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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