Nearing The End
May. 1, 2010
It Runs !! I managed to make it start, as evidenced in the video on the first page of the blog, but it does not run very well. Sputters and pops, but this rusty Triumph from Kentucky was saved from the tomb of mud to which it was heading and has been given new life!
Oregon’s Motor Vehicles Department gave me a temporary permit (license plate) to operate it and I rode it up in the hills and I rode it across town : -)
Today I rode it 20 miles to the mechanic up the road…
Maybe I’m a the biggest sucker in the world. Eleven months ago I took my first motorcycle to the mechanic up the road, who’s been working on it since… Nine months ago I bought a second motorcycle to work on at home because the first one was taking so long. After nine months of spending hours every night, I finished the second motorcycle and it started up. It didn’t run real well, but it runs and I rode it around town. Today i took it to that same mechanic who has my first one to kinda show off and hoped he’d give me a little tune up. Well… He was impressed (more or less) and got right to work on making it run better. One thing led to another and instead of riding it home, now he has BOTH of my motorcycles. Yes I drive his van home and there is a nice BSA inside of it that’s kinda like a hostage and he’s invited me back tomorrow morning to finish up, but maybe this turns into a deeper nightmare and he ends up keeping both of them – then what will I do? Buy a third? If I post tomorrow how stoked I am to have a perfect running Triumph, that will be one thing – If not – well, perhaps I can list myself as the biggest sucker in the world.
Here’s the finished (more or less) rusty Triumph from Kentucky in the shop of the mechanic up the road, getting the two carbs changed out for a single and hopefully that’s all, and I’ll jump on it tomorrow and ride it home for keeps.
Next day… Good fortune keeps me from blowing up !
After spending Saturday afternoon at the mechanic up the road’s we decided there was a little too much to do in one sitting, so I left my bike at his place over night and brought his van home as collateral. The plan was to reconnect at 9am on Sunday and after stopping to fill a gas can, I arrived 30 minutes late and he was already there working on my once rusty Triumph from Kentucky.
Three hours on Saturday and then six hours on Sunday we did the following.
Changed the two Mikuni carburetors for a single carb from RJC – changed the dual manifolds with a single.
Changed the throttle and throttle cable.
Added the chain tensioner to the primary case.
Changed the ‘racing’ clutch plates for stock ones.
Welded some (perfect) brackets for the exhaust pipes.
and then we spent two more hours wondering why it wouldn’t start.
Between my departure Saturday and arrival on Sunday the mechanic up the road reset the timing to the proper settings, without noticing that I has crossed the two wires that run the ignition somewhere in the wiring harness… (oops). We kick-started that once rusty Triumph from Kentucky for hours. Tested this and tested that. Changed the carb, tested some more – How did I drive it there and then have it not start on the way home? Well… If you cross the ignition wires and the set the timing 30 degrees off it will run – sort of.
The once rusty Triumph from Kentucky had been running (sort of) for two weeks with the ignition timing 30 degrees off! Once the mechanic up the road un-crossed the ignition wires the once rusty Triumph from Kentucky started on the first kick and sounded like a T-R-I-U-M-P-H !!!
VaROOOOOOOm, VaROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOmAH. Perfect
I packed up my stuff, put on my gloves and helmet and headed for home.
Can you imagine that moment when I left the gravel road of the mechanic’s driveway and hit the highway, twisted the throttle, felt the acceleration, snicked through the gears and felt the roar of that Triumph? Man. What a feeling.
Easily holding the speed limit (and a bit more), enjoying the scenery and planning for the future.
And then… A sputter – slowing down and pulling off the road hearing a hiss. I stopped and looked down to see gas pouring from somewhere under the gas tank, running on to the hot cylinder head and the hot engine!!
Eyahhhhhhhhhh!! – It’s gonna BLOW UP !!!
I cut the ignition, throw out the side stand and and jumped away. I wait for the ball of yellow flame. I wait. (it’s not blowing up) – Ok, it’s not blowing up (yet) but gas is pouring out from under the tank and sizzling on my hot engine. But… It’s not blowing up. It’s cooling off and it’s not blowing up. <breath>
I call for help and the mechanic up the road will be right there. I snap some pics and chat with the good Samaritans who stop to ask if I’m ok.
We will fix, or we will replace the tank – I didn’t die in a ball of flame – and no real damage was done to the bike – once it’s fixed, I will once again have a perfect running and perfect looking motorcycle.
Whew… that was close!