Toppling Tools, Sorting Sockets And Changing Covers – Shed Spring Cleaning Continues!

This week I was hoping to start re-covering Sylvie’s seat. However, when I opened the bike shed I found that the pegboard had fallen over and all my spanners were spread across the shed!

I stood it up again but it’ll need some sort of stand before I spend the time to organise it this time, as I don’t want to keep repeating the process indefinitely.

I’ve recorded a video of this week’s adventures in the shed from this point onward, should you care to watchit:

I picked up some of the larger spanners and set about sorting the small sockets. The small ones on the right below are Imperial sizes.

The metric ones covered the top of this small box.

For want of permanent home, they went into a zip-lock bag.

The Imperial sockets followed their example.

I found a serviceable bike cover in the shed that was going unused, so I covered the Fizzer with it.

The old one had become a victim of the elements, so it was disposed of.

That’s all for this week. While I didn’t make any progress on any of the bikes again this week, there’s still a bit of work to go on the clean-up!


Organising The Pegboard And Starting On Khaleesi

This week, I continued organising the shed so I could get to my spanners and made another timelapse video in the process.

Here’s the shed from outside before I started.

A better view of the organised pegboard.

I found a few stray tools that don’t belong on the pegboard – some JIS screwdrivers that belong in the toolbox and a cheap set of spanners I don’t use on vehicles due to poor quality.

This was the mess on the floor in front of the bikes.

I had left a space for this spanner on the pegboard, as I knew it was somewhere nearby!

Much better!

Sockets in the box of bolts? This is what I end up doing when it starts raining unexpectedly!

This bolt had escaped the box altogether!

Another socket out of place.

With the wayward sockets out of the bolt box I finally was able to close it again.

The stray socket was reunited with is siblings.

More random bits and pieces on the floor.

The bolt box was relocated to the bench without losing the rest of its contents and the side-cutters and sockets left on top of it until they find a more permanent place.

The inside of the shed was slightly more easy to get to again at last!

I even looked a little less cluttered from outside compared to when I started!

With the shed more organised, I started looking more closely at the damage on Khaleesi.

The plates below the front sprocket came off first.

First was a single JIS screw that needed my large JIS driver to remove.

The other mounting bolts were 8mm.

Once the plates were removed, I disconnected the Neutral switch lead connector and the 8mm mounting bolts.

With the bolts removed, the larger part of the cover came straight off.

The part that had broken off was held on by a 10mm nut.

The nut wasn’t all that was holding it in place though. The oil seal around the selector shaft was badly bent out of shape and unusable.

With the oil seal out, it still wouldn’t move!

Some gentle persuasion with a ball peen hammer and a small pry bar soon took care of that.

I don’t own a MIG or TIG welder and I’m not very skilled with my arc/inverter stick welder yet. I also don’t have any aluminium arc welding rods, so I didn’t attempt to weld these aluminium alloy parts back together!

Fortunately, it didn’t look like there was any internal damage other than to the gasket.

I put all the parts and tools aside on a clean scrap of cardboard in front of the bike lift so they are out of the way until the new cover goes on.

Finally, I covered up the remainder of the external shift mechanism with a shop rag.

I’m waiting on a replacement cover, sprocket and chain from Khaleesi’s owner before I can finish work on her, so that’s all for this week.

I’ll continue sorting the bike shed next week. Hopefully some of the parts for Sylvie I’m waiting on will arrive too!

Covers Go On The Bikes, I Take Stock Of One Shed, And I Attempt To Build Another

It’s been a surprisingly busy week, yet still not one with much action on the bike front as I’m still waiting on parts for Sylvie.

We had a thunderstorm, so the bikes still in the yard have had their covers put back on until there’s room for them in the carport again.

My pegboard for the bike tools needs refilling, as I still haven’t got around to putting them up again since the shed was reorganised.

While this side of the shed is somewhat organised, there are still a lot of random bits and pieces that need a permanent home.

The shelves on the left are getting a bit out of control, so there’s another round of reshuffling that also needs doing…

There are two bikes to work on in the shed but I need to talk to the owner of one of them and agree on a figure for the work that needs doing on it, I need to clear a few things off the floor before there’s really any room to work, and the other bike needs some clear bench space to put the motor on!

