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Friday, July 16, 2010

One task down - 15,000 to go...

I had some time before having to go to work so I ran to the parts store – picked up a spark plug for Big Red and changed the plug. I was secretly hoping it would be that simple – I'd change the plug, turn her on and VAVOOM – I have spark and all is grand! I would rev the engine a few times to get the cob webs out of her system and we would go for a leisurely jaunt around the corner. When we pull back into the driveway, Kat would snap our picture a few times for Facebook and such, and you’d see a big grin on my face. Aaahhhhhh!!! Life is grand!

Unfortunately, NONE of that happened!

I DID change the spark plug and I DID get my hopes up, but the rest… well… perhaps I will reserve that dream to use for another day... when I get closer to...umm... reality!

Since I had more time than I thought, I decided to try and fit the engine casing, that houses the kick start sprockets, (and... umm... get my hopes up again). I mean, hey, if the electric starter won’t do the trick – try and kick it… err, I mean, kick-start it. Once again, I fooled myself into believing this would be a simple task of popping on the cover and giving it a whirl. Fortunately, this particular balloon of hope didn’t sail as high as the previous glimmer of hope regarding the spark plug. I had a bit more sense about me at this point. I think it was the box of parts that did it for me. You see, at the bottom of the box is a multitude of loose bolts, screws and washers that only the Spree Gods in the sky know where they belong. I am pretty certain they go to the Spree though, since the hardware is as filthy as the engine cover. (Arff)

I continued to tinker around on Big Red. I love that word, “Tinker”, it rhymes with another favorite word of mine.  Can you guess what it is??
After I tinkered around with the gears of the kick starter, I figured out how it should work and managed to get that part working properly. I put the cover back on the engine, utilizing any bolts and screws in the box that seemed appropriate, then I gave BIg Red a good swift kick (start, that is).

Nothing happened!

Well, that’s not entirely true. Although the engine showed no signs of life (negative), "Boo-Hoo!" -  the kick starter gears did NOT fall off into the cover panels (positive) "YAY"!!

“What’s Next??”

I will have to purchase a multi-tester to see what is, and more importantly, what is NOT getting juice. I want badly to pull off the carburetor but will wait until I have determined the starting issues. My thoughts on this are that even a bad carburetor will allow the engine to give off some kind of noise when attempting a start, manually or electrically, even with the possibility of bad gas. I am getting no noise from anywhere at all (except the sound of me breathing) even when manually kick-starting. (If I am wrong on this, please tell me). I figured it must be a wiring issue so I will also need to look into the CDI.

Thanks for visiting my blog. Please leave feedback or tips if you have the time, I’d love to hear from you.

Until next time...
keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up ~

This is Shannon Da Canon ~ Blasting Off!!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Taking on Big Red

I've decided to pick up a new project. It’s a new challenge that I have not attempted before but will hopefully succeed. I have always wanted to work on motorcycles but haven't taken a wrench to mine once (except to add accessories and such). Call it crazy but my theory is simple: If I am to screw up a machine by doing my own wrench work on it, I should first test my skills on something that doesn't cost anything over twenty grand. So, with that, I put off pursuing my interest in motorcycle repair... that is, until this week!

I have a couple of friends, Lenora and Allison, who live a few hours north of me, that are restoring 3 vintage B105P Suzuki motorcycles. They are working on restoring a 1966, 1967 and 1968, each with their own nicknames, that escape my mind at the moment.
My partner, Kat and I rode our Harleys north to pay these two incredible friends a weekend visit recently and had the most wonderful time. We hung out, BBQ’d, cooled off in the pool, went with Lenora on her first "group" ride (we were three) as she rode her newest motorcycle… where she lead the 3 pack.  We also bee-bopped around the backyard on those vintage Suzuki’s!  Now, before I was given the right of passage to straddle one of these vintage beauties, I had to earn my seat, so-to-speak, to ride her first. So with tools, stools and beer within reach, Lenora showed me how to remove and disassemble a carburetor and clean it. After a couple of hours of soaking (the carb in cleaner, our bodies in the pool and our bellies in beer), it was time to put the old girl back together again. With Nora acting as my coach, (and my partner, Kat affectionately taking photos of her fav grease monkey), Nora had me reassemble the heart and lungs of this bike together all by myself. I was thrilled, honored and hooked! (Thanks Nora)!!  I wanted one of these little gems of my own. So Kat and I searched and came to find Big Red, a 1984 Honda Spree for $100.00 bucks. She has been recruited to be my guinea pig in small engine repair.

I have my work cut out for me on this little red rebel toy. The guy I bought it from told me it "ran pretty good" about a year ago but feels it needs carb work and the gas is a year old as well. We shall see.

The first thing I needed to do was install a battery so I knew where I stood.  I finally found one at a good price, had it activated and charged and I just finished the install.

I was pleased to see the running taillight/brake light in good working condition, as well as the horn!  The headlamp and electric starter, however, was a different story. I will need to purchase a multi-meter to trouble shoot any electrical issues. I don’t want to spend a whole lot of money but don’t want to buy a piece of crap either so I will have to comparison shop for these things.

So what’s next??

I will have to change out the spark plug and clean the carburetor. The carburetor is going to get a thorough cleaning anyway but I may just go ahead and throw a new spark plug in there for now, just to see if she will fire up, and even though the gas is a year old, the fuel may still have enough "Umph" in it to at least let her clear her throat a bit. I’ll keep ya posted on the progress – thanks for visiting my blog!
Until next time…keep the rubber side down and the shiny side up!

This is Shannon Da Canon – Blasting off