Preparing Scarlet For A Distinguished Ride

During the epic road trip to Tamworth and back, I found several things that needed attention before I rode Scarlet much further.

The first three I deemed important enough to fix before my next road trip the following weekend – the front master brake cylinder, problems with the lights and the blown fuses.

First I cleared a suitable work space of everything but the triplets.


First order of business was to bleed the leaking master cylinder in order to replace it.

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After bleeding the master cylinder, I removed the brake lever and inspected the seal. Unfortunately the pic is a little blurry here – you can still see that it’s leaking if you look closely though.


I removed the master cylinder and left it to drain.


As I had a spare master cylinder with no leaks, I fitted that one, filled it, bled the brake lines and tested for leaks. I found there weren’t any, so moved on to the lights and fuses.


The head and tail lights had failed at night, the instrument lights had gone out and some of the fuses had blown on the return trip, so I checked the headlight first and polished the instrument cluster housing.


Not wanting to take any chances, I replaced all the fuses including the spares with brand new ones.

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The old but serviceable fuses went into Eric’s fuse box.

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While I was in the general area, I replaced the brake pedal stopper bolts on Eric and Bruiser.

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I also replaced the instrument cluster bulbs on Scarlet with brand new bulbs that are 0.5 Watt brighter. The old bulbs went into the sockets for the spare instrument cluster on Bruiser.


With all that done, I was ready to head to Sydney on my next adventure!


VJMC Ride Report Part 5 – Day 4.5 – A Surplus Of The Letter M, A Stop In Bat Country, Techno-Fails & Arriving Too Late For Dinner

Part 5 of the long-promised ride report for my road trip on Scarlet to and from the Tamworth VJMC Blue Ribbon Weekend! Read Part 1 here, Part 2 herePart 3 here and Part 4 here.

Day 4.5 – Sunday Afternoon/Evening

My riding companions had left before 1 pm, hoping to get back to Newcastle before dark.
After waiting to see which bikes had won in the show, I headed off to meet them.

Having forgotten to get fuel before leaving Tamworth, I pressed on to Murrungundi for fuel. This must have been the most expensive fuel stop of the trip – I think 95 octane was about 158 or 160 cents a Litre. Wanting to conserve battery power and arrive at a reasonable time, I didn’t get any photos.

After about 20 kilometres of being stuck behind two cattle trucks that must have been carrying the most diarrhea-stricken cattle in the area before finally taking a turnoff ahead of me, I decided it must be break time. I stopped in Murrurundi to post this observation on Facebook:

Stopped for a break in Murrurundi. Stopped back at Murrungundi for fuel. Musswellbrook isn’t far down the road. Was there a surplus of the letter M when these places were named?


I soon had a couple of replies from friends who knew their Eastern States geography:

Then you come through maitland haha


You didn’t get to Mullumbimby ?

Of course, by the time I read these I was stopped in Singleton for fuel.

The park across the road from the petrol station looked nice, as there were a few large pine trees. I parked Scarlet while I sat at the picnic table under the gazebo and ate my chicken wrap.


After looking up into the tree branches for a while, I realised that while the trees may well have been pine trees, it was not pine cones I was looking at! If you can’t see what they were from the picture below, click it for a better view.


Still not sure? This sign might help…


Yep. I was in bat country.

After posting that little gem to Facebook I was back on the road.

Just before 6 pm it got very dark just as I was approaching Newcastle. My GPS battery was totally flat and getting this far had already drained the solar battery pack, so I stopped to switch over to Google maps on my phone and use the remaining charge to get safely into town.

Just as I had put the address details in for my host’s place, I got a call from him asking how far away I was and if they should wait for me to arrive before heading to the club for dinner. I was about 17 km away at this stage so said I shouldn’t be long but had to go as my phone battery was going flat. Little did I know…

Just as I got into the outskirts of Newcastle, My phone battery went completely dead. Immediately after that, most of Scarlet’s lights stopped working – the speedo and tacho lights went off, the indicators were only lighting dimly and the tail light seemed to have gone as well.

I pulled over under a streetlight on a busy main road and tried desperately to get the solar battery pack to charge enough to recharge either the GPS or the phone so I could make a call or at least get enough directions to finish this leg of the journey.

After this failed, I switched Scarlet off and had a look at the fuses so I could hopefully at least get her lights working again.

