My Barn Twins

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by fxray, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. cycleman2

    cycleman2 Long timer

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    Yes you are right the common rule of thumb with these engines, as it is with any engine, don't overfill. That's why I drained some oil out. In the end get to know your bike and check the oil accordingly, sounds about right.
  2. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Thanks, Brett, but I have read in a number of places that, although the airhead keys have 5 cuts to work the pins on the ignition lock, the seat lock only has four pins. If you make a new key from the seat lock, you will likely need to file the first cut on the key to make it work the ignition lock. There is one chance in five that it will work with no cut there at all, which is a "5" cut. A "1" cut is the deepest, and and a "5" is no cut at all.

    I've read a ton about locksmithing in general, and airhead keys in particular. I've learned to look at an airhead key and tell you the bitting. I have tried 6 different (borrowed) airhead keys now, with no luck. I have mostly given up on the original keys magically reappearing (another long story unto itself). If I only knew the bitting for my "new" R90, I think I could make a key myself with a file. It is all rather fascinating, but I have decided to visit a locksmith on Monday morning and see what the pro can do.

    The ignition switch is sitting here on my desk right now. It looks like there is maybe a key code on the back of the switch body. With access to the proper database, I think that code would cross reference to the bitting. Given the bitting, a perfect key can be cut -- I understand that locksmiths have machines that can cut the key just from the numbers. We mere mortals don't have access to the key code/bitting database without becoming a licensed locksmith. Well, I think you maybe can buy the rights to use the database, but it is expensive. Anyway, that may not even be the key code on my switch. I'll report back!

    Thanks, Bob. I think I'd be nervous with the first stick you were using too. I guess I'll play around with my oil level versus air volume and may need another dipstick as well, once I get this bike going. While I'm at it, I like the idea of those ones with the plastic handles.

    washpark, the only person I have seen on here who disagreed with this belief is supershaft, who seems to be absent from the forum these days. I recall once when I had done an oil change on a Harley Ultra-Classic. I started the engine and let it run to fill the filter, etc. Then I shut it down, let it sit for a while, and checked the oil again. It was a little below the full mark. I topped it up, but accidentally got it a little over the mark.

    Right there on the stick it said, in all caps, "CHECK HOT DO NOT OVERFILL".

    I was in a hurry, and I thought, O.K., don't overfill . . . or . . . WHAT? I decided to leave it as it was, and see what happened. That didn't end well. :grim :lol3 :lol3

    Oh well, too many words and no pictures yet, so -- who amongst you old timers remember the Voevodsky Cyber Lite?:

    [​IMG]

    I never heard of it until last week, but now I own one. It was on this R90/6 that I just got. Note the fancy brackets to adapt it from car license plate width to fit a motorcycle plate.

    I was curious, so I did a google search. The first hit I read was an ad on page 10 of the September, 1980 issue of Cycle World (on Google Books). On the same page as the ad, editor Allan Girdler was talking about how, "Motojournalism should have a rookie of the year award, so Peter Egan could win it." The world was a younger place in those days.

    [​IMG]

    He went on to mention how Egan's story about a failed trip on his Norton Commando had gotten him hired at Cycle World. Interestingly (at least to me), 37 years later, retiree Peter Egan has a story in this month's issue of Cycle World, titled "The Norton Commando at FIFTY". This article also mentions that historical failed trip, which was so momentous in his life.

    That old issue also had an ad for the brand new 1980 XS650II G that I bought that year. I kept it for the next eleven years, and it was the only bike I owned during that whole period of time.

