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 Little Dream 07 - 'the Corporal'

Part 2

Initial Investigations

So, I had a bike which looked like it had been left to rot for twenty years in a damp shed, been dragged out and given just enough care and attention to make her live again, then thrashed until she'd died! It was time to do some prodding and poking and see what we'd got and what needed to be done first.

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Tank and side-panels off to see what we'd got, and we have sparks in the ignition and fuel in the carbs, but no 'life' in the engine.

Having been told that she was seized, though I didn't want to risk burning out the starter-motor trying to turn the engine. So I pulled the fly-wheel cover off and gave it a gently twist to see if it would turn. It DIDN'T, so shrugged and decided 'yup, she's seized'.

But just for the sake of trying, I put a breaker bar on the crank-shaft bolt, I tried a little levered 'persuasion', and lo, she turned. Not much, but she turned. So I wound her round a quarter turn and felt for resistance, and gently gently, she eased off!

So I gave her a few more turns to make sure she'd go through a complete engine cycle, and decided to try starting her. AMAZINGLY she started.... sounded like a bag of spanners in a tumble-dryer, and only one exhaust header got warm, BUT she ran. But SO badly, and with such a clatter SOMETHING in there was making a bid for freedom.

Back to plan A, this bike was still going to need another engine. So, I got busy and made space for one.

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 And put it in.

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This engine had been in 'Number One', christened 'The Heap' when we had stripped it down, and deemed it scrap. It HAD run, in that bike but roughly, and I had suspected severe carburetion problems to be the cause..... and possible ignition maladies.

So, slotted in, and with this bikes carburettors, and it's electrics plugged in, I gave it a prod and hoped for the best. Nothing. so I pulled a spark-plug. No Spark. So I tried fitting the generator cover from the original engine, with its ignition pick-ups inside, and gave that a go. Joy, I got sparks. So plugs back in, I gave her a little choke, and she fired up! Still get a child-like glee from making an engine live! Gave me a little glow all day that did. Sounded good too!

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So, engine BACK out, time to get down to business with the thing. Cosmetics could wait. It may be the engine that puts the 'motor' in motorbike, but its one of the least important bits! The important stuff is having good tyres, steering, brakes and suspension, so that when the motor has got you moving, you can move in the direction you want, and stop when you need to!

This bike didn't have much of that then! Well, the tyres were OK, and the brakes not too bad, but the steering and suspension was terrible. And top of the list of stuff that needed to be seen to. But, we had an engine for it, and that meant it was pretty much all there, it just needed work. A LOT of work. And an exhaust!

NEXT: Part 3 - Reconditioning the Steering & Suspension

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