Blog Archives 2012

January 2012

We sold one appartment we had for a while and with the excess cash I am gonna finally build the true "El Vis Repair". So spent few hours drawing the floor plan of the workshop.  So here what I came up with:elvis.jpg


As you can see, there will be two working rooms, one with heavy and dirty stuff including,  a sand and painting room, a lathe, a drilling machine, and all the grinding accessories to cover my useless welding skills.  The other room will be for the cleaning stuff and the mocking and rebuilding.  Perhaps some storage for bikes depending on the available space left.

All going well, work should start around april and be ready hopefully in June.  So needless to say, I will only decorate it during the summer as I usually ride during that time of the year.  We haven't ordered the workers yet so let's wait and see. 

From the building front, I took off the ignition of ZB to check where the leakage was and I discover that the lower case engine I had purchase was missing the bolt holding the case to the shaft.  see the pics below the two unfilled hole on the top and bottom of the inginition.


The problem here is that I don't have the bolt with me.  So I have to go to Honda shop and buy some bolts.  Am not here this week so will try to do that later on during the month.  I think this will do.  The other problem that appear is that the shaft was not alight with the holes but through bit of hard work I managed to realign them.  I was quite happy with that.  The other alternatives would have been to open the lower case and then hell would have broken loose ( at least for me)  I have a spare Skyteam engine I might wanna give it a try at some stage.  Anyway, since I could not move any further on the engine, I decided to do bit a work on the tank.  When I found that tank in the garden it was in pretty bad shape.  Back then I had not taken any classes on body work or painting.  So, I had sand the tank quite baddly and spray painted it.  Gotta admit wasn't pretty but it did the job for the mocking.  So now that I was on my last leg, I felt it needed a upgrade.  So I started sandpaper it and filling some empty hole.


So this is it for the ZB.  

Anyway,  two things have happened on the bike front over the week end.  First, I checked with Arne on the Redneck front.  As you know Arne from Custom service was more or less completing my redneck project to change the bike from injection to carburation, to do all the electrics, and as he did on the chopper project he is checking that everything done prior to the bike arriving at his shop was done properly.  He is like the little angel of safety to ensure anymore laying their arse on this bike do so safely.  As usual, there was few things wrong but not as much as the last time.  Normal considering Kunt had also got his hands dirty on the project before.  So the good news is that the bike is almost over the bad news is that Knut and I felt apart so he kept my exhaust as a collateral payment for work he claimed he did on the bike.  Reality is that he probably put my pipes on someone else bike and can't afford to replace them by new one.  Nevermind, I forgive him for what he has done for me.  So, I called Ben from Pipedreamz in Southern Cal and order new ones so they could be delivered to Arne on time for him to finish.  They got found a place to store it as I am not gonna drive it across Europe in the winter.   Call me chicken if you want but anyone who has lived up north will understand.  And remember this bike is a rigid and has got no heated handled or anything.  

The second things that happen over the week end is that I could not sleep on Saturday, so I got up at 4am made myself some coffee and decide to put the Zb back which consisted of doing the segments on the piston's head, and putting the bike back together to fire it up after probably 20 years without running.  It took me more or less 4 hours to do everything which included the carburation, the electrique, the cabling, the chain, the brakes and the monkey was ready to be fired up.  I decided to take a break for lunch followed by a good nap, and various arrons I had to do during the day.  I left the zbengine.jpgbike rest for a night and was dreamt of kick start it the next morning.

 On sunday morning, I first took a ride on my dyna just to keep it running and check if my back tyres pressure had gone down over the week (and yes it has, so it need to be fixed) and then I came back to put oil in the engine, gas in the tank, and fire it up. 

I had purchased 1 liters of high quality Mobil 10w40 synthetic oil which I gently dump in the engine.  And  Shit happen !!!!!!  The oil started dripping on the other side.  F..... F.......f.....  What the heck was happening.  Remember that when I found the rusted bike it had no bottom engine so  I purchased a japanese made engine from bike dump yard who garanteed me it was in perfect condition except the piston, valves and cylinders.  Well don't believe the fuckers...... It seems that mine has a loose gasket behind the iginition and the engine needs to be splitted in two to changed that gasket.  I am f... irritated.  So, I cleaned the oil on the floor, parked the bike, and move on to other things.  That was it for the week end. 


