Learning something new on a twice barn-found beater
*EDIT* I'm including a bunch of the story behind the bike here in the first post just to give a bit more background on the story... If you don't like lots of words, skip down, there are TONS of pics.
Along comes POJ
Have you ever been ice-fishing? Let’s just sum it up in two words: It Sucks. Yes, with a capital “S”. I have never been very fond of fishing, but Ice fishing? Where you get to walk out on a huge chunk of ice hoping that it’s not really going to break even though you keep hearing cracks like gunshots and friends telling stories of dynamite retrieving dogs that like to hide under brand new trucks parked on the ice? Did I also mention it’s usually quite cold when you do this? Basically, you go out on a frozen lake. Drill or hack a hole in the ice. Drop a line in and then sit and watch this hole. Yup, pretty darn fun.
For some reason, at about the age of 15, I actually thought this was “fun”. Let’s pretend your 15. You got up at 4:00 in the morning some freezing winter day during Christmas break cause the early fisher gets the fish, or something like that. You’ve been standing on a frozen lake in the middle of the Alberta Prairies, where the wind has likely been blowing about 30 mph all week. The sun FINALLY comes up. You’re bored. You haven’t had a single bite.
Obviously, it’s time to do something else. Not much else around but a couple of ancient run down grain bins on the side of the leg. Guess it’s time to go exploring! My friend and I wandered over to the shore which was part of an old farm yard. The grain bins were in pretty sorry shape. We peaked in one or two to find nothing of interest. One of them, on the other hand, had a great deal of interesting lumps of metal coated in a warm blanket of dust patiently waiting out the winter. Motorcycles! Hundreds of them! Parts hanging from the rafters! Extra motors lined up waiting to be installed in future projects!
Okay, not really. There were a couple of bent up frames, 3 or 4 engines that had seen much better days, several used tires, and one half of a motorcycle. Well, maybe more like two thirds of a motorcycle. This two thirds of a motorcycle was the one that started it all!
We spent a couple of hours in the shed, poking through all of the stuff and dreaming of all the things we could do. All these tires, a Hodaka motor that kicked over, bits of motorcycle frames, we could make a killer go-cart!!! The two thirds of a motorcycle we inspected carefully. It was ROUGH. It had no back wheel. Engine covers were off, engine was stuck, side cover was missing, tire (the front one, cause the back one didn’t exist!) was flat, center stand was bent out of shape, and lots of dings, dents, and rust.
It was OLD. Metal everything. We weren’t too interested, because at the time we were into the REAL dirt bikes- like the CR60, YZ80, and IT400. This old thing was a boat anchor. We thought we could do SOMETHING with it though, and all of the other parts had to be worth something.
Luckily, my friends dad was a realtor and he knew exactly who owned the property. We called him up and asked what his plans were for all of that junk, to which he replied, “Take anything you want!”
Didn’t need to tell us twice!!!
We zipped back out there later that day with my friends dads little pickup. There was a brief encounter with a slightly irate farm hand who was a little perturbed that we were loading a bunch of stuff in the back of the truck. We explained to him what his boss had told us, and I guess that was good enough for him because he left us alone to gather our junk.
At this point, I need to say something about garages. My parents, well, my Dad, has a thing for junk. He collects it by the ton. He’s very good at presentation though, so you don’t really notice it. Unless you happen to be a friend of his or even a friend of mine that has garage space or a farm where old dead tractors, combines, trucks, lawnmowers, etc could be stored. Needles to say, our garage was quite full of STUFF. Cant remember for sure but at the time I think he was working on restoring an old wood burning cook stove and the second Honda Odyssey, both of which turned out really nice and are even still in use (sorta) today. Between his projects, tools, spare parts, and the two cars in that garage, there wasn’t much room for any of my projects.
This wasn’t as big a deal as it could have been. You see, Clint’s Dad had a LARGE shop behind there house, and he never used it. At one point I think we had 7 or 8 sleds, 5 or 6 bikes, a fourwheeler, a boat, and several other assorted bits of machinery in various stages of disrepair. It was a great shop. Had a big sliding door, a loft for storing parts, and most importantly, a HEAT SOURCE!
My parents garage was stuffed full. I was not allowed to have a motorcycle. Hmmm… Two strikes against me. Just meant we had to haul all of the stuff over to Clints house and clear a spot for it in his garage.
