Friday, 12 September 2014

More problems...

Oh dear, I encountered more problems with the ST today. Whilst out on a ride I noticed it was backfiring quite a lot, then as I entered into Cambridge it done one all mighty backfire, the exhaust note changed afterwards but did appear to run slightly better.
I pulled over to take a look and noticed that I now had two holes in my rear exhaust silencer.  Never mind I thought, I will carry on with my intended route but the backfiring came back so I decided to head home, not wanting to get any further away with a troubled bike. I made it home but the mystery as to why it started back firing still remains. maybe it was that I run it extremely low on fuel the week before, or perhaps one of the holes in the exhaust silencer developed before the journey causing it not to have enough back pressure. All I know now is that I have to buy a new silencer and possibly collector box :-(

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Moto-bins open day...

Today was my mates birthday, and I said to him that I was going to the Moto-bins open day in Lincolnshire. What's more, as it was his birthday, he could ride my F800GT as I was riding my beloved ST that day.
The journey encompassed a variety of roads, some of which I had done previously on my fantastic off the cuff ride a few weeks earlier.
Once we got there it was great to meet fellow BMW enthusiasts and talk about the bikes.
The journey home was just as  good taking lots of minor roads in and even coming across some other bikers on sports bikes which I just couldn't help myself when a couple of them over took me on the straight, but when it came to the bends I was all over them like a bad rash! My mate just a safe distance behind laughing to himself as he knew just what I was doing.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Oh dear, it broke down on me...

Today I set off on the ST heading for Scunthorpe to go and offer up a couple of screens to see which will fit best with my idea of mounting my sat nav above the instruments. Right from early on something didn't feel right with the running of the ST but none the less I carried on. It got me to my location where I tried the screens and decided on one which I then bought and fitted right there and then.
Then whilst riding on the homeward journey the engine started to cut out intermittently. I pulled over onto a narrow footpath along the side of the road, got off and I gave it a few minutes rest, and started the engine fine, revved it up and all seemed OK, so I headed off again. But it was not long before it started to cut out again so to check if I was losing electrical power I decided to flash the headlight to see if the blue main beam light lit when it cut out, and it did. But surprisingly it also picked up and appeared to run better when I did that so to get up the next hill I flashed my headlight each time it cut out which seemed to work bizarly! I soon came across a bus stop and decided this was the best place to stop and take a good look at what was going on.
Off came the seat and the fuel tank in just a few minutes. I then remembered reading a tip on the Moto-bins website saying that one of the very few unreliable parts for these bikes was the ignition coil and it could give an intermittent running behaviour. So out came the tools and I removed the coil. gave it a good clean up with an old duster I had stored under the seat thinking that if there was a slight crack any dampness would cause it to track. I removed the ignition leads and cleaned inside there too. There did seem a bit of dampness and I expect that is where I power washed the bike a few days ago, though it ran fine the day after the power wash. So with a clean coil re-fitted, I started the engine and all seemed well again, so I proceeded with re-fitting the tank and seat ready to ride off again and see what happens.
To my surprise it all ran very well, so I thought it must be that coil faulty. I then remembered that Moto-bins was in Lincolnshire somewhere and I was also in Lincolnshire right now too so I checked their website for the address and then used Google maps on my phone to see how close I was. It was in fact south east of me so still on my way home all be it away from my planned route. I decided to head over in that direction and see if I could make it, or close to it so I could buy a new coil. Well the bike went well and I popped in to Moto-bins and purchased one of the new type replacement ignition coils.
Not quite how I intended the day to go but a great learning experience showing that these bikes can be fixed on the side of the road quite easily!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Fantastic ride...

Today I had an unexpected, but truly fantastic ride on the ST.
It started out as a last minute ride to my local BMW dealer and after some slow boring congested traffic, I got fed up and took to some small back roads, many of which I hadn't been on before.

The sun was shining, I had no satnav, and was just making the journey up turn by turn. I found myself on some very small but paved roads in between fields of recently harvested corn with some open bends where you can see the road surface all the way round the bend and to the next one. The excitement of it all meant I carried on and on not thinking about my purpose of the visit for a while just soaking up every turn and bump in the road, enjoying biking like the good old days before lots of traffic about on a bike that was just perfect for these roads. I thought to myself, it doesn't get any better than this!

