RD03 Africa Twin restoration

Discussion in 'Japanese polycylindered adventure bikes' started by MassiveLee, Feb 7, 2015.

  1. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    This thread will slowly depict my process into bringing back a bought sight unseen 1988 RD03 (first year) Africa Twin from Southern France with 130,000km and ridden to Tunisia's desert before being freighted back to Montreal.

    First, except for new tires, an oil change, front brake fluid change and replacement of front caliper seals, I have done nothing to the bike after purchase. It worked flawlessly but consumed 4 litres of oil in 7,000km. Oil was eithr 10w40 synth (which is not recommended for that engine), or very low quality Lybian-sourced 15W50 dinosaure juice. Therefore the engine is not 100% at fault for its consumption. I will only drop the engine, and fit new piston rings and new valve seals.

    In the Tunisian desert, not too far from the Algerian border.

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    Now in my garage. I will have to roganize a bit to make room for removed parts during the two months resto.



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    First, let's start by mentionning that the RD03 was built and assembled by HRC, not on the regular assembly lines. And I think it shows. The 27 year old bike with now close to 140,000km doesn't have a speckle of rust and all painted surfaces are still very shiny. They sure are dusty, may have a bit of grease, but it is nothing that rubbing with WD40 will not clean. The fact that this RD03 is a bike that has spent all its life in Southern France did help. I have seen Northern France as well as British bikes with front and rear subframes totally flaky, as well as the main frame with roce crispies all over it. That being said, during my quest for the ideal RD03 back in November 2014, I concluded a few things. The RD03 now has a cult status in Europe, and especially in Germany. So, expect high prides for nice exemples. Becsause there's a matket, a lot of bikes are now pulled from damp garages or barns. Owners usually have no clue of the bikes' history and most likely just bought them to make a few bucks. That being said, I have seen several exemples plagued with rust but with shiny body parts. Those still have value as body pârts in tip-top shape are very hard to get. But do expect a full resto on the frame and subframes. And beware of electrical connectoons. They may be in poor corroded shape.

    Back to my bike. A quick rub and the dirt disapears, leaving a shiny coat of paint. Just as virgin s when it came out from HRC.

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    Original stickers still there. For a while, I thought that the frame was too shiny to be original and that perhaps it wqs involved in n accident and repainted. Don't think so now.

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    Many RD03s are rusted there. Not this one.

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    Tabs on the front rad protection grills are broken. I will need to source some good ones.

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    Darn fuel tank is perfect and shiny, except for tht ding. It hurts.

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    The splines are perfect, and the output shaft has zero play. But 27 years of accumulated chain liub looks like that. Once the engine is out of the frame, I will Karcher it like a mofo on drugs... ;-)

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    So, basically the plan is to rejuvante the RD03 with as many original parts. If I can avoid painting, I will. Considering that spares are getting pricier, I have started collecting body parts. Fuel tanks, front cowl, side panels etc. Original paint, original stikers underneath, etc Because the bike will be ridden, I may keep two sets of bodies. One mint and one for going in the woods ;-)
    #1
  2. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    So, as of Saturday afternoon, the front end is removed. The front structure that holds the headlamp and cowl is not rusted, but it is quite dull. I will beadblast and powder coat a shiny black, along with the center stand and side stands. BTW I cured the sidestands exagerated slopiness by fitting 0.80mm stainless shims on each side of the pivot bracket. It works marvel.

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    No real bad news. Oil in the fork was descent. Bearing had already been changed for tapered ones. There was a very slight knocking on bumps. I will inspect if the races are good, and if so, I will simply readjust. I already have spare bearing and seals anyway.

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    Bearings could have used a bit more grease

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    Oil was relatively clear, but there were some deposits at the bottom. Hence the darker color.

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    Surprise in the fork. There's a long spring and a short one, I didn't expect that. Can't see them in the picture. Sorry. I will fit some Ricor Intiminator valves. The blue (turned black) rubber fork gaters are currently in the washing machine with some jeans and socks. Hopefully they will clean up fine to a bright blue (the gaiters). [​IMG]

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    Edit - Here are the pîctures showing the electrical connections. It may help others reassemble the bike. The sequence shows when taking apart.

