Thursday, May 28, 2009

Express Yourself Pt. 2

This is part two of a collaborative blog post between myself and Travis Knarpsworth! Read his exciting blog to see the first half of our adventure. I found an express on Craigslist that was Green, naturally, I thought of Travis and dared him to get it. He said he would if I would go pick it up with him, so out went the low-ball bid and sure enough, he got it. So I sweet talked my sweet wife into letting me take her car, Tavis bought some travel snaxxx and after some fiascos, we had it in the car. The bike's gas tank was clean because it was completely full of a strange goop of sludge that wasn't really oil but it was something. In fact, this bike was totally covered in these goops, it came out of the oil tank, the transmission cover and even the cylinder. As usual, the tap start seemed to be busted, on these expresses the springs wind up too much and snap. We got back to Travis' place and opened the cover up and upon first inspection, found the spring to be in good shape. Of course, the express transmission is exciting, with all manner of gear, cog, springs and dogs. I haven't put one back together in a while, but I think this one ought to go back together pretty easily and hopefully we will have that Express on the road and off the jumps in no time. Now the quest begins in the search for my Express II, of which I would like a Yellow, Blue or Red color, although I'm leaning toward Red. Since we don't have any pictures of the guts, let me post some pictures from my 50cc History. Here is my Cadillac with a custom hitch made by yours truely (with a little help from Charles D) to haul Honda Expresses around. The Express has a small hole in the left hand foot peg strut behind the plastic, which fits a nice little bolt, securing the whole contraption on to the rack even though it looks incredibly loose. And just to show that Honda Expresses never go out of style, (or posing on them for pictures) here are a few.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


The maxi Taxi is going to get the one speed that was on my BFW's Green Machine. I decided to case match it, as you always should with a new cylinder, and when I pulled the stator plate off, look what I found. This is a seal that is leaking, you can see the oil residue coming out and how it's buckled at the bottom. In an effort to leave space between the seal and bearing when I originally rebuilt this motor, I must have put it too far out, or had more compression than it could hold, and it popped out a bit. Which would explain the large jets I was running on this engine, even though it did idle nicely. I think the seal is salvageable, I re-set it in closer, but if it comes out again, shouldn't be too hard to replace. Here is a picture of the KSTAR 50 gasket drawn on the case with gold paint. Gold paint makes you go faster than Sharpie. The gasket for the KSTAR didn't match up to the cylidner itself very well, so I matched the gasket to the cylinder before moving the gasket to the case. Another little trick that I like to use to make sure the case is matched optimally is to slide the cylinder on half the case and just look in there for yourself. It's hard to take a picture of, but you can see some of what I'm talking about here, the left side is pretty good, but the right side has a high spot. It's pretty obvious what needs to happen when you have it infront of you. Make sure you torque the head on so the cylinder will sit correctly when you are doing this, however. All back together and soon to be put back on the Taxi.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Magnum down!

We were going on a ride to beautiful Alki beach in West Seattle and were only about 12 blocks from home, and I was sitting at a light, when the light changed, the only sound I heard was "bang" and the engine stalled. The starter clutch didn't want to engage, and I knew it was not meant to be. Naz tried to give me a push home, but a super high-revving pugeot just isn't made to push people. The rear wheel is not spinning backwards, which means transmission trouble. So I think I might be building a back-up engine (a one speed of course) to keep for this bike because the 2 speed is just not something I'm a pro at yet. The ZA50 will be on the back burner until perhaps the following week when I get some time to drop it and tear into it. On the other hand, the Polini Swinger1 ran as a bumpy but solid set of wheels, so that's always good.

The forks are finished for the Maxi Taxi, so I just need to get those mailed out and it's time to slap them on and have that bike running again. People wonder why I have "so many" mopeds, and it's just something you can't explain until you have one to get around on and you try and make it fast.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bainbridge Peninsula

In 1841, U.S. Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes visited the island while surveying the Northwest. Lt. Wilkes named the island after Commodore William Bainbridge, commander of the frigate U.S.S. Constitution in the War of 1812.

Bainbridge was named after a man. We also have this lovely and well known poem written by John Donne.

"No man is an island, entire of itself
every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main
if a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were,
as well as if a manor of thy friends or of thine own were
any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind
and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls
it tolls for thee."

IF: (Man /= Island) and (Bainbridge = Man) then (Bainbridge /= Island)

So if no man is an island, and Bainbridge is named after a man, therefor, Bainbridge is not an island.

Back to mopeds.

I worked on the magnum today. I sanded out some of the metal smear in my flywheel and filed the gap as straight as I could. I also found a new woodruf key and installed it, but after turning the bike on and off a few times, it still would slip off the mark. So, I cut a small shim from a Dr. Pepper can and placed it under my woodruf key to raise it in the slot, hopefully gripping the flywheel better, enough to keep it from blowing out. If this does not work, I will have to get myself a new one. This flywheel might still be useful on a one speed, however. I blame the slots blowing out to myself not having a piston stop when I originally installed them, and used a spanner to poorly tighten the nut on. I'm hoping that is the source of the problem, and not a bad taper on my crank. I'd much rather cough up another $77 for a new flywheel and all the related goodies than to spend +$300 on a new ZA50 crank, bearings, roller con-rod and re-shimming. Ugh.

