Today is Sunday, and there are only two weeks remaining until the 2008 Fall SCMG Cafe Racer Run.
After all of the tyre excitement of the last few weeks I was able to get the wheels back and mount them up with few issues. There are several various-sized cotter pins that I need to track down to finalize the assembly, but for now I'll just keep an eye on things.
As you can see, Jamie has done a fantastic job on the part I fear the most (the fuel tank), especially considering what I have given her to work with. You can see that along the way she's taken the time to tweak all the bits that I would have done poorly (or forgotten altogether).
So with the wheels on and the paint set, today is the day that I re-engage the idle problem.
Those of you who have been following this story know that I was able to successfully awaken this beast, but there is a big difference between "starting" and "running", and after I started it a few times I felt comfortable that there were no major mechanical engine problems lurking below (ie, blown head, bent valves, broken con-rods, etc.) and felt safe to turn my attention to other tasks and return to the engine when the intake, exhaust and fuel system were in in their final configuration.
The time has come, so I plumbed the tank, snagged a fresh can of Invigorate and kicked it.
Surprisingly she responded with only a few kicks (unlike before). After two start-stops I was able to hold the engine around 3500rpm without sudden death, so I was already back to where I left off.
This time I decided to tackle the problem one cylinder at a time. First I pulled the left plug wire and was able to get the bike to run almost smoothly around 2000rpm. Moving to the left cylinder (removing the right plug wire) was a completely different story, a couple of pops but no hope of any kind of constant firing.
Starting with spark, I pulled the plug and noticed the little knob that screws on the top of the plug (I bought Champions for this thing? no way...) was loose so I noted this and continued to pull the plug. Examining the electrodes they were a little black and funky, but not bad, so I dressed them quickly, tightened that "know" and tested for spark; much stronger than I expected.
I fitted the plug to the cylinder and tested again, this time it fired at least as well as the right-hand side. I snapped the right-hand plug wire in place, reduced the throttle and it almost got down to 1500RPM before dropping off.
From here I spent at least 30 minutes screwing around with various air-screw settings, idle stops, etc until finally it was starting in just a kick or two with no throttle...
I was tempted to hop on and take it around the block but better judgement (and hunger, it was lunch time) prevailed and we headed in for a bite. This was in the end fortunate because during lunch I remembered a few adjustments that would be necessary (like adjusting the brakes) before a road test would be prudent.
After lunch I checked the tyre pressure (Haynes recommends 23psi?...old bikes are weird), adjusted the brakes and decided to do a test-run in the driveway to make sure I wasn't going to run into any clutch/transmission-related surprises on the street. This went well (note to self: the neutral light can't be trusted) so I grabbed my lid and...
...well, see for yourself (crank up the sound, it's worth it):
There is work to do, there is an idle problem where once the RPM's have been up, it doesn't want to drop back down to a normal idle (I found applying the choke for a moment fixes this?). There is also the problem of the title, but my man Dan is fighting that battle with the DMV, so we'll see how that turns out.
But for now, the only mechanical issue on my list is that idle problem...isn't that where this post started?