After dismantling the Lambretta LD engine and realising that I need approx 300 euros worth of spare to buy new piston and segments, as well as the whole kickstart system. Check the piston status when I took out the cylinder.  Don't know what the previous owner did with it, but it didn't look good to me. 



I went into Lambretta depression and decided to focus on finalising my kid ZB instead.  The bloody thing had standing idle in the cold (due to lack of garage space) for the last 2 years waiting for me to get back to it and/or mostly waiting for my son to turn 14 to be able to ride it.  He just turned 13 in dec, so I figured since I was on small engine with the Lambretta I might as well do that one too.   Don't know if I ever told you this, but this Honda ZB 50cc was part of a house purchasing deal.  When I bought my house, there was this dismantled, totally rusted, honda pocket bike laying amount the grass in the back garden.  So when we made the proposal to buy the house, one of the condition was to leave this little bike "as is" so I could fix it up on my rare space time.  Anyway, if you want to read the whole story about the renovation process just go to the ZB page.  So this is what I hv been doing. 

This other good thing happening is that we will shortly (inch allah) sell our former house.  If all goes all right and if we get the right price, we will extend our house and the "Repair of El Vis" will ultimatly become a reality.   That's all for now folks - gotta gget back to work.

February 2012

And just before the cold wave hit us, I decided it was time to take a last round with the Dyna. I filled up the gas tank and went for a ride.  After one hour I came back home with a smile on my face.  And just as I was parking the bike, I realise the tank was dripping gasoline.  WTF.....  I bend over to look where it was coming from but could not see the origin of the drip.  I started thinking it might hv come from a micro break in the welding I had done 4 years ago.  The paint under the tank was becoming loose.  So I decided it was time to take the tank apart to get a closer look.

iphonepics-040-1.jpgReally bad stuff.  Couldn't still see where the problem was, so I start pilling the paint off, and as I was doing so, I dropped the tank resulting in a big dent in the tank.  Talking about having a bad day ......



So, it did not take me long to realise that it was time to carry some heavy work on the Dyna.   Especially considering my back tire was on his last leg and the front wheel need some upgrade due to the rust resulting from leaving by the sea side.   So, I started to take everything apart.  


When this was done, I started working on the tank by filling the dented hole,and smoothering the long over due pop up cap.  iphonepics-063.jpg


March 2012

Ok, 4 topics on the burner : ElVis' Repair, The ZB, the Dyna, and the Redneck :  To start with the ZB.  I finally put my hands on the bloody screw, I had to shorten them a bit but it did the work just fine.  So when I poured the recommended .8l of synthetic oil, no drip were showing.  The only thing left was to put some gasoline,but the tank was going some major upgrade with some body work and painting.  Anyway, when this was done another shit happen.  I had to vacate my workshop (you will read below why) So the ZB is still in the same state, lying under cover in my backyard.  Exactly where I had found him 2,5 years ago when I bought the house. The other things left to do was to fix the break but this will be done last.  latest-0023424-1.jpg

For the Redneck, my contact in Norway had finally received the pipes but he got caught by the local Scandinavial Custom Authority who is not too accomodating to say the least.  Indeed, it cost me 150 more quid than originally planned.  Anyway, I called Arne to check on the progress and sent him some (lots) of dough for the work he was doing on the bike.  All seemed to be going as planned and he was just awaiting fo the pipes to do some further checking.  One other issue was to chop one part of the frame to let the oil filter come inside and to make the matter worst the change from injection to carburation was not working. 



Before moving to the next subject the Dyna, just a little note on my workshop "ElVis Repair".  As previously said, the cash collected from the sales of small studio will be used to build my new workshop.  Latest with the worker is that they will start in April and finish somethimes mid june.  So, spent the whole week-end clearing my workshop except for the Dyna who is still on the bench. 

Jeee, not sure where to start on the dyna....Last time I spoke about it, I had worked on the tank I had grind the excess steel around the tank and fix the dent.  So I went onto the spoke and cut them off with the intention to replace them by stainless steel.  While on it I decided to powder coated the rim.


