Archives Blog 2015

Jan - Feb - March

Here we go for another year companeros!!!!  Hope y'all had some time off and y'all ready for another f.. year.  To be honest, I would love to quit my job and concentrate only on (re)building bikes.  That is, wake up in the morning, drink some coffee, put on some relaxing clothes, and walk into a workshop with the smell of oil and gasoline.  Well, than ain't gonna happen.  Still need to bring some dough home for the mortgage and kids education.  So still have to shave, put some clean clothes, smile and kiss some ass. Life of million people I suppose.  At least I got a job.   Back to the basic and back to the XS.  So, I carried on working on the mock up till I was fairly satisfied.

When this was done, time to dismantle everything and start working on the chassis, and the motor. To start with, we take everything apart

then I moved on to weld the parts that were only tagged on the frame.

and then after cleaning and grinding some part I started to put the primer on the frame and other parts


Then I moved on to the clean and check the carb.


And when the carb was cleaned, and checked, it was time to move on to the motor


Idid struggle to get the piston out of the jug but overall they were in good condition.  But the combustion chamber and the valves were heavily covered by carbon.

and then time for clean up.


Have continued to work on the engine.  To start the valve.  So I took the valve apart, clean them and did the grounding.


Then when this was done, I did grind the jug and the top cylinder

Then time for cleaning and painting of the jug, cylinder and rocker head


Then I move to the primary and remove the oil filter to realise that the cam tensioner who had taken a ride had left over some parts.

and then I started to clean the primary


and finally I moved on to the front brake.


It's been hard to find the energy to work lately.  Don't ask me why, this is just the way it is.  Anyway, managed to find the strenght the get my ass in working order.  So, before I rephase the engine, I did some painting.  I sand, clean and degrease the parts before applying some primer and paint.

Then I used my new paint gun to paint the frame.

Then it was time to get to the engine.  At first re-installing the piston.  I made sure the ring were well positioned and slided them inside the cylinder before putting the in.

Then I put the valves back in, and the jug before putting the cam and the chain and recovering everything

and finally I changed the clutch seal.  Next is to torque everything and put in the stator, rotor, and charging system.That's all for now.  will keep you posted.

it's with mix emotion that I write this post.  I wish I could tell you that I have managed to finish and start the engine but that ain't the case.  So where were we?  Last time I wrote I have just finish to mount the jug back.  So following that excercise, I install the brand new stator and rotor that I got fm Mike XS.

I used a straw to find the TDC and a screw driver to do the marking on the rotor and the engine.  Then I moved on to the ignition.

I was damn proud with myself at that point.  Anyway, when this was done, I adjusted the cam chain tensioner and move on to do the valve clearance.  0.06 for the intake, .15 for the exhaust as indicated on the manual.

still f.. good.  Than move on to installing the ignition kit

by that time, I am really fucking excited, everything is going as planned.

looks good, just few more thing before I can start the bloodie thing.  Found myself a nice battery, got myself some engine oil and gasoline.  I am lining up everything, am telling everyone not to disturb me for the next hours, cleaning the sweat and dirt from my forehead and hands, and if I was still smoking I would have burn a malboro or two.  Anyway, picture the scene, everything so far as gone to plan.  If the engine start, I am only left with painting the tanks and fender and mounting everything back together.  So, I start pouring 2 quart of 10w40 engine oil, and first shit happen.  The oil is leacking like there is no tomorrow. so back to the basic, putting the engine on the side and redoing the gasket, but this time I put some serious gasket sealant to avoid the problem so after 2 hrs of shit, I am finally ready to kick start the engine.

And guess fucking what?  I soon as I step on the kick the engine stand bounces on the side and the engine take a dive on the side breaking the sparkplug.  At this point of time.  I said fuck it

  I will get myself a electric starter and mount it on the engine so I can start/check the engine without the use of force.  I have left the engine in the garage now until I receive my solenoid.

 finally got my hands on a solenoid

and try to get the bike started with a proper electric start.

but as you can expected it, nothing really worked.  It sounded like the ignition was way off.  This is where I know it was time for me to call for back up.  So I call Travis who came to my house to pick up the engine to check it out.  First diagnosis was not really good, the compression was only at 90psi on both cylinder cold, when it should be at 110-125psi.  This will require the cylinder to be bore.  At the same time, one of the spark plug was quite loose and will need an helicoil.  So after a first look at the engine, that was the verdict.  Once the engine gets open, few more surprises might be coming my way.  Well, will see.  The good news is that when the engine is fixed, I only need to put everything back together, paint the tank and fenders and the project is ready.