It didn’t take long for us to come up with a very fitting name for the bike: POJ. Piece. Of. Junk. Pronounced “Podge”. It was trashed. Bent handlebars. Missing grips. No back tire. Engine seized. Airbox missing. Carb cover missing. Oil cable missing. Clutch lever missing. The bike was 30 years old, weighed a TON, the list could go on and on. I do believe its only saving grace was that it was MINE! Well, half mine anyways… I still wasn’t allowed to have a motorcycle, but it seems my parents were okay with me having HALF of a bike (maybe more like a ¼ of a bike, since there was only half a bike there!) as long as it didn’t come home.
We spent weeks working on POJ. Every spare minute I had was involved with tinkering on that stupid bike. The biggest problem was, of course, the fact that it was seized. I didn’t have money to spend on this thing, nor did I really want to at that point. It was just kinda fun be able to say that I had a motorobike! As brilliantly talented and gifted 14 yr olds, we came up with an excellent way of un-seizing the bike. We pulled the head off, soaked it in WD40, and then proceeded to spend the next 4 weeks jumping up and down on the kickstarter. Every now and then we would try heating up the cylinder with a little torch. Soak, Heat, Jump, Repeat. Can you see this going anywhere? We eventually gave up.
I guess at this point I should point out that as a younger kid, my Dad referred to me a lot as “tenacious”. At the time, I thought he was cussing at me or something, but I really don’t give up on anything to easily. After a short break from our hammer, I was back tinkering with POJ. I don’t remember how long it sat there in Clint’s garage, but it seems like it was at least a couple of months. Don’t remember what we were working on at the time, could have been the IT400 or we may have even had the El Tigre from Heck by then. Anyways, one night I went over and decided to putter with POJ.
I forwent the heat and hammer and just decided to jump on the kickstarter. Remember, it didn’t have a back wheel. It was sitting on the centerstand and I hopped on it pretty hard expecting resistance… and there was none. POJ tipped backwards, I went flying, parts were raining from the sky, but POJ was unsiezed! We whooped and hollered and thought we had made the breakthrough of the century. We were so excited we vowed to get it running that night.
Have you ever set something down, turned away, and turned back a few seconds later to find the thing GONE!? Removing the head on POJ was a pretty simple task: remove 4 cap headed extra long nuts, remove head, remove gasket. Viola, head is off! For some reason, the spot I had set the 4 nuts (on top of the woodstove) only contained THREE NUTS. No big deal, we got the thing unsiezed so how hard could it be to find a nut? Famous last words.
Granted, it had been several weeks since I had taken the head off and set the head bolts on the top of the stove, but the other three were still there, so the last one COULDN’T have been very far! It seems like I spent weeks searching the shop for that stupid little nut but now that I think about it it was probably only an hour or two. I did end up finding it- mixed in with a pile of parts that at one point had been a Suzuki Titan 500. At least, I’m pretty sure it came from POJ and not from the Titan… Either way, it fit, it looked like the others, and it worked.
I slapped the head on (upside down, it turns out, as I discovered 15 years later) and set about getting the thing to run. The fact that it was the dead of winter didn’t deter me- I had ridden bikes in the snow before, and I’m pretty sure at this point I had even invented my “ski-bike”. Imagine my chagrin when I suddenly and unexpectedly had a free motor with good compression- and no spark.
Electronics and I get along about as well as cats and water. It really doesn’t make much sense to me other than if you do it wrong, the smokes gets out and I’ll be darned if you can get the smoke back in. I didn’t realize this at the time, but a couple of years later I was tinkering with a Honda Twinstar that also had no spark. Very bad experience, both with stealerships and my fat fingers, that has led to a lifetime of angst for all things electronic. Don’t get me wrong, I can and do wire / troubleshoot / fix electronics, its just not my favourite thing in the whole wide world. The next few months were long and uneventful. I figured (rightly so it turned out) that the reason for the lack of spark was largely due to the missing key switch. There were 7 or so wires that were just hanging out of the battery area. I tried every combination I could think of with those five wires before I realized that one was a battery ground and one was a battery hot… Hmmm.. wonder what happens if I hook it up to power?
After even more experimenting, cleaning points, trying 50 different spark plugs, and hooking a battery up to it, I finally hit on a combination that GOT THE BIKE TO SPARK!!! One of the extra wires had to be grounded, and two of them had to be jumpered to power.
The second I had spark, it took all of three seconds to screw the plug in, squirt some gas through the carb, and give it a kick. WOW, is this bike every loud. IT RUNS!!! Well, it runs as long as you keep squirting gas in it while its hooked up to the battery charger. Oh yeah, and theres still no back tire.
Having triumphed over the biggest problem and getting the bike to run, there really wasn’t much left to do. As all good things seem to do, the story came to an end not to much later.
