Tractor, Day One

Day One:

I dropped the van off this morning then cracked on with the bike. I’ve fitted the new battery, hotwired it, and I got lights, (low and high beam and clock and rear light, forgot to test if the brake is working) but no horn yet. The engine turned over nicely, sounded like good compression. I didn’t have any spark at the plugs though. I gapped the plugs and traced the wiring, the leads to the distributor were loose so I tightened them, SPARK!

It still wasn’t firing so I took the air filter off and gave it a wash, then took off and stripped the carb.

Oh boy.

It’s not a carb design I’m used to, but I pulled the one obvious jet out. The top half of it was literally black. It looked like some oil residue that had solidified. I took the diaphragm out of the top and I’ve soaked the rest of the carb in Pinesol and Mukoff overnight. It might work. I’ve never seen the like though. I was just looking, you can get a complete, aftermarket, carb for the price of a carb rebuild kit. While I was searching for “oil in carb problem” online (bit worrying, I can’t think how it can have got there) I saw a top tip. Spray some of that engine start spray into the engine and press the start button. If it runs for a second or so you know the intake valves and outlet valves are working, your rings and barrel are good enough to maintain a working pressure, your plugs and the electrical system is all working. The problem is your carb.

I’ve ordered a can of start spray. If it doesn’t run then I know I have more problems. You can strip it down to heads and barrels off with the engine still in the frame so it’s not too much hassle to do further investigation.

Now I’m wondering which way I’m going to go with the bike. I’ve given it a brush and a wash and been at it with rust eater and metal polish today and it looks a lot better, superficially. But there’s the thing. Once I’ve got it running I can either run it as a scruffy heap, sell it, or strip it down to bare frame, and get every part back to original condition.

Powder coating the frame £150- £350

New wheels £550

Tank and mudguards sprayed, say, £250

New stanchions £300

Engine respray?

I’ll have to think it through.

I’m making problems now.

I’ve got enough on my plate just getting it running.

Then I have to fit indicators, fix the horn, swap the headlight, take the forks off, drain, clean, put in fresh oil and new fork seals and refit, strip and clean the brakes, flush the brake fluid and refill it, and fit new tyres. Those are just the bare minimum jobs I already know I’ve got to do.

On the bright side, apart from the tyres, those are all cheap jobs.

In a way this is good. I want a project. If I had it up and running today, where would be the fun in that?

It’s just that nervous time when you don’t know if it is going to work. If I knew for sure the bike was going to run and I’d get everything sorted I could plod on happily. There is always that fear that I’m going to break it, or it will never start.