With everything gong on, poor Sylvie has been parked on my front footpath for the last few days and is looking a bit sadder than normal about not being ridden all weekend, perhaps because I had an extra day off?

I’m still waiting on some new parts for her and need to order those front wheel bearings too!

The reason the carport has been cleared out is to make room to build another shed in there.

This shed was originally intended as an art space for my fiancée and is now destined be used as additional weatherproof storage for the clutter in the house and other sheds so we can sort it and get rid of some junk. I moved a few things around in it this evening so they are less exposed to the elements, as I’ll need a bit more time to finish this shed off than I thought!

Sylvie was at least able to be moved back under cover when I’d finished. The rubber grip matting I’ve used as an extra seat covering is starting to wear under the grippier parts of my motorcycle pants, so I’ll need to find a more permanent replacement seat cover soon too!

I’ll get stuck into the cleaning up this week, so if any parts for Sylvie arrive this week, I’ll most likely have another busy weekend ahead!

Hazard Marking, More About My Compressor, And CB250RS Cylinder And Seized Piston Removal

Happy New Year!

I took last week and yesterday off from posting due to Christmas and New Year, but I was able to get a few things done over the holiday period.

Firstly, I got sick of hitting my head on the shed doorway, so I decided it was time to remedy the situation.

First up, here’s the doorway in question from outside and inside the shed.

I measured the height from the highest part of the threshold and found it to be exactly 170 cm

As I’m 183 cm (about 6 foot) tall, this is low enough to be a real hazard for bumping my head on. Fortunately my local hardware store sells reflective hazard marking tape. Here’s the view of the same doorway from inside and outside the shed now.

Next up, while I was using the air compressor to inflate the tyre on one of my wheelbarrows so I could do some work in the garden I decided to use the compressed air gun to clean some cobwebs out of the compressor itself. The brown acrylic paint started coming off some parts of the motor (mostly the plastic ones) but I noticed something new on the electric motor – a brand name!

A quick Google search told me that CMG is an Australian company that still makes electric motors. I haven’t had any luck identifying the motor model yet though.

Finally, I decided I was sick of working on Scarlet’s carburetor, so I decided to move onto the seized engine.

The two remaining mounting bolts for the cylinder were easy to remove.

The cylinder itself came off very easily too.

Inspecting the barrel didn’t reveal much at first glance.

Looking at the piston told another story, however!

It turned out the piston was seized to the dowel mounting it to the conrod.

As it wasn’t moving back and forth freely, there was some severe scoring on the outer side of the piston, most likely caused when the motor was turned over after it had seized.

With the piston free, I was finally able to maneuver the cam chain out.

I had another look at the inside of the cylinder and sure enough there was some nasty scoring on the outer side too, while the rear was relatively unharmed.

I removed the piston rings as best I could and cleaned the piston a little to look at the damage again

After only getting one circlip out and finding the mounting dowel to be completely immobile, I decided to use a hacksaw to crack the top of the piston open. After that, I was able to wedge a screwdriver in and split the piston completely.

I noticed some numbering “471” and “1” on the side opposite the “HON” and “DA” – this might indicate the original size or part number.

The conrod and mounting dowel seem to have seized together too. If this motor is going to run again, it’ll need a re-bore, oversized piston and most likely a new conrod as well, as I was a little overzealous with the hacksaw and left a few lines in the top of the conrod!

That’s all for now, regularly scheduled updates will return next week. The next update will most likely be an update on how Sylvie has handled not being ridden for nearly a month. I’m expecting a flat battery at the very least!

A New Charger, Scarlet Still Floods And Testing A Scratch Repair Kit On Erica’s Spare Tank

I picked a couple of new things from Aldi this week to keep me busy while I wait for a replacement chain and sprocket set for Sylvie.

While the faithful old trickle charger has served me well over the last few years, the fact that it’s switched to trickle mode hasn’t always been an accurate indicator of a battery that’s ready for use. With Scarlet’s battery on it over the last week, I decided to switch the charger over to Erica to help with the electrical troubleshooting.