Of course, I eventually realised that time was ticking by and I had to get to the dealer and back, then pack my bags for a bike trip the next day to Yorkshire on my newer F800GT.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Back home...

That was an excellent four days at the HUBBUK event. Met some great people and got plenty of tips about the ST and overlanding. Bike went well on the way home and the dirty look quite suits it!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Great day with the TRF!

Wow, that was some ride. Think it may have been a bit more than mild off roading when we had to lift the ST out of the rut so I can ride on top and not get the engine stuck between the sides of the rut. Well at least I didn't need to use the side stand!
The ST is looking a bit dirty now, but at least it proves it has been on a mini adventure down less travelled roads/tracks!
A big thanks to Matthew, Mark & Paul of the TRF for getting us all through the day.

Out with the TRF...

Blimey, only the second day of riding this bike and I have agreed to go out with the local TRF at the HUBBUK event for some mild off roading. Well this will be a test for the bike...

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Arrived OK...

Well I have arrived at Donnington for the HUBBUK 2014 event OK. Couple of minor issues with the bike on its first real journey since getting it back on the road. The trip counter gets to 9.9miles and then goes no further although the odometer still counts the miles OK, and it wouldn't tick over, but apart from that the journey was good and I am so glad I took the back roads route. Got the tent setup OK so I am now set for a fantastic fours days with other like minded people.

Oh' bugger...

Bugger, bugger, bugger, the latch to hold the left pannier to the frame has just broke. With just over 6 hours until I set off to the HUBBUK event I have no time to do a repair. So a ratchet strap is my temporary repair, doesn't look pretty but it will do the job, hopefully!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Last minute jobs...

Well tomorrow I am heading off on the R80ST to the HUBBUK event, but as usual, things have not gone to plan and I find myself fitting two new lower throttle cables. Then after a test ride I decided to adjust the carbs again and that then meant I had to balance them for the third time.
Another job was installing the tank bag modifying the tank cover from a Ducati Monster that I had laying around in the garage.
Next thing is to load the bike up with my camping gear etc.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Modified side stand...

Well I have been struggling with both the side stand and centre stand on the ST so time to work out how I can modify them to make it all a bit easier.
With the side stand being mounted on the left engine bar, it is a long way forward, so my short legs cannot extend it out before I get off the bike. Coupled with the fact it automatically retracts when no weight is on it I find that I have to get off the bike before deploying it. So after a prototype bracket which proved the theory but failed because it was not strong enough, I came up with a suitable solution. Pictures to follow.
Now the centre stand on the BMW twins in the early 80's seem to be notoriously bad and many people struggle with them. I then learnt that BMW came up with a modified stand to help the situation but these are now no longer available.
However, I have been shown the correct method of using the centre stand and although still not as easy as many motorcycles, it has made a difference so I will settle with that.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

MOT day...

Well today the ST went in for an MOT and as expected, it passed! just got to get the road tax now and I will be ready to ride :-)

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Front brake woes...

OK, I cannot put it off any longer; it is time to assemble the front brake system. For some reason, this has been one of those jobs that I kept putting off; preferring to polish or paint other bits, but it has to be done now. I started by honing out the master cylinder bore then cleaning it all up and re-assembling with a new piston/seal kit before mounting it back on the handlebar right lever assembly. I then cleaned and re-assembled the front brake calliper using the original seals as there didn’t look anything wrong with them and there was no corrosion or parts seized. The original problem of the front brake seizing on was just the brake lever pivot that had seized. As this had an aftermarket braided hose on it I looked carefully at both ends, the calliper end seemed fine with a convex ended male fitting to go into the calliper which had a concave female inlet, as expected. But upon checking the MC end of the brake hose, I noticed that the MC again had a concave female outlet but the end of the male fitting was also concaved. This just confused me as my previous experiences with brake hydraulics said that this was wrong. However, that is how it came off so that is how I will put it back together as it all worked OK before. I then filled the reservoir with brake fluid ready to bleed the front brake system. Unfortunately, whatever I tried, nothing was working, I couldn’t even bleed the master cylinder on its own using a bleed nipple in the end. So I took it all apart again and double checked everything, put it back together and it was still the same. Re-fitted the original piston/seal assembly in the MC but still could not bleed the brake. Could it be that brake hose issue that I was concerned about? After much Googling and checking with other ST owners, I was re-assured that this was the normal setup so I ruled that out. Time was running out now and this needed to be done within the next week to stand any chance of getting it ready for the HUBBUK event. So without further delay, I ordered a brand new, complete master cylinder which came within a couple of days and once it was installed the front brake system was bled without any problems. Go figure that!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Cleaning of fuel tank.