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, hidden among the numerous full-page cigarette ads, a story on the Triumph Bonneville still being built by the Co-op, Harley's new continuous rubber drive belt, the overwhelming complexity of fuel injection systems (almost like having a full, on-board computer), Cycle World did an interesting review of the Cyber Lite in their January, 1980 issue.
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  3. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin! Supporter

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    XS650 brings back fond memories... my son found an '81 Special with crapped transmission that he bought for $500. A couple of winters ago I futzed and putzed and, with his guidance on what he wanted, got that bike changed into his VT back roads bomber:
    [​IMG]


    That bike is sitting in my yard now, so I have a very fun bike to ride, for sure, with lots of cojones, though I really ought to get a less "street" rear sprocket!
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  4. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    A VT backroads bomber sounds perfect, Bob. I'll bet that you and your son had a good time working on it. Hey -- aren't you about due for another project? Winter's coming on. We need to be kept entertained.
  5. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin! Supporter

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    Yeah, it's a bit of condomumdrum right now... I do have plenty of house projects and other things to keep me busy, and a coupla itsy projects on the conversion, but.... I gotta get this figgered out! I do love the longer bike projects, if nothing else...as a carrot in front of a dumb mule!
  6. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    This afternoon was day #5 of the fuel tank vinegar soak. I drained the tank, strained the vinegar, rinsed the tank with water, and put the vinegar back in. Nearly all the factory liner is gone now, and the tank is looking good inside.

    With that done, I took the locking gas cap apart so that I could take just the lock part of it to the locksmith shop tomorrow. When I got it apart, I could see the end of a key sticking through the bottom of the lock! I lightly tapped on the end of the section of key, and then pulled it out from the topside. What a stroke of luck! At some time in the distant past, somebody had broken off their key in that lock. There was enough there that I had four of the five bitting cuts on the key. Only the cut nearest the shoulder was missing. My heart rate went up! What a break!
    :wings

    Then I remembered -- the gas cap was nearly always keyed differently from the ignition, steering, and seat locks, so this won't help me with an ignition key. :nah

    It would now be very easy to cut a new key for the gas cap, but I want it pinned to match the rest of the bike. Oh well, off to see the locksmith.
  7. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Yesterday, with the ignition lock/switch assembly, the lock I had removed from my gas cap, and the bit of broken key that I had found in the gas cap lock, I went to visit a locksmith. I asked him to "impression" a key to fit the ignition lock, then re-key the pins in the gas cap lock to work with his new key. I told him to use an Ilco Y-61 blank, which he did have in stock. He thought he could use the bit of broken key to get the barrel out of the gas cap lock more easily. Otherwise, he would have needed to pick it to disassemble the mechanism.

    Unlike my '74 R90/6, which has a five position ignition switch, this '76 R90/6 only has a three position switch. These positions are Off, Park, and Ignition. The key can be removed when the lock is in either the Off or the Park position, but not in the Ignition position. I was a little surprised to find that a blank key (no cuts at all) will easily turn the lock back and forth between the Off and the Park positions. The key cuts only come into play to turn the switch to the Ignition position, where the bike can be started.

    I was a little disappointed that he couldn't do the job while I waited, but I left the stuff with him and he is supposed to call me. If he is successful, the new key should open all the locks on the bike. If he can't do it, I will buy a used ignition switch for temporary use, until I find a locksmith that can do the job. That would let me use the bike, but I wouldn't be able to lock the fork, the seat, or the gas cap. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised and he will call me to say he got it done.
  8. OdyBandit

    OdyBandit Long timer

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    Good luck on they keys Ray. I found all the keys for my R65 even for the bags and the folding key. They got misplaced when we remodeled our house. Still looking for the R90 keys though. They’ll turn up I hope. I remember that cyberlite. I rode with a guy who had one. I sure wanted one but out of my budget. Also a friend had a XS 650, then he got a Moto Guzzi . I had to quit taking trips with him though. Halfway into them he would announce he was out of money and could he borrow some for the way back. Never did pay me back either, mooching Guzzi rider. The good old days. Have a good Thanksgiving. I’ll try and ride up your way one of these nice afternoons we’ve got coming up.
  9. Disston

    Disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    I used to have a Guzzi riding buddy. He rode too slow.
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  10. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Charlie, you know that everything is relative. It could be that he wasn't too slow; maybe you were just too fast!

    Keys, yeah. I'm reading Elspeth Beard's book, Lone Rider -- The first British woman to motorcycle around the world.