I did manage to score some parts from a motorcycle nut and get POJ on the road. This guy makes me look like an amateur. He had probably more than 100 bikes in various states of decompose. Waterbuffalos, Suzuki ram airs, Honda scramblers, dirt bikes, dual sports, street bikes, you name it, he had it! In his pile were two or three old Yamaha 100’s. Unfortunatley, most of them were Twinjets and built more for street. The twinjet is one sweet looking maching. Looks just like POJ but they had a TWO CLINDER 100cc oil injected engine sits under the tank! He “lent” me a back wheel that turned out to be too small but still worked and a few other little bits and pieces.
Armed now with the major missing piece and enough bicycle parts that I thought I could get it “on the road”, I set to work. The end result was a ratty old bike with a teeny back wheel, a rats nest of wiring hanging out from under the seat, a CAR BATTERY tied on to the rear rack with an old bicycle inner tube, bicycle cables cut / bent / tied on to get working throttle and brakes, and positively no silencer. Quite the opposite, in fact… It had a pipe in the shape of a megaphone, and when I say POJ was loud, POJ was LOUD.
The maiden voyage… I don’t recall exactly how well it went, but if my memory serves me correctly it was something like this: Dump just enough gas in for it to run for about 3 minutes. There was no fuel petcock, so we had just jammed a rubber stopper in the hole and ran a line from the special crossover bungs on the underside of the tank directly to the carb. The needle in the carb didn work worth a hoot so as soon as you put gas in it, it started spraying gas all over the place out the overflow. Once the gas was in and leaking (pre-mix, of course, cause the oil lines were long gone even though the tank was still there), hook the piece of extension cord we cut up over the positive terminal on the car battery tied to the back. Wiggle said connection until the dash lights came on, and then kick the starter! It started relatively well- usually first or second kick. Drat. Forgot earplugs. Shut bike off by removing extension cord from battery. Find helmet / ear plugs or roll the bike outside so the echo in the shed wouldn’t cause my head to implode. Re-attach cable.
Kick. Kick. Kick. Kick. Dump in more gas cause it all leaked out. Kick. Hey, its running! Click it into first, slowly let out the clutch, annnnnnddddd we’re moving!!! Give it a little gas and shift into second. What?! Neutral? Where’s second? Oh. Who the heck does the shift pattern ALL DOWN!?
At this point, POJ’s story gets a little blurry. Life, as it is said, is what happens while you are busy making other plans. I had grand dreams for POJ. Like a dying fire, they cooled and eventually went out with the onset of winter. It was a running bike, true, but it was ancient, heavy, loud, and unreliable. Turns out a fellow student at school was looking for something ancient, heavy, and loud. Well, he was really just looking for something that ran and he could actually ride. We eventually struck a deal- I gave him POJ in return for a ’76 Kawasaki KE175 that someone had taken great time to polish, shine, and update, then promptly blew the motor. I do remember taking POJ for one last spin on a VERY cold February evening. The next evening I was pushing the Kawasaki into POJ’s special parking place on the dark side of the garage- the side where my Dad piled all of his really REALLY useless stuff. That’s sayin something.
I was getting pretty good with wrenches. My parents had sent me to live with a friend of theirs in the summers that had a lawnmower repair shop and I had a learned a thing or 3 about engines. Mostly 4 stroke lawnmowers, true, but a thing none the less! I was confident I could figure this bike out in no time. Heck, it was practically brand new!
Little did I know. I never did come up with a good name for the KE, but if I had, it would have been something like Money Pitt, Pushmehome, Purgatory, or something along those lines. I should have just doused it in gasoline, lit a match, and walked away.
Eventually, I ended up with POJ again, and lets start our story there.
ORIGINAL FIRST POST:
So this could be interesting...
This was my first ever bike. Kind of a fun story- a friend and I were ice fishing about 15 yrs ago and we got cold / bored, and started exploring. Found a shed with a pile of old bike junk in it, of which was this bike we have since lovingly named POJ (Piece Of Junk). We contacted the owner and he gave it to us. We hauled it home, got it un-stuck, found a rear wheel for it, strapped a 12v car battery to the back rack, and road the crap out of it. :lol3 I sold / traded it away about 10 yrs ago, my friend ended up with it back about 2 yrs later and gave it back to me. Its been sitting in my parents shed since then, but now my pa wants it gone, so its going home with me this trip. Planning on putting her back together with some fresh paint / parts and ridin her again!!!
I popped the motor out one summer several years ago thinking I was going to restore it. Alas, the summer went to quickly and that was as far as I got. :cry
There are a suprisingly lot of parts available on fleebay for this bike, apparently they were pretty popular over in Thailand?
