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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hey all,

I figured I should start a build thread for what I've affectionately named "The Rat" the name comes mostly from the tank. I picked this up a couple of days ago with an undiagnosed engine problem and someone has done a rat sort of job on it before the previous owner or myself got a hold of it. The name mostly comes from the fuel tank which has been sanded back to metal in some places and gone over with what appears to be lacquer which over time has developed some kind of fur.



Here she is in all her glory:





And lastly, here is the fur I was talking about...


The goal is turn to turn it into a Cafe racer. The aim is the strip it down, repaint the frame, paint the engine, remove the stock bars and replace them with clip ons, put in a cafe seat and tidy the rear of the bike up. Replace the stock tacho/speedo with nicer looking units and go for a single rounded headlight and smaller blinkers. I'll be doing most of the work myself to cut costs and learning a lot along the way.

I'm aiming to get it all done and dusted so I can ride it to my wedding on October 1st so join me and we'll see how crazy this timeline actually is.

Contents:
Engine Tear down, Tank paint stripping and rust painting - Page 1
New engine from donor bike, frame strip and painting Page 2
Rusty tank gets a make over, final drive and brakes get a paint, wheels get a paint. Cafe seat and hoop show up. - Page 3
Tank gets painted, seat gets painted, frame gets cut up, shocks get a clean, forks get painted and some electrics underseat tidying - Page 4
Workspace gets a clean, carbs get dissaseembled, brakes get resprayed, custom tank badges made, new engine gets dropped from old bike then cleaned followed by a paint - Page 5
New parts arrive and get fitted, engine is mounted, garage gets an upgrade, ignition barrel relocation, electrical fun, first engine start, digital guage mounted and wired, headlight wired, electrical tidyup, carb cleaning and rebuilding - Page 6
Battery box built, and 1st major assembly + bike porn photos - Page 7

Cheers,
SOE
 

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Discussion Starter #4
here the summary of this weekends work.
Friday night:
Picked up the bike and paid for it.

Saturday:
Unloaded on Saturday. Started her up and realised the engine problem was a little more than a few puffs of smoke and from experience it sounded like it was a big end bearing. I spent most of this day tidying up my garage to make better use of what little floor space I had so that I could fit 2 CX500 projects in there so not a lot got done until later in that evening when I set about trying to diagnose the engine fault. I puilled out the plugs moved the engine past TDC and put pressure on both pistons to feel for any movment that would confirm a big end bearing unfortunately I could feel anything at all, I checked the cam tensioner which appears to have run itself out completely and will need to be replaced/rebuilt.

Sunday:
I decided last Saturday night that I would need to drop the engine, if it was the cam chain causing the problem this would need to be addressed whether or not the big end bearing was gone. I dropped the oil and pulled out the filter and noticed no small amount of metal partical that had been caught, there was a mix of copper and steel in there which seems to suggest that the big end bearing has in fact gone. Oh well we'll strip her down anyway


So I set about dropping my first twisted twin, in fact my first engine ever. Start to finish the job took me about 3 hours including a wait for the cavalry to arrive with a hydraulic jack to support the engine as we unbolted it. After pulling off the radiator I noticed that the fan was simply sitting there and hasn't bolted in at all, in addition it was pretty badly bent but on the plus side there were no stress fractures and it hadn't at any point fouled the radiator.


So after more than a few curse words and some skinned knuckled I had the engine out planted it on my workbench and started breaking it down sending parts off to the washer as I was going.


With the engine out and the heads off I was able to determine that the "passenger" side had indeed decided it didn't want to hang out the bearings anymore and made a short video of the sound/movement.

That will be all for tonight. Throughout the week I'll inspect the camchain and tensioner to see what their condition is, remove the pistons, rods and Crank and speak with a local guru about some replacements.

Stay tuned!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I would not reuse that fan, it will be out of balance.
I'm gonna heat it see if it's inclined to bend back into any sort of fan shape, I spin it up away from the engine and see what the balance is like, if it's suspect I'll just chuck it. Literally... Like a frisbee
 

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Discussion Starter #9
So far this week I've gotten through a lot of work.

I dropped the engine, pulled out the pistons rods and crank. As suspected the bearings on the left cylinder were completely ruined and have taken quite a bit off of the crank as well.


