Monday, November 3, 2014

Winter Storage 2014-2015

Well, it's getting to be that time of year again. Here's our storage rates for this winter:

MOTORCYCLE STORAGE: $30/month
  • Bike will be stored indoors and tarped to protect from dust/dirt
  • We will provide a battery tender for you for $5/month, or hookup your own tender for free
  • We will pro-rate your charge if you are ready to ride mid-month
  • Bikes can be retrieved at any time, but we ask for a minimum of 3 days notice in Winter
 Space is limited, so please get in touch as early as possible to reserve your space, thanks!

We also do full winterization services for long-term storage, and in the spring we will be offering specials to get your bike ready for the riding season. Please inquire about our rates for your bike if interested.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Connection Problems

Here's something we've seen a lot of in the shop this year: melted and burned connectors, particularly the 3-wire connector between the stator -> reg/rectifier, and the four-wire connector that plugs into the starter solenoid. Amazingly, most of the bikes we've seen this on are still running/charging in spite of how burned up the wiring looks. However, we can assure you that it will eventually cause big, big problems. Bikes we've seen this issue on recently include a GL1200, GL500, DOHC CB 750, VT500C, amongst others. After 30+ years, dirt gets into the major charging system connectors and the increased resistance generates heat, and the cycle of connector meltdown begins. If the damage isn't too far along, our best advice is to clean thoroughly with contact cleaner and sandpaper or a small flathead screwdriver, then coat each prong with dielectric grease and reassemble. If it's too far along, we have found some sources for OEM-style connectors for many vintage bikes and can order them for you...or just use decent crimp-on ones from the hardware store, so long as you can get a tight-fitting connection.

Here is an example of when one finally fails:

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Honda DOHC Cam Chain Tension

So, here's something we've never found much information about, either from Honda, or online. Starting in the 1980s, Honda switched design for most of their motorcycles from manual cam chain tensioners to automatic models. Once they went automatic, it became a lot harder to know what was going on with the system when you started to hear cam chain noise. There is good information for some bikes on how to tell with the automatic tensioner, but not much on the DOHC inline fours. How can you tell if your cam chain is stretched? And how can you tell if the tensioner has reached its limit?

Having just successfully diagnosed and fixed this problem on a 1983 Honda CB650sc Nighthawk, here is what we learned:

* The bike in question had approximately 31k miles. There was noticeable, very loud rattle, almost like a buzzing/gurgling sound throughout the rev range. It wasn't bad when the bike was cold, but got much worse as the engine warmed up.

* The stock cam chain has to be broken to remove both the chain itself, and the tensioner. However, both jobs can be done with the engine in frame, and only removing the valve cover.

* The tensioner is known for the spring to become weak and/or fail. Also, the spring and the complete tensioner have both been discontinued by Honda, for the CB650sc and CB550sc models with hydraulic valves.

* It may be possible to remove the tensioner without removing the cams, but certainly very difficult. We had to unbolt both cam sprockets from the cams and then remove the intake cam before there was enough room to remove the tensioner.

* The only solution that doesn't require engine disassembly down to the crankshaft is to break the old cam chain at one link, also break the replacement cam chain at one link, temporarily attach to each other and run the new chain around the crankshaft sprocket by manually turning the engine, then remove the old chain and fasten the new chain with a special cam chain masterlink.

* If done this way, be sure to run the new cam chain through the cam chain tensioner before fixing it with the masterlink, much easier than dealing with the tensioner slipper clips!!!

* We replaced the original cam chain tensioner with a unit from a 1983 CB550sc with 10k miles. The tensioner is the same design for both models as far as we can tell.

As far as measuring cam chain wear, we sadly did not take photos or measurements of the old chain before removing it from the bike. However, here are some photos of a new chain and low-mileage tensioner. Photos are with crankshaft positioned at TDC. Note the following that can be used to measure wear:

* Deflection of the chain is very minimal between the cam sprockets, estimate less than 4mm.

* The tensioner has a rod that runs through a center hole in the fastener plate; the closer this rod gets to the upper hole, the farther out the tensioner is (hence, the closer to its limit). As you can see in the photos, the rod is far below this upper hole in our new setup, estimate approx 10mm gap.




Hope this helps some of you out there, good luck!


Friday, February 14, 2014

Motocicletas de Mexico

Two of us from the shop escaped Pittsburgh winter for a week in Mexico. Tons of people ride tiny (by U.S. standards) motorcycles down there, and we loved it. Here are some photos of some of our favorites. Enjoy!



All the way from D.F. to Yucatan on a 200cc bike!
The ubiquitous Honda Passport

Honda Rebel - At 250cc one of the biggest bikes we saw!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Out Of The Office

It's vacation time here at Slagheap Cycles. The shop will be closed to the public from December 23rd until January 23rd. We will still be available by phone and email if you are interested in scheduling work with us once the shop re-opens. Look forward to some motorcycle-related photos from our various travels soon :)

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Monday, November 4, 2013

Winter Motorcycle Storage

I rode my motorcycle out to Udipi Cafe today for lunch (great dosas!), and nearly lost some fingers to the cold. Unfortunately, it's getting to be that time of year when the bikes have to get put away. On that note, we are offering very affordable motorcycle storage and winterization. Here are the rates:

MOTORCYCLE STORAGE: $30/month
  • Bike will be stored indoors and tarped to protect from dust/dirt
  • Electrical outlets for battery tender (we can provide a tender for $5/month)
  • Bike can be removed and re-stored at anytime, given reasonable notice, no extra charge
  • We will pro-rate your charge if you are ready to ride mid-month
MOTORCYCLE WINTERIZATION: $50 + gasoline
  • Powerwash motorcycle to prep for storage
  • Fill gas tank and fuel system with stabilized gasoline, drain carburetors
  • Fog engine cylinders with oil
  • Remove battery and check condition
  • Lift bike weight off tires and onto blocks
  • Spray metal parts with rust prevention spray
  • Spray plastic and vinyl with preservative spray 
  • Cover motorcycle with breathable cover
MOTORCYCLE SPRING STARTUP: $50 + oil & filter
  • Powerwash motorcycle
  • Replace engine oil and change oil filter
  • Fully charge and reinstall battery
  • Clean & gap spark plugs
  • Inflate and check tire pressure
  • Lubricate and check drivechain
  • Refill fuel system