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Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2018-10-19 04:33am
by Sea Skimmer
Cool to see this thing has gotten rideable! Now make sure it doesn't turn you into an organ donor, because nobody I know needs any of them right now.
LaCroix wrote: 2018-10-15 07:54am Wiring like this is called "Technicolor wiring" - Don't bother with being able to trace them, just make it as colorful as you can. You know which wire you pulled through last, and what are the chances anyone will ever have to fix anything you did?
You should see some of the stuff I found in my house when I moved in... with the bonus of fireproof seething having been pulled over some of it so you can't even SEE the mismatched colors without cutting into that. But technicolor wiring though is a great way to reuse old wire you have laying around everywhere, thus saving upwards of pennies of new wire and reducing waste, thus reducing global warming, and thus saving the polar bears!

Obviously polar bear habit is always the top priority with wiring internal combustion vehicles.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2018-10-20 07:28pm
by LaCroix
Sea Skimmer wrote: 2018-10-19 04:33am
You should see some of the stuff I found in my house when I moved in...
Don't remind me - the last house had some well hidden built-in onions in the breaker box... Every time i opend the door to look in, I started crying...

But yeah... For polar bears!

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2018-10-26 07:51am
by Korto
Well, Monday gone I took the bike to an appointment with the engineer. Longest trip yet, a 1/2 hour drive. Decided to take the country roads rather than the highway, to avoid traffic.
Wasn't necessarily the best decision, as I hadn't really considered that those country roads take me through a couple of significant country suburbs.
None the less she came through flawlessly, if you ignore the part where turning left at some traffic lights I forgot how wide I was now and stalled out trying to mount the curb. :roll:

Engineers are fusspots, aren't they? He looked over and approved the work I did fulfilling his list of requirements, and then he went and gave me another list! Rider's mirror's too small (something he could have mentioned before, when I was ordering the bloody sidecar mirror), handbrake needs to be attached to the frame, secure loose wiring, etc, etc

I also noticed on the ride up that the sidecar mudguard's too low, and whenever I hit a bump the tyre hits a bolt head inside, and it's chewing the tyre up. So for that, and attaching the handbrake, the thing's going back to the welder.
Hopefully this will only be a really short visit.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2018-11-04 09:02am
by Korto
Minor update time.

Went to see the welder, told him what I needed him to do, and asked him the big question... Would he be able to finish it, on that day, before 2pm? Otherwise, I was going to have to walk over to the next frigging suburb to catch a bus home so I could be back in time to pick the kids up from school. Well, a couple of the bits were easy--a bracket for the handbrake and electrical plug onto the frame, and spot-weld the mirror bracket--but the big question was raising the mudguard. He wasn't sure about that.
In the end, though, he and his apprentice did it proud, had it all done and me back home by lunchtime.

Issues breed Issues
Raising the mudguard shifted around the wires a bit, of course, and I noticed when I got home that the tire had been rubbing on one of them and had stripped the insulation. In the process of investigating that, I notice that the insulation on the wiring inside the stoplight was partially melted. That wire was a bit short to do anything useful with, anyway, so I replaced it with some longer pieces, and then looked for a different place to put it where whatever was melting it wouldn't be a problem. About the only place I could find was pushing it out underneath the stoplight unit and to the side. The stoplight was then pressing down on the wires, but there's some foam there, so hopefully it would be OK.
Yeah. It wasn't.
The foam was actually quite thin, only meant to flatten out the curved mudguard, not protect wiring, and the edge of the metal stoplight managed to cut through the wire insulation and cause a short. Back to the drawing board, cut out a new, thick bit of foam, cut a well out of the middle of it to hold the wiring safe, and stick grommets everywhere. Basically, do a proper job.

