Trixie’s Great Adventure

I have been told not to amphomorphise motorcycles as they don’t like it. But I do like giving vehicles names just to have a bit of fun rather saying Yamaha TRX850, the red one. Why am I talking about this well I have just visited some friends in Cambridge to take on the ownership of Trixie the Yamaha TRX850. This bike has been within the mailing list of Ixion for many years going from Mike (mlh) > Iain (McSatan) > (Dr) Fong > AndrewP > NeilR > Me with various owners making modifications, racing and even just taking the bike out for a damned good ride you can say this bike has had an interesting life.

Neil has been doing various bits of work to this bike over the past year or two some of this has meant he had to buy spares, well spare bikes. I agreed that it would be best if I took on these spares. I hadn’t quite realised how many spares he has managed to collect.

I am now the owner of 3 Yamaha TRX850s in a graded scale of disrepair, Trixie is all OK and just in the need for a bath and maybe some tarting up. The next is The Colonel (named after one of its owners) which is fairly up together other than it had a mishap at some point and the wiring loom has melted a bit and so requires some work to get it back on the road. Then there is Fozzy (again a previous owner) which is down to a frame and a pile of bits where NeilR removed parts to fix Trixie. The names the last two aren’t set in stone yet, just a way for me to compartmentalise them in my head for now.

If you want to read up on what Neil did with Trixie you can find it all on his blog.
https://nronketti.wordpress.com/

I hired a van and with my trusty side-kick aka Dad, we drove the 4hours to Ely where we met NeilR at JamesD’s place where some of the “spares” had been kept. Thankfully I hired a big enough van.

Other 4 hours drive home and it was now 9 pm and we had to just get all this stuff away as I had to get the hire van back. The next day I tasked myself with sorting out the insurance on the bikes and later after the rain slowed I progressed to getting the bike stored away neatly. I need a bigger shed! To make room I had to get rid of a bike that I have had for more years than I can remember, my trusty Yamaha TY80. It was sad to let it go, as me, my sisters and my cousins all learnt to ride on it, but not to worry as it is gone to my Niece and Nephew to look after on the proviso it is never to be sold, as its a family hairy loom.

Yamaha TY80

Yamaha TY80

I did plan on trying to tackle the pile of bits I have that are preventing me from getting to the shed but the weather is damp and I am not in the mood for it yet.

I feel like it could be fun to make an E-book of the travels of Trixie and her various owners over the years. “Trixie’s Great Adventure” sounds like a fun title. But before I get too far I needed to do some admin work such as get some of the info I need for the bike, so I created a folder and added some of the pics I took when I bought it, NeilR gave me some of his pics and a Yamaha parts list and a colour wiring diagram. I then tracked down the manual for it etc. and joined the TRX850.com forum.

Then I started to look at graphics, and I found a font that seems to be similar to the one for the TRX so I mocked up an image for the forums but also so that I can later use it on artwork for the bike.

Yeah, I am that sad. The font btw is Sofachrome and its not the same but damned close.

Original logo and graphics on the bike.
My close approximation of the logo

Sorting and fettling

Sorry I haven’t been up to much recently, after Ixion at Cadwell and work I haven’t spent a lot of time in the shed.

Oh, I did make use of the Land Rover to collect a fellow internet users (young lad from Reddit) bike that he had crashed into an innocent hedge while avoiding a badger.

Only damage was a broken mirror and pride.

The past two weekends I did end up on an epic sort out of a shelving unit just to find some cable ties, I really need a bigger shed.

This is half way through.

Lots of it is random bits that Dad has kept for other projects and some is the bits we took off that aren’t best but they might be handy for spares for other things.

But after getting that all back on the shelf I was happy to say I now know where the cable ties are and the pullers, levers, and even chain splitters are.

This was followed by a short trip (300miles 6hrs) to collect a bike for my Dad. A low mileage, Yellow Ducati Monster M600 as he likes my bikes but he wanted something a little smaller and he has wanted another Ducati since he sold his 750 Paso.

But enough of that, time for the fettling. Today I managed to get a few bits sorted, one was to fit a new charger for the bike, one unit, two charging leads. Its from NoCo which though its American they seem to make nice kit.

With that fitted I thought about sorting out the USB cable on the BMW, then I noticed a job on the KLR that I have meant to do for ages.

The front brake reservoir cap.

That is a rather chewed up screw, this tends to happen to Jap bikes as most people use Phillips screw drivers on them when the Japanese use their own JIS style of screw driver. That will be anther post another day.

I had tried to remove it a year or two ago and that is when it ended up like that. So armed with an LH Drill bit I set to it. Then I thought that rather than drill it out I might get away with using an Allen key to undo it. So with some luck, I found an impact Allen key that was just right and I hammered it down in there.

Allen bit hammered in.