As is standard the timing chain had slapped away and eaten into the metal


This weekend I've decided to prep and paint the tank and strip down the frame which I've decided is going to be powder coated. With that said I can't really call this the "furry" rat any more and hopefully as of Tuesday it won't even be fair to call it a rat anymore.


The underside still needs some work but I unfortunately ran out of paint stripper


To date on the tank, I've sand blasted all the lacquer that was on it and applied a paint stripper to the underside (Which was a pink/red colour) and have since set about sanding down any rust I've found. It has a few dents on it (6 in total) so the job for tomorrow is to pop them out as much as I can then bog them up and sand it back smooth then prime the whole thing with paint to wait until Monday.

That's all there is for now. I'll leave you all in suspense over the colour choices but I'm pretty excited to see the end result.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Not a big update today and it doesn't look like much but I spent all day cleaning up the back half of the tank, there was SOOO much rust.... Just the hardest engrained rust it took my a drill with a wire brush a tonne of sandpaper and a die grinder to get most of it of. What you can see on the back of the tank is a rust converter + primer. This took all of my day...

 

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Discussion Starter #11
Long overdue update. So I got got hit by a car while riding shortly after this and slipped a disc in my back.

I couldn't really bend over or do much of any labour for the past 6 months and what's more I lost a lot of motivation as well.

I've just come back home from being overseas and have started doing some more work.

I've brought a bunch of items for the bike and a stack of new tools as well.

Things have been turning up at work and every day has felt like Christmas.

Once I've got all the new supplies I'll list it all and take some photos.

Also I'm giving some consideration to stripping and painting the frame this weekend. But we'll see what the weather does.

Additionally while I'm rebuilding it's engine I believe I've sourced a spare to throw in so I can have some rising time with the bike.

Exciting things are on the horizon because i can finally bend my back again (somewhat).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I have some news. I have it in both good and the bad kind.

I went to visit my donor bike today to see if it was using TI ignition and whether or not it actually runs.

Here she is in all of her glory



The bad news first. I have no idea if it runs. I connected up the battery and it had no lights, no ignition, no turn signals, nothing. I checked the main fuse to see if it was mayve blown to find that it didn't exist and instead someone had replaced it with another piece of wire to bridge the gap.

I had a look behind the headlight and I found a rats nest of stripped wires and unplugged things. I had a quick try at plugging it all back together (Because I've done it before) and there are so many missing wires I couldn't make heads nor tails of it without a multi meter (which was back at home).

Pictured is the rats nest. It was worse under the cluster and behind the plastic where there were stripped wires that had things spliced into them. I couldn't get a photo of that it was a little awkward to get the camera in.


The good news. It's TI ignition. I've decided I'm not going to bother trying to fix the wiring to see if I can get this to start I could easily spend as much time chasing electrical gremlins as I could dropping the engine and sticking it into my bike with known working electrics. So that's what I'll do.

While it's off I'll give it a quick going over makes sure she's in reasonable health, IE make sure it won't detonate underneath me.

Unfortunately the outside of engine looks to be in real nasty shape and I can't in good conscience put it on my bike, in that state. So I'll give it a good clean maybe a quick blast with the sand blaster before I give it a good ol' closed door spray and mount it up.

When will this happen? I don't know... It's likely to be a 3-4 weekend job and I want to paint my frame first.

So the current agenda looks like this:
Paint the frame (1 weekend)
Drop donor engine (1/2 weekend)
Clean engine (1 weekend)
Paint engine (1 weekend)
Put engine into bike and return the bike to registerable state (1-2 weekends)

So we're talking 1-2 months before being rego'd. Then the plan from there is to sort out the front end, get the headlights and cluster done. Then the rear end.
 

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I'm going to have a closer look at your pics etc. but that appears to be a mash up.

The frame looks to be 500C.

Must grock.

Nope, I'm dribbling [email protected] The kickouts at the end of the frame aren't obvious in the photos. It's an 82 shadow I guess going by the brakes and the TI.

I think the SEAT is from a 500C though.

Good luck with the motor.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah I'm fairly certain the seat is not from the bike. I actually picked this up from JC at the same time that I picked up the Rat. He twisted our wrist and we brought home a 2nd one. ha ha. If I remember correctly it didn't have a seat and we got him to find spare for us.

I figure the odds of the engine having a major fault that prevent it from running a fairly low. But I'll check the critical things before I start it up. From memory:
Timing chain
Oil level
movement in pistons

Throw some fresh spark plugs in it and we should be golden.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Tiny update from a tiny amount of work I did tonight. I've decided to start painting the frame mid week.