The engineer also wanted a new headlight. Apparently the glass wasn't right on the old one. So I get a new headlight (fortunately, 7", a standard size) and stick it in.
Huh. The new headlight is deeper than the old one, just enough that the tail of my nice LED globe won't fit properly without pressing hard against all the mass of wiring inside the headlight cavity. Just have to replace it with an incandescent until I redo the wiring on this bike. What I figure I'm going to do is shift everything I can to a box I'll put in the handy space behind and under my seat. But until then, oh well.
Now none of my lights are working? Oh. The LED pressing against the wiring pulled a wire loose from its connection.
Fix that. OK. Now is everything working properly?

I noticed on the ride home the front forks were juddering badly under brake. I need to tighten the bearings, so I jack the whole front up, undo the top of the forks, and get to the bearing nut, tighten it all up, and put it back together. When I let it back down on the jack, I notice the forks aren't working right. There's no bounce.
I press the forks down as far as they'll go, and they don't bounce back up. What's wrong now!?
Jack it back up again, take the tops off the forks, can't see any issue, tops back on, won't go back on properly, go back on properly, damn you, lower it back down again on the jack, and there's no change. It still won't bounce. Even when I climb up on the mudguard and bounce on it (It's Russian. I can do that.)
What's wrong?! Noooooo......!
It hates me. It hates me. It.... hang on....
Take the jack out from underneath the front of the bike, and try again.
Hey look! It bounces!

(Half a frigging hour wasted trying to work out why a bike sitting on a fucking jack won't bounce. Bloody hell.)

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-01 09:12am
by Korto
I should give this thing an update of events. Meant to do this before, but stuff came up.

After more than a month of trying, I had finally managed to get another engineer's appointment for the 13th of December. This, if I was LUCKY would MAYBE give me enough time to get the following Blue-slip inspection, insurance and registered before Christmas, enabling me to legally ride it to my Mother's for the Boxing Day party, in front of all of those in my family (eg. my brother) who said I'd never get it finished.

During the wait, I finally sourced some 6v instrument globes and replaced the 12v globes that had been in the indicator, oil, generator, and high-beam instrument panel lights. Which you could barely see, because it's a 6v bike, not 12. Yep, they worked fine.

Finally it's Thursday! I leap on my bike, start her up, riding her off, and... oil light...


Noooo......!!! How can there be an oil light?! And it was funny. The oil light light only came on at high revs, light pulling away uphill from a stop, or at upper road speeds. It went away at low revs. Maybe I could ride it there anyway? For a half-an-hour trip? Along the highway...?

With a heavy heart, I pulled back to base, and rang the engineer to tell him I couldn't make it.

That weekend, I bought an oil pressure guage, disconnected the oil switch, left the wire just hanging loose and unconnected, and started her up again.
The oil pressure's fine.
44psi at idle, 66 at speed. It's supposed to be around 50 to 60.
You know what else is funny? When I rev the bike, the oil light comes on. Despite the fact the actual wire, is hanging loose. Fucking magic, I'd call it, if I was inclined to be all mystical.

Upon further investigation, I discover the generator light is hooked up to the oil wire, and the oil light is hooked up to the fucking generator wire! Which is why the bloody oil light came on as soon as the bloody generator was generating enough power to actually charge the battery.

I can start trying to get an appointment again when he comes back to work on the 7th. Although I don't feel I'll be fit to pilot the thing (it's pretty heavy, and I've got core-muscle damage at the moment) until maybe the 14th.

....rassum frassum grumble grrr....

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-01 09:36pm
by InsaneTD
I feel like your sparky isn't very good. What's that, the third electrical issue?

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-02 07:25am
by LaCroix
At this point, I'd probably pay the spark-cobbler a visit and hook his gonads up to a generator, as well...

And then get myself a magnifyer, and go over all of his wiring, meticolously, looking for places where wires could potentially be pinched or are unrestrained and happily rubbing against metal when the engine is running. You know - things that will cause shorts after you have run the bike for a couple of hundred miles.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-04 09:17am
by Korto
I haven't wanted to admit it, because I was so happy about getting experts to do it before, and a bit of sunk-cost fallacy, but I agree, the work wasn't done as I had hoped it would be.

