My CJS M1
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How does one guy mount a sidecar bucket without tearing up a fresh paint job? Well, I usually work alone, swapping car engines and transmissions, etc., so there's always a way. For the sidecar bucket, I used an eyebolt, a big hunk of 2x6" lumber and a big fender washer.
I ran the eybolt through the hole in the floor where the seat cushion is secured. The wood is snug against the bottom of the sidecar.
A come-along on the overhead beam and presto, we're in business. I balanced the sidecar with a few bricks so it would hang fairly level. With it up in the air, you just roll the bike underneath it and set it on the sidecar frame.
Here it's being lowered into place. I put shop rags over the leaf springs to protect the paint on the bucket. The tail is sitting on a step ladder so the nose can be lowered and snugged first (for no particular reason. I just did it like that.) The enlarged image shows the whole setup.
Sidecar in place, but there's still so much more left to do...
As of 6:00 PM, this year's big winter project is now complete. Unfortunately, it was dark so the official unveiling (in COLOR) will be tomorrow. I'm totally pleased at how the project turned out.
Consider this a little preview. Having built the other bike twice, I learned a great deal that I was able to apply this time around. I was able to avoid all the mistakes I made doing my first CJ beauty makeover, not to mention how fast this project went in comparison. If a guy treated it like work as opposed to a hobby, you could build a bike like this in under a week.
 
Today's shop session began with the sidecar fender, freshly painted and ready to go.
I mounted this 1930s car taillight using stainless carriage bolts.
I made the bracket from some stuff I got at the hardware store.
The running light lens is a plastic, amber bullet lens from NAPA.
The fender is now finished and ready to be mounted on the sidecar.
And there it is. The job went easier than I expected... for a change.
I used stainless carriage bolts on the upright fender bracket. The heads are painted black.
Here they are again.
And carriage bolts on the lower, front piece as well.
I'm pretty satisfied with this.
Here's the taillight, looking down at it. The sidecar taillight wiring is inside the fender.
But the bike taillight wiring is external.
I also mounted the front fender using a set of "slim line" fender brackets that I made from tubing. The bike is finished except for the sidecar bucket and a little cleaning up.
You can see Freddie's tank badges. They look pretty nice on this bike.
Tomorrow I'll do the sidecar. I plan to lower it from the rafter onto the frame, otherwise I'll scratch the heck out of it. (That's from experience.)
Are you wondering what the color is? Here's a hint. It was widely used on Model A Fords.
Back inside the shop. I had to clean up my mess before continuing with the project as too much time was being wasted trying to find things buried under all the crap that had piled up.
There's the bucket. All I did today was the trunk latch and the lid.
The hinges are mounted on the trunk lid, and that's it for today. I expect to have her done tomorrow and will then be able to reveal the new, TOP SECRET color.
The FedEx guy showed up just as I was leaving the garage, and low and behold, some new duckboards (and some other goodies) from Jimbo's Classic Sidecars.
This item was included in the shipment. It's a headlight bezel to replace the one that got egged. It's chrome, so I'll be sandblasting and painting it.
 
Sorry guys, but we're still doing B&W until the official unveiling, sometime within the next day or two. Meanwhile, I assembled and installed the rear fender today. Here it is fresh from the paint shop.
For me, installing that big bracket is always pretty interesting since it was originally riveted to the fender. That's one thing I couldn't do if my life depended on it.
So, this time I used SS hex bolts, and getting the two outers to work was a pain in the neck. When I go over the bike to touch up the paint, this hardware will be sprayed to match the fender.
The taillight, license plate, wiring clips and brake light switch are done. All that remains is the reflector. The taillight wiring is exposed. It's antique automotive wire with fabric insulation.
This took quite a bit more time than I expected, but not enough to spoil the enjoyment.
Check out the black fishtails. Tomorrow I'll may finish the bike unless I get too burned out.
Meanwhile, in response to my comments regarding the funky steering on the other bike, Miin Leong & CJS came through with not one but two sets of tapered bearings. The CJ parts network is really great. I'll get going on the grey bike as soon as this one's done.
 
