Meet The Black Beast

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I bought a motorcycle earlier this week. It may not be the most practical, comfortable or smart decision I’ve made since moving back to Ohio but it is something I needed. Transportation is key to getting around here and motorcycles are cheaper to own/run so that’s what I went for.

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I suppose I could have looked for something a little more reliable or slightly larger but really this was in my price range and will work just fine until I can get a car a little later on. If it rains then I ride on and if I get wet then I get wet. I suppose that’s what plastic bags of clothes are for.

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Anyway, the motorcycle is already undergoing some renovations. The first day I had it I just kind of putted around the block here and there getting used to it. My mom got tired of looking at the nasty, dirt-caked back wheel so she decided to clean it up a bit. I took it a step further and did a bit of cleaning to the spokes. The second day is when my mom and I rode out to Kustom Persuasion so Jason and I could start ripping it apart.

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The first thing to happen is that we needed a different fuel delivery system. The current setup would only yield about 40-50 miles before needing more gas. That’s just not going to cut it for me. The petcock was situated towards the middle of the tank but it wasn’t a great position. Normally this would be fine but with the angle that the tank was situated on it just couldn’t get to any of the fuel at the bottom of the tank. No good.

Well, we ripped off the old system (pictured above) and got to work finding a spot for the new, simpler fuel setup. It was a fairly easy, but slightly long process. Lots of measuring, putting the tank on the bike, checking how it will sit, taking it off and then checking/rechecking positions to make sure the system would work with the area that we have (it’s a tight fit). Jason did some final measurements, grabbed some parts and then got to drilling a hole for the new petcock to sit in.

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After drilling the new hole, Jason started to weld in the new pieces. The bung will hold the rest of the system and allow the tank to use (hopefully) 90% of the gas that is present.

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While he was busy welding stuff together he asked me to create a cover plate and gasket to seal up the old hole. I took a piece of old steel and created a pattern and cut it out on a metal shear. Simple stuff, although I did have to make two of them. The first one got mangled when I tried using the drill press on it. After that we just cut out a gasket to fit the area and held it in place with the old bolts. We later learned that this system wouldn’t work so we got some other gasket goo and made it happen with no further problems.

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Jason did some pressure testing and fixed any leaks that were present. I’d say the whole process took about 6 hours. I’m sure had we done it a second time we’d have that down to a very short time. We are both learning some things with this project.

The finished fuel system will look something like the above photo when it’s all done. We grabbed an old tractor petcock and fit it in there quite nicely. It’s simpler and actually looks pretty killer. Once the tank is back on the bike I’ll be sure to get some photos and post them on the blog.

On Thursday I spent all day in the shop cleaning and prepping the tank for a new inner seal. It was a long day or washing and waiting for things to dry. I also got some paint stripper on the top of the tank. Not a huge deal. We’ll clean it up pretty easily and nobody will be any wiser. We finished up the whole process of sealing the tank at about 8pm and it will now sit in the shop for the next week curing and awaiting some gasoline. I also bought some spark plug wires to make the bike stop shocking me every time I get my legs close to the tank. Hopefully I can get this thing to Cleveland in a week or two and start rolling around.

The idea (right now) is that this winter Jason and I will be tearing the whole bike apart top powder coat and paint it. Expect a lot more photos if that happens. There’s going to be a bunch of weekend trips back to my moms to accomplish this feat. The ideas are already floating around and if half of the stuff I want comes to fruition then it will be a killer motorcycle when all is finished.

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