There's a few reasons I can see--firstly, they are at minimum the third autoelectrician to work on it, because years ago when I was going to leave it at 12V I got someone to look at the wiring. They wired some stuff up (indicators, etc) and then vanished when the going got tough. Literally. Email, phone, just vanished. I was a bit annoyed about that. And before then, of course, there was whoever worked on it before. And then these guys.

There was a failure of communication. I wanted them to go right over it and redo the lot. They wanted to get it out of the way fast and with a minimum of labour, to keep my costs down (and so they could get onto "real" jobs). I never really communicated with them, and they never really communicated with me.
Unfortunately, I'm not really good at communication. I tend to chicken out and assume they'll know. I'm not a particularly social person.

The pinched wire was my fault in as much as I laid that wire. It was their fault in as much as they should have laid it, but had forgotten I needed a front indicator on the sidecar.

It could have been anyone who mislaid that stupid oil wire, because if it was done before the last guys, they would have just checked that the oil light came on when the power was on, and since it did, left it at that. Why waste time and incur unnecessary costs on something that's already hooked up?

I am rewiring this entire frigging bike, once it's past the inspections. Rip it all out, do it again. I have some old-style switch-gear, and I'm going to export most of the connections into a little electrical box I made (incidentally, ever welded 1.6mm sheet with a 2.6mm stick? I have!) to free up room inside the headlight.

By the way, I've got an ebay ad here for some bulk wire, it's AWG 17. Does that seem decent for running all the minutiae? You know, the lights, horn, etc. I'll need something big and heavy for the main power lines from the battery and things, yes, but this seem all right for the little shit?
I like it because it's cheap, and good lengths of a few different colours, but I don't really have a grasp on what the size is.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-04 09:41pm
by InsaneTD
I'm not sure you'll need that much of any colour other then red. Probably be cheaper to get what you need from super cheap or Jaycar. Unless you plan to do a lot of electronics stuff in future.

Does the negative ground to chassis on that bike?

My first reaction to the wire is it's too heavy, but I can't actually remember enough from learning electronics in high school to why I think that. I want to say the heavier the wire the higher the resistance but I feel like that's wrong. Hopefully someone else on here can help you with that.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-05 07:06am
by Korto
Yeah, no, you're very wrong there. The thicker the wire, the less resistance. Think of it being like a wider highway for traffic.

(As I understand it)
Now, it's current that causes resistance, and as a 6v vehicle it needs double the amount of current to actually do the same amount of work as a 12v vehicle, because watts = voltage x current.
Thin wires create more resistance to that current, causing the wires to heat, which incidentally creates more resistance. So they would heat up faster, but at the same time thin wires have less mass to absorb the heat, meaning they would melt and/or start a fire faster.

Against which, wire's fucking expensive. When you're the muggins who has to pay for it, you want it to be thick enough to do the job properly, but without extravagance. Supercheap, for instance, is over 3x the price for the same thickness wire (over $1/m). They've also got some heavier-duty stuff for $3/m.

The point of the different colours is to make it easier to keep track of what wire's what. Eg "The thick red bastard's off the battery, the blue is the running light, the yellow's the indicator..." It makes it easier when you've got a bunch of wires coming together.

A problem is that while I said it was "awg 17", we don't use awg here. We use mm. Fortunately, it also has it listed as 3mm (1.13mm^2). Unfortunately, that's "nominal", and I still have no grasp as to whether 3mm is big or not when it comes to wires.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-05 07:54am
by Lord Revan
Korto wrote: 2019-01-05 07:06am Yeah, no, you're very wrong there. The thicker the wire, the less resistance. Think of it being like a wider highway for traffic.