I also ordered a new set of bearings and seals for my hobbit as well as a gasket kit. I'm going to rebuild the bottom end before I sell it, as it has been kind of loud recently. Look for this one to be a collabrative blog post with Travis, who's link is found to the right side of my page.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Island Ride and the Wide Keyslot

We went for a lovely island ride yesterday on Bainbridge. I know, it isn't technically an island, but that's how people up here talk. There was lots of fun, some blasting, viewing of some local wildlife and moped shenanagins. Sadly, as I was blasting the Magnum up-hill, I experienced something very similar to a seize, only it didn't sound like it. I pulled off the the size and tried to give the flywheel a push, and it wouldn't budge. So I pulled my plug and it looked just fine and dandy. The head comes off, and there are no smear marks on the cylinder, in fact it still looked pretty clean. The piston was stuck in the very back of the cylinder, as you might recall, when prepping the cylinder I had issues with the piston sticking down there anyway. I honed the cylinder enough to get the piston to clear the exhaust port, even though it still wouldn't drop out. Looks like I might need to give it a bit more space. So the piston skirt expanded a smidge and stuck, with a little bit of force on the flywheel and it popped lose and rolled nice and smooth. Jumped the main jet up to a 108 from 105 and the idle up from 40 to 42. However, the bike wouldn't start. Sounded like a timing problem. Pulled the flywheel to find that when the piston stuck, the flywheel must have wanted to keep spinning, and stripped the slot on the flywheel again. This happend recently with my old points flywheel. I blame a bad woodruff key and a bad mechaninc. So with the careful use of a file and tightening the flywheel carefully but firmly, I was able to set the timing back on perfectly. That is, until I would shut the motor off, at which point the abrupt stopping of the flywheel would cause the timing to get thrown off. Thus, every time I had to kill the motor I had to reset my timing. I think the flywheel is salvageable, but the key must go. I'm going to try and source some locally, we will see how that turns out.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I love moped rallies

Seriously, how does this not look like the most fun you've ever had?

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Uh oh... Those aren't good noises pt 2

The source of my nasty metal on metal sounds has been found. I was confident that I had exploded the transmission some how, or blown a hole in the piston, because I'm kind of sensational when it comes to mopeds not working, or at least, high power ones. One of the screws that held the stator plate on had backed itself out, and the other was doing his best to escape as well. So naturally, that caused the stator plate to collide with the flywheel, including the pulsar wire for the pickup. Not too bad though, a little cutting, some electrical tape, a new stator plate screw (of which I had a nice little baggy of new ones from a hardware store, so nice!) and a dab of loc-tite. Back together, catastrophes aside, she is running again. Hooray!

Here is a picture of the mess of wires associated with the CDI, which will be hidden and mounted much cleaner once I get a box I'm totally satisfied with.
Also, envy my QuarterKick sourced tail light. I like it very much, even though the lens screws feel a little weak, it's held up well so far, and it's not too ugly on the magnum.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Uh oh... Those aren't good noises

Um, at least it was downhill most of the push home. More tomorrow or whenever I get a chance to open it up more. Too many walks of shame recently, I need to put regular handlebars, much easier to push than clubmans.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Flywheel failure

The condenser I put in my stator plate for the ZA50 didn't fit very snug, and while riding the other day it vibrated out of the plate. I put in a new one today, and then was having a heck of a time getting the timing set correctly, it would run sometimes, but have no power, a sign that the timing was off. So after messing around I found out that somehow I sheared the woodruff key slot on my flywheel. Strange, that the key didn't break, or the crank shaft didn't get damaged either. Just the slot on the flywheel. Good thing I have a CDI for this bike that I am waiting to put on, which comes with a new flywheel. Now I need to track down a working 12v coil, I have a few candidates that I might try out if I can borrow Joel's bike with a functioning CDI.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Operation BFW

My wife has always been happy with the top speed of her moped, and always more concerned about how quickly it accelerates and how well it climbs hills. That is, until recently, when she got blasted by Rosanna as the two of them were riding somewhere. Now, she has charged me with making her moped faster, without losing any acceleration, getting any louder or going over 50cc. What a pickle! I ordered up a KSTAR 50cc, to find that the boost port in the piston doesn't actually do anything, which was kind of funny, and although the cylinder looked nice, it took much to long to wind all the way out, with a crawl from a stop even with my two speed. So perhaps the port timing needed some more adjustment or some such thing, but even with a high-compression head, it wasn't acceptable. I had been running a #7 High Torque stock cylinder with a single ring piston, and I noticed the ring had begun to crack a little and there was significant blowby on the top. So I dug deep into my box-o-stock cylinders and found a precious gem. A #1 HT cylinder with matching piston and rings. With this cyilinder, I think I've found the right combination. With the HC head, it zips right off the line and shifts around 18mph, but doesn't seem to have that lag that the last two cylinders had when shifting into second, it just powers on up to 30+. I should GPS the bike, but it does pretty well with me on it, so even with my lovely BFW it should still push itself along.

I also spent an hour yesterday trying to track down some 1" ID rubber hose with no success, so I settled for 1" ID vinyl tubing. I guess that's okay, although it won't hold up to gas as well as rubber, it will at least be kind of neat to see the flow between spigot carb and intake...