    [​IMG]

    It's a good read, especially if you like the old airheads. Her bike was a 1974 R60/6. The punishment her bike took on that trip was beyond amazing. My bike is almost identical to the one she had, but mine is 300 cc's bigger and has a disc brake up front. It's kind of embarrassing that I have yet to venture more than one state away, and she rode hers around the world in all conditions, when she was only 24 years old. Oh well!

    The book's on Amazon, and I do recommend it highly. click here

    Anyway, she fell into the trap of leaving her key in the fork lock while she was doing some work and accidentally moved the handlebars. She bent the key but didn't break it, so she took the key to a blacksmith shop in a back alley of Kathmandu. With only sign language, she told a ten year old kid that she needed a key made. He did the job from a strip of scrap metal, eyeballing the old key and using a hacksaw and a file to make a new one. The key worked!

    In the book, the kid did the job while she watched, so what's up with the seasoned locksmith I went to, and why am I worried? :lol3

    I had the CL350 out for a ride today, and it was great. Chilly, but great to be back on two wheels. So, Ody, if you feel like breaking out your "new" R80, give me a call. I'll probably be around. If I can break away from my project, we could take a little ride somewhere. I'll bring along enough money to get me halfway there and then borrow the rest from you. It'll let you relive your old memories!
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  11. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin! Supporter

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    Man, you got the best sensayuma.... love it! Enjoy the waning days of fall as best you (we!) can!

    :)
  12. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    My fuel tank finished its second round of vinegar soak with a bang yesterday. I meant to start on the POR-15 part of the process first thing that morning, but the weather was just too nice. I wound up exercising the TR6R and the '74 R90, and hanging out with James.A He was stripping the barrels and pistons (one of which had an awesome, valve-sized hole in its crown) off of a spare R80 engine because he was selling the bottom end. I figured that one more day of vinegar wouldn't hurt anything. Well, it really didn't, except that when I got home, there was a strong vinegar smell in the garage. Checking the tank, I noticed that the rubber stopper was gone from the filler neck, hence the smell. Normally, I gently remove that rubber plug once a day to relieve any pressure buildup. That keeps vinegar from seeping out around the plug and getting on the paint that I'm trying to save. Guess I forgot yesterday. I'm not sure of the launch trajectory, but I found the plug ten feet away, as the crow flies.

    Even after all that vinegar soaking, I have found it is wise to drop a small flashlight on a string down inside the tank for a final inspection. There is usually some of that BMW Factory liner that sticks in the seams and corners. This tank was no exception, so I used part of an old wire coat hanger as a pick to get the last bits out. As on my other R90 tanks, there were some liner fragments too large to flush out through the petcock bungs. I got them out with one of those extractor/grabber tools:

    [​IMG]

    Today, I finished with the kit:

    [​IMG]

    The tank is now doing its 96 hour POR-15 cure time. Of course, at my pace, that means maybe next spring. The inside of the tank looks great though, and the vintage 1976 Havana Gold paint is still intact.

    Ray
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  13. Jake

    Jake crustacean

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    I've been off the forums for a while - what a thread to come back to for some great reading! Ray, I read every darned word of this and must say that your engaging writing matches your mad garage skills. Thanks so much for doing all of this - what a gem. Bookmarked, saved, archived, and is now a reference. I will be putting bandages on my R90/6 for a number of years until I have the time (read: retire) to go at it properly. I shall look upon my Clymer with due cyncism and good sense. I am in the midst of my M/C and caliper rebuild (plus new floats for the Bings) which is why/how I found this thread. You almost have me pining for my brother's old BSA 441 Victor. Almost!

    Great stuff. Please keep it coming.
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  14. James.A

    James.A ILL Airmarshal

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    441 Victor; when I was a teenager, I watched one of those soak up years of neglect parked up against my back-yard neighbors house. Rain, snow, heat, bees, etc. Having started on a '67, 650 Thunderbolt, the 441 Victor is a BSA I would like to own just for the memory of that poor bike being let to ruin.