(As I understand it)
Now, it's current that causes resistance, and as a 6v vehicle it needs double the amount of current to actually do the same amount of work as a 12v vehicle, because watts = voltage x current.
Thin wires create more resistance to that current, causing the wires to heat, which incidentally creates more resistance. So they would heat up faster, but at the same time thin wires have less mass to absorb the heat, meaning they would melt and/or start a fire faster.
That's a decent enough Layman's way of explaining it, there's things like the material (as in the exact alloy) but that's getting into the advanced part of it and would probably won't pulling enough amps thru those wires for it to really become relevant.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-05 09:01am
by InsaneTD
Yeah, thought I was wrong.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-11 08:33am
by Korto
Had my second Engineer's Inspection today! Yay!

Unfortunately, all did not go smoothly.

The problems started when motoring along the highway, and the bike suddenly started sputtering and backfiring. I managed to pull onto the traffic island in the middle of the highway, determined it was better to stay there then try for the side of the road, and tried to figure out what the fuck the problem was.

One thought was the manual ignition advance, which you're supposed to need when the bike is cold. I have long been suspicious of the fact that I don't. I suspect that's it's already "pre-advanced" in some way, which would then cause problems when the bike heats up.

However, with nothing I could see to do about any theoretical problem there, at some point I thought "Maybe it's the condenser? I could replace that." The condenser, for stupid reasons, is hidden under the distributor, so I remove the engine casing, remove the distributor cap, prepare to remove the distributor button, and then discover "Wow, that's loose..."
The fucking distributor button had come loose, and was just slopping around inside the distributor.

So, I tightened that back up, stuck everything back on, managed with some effort to get the bike going again, and on my way. Almost there at the engineer's, it died again, and would not restart for the life of me. Fortunately, I was so close that I just pushed it to the top of his driveway, and then glided down as if I was actually under power.

In the inspection, the electrics decided throw a major fit. The headlight wouldn't come on, the indicators wouldn't come on, the tail-lights wouldn't come on. The only fucking thing that worked was the bloody sidecar running light.
The engineer also at this point decided that he didn't quite like the setup of the footbrake (which is factory, but never mind), and felt the seat should be back further (also factory). On the bright side, he approved the design I came up with for a swivelling joint on the sidecar mounts, so I can adjust the sidecar angles easier.

Leaving, after considerable work I managed to get the bike started (incidentally, during this I also found the reason for the headlight not working was the earth wire had come loose from its connection. Unfortunately, that's my work. Still no explanation for the indicators etc). I managed to ride it a distance, and then it stalled, and I was stuck for a couple of hours under a tree trying to work out what the fuck was wrong.
She was unhappy before she stalled, and I mean really unhappy, seeming to be running on one cylinder, with the other kicking in intermittently. Opened up the distributor again--no, the button was tight--but I noticed something else loose--the distributor cap itself, it doesn't seem to sit as firmly on as I thought it really should. It's just really sitting on top and not locked only properly, but it can't go any more on. I tried. It doesn't.
Well, I ended up staring at it for a fair while, and then I changed the condenser for a lack of any other ideas, put the cap back on as firmly as I could, managed after a lot of effort to get it going again, and I motored off.

On one cylinder

And fuck that cylinder was unhappy about it. Bitched all the way home. Interestingly, it didn't like being revved; she would start to die if she started running at even a modest pace, but would keep on putt putt putting along a bit above idle. I wonder if it's the imbalance between the two cylinders.

20km/hr down the highway's interesting. Got honked at by two semis. Oh, I'm sorry boys, am I holding you up? Go fuck yourselves. (I was trying to keep off the road, on the kerb or bike lane, as much as possible, but not always possible)

Anyway, ALMOST home, two blocks to go, and I had to stop at a traffic light. NOOOOO!!!!! And she stalled. Would NOT restart, and so I started pushing.
On the flat, I was OK, but then I hit this moderate up-slope, and then I discover that I was totally fucked. I'm pushing the damn thing about a metre forward, and then having to rest because I couldn't push any more, another metre, another rest. Fortunately, some young woman stopped her car and asked if I needed any help.
Oh God thank you yes.
She pushed it to the top of the hill, at which point I thanked her and got on and coasted down the other side, managing to use the push-start to get it going again (one cylinder, of course), and around, and into home. Not very neatly, clipped my daughter's bike, should be OK (didn't check), and she doesn't ride it anyway. Got to give it to Life Line soon.