So time to think about another project.  I had 2 in mind:  do another beamer or restaure an old FLH.  I was still nostalgic of having sold my old one to buy my wife a sporster. Ideally, I would have loved a 1970 (year of my birth), but I found a very nice collector from 1971.  It's a Police special, last model with hand change shift.  The bike is 95% stock.  He had been sitting in a garage for more than 25 years.  The guy that owned got sick and kept it.  Realising he will not ride again, he put it up for sale.

Although the engine seem damage, it had been rebuilt by the Police Mechanical dept upon selling the bike 25 years ago and has only 6000 miles on it.  After 25 years sitting and some work on the carburator that was stuck, the bike started.  The electric is more or less ok, and the charging system still work.  Amazing. I will try to pick it up over the week-end.  And here it goes again for another project and some serious elbow grease....

I recently took a ride to the Giddy up show,

and had a blast. I had been waiting for a while to attend a show of this quality, so the day before the show, I took my chopper out to ensure everything was in order, and guess f.. what????  I died on me at the gaz station.  So I tried to kick start it, and pull my calf muscle apart.  So I sat down on the side of the gas station waiting for the roadside assistance to jump start it.

Anyway, I headed towards New Braunfeld and had a blast.

There was some really kool bikes.

After a fantastic Giddy up, there was another BOHICA (Bend Over Here It Comes Again).  And it started with the Moto GP on the Circuit of the America

Had always dream of attending such event.  I had missed a few times in Qatar or Barcelona but was not gonna let that one go.  So got my ass out of bed early on saturday and drove up to Austin.  On my way, there I had to make a stop to

I always dreamt of going to this place because of the ZZTop song which I love.  So, I did it.  The town in itself is nothing special but there was a nice little shop on the way in.

I might have to go back to this place if I ever get a bonus... So here I was at the circuit wondering around the Ducati stand, checking out their new scrambler which I think is a great base to start some modification.

But what got my attention in particular was this little home build

and then was time for the big boys to take the road.

Those guys are f.. amazing.  Very impressive.  So when it was more or less finish, I headed towards downtown Austin.  for the Handbuild

And there.... Well... I rather let you enjoy....

As the XS engine was in good hand with Travis and I was still torn between the choice of color, I turned my mind to the FLH.  I brought it home
and tried to elaborate a plan on how and where to start.  So I started by the handle bar to see if I could bring some shine out of the rust.
it turned out ok, so it got me excited and pumped some energy in my elbow.  Then I move to the headlight, and it also worked
tried to grind the exaust, there it will be more difficult.
and finally the paint.
So after one or so hour, it looks like I will be able to bring most of the part back to life.  Now I needed to start dismantling the bike and see if the rust had not caused to much damage.
So there will be some massive elbow grease required.  Let the fun begin
Just a quicky to keep you updated.  I have been extremely busy at work so have not had time to do much.  So, as for the XS who is the good hand of Travis.  Well, it turns out that right cylinder  with piston wear measured .0038 and the left .0047 meaning I had to order 1st over bore piston and rings.
which also means that cylinder will have to be bore at the machinist.  Let us hope all will be ok after that.  I should get the engine back shortly.  Meantime, I ran into trouble with my shovel.  For some reasons it started firing up and loosing power, and considering the primary chain had to be changed because I could hear it bounce on the primary case, I dropped it off at my friend Go who will look at it.  I have a suspicion that pistons and rings will have to be changed as well as cylinder rebore.
Meanwhile, I carry on working of the Police Special and started cleaning/grinding parts.
and after some grinding, this is how it will come out.
and finally I took more or less everything apart except the engine which stayed in the frame.
The grinding will continue for a long long time...Hey, well hope you folks doing awright. Here is ssdd (same shit different day). So let me try to remember what has been going since I last posted something. Let us start with my rigid. I started hearing a weird sound coming from the primary. After opening it, it turned out that lack of oil in the primary covers extended the chain and it was time to change it. As luck would have it, I notice a small little crack (with no consequence) on the lower case. Had I carry on like this it could have become a nightmare.
and to make the matter worse the chain had already attack the starter.
And considering the drain bolt of the primary was loose, decision was quickly taken to move away from chain and go toward belt. So for 700usd I got myself a brand new belt and no leackage. I did consider riding with open belt, but felt more confortable put the cover back on... Took the opportunity to do a tune up and up I was for some good rigid riding. Up to ytd when battery died on me. At first I realise I might have left the light on so I used cable to jump start it, but when I got home, I check the charging system. And guess f... what. It is no charging. I have changed that bloody things twice already in less than one year. Something is f... wrong here. Will need professional advise. Luckilly for me Travis was done with the XS650 engin. He brought it home and we tried to start it up. We did not manage but it did fire which was a good sign. We agree that I finish to build it up, he will come over to do the final tuning. I put the engin in the frame
and started on the painting job.
The idea with the painting job is to give it to a professional artist and let the artist do what he wants. Originally I wanted to used my cousin who is a professional street artist but he resides in France and it just takes took and has too much risk to ship everythng to him and ship it back to the US. His work is simply amazing
but I met another french artist in Houston who was willing to give it a shot. So I did the prework and the first layer and dropped it at Emilie's to let her magic work. We'll see how it turns out but am pretty excited about the whole things. Meanwhile, I went to check up on the wheell of the FLH who could not be grinded because they were to damage. So I had them sand blasted and painted in black. According to the historian, wheel and spoke came in chrome or black. So, I was still within the restauration guideline
And I carry on working on the FLH

