$24 Motorcycle Update #2: “Start up Your Engines”

With the brakes figured out I can focus on getting the engine to start. First off I need to toss out the old ruined battery and replace it. After looking for a while I found one on Amazon that I thought was the right size. I compared sizes and cold cranking amps and found one that seemed to be just a little bit smaller than the old one, well “seemed”. The chrome pro battery I ordered came with a cool LCD display that shows the voltage and the battery percentage plus when the battery gets too low and needs charged it will start cursing at you (luckily for the kiddies its bleeped out), this will be nice while I’m trying to start the bike.

Anytime the voltage gets too low from too many unsuccessful starts I’ll know and be able to stop and charge it up before I damage the cell chemistry. Only one problem, the new battery didn’t fit…

The new battery fit when I took out the base that also had the emergency tool storage and the strap across the center that also holds the starter solenoid. but then there was nothing to hold it… guess I gotta make a new way to hold it…

I started by 3d printing the base (the gaudy white is just to test the fit, the Final will be in black petg). I did lose the ability to store an emergency toolkit on the bike but I plan to put saddlebags on it so the toolkit can go in there. Next, I need to figure out the cross strap. All I really need to do is make the parts that go across the front and back of the battery a little longer. My solution for this was to cut the band and weld a little piece of metal between the two parts for just the right length. Worked perfectly! But no pictures of it so I can’t share… whoops sorry!

Alright with the battery in time to try and start it! Whether or not the bike turns over will determine if I bought a steal or a nice piece of yard art, I honestly don’t expect it to start though. With the bike on its center stand, I put a little gas in the tank, mounted the saddle, pulled the choke, switched the kill switch to on, and with a press of the bright red start button!! Nothing… just a little click from inside the engine casing. Well at least the starter solenoid works (that’s normally what fails on this model). Time to try the janky method. I grabbed a flat head screwdriver and hopped back on the saddle. Now for those of you who don’t know, bikes of this era (and I’m sure for much latter) use a solid state relay to trigger the starter motor. All this is is a fancy electromagnet that closes a circuit from the battery to the motor. This relay on my bike isn’t triggering for some reason. So I pressed the red starter switch to trigger the starter solenoid and shorted the terminals of the relay with the screwdriver. A shower of sparks shot out the side and with a Varoooom the engine came to life. Aha! She runs! The engine sounded smooth and idled without any adjustment. Saweeeet! I just bought a $24 motorcycle that runs! Here’s a video of her Purrrrring.

Before I can take the bike out for its maiden ride I need to free up the stuck throttle and clutch. Technically I could ride it as is but riding with the throttle stuck on and no clutch control doesn’t sound like the best idea. I cleaned the throttle and clutch cables with brake cleaner, I had to pinch the spray tube to the cable opening with my fingers to get the fluid to flow inside. Once I got some in I moved the cable back and forth to spread the liquid and then repeated till the fluid coming out the bottom was clean. After letting it dry for a bit I did a similar process to work some lithium grease into the housing.

I also noticed a lot of friction when rotating the throttle tube without the cables attached. I pulled the tube off and cleaned the inside with brake cleaner and a toothbrush, no luck its still sticking. I tried cleaning off the handlebar the sleeve slides on, no luck. Eventually getting desperate I got a dremal out and sanded down the rust on the handlebars untill I could only see metal where the sleeve rests, still no luck. Then I noticed some of the metal at the end of the handlebar had been bent out, most likely from being dropped too many times. I ground them off and Aha! Worked like a charm. I added lithium grease to the handlebar before sliding the sleeve back on and then put the rest of the throttle and clutch assembly back together. Both feel great now!

After tunning in throttle and clutch free play according to the bikes shop manual it was time to take her out for the first ride! Yes, I’m aware I’m aware I’m not wearing the right pants, or shoes, or jacket, or gloves but I was just too excited to wait (I also never rode again without the best possible gear I have). Video Courtesy of my roommate Noah.

Now I need to figure out why it’s not starting, my best bet is the relay is broken and needs replaced so I’ll look into that.

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