It then came out, which was nice.

Now replaced with a new Allen bolt, with grease to prevent galling.

Tidy

Later this will allow me to bleed the brakes again as the KLR is well known for crap brakes.

Now back to the BMW, where I then thought oh I might as well do this while I am here.

New seal for the cubby box in the tank.

Never understood why they just didn’t give me an extra few litres of fuel…its only 35ltr tank as it is. I had a bit of an issue with glues as the RTV just wouldn’t stick so I ended up using some superglue which has worked. Though if it fails then some sort of contact adhesive such as copydex is recommended.

Tomorrow I might actually get some stuff done on the bike that means I can go for a ride.

Brown Trouser Moment on the bike

Hit a bump in the road while braking and then I lost steering. I thought I had a flat tyre. Eek.

Thankfully a chap heading to the local MX track stopped and had tools.

I had only fitted the lower mudguard the other weekend as I thought it would be nice to have both fitted to the bike for neatness. Clearly its not a good thing to do.

Later that day the clutch would stop working, but after sitting at the side of the road for 20mins there was a click and it worked again so rode home gently. Now in a sulk. I have other bikes but I just get a feeling I might break another one.

Oh look another project

Now this isn’t one of my bikes. This belongs to my Dad and was bought many years ago.

I had to fit the bike rack as originally the idea was to pickup my TY175 but the BSA was in the way so that came home first. I did make a start on painting the rack, might get the rest powder coated.

Now the BSA,

This is a BSA B25S Starfire (250cc) from 1969 and was sent to Canada. Then brought back to the UK. We still have the fun of getting this road registered. But for now we just wanted to get it going, my Brother-in-law had this for a while and had got it going. But after a few prods of the kick starter there was no life. So we made up new HT leads and Dad got on with looking at the points. Not long later it was running, of not a little high revving and a bit smokey but it started first kick.

Later that day I was painting some BMW bits and I happened to trip on some of the Buzzweld PIO (Plastics in One). Therefore I painted the seat. I suspect it will need recovering or repairing as there is a small hole in it.

While I wait for parts

So the parts are taking their time to get to me so I took the opportunity to do some work on some of the bits that I can’t normally get to. Now this isn’t going to be a concourse bike this for now is just to slow the deterioration and to tidy a few bits up.

Just a coat of primer, black paint and a self-etching lacquer to finish it off. This is mostly hidden, I just wanted it to sparkle a little. I also painted the airbox and the airbox cover while I was at it.

Another job was to clean the gearbox and the clutch housing. It took quite a bit of time to get it this tidy. Next stage would to get it vapour blasted but I just don’t want to spend that kind of money yet.

While I have the rear shaft assembly out I gave that a damned good clean and then sealed with some more self-etching lacquer from the people at Buzzweld.

Now to await the parts so I can get this thing back together.

And it was a nice day

As lockdown is easing a little I had to drop some stuff off at my sisters in Wiltshire so I took the bike. That went well, the bike was going well so I thought I might as well take the shortcut home and wave at a friend that keeps offering me money for the bike.

Just outside of Cirencester while in the outside lane doing 70mph on a dual cabbageway I lost drive, but I could rev. The first thought was oh dear the chain has snapped but being a BMW shaft-driven bike I wasn’t so lucky. I pulled over and there was little or no drive. I noticed a sign ahead for parking so with some luck I was able to ease the bike to a safe place under the trees. I rang home to say what had happened and Dad though happy to come to get me wasn’t going to be able to make it for a quite a few hours. This is when I made a mistake, I thought I would just get the RAC out. They have been good to me in the past.

I rang, told them what was wrong and I needed recovery. They said they would send a van. The van driver rang, he agreed that he doubts he could repair it at the road side so called the office to get them to recover it.

So 45mins later, he turned up. Looked at the bike and listed to the clanking etc. Said “yup, its broken alright”. So told the office and a recovery lorry would come out soon. I rang at 5pm, it was now 6pm. I waited, I crossed the road to keep in the sun as I had a feeling I might get cold.

Had a call at 8 from a chap in Frome saying he would be 1.5hrs, oh someone else local has the job now, they will call you shortly. Just after 9pm a chap turns up.

The bike is strapped down, I never like the way bikes get strapped down to flatbeds. On the centre stand, straps to pull it forwards and down. Straps on the rear to pull it down. Just the centre stand keeping it on the ground. At one point both front and rear wheels touched the deck…I whelped and we changed the straps about. Eventually home for midnight. It was a long day.

The next day filled with ideas of what had failed we started to strip the bike down. Its amazing how quickly these things go from big bike to half a bike.

As you can see we were tempted to make it into a some sort of BikeExif custom thing, but as I don’t own any exhaust wrap we didn’t bother. After the removal of the gearbox it was easy to see what the problem was.

