Today I drove my brother Pat to the train station at fallowfield and now for the first time in more than a week I am alone with time to reflect on a fantastic week of Motocross, Music and Family. Today is also my 23rd wedding anniversary. Mrs. Vintage Moto is at work today even though it is Sunday and my teenager is asleep in her room. The picture above is Pat and I with the bike we put back together.
The week started out by going to Toronto to watch the 9th round of the 2016 Supercross. Pat flew in from BC, Bernie and Lynn from Pickle Lake, Jim, Ashley Davies and I drove from Ottawa on Saturday morning and we went directly to the Rogers Centre where we all made the rendezvous. The picture below is me at the Rogers Centre.
The race was fantastic, Ken Roczen won the 450 class and Justin Hill won the 250 class. Jeremy Martin was caught in a first turn crash and worked his way all the way up to second, it was a great ride. After the race we went to the Hotel - Bernie and Lynn had a suite so we stayed there and socialized. The next morning was buffet breakfast at the hotel and then we hit the road for Ottawa.
Ashley Davies is a good friend of mine, this is at least the fourth time we have gone to Supercross together and the third time he came with the Cox family. A word of warning about Ashley- don't ever arm-wrestle him and never, ever ask him if he has a skateboard.
Notice how wide everybody on the right-side of the picture appears? They are not really that fat. It was the camera on Jim's Windows phone doing tricks to fit us all in. Bernie said to "distribute that photo widely so when people see us this summer they will comment on how much weight we have lost".
Pat took an extra week off from work and spent it with me in Ottawa so we had an extra passenger for the trip back to Ottawa. Pat is not the kind of person who desires a warm sunny resort holiday, he would much rather spend time with friends or family and this was my turn to host. The plan was to work on the bike and play music and all of our plans worked out almost perfectly. The only thing that could have been better is if we had actually finished the bike. The piston was backordered so we had to settle for just mostly completing the bike.
I had already disassembled the bike prior to Pat's arrival and I had had begun cleaning a lot of the parts. The pictures above show most of the bike prior to any cleaning. The previous owner must have ran the bike very rich, there was a lot of exhaust leakage over much of the bike.
The whole time we worked on this bike, we both commented and carried on about what great condition it was in. The piston does have a few scuffs and I have a new one on order it will be in soon. The cylinder is in great shape and it does not require an oversize. It is a cast-iron bore, no coating so a hone cleaned it right up. The head as you can see is pristine and so is the upper rod. The head gasket was glued which leads me to believe it has been apart before as I doubt the factory would use gasket glue on the head. You can also see the corrosion on the head studs. It took a few solid whacks to get it off. You can also see where I scraped the buildup of exhaust tar mixed with dirt from the engine cases. The cylinder, swingarm, frame, front fender, rear shock and more had copious amounts of this black soot.
Had this bike been the bike I purchased in 1984, the swingarm would not look like this after the first week of riding let alone 32-years later. When we rode in Atikokan, we rode in red iron tailings sand at Charleston pits. A few days of aggressive riding is all it would take to scratch up the swingarm. The red iron dirt would be permanently etched into the aluminum finish and the "Full Floater" decal ("Pro Link" because we rode Hondas) would be ugly as can be. This summer I plan to ride this bike at Charleston, I am going to wince if there are scratches. However, 30 years has transpired and the iron seems to have washed away, the bikes don't turn red anymore - Thanks mother nature.
I could have cleaned the frame a bit better, I also could have had it powder-coated but I honestly like it this way. This bike will be ridden and every bike I have ever owned had the paint wear off the frame and engine sides. When riding, your boots rub against the frame and the paint wears off in spots. This bike has just a little wear, I think it is absolutely beautiful. Weird hey!
While Pat was doing more technical stuff like changing seals and rebuilding the shock, I was cleaning parts. The plastic is all in great shape. The front fender had a crack right where it mounts onto the triple clamps but I repaired it with some aircraft aluminum and some pop rivets. Radiator shrouds and number plates are perfect. Pat thinks I should buy after-market plastic and store this OEM stuff.
Sadly the fuel tank had turned brown. This is not a U.V. light issue nor is it fuel leaching through or spilled on the outside. I believe it is caused by condensation build-up. This side of the tank I have done a lot of scraping with a razor and sanding but I am still not down to the nice yellow colour. You can see where the seat covers the tank, it is the proper colour so maybe it does have something to do with U.V. light.
This is the side of the tank that I have not started to do anything to. As you can see, it does not look any worse than the side I worked on for an hour. Everybody has an opinion. Some say just buff it with abrasive compound. Nope- doesn't work. An orbital sander? Nope, no go. Wet-sand? Nope- still too deep. I used a dremmel grinder to grind down and see how deep the browning is and it is pretty damn deep. I would have to remove a lot of plastic.