Found some info here: http://www.classicyams.com/brochures...brochures.html
Lead me to believe I have a '69 YL2C-A. According to the vin and this page: http://www.classicyams.com/spare-par...menumbers.html what I have is a '67 YL2C. Still not 100% sure.
Anyone else got one of these? I'm thinking it would be fun to semi-cafe it, basically just low handlebars and leave everything else stock, unless I can find a cool custom expansion chamber?
I've got an L5T-A with a YL-2 4 speed box engine in it and a YG5-T that has a 100 cc Lifan Honda clone grafted into it.
The frames are for most parts identical except for minor small details.
This bike is also the basis for the FS1E or "Fizzie" beloved by a lot of Brits as being their first bike. There are a lot of old parts available.
From my experience with the YL-2 engine was that you should be careful about who you buy NOS parts from. There are some Rocky piston/rings sets that had badly machined ring lands. Making the YL-2 more perky may have bad side issues with the old dynamo/starter, as it's often a cause of vibration and has a lot of extra flywheel weight.
That being said, in my first Dirt/flat track race I had a pair of tricked out Yamaha YL-2s hand my Suzi TS 100 it's hinder. But I think being a novice didn't help my chances either.
My project in waiting:-
Just have to finish building our new house before attacking the job! :rofl
We're getting ready to head home so I decided it would be easier to haul this bike down with the engine back in it. Spent 4 bucks for the missing hardware, took me about 1/2 an hour to pop the motor back in even with my two boys helping! Fun, simple bike.
Gonna have to clean up the points and advance mechanism...
Is it the bike or the Thing going," BRAAAAAAAAAP?" :evil
As of about 20 minutes ago... they both do. :deal
Good one! :lol3
Made a bit more progress last week. Got it home, spent some time figuring out the wiring and deciding what I want to do with it.
Wiring was a mess, the key switch is not the right one for this bike so it doesnt plug in and I dont have a key for it anyways. Took it apart and "made" a key to fit it...
I'm now pretty familiar with YL2 wiring. :lol3
Found the remnants of a birds nest behind all the wires. :huh
Thought I had it all figured out and suddenly lost spark. Turned out to be points in dire need of cleaning. Took em off, cleaned em up and filed them flat and walla, spark!
Makin progress. Got the new carb and cables, upper tripple clamp, and some other odds and ends in the mail yesterday.
Also installed the air fillter can... WOW was that hard. Its bolted on top to the frame and on bottom to the engine, which means you have to have the engine loose in order to get the bolts to line up.
Still to come: Clubman handle bars, bar end mirrors, and new shoes! Got a trick idea for a cafe racer "bump" behind the seat too, using another gas tank turned around and cut up.
Good Grief... Spent 3 frickin hours last night just getting the stinkin throttle cable to work right. Got the cables all attached, the oil pump set up, the cafe bars on, and the starter button wired up. Also got the engine cover back on over the carb with all the caps and plugs and lines. Hopin to get the other side done tonight, then do tires on Sat.
Took it for its maiden voyage this afternoon. Went 5 blocks, turned around went 2 blocks and snapped the chain. Coasted the remaining 3. Still have things to do like a kill switch, grips, bar end mirrors, front brakes and tire, misc nuts and bolts, and now, a new chain...
Thats pretty sweet dorkpunch, good story behind it too.
Thats just the story of how I got it... I havent told the story of how we caught the muffler on fire trying to make it quite... the CAR battery tied to the back rack to make it run... or how I traded it off, went away for a couple of years, and my friend ended up getting it back and gave it back to me. Lotsa memories. Not many of actually RIDING it, but hours and hours and HOURS of trying to get the dang thing to run.
That's nice, dryside bikes tend to age better than their rainbelt cousins.
I noticed someone has removed the prone to fracturing front fender and put a fork brace in it's place. I'd probably remove the overlay trail sprocket as it's going to cause problems with the chain.
It looks like you're running the L5T rear sprocket, those tend to lug the engine a bit in fourth with the 4 speed gear box, but with your 'cafe' set up it might work great. It's just a bit too high a gearing for a trailbike with 2.75"X17" trials pattern tread tires.
I have an extra key and ignition switch plus regulator.
Yup, the fender was long gone when we found the bike. The brace looks pretty home made, but I like the fenderless look.
The tires are 3.00x18, the small rear sprocket is a 37 tooth. Dont know what it will do yet, had it up to about 40 when the chain snapped.
I'd def. be interested in your ignition if it has a working key!!!
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