much head scratching ( as none of the wiring colours were anywhere near matching). The little bike fired up. Josh took her for a few circuits of the garden and nearly trashed it against a discarded Belfast sink!

Not sure

Finished the front end of the Harley with the more ‘back friendly’ bars , R1 forks and the indicators within the headlight (as I keep snapping the bar end ones off) …. but I’m not sure about the light. Unlike Heisenberg, I like small…. he gets his from light house bring and buy sales.

XT600 Oil tank 30/06

Dry sump so needs a tank FFS, not even thought about this, ordered an original from eBay to get me out of the doo-doo and it’s an ugly beast to say the least…, for some reason it does’nt fit perfectly with how I have changed the layout of the frame, back to the drawing board for me.

So, my thought are now I can make something that does not look so out of place, tucked up under the seat as best we can, space to mount the cdi on top and far enough away from the carbs not to get in the way when we build filters.

Time for some choppy choppy with cardboard and sticky tape, try to get a rough idea of how it might fit and try to get a similar volume or even a bit larger.

I’ve tried to work out volume and think this cardboard mock up is much bigger than it needs to be so I’ll chop it down a bit then make a metal version.

Looks a fair bit different to the original..

Draw around the box and transfer it to steel plate, I’m using 1.6mm as I have some in stock. I have reduced the size as per the line on the card box. Next we need to bend the plates prior to welding, we use a ‘state of the art’ bending machine to get exact bends.

Ok, so the Scavengers have yet to get a bending machine so we just G-clamp stuff to the bench and whack it with a big hammer, similar results. Next we need to tack the parts together.

The plan is to tack on the inside with the mig welder as it’s quick and easy and when finished seam weld the outside with the tig welder to get an oil tight seal, failing that just get a really thick powder coat….JOKING

Finished up for the night and for some reason I shone my torch back in the workshop…WOW….I have been breathing this in all night, no wonder I get shed bogies.

Next job is to procure an oil feed fitting, the threaded elbow you can see, I am lucky enough to live near some racing companies that stock this sort of thing so this should be easy! OK, not so easy as it turns out, it’s not a standard pipe thread, it’s metric…grrr

I’m loathed to cut up this tank just to get a fitting out and I’m struggling to buy one but… I have just found an M16x1.5 die in my drawer that I bought for some use on the XS project so I can now make one!!

I have bored a 6mm hole all the way through and added the thread just need to make the 45 degree angle.

To make the cut I used the scavengers water jet cutting machine, the burn marks you see on the cut are from water and not where it was G-clamped to the bench and attacked with a grinder by eye in the hope the cut would be somewhere near where we needed it. Yee-Haw..

Once seam welded with the tig and ground off the excess bits it looks alright, need to weld this in place but I’m going to hang fire here a bit as there is some slack in the connecting pipe so I don’t need to commit just yet, I’ll wait untill the cdi is mounted and see how it looks.

Update….so I, for some drunken unknown reason decided to go ahead and weld the elbow in place exactly where it looked like it should go from the bench rather than on the bike….

Looks alright, you can see the long weld closest to camera, this runs in line with the frame so even a stoned monkey could figure out when I add a fitting to the elbow it’s going to hit the bloody frame, one of those moments, all adds to experience though.

Interesting story/fact, when I went to night skool to learn about engineering one of the things that has stuck in my head over the years is something told to me by the tutor (Jack), ‘It’s not a problem making a mistake, it’s how you get out of it that counts.’ wise words from a very clever man.

There is not a lot of room but as it turns out a new 1mm slitting disc in the grinder can just about reach so I started to trim away the welds, went as deep as I dared and then used a large wrench to rotate the elbow to get it free.

Bit of a mess but fixable, thats the beauty of welding, just keep poking in filler wire to cover up your mess!

So we have missed the frame this time, much better, now we need a way to fill the tank, had a rummage around and I’ve found an oil bung from a car, looks new!

Found a rubber ring that fits and quickly whipped up a threaded jobbie on the lathe, turns out the thread is the same as the elbow so I already had a tap to suit, a little rusty but it worked fine.

I’ll weld it in place tomorrow, need to make some kind of drain plug then I can weld the bottom on the tank. I want to add a magnet to the drain plug as I think it’s a great way to get an early warning if something is letting go internaly.

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