That would be a rather broken clutch. So a new one has been ordered. I decided to go for a nice Sachs one as that is what BMW fitted. I was tempted to go for a Heavy Duty one that is happy to get oily etc but I wanted to go with tested an proven.

Matchless loom mk2 part 2

Now it is time to fit the loom, not too hard on these old bikes but you still need to start off with the right mindset so make a brew and drink it as you work out what to do.

Basically, that is my crimp tools for un-insulated wire and I tend to use both of them as work on this bike. Some are better for the bullets others are better for others. Though I ought to look at what AMP/DMC/Tyco make for this as I am sure it is expensive but they would do the job right.

It didn’t take long to feed the main part of the loom into place. Now the fun task of crimping the ends and making the various connections.

Lots of tea was needed for this task as its a right pain to follow the diagram and get it to work. The switches I have don’t seem to have the same bridged connections as suggested in the wiring diagram. Thankfully it isn’t to hard, but you can still make mistakes (more of that later).

While I was in there I had thought it would be a good time to fit a new horn & dip/main switch but annoyingly the new switches aren’t the same and the wire colours were wrong. Oh well, not wasted, this will go on the AJS once I get to it.

After a lot of faffing its starting to come along,

As with the modern loom, I had tried a few months back I also fitted and extra earth to the headlight for extra care. I must say the old way of using these connector blocks is quite nice. You can usually and up combining a few connections with little mess or bulk.

Then it was time for the midsection to get a look at. I fitted a modern rectifier (KPBC3510) as I was suspicious the old one was not in the best of shape. The modern bridge rectifyer I bought at the bike show but a search shows its avaible at RS for not a lot.

Then I had to wire in the rear brake switch and rear lights. The rear lights have caused me issues in the past, at one point using the rear brake was enough to act as a kill switch for the bike which was never fun as I approached junctions. I had again ordered a new rear switch only to find that the mounting holes didn’t align so more stuff for other bikes.

I’m glad I did this as the wire wasn’t in good condition. Then it was just a case of wiring the battery up and the ignition coil which again wasn’t too mad.

After all this, I revisited the Points and condenser. I replaced both units as I had a suspicion that the condenser was on its way out. While also in there the springs for the auto-advance/retard unit were replaced. Many of these bits aren’t that expensive but at least give you a bit of confidence when it comes to starting.

Now it is all done, so I do a few tests and erm it’s not working. Not getting a good spark and but the lights work but if I hit the horn I don’t get any sound but the horn gets warm to the touch rather quickly. More tea, and maybe dinner I rechecked my wiring in the headlight, I had make a error and had turned the horn into a dead short for the battery and the points wasn’t getting any more than the power from your kick. Thankfully I had used good thick wire so no burnouts. I was kicking myself for not fitting fuses but then again I didn’t see any fuse boxes I liked the look of, may fit one in the future to be safe.

After that was sorted out I took it for a ride and its working fine, then dad went for a ride. Later a neighbour who last saw this bike on the road the day he moved in 6 years ago managed to start it and off he went for a ride. I have yet to take it on a long ride but I will soon.

Matchless Wiring Loom mk2

I bought a Lucas loom, it didn’t work. I suspect I could make it work but considering I have moved the coil and added a modern rectifier I thought I might as well make my own. So an order went into Vehicle Wiring Products for some wire with the right colours stipes on and a selection of uninsulated Bullet (4.7mm/0.1850″ for the old bikes), and spade connectors.

I ordered wire in 1.0mm² (16.5A) and 2mm² (25A). I did some tests and the bike uses 11A but the larger wire diameter means a little less voltage drop. I got the 1mm² in case the 2mm² was way too big for my needs. Turns out the 2mm² was about the same as the old stuff. I took the original Matchless wiring diagram for my bike and added some colour to help with the wiring.

Now before I could start I had to sort, so the boxes of electrical bits came out and I procrastinated for a while sorting out the bits. This won’t be the last time. By the way, I have a large selection of Red and Blue insulated crimps with heat shrink, I have gone off them as a few times now I have done the crimp and it’s just pulled out, this could be a wire gauge issue or a crimp tool issue but I am converting to uninsulated crimps as I can get a good grip when crimping.

With that done and a cup of tea I started to look at the old loom. Its rather basic but I would like to have a neat loom.

I started off with tying the wire together with bailer twine so I could work out where the wires go an where they branch off etc.

Now I ordered 5m of each colour I needed to be safe, which means I have plenty left over for other projects.

With the basics done I started to think about how I was going to get the sleeving on. I had gone for the Braided Sleeving which is a pain to work with but does look nice once done. But with several cups of tea, I managed to get it on and the wires branching off where I needed them.

Then I added heat shrink to prevent the braid from falling to bits.