When this was done I went to my favorite spoke shop (La roue provencale) who put everything back together.  Then I needed to find out how to paint the bike.  So one evening, late at night I moved into my kitchen and work on the theme and colour of the bike.  


the paint room where I had undergone my training to work on the tank.  img-0198.jpg


when this was more or less finish and although I was not very happy with the outcome, I went home to rebuild the bike so I can have a ride for the summer.   I will redo the painting when I work on the suspension next year. 


Back to the Redneck, I went back to Oslo for the last week end of March and as I was stepping in the Redneck started.  Hear it by clicking on the below.

Avril 2012

There it is.  It's with a big hangover that I started the first day of April. And that's no joke.  The result of a partying night with "Company MC" at "PostGarajen MC" club house in Olso.  Indeed after the Virgin Run of the redneck on friday, I spent the week end in Oslo and joined the Company MC members for an afternoon of fun and an evening of crazyness.  After a serious amount of beers and couple of Burritos we moved to another party and stayed there until I don't remember.  As many said, if you don't remember than it didn't happen.   Well I don't remember but next day morning I knew something had happened. 


It was time now to focus on bring the bike down.  3 options : the most obvious, drive it down, the second take the ferry in oslo and the train in Hamburg and drive in between, and last one use a forwarder.  Well, considering there was still snow beginning of April in Oslo was a bit out of question but worst of all I don't have the luxury of time of spending 3000km on the road.  It would take me 3 days of straight highway riding and that's not my idea of fun, especially on a rigid (I know am getting old).  The second option was not only too expensive it was also a logistic nightmare as the ferry schedule and the train schedule do not correspond, meaning it would take me as long to bring it down as driving it myself.   Finally the last one, was the one selected.  The only thing is that I have to wait until the next available shipment to take it there.  This is where I am today. 

Back in France, work on the workshop had started, resulting in having all my bikes laying in the open garden.  Not ideal but no other option either.  My garden look like a Gipsy camp... not nice


Since I had shown the pics of the redneck to my wife she was afraid she could not do all things she had planned on doing, such as taking my daughter to school, go and buy bread because it was simply too much for it.  So we discussed an alternative option of selling some of my unused bike and possibly purchased a Sportster.  So I put 3 bikes for sales and ended up buying a sportster. 


Upon my return, I decided to do a bit of clean up and check if the Café Racer and the vespa were still functionning.  After one hit of "Start Pilot" spray, both vehicule started without problem. 

So, now the Sportster legally ours, it was time for the lady to take ownership of the bike.  So, we went onto the School parking lot and strangely enough within 10 minutes she was back into action like she had been driving for the last 10 years.  Proof is, she drove me back home on the back fender.  The next few days were spent on routine driving on different type of driving on different type of road. 

While everything was going right, and as I was coming back from work, I noticed the exhaust was splitted in two.  My welding machine been boxed and in my garden, I had to look for a welder to do the job.  Considering I am living in an industrial area, I thought it would be easy to find a welder.  I was wrong but luckilly I found a guy willing to help. 

So the exhaust was back in its place and were back on the road for a nice little trip in the backroad of Aix. 

Meanwhile, I sold the BMW and the old Peugeot which I traded against some man hours to fix the engine of the scooter Lambretta. 

And to finish this rainy month, my norwegian freight forwarder informed me that everything was going ok with transport of the redneck and that it would be delivered sometimes around mid may. 

May 2012

I started the month by preparing our trip to Punta Bagna, which is a wanna be rally trying to be the French Sturgis.  Don' laugh, it is a really kool rally.....and there isn't that many hog.... I think the last rally I participated was Daytona in 2006.  I am not so much into this things but Punta bagna is focus on bike building which is why it's attractive to me.  The only thing to hope for is the weather.

The work on my workshop had been delayed due to bad weather, and considering that I am usually in my garage when I am not riding I felt f.... both side.  No riding and no building. img-0306.jpg

Anyway, the only good news was that the Redneck was delivered.  I still need to do a few things on it but it was finally home and Madam was happy until I started it.  The sounds was seriously too lad and I ran the risk of been stopped at every corner.  Furthermore, a thick black smoke was coming out of the exhaust, probably the result of too rich combination air/gas.img-0313.jpg


So I took the decision to built some baffle to quiet the straight pipes.  From my reading the best baffles are made by moto cross guy. So I drove to the nearest MotoCross shop and ask the owner how it was doing it.  So, when I came back home with some baffle fillin, I was ready.  I started by a drawing, img-0319.jpg

then I drilling the inside pipes, weld it with the outside baffle I had received with the pipes,


and insert the filling and worked out a fixing mechanism. 



