RD400 Cafe Racer
Well, that didn’t take long…
Kate, a friend, and I were headed downtown to a concert. Easily doing a buck-ten for several miles (on a closed course with professional drivers… duh), our friend, Chris, pulled up next to me and pointed to his gas tank. So we pull off. Kate’s having some problems shifting so she pulls to the side of the road and I follow while Chris runs up to the station. Won’t shift. Not up, not down. I fearfully unscrewed the dipstick to check the oil in the bottom end (as I’d done a few days prior), and only smoke came out. Don’t know where the oil went, but the bottom end was very unhappy.
As far as I could tell the top end was fine, the crank was fine. The clutch was fine. It’s clearly either some gears welded together or a bent shift fork.
And even though I was a little bummed, I was also kind-of excited, because I really wanted to tear into this motor anyway. So come along on this journey with me.
All prepped for surgery, let’s begin.
Motor out with the help of a friend.
So… Something clearly going on here. I’m thinking the right side is / was running lean? Did check the plugs over the weekend, and they read perfect. So this could be remnant of a prior issue.
Now I’m not in any way an expert, and still relatively new to two-strokes, but the transfer port looks really choppy. Almost like someone started to do a port job and realized they’d had too much to drink, but not so much that they didn’t have some sense left to make them stop. I dunno. Maybe that’s normal.
Intake port. Again, it’s hard to see in the picture, but it’s all so rough…
Exhaust port. Same thing.
Piston looking pretty pitted.
And then there’s this guy… It looks like it was about to hole any second. This is the clean (and I’m assuming too lean) cylinder. The thing looks awful. Also, I was told that this bike had fresh Wiseco pistons in it. Obviously not the case. BUT IT WILL SOON.
Piston windows. Just in case you were dying to know what those looked like.
And this is as far as I got last night. Thanks to my lack of a giant socket for the clutch basket. I believe it is a 29mm and I only go up to 27mm except for a few special ones I’ve purchased. I’ll pick it up on the way home from work today and finish the tear down / inspection.
I’ll keep this post updated with my progress. It might get crazy up in here, so just bare with me.
Just a few little things going on with the RD400 of Doom…
I made this little plate to mount a few dash-type things to. Came out pretty swell I thinks.
Here’s what it looks like mounted.
Meanwhile, My good friend Junior was hard at work on a little bracket for the rear master cylinder. The PO shaved the bracket off of this frame, so we had to make a new one. Of course he put his own style into it.
I then moved on to working on mounting the slave cylinder I picked up to convert her to a hydraulic clutch. Junior saw what I was up to and was like, “No, no.. you leave this with me… It will be amazing…” – and since he’s an amazing fabricator, it surely is amazing.
I even asked him to scratch his moniker into it. After-all, you have to sign your art.
Stay tuned for the completion of the hydro-clutch.
So Kate has decided to start blogging about her bikey goodness since she’s realized that she’s way prettier than me, and people on the internet like pretty people a lot. I don’t know what has sparked this competitive spirit (probably the RD400), but I love it. So go follow Kate over at themotogato.com
This is Kate flexing her muscles at a stoplight in Austin, TX after Rockers vs Mods. She absolutely loves this bike.
So we finally got around to getting the seat finished out on the RD400.
Here’s the leather we’re using. It’s super fun. You can stretch it and scratch at it and it patinas really nicely.
The process was basically the same as last time, but I thought I’d document it anyway.
We started off by covering the seat with foil. Usually I lay down a layer of masking tape and then a layer of aluminum tape, but I was out of aluminum tape. While I was busy complaining that I didn’t pick any up, Kate suggested we throw foil on it… because she’s SUPER smart.
Here it is, ready for the alien invasion.
We threw down a layer of the smooth fiberglass cloth, followed by a few layers of chop and then a few layers of the smooth cloth again. We let it sit for about 24 hours and it was SOLID.
I got it all trimmed up and tested for fit. Notice I made it slightly smaller than the seat itself. This is to take into account any additional padding that sticks out once the seat is foamed and covered.
And just for fun. This is what I look like after cutting up fiberglass with a Dremel. Sucks YEARS off your life (notice all the grey).
We sent it off to the guy we used last time – Bill’s Upholstery in Arlington. This is the final product.
Overall I’m super pleased. It’s a little thicker than I was expecting, but considering what they went through working with the leather I sent them, I’m pretty happy with it.
And here it is on the bike.
I’ll get some better photos of it soon and post them up here!
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