Friday, February 15, 2013

XS750 Restoration, Part 16 -- Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Despite taking a couple of days off work recently, having time off over Christmas and New Years, etc., work on the XS750 restoration project has all but ground to a halt lately. I've gotten several pieces down to the point where I need to have the frame painted before I can start putting things back together again, but I need a couple of pieces of steel tubing bent and welded before I can paint the frame. Unfortunately, I don't have the tools to bend the tubing, so I'm at the mercy of someone else's time schedule.

However, there are still a few things small jobs that I can do to keep pushing forward -- even if it's very, very slowly -- on this project. First, I decided that while I had the rear wheel removed, I would mount the new Conti Go! tire. These looked to be just about the sportiest tire I could find to fit this bike, and the price was reasonable. Better yet, it was arguably the easiest tire that I've ever mounted on a motorcycle wheel.

Here...: an action shot after removing the old tire, but before installing the new one.

I also decided to bite the bullet and put my front brake calipers back together. However, before I could do that, I needed a way to seal the problematic bleeder valve, to keep brake fluid from leaking, as I've mentioned earlier. An o-ring would be ideal, but I didn't have a DOT-3 resistant o-ring on hand (much less one of the proper size), and, being frustrated with how long it's taken me to go find one somewhere, I decided to try the aluminum epoxy putty method instead. I removed the bolt that is replacing the bleeder valve, packed the bleeder orifice with putty, put more putty around the top, between the caliper and the crush washer, then tightened up the bolt. After letting the epoxy putty cure for a couple of days, I removed the old gaskets and o-rings from the calipers, installed the new gaskets and o-rings from the caliper rebuild kits I ordered, installed the new E-Bay/HVC Cycles stainless steel pistons (very nice!!!), reassembled the calipers, attached the brake hoses (more on that in a minute), and starting filling the system with new(-ish) DOT-3 (I didn't want to waste good fluid on a possibly leaky system, and I can always bleed it again with fresh later). From my vantage on the right side of the bike, things looked great...until I noticed the growing puddle on the left side of the bike.

Sigh...I'm glad I didn't use fresh brake fluid.

I'll have to remove the left-hand caliper (again, grrr!), clean the bleeder orifice (again), and put more epoxy putty in there. Somewhere, I didn't seal it as good as I thought I had, and brake fluid is leaking through. I haven't yet worked up the will power to tackle that job, though. It's a pain in the butt, but such are the joys of rebuilding vintage motorcycles :)

While reassembling the brake system, I discovered one major flaw in the SV-Racing brake lines I bought: all of the banjo fittings are at about a 20 degree angle, to allow the brake lines to stand off from the master cylinder and calipers. The Goodridge lines on Bike Bandit are on swivels, so that you can position the fittings as needed, since the stainless steel lines don't flex. The SV-Racing lines, however, are fixed in position, and every single one of them is wrong for my bike. This isn't Blair's fault -- I made the drawings of how the lines should be built, but I didn't understand that this was a potential pitfall. However, if I were to buy stainless steel lines again (and I know I will, since my wife also rides a vintage bike, and I'd like stainless on my V-Strom, too), I will most likely go with the Goodridge lines next time. Blair's are nice, but the Goodridge lines are cheaper, and the fittings swivel.