Tractor, 3. (Honda 0.)

I’ve had some successes but a big problem. I’ve been working so I’ve not had the time to do too much, today was my day off and the engine start spray arrived yesterday so I did some work on it. I bought a cheap trolley jack with support cups to lift the bike up by the frame so I could take the forks off. It wasn’t what I was expecting. I thought it was a full length platform to lift the whole bike. Nope. It fits across the bike and just raises one end or the other. Meh. I can make that work for most jobs. Then I went to slide it under the frame and because of the raised cups it wouldn’t fit! I had to angle grind half of the raised legs off before I could even start. Anyway, I got the forks off, finally got the seal covers off and the seals out.

I think they were due for a change.

That’s the good.

The bad is that I still can’t get it to start. I’ve re-gapped the plugs, really healthy spark now, I tried the engine start spray, nothing.

I’m thinking it’s probably the piston a rings now. I saw a video today saying the compression pressure should be at least 150psi. I tested at 120 and 125. Then I poured oil into the cylinders to form a temporary seal and I was at 150psi. I’ve emailed a query about how much it would cost for a rebore and rings, and how much it would be for a 1200cc big bore and rings.

I’ve managed to get another shift tomorrow, so that’s 5 so far for next week. I’ll fit the bits I’ve got coming and if I still can’t get it going I’ll start stripping the engine on my next day off. The only other options I can think of are the timing has gone out or the valves are leaking. I think it’s electronic timing, I can’t see how it can have gone out. I just watched a really helpful tip for the valves: take your head off, pour petrol into the inlet and outlet valves, turn your head over, if none has seeped through you’ve got a tight seal. That’s what I like. Simple, binary, tests.

If it’s not too much more than a rebore I might get it big bored anyway. I’ve got a feeling my obsession with owning a Harley is going to wane when I get it on the road, crack open the throttle and unleash 49bhp of puny pretension. 67bhp isn’t going to scare me, but it might make the bike a keeper.

To be honest, once I’ve got it running all I actually need is indicators and to fix the horn for an MOT. I will have to de-rust, oil bath and grease the chain, the headlight is shabby, and the tyres are so past their 5 year lifespan, but they would probably pass an mot. It’s mostly cosmetic apart from getting the engine running. You could spend thousands on the cosmetic, but I’ll try not to.

Because we live in arbitrary yet vindictive universe, now I’m up to my eyeballs in Harley repairs and fully occupied obsessing over that, my VFR750 has broken down. Super. It was fine going to work. Started on the button, not a problem. I finished work, turned my key in the ignition, nothing. I ran it up and down the carpark trying to bump it, stuttered and nothing. I called Wendy and she came in the car. I started my bike off jump leads, it was running, but as soon as I took the jump leads off it died again. At the third attempt I blew the main fuse. I brought the battery home and charged it. It took about 10 hours to charge so that will by the first problem. I took the car this morning and got some fuses then refitted the battery, but as soon as I put a fuse in it blew. Online says that it definitely a short circuit, some faulty wiring rubbing together or on the frame. Thinking about it, it only occurred after the crocodile clips, perhaps I’ve bitten through a wire.

I ordered a new starter relay, fuses, a battery and a regulator/ rectifier. I have to track down the short, then hopefully the new bits will cure the drain.

To strip all the fairings off and have a proper look at it I had to get the bike home. I had no option but to push it. Wendy ran me to work and I pushed it back. That was 2.6 miles of zero fun. I’ll be cycling to work this week. If I can’t track the short by the end of my days off I’m going to call a mobile sparky.