January 5, 2011

Establishing The Dream

During some of the less salient moments of my cubicle job, I had begun doing a lot of image searches.  While the Moto Guzzi Otto is a beautiful bike, one has to have other sources to draw from.  In the beginning, I was staring at alot of screen images like Fig. 3 here:

Fig. 3: A pretty three cylinder Kawasaki done in the cafe style.

Unfortunately, I was spending a lot of time on my parents rear patio looking at this:

Fig. 4: Rust, rock hard rubber, flat tires, corroded dresser bars, and half the parts.  Also, a plastic bag, presumably to protect the engine...from itself.

The CB550 started off mostly complete.  It had a beastly huge king and queen seat on it which contained an entire ecosystem.  I trashed it, having not yet developed a taste for that sort of thing (I'm still not sure how I feel about them).  I pulled the muffers off the pipes, which wasn't hard considering that rust had done half the job for me.  The old battery was toast and I junked it too (but in hindsight I should have kept it for the discount places give you for trading in your old battery. Something to keep in mind for you builders-to-be out there). 
I pulled the carburators after taking the tank off and putting it somewhere. I figured an engine and carb rebuild was in order. I like to get the functions in order before I start fiddling with style. I've heard of folks trying to salvage gaskets (shoot, I've done it myself) but for a nice, clean build, I like to go the full route and buy a gasket kit. It was easy enough to find one online using the model and year listed on the VIN plate (Note: Don't think you're going to get the right gaskets if you buy the wrong year. The Japanese were constantly tweeking the engines on these old bikes).

While I waited for my gaskets to come in the mail from Tiawan or wherever it was these things came from, I brought the engine into the basement and cracked it open. If you can have a friend help you with the first part, you have less of a chance of dying, but if you think you're man enough to carry 200 lbs of aluminum and iron down a staircase, go for it. I did.
Once the motor was opened I was remarkably surprised. Twas remarkably clean for it's age and exterior condition.

 Fig. 5: The tappets and cams looked alright to Demoto from the outset, but that only went on to show how incredibly little he knew about motorbikes. 

Fig. 6: The Clutch was in pristine condition for her age.

 Fig. 7: This was Demoto's first encounter with a shifter mechanism, and it scared him.

Fig. 8: It appeared all gears were presant and accounted for in the transmission...

 Fig. 9: The ignition points left some things to be desired, like a new set of points

Fig. 10: As could be expected, the primary gear was a filthy mess.  You might notice the bare shaft where the stator rotor used to be (it's just above the stator armature lying on the ground).  Expect to need a puller to get that off.  I puller is a useful thing for any shop, but unless you're running a factory, you're only going to use it once in a blue moon.  Spend accordingly.

 Fig. 11: In case you have no idea what a puller is.

...But ripping things to bits is the easy part.  One must remember how to put it back together. 

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