Saturday, October 18, 2014

The TLR is Done!

Finally, I pushed this project through! It took at least two full days to finish it up..check everything several times and then go for a little ride. This last stage was not without its problems.

First and most disappointingly I was unable to use either of the stainless headers that I had bought from two separate sources. First was the relatively inexpensive unit made somewhere in the East (either India or Thailand). The second unit was more expensive and better finished. Unfortunately neither unit would fit. As you can see my TLR has the WES system which, by the way, fits perfectly with the OEM Honda unit. So...if either of these suppliers had made a faithful copy of the OEM header, it would also fit perfectly. Unfortunately, that was beyond their expertise and so I am left with the scruffy OEM header. I was really hoping to replace it with a nice shiny stainless piece.

The seat/tank unit was also an issue. The original gas tap which came directly from the original Reflex tank was starting to leak and so I again went to eBay looking for a replacement. Again I ended up in the Thailand section where I found a replacement. When I went to install the gas tap, the tank was already on the bike. Then I threaded the new tap on and began to tighten. With no really good point of reference I managed to start tightening before the tap was exactly on straight. In short, I cross threaded it...and continued tightening until I had buggered at least three threads.

My first line of attack was to use my die set to try and clean up the threads. That turned out to be impossible because there really was not enough clearance between the tank and the feed pipe for the die to sit perfectly on the buggered threads. So I choose to cut off the buggered threads....again, not easy. A hacksaw would not fit in that area and so I ended up using the hacksaw blade by hand. It took a while. The next problem with this "fix" was the fact that the hand made cut had to be at 90 degrees to the feed pipe or the tap would not seat fully. Yea, what are the chances of that happening? As you might expect, the cut was not at 90 degrees and so I had to use a file to get it as close as possible and then I made a thin rubber gasket to take up any slack. It is now leak free.

Mounting a new tire is always a pleasure. Actually mounting this Dunlop trials tire was less troublesome than most. The carcass is more flexible than most tires and the higher profile of the tire allows me, more easily,to get my hand inside the tire to situate the tube and the rim lock.

Naturally, there was a new chain and sprocket set. I went one tooth down in the front and two teeth larger in the rear as well as one size stronger (plus o-rings) on the chain.  Lowering the gearing on this bike seems to be a standard improvement made by the trials community. In my case I am not sure that the lower gearing will not be off-set by the larger and heavier tire. We will see.

To suit the stronger/wider chain the sprocket is somewhat thicker. Since the original sprocket is held to the hub with a snap ring I expected that there might be problems....but I also remembered that the original rear sprocket had a spacer behind the sprocket facing the hub. So it all made sense. I simply installed the sprocket without the spacer and it aligned perfectly with the groove for the snap ring. Obviously Honda uses this hub for a model that employes this larger (thicker) sprocket.

Yes, I know that this drive chain is significant overkill. "Real" trials guys would never use o-ring chains, and they might even go down a size on the drive chain. In my case, I managed to break the stock chain in deep sand which left me with a five mile hike in my riding gear to get home. I really do not want to repeat that experience.

The improvements made to the bike were primarily cosmetic. Any performance improvements would be related to the new tire and gearing combination. The seat/tank unit was painted. A seat pad was also installed. This pad came with the seat/tank unit but I had never glued it down because I knew that I would only have to rip it off when/if I painted the seat/tank unit. New bars and grips were installed. New fenders were installed and virtually all of the fasteners were replaced with stainless nuts and bolts and virtually all of the nuts were of the nylock variety. One major improvement was that every bit of salty/crusty Baja sand and dirt was removed. Corrosion and rust was stopped in its tracks.

The test ride was uneventful. I just wanted to make sure that I had not missed something that was going to cause me great bodily harm. As it turns out, I had apparently tightened every nut and bolt and checked every clearance. Next up will be a longer ride to my favorite places to see if the change to the gearing will have any useful effect.

As a point of reference, below is a shot of the TLR before this project was initiated. Don't bother to click on the picture. It is a low resolution picture that I created for some forum...probably Trials Australia...which requires a lower resolution photograph for their threads.

Here in the workshop my next project will be to complete the TY. Below is a shot of it in its current condition...really not much more to do. It needed a base gasket (which I now have). That's what caused me to shift gears and complete the Honda. All that's really left is to install the cylinder and head, exhaust system, carb, air cleaner and the ignition system. The seat is with our upholstery guy who is making new covers for our cushions in the patio which were wiped out in the hurricane. A bunch of new pieces have arrived for the kick start mechanism, but I am not going to install the new pieces until/unless the unit again fails. The TY could be finished in a day. I am anxious to see how much better a bike the TY is as compared to the TLR. It has been a long time...probably ten years...since I rode the TY.

Watch this space!!!