Went in, had a cool shower, and expressed at some length just what I thought of today.

I'm having a fucking day off tomorrow.

And this may surprise people, but my bike didn't get approved by the engineer.

So, not a good day, but wasn't a complete waste, however. As I said, my swivel design got approved, AND the engineer told me that I actually WAS allowed to take the bike out for test-rides for the purpose of registration. I didn't think I could, you see. I knew you could ride it to inspections and for necessary repairs, but I thought "test-rides" would be a bit too loose. He describes it as a "bit of a grey area", but, well, unless I want to keep on making failed engineer visits because of issues that only arise after a proper ride, I guess I'm the 'Grey Rider'.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-23 01:01am
by Sea Skimmer
Well, that sounds like an adventure, welcome to the world of obsolete vehicles! But at least you made it back in one piece and with all the bike parts still attached.

Sounds like the distributor rotor might be worn out past using or something similar if the cap can't go on tightly enough.

As far as testing goes, it pretty typical in the world that you can use a work in progress vehicle for test purposes with no stated policy on what that really means, it's certainly the case in my state and others I've heard of in the US. Was relevant when I was helping a friend restore an old MG he and his dad bought as an utter piece of scrap from an actual scrapyard. Rule of thumb would be like, don't be stopping to do other things a long the way and circle the area you live I reckon. If this wasn't the case autoshops would never be able to diagnose some problems that require a test drive.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-24 05:34am
by LaCroix
Over here, you can't do that as a private person. Auto shops have provisional licence plates (in quite bright colors so they are easily identifiable) they can slap on a 'junker' they are restoring to do test drives.
You can borrow one of these from a shop or go and get yourself one of these from the local DMV equivalent, but driving an unlicensed vehicle is a no-no...

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-24 09:08am
by Korto
After swearing at it on the day of the engineer's trip, and off it the day after, I started investigating the problem.
I noticed that on-line pictures of the distributor had a gasket underneath it, something that mine didn't, and I realised that the thickness of the gasket would raise the distributor up, and therefore effectively make the button sit lower (as the button, and the shaft it sits on, is not attached to the distributor but instead passes through the middle), and with the button sitting lower the cap could fit on properly instead of just sitting on top (exactly why it was working before when it was just sitting on top, I don't know. Just lucky, I guess).

The cap seemed to be almost three millimetres too high, so I cut out three layers of 0.8mm gasket paper to pack under it. Oh, while we've got this picture, that's the underneath of the distributor. See that blue wire there? That's the condenser wire. This is where the condenser lives, in a little compartment underneath the distributor. Therefore, to change the condenser, you've got to remove a bit of engine cover, the distributor cap, the distributor button, the bloody distributor, turn it over, and then unscrew and at least loosen if not remove (depends on what connection the condenser has) the bolt in its insulated housing. While the engine is quite hot.

That bolt, incidentally, has a wire soldered to it, and soldered to the distributor at the other end, so if something happened to it, there's sweet fuck-all you could do about it on the side of the road. It's an old-looking wire, isn't it? That's cloth insulation, just like great-great-grandpa used to make. Just the sort of thing I want to be regularly shifting about whenever I think "Maybe it's the condenser?".
Yeah, stupid spot, and I'm going to be moving the bloody thing.

Well, here's the distributor on, with the gaskets under, and the cap (not shown) now sits on much more firmly. I had to replace the bolts for the distributor, as they had been rendered too short.
I seem to have put the gasket papers on upside down. I can see the paper jutting out oddly from underneath. :roll: Fuck it. It can stay like that.

