So, it was time to set to and start making this bike beautiful again, and sorting the front end out seemed like a good a place to start as any.
New fork-seals and a nice set of new head-race bearings, were ordered. Taper-Rollers in the case of the steering bearings, to replace the old-fashioned 'cup & loose-balls' bearings that it had originally.
This is actually quite a useful modification. Cup and ball thrust bearings are more than adequate, they have a few things going for them, mainly that they are cheap and easily serviced. But these days they have almost entirely been superseded by Taper rollers that don't need to be lubricated and adjusted so often and provide much better support for the head-stock.
On old bikes with cup and ball head-race bearings, you can often make them good again quite cheaply by polishing the old cups and fitting them with new balls, but the saving is small, and on this bike, I didn't have the confidence that the cups would clean up. Left sitting in the same position for years on end, the cups will often rust in pits where the balls sit, so when you clean them up, you end up with a wash-board and notchy steering.
Donna needed to do the same to her bike, 'The Pup', so I sort of walked her through it doing the forks and steering bearings on this one to show her how, and wrote "HOW To: Overhaul the Head-Stock / Replace & Adjust Steering Bearings" from the photo's for reference.
But without all the boring detail; The rest of the bodywork was stripped off, as was the head-lamp & wiring. Then the frame could be supported to allow the front wheel and forks to be removed, then the head-stock assembly could be dismantled.
Here we see the old cup & ball bearings coming out, with the aid of an old speaker magnet to catch the loose balls! And the new bearing races being drifted into the head-stock
Between these two pics, the head-stock assembly and the frame were stripped back and painted, before re-assembly.
The Bottom yoke assembled with new bearings, being greased to be fitted to the head-stock. The head-stock assembly all back together and fitted up.
Next to be tackled was the forks. Again, Donna needed to do the same job, and I've used the pics from doing both to write up, "HOW To: Overhaul the front forks / Replace fork Seals".
And you MIGHT have spotted the deliberate mistake here. I replaced the headrace bearings FIRST, didn't I? Which meant that I had dropped the forks out of the yokes, and stacked them neatly, waiting their new seals. What I SHOULD have done, was do the forks FIRST! Because when they are like this, hanging from the fork yokes..... you can undo the big nut on the top of the stanchion........Once they are OUT of the yokes, there's nothing gripping the stanchion, so all you achieve is to turn the chrome tube inside the fork slider! So I had to resort to finding an old yoke off another bike, and using it as a clamp to hold the stanchion and give me some purchase to tackle the top nut!
ANYWAY, that little "Do-oh" moment aside..... The forks were disassembled, cleaned, inside AND out, then the sliders painted, and the stanchions polished. And everything laid out ready to re-assemble.
New seals were fitted to the sliders & Damper Mechanism re-assembled
Slider & Stanchion were re-united
Fork Oil was measured out and poured into the fork. The Specified damping oil is Dextrol Automatic Transmission Fluid. I used 5wt Fork oil. ATF is a jack-of-all-trades oil, doing the job of lubricating, cooling, and transmitting hydraulic pressure in an automatic transmission. Proper fork oil is a little bit more application specific, and has slightly better damping properties. 5wt is slightly heavier than ATF, but that's no bad thing, the front end of these little bikes tend to be a little squidgy to begin with (more so if the forks lack oil, or have old oil, or NO oil in them!) and the heavier oil makes them a little less bouncy!
Springs fitted and fork cap screwed on to hold it all together. Forks assembled.
Fork Gaiters were added in substitution for dust seals, as they protect the whole fork leg, as well as keep out dust.
Time to re-fit to the head-stock.
So, front suspension & steering 'sorted', time to look at the back end of this thing, and that horrible seized linkage!
Removed as an assembly, the first thing to do was to clean it up. I THOUGHT that I took more pictures of it after this, but some-where they have been lost in the ether! Probably just as well... they would have been rather gory, with me wielding a big rubber mallet like a battle raged Viking!
That loosened the links off, then they could be separated, cleaned and everything painted.
Then the whole plot could be re-assembled with lots of lubberly new lith-grease, bolted back to the bike, and checked for 'action'.
I was a tad concerned here, because the linkage on Donna's bike was completely shot, and so far finding replacement bushes has proved rather elusive or prohibitively expensive. This one, though was in pretty good shape, once persuaded to actually pivot where it was supposed to, and 'sprung' very nicely, once the replacement shock was fitted. This meant I DIDN'T have to use the 'spare' swing-arm and linkage I have, which has good bushes in it, and have Donna fretting about not having it to hand IF we cant sort new bushes for the links from her bike!
NEXT: Part 4 - The Rebuild Starts