    Ray has taught himself the ins and outs of airheads. I am happy to know the man. He is amongst the best of the best.
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  15. Geezerrv

    Geezerrv Been here awhile

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    I've never met Ray in person but hold him in high esteem. First he put together this awesome thread and then rebuilt it due to a corporate grab of the pictures he had stored. I really enjoy him referring others to the correct page of his thread to answer questions being posed. I wish I had the discipline to document work I've done. Kudos Ray, if I get east of Mississippi River I hope look you up. JT
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  16. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ^^^Jake, James.A, & JT, Thanks for all those nice comments. Just like Jake, I'll be doing M/C, caliper, and carburetor rebuilds in the near future. At least it's my second time, so there will be less learning curve and indecision for me. Parts are en route from Bob's BMW right now, and I can look back in my thread to see how I did it the last time around on the other bike.

    Here's a word (lots of them, actually) about fuel caps and a fireman. First the fuel caps:

    James.A sold me the cap off his beautiful blue airhead display tank when I was over at his garage Saturday. It's strictly a display tank because, although it looks perfect on the outside, the top is so thin from rust or corrosion hidden on the inside that it is no longer strong enough to use. Why not? Well when you try to close the filler cap, the top starts to buckle before you can apply enough force to make the latch snap shut. It makes boink boink sounds like an old fashioned, flex-bottom oil can. A less honest man would have sold it to some unsuspecting victim on the internet long ago, but James keeps it for a conversation piece. I have truly never seen another one like it! :lol3

    Since the cap was uncloseable (at least on that tank), and the chrome on the cap is pretty badly pitted, he made me a very good price. You may wonder why I wanted such a cap, but it had two redeeming factors. The latch button is in perfect condition, and there is a working detent spring still present to hold the cap in the open position when fueling. Neither of those parts are available separately from BMW.

    If you recall from an earlier post, I had no keys for this bike, and had removed the ignition lock and the gas cap lock and left them with a locksmith. I had found a bit of broken key in the gas cap lock, so I also left that with the locksmith. The plan was for him to "impression" a key blank to fit the ignition lock, then re-key the pins in the gas cap lock to work with his new key.

    When I stopped by the lock shop on Monday, the man said he had made a working key for the ignition switch, but had been unable to remove the cylinder from the gas cap lock to re-key it to match the new ignition key. Instead, he had used the broken bit of old key to make a new one to use on the gas cap. It works fine, but is different from the ignition key.

    That's O.K., because I had decided by now that I really didn't want to have a locking gas cap to fool with anyway. Even left unlocked, I don't like the way it looks. So -- I set about shuffling parts between the cap that came on the bike and the one that I got from James.A.

    The main cap bodies are exactly the same, with buttons, springs and pins being the only difference in the assemblies. Both caps needed new seal disks, so I drilled out the rivets and tapped the center post on each to accept an M6x.8x10mm machine screw. Then I removed the detent spring from the James.A cap and moved it to the less pitted one that came on my new bike. Somehow, there was no detent spring in that cap, and it looked as though one had never been installed from new?!? I also installed the lock mechanism (now with a working key) onto the pitted cap.

    Here's what I ended up with. The tank I'll be using has a cap with a button, not a lock:

    [​IMG]
    (That's not a scuff mark near the top pinstripe, its just a reflection of my wife's car.)

    The cap is a little pitted, but not bad at all:

    [​IMG]

    It now has a detent spring to hold it open for fueling:

    [​IMG]

    It still needs a new gasket disk, but with the rivet replaced by a machine screw, that will be easy enough when I get the new disk.

    The pitted cap is now on the dented tank that originally came on my '74 R90/6. This tank is stored on a shelf. There had been a rubber plug in the filler opening to keep out the dust and dirt, so this is a step up. Here's what the locking cap looks like:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sans detent spring, this one will need to be held open for fueling -- really only a minor irritant:

    [​IMG]

    So, this tank is POR-15 lined and has a cap now. The chrome pits, missing detent spring, minor dings in the tank, and absent roundels just make it a lower echelon spare. It is still wearing original paint and pinstriping and that looks pretty good. There will be a need for it sometime.