With the condenser, the positive end hooks up to the wire that goes to the distributor from the coil (not the high-tension wire, the normal one). Wires being what they are, it doesn't matter where on the wire it hooks up, at the start or end or anywhere in-between, as long as it does. The other end of the condenser goes straight to earth. Just good, simple earth. Following the same argument, this means I could hook up to earth anywhere on the bike, even on the rear mudguard if I like, as long as I do.
So I made a mount, and stuck the condenser over the coil. Nice, simple, and easy to get to. Even looks nice and neat.

The bike was very hard to start, but happy to run once started. I took it for a test-drive, and when I got back tried to re-balance the carbs, since I had fiddled with them in my efforts to get home and the setting would be all wrong now.
Couldn't start the bike on one cylinder, at all, and then I couldn't start on two, either. And my indicators and tail-light weren't working.

After repeated "Hard to start, but will run happily once going", I started to suspect the battery. I'm often lax in checking the battery, and it's been quite hot lately, so the fluid has fallen a bit low. The battery's also three or four years old, and may be on the way out. Low battery voltage also explains the indicators and tail-light--they're LEDs, which can be fussy about voltage.
I topped the water up, and after a few kicks started her up again.

Running fairly well, although I'm noticing the battery charging light won't come on while revving. It's not blown, and the circuit works--it does come on whenever you switch the bike on before starting the engine, but then goes out when it's idling. It's another mystery, but one that won't affect the engineer.
A bit more revving, and then a bloody stream of oil starts flowing out from the generator housing. For fucks sake.

Take the generator out, and check the O-ring. Seems in decent shape. A little bit of oil had always leaked from around the generator, and I was thinking I'd need to do something about it before its blue slip. The leaking must have cleared a wider path.
Couldn't replace the O-ring at the local bearing place, and the old one seems in good shape anyway, so I'll just re-use it, but this time have it held in with gasket goo, with more goo on the generator, to make a good tight seal, and then leave it to set.

With that all done, I start the bike up again and look for any oil... No, can't see any, looks like I've fixed the leaking. Good. Now let's see if I can start her up on one cylinder so I can adjust the carbs.

And she fucking bit me again.

To explain, the kick starter is between the bike and sidecar, and it's quite a tight fit. When kicked, your foot goes below the level of the floor of the sidecar. IF your foot slips a little on the kickstarter, your little toe will end up underneath the metal sidecar floor, and then IF the bike fires and kicks the kickstarter back up, it will ram your little toe right up into the floor. With great force.

This is very painful, and it's the third time over the week it's done it.

My little toe is now slightly swollen and a quite interesting purplish red colour, and I'm taking some days off.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-01-24 11:16am
by LaCroix
My condolences...
Maybe a deflector plate?
or a stirrup on the starter? (Or would that mean it breaks your ankle, instead?)

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-08-15 10:20am
by Korto
Hi everyone. Haven't been here for a fair while. Frankly, haven't been having the best year.

Although my daughter independently suggested a deflector plate as well, which I was quite pleased with her about (it's so gratifying when your kids come up with good, intelligent, suggestions)
There's no real clearance between the sidecar and kickstarter, so what I'm probably going to do is a combination of deflector plate, and cutting the kickstarter shorter. But I'm wanting to do that AFTER the engineer clears the bike, for fear that it might otherwise spook him in some way.

On the subject of which I finally had another engineer's inspection today, to try and finally get this bike approved (not the engineer's fault. It's been a difficult year).

So how did it go? I'm glad you asked.

It was a complete bloody debacle from start to finish.