Now I have done the basic bit of the loom. I will fit it to the bike then make the wires shorter where I need them and then start crimping. I added a length of protective sleeving to prevent any undue wear from the tank and steering.

There is an extra wire in this loom, a red one. Its to run an earth (remember positive earth) to some where in the headlight as a backup. During this process I thought that I needed more eyelets to crimp on, I have a few but I ordered some to add to the collection, plus a new horn/dip switch and a new rear brake switch. This re-wire won’t be cheap but I enjoy having a go at stuff and learning new/developing skills.

In other news, I also challenged my friend with a Welder, “This Old Hoddy” to make me a tool for taking the inspection covers off the bike. It is rough but does the job. I just don’t like using a screw driver to undo them.

New Rear Mudguard for the BMW

I had a birthday recently, I spent that weekend painting the BMW. At the end of the day, my Dad’s only disappointment was the hacked up rear mudguard and how rubbish it looked. So as a present he offered to buy me a good second hand one. So moments later I ordered the BMW brake light from Motorworks and a more paint from Craig at Buzzweld because the mudguard we found was, of course, the wrong colour.

The guard eventually turned up and as I had to take some Holiday during this COVID-19 stuff I thought oh well might as well do something with the time.

A quick scrub down and I masked off the stickers and the BMW logo. Then out with the paint. I chose to go red again as it covers well compared to the white. and I thought I like to be different.

Then came time to fit, oh how much of a pain that was. It decided to interfere with the Metal Mule Pannier kit, and so, therefore, got a few scuffs in the new paint. I will touch that up another day. I took the opportunity while the mudguard was off to paint some Coo-Var Rust Converter as I do plan to repaint the frame one day but not just now, but I would like to prevent it getting any worse anytime soon.

Looks a lot nicer with the proper guard in place and I have got rid of the horrible bracket for the numberplate. Decided to fit the new brake light so the LED one I made had to be removed.

The indicator bracket I made up one afternoon looks like it needs to be removed and something else made. The Resistors for the Indicators also needs to move now. I am thinking under the seat on a new mount.

One of the other things I have been meaning to do is sort the Screen mounting points but I can’t seem to get the BMW bolts which are M6 with a 10mm spigot on top with an M5 tapped into that. I asked a friend if he could have a go so “This Old Hoddy” made up a few, they are interesting as he is still learning his lathe and Mill. I needed 4 but he had only made 2 that could be used.

But he told be he had ordered some hexagonal bar stock and would be having another go. A week later and he had done them, I collected on the way home from work kept distancing rules etc I even left them on a bag for a few more days before taking them out for a clean etc.

Technically they should look like this,

With a 17mm spanner head on them etc etc. But they fit and look right and they are mostly hidden. As the ones Hoddy made for me were plain steel I had to treat them. The idea of Cold Bluing them sounded like a good idea. Its a technique used on Guns to give them a layer of dark blue rust that can be oiled and precents the red rust we are all used to. Ordered a bottle and gave it a go, as I did this I asked some of the Ixies on Ixion and they were strongly against it but it was too late I had done it.

Doesn’t look too bad, if it doesn’t work I will take them off and either spray them or get them treated. I am trying to avoid buy a DIY Zinc plating kit but I am getting weaker by the day.

Fitting the screen etc was rather easier than before as I now had the right sized bolts and wasn’t faffing about.

You might also noticed I fitted the head light surround, using some more of the 3M double sided tape. With the evening starting to draw in I decided to give the headlight grill I found at the bike show a bit of a spruce up.

I went for white to go against the red. Now she has pretty white teeth to smile at others as she goes by. Maybe then people wont stare at her saggy pistons (she isn’t a MV).

Squeal Like a Land Rover

For ages, I have had a squeal on the Land Rover. I made the mistake of asking on the forums etc. Which is never a good idea as you always have people quoting the most expensive item to fix. I decided to let it develop so that I could finally be able to hear it easily and know that it was.

I had thought it was the Viscus Fan Pulley Bearing but as I stripped it down to get to that bearing I removed the serpentine belt and behold the two idler wheels were rather wobbly and one was crunchy. Look at the price of the parts, £45 without the postage, eek. https://www.lrworkshop.com/diagrams/land-rover-defender-engine/td5/drive-belt_53211

Hmm, they look like standard bearings, a quick call to Frome Bearings and Belts LTD and they have them in stock. Less than £20 and I had the bearings, admittedly it should be 6303LHA and I fitted 6303LLU but it will do. The only info I can find is HA is case hardened outers but not sure how that is going to make a difference.

I started to tap the bearings out but soon the shed dwelling parent turned up and using some random old sockets and a number 2 hammer managed to convince the old bearings to leave and move in the new ones. I refitted and now the Land Rover it quieter, for now. I may need to give the Land Rover a wash now.