    Enough about fuel caps and on to the fireman:

    Yesterday, our fellow inmate, OdyBandit stopped by on his way home from a publicity shoot with the local TV station over in Peoria! He was not on his newly acquired R80, but was driving a really cool fire truck that had been needed for a backdrop in the TV news story.

    [​IMG]

    For a number of years, starting well before he retired from his main job, he has been associated with the fire and rescue department in the rural town closest to his farm. He is now the assistant chief, and this is a specialized truck that he and the other firemen have put together, doing most of the work themselves, for handling off-road brush fires.

    It has a souped-up Duramax and off-road tires, and can go anywhere. I swear that every available inch of space on this truck is occupied with some necessary piece of equipment -- all cleverly and neatly stowed. It carries both water and foam capability (water part is empty for the winter), and can go most anywhere. They have installed and plumbed jets on the front bumper so that they can put down a blaze as they drive forward:

    [​IMG]

    The hose on the reel can be fully deployed, or can be held through the window by a fireman riding shotgun in the truck while on the move.

    When my neighbor came driving down the street and saw the truck, his first thought was that I had one of my bikes on fire in my garage. When he got past that idea, he right away asked Ody if he could work the lights, horns, and sirens for the neighbor kids. No sooner said than done, and it was time for hands on the ears.

    [​IMG]

    If his R90S project comes out as nice as this truck, it'll be special. Hats off to an airhead rider who gives a lot of time and effort to his community! He got blocked out in the web site picture, so here he is with his department's truck:

    [​IMG]

    p.s. My newly made ignition key works well in the ignition switch, but won't budge the other two locks at all. I can't blame the locksmith because he didn't have those locks to work with. I plan to fool around with one of the spares that he made me, and see if I can make it fit all three locks. I'm no locksmith, but I've read all about the BMW bitting and I want to have a go at it.

    Ray
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  17. guywithchickens

    guywithchickens Been here awhile Supporter

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    Agree! He's already helped me several times with my R65 build.

    http://advrider.com/index.php?threads/new-airhead-project.1260761/
  18. OdyBandit

    OdyBandit Long timer

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    Hey Ray thanks for the pr plugs and the pictures. A little background. I’ve read and reread Ray’s thread as I’ve got some barn find projects. After seeing his pictures I realized he lived close to me. He stopped by a few weeks ago to give me some advice, like get them out of the barn and into the shop. I paid Ray a visit Tuesday and when I pulled up he had the garage open and facing out ready to go we’re his Tr6, Cl350 and 74 R90/6. Wow they are all pretty. If you’ve followed his thread the before and after is amazing. Then we went over his 76 R90 up on the lift and I learned everything you need to know about BMW gas caps. Before I left he got the Triumph out , tickled the Amal and kicked her over. Thanks again Ray for sharing your knowledge. It is appreciated.
  19. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    Those bikes don't have to be just memories, you know, especially for James.A. Right in our neck of the woods, there are a brace of 441's just waiting for you (or at least they were there the last time I looked):

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The one with a headlight is streetable, and the other is built hot for off-road. If memory serves correctly, that is a blue T-Bolt hooked to the hack in the background of the lower picture. Dusty, but very nice! Like a lot of British bikes, they could stand a new set of gaiters.

    Speaking of BSA, I have what is left of an A65 crankshaft soaking in a 5 gallon bucket of Metal Rescue (well, the generic version thereof). From my days in the machine shop, I recall a drawing notation "FAO", which stood for "Finished all over". That meant, for example, that a gear pinion that started as a rough forging would have no rough, forged surface left anywhere when the machining was done. This crankshaft could have been noted as "RAO", meaning "Rusted all over".

    [​IMG]

    It was supposed to come out of the bath yesterday morning, but I got sidetracked ordering parts for the '76 R90 and forgot about it. I don't think there will be any harm, except that the metal will turn gray. I'd better go see what it looks like.
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  20. James.A

    James.A ILL Airmarshal

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    Aw hell Ray, I need another bike like I need to kicked right square in the noots. The 441 with the headlight does have the best heat sink for the Zener diode hung out in the airflow under the bottom yoke.

    I do have a weakness for sidecars, however. That chair might look nice on my black 750.