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 http://www.hosereels.biz/blog/post/3469129 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 https://www.einheiten-umrechnen.de/einheiten-rechner.php?typ=druck 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.

20161219_213012 15592543_10153915933472260_1292078641_n20161219_215013

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

20161219_220704 20161219_224011

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

20161219_224348 20161219_224424 20161219_224708

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

20161219_231828 20161219_232231

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…

Sylvie Gets A Facelift

Yesterday, I spent some time looking over Sylvie to get an idea of how much work she’ll need to be ready for the road.

Visually, there were a few obvious things.


The last rider apparently hit a car at low speed, so there’s quite a bit of cosmetic damage to the front end.


The front fender/mudguard has a chunk missing, the speedo/dash housing is broken, and there is a large opaque spot in the headlight lens


The right mirror was completely shattered, the handlebars and brake lever were quite badly bent, and the right switch/throttle assembly needs replacing as parts of it have snapped off completely.



The rear tyre is badly worn and will need replacing.

As the battery was flat but there was fuel in the tank, I hooked up some jumper leads to my car and pressed the starter button. She obligingly came to life almost immediately!

(Apologies for the video quality, will try to fix this later)

Off came the mirrors.


Next were the protective caps on the handlebar clamps.


I checked under the seat and found a complete original toolkit, although the vinyl tool bag was stating to fall apart.


Off came the handlebars, to check the extent of the bend.



Quite a nasty bend there!



After some concerted effort with a makeshift pipe bender (the metal bar and wooden beams near my front gate), I managed to get the handlebars close to their original shape, so I put them back on and replaced the handgrips, switches, choke/clutch assembly, master brake reservoir and throttle assembly.


A spare set of mirrors later and she’s looking much happier!


The battery is on to charge, so I’ll check it tomorrow evening.

I’ve ordered a replacement rear wheel, so further work will wait until it arrives.

More to come next week!


Scarlet Gets An Authentic Toolkit

The Honda on-board toolkit I ordered arrived!

2014-07-24 19.50.27

As it’s a replacement toolkit for the late ’70s/early ’80s CB750 series bikes, it had a couple of extra tools and one spanner missing. This was easily rectified to make a more authentic collection of onboard tools by the removal of the 24mm ring spanner and 0.7mm spark plug gap tool, followed by the addition of some of the vintage tools I already had for Eric.

2014-07-25 00.24.51

Sealed up in their bag and ready to put in Scarlet’s tool box before long trips once it’s more secure.

2014-07-25 00.26.35

Vintage Tools and a Wrong Brake Lever

So I had 2 parcels waiting for me when I got home this evening.

The first one contained these wonderful genuine Honda tools, to start replacing Eric’s missing onboard toolkit:

2014-05-14 18.37.32

All good so far.

The second one contained this after-market brake lever:

2014-05-14 18.38.44

On trying to fit it, I found that it’s not even close to fitting. I saw this on the label on the packet it came in:

barcode from brake lever

Looks like either they’ve sent me the wrong one or misrepresented the models it fits. Needless to say, I’ve contacted the seller. Hopefully it can be sorted!

Update: Turns out the issue was that the master brake cylinder I managed to track down was from a 1980 model and takes a different brake lever to the 1982 model. Should be sorted once I return the wrong one, as the vendor will send me a replacement.