Here's a pair of Freddie's tank badges. They'll be attached to the tank using adhesive, however Freddie suggested simulating the use of screws for cosmetic reasons. So based on what he showed me, this is what I did.
I chose brass for several reasons. First, it looks good with the colors found on the emblems. Second, it's soft and very easy to work with. I wanted to use Philips head screws but the only ones available in town had countersunk heads, so I got slotted heads instead. I chose a slightly large head to provide a bit more surface area for the epoxy.
First, you cut the heads off the screws. Cut just far enough away from the head so as not to chew it up with the hacksaw blade. Freddie used a Dremel tool to do his, but since I can't find mine, a hacksaw it is.
The heads are off the screws but not quite ready to use yet.
I swirled them on some medium emery cloth until the burrs were gone.
Then I swirled them on some very fine paper until they were as smooth as glass. With brass, the entire swirling operation for all four screws takes about five minutes.
Here's the epoxy I used. I wouldn't recommend using cyanoacrylate glues as they leave a nasty white residue that can wreck the whole project.
Done. Whattayathink?
 
My experience with black headers from China hasn't been very good. My first set came with my grey DTE bike. The entire exhaust system was coated with porcelain enamel and it really looked terrific... until it got hot a few times. Then the porcelain chipped and flaked like nobody's business. My second set was a a pair of chrome headers that had been painted.
They lasted one ride. So, if you want something done right, do it yourself. One option was to spend a lot of money and have the headers powder coated. The second was to spend hardly any and paint them myself. Sand blast them thoroughly first, then make certain they are absolutely free of any oil residue, and last, shoot them with a high quality 1200° stove paint.
 
I replaced the plug wires today and since the front cover was off, I checked the gap on the points. I was looking for .018" ( 0.46 mm) which is exactly what I found. No adjustment was necessary this time.
The rotor was pretty dirty and had residue from the contacts inside the distributor cap, so a little solvent on some fine steel wool cleaned it right up. I shined up the center button, too.
The new plug wires. The old-style fabric insulation and bakelite terminals are one of greatest detail items on these bikes. Since this bike is getting a beauty makeover we might as well do the plug wires too.
I probably should remove these jugs and sandblast them...
...but maybe next year. For now, it's Rutland Hi-Temp stove paint and a 1" brush.
In this picture, the paint is only partially dry. You can see that it's still wet in the valleys. It ain't perfect but it's a far cry better than before.
Starting to look pretty good. It's funny, but as I work from the front towards the back of the bike, it gets cleaned and detailed as I move along. At this point, everything from the gearbox aft is still pretty dirty and nasty.
Since the taillight wiring will be mounted externally on the rear fender, I wanted to use some wire that would look appropriate and look good. Here's some old automotive wiring from the 1940s, complete with fabric insulation.
Slowly but surely, everything is falling into place.
 
The decoking is done and it went very well. There really wasn't that much crud, but it was as hard as a rock. Even so, it didn't take but 10 or 15 minutes per side. The valves will be adjusted and then the jugs will be painted before I stick the heads back on.
The heads cleaned up very nicely. I blasted them on all sides with fine sand. Now they look brand new again. The casting quality of this set of heads is really excellent. I've got some other ones upstairs that were so poorly cast that I'll probably never use them simply because they look awful..
There's the headlamp, but getting it sorted it didn't go without incident. While I was looking for some washers, it rolled off the workbench and onto the cement floor, slightly damaging the new paint and giving the bucket sort of an egg shape. Luckily, I have another one that will get painted within the next day or two.
Does anybody have a spare headlamp bezel with the visor? I'll swap you something for one or will buy it outright. Although this R71 style bezel looks nice, the quality is piss poor. It's just too flimsy.
Here's a driver's-eye-view. What you don't see is the huge mess that now covers the entire garage. It will get even worse tomorrow.
 
Getting ready for some decoke action. I expected there to be a lot more carbon than this given the fact that it's been two years since the last decoking session. I run the bikes with rich fuel mixtures to keep the heat down. This job won't take very long at all. While the heads are off I'll also touch up the black paint on the jugs.
This is the decoking kit. What's not shown here is the elbow grease. I'll be using using quite a bit of that. To clean the heads I'll simply hit them with the blaster. Might as well change the plugs and adjust the valves while we're at it.
Some of the front end is now back on the bike after painting. The rest will wait for more paint to dry. Tomorrow I'll mount the headlamp.
This bike has OEM steering bearings and the other bike has tapered bearings. To be honest, when riding I can't tell any difference between the two types. Anyway, I cleaned everything and replaced the grease before reassembly. It went like clockwork.
The new color is still TOP SECRET which is why these pictures are in black and white. But, as you can see, it's a light color that will greatly accentuate the black frame, rims, spokes, front hub, final drive and handlebars. Hint—the color was very popular on cars in the 1920s.
 
