The road restarts

That moment you turn the key. The moment the warning lights turn on… glimmering like the leprechaun’s pot of gold. The starter turns… The engine fires. The noise, the vibration, the humbling sensation that restarts one’s soul.

It’s been months since I’ve heard my little yellow monster start, and about the time since I’ve ridden on a bike. Those of you that have been following my mad ramblings will know that my bike had suffered oil seal failure, causing it to spew this precious fluid all over. I had tried to fix this by fitting a new seal, that can only be done by splitting the crank casing. If you want to know more you can read about it here.

The problem seemed to be fixed… i thought… Unfortunately, mere days after installing the new seal my machine started to spew oil from the exact same spot. I was at wit’s end. What could have been the cause of the catastrophic failure? Was it something I did wrong in assembling the engine? Was it manufacturer fault? Or was it just plain bad luck?

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Into bits once more.

As usual, there would be one way to determine where the fault lies. This inevitably meant that the motor had to be pulled apart once more. This time it revealed that a few deep gouges on the gearbox output shaft had literally chewed through the oil seal. Once again a new seal had to be ordered (as this part is on permanent back order. ETA 3 weeks). This meant that my power plant would be upside-down on a workbench for that 3-plus weeks. In that time, the sharp ridges from the gouges have been polished down as far as possible without altering the dimensions of the shaft. This will, hopefully, solve the problem, or at the very least extend the lifespan of the new seal.

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Assembled. Just before an alarming surprise.

As I am writing this, a little less than three weeks have passed. I’ve received a phone call informing me that my part have arrived. The largest part of my weekend was spent on assembling the engine once more. Not an easy task for one man alone. (Mechanical MacGyver hand work commitments to tend to, and was unavailable to assist for the largest portion of this.) The engine had been installed once more and the battery charged, ready to turn over the power plant once more. Key to the on position… and… hit the start button. Something that should have easily turned the motor over and forcing it to roar to life. But what type of story would this be if that was the end?

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Carb cleaning and float tuning.

Turns out that about 3 weeks of being upside-down doesn’t do carburetors any good. Some fuel has seeped into the diaphragms, immobilizing them. In addition, evaporated fuel leaves a sticky residue. This residue has basically “glued” the carburetor float levels into position, holding the needle and seat in the open position. In laymen terms, the thingy that stops too much fuel getting into the carburetor was jammed open, causing the engine to flood.

The engine flooded to the point where the pistons were jammed into position by combustion chambers filled with fuel. The engine would NOT turn over.

This problem could easily be solved by leaning the carburetor with some off the shelf carb cleaner and elbow grease. A fun day of opening up the carburetor, cleaning the float hinges and fuel jets.

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Jerry rigged testing system.

I really wasn’t in the mood too have the engine lock up again if the cleaning wasn’t the only thing required to stop the engine from flooding. Therefore, it was time to employ some of my backyard ingenuity. ————->

Basically just connecting a gravity-fed fuel source to the carburetor inlet. And this worked surprisingly well. We found that the carburetor supplying cylinder 3 was still allowing an immense amount of fuel to flow. Some fiddling with the float position seemed to have sorted that problem out.

Once again, with the carburetors and fuel tank fitted, it was time to see if the little power plant would be able to start. It took some time before the little engine roared to life. What a beautiful noise that was. The churning of cam gears and the roar of the exhaust. I haven’t heard this noise in a bit more than a month.

I write to you this lovely morning as I am about to embark on the first journey back on my little yellow Honda. Turning the engine over and hearing it roar, brings a sense of peace over my soul. A sensation of feeling alive again. I wasn’t made to spend my days rolling around in a cage, I was ment to fly down the road on the back of an iron steed. Having my bike start once again has, in effect, restarted my soul.

On this new-found drive, I wish you all a safe ride and enjoyable journey.

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