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Project Zeal, Getting It Started

Before I could commit to any further work on the bike, I needed to know if the engine even ran.

Before I can even see if the engine runs I need to remove the fuel tank, drain it and see if im getting fuel to the carbs.

The tank is pretty easy to remove once the seat is off. You need to remove the little cubby box at the front of the tank

Under that, and at the rear of the tank under where the seat would be, are four bolts. Two long at the rear and two shorter at the front (they are removed in the photos already)

The guide I was using said to take the handle off the fuel tap. Not sure why, maybe just to reduce the chances of breaking it.

The top fuel hose on the fuel pump is the inlet, so off that comes, and then it’s a matter of lifting off the tank.

I forgot to take a photo, but under the tank is the air box (big black box in above photo). The filter in it was in good shape, so that’s one less thing to buy. I pulled the air box off, and finally had access to the carbs

Before doing anything else with the carbs, I drained the fuel tank. I had issues draining through the fuel tap and filter, there just wasn’t any flow, so I resorted to just tipping it out the filler. This was a bit messy, but quick. The bad news? The tank is rusty. What I thought was half a tank of gas, turned out to be about a litre of petrol and half a tank of rusty water. Guess that explains the flow issue.

The inside of the tank is rusty. Not too flaky, but will need to be worked to get rid of the rust. It doesn’t look deep, and there are no signs of it coming through that I have noticed. I can still see patches of clean metal around the place, which is a good sign.

There are a few different methods for removing the rust. You can fill the tank with water, nuts, and bolts and shake like mad. The preferred method (because I like to make everything more difficult) is electrolysis, or removing the rust using a sacrificial bit of metal and lots of electricity. I’ll look further into this, but I think the tank can be saved.

The other thing I had to do before I could crank the engine, was to drain the oil and fill with fresh oil and a new filter.

Remember the old filter?

Yeah that’s been replaced

And although the oil was thick, black and really bad smelling, it had no chunks or metal flakes in it.

I filled up with 2.7L of Penrite MC4ST 10W50 semi-synthetic motorbike oil. Nice golden colour.

Now, because I still haven’t purchased a new battery (don’t want to invest $100 into a battery if the engine is poked), I had to use the big 500CCA one I removed from the Rover…… Lets just say I don’t have a photo as it was bit of a dodgy setup using really long home-made jumper leads and clips just hanging on the bikes battery terminals…. but it worked 😛

We have power!

All the lights work, even the hazards

Speaking of dodgy, this was my “fuel tank” to try to supply fuel to the carbs

Yeah, that’s probably not that safe. Oh well, fire extinguisher was near by!

Anyway, the carbs didn’t take much fuel at all during the testing. Whether that’s because they need to be fed with the fuel pump, or because they just aren’t in good shape, I don’t know, but I ended up feeding fuel straight down the throat of the carb.

After much cranking, something amazing happened….

It made vroom vroom noises. First start in at least 2 years (if not 4, depending on when the owner last started it). Engine ran good for the couple of seconds it was running, with no bad noises. Exhaust sounds awesome, even when it’s only hitting 5000rpm or so. Cant wait to hear it at 15,000rpm!

So the engine runs. The carbs are in dire need of a rebuild and the tank needs the rust removed, but otherwise its all fairly straight forward now. I don’t know if the gearbox does gearbox stuff, but I’ll deal with that later.

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