Saturday, September 22, 2012

Vintage Oil Changes

This is the used oil from my 1955 Mondial. It has no real oil filter only a wire screen. And this is only after a couple hundred miles. Note the Mondial has a wet clutch, so some metal is to be expected. Looks like the stars in the milky way!

Clearly, frequent oil changes are important.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Prepping for the Giro d' California 2012

Balancing the front wheel.

Lubing the brake pivot:

And I checked the pads and checked adjusted and lubed all the cables. More prep tomorrow!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fox Shox

I searched all over for a pair of these... seem as rare as hen's teeth! Finally found guy who had a pair from his old GPz550 race bike. These where the hot ticket back in the day.

I'm just hoping I can get them properly rebuilt for a reasonable price...

Comparing Kerker Exhausts

I just received a "new old stock" Kerker exhaust that I found on eBay. In the eBay advertisement, it was reported to be for a KZ550 LTD. But I gambled that it might fit my GPz 550.
On receiving it I was thrilled to find this sticker inside the header!

So apparently this is exhaust IS for my bike!

Here is another cool sticker I found in the header.

The muffler has an "XJ" stamp on it, and the end of the header is stamped "191-101".

I called Supertrapp, who bought Kerker years ago and asked about these numbers. The helpful guy dug up an old paper catalog and called back. The numbers didn't match his caralog perfectly, but he said the system appeared to be for an 81-83 GPz 550 or an 80 - 83 KZ550. His catalog showed a "5" at the front of the header number: 5191-101.

Interestingly, this exhaust is shaped significantly differently from older the black one I bought earlier. Also the baffle on the new chrome one has a cast end on it and reaches all the way up into the header. These are definitely different exhausts.

 Note the chrome muffler has a significantly longer baffle. You can also see the stock factory fiberglass wrapping was simple done and held on for installation with masking tape.
 The black muffler has a shorter baffle and came with a mounting bracker. I'll have to fabricate one for the chrome pipe.

 Note the nice cast baffle end piece that came with the Chrome exhaust. 

But both have a small baffle tube down the center.

 Note the chrome pipe definitely bends to the left in this picture (to the right side of the bike when mounted).
Could it be that the Chrome exhaust is a "street version" with easy access for oil and filter changes. And the black one might need to be removed to access the oil and filter?
I guess I won't know until I try mounting them.
Not everything is perfect. The "new" chrome pipe has some rust in between the down pipes. It also has other minor corrosion.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Disassembling the calipers and master cylinder

From the outside my calipers looked "OK". My GPz550 only has about 15,000 California miles on it, so stuff generally looks good. But it's 31 years old so this needs closer inspection. When I test rode the bike before riding it, the seller said the brakes had been freshly bled, and they did have pressure. But on my short and slow test ride the pressure varied a lot, and once the lever came back to the bar! Not cool. I haven't ridden the bike since. ;-)

I loosened all the bolts before I pulled the entire front brake system from the bike (as all those banjo bolts and caliper split bolts are hard to loosen when you are holding the caliper in your hand!). To remove the piston from the first caliper I was able to use pressure from pulling the hand lever. But to get the piston from the other caliper I've heard people use air pressure. Hmm... thus I ended up cutting one of the lines and making this gizmo: 

When I pulled the dust seals, I found one was actually torn. And here is how the piston bores looked. On the left you can see some corrosion just inside of the oil seal and on the right ( the other caliper) you can see a line of build up that must have been "behind" the piston.  

Opening the master cylinder things looked pretty gunky.

And it looked gross down the bore as well.

 The good news is all of this looks to me like it will polish right up up. So here are all the parts ready for cleaning:

Steering head race

As my "new" 1981 GPz550  is 31 years old, I am going through it and checking all the "running gear". This is the upper steering head race. You can just see a little wear. I did buy replacement needle bearings but I decided this little wear was OK, as replacing the head races is a real pain. I've done it a couple times on other bikes... with dubious results for bearings that weren't to bad to begin with.  Also, banging out the head races with the bike on the rear stand and a block under the engine is fraught with peril! And another issue is that if the height of the new tapered roller bearings is different than the old bearings then the headlamp brackets that fit just perfectly between the triple clamps might be the wrong height.

So I just cleaned, installed new balls with fresh grease.

And then of course, after the forks and bars are back on, I could still feel a little play and had to disassemble twice and tighten the bearings a bit more to get rid of the play. It seems this is always true every bike I do this on!