Sure enough, I had blown a fuse. Swapped it out with the spare and checked the lights. All looking good, I tried to kick start her again. Nothing. Thinking maybe she had cooled down too much, I tried putting the choke on. Nothing, only now I could smell fuel faintly.

I pushed the choke plunger back in and the housing came off its mount. After several minutes, I managed to get it back into position. I tried kicking her over again and still nothing.

During this time, no cars had seemed to notice my plight and the few bikes that had come past had also ignored me. By this point I was about ready to literally kick the bike over, or possibly set her on fire. I screamed my frustration with Newcastle and its inhabitants in general to the world, swore at Scarlet, begged and pleaded with her to start.

After a couple of minutes, I calmed down and resigned myself to the fact that I might be waiting a while for help. Not sure exactly how long I waited when finally a car stopped and the driver got out to ask if I needed help. I explained my predicament and asked if he had a phone charger or a stereo with a USB port I could use. He was happy to oblige and even called a friend of his who “knew a bit about motorbikes” to get some advice on how to get Scarlet started. The advice while sound enough was pretty much what I’d tried already but I kept kicking her over until eventually she started.

It then turned out that the young man who had stopped to help was a missionary of sorts who wanted to talk to me about God. Not being the religious sort myself and wishing to politely end the discussion without causing offence, I thanked the Good Samaritan for his assistance and went on my way with enough charge on the phone to get more directions to my destination. This lasted me long enough to discover that I had several missed calls from my host and find a 7-11 petrol station along the way where I politely asked the cashier if he could plug my phone charger in for a few minutes after explaining my misfortune once more. He agreed and I bought myself some sandwiches to eat while I waited.

After about 10 minutes, I was able to check my messages and get Google maps to work for long enough to write down the remaining directions. My host and his other guest had already been out for dinner and returned and the other guest had gone to bed exhausted from the ride. It was only about 8:30 pm but I was finally able to rest after a VERY long day.

I guess that’s what I get for stopping in bat country…


Eric Ekes Closer To Completion

Saturday being a lovely sunny winter day in Canberra, I decided it was time to make a bit of room around Eric and look at what parts I could fit to him.
There’s still a fair bit to go compared to Scarlet!

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First up, I needed to connect the throttle cables, so off with his seat and tank!

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Cables threaded through.

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Hooked up at the top;

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At the bottom;

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Both connected!

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Moving to the cylinder head, there’s definitely something missing here…

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One new spark plug…

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A spark plug spanner, a few turns and the plug cap has something to connect to!

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I moved on to the mufflers next – the cylinder head needed a bit of a clean.

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A bit of work with a toothbrush and there are a few less cobwebs in there!

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I started with the left muffler, as this one was at least complete.

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Moving on the the front half of the right muffler.

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At least there’s something other than a big hole there now!

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The right pillion peg should be bolted onto the rear of the muffler, so I’ve made sure it’s nice and tight so as not to wobble around.

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Moving on to the back of the bike, there is an extra-long mudguard that is weighing the chopped frame down more than it should be.

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Off with the tail light and number plate holder.

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The old one and a spare standard one I had.

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Pop the tail light back on and reconnect the wiring…

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And there we go!

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While we’re looking at lights, let’s have a look at that fuse box…

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Not looking great – how about the spares?

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Maybe not. I checked the ones on Bruiser.

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Jackpot! How about those spares?

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Quick swap into Eric’s fuse box and the cover goes on top.

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The old one went onto Bruiser (poor fella, he’s getting all the worst bits!)

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Next up, we have the chopped-up and sagging rear frame.

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Maybe I can hold it in place by tightening everything else?

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Seems to have done the job.

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What else is missing?

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A fuel line might help here!

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A mudguard on the front…

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Swap over the kick start lever…

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Looking a bit more like it…

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And finally the speedo cable.

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There’s still a fair bit to go on Eric but not much left before he should be ready to try starting. If he idles well, I’ll swap the carburetor with Scarlet’s until the carburetor kits I’ve ordered arrive.

No final picture as I had to pack up and head out – I’ll make sure I get one next time!

Fitting Eric’s Fuse Box

Eric’s fuse box arrived yesterday, so I decided to fit it this evening.

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So, off with Eric’s bits again!

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The socket on the right is the connector for the fuse box. On the left is where it slots in.

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Hooked up and ready to bolt on.

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Bolted down, so I double-checked the fuses inside. They look almost new!

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Done for the evening, so all the bits go back on.

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