Sunday, 3 April 2016

Such things as reams are made of....

Cassius has been in the shop for a while while the very nice men at Alpha work their magic upon him.

And I've been buying lots and lots of parts from Germany, and Holland and the Bristol Classic Bike Show.

And the Germans sent me a new set of oversize pistons and a cam chain and an oil filter.

And the Dutch sent me a gearshift shaft and a starter motor gear and a new wiring loom and a very groovy thing called a "Hall Effect Ignition", which basically does away with fiddly old contact breakers, but doesn't need the big box of troublesome electronics on an electronic system.

And I bought a side stand spring and turned the empty boys room into a workshop, where I've been renovating chrome things and cleaning up brake calipers.

Meanwhile the chaps at Alpha have had the barrels rebored and put the engine back together, and put it back in the frame, where it gleams and makes the rest of the bike look a state.

And then we hit a snag. At some point, between 1979 and 1996, one of the previous owners had messed about with the Mikuni BS34 carbs, and chewed up the heads on the pilot jets - two little brass nodgers in the bowels of the fuel system. And after I had cruelly left ol' Cass to sit for eight years, those jets had got bunged up.

And Simon from Alpha, genius though he is, was reluctant to take on the surgery needed to get them out - he was honest enough to admit he didn't fancy buggering up my carbs doing it. 

So I went to the Internet, and search for alternatives and I sought advice from fellow owners online

Well, obviously there isn't a working set to be had for a Euro spec XS650. 

What to do? Well, I could find a precision engineering shop to try and get the jets out. 

Or i could, apparently, buy a secondhand set for a GPZ500 Kawasaki for about 50 quid, which is allegedly a bolt on replacement, but an absolute bugger to set up.

Or I could spend an eyewatering four hundred quid on a brand new Mikuni slide carb set up, which look great, but are also a sod to set up.

Anyway I got the carb bodies from Alpha to measure them up for the sourcing of replacements.

And then I did what I usually do when confronted by a knotty problem. 

I looked at them for ages. 

And I went through my screwdrivers and could not find one that fitted the pilot hole. 

So, I filled the holes with wd40 degreaser and nipped down my local hardware shop, where I paid £3.11 for a set of six long jewellers type screwdrivers. 

And I got them home and worked on the jets with the biggest screwdriver of them for a bit, just in case they would budge, but they wouldn't. 
So I had another think, and remembered that ages ago I bought one of those cheap modelling power tools from Lidl. 
So I went through all the hundreds of grinders and polishing wheels and drill bits in the set and found a tiny little reamer. 

Now the modelling tool itself only runs clockwise, and reasoning that applying clockwise pressure on a screw that is already jammed in clockwise was a bad idea, I clamped the reamer in the old Black and Decker drill/driver and gently at reverse, made the business end pilot hole a little bit bigger. 

Then I gently tapped the smallest screwdriver from the jewellers set into the hole, unscrewed and hey Presto, out came the pilot jet Did the same to the other one, and it looks like the problem is solved... 

I am, needless to say, well chuffed, and under the rules that apply to Man Maths, am now £450 better off than I was on Friday. Might buy a new front brake caliper to celebrate...


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