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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Like clockwork?


Two early memories involving any mechanical aptitude I have involve my perpetual job of being the flashlight holder for my Dad, (once while he destroyed a Holley carburetor with a ball-peen hammer because it assumedly wasn't installing itself correctly)...and a mantle clock...



Holding flashlight for my Dad tested all of my ADD tendencies, as usually within seconds of fixing the light on Dad's work area, I'd become bored and start shining the flashlight onto all sorts of other things competing for my attention. Is that a spider under there? Hmmm, that's an interesting pattern on the driveway way over there. If I strobe the light really fast back and forth, things look like they're moving funny, and it looks way cool when I put the flashlight in my mouth and puff my cheeks.

Never could figure out what Dad was getting so angry about.

And working on the BMW these past few weeks continually brings up flashbacks to that first Mantle Clock "incident". An incident that comes to mind, I think, everytime I get deep into a major project:

At some point, the prized clock on our mantle had stopped chiming, but it still kept good time. One afternoon as I was home alone, and not understanding why someone didn't just fix this, I secreted the clock off the mantle and down to the basement to apply my young genius to it.
Opening the back, I could easily see all of the works - gears, cogs, springs and all - contained in a frame held together with 4 small screws. Seeing those screws, it just seemed perfectly sensible that I remove them, whereby the fix must surely reveal itself.
The first three screws came out under my shiny screwdriver easily. Heck, I'll have this thing fixed in minutes, I'm thinking.
I remember the fourth screw being a bit harder to turn, not realizing it and only it was holding the entire force of the springs still ensconced in their metal frame. This last screw was only about halfway out when it let go completely under the increasing strain, and in super-slow-motion, every spring, cog and gear spewed out into the air, seemingly multiplying into a million shiny bits of tiny metal before disappearing into several dark corners of the basement.

I think this was the second time I seriously thought of running away from home.

Strangely, I don't remember there ever being a discussion about the gutted mantle clock. Perhaps my parents were feeling too murderous to confront me with it. But years later, long after I had moved out and my parents sold the house, I'm sure that poor clock was still sitting alone, dusty and disemboweled, where I had left it in the basement.
So, almost 40 years on, my garage is now growing ever full of dismembered pieces of the R65, only 3 months away from its Bonneville race date, and I can't help thinking of that old clock. Or of my Dad and his ball-peen hammer everytime some part refuses to come apart or go back together how I expect it too.
Over the years working on sundry truck, cars, and motorcycles, I've become very adept at pulling things apart - much less so at putting them together again. But to quote Monty Python: "I'm Gettin' Better"!
Yep - I still feel like I'm a 10 year old genius sometimes. And here's some recent photos to prove it:

Nothing like taking apart a perfectly good motorcycle.
The valve cover has been removed, revealing the rocker arms and valve springs

A closeup of the left cylinder, showing exhaust (L) and intake (R) rockers, pushrods, springs.
All of this is contained in the "head" which we'll be removing to reveal...


...the piston in its cylinder below. You can see the cutouts in the piston crown where the
exhaust (L) and intake (R) valves recess into the piston at top dead center
An angled view of the cylinder with head removed

The removed head deck, bagged and ready to go to the machinist for new seats, valves, springs and guides.
In the upper left and right you can see the valve covers, and pushrod just to the right


Here's the right piston a bit down its bore, showing how the piston moves within this space to make the bike go.
Bores look good, no gouges or scratches.

It'll take a few weeks to get all the parts in and finish the head work at the machinist. In the meantime, the pistons will need to be cleaned up and fitted with new rings and scrubbers, and new gaskets ordered for the pushrod tubes, cylinder base, heads and valve covers.
Then, it'll all need to go back together...and run of course.
Yeah...I keep thinking about that clock....

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