Sunday, 23 May 2010

Having transited the transitional period, I find to my amazement that I have actually achieved rather more than I thought I would on the BMW front.

Disappointingly, the R80 tank hasn't materialised.

While I was out and about, I did manage to buy a couple of lengths of bar which meant that I had some material to maching the crush tubes for the new rear engine mounts out of. I also bought some 1 1/2" "exhaust" tube.

Some careful calculations showed that by making the exhaust for the BMW from 1 1/2" OD 1/16" wall tube, I would have a former to bend it, and the gas would travel from one end of it, to the other end of it over a period of time. Quite what it's going to do in terms of performance, is a bit of a mystery, but it will almost certainly rob the midrange of something. Given that the later bikes needed bigger valves to make more power, I suspect that a fatter bore exhaust isn't going to tap any unsuspected reserve of horsepower either.

The question is do I care? Well in some larger sense, clearly I do because it's not unknown for me to spend some time measuring valve timings, poking numbers into calculators, and modelling exhaust systems with equal length branches in Google SketchUp. On the other hand, this is a Café Racer, and to my mind the defining feature of a cafe racer is that it looks like a race bike, but goes no better than a bone stock bike.

So, as long as it looks the part, that'll be marvellous.

You may recall that I managed the snap off the threaded collar on one of the exhaust ports? Frankly, I can't be arsed to even attempt to weld it back on, so what I think I'm going to try is cutting the other collar off and drilling the fins for exhaust retaining springs. If nothing else, it'll look more like a race bike...

I took some of the 20mm bar I'd bought and turned it down to 19mm, mostly because I couldn't buy any 19mm bar between the house and the workshop. I also drilled the bar with a 12.5mm hole to accept the lower engine mounting stud. I used a roofing square and a spirit level to chock the frame up something like level on the floor when I drilled some 3/4" (or 19,05mm if you prefer) holes through the frame rails. I drilled the holes 4 5/8" in front of the existing footrest mounts.

Slightly annoyingly, I looked on the shelf for some tube to make a spacer that I was going to cut to the same dimensions as the bottom motor mount, I discovered some 3/4" OD, 1/8" wall tube that I could have just cut the crush tubes out of.

Once I had the crush tubes clamped onto the lower engine mount stud and checked that it was square and level to the rest of the frame, I welded them in place. Next thing was to bolt the engine to the rear mounts and bolt the engine mount forgings that I'd cleaned up so that the engine acted as a jig for the mounts. and I could tack the mounts into place.

Once they were tacked, I took the engine out, and clamped them all up on an engine mouunting stud using the same tube spacer and original engine mount spacers to keep them all aligned, and preheated it all prior to weklding them in place.

By this time, the engine's timing cover was starting to irritate me as it was making hauling the engine in and out of the frame a little bit difficult. According to the manual, it may require some heat to remove the timing cover. In my case a rubber hammer seemed to work admirably. With the diode board (fancy German name for a rectifier) removed, along with the alternator, and ignition "bean can" I got the hacksaw out and cut the top of the timing cover off.
Initially I'd just had it in mind to saw the top of the cover off to make the repetitious process of installing and removing the engine easier. I got a little carried away and after about an hour, I'd shaved off more or less all of the stuff that needed shaving off.

I've been looking askance at the sticky up bits either side of the starter motor that are basically there for the now redundant starter motor cover to bolt up against as well. It doesn't require second sight to see a cutting disc in their imminent future...

I need the fuel tank to turn up now, so I can sort out the frame bracing, and I'm giving some thought to binning the subframe and making a new one in fatter tube.

Having neither the tube or the fuel tank to hand, then I'll probably be making the rear sets and the exhaust over the coming week.

But don't hold your breath...

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