Never fear, the motorcycle butcher is here! I know I had all three of you who read this worried….Has he given up? Did it all get too much? Did he go on a coffee  fuelled rampage around the streets of Aberdeen when the wheel bearing wouldn’t come out (it was close)…No, none of these things…as usual life (read Work) gets in the way and consumes all and any free time that may have been. Not to worry though, as of this weekend my work life balance is restored  I am back tinkering on the bike and writing again so I will hopefully get a good streak on the run up to Christmas… the way who’s the lucky boy who got a bad ass 1/2″ drive Teng socket set for his birthday? ME THAT’S WHO AND RICK YOU CAN FUCK OFF IF YOU THINK YOU ARE BORROWING THIS ALONG WITH EVERY OTHER TOOL THAT I OWN……I mean yaaaay presents….thanks mum and dad.

Teng 1/2″ drive socket set – awesome!

I think everyone (who is into this kind of thing) has a tool brand that the feel they have an association with. For me, it’s Teng, and I think this stems back to my 17th birthday when i got my first 3/8″ drive socket and spanner set. At the time, I thought “what the hell am I meant to do with these?” but I honestly don’t think I have ever used a present more in my life. Having used them in anger for 10 years now (jesus christ…) they have stood up to all kinds of abuse so I am only pleased to welcome its bigger brother, the 1/2″ set, to the family….let the legacy of snapped bolts continue.

Now onto why you are all here…..the progress!

Sand Blasting

So I am fortunate enough to have a friend who’s Dad owns a big old shed with almost everything in it, including a fine selection of steam engines…which as an Engineer is an awesome sight to see, all maintained to near perfection. Within this Aladdin’s cave  is a sand blaster. Early one Saturday morning I headed down with a bag full of bits and got to work. The sand blaster is a fairly straight forward piece of kit. A large chamber with permanent gloves and a viewing window. Inside the chamber is a gun with a  small nozzle that expels a combination of air and sand (or abrasive material) at very high pressure. This can be used to clean up old parts with ease (or not as some of the pictures below show). The oddly satisfying task of removing years worth of rust and grime left some of the parts in ideal condition for painting, for when the time comes. Other parts didn’t fare so well which I am not sure was either the sand blasters fault (it wasn’t working at 100%) or the parts themselves just being ready for the bin. See photo gallery below for the results. I have wheels and a frame that need to be prepped prior to powder coating, so this may be something I do, or leave to the company that power coat (*cough* the  professionals!).

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The final final stripdown….

As I mentioned previously, what looks like a stripped down motorcycle may be OK for changing a few parts, but due to the fact the frame and other components are to be powder coated, EVERYTHING must be removed.

Especially these old shitty bearings that appear to be stuck on harder than dried on weetabix to the side of the bowl!

Thankfully, because they are getting replaced, there is no need to faff around and be gentle…it’s straight to work with the Dremel tool fitted with a cutting disc. Did i mention the cutting discs are the most fragile thing known to man? Expect to use a lot…

The slideshow below follows the process for the steering head bearing as well as a suspension bushing that had decided to stick itself to the mounting shaft.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The driveshaft assembly was something that was causing me a bit of grief….the vagueness of the the Haynes manual/any source I found online was not helping. Looking at the unit, it wasn’t obvious how it came apart. Quick tip, once you have cleaned up all the oil due to the fact it had leaked out the way it was sitting (Doh!), get a screwdriver in against the solid extrusion (see below) and gently slide the splined shaft out the CV joint that mates to the gearbox.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tank Stripping

Now that I had a taste for prepping the bike for its transformation I thought I would attack the tank. This should be easy….or so I thought. Nitromors is an aggressive paint stripper…or it used to be. When I have used it in the past for DIY projects (BMX build if you must know) it made light work of the paint, bubbling it up a to a level where it could be easily scraped off…..not this time. When left for 40 minutes it didn’t even make a dent….which is a testament to the lacquer that was used back then I guess, but a ballache for me, as I was hoping to avoid doing any real manual work for this. The alternative is using a flapper wheel on my angle grinder…stronger paint stripper anyone?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Brakes or should I say workbench killers

The brakes are in dire need of a refurb. The master cylinder which sends the fluid to the calipers is completely seized….if it wasn’t gubbed this strip-down would be a lot easier, which I will why explain momentarily.

The process is fairly methodical – remove everything! Pads, spring clips, sliding pins, caliper half and the pistons…..ah yes the pistons!

These are completely seized into the caliper body. This is where a working master cylinder would prove invaluable. In normal brake function, the master cylinder is responsible for transferring the force applied via the brake lever into hydraulic power which increases the pressure within the fluid system and acts on the piston seen below. This causes the piston to move, pressing against the brake pads and subsequently pressing on the brake disc. The resulting friction is what slows the bike.


Image result for Brake function

Brake caliper function showing hydraulic power acting on piston and closing calipers on brake disc – Courtesy of

IF this master cylinder was still working, the hydraulic force generated within the brake system would be enough too free the stuck pistons. It would be a case of simply pumping the lever and topping up the fluid (to account for the extra volume created by the piston moving out) until it pushed all the way out of the caliper body…..make sense?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unfortunately the master cylinder isnt working, so brute forace and ignorance it is! A good set of molegrips was essential here. Mount the caliper in the vice and work the piston loose as per images below. It was properly stubborn, but it eventually came out. The second caliper was not so fortunate…or should i say my vice and workbench were not as fortunate…the force going through the vice snapped the workbench at the vice mounting points….new stronger work bench needed and a larger better vice was acquired (TY dad). Until I can get a master cylinder rebuild kit (also a planned tutorial) that caliper will have to wait.

Thanks for reading

To be continued