Here’s a better view of the new charger.

Some assembly was required,

No tools were needed to put it together, so assembly only took about a minute.

The clamps seemed fairly sturdy and the colour-coded connector and nuts were a nice touch.

After following the instructions to make sure the new charger was in motorcycle mode and checking Scarlet’s battery, the new charger indicated that Scarlet’s battery was in fact charged.

In addition to the bright green LED, the outer box of the the battery symbol flashes to indicate a fully charged battery.

I decided to try the new charger on Erica, as the trickle charger was on slow charge mode. It shows 12.2 Volts but the electronics were clever enough in motorcycle mode to show that this battery still needed more charging.

The clamps were a little trickier to connect to a motorcycle battery still installed on a bike but held quite securely once positioned correctly.

After a few minutes, the voltage had increased slightly. I’ll see how this battery goes over the next week or so.

I turned on Scarlet’s ignition but no lights were working, so I started her up and found she started easily but stalled without choke and was dumping fuel fairly quickly. In order to confirm the source of the fuel, I moved Scarlet out onto some scrap cardboard on the lawn.

Sure enough, after running the motor for a few minutes a puddle started to form.

You can see exactly how fast it was coming out in the video below.

There was quite the puddle of fuel after only a short run.

After investigation, I confirmed the fuel was coming from the fuel hose at the bottom of the carburetor. Time for a rebuild or to swap out the one on Erica, it seems…

I also noticed the spring that connects the brake pedal to the brake light switch had come off, so I decided to fix that. The first thing I noticed was that the switch was sitting way too high up.

I lowered the switch as far as it would go, then reconnected the spring.

Then I adjusted the switch height and tested it by pushing down the brake pedal with my hand and checking the switch was pulled down as expected.

I took the opportunity to get a nice photo of Scarlet from the right before putting her away.

I moved the cardboard into the shed before putting Scarlet back, so I can hopefully catch any further spills before they hit the floor.

I decided to test the scratch removal kit on Ericas spare tank (the black one). I wasn’t expecting miracles from it, as it”s only really intended for minor scratch removal.

Here’s how the tank looked before using the scratch remover.

And here’s how it looked after.

To be honest, it just looks a bit more polished! I haven’t given up on it completely though, I’ll see how it goes on the minor scratches on Sylvie’s tank at some stage.

Next entry will be fitting Sylvie’s new chain and sprockets.

Providing there are no problems with Erica’s carburetor, I’ll probably do another  CB250RS carburetor swap and/or rebuild shortly after that before returning to electrical fault-finding.


Bonus Post – Learning More About My Air Compressor

This week, I did some more research on the compressor after noticing the folllowing specifications on the end of the pressure vessel.

In case you can’t read it properly, it reads as follows:

Werk München
Jahr/No 71 13086
Betr./Prüf.Dr 10/16 atü
Baumust.-KZ ZU 49
Inhalt-ca. 25 l

This is of course not in English! Roughly translated from German, with some research and guesswork on the abbreviations, it appears to read:

M.A.N. (truck and bus company)
(Manufacturing) Plant in Munich
Year/No 71 13086
Operating/Test Pressure 10/16 atmospheres over-pressure
Construction type  (model) ZU 49
Contents approx. 25 l

So the pressure vessel has 25 litres capacity and looks to have been made in Munich, Germany in 1971 for the air brake system of a truck or bus and later reused as part of a custom-made air compressor.

Armed with this information, I did some research into testing the actual flow rate of an air compressor and found the following formulae:

The formula for calculating the flow rate of a compressor at is:

TANK GALLONS x 0.538 x PSIG  divided by SECONDS = flow rate in CFM (or cu ft/min)

Google tells me 1 L = 0.264172 US liquid gallons

1 CFM  = 28.32 L/min flow rate

The German-language pressure units converter found at told me that the operating pressure of 10 atü is approx 156.4568 PSI and the test pressure is 16 atü or 241.7968 PSI.