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    #2
    Nihon Newbie likes this.
  3. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    north vancouver bc
    I f'n love the older Euro beasts.
    I picked up a Super Tenere over there, last spring.
    Rode it for 5000 k's before shipping it back to Vancouver.
    Best.Trip.Ever. :D
    #3
  4. yamalama

    yamalama wet coaster

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    north vancouver bc
    I chucked some usd forks on mine, when I got back.
    Best.Mod.Ever. :D
    #4
  5. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    Trying to keep her original (at least cosmetically). Therefore, I will fit some Ricor Inteminator valves to help the front suspension. No USD fork ;-).
    At the rear, as I am having a friend, who happens to be an approved Ohlins rebuilder, rebuild the Showa shock.

    BTW When Honda announces that North America will not get (again) the 2015 Africa Twin, we should then decide to host a meeting with all the XTZ and ATs that North Amercian never got ;-)
    #5
  6. Leo.G

    Leo.G Is still learning

    Joined:
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    Really nice rebuild!

    It happens to be a little difficult to see the mechanics of theese beasts in pics...

    Now that I have the chance.. I'm subscribed!
    #6
  7. Noprogram

    Noprogram High Plains Drifter

    Joined:
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    255
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    New Zealand
    Looks like it's in great condition! Looking forward to the rebuild :D
    #7
  8. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    Found my front brake master must be very early generation as it is missing the 20mm long adapter. The thread seems to be 10mmx1.25.
    I removed the piston and will rebuild the MC. Piston bore is rustfree.

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    Fuel tank is removed. Process is simple. Close the left and right fuel inlets. Disconnect the fuel level sensors on the front left hand side. Undo the rear bolts and the two front sidebolts.

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    Both fuel level sensors are dead. I will test them again and will try to fix them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjREKxkUtU4

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    Still no rust, but lots of accumulated dust.

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    The engine is dry. Carbs are dusty and I suspect they've been leaking for a while, hence the crust of dust.

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    Carbs will be taken apart, refinished and rebuilt.

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    The two overflow hoses. For future reference.

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    Popped the air collector

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    The air collector is cracked

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    #8
  9. africadero

    africadero ronny-king

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    belgica
    I'm rebuilding the same bike, so this is very interesting. I've repainted or polished each item I put back on. Mine is almost back on his wheels. Then I'll do the engine.

    Good luck with your rebuild. I will be following this very close:clap
    #9
  10. tattewell

    tattewell Mad Poser

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    Hurry up and finish it so we can put in an Africa Twin team for the roaming rally in end May.
    #10
  11. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    I shall be ready by the end of March. There will be minimum powder coating being outsourced. I will paint all the silver stuff myself with Wurth Silver paint. Handlebars to be painted with Wurth Gold paint.

    All fasteners will be zinc plated.

    Oh, and I just fnished drafting radiator protections as my flimsy OEM units are destroyed. I will have the protections laser cut from lightweight aluminum. I will send them out for anodizing along some other jobs.
    #11
  12. RED CAT

    RED CAT Bumpy Backroader

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    How much hassel was it getting it registered in Canada? Good project.
    #12
  13. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    Super easy as it is older than 15 years.

    Lee
    #13
  14. tattewell

    tattewell Mad Poser

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    in other words, no RIV required... just an inspection and some money changes hands.
    #14
  15. africadero

    africadero ronny-king

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    belgica
    Hey Icelandmg

    Youre clutch cover bolts need a 12 NM torque.

    I'll try to find some pics of my (slow) progress. I hope MassiveLee won't mind us highjacking his tread :eek1
    #15
  16. africadero

    africadero ronny-king

    Joined:
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    This is how my RD03 looked before I desassembled it. after more than 20 years of abuse and the last ten years with a side-car it needed a rebuild.

    I'm not interested in originality. I want my bike to be as good as new again for the next decade. This is my second RD03, I like these bikes so much, i'll never sell it and it will be the last bike I would keep.

    Attached Files:

    #16
  17. africadero

    africadero ronny-king

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    Front

    Attached Files:

    #17
  18. africadero

    africadero ronny-king

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    Rear

    Attached Files:

    #18
  19. MassiveLee

    MassiveLee Banned

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    I don't mind a few OT comments, but this is perhaps a bit too much. Pretty sure the posters could remove their posts and start a new topic. ;-)

    Post #16 to #21 should be removed. Thanks.

    Lee
    #19
  20. BushX

    BushX Been here awhile

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    Nice resto project. You may want to replace those rubber boots between the carbs and engine. The get old, leak, and are likley the source of the black deposits between carb and engine. They also can cause tuning issues. I have a 88 Hawk gt that I've owned, raced, modified, and rebuilt, since '92, engines are similar (actually swapable) so feel free to hit me up with any engine questions.
    #20