And I was ready for a new start............  Dream on my friend, it was still too loud.........

June 2012

When it rains it f...g pour..... such is life.  Work on the workshop was again been delays results of bad weather and also bad logisitics planning.  One month delay now.  All my plans were going down the tube.  img-0338.jpg

I had to build longer baffles which I did outside in my garden but the result turned out to be the same.  Worst the gaz backfire and a massive blue dot appeared on the brand new pipe.  Black smoke continued to come out despite having changed the pilot jet a few times.  wtf..... I then took the wise decision not to do anything on the Redneck until the workshop was finished.  So I covered the bike, left it in the middle of my garden and waited for better times.

So it's with the Dyna and my wife Sportster that we went to Punta Bagna. 

img-0391.jpgimg-0397.jpgI am not gonna writes many lines on the subject, do yourself a favor if you want to know more on the rally by searching the web.  But in was a magnificient ride, 2 days of nice weather, lots of meetings, and a true revelation that professional cyclist are indeed on drug.  I calculated how long it took me to climb the mountain with a 1340 HD and the guys on a bicycle do it faster.  Simply incredible. 

July-August 2012

Back after 1,5 months of non writing willingness... It's call summer break.  When that is said, it did not stop me fm working.  Firstly on the workshop.  I spend considerable time on fixing the bloody place once the worker finally vacated the premise.  Most of it was on decoration though.  img-0409.jpg

To inaugurate the new "El Vis Repair", I work on the Redneck.  Since the baffle did not work, I decided to build some exhaust with bits and pieces I had laying around.  I wasn't really sure how to do it nor if I wanted 2 in 2 or 2 in 1 but I started anyway.img-0417.jpg

After numerours unsatisfactary design I finally settled on the look I wanted.  I tig weld the part together and fit in a stock Sportster baffle. img-0461.jpg

I quickly worked out some fixing mount, changed once again the pilot jet, and took the bike for a road test.  To start with, the mixture air/gas is still too rich, at high speed the engine is doing a weird noise around the carb area, and it's leacking gasoline.   That's just too much for my limited knowledge in mechanics.  So I contacted one guy who seems to know what is talking about to have a look at it. 

Then I move on to the XT 500 who had an oil leak, and some carb problem.  I managed to fix the iddle speed but at high speed there are some gaps. 

Same conclusion, let's see a pro who know what he is talking about.  But how do you go about finding an expert on 40 years old bikes...  Well I got a few numbers let's see what comes out of it.

Last but not least for the holiday, I still need to kick start the little ZB that I had totally rebuilt for my son.  All seemt ok except the electricity.  By now you should know how useless I am in electricity.  Anyway, to make a long story short, there is no light at the spark plug so the bloody thing is not starting. Same conclusion as above.  Let's go see a pro.... 

Septembre 2012

Good news to start this month of september.  If you remember few months back I traded an old 176 Peugeot against some labour hours to work on the engine of the Lambretta I started to work on.  I touched based with the guy named George and he gave me a brief list of the things that was wrong with the engine.  Amonst others, the starter and the ignition.  We agree to spend one day together during the month of november to put the engine back on the frame and check was is right or wrong. 

Otherwise, the month of September was used to take the Redneck to Joker Bike in Marseille were the diagnosis wasn't to good to hear.  As I suspected, there was a strange noise in the engine so we agree to dismantle the top of the engine and conduct few things to evaluate what was wrong.  Same for the XT that was taken to Robert Motorcycles.   Robert will take the carb out, check it out, and hopefully fine tune it.  Let's see what he comes from up with....

I used my spare time to work on working on my workshop


and of course furnished it in a way that the bar occupy a good place in the workshop.  