So, 25 litres is 6.6043 gallons. From initial testing, it took approx 2:20 (140 seconds) to fill the tank from empty to a PSIG (gauge pressure) of approximately 95 psi when the cut-out switch kicked in, so the flow rate is about 2.4110 CFM or  68.2807 L/min.

This will help a lot with choosing air tools to use with the compressor, as most of them specify required flow rates at a specific pressure.

Further research told me that air compressors need their pressure vessels drained regularly, so I had a look for the drain valve. Unfortunately, I removed the whole valve assembly instead of just opening it, and got this oily,watery mess all over the pavers underneath the compressor as I quickly moved it to a more suitable work location.

The drain valve assembly had a lot of the acrylic paint used to paint the compressor on it, as well as some oily gunk coming out. I put it on a large rag to clean it up.

I went through my large spanners until I found the right size to unscrew the parts of the valve from each other. These turned out to be 19 and 27 mm.

Once freed from each other, I could see just how dirty the parts were.

I set about cleaning them up with some brushes and WD40.

It didn’t take long to clear the gunk out, so I kept cleaning.

Once most of the acrylic paint had come off, the brass seemed to be in pretty good condition!

I cleaned off the last of the old teflon sealing tape and applied a fresh layer.

The inside of the thread on the pressure vessel seemed to have a lot of gunk too, so I cleaned it off as well as I could.

With the mounting thread as clean as I could get it, I replaced the outer section of the drain assembly.

I put the drain plug back in and returned the compressor to its normal position before tightening the plug again.

I also noted the pressure cutoff switch had this assembly on the bottom.

There were quite a few cobwebs on the bottom!

I cleaned up the brass pieces as well as I could.

THen replaced them where I found them, only a little more tightly.

This looks to be an adjustment screww that has been painted over, so I’ll clean that up next time I work on the compressor.

Much better – no more cobwebs!

I haven’t properly tested the compressor again since draining it and cleaning these parts – I’ll see if there is any difference once I’ve cleaned the other adjustment screw.

I took several photos of the relief valve from different angles after noticing some writing engraved on it.

Using a combination of Google searching the partial wording I could make out, I was able to decipher that the following information is engraved on it:

SIZE 1/4 IN. FIG NO. 48.A

If the release pressure of 50 PSI is correct, it seems I have either have a faulty pressure release valve or a faulty pressure gauge, as the release valve only starts releasing air at around 90-95 PSI on the gauge.

The next steps for the compressor will be checking and topping up the oil for the compressor motor, then replacing the pressure gauge and release valve

Sylvie Awaits A Wheel, A Possum Hitches A Ride and A Roving Staple Gun Is Replaced

This week’s update was going to detail Sylvie’s rear wheel swap.

Unfortunately the wheel has taken longer to arrive than expected, so by Sunday I was looking for something else to do with Sylvie to bring her closer to being road-ready.

I took the cover off Sylvie’s front wheel while cleaning up the carport and was stared at for a moment by a startled possum who was clinging to the front wheel! The possum immediately jumped away, bounced off the cover over the rear of the FZR400 and hid under a sideboard at the back of the carport. I wish I’d been able to get photos or video, as it was incredibly funny to watch!

This possum was found inside the old wall unit in my carport about a week ago, so it may have decided it lives here – here’s a photo of its last appearance


I decided after looking the seat over and finding a piece of thin black rubber foam while cleaning up that maybe the rubber foam could be used to re-cover the seat and simply be waterproofed afterwards.


Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find my staple gun despite hours of searching through cupboards, the garden shed, the bike shed and the chaos that is my study, so nothing more exciting than starting the bike had happened by Monday evening.

Determined to make some progress and have an update tonight – I have a schedule to keep after all – I went off to the local hardware store to buy a replacement staple gun and a staple remover.

Armed with said implements, I removed Sylvie’s seat and set about removing the torn cover.

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I then stapled the foam rubber on and cut it to size as I went.

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Once I was happy with my handiwork, I took it outside to spray with waterproofer

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Just in case it rains, I put it back on Sylvie and covered her up.

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Not bad for an evening’s work!

Hopefully the wheel will arrive soon. I’ll have some other parts on order tomorrow to keep me busy for the next couple of weeks regardless…