If you have read the post towards the beginning of this blog you will have seen how bad the carbs were gummed up after years of standing with unleaded fuel in them.
Well the fuel tap and tank were just the same...
Just removing the fuel filler cap was an effort as it had rusted in place pretty tight, but after squirting plenty of WD40 around it and gently tapping it with a plastic hammer I was able to persuade it to unscrew. Removing the fuel tap also revealed the gum in the bottom of the tank that was like pulling soft toffee apart.
So having seen all this I knew I had some serious cleaning to do and looked on-line to see what was available. Frost Auto restoration had the POR-15 fuel tank cleaning and sealing system which I thought would be just the job so purchased a kit. I had read somewhere else that to clean flaking rust from the inside of your fuel tank, you should put stones in the tank with a  cleaning solution and shake it thoroughly.
I first mixed up a solution of the POR-15 Marine clean and swished that around the tank, before draining it out to help loosen some of that gum.
I then mixed up another lot of the same solution and this time placed 100 carefully selected stones from my driveway, ensuring each one had nice sharp edges to get any flaking rust or old fuel tank sealer off. Another vigorous shaking session, followed by 20 minute rests in between each one, (this rest was mainly for me, not the solution to do its work)! I then left it over night and proceeded with more shaking the next morning before draining and rinsing the solution out of the tank. It was certainly looking much cleaner now.
Now before putting in the next solution, which was a POR-15 Metal Prep I had to remove the stones. I already knew that these stones were to big to come out of the fuel tap hole but thought it would be easy enough to tip the tank upside down and get them out of the filler hole, the way they went in. But that was not that easy. I turned the tank over, shook it all about but not one single stone came out! Oh, bummer I thought, that was not how I planned it. So I went over to my tool box to get my long claw tool and proceeded to go fishing for stones. This again wasn't as easy as I had thought, resulting in only one stone every 4 or 5 grabs, ( I never was any good at fishing, I used to go with my brother, sitting only 20 feet from him on the same river bank and he would be there pulling fish out and every time  I reeled in I just had a tangled mess. I even tried casting into his swim, much to his annoyance, but still didn't get many fish, so this task was going to be a challenge right from the start) but eventually I got all 100 back out!
I then proceeded to using the metal prep solution as instructed and carefully dried the inside of the tank out ready for the sealer.
However, it was at this point that I decided to do some more re-search into sealers as I had been warned that sometimes they can cause other problems. Googling this informed me that the POR-15 sealer was actually OK as it was OK to use with modern fuels that contain ethanol additives.
But what this extra research also told me, was that it was best to remove the old fuel tank sealer, (the matt red finish in BMW tanks), before applying the new sealer. To do this you need to user POR-15 Por-Strip, a powerful paint stripper. The problem with this is that I did not want to re-paint the outside of the fuel tank so in the end I decided not to use the sealer coat as it was not as though I had any leaks from badly rusting parts of the tank. The whole purpose of the clean was just to remove the old sludge and gum which the process so far had done very nicely.

So the tank is clean, now I just have to clean up the old fuel tap and replace the seals within it. It looked like  a simple enough job, but things didn't turn out  how I expected!
I had borrowed a small ultrasonic cleaning tank from a friend, I then used a solution of water and white vinegar, put the tap assembly into this and started it going giving it 2 15 minute sessions, it looked OK but I thought it would be best left in the solution over night before dis-assembling it the next day. I came to get it out the next morning and to my horror, part of the alloy body had just corroded away I  the solution meaning that this fuel tap was toast, oops! Oh, well I will order a new  fuel tap and take this opportunity to get one with a horizontal outlet which I think will make the fuel pipe routing better.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Where did the time go?