I started out in high hopes (and some anxiety), but after perhaps ten minutes, the engine developed some kind of stutter. Just a minor thing, and I had noticed it before on a test-ride I'd taken the bike on a couple of days earlier, but I was unable to find a reason for it, and it was only quite minor, so I hoped that a long ride would fix it. "Blow the cobwebs out", as it were.
After another ten minutes, the problem had developed to noticeable power-loss and some backfiring, and I ended up nursing the bike all the rest of the way to the engineers', but nurse it there I did, and I managed to pull up in front of his workshop under power, and walk on in to see the engineer.
And he wasn't there. According to the young bloke who was there, the engineer was in hospital, and looking forward to surgery.
The young bloke took a couple of photos of what the old bloke had wanted done, we talked a bit, and then I started the bike up and left for home.
I hadn't gone far when I decided that maybe I could cure the backfiring by re-puttying the exhaust, so I pulled to the side of the road and after the bike cooled removed the exhaust, redid the putty, and replaced the lot. Unfortunately, due to the aluminium thread being rounded off (I hate aluminium thread. Who the hell thought it was a good idea?), and the old putty still stuck in what remained of the thread (must add wire brush to travelling tool set) I wasn't able to tighten the nut back on properly.
Oh well, no worries. When the putty goes off (reacts with heat, so it sets when the motor's running) it'll expand and harden and lock everything in place. So off I went again.
Unfortunately, it didn't fix the problem, and it was growing steadily worse all the way home, with one cylinder only working in fits and starts, until finally, about 10 minutes from home, it dies completely.

I rolled to a stop under some shady trees, and started trying to work out what was wrong. Some time ago, I'd had a problem where the distributor cap came loose; I'd taken steps to correct that, but I thought I'd check anyway--no, still tight.
It had been misfiring, and that might have damaged the plugs. I had an old spare pair, so I swapped out the plugs and gave it a try.
No, still dead.
I checked the wires around the condenser, as they have an annoying habit of coming loose--no, tight. Maybe the condenser needed replacing, but if so, there wasn't much I could do as I had unthinkingly left my spares at home.
Give it a few more kicks, to see if it's decided to stop playing silly buggers.
Nope. Still dead.
I then noticed that my generator had started disassembling itself. The two long bolts that held it together had become undone, and the generator was being held together by a clamp I had made (OK, the welder had made, but I designed it, so it still totally counts) in order to hold it in place.
Oh well, that doesn't look good.
It was at this point a bloke on a honda pulled up. After wishing out loud to him that my bike was a honda since I'd never had problems with hondas (honestly, hondas just work), he asked if I needed any help, was there anyone I could call (not really, I mean, I could call someone, but it wouldn't help much--"Hey, bike's broken down, and I'm stuck" "Really, that sucks. How do you reckon you're getting home?" "No idea"), and what the bike was. He took a picture of me on the bike, wearing my goggles (I wear goggles now. Goggles are cool) and then he left.
So, I retightened the bolts. Didn't really see how they could have killed the engine, but it was what I found and no point arguing, and gave the bike a kick.
Nothing. Still dead.
I decided to check the distributor again (you can tell when I'm out of ideas. It when I start checking things I've already checked), but this time I took the cap off.
The friggin' rotor button had disassembled itself. More specifically, the screw that held the button in place had come completely out, allowing the rotor to just free-spin.
(This has not been the first instance of this. On a previous test ride, I lost one of the bolts that holds the rear mud guard. Another time the bolt securing the condenser wire just vanished, and yet another time previously, I noticed the four bolts, with spring washers, securing the rear fucking wheel had come loose. I swear, this bike hates me, and it's trying to kill me by disassembling itself while I'm riding it.)
So this HAD to be it. I retightened the rotor, and gave it a kick.
Nothing. Fuck. What kind of damage could have been done by that screw bouncing around inside the distributor?
The bloke who lived in the hose I was in front of arrived home, and asked if I needed any tools. No, I was good. We talked a little about what might be wrong, what might have happened, and then he went into his house.
After a few more kicks, I was getting pretty sick of it, and I was thinking I might just push the bike into this guy's yard (he'd given permission), and walk away for the day, so I turned the fuel off. Then I had a thought--I might swap the spark plugs back. Why? Why not? So I did, gave it a kick...and it started! Yippee!
I was so happy I rode the bike down the guy's driveway, just to show him, and he agreed it was going, and then it stopped.
I had forgotten to turn the fuel back on.
So I turn the fuel on, give it a kick...and it wouldn't start.
I'm kicking it, and kicking it, and it JUST. WON'T. START.
By now, the battery's getting pretty low. The headlight's pretty dim, and I figure the battery just might not have enough left in it to start, so I take out the key and start thinking of taking out the battery, taking it home and charging it up. Then an idea occurs to me.
This bike was never really designed to run a headlight. While it always had one, it never really had that much power spare, and it was a bit of a struggle for it. So, what if I take the headlight out? Free some power up?
I disconnect the headlight, and then go to start it.
Hang on, I took the key out. Just got to put it back.
OK, where are my frigging keys!?
I search my pockets (takes a while. Got eight pockets in my pants alone, and four of those are cavernous cargo pockets, and they're loaded with crap--old rags, nails, screws, a couple of exhaust gaskets, split rings, a 'triple a' battery, knife, various bills, some loose change, just for the stuff I can remember off the top of my head), but they're not there. I search my tool-bag. It's not there. I search the sidecar. Not there. I pull all the stuff out of the sidecar so I can check under the seat. Still no. I pull all the stuff out of my pockets to check again. No. I search the ground around where I'd been.
NO! Where the hell are my frigging keys!?
I happen to glance across at my bike, and there were my keys. Hooked safely on the clutch lever, where I had left them.
Fine. Never happened. Key in, and give the thing a kick.
And it starts! And it keeps going!
And I ride it all the way home. On one cylinder, since on the other cylinder the exhaust pipe nut I'd been unable to tighten correctly had come completely loose, and the putty had been all blown away.