Well 2015 has been a fantastic year so far, with trip the the Giddy up and to the Handbuild. But it would not be perfect without a journey at the Born Free. So, late june, I went to Southern Cal for my first pilgrimage to BF. And what a fantastic experience that was. Words can hardly describe the experience, so I will let pics taken from my mobile speak for themselves...

There are many more that could have been uploaded but my suggestion is that you start saving for next year because it gets better every year.

Meanwhile, I went back on the XS to do the electricity

I also ordered a lowering kit for the front fork from Mike XS which I will mount sometimes over the summer while I wait for Emilie to come back with the painting of the tank and fenders. I also pick up the painted wheel from the painter who sandblasted them and painted them gloss black.

then I went on to work on the FLH. I spend some serious amount of time cleaning the engine and repainting it.

then I hid the engine and painted the frame

I seized the opportunity of going back to france to order some special painting cream for BBQ to paint the cylinder. The results turned out to be amazing. Check out the front cylinder

Result is great. And finally I changed all the oil hoses.

and before mounting everything back, I started to polish all the part to bring them back to life. First with 220 sanding paper, then 400, then 1000, and I applied some polishing cream.

the tank gave me some serious work and the result was not as I wanted it to be but it's the best I could do. see what it look like when I started

and how it turned out when I was finished

but all together I managed everything with some serious elbow oil.

tWork more or less non stop over the week-end. So here are a few pics.

now that was for the FLH. For the XS, I took the fork apart to lower it by 2"

Now all things going well, I will be finished with the FLH next friday when I get my seat back, as well as with the XS which is now waiting for the painter. So, went on Craigslist and got myself a nice little project, with a Triumph TR6R from 1969, and while I was there I fell in love with a 4 wheelers beggining for new life. Just need to get some dough for that one.

Just a quick on before taking off for few weeks vacation in Southern Cal.  So, here it is the FHL Police Special is finished exactly 3 months after getting it.  Here is how it was when I got it.
And here it is when I finished taken in it apart, cleaning, sanding, and repainting and damn nuts and bolts.
Not bad hey....

And same for the XS, finally got the 2" fork lowering kit from Hughes Handbuilt and lower the front end.   Just need few things to be fixed and it will go to Ace Motorwork to have final inspection and tuning, before receiving Emilies's painted tank and fender. 
Am going off, with peace of mind........... See you in August to start work on the Triumph Trophy
Back from a well deserved vacation.  And guess what???  It was too tiring.  I rather stayed home in my garage.  Anyway, this is what happened since last update. 
To start with the vacation, Vegas
Then, a nice little trip to the Historic Route 66
Then the city of Angel where I stopped by TriCo home of Dice and Deus Ex Machina
But everything needs to end, and on this case, it did end well.  As I was to board the plane to fly back the the Great State of Texas, I got a msg from Emilie advising me that she was finished with painting the tanks and fender for the XS.
And what a beauty.
So, now its time to get it clear coated, have ACE workshop to check all my poor work, mount everything back together and finally have it states inspected.  All should be done within the next few weeks.
Last but not least for this update.  I think that I have finally made up my mind with the Triumph.  And I think I will make a flat trak.  So I started looking for parts and found something really attractive but it turns out, this is out of my budget, but if anyone got something similar for sale, I am open for discussion

The XS650 is finished: sounds and drive beautifully





And when one is finished, let's start on another one.
What a pain to get the engine out.  Had to take top head out.
Anyway, now the engine is out.  Lets get started.
Carrying on with the Triumph.  To start with I did some research to start buying some parts, and when I uncover the frame number it turns out the bike is a 1964 Triumph Thunderbird TR6 650.  The engine number has been re-stamped.   So, here are some pics of the progress.  Am still not settle about what the final shape will be, if I will go rigid and with suspension.  So until then, I will work on the engine.  I stopped at Ace and Reagan told me that I should split the case cause the issue with those bike are vibration due to flywheel.  He know someone that can do that in Dallas.  So as of now, I work on taking the engine into pieces and taking to frame to its bare bone.   I did work on the tank to smooth it out and cover the holes.  It is now grinded to steel and ready for primer. 
Spend some much elbow oil on it, had to share.
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