A Strip of the Old Bike 3

Well that was the plan, but with the rear end stripped away there’s so much weight on the front wheel that it’s difficult to raise it off the ground when wheeling the bike on the dolly so manoeuvering it around is awkward.

Answer is to make up a “skate” for under the front wheel using some old castors, which has the added advantage of bringing the bike back to nearer level.

First try with the skate under the front wheel resulted in the wheel turning as the bike was moved forward and coming off the skate but a lashing round the front brake lever sorted this out, and I put a pair of eyes onto the skate and another lashing through these and the front wheel kept the skate in place.

Final piece of the strip was to take out the gearbox, this was strictly speaking not really needed but I’ll take the chance while I have it and clean off and lubricate the clutch splines.

Now I’ve the decks cleared it’s just a case of set to with a wire brush in the angle grinder and clear the sub-frame to bare metal.

As paint does not hold well if there’s any trace of oil on the bare metal it needs swabbed of with a non-oily solvent before it is coated, I’m using “Panel Wipe” which seems to be naptha based, wipes down well and dries quickly.

First coat is an etching primer, to “bite” onto the metal, followed by a couple of coats of a high build primer to level things off and this is allowed to dry thoroughly before the top coat is applied .

I decided to work on one side at a time so the nearside of the rear sub-frame was attacke with the wire brush and taken back to bare metal. Using a brush in the angle grinder is very effective for this but the downside is that the brush tends to shed bristles so a faceshield is a MUST when doing this, you also find that the shed bristles will snag into clothing and jag into you later on!.

Once it was cleaned down I then wiped it over with Panel Wipe and then applied the etch primer.

What I’m using is a rattle-can etch-primer filler from the local car-body shop, it does the job well but the downside is that you need to shake the can vigorously for two minutes after the ball starts to rattle, this is one of those occasions when time d-r-a-g-s on!!.

The job was then left overnight to dry out thoroughly, I’m not in a mad rush here after all.

Next day I went into the garage and was met with a strong smell of petrol. Initial thought was that I’d left a fuel tap turned on but investigation showed fuel wet along a tank seam and a s-l-o-w drip from it, bloody ethanol fuel finding a weak point on a seam!.

So I drained off the tank and reviewed the options.

These are:-

1 – Get a “new” tank.

2 – Use a tank sealant.

3 – Farm the job out.

Well, taking them in order.

Option 1. A replacement tank from Motorworks will cost around £300 and it will need modifying to fit on my bike.

The bike is a “convert”, an Earles fork frame fitted with a later and more powerful engine/gearbox unit. Why do this? Answer is that the Earles fork frame was built with sidecar use in view while the later one is not and a “convert gives the best of both worlds for sidecar use. However the tank moutings are not compatible so a new bottom will need to be put into the tank to match with the older frame. Option 1 goes out the window!

Option 2. The tank already has a sealant in, one that has failed. The existing sealant was put in back in 1986 when the tank was modified originally and it has succumbed to the attack of the ethanol added to modern ersatz petrol so this will need to be stripped out before any new sealant can be used.

On to the ‘net to find out options here and find various options most of which will not work because of the design of the tank itself.

On the net however I find reference to a firm only 20 miles away so I decide to investigate further and decide on Option 3.

They will bake the tank to clear it of fumes, cut it open, blast clean it inside and out, repair any “imperfections”, close it up again and buff out the welds. Then they will internally seal the tank and prime the outside.

As a bonus, the tank is an ex-police one with the radio box in the tank. They are going to remove that to open the tank for blasting but instead of replacing it they will patch where it was, giving me a bit more tank capacity and the possibility of using a standard tank cover and tank bag.

It’s going to cost around the same as getting another tank would, before paying out to have it altered

but it will in effect be a new tank, I’ll need to paint it, but that was on the schedule anyway.

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