But I got the fucking bitch home.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-08-15 09:56pm
by InsaneTD
So uprated generator so you can have the headlight on like you're supposed to is the next job?

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-08-16 08:15am
by Korto
I've got an LED headlight bulb. It's too bulky to fit in the rather crowded headlight shell at present, so I plan to rewire the bike and redirect as much as I can to an electrical box I'll put under the tank to free up space in the shell.
However, this is another thing I'd prefer to do AFTER it's approved, to avoid spooking the engineer.

Higher on the agenda now is a good, permanent solution for the exhaust. I would like to convert the attachment to a flange mounting, from the current "big nut around pipe" thing. It would allow me to use proper (easily replaced if necessary) bolts, instead of these special-snowflake aluminium things. Unfortunately, the welder is unwilling to do it without knowing what aluminium alloy it is.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-09-12 09:31am
by Korto
I've snapped the fucking crankshaft.
I've been forced to admit, the sidecar's too heavy for the bike. It's struggling, lugging if I try to get a decent road speed, and now I've snapped the fucking crankshaft. It's just too heavy. All that time and money, wasted.



So, forced to face reality, I've decided to plunder some long-term savings I've been squirrelling away and buy a larger bike. Assuming the inspection I'm getting a bike shop to do gives the OK, I'll probably be buying a FJR1300AS off ebay in the next couple of days. I don't much like the look of the thing (it's modern, got full fairing), but it has 3x the horsepower and a reputation as being as reliable as a rock.
I don't like it, but the dnepr just doesn't have the power, and I've got to face that.

I'll repair and keep the dnepr, but as a solo, and as owning 3 bikes is a trifle ridiculous, I'll sell the postie.

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-09-12 09:33pm
by InsaneTD
You can at least removed some of the body work off some bikes and I understand there is a massive cosmetic after market for a lot of bikes.

Did the crank do much damage when it let go?

Re: Chang Jiang 750 Restoration

Posted: 2019-09-16 09:15am
by Korto
Don't know at the moment. Looking at those pictures, the shaft is still where it's supposed to be, just the flywheel end has broken off. I'll have to open up the engine to find out any more.

So far I've completed the "Repair the headlight on the postie so I can move it out of the garage" part, and the "Clean the shocking mess the garage is in to make some room to work in" part. Tomorrow I may actually be able to move the dnepr into the garage and start the "Stare in bemusement trying to figure out how to remove the engine all by myself" part.