It has been a couple of months since my last post – I’ve been busy with other fun distractions which have kept me away from toying with the Basket Case project. Still, I have been able to put a few hours in here and there and there is some progress.
I knew that I would hit a few challenges assembling the bike and sure enough I met one problem after another. Plenty of “Oh sh_t!” moments. A diarrhea of them really, but I kept swinging with my plungers, not willing to go down without a fight. Just to mention a few of these glorified episodes:
- As I mounted the rear brake assembly on the bike, I noticed that the brake pedal would only weakly come back to its resting position. Something was missing. To get a better understanding, I picked up my XR500 Clymer manual to check exploded views of the area and, sure enough, discovered that the pedal is indeed assisted by a return spring. I then checked the Basket Case parts and luckily found the spring. The problem I soon discovered though was that one end of this spring has to wrap around the lower part of the bike’s frame and there is no way one can mount it properly without taking the engine out! Ouch! So I proceeded with all my patience and determination, removed the engine, placed the spring and bolted the engine back on. Darn spring, not ready to do this again soon.
- Shortly after the brake spring episode, I was working on the cylinder head valve lifter when I started questioning how this lifter shaft could be held into place. Another trip in the Clymer manual gave me another horror view. There is a pin that holds the lifter shaft in place and this pin is inserted in the valve cover before it is bolted onto the cylinder head. I never saw this pin and never inserted it. Problem is that the valve cover cannot be removed without, you guessed it, removing the engine from the frame. “You must be kidding me!!” is all I could hear myself screaming. On to round 2, unbolting the engine again, disassembling the valve cover, placing the pin and reverting the process to have everything back in place. “No way I’m going to ever remove this &*^%$#!! engine again!” is what one could hear afterwards. It’s hard to admit mistakes.
- I noticed that when holding the rear suspension swingarm and moving it up and down to exercise its movement I could feel some play, enough to pay attention and investigate. What I discovered is that several of the pivot link bushings were slightly worn, and the mounting points of the shock were as well. Not much, but the compounding effect of all of them displaying a bit of play resulted in some rather unacceptable overall play. So I took the entire rear suspension apart and replaced all the bushings. Now things are tight.
There were a few other “discoveries” but fortunately these were only small setbacks not worth mentioning here. I was finally back at actually putting the bike together, and took a few pictures along the way:
Progress on the assembly front: foot pegs, steering bar, throttle body and cables, front brake lever, grips, clutch lever and cable, decompression lever and cable, crankcase breathing tubes, ignition coil and control unit, rear mud flap, tank straps, chain guides.
Things are coming together – the main remaining parts to assemble are the wheels (special project as I have the hubs laced with special Super Motard rims), front brake, seat (needs re-upholstering), gas tank and front & rear fenders. But before that, I need to wire the entire electric and ignition system. That will be fun!