I'm not going to do a complete strip and paint. I'll just remove what I have to a move what I don't want remove. I'm planning washing the frame tomorrow afternoon. Then I'll scuff the whole thing up with some 240 clean it down grab a couple of rattle cans and do it that way. I've decided against completely stripping the frame and powdercoating it. I can see the whites in the eyes of getting her back on the road and I'll be able to do an adequate enough job this way.

A while back I decided not to paint my tank because I knew it would get knocked around a little between now and when the bike was finished. I had done all the prep work, beating out dents, sanding the rust off bogging it up and generally making it beautiful and smooth. The problem I now face is that because I haven't painted it it's developed quite a bit of surface rust. So while I'm doing this I'm going to sand it back again and spray it. I won't worry about clear coating it, I only really want to stop it from rusting further have it in a state where it looks reasonable.

I've already done the engine support subframe and I'm really happy with the result.



Here's how the bike stands tonight. You'll notice I've covered off the electrics so that when it gets washed I don't damage anything.



On a side note I had arranged for a bunch of new exciting parts to big picked up by courier which should have been here tomorrow. I've just found out the parts never got picked up so I'll need to chase that up tomorrow and see what the hell happened.
 

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Bugger. We have similar here. They grow rice and cotton further up the Murray Darling and not much water finds its way to South Australia. This year we've had an unusually wet winter and go into summer with pretty much full reservoirs. But I'll bail on my vile corruption of Evilsonnys thread. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Alrighty, I did a lot of work today but it's a small update.

I picked up some paints on my way home from work today. A coupel of colours for the tank, very similar to the premix stuff I have in cans for the real paint job but instead, these are rattle cans so I can have a play around with designs I like. But I'm probably going to do the tank later in the week. Maybe the weekend.

So I took some time and gave the girl a much needed bath this afternoon and smashed it with some degreaser and a wire brush to get off what I could. Dried it as best I could went to dinner at the in-laws then rolled her back into the garage. However this was not before realising I'd pulled the front axle out to remove the fan on the Custom and subsequently rolling it off the wheel (it was resting on the caliper/rotors" and having the bike go forks first into the concrete and the wheel roll out of the garage... I did manage to stop the bike from falling over but spent the next 10 minutes constructing a long pole out of various objects in my reach so I could reach a ratchet strap to support the frame which allowed me to find where I put the axle hoist the front end up and put the front wheel back on.

So after getting it back into the garage I decided to bite the bullet and rather than doing a bike version of a "closed door respray" and just mask everything off I decided "stuff it" and stripped everything off the frame. I decided to leave the loom connected and just move it out of the way.

I then set about sanding back and rust I could find, of which there was tonnes. As I discovered a small amount of rust the size of a ball of a pin usually meant a 2-3cm circle of rust lay under the paint.

So after a solid 2-3 hours of sanding, wire brushing, rotary wire brushing, wiping down and washing I came up with this.


I wheeled it back out the front at 10PM and hosed it off used the air pressure remaining in my compressor to dry it before using a wax/grease remover to get rid of any residue. After it was dry the fun part began and I got to apply my first coat of paint.



I've found the methods I used to remove the paint have left some scratches in the metal and in some places where I didn't spent enough time sanding we have a few raised surfaces. The finish so far is a little bit iffy and I'm not terrible excited about the quality of the paint but this is just coat #1.

Tomorrow I'll sand it back with a 400 grit to even it out a little more give it another wipe down and we'll go for coat #2.

I have a few "when in rome" chores to do on the bike.

While I have the rear wheel off I'm going to paint it and once the frame is finished I'll pull the front end off, paint the front wheel, paint the forks, calipers, front fender and the top section of the triple tree

I also managed to finish cleaning the rust off of a spare steering stem I had so I'll be able to paint that up beforehand and just swap it straight over for the old dirty looking one.

As of yet I'm undecided whether or not I want to clear coat my frame. I did a satin finish using a Duplicolour clear coat on the engine mount subframe and I was super happy with the result I got from it.

I'm a little concerned I've cheaped out a little much on the paint I used for the frame at $5 a can from a large autoparts chain in Aus (Supercheap Auto) and for those wondering the brand is Australian Export. But I'm determined to give it a few more coats because it's a little unfair to judge it so early.

That's all for today next update will be about the same time tomorrow.
 
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