What have I done? Past experience has taught me to budget time and to set realistic goals for each day's work session. The worst thing you can do is try to do too much at once. That not only kills the enjoyment but it also leads to sloppy workmanship. Today's objectives were pretty easily met. First was to wash the bike while it was still mobile, then move it inside and strip down the front end. Missions accomplished.
For anyone contemplating a project of this nature who's never done it before, let me suggest that you label and stow all the loose bits in a way that will help you to identify what's what when reassembling the bike, especially wiring. Trust me—you will not remember.
This tool comes with the CJ750 tool kit. It has a 36mm box wrench for the upper fork nuts and a 41mm (I think) open end wrench for the main nut on top of the triple-tree. This is a great tool to have, let me tell you.
Here's a product I learned about this week. It's used to strip wax and oils from paint before sanding. If you've ever tried to paint a surface with even a hint of paste wax residue, you know first hand how important it is to make sure it's totally gone beforehand. This stuff is sold in NAPA stores.
Life is full of tough choices, and I am faced with one right now. Once the bike is painted I'll be mounting badges on the fuel tank. I have a pair of Ross Kowalski's cast CJ750 'swoosh' emblems and a pair of Freddie's circular cloisonné badges. The problem is, I love them both. A flip of a coin may be the only way to decide which ones to use.
 
It's a good looking bike, but she really could use a makeover after all the hard miles I've put on her. The paint on the gas tank was worn clean through in places.
After a couple hours in the driveway...
...the first step is complete.
Tomorrow, the front end comes off.
I'll be doing the heads and exhaust system, too.
 
"SEASONAL LIMITED USE HIGHWAY - NO MAINTENANCE DEC 1 - APR 1"
Our county is covered with these roads—although in most cases they're really just trails (and certainly not highways.) They're perfect for CJ riding.
 
One of the best detail items on a CJ is wiring that uses fabric insulation, especially the plug and coil wires (with Bakelite terminals.) This is technology straight out of the 1930s and they are still readily available for low prices.
But don't take them for granted. Once the stocks are exhausted there's no telling what they'll be replaced with. In the lower pictures is a batch of excellent wires from CJS.
As you can see, they still use the fabric covering, but the Bakelite has been replaced with plastic (and the fabric is cream colored, like the other wiring used on a vintage CJ.)
Even so, they still keep with the pre-war Beemer tradition. My advice to you is to stock up while it's still possible.
 
People sometimes ask what oil I recommend. Well, I'll use just about anything I've got on hand—10-30, 10-40, 20-50, SAE30, SAE40, etc. I don't use lightweight, detergent or synthetic oils. I strive to use Valvoline VR1 SAE50 racing oil. It may not be much better than other oils but it sure does provide a sense of security.
 
We rode a BMW rally near Watkins Glen today. Roughly 1200 participants were there. We saw a few vintage bikes, but no R71s.
I got to lay eyes on a few URALs which are becoming more common around here. There was also a Citroen 2CV.
The four pictures show us having a smoke break enroute to the show and the last ones illustrate how the Changs attract people.
About 30 cards were distributed before the day was over.
 
Sorry about the poor image quality. Anyway, I'm not too big on having superdetailed show bikes. They are, for the most part, pretty filthy most of the time. But one thing that I can't stand is the way crappy looking inner fenders detract from the bike's appearance. All that road grit acts like a sandblaster. This just won't do.
Know what's great about a black bike? You can blast the inner fenders with Rustoleum and nobody's ever the wiser. This is a trick car guys use. Nobody notices a nice fender well but a nasty one sticks out like a sore thumb. See the difference? Total time? About 20 minutes.
 
I swapped the sidecar taillight lens and bezel with one that matches the one on the rear fender of the bike. They're both from antique cars but I don't remember what make.
 
Troubleshooting a handling problem with OGM involved swapping the fat Russian tires with the skinny Chinese tires off LBB.
Well, look at this. LBB now has an entirely different look.
I really like it.
 
I was taking some pictures of the grey bike after I finished messing around with it today.
Since the black bike was sitting nearby...