So much for buying something and hoping it works. I figured this bike would need some work but I didn’t think I’d be spending just about every weekend in Clyde hoping to get this thing truly road-worthy. Some fixes have been easy and some not so much. Want to find out what’s been going on since the last post? If so, click the link below and read on.
When I last left off I showcased the bike the way that I bought it and also talked about the first steps in working with the tank and fuel system. I believe the last step was mentioning the stripping and prepping for the new seal on the tank.
The process of stripping, prepping and sealing the tank was a whole day affair but it was worth it in the end. I spent about 10-12 hours out at the Kustom Persuasion shop just going through all the steps with the prep kit. Lots of washing and pouring in chemicals. I tried to tape up the mouth of the tank but it was to no avail. You can see on the right side of the image above that the stripping chemicals got onto the top of the tank and ate away at the paint. No big deal, I just really wasn’t looking forward to repainting the tank at this time. Also, take a look at all the nasty yellow shit that came out of the tank. That’s the old seal that we were aiming to replace. Real gross. That’s only a small portion of what was really inside this thing.
After we got the tank sealed up real nice we next set out to mount the thing and take it down the road. Before I get to that, check out the little ugliness coming up from the bottom of the stripe on the tank. Yeah, that’s more stripping agent. Nasty shit really got to the whole tank by the time the process was all done.
Anyway, after initially mounting the tank we took it for a ride. It didn’t take long to realize that the new fuel system was resting against a frame rail. No good. This meant that as I was riding down the road the petcock would get shaken so much that the lever would move into a closed position. We can’t be having that nonsense! Jason got to grinding on the knuckle of the petcock, we hammered at the frame a bit and in the end we installed a rubber stopper/holder to keep the petcock lever down and safely in place.
The new fuel setup is shown above. Really simple open and closed system. No reserve for me. Just on and off with a nice farm tractor petcock made of brass. We also changed out the plugs and wires before calling it a day on the tank. I opted for some red wires for a bit of added color to the bike.
After we finished up the petcock and tank stuff I decided to take the bike out on some rides. It performed well. Maybe a few times of adjusting the petcock here and there. I learned how to put it in positions that it won’t move and so we thought we were all set. Well, we were wrong.
I was out on a ride with my mom on the day before I was going to take the long ride back to Cleveland and I noticed a small fuel leak. Bad luck strikes again. I traced it to the gasket that we used to seal the old petcock location. We bought and used some goop that was supposedly fuel-safe. Well, in all honesty it probably was fuel safe but it most likely was NOT stripping, cleaning and sealing safe. We made the gasket to seal the tank and THEN did all the steps. That is probably what caused some small holes to appear. It most likely just ate at it from the inside and over time it allowed gas to seep through. Now, we could have probably just added more goo and I could have been on my merry way. That’s not how I work though.
We got out the power tools and started from scratch. We ripped off the old system and cleaned off the underside of the tank. Next, Jason started welding the plate onto the tank. He had to go real slow so that we didn’t overcook the metal and ruin the seal inside the tank. I really didn’t want to spend another $75 and a whole day resealing this bitch.
In the end Jason did a bunch of welding but pinholes were still letting air out. Our fix to this problem was to just load the area with a bunch of JB Weld and let it cure for a day. About 24 hours later he gave it a check and found another small air hole and so we loaded a bit more JB Weld onto it. All good now. Problem solved. It may be ugly but it definitely works.
My next issue came about when I was getting something else worked on at my mom’s friend Garry’s house. I think we were hooking up the electric starter when we then moved to the kickstart for some reason. Anyway, he busted the kicker off of the bike. The photo above shows the lever broken clean off. I was able to go out to a local motorcycle salvage yard and I found another kicker that works well and I even got two mirrors for the bike. $20 out the door. Good prices from a cool dude. He even helped me slap all the stuff on the bike.
Ok. So now here’s a little recap of the work done so far:
Fixed petcock from moving while riding
Replaced plugs and wires
Added electric starter
Fixed broken kickstarter
Fixed rear taillight
Added new headlight
Added new battery
Fixed seat so it doesn’t dig into new battery
Adjusted back brakes
Now onto the last part of the bike fixing for this post: the paint. After all the work that was done to the bike within the first month of my ownership, the tank began to look a little worn down and beaten. The paint was running in some areas and it was completely gone in others. It was time for a change and luckily the old paint job was done with spray paint. Jason and I decided to go with a black-on-black scheme and to use the same graphic shape that was currently on the bike.
The first step was to sand the tank down. Jason was a real trooper and did that out at his shop for me. He then brought it over and I got to work prepping the tank for paint. I sealed off all the relevant areas and hung it up in the garage. I sprayed the first coat and then Jason came over to help a bit. We alternated spraying the tank base-layers until we were happy with it. During the down time between paintings I sat down to trace and create a stencil for the shape on the side of the tank.
Normally you would paint the color of the shape/artwork first and then paint your other colors after masking areas off but we couldn’t work like that. I was going to use a matte black for the base color and a textured, glossy black paint for the graphic. That means I had to do the graphic second so that there was no texture under the matte paint.
I waited a few hours after applying the final coat of matte black and then began taping off the tank. It was fairly simple and I was soon onto applying the stencil. I created a cardstock stencil that I placed on the tape and drew the shape. After that I used a razor blade to slowly and precisely cut out the shape. I then tried to place the stencil in the same position on the other side and repeat the cutting process. In the end I got what you see above. Now all that was left was to put a few good coats of paint onto the exposed area.
The textured paint didn’t take long to apply. I only added a few coats to it so it wasn’t too thick and would leave me with less chance for error. I finished spraying the textured black paint and slept for about 45 minutes. I then woke up, took off all the blue tape and inspected the tank. After this was all done I closed up the garage and let it dry the rest of the night. I believe I got the tank that night at around 8pm and didn’t get to really sleep until 2:30am. Long night for sure.
The next morning I was able to handle the tank and mount it on the bike. The image above shows some closeups of the paint scheme. It’s not perfect by any means but it looks decent enough for this summer. I thought about adding a color stripe to the outer edge of the shape but I probably won’t. I’m already looking for other ways to make the tank look cool.
I mounted the tank and the main work on the bike was completed. Loads of long days, short weekends and stressed brains went into getting this thing road-worthy and I was finally able to drive it home to Cleveland.
My mom and Garry actually wanted to accompany me to my house and so we buttoned up the bike and made our journey that day. They got to see Naners and I’d house and make sure the bike would’t crap out on me on the way there. Good tradeoff I felt and everyone had a good time on the ride.