One week later I got a call fm Rickey informing me that the bike was running on one cylinder as a result of bad coil.  This had burned the plugs and that the pushroads which were competion road, were not aligned.  After replacing the part, the noise in the back cylinder was still there.  We agree to split the engine and when he did so, Rickey found who actually was the original owner of the engine.   The engine had been build by J Precision Racing heads for someone running on the Canadian Circuit.  They had build the crane, the heads, bore the cylinder, change pistons, etc....  The owner had ran with the engine for one year and sold to the guy I bought it from.  The good thing is that J Precision gave all the engine and history to Rickey which was good to conduct any further work.


After dismantling the cylinder, Rickey found the piston were a reaching the end of their life and we decide it was best to change them. 


So we took the decision to order some new Wiseco piston, and a new Daytona Teck ignintion.  When he gets the spare he will not take more than one day to put everything back together.  So when I return from my trip to south america, the bike should be ready. 

Without my two problem's bike in the garage, I undertook to rebuild the Lambretta which had been lying idle for more than 2 years in the garden.  After many hours of cleaning up the scooter was ready to receive its engine.  I will call George to set a time.  


And there was time to officially inaugurate the "Repair of El Vis".  So under lots of liquid and usual chips and pizza, we had a great opening ceremony


When the heat became unbearable some stepped outside to chat about bike and ultimately everyone left their name on the wall of the workshop


The following day I received a phone call fm Robert informing me he wasn't able to fine tune the carb and to come and pick up the bike the same way I had left it 2 weeks ago.  I drove it home, went on the net and order a new mikuni TM36 carb which I will put on when I return.  Meanwhile, I had a little incident in the afternoon where I drop my bike trying to help my wife and the result is that the exhaust is now broken and will need to be re welded. 

October 2012

October started with a broken exhaust on the dyna as a result of a fall to avoid my wife.  Nothing big just a slight break requiring some tig welding. img-0571.jpgSo, I took the exhaust out, and with no time, I rewelded the exhaust and put it back on the bike.  I use the opportunity that the bike was on the bench, I checked the inner chain which I suspected had gotten loose.  But nope...I also checked the wiring because I was out of headlight which made night riding impossible but could not find where the problem was.  I took it for a ride and parked it in the workshop. img-0570.jpgI then put the XT on the bench to change the carb which was causing the bike to run baddly.  I also used that opportunity to clean the inside of the tank to clear the rust, change the fork oil and do the wiring.  img-0578.jpgAs you have read in the previous post, Robert Cycles had not been able to tune the carb and had advised me to change it.  I had purchased a Mikuni MT36 which was ready for an installation but prior to that I clean the tank using a specially made chemical. 

When this was done, I mount the carb but the admission pipes was leaking causing the bike to stop.  She was only working on choke.   I order a new admission pipe, installed it, tune it and the bike was fine.  img-0583.jpgHave been riding the XT since. 

November 2012

November started with a text msg fm Didier inviting me to the Cocoloco, the meeting point of the Ail Racer Garage.  The Ail Racer are a brotherhood with sole intention to help and assist each other. But before been able to give a positive answer I needed to fix the lightening problem on my Dyna.  While I was at it, I also dismantled my side license plate because it needed to be rewelded.  img-0599.jpgAfter spending numerous hours in going over every single wire I found where the problem was. One ground wire was not working so I fixed it and the bike was finally ready.  img-0603.jpgSo I made to the rendez vous on the friday and had a very good time been surrounded by japanese, german, english, and american bikes and has some really good discussion with very nice people. 

The next morning I took the ZB to Diabolik bike to sort out a yet another electrical problem, and I call Georges to set a day to mount the Lambretta engine inside the frame.  And to finish the first week end of the month, I called my electrician to sound him out on selling his CB 750 four.   We had briefly talked about it over the summer and had agreed to catch up in November to see if he was willing to sell it.  It did not sound to keen about it, so I re-oriented my choice toward a flat twin.  I found a R80RT on the net and bought the bike which is working perfectly.  The idea is to turn it into a scrambler.  img-0608.jpgGeorge finally made it home the following monday and after lots of struggle we set the engine inside and started it up.  Apart from a clutch problem all seems to be working.  Now it's time to do all the clabling and electricity.  img-0628.jpgDecember 2012

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