Someone suggested painting it, that the right skilled painter would be able to do a great job. I am not convinced. If it were for the showroom, perhaps paint would be good but I don't think paint could stand up to the abuse of riding and I am going to ride. For now, I am going to buff it to a brown-yellow shine and buy some yellow tank protectors to liven it up. Maybe a good solution will come at a later date.
This picture speaks for itself. The seat is in great shape. There was red over-spray on the seat but I was able to scrub it off.
Original fork boots. This is another item I am tempted to just leave in a box someplace. They are in perfect condition and cleaned up real well. There was some over-spray on one of them and one fork had a leaky seal so the material is a bit more supple on that one.
This is the original throttle grip for the bike. It was very difficult to remove the rubber from it, it was fused to the throttle sleeve. I do have a new grip on it, much the same style grip as I would have used myself in 1984.
Above is the shoe that was on the bike. Probably the original. Below is the new shoes that I bought. As you can see, the padding is the pretty close to the same on both. I put the originals in a box and put the new ones on the bike. Brakes seem to work fantastic. Pat was mentioning that the old weaker drum brakes were easier to control than the very powerful hydraulic disk brakes of today. I will be able to judge that soon enough.
When I bought the bike, I gave it a bounce and found that the shock was not doing it's job. I think the owner of the bike thought I was going to use it as an excuse to have him lower the price but I would have been surprised if the shock was still charged and working proper.
Because the bike is low-hour, we decided to just do a cleaning and an oil change. The old oil was dirty and the new oil was expensive. Pat has rebuilt several shocks on his own bikes so he was the right man for the job. The service manual also had a lot of excellent instructions. It was a bit finicky, but he got the job done.
So there is the shock fully assembled ready for a nitrogen charge. It just so happens that I work at an airplane hangar part time and there is plenty of nitrogen. As luck would have it, Pat is also a recovering aircraft maintenance engineer so they just pointed him to the the tank and he filled the shock in about 10-seconds while I bead-blasted a few swingarm parts. Pat also had a chance to meet an old friend that he went to trade school with who works at the hangar.
On the way home we stopped at a bike shop and ordered the chain rollers and a front brake cable.
New fork seals have been installed. It was not a hard job, the old forks are easier to work on than the new ones but we had to make a tool. Sadly I don't have a welder, but I do have friends with welders. A quick trip to Port of Call Marina and we built ourselves fork assembly tool.
It doesn't take much to make a tool for the forks. I had the right size nut in my toolbox and all we had to do was weld it onto a hunk of threaded rod. We put in 5-wt oil set to the factory recommended level so we should be in good shape with the suspension.
The silencer cleaned up just fine and it is in great shape. We took it apart and removed the old soot-saturated packing and installed some nice fresh packing. I am looking forward to hearing it. I have never replaced the packing on any bike I owned. I guess I never owned one long enough to plug one up. This silencer really needed re packing. This bike was run rich.
This is the pipe as it was when I got the bike. Perfect shape, does not even need paint. I washed it good with Spray Nine and it now looks fabulous.
Don't look to close. You might notice that the cylinder is not bolted down and the carburetor is not actually on. We don't have the piston yet but we wanted a photo so we placed these parts on the bike for show.
After changing the flywheel crank seal, checking the clutch, rebuilding the suspension, re-packing the silencer, replacing suspension bearings and seals and thoroughly cleaning most every part, the time had come to assemble the old gem. Sadly the piston is on backorder so we will not be able to finish it.
Upper and lower swingarm installed and Pat is checking the motion on the Full Floater
We are happy with the way that works so we installed the shock
Triple clamps and forks are installed. We will pull the forks off again to put on the boots. When we were young and cool, we took the boots off, I think we liked the chrome.
The Rads are now in place. Hardly a mark on them, nearly new looking.
The handlebars are on and the controls mounted. Pat tells me that the handlebar foam protector is original, I am thinking it is an accessory. Throttle snaps back like a new bike, I kept the original cable.
Rear wheel cleaned up real well, looks as good as new. Brakes are adjusted and ready to go with new shoes and sanded drums. Front wheel cleaned up nice too as you can see in the suspension photo.
Front brake cable was crappy looking so I have a new one but I have to pick it up at the Suzuki dealer. Front end looks good though I will be putting some numbers on it. Still need to slide up the fork boots and tighten the clamps.
Yes, that is a 1984 RM250 in my basement!
A couple of happy brothers. Pat and I were close in age and were often inseparable. This was a great week of bench racing. He is now home in BC and I will see him in Atikokan in about 5 months time where he will take some turns buring laps on this new vintage Suzuki. I will go back to work tomorrow and in a week or two the rest of the parts will arrive and I will get it moved outside and running.