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Chapter 22

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The Elusive End

Apr. 4, 2010

I mentioned in the last chapter that I was nearing completion, and while that’s true, the last couple of weeks have felt like my status bar has gotten stuck at 96%

It’s like when you’re installing software, and the progress zooms along until the very end, and then just never seems to finish the last few percentiles? That’s how I feel.

That said – Yesterday was a HUGE leap forward.

The rusty Triumph from Kentucky came with a cylinder head that was so corroded that it was unusable. I bought one on eBay that turned out to be the wrong year and I re-sold it to someone else on eBay at a substantial loss (lesson for me ; -) Sometime later I bought another cylinder head on eBay that came complete with a pair of Mikuni carburetors, all set up for my 500cc motorcycle. Late last week I had a rather major set-back as I was trying to replace the valve guides in that head and found I did not have the tools or skills to do it. Back to the head-shopping drawing board.

I’ve shopped around for a parts supplier and bought from several sources during this project. There is no end to business that cater to 40 year old British motorcycles. Towards the end of this deal I found the best one. Not only are they on this side of the ‘pond’, but they are close-by (San Jose) and willing to take my calls, spend gobs of time on the phone with me and get my order out the door the same day if I call before 3pm. Rabers Parts Mart – My saviors (Hm… yes it IS Easter – nm).

I ordered the proper head on Wednesday, it arrived Friday and on Saturday morning I started to run through the short list of machinist that do ‘valve jobs’ in the Corvallis area on the off-chance someone would answer the phone and let me begin the negotiations of ‘how long and how much’. The first place on my list answered and said to bring my valves and head over – he’d take a look. Two hours and $45 later he was done. He was done doing something that I could not have done on my own. Wow – What a stroke of luck – What a fantastic day!

Here’s a pic of the head that the rusty Triumph from Kentucky came with, and another of the head I got from Rabers after the machinist finished with it:


All of the parts are required… One thing the folks at Rabers and I talked about was all this extra cable I had on the front brakes. My brake cable was about 2 inches too long. I tired taking up the slack with extra adjusters on the handlebar lever, contemplated making my own cable and spent quite a few hours head-scratching. The Rabers folks talked about a ‘cable clamp’ that was just the ticket and it was only a few dollars. I ordered it and I also ordered new brake shoes (maybe mine were so worn that the cable was loose?). When I was installing the new shoes I noticed a couple of parts in the service manual that I had in a ziploc bag on the shelf, which I had wondered what they were for, for some time. These parts go between the brake shoes and the base of the brakes. Once they were installed, the brake cable no longer had any slack – This problem had befuddled me for more than a month – the solution was to install ALL THE PARTS – one more lesson for me ; -)


Here’s the last bit of welding I had to do. There had to be some way to attach the tail light and license plate to the plastic sewer pipe that makes up the end of my ‘bum-stop’ seat. So here’s what I came up with -

(If Linda sees motorcycle parts on her couch, there will be proof she reads the blog…)

Next chapter will be installing the engine in the frame, and that ‘should’ happen in less than seven days…

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2 Responses to “Chapter 22”

  1.   Suse Dowd Says:

    you are one fabulous guy. your sister is impressed by both your deligence to keep your flame alive on the project – and soon to have a finished motor two-wheeled masterpiece. Your blog writing is also a mastgerpiece. glad I fell upon the link. hugs Susie

  2.   Patty Says:

    Jon, you ARE a fabulous guy! Sorry about your toe … that is called bike reincarnation – your OLD bike reminding you that ahem, a bike can kick your ass! Linda says you’ll die driving a bike, she’s all frowny and worried. I said “some husbands die. You can’t make them sit on the couch all their life and be miserable so they don’t die.” And of course, having built this beauty from what looks to me to be two rusty bobbypins, I “know” you are not going to take a chance on wrecking this baby! Beautiful bike Jon, now THAT’S reduce/reuse/recycle to the eXtreme!

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