I started this project back in November last year with the aim of getting the bike on the road for the HUBBUK event as I thought this would be a fitting place to take the new steed. Back then I thought 7 months would be ample time to get the bike ready, not a complete re-build, just a strip down and clean up, change the oils etc. and get it ready for it's MOT.

Well, it is now the beginning of May and I realise that there is plenty to do yet as I have spent far too much time on the front end, and still have a lot of other work to do before the 19th of June!

So I turn my attention to the rear end of the bike and proceed with removing the rear racks, mud guard and wheel. Now that gives me better access to cleaning the rear subframe and exhaust silencer, which the chrome is in fact far worse than the handlebars were but with my part worn scourer sponge and more Autosol, I get stuck into cleaning it up and the end results lifts my spirits to press on and polish the framework with more of the black dyed polish with more amazing results!
As the inside of the rear final/bevel drive unit was free from oil, just brake dust, I decided  not to replace any of the seals at this stage and carry one as I have done with the engine in just cleaning it all up so I can check for leaks after running the bikes for a bit. The rear brake shoes were cleaned and out back on, a new tyre fitted and wheel back on making the bike look more complete again.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Been a while...

It has been a while since my last blog post and although I haven't spent as much time on the old bike as I would have liked, I have been busy some work on it...

So after the excitement of getting the engine running, I think about what the next job should be.

Finally I decide on cleaning the front end up, and I start by looking at the handlebars which have a light layer of rust over them due to being stored for all those years in a garage. I soon realise that this would be easier if I removed the bars, so with no further ado, I start by removing the instrument surround/handlebar pad which was easy as eating cake. Then I look at removing the switch gear, levers etc. It wasn’t long before these were off too, but hey where did those wedge shape things fall from? Oh, well, I will sort that out later! So now just to remove the handlebar clamps and he presto I have the bars in my hand. Staright away I reach for the Autosol chrome cleaner and a part worn scourer sponge to help me get the pitted rust spots cleaned up and before long the bars looked like new. Wow, the quality of the chrome on these old BMW’s is great.

Great I thought, I will look at putting the bars back on, but the top plate is looking rather rusty too, so it wasn’t long before I had stripped the entire front end down leaving just the bottom yoke in place.

Over to the sand blaster to clean up the top plate, handlebar clamps, instrument/headlamp bracket ready for a fresh coat of satin black paint. Whilst the paint on that lot was drying/hardening, as I like to leave freshly painted items several days before re-fitting, I turned my attention to the forks that I had removed. After draining the fork oil, which incidentally I found more oil in one leg that the other! I then cleaned the lower alloy finished legs trying several different chemical cleaners and after some scrubbing and rinsing they looked pretty good.

Then I thought, whilst I am this far, it would make sense to check the head bearings for sufficient grease, which were absolutely fine but I re-greased them with fresh grease anyway. With the bottom yoke off it also made cleaning the headstock area of the frame easier, which then lead me into polishing the entire frame with a black dyed polish so that you don’t see any white area of dried polish anywhere. As I done this I removed all the electrics from the top of the frame and cleaned the terminals and applied some ACF50 to them for good measure.

So now another few weeks have passed of more cleaning and polishing of front end bits, I decide enough is enough and re-assembled the front end, just leaving the front brake system to sort out another day, but with a new front tyre it all looked rather good.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Engine running...

Woo-hoo, got the engine running :-)
That is the first time it has run in years!

It ran a bit rough to start with, mainly due to the amount of oil I put down the bores, so the plugs oiled up and had to be cleaned a couple of times. It also blew some rust out of the exhaust system covering everything in its path.
So now going to change the oil and filter again as I initially run it with flushing oil, then run it some more.

Monday, 6 January 2014

Clean carbs...

The carburettors have now been re-built and mounted back on the bike. That's a major step forward to getting the engine running which I hope to do soon.
Here is a picture showing the before and after pictures of the carbs...
Before and after carb clean