Entries Tagged 'garage' ↓

CL360: First attempt at polishing

I ordered a Dremel tool and purchased some aluminum polish.  I’ve been looking on how to polish aluminum all over the Internet so I can polish the engine cases on the CL.  So here’s what  I learned.

1.  Get a variety of sand paper (I use 400, 1000, 1500 and 2000 grit).  Wet/dry sandpaper seems to work the best because you can wash it out.

2. In one direction, sand the piece.   Do not sand in circles. The idea is to smooth the aluminum out.  after you get the rough spots worked out take the next softest grit up (1,000) and sand at a 90 degree angle of what you did before.  This gets the scratches out from the previous sand paper.  Do this using all of the sand paper and switch directions every time you change sand paper.

3. Use some rubbing compound over the piece to help smooth the aluminum further. In this case, I used Turtle Wax’s red rubbing compound.

4. Wipe the rubbing compound off and apply aluminum polish to the piece.  I used Mother’s aluminum polish and work it into the piece.  If you are doing this by hand you want to use a soft towel.  I used a buffing wheel on my bench grinder or my Dremel for small pieces.

Here’s the first piece.  Not the best but it is a start.  The piece goes on top of the valve cover for the engine.  Next week I tear into the gummed up carbs.

CL360 Breather Cover

My New Project: Honda CL360

1975 Honda cl360One of my good friends moved away almost a year ago and gave me a motorcycle. As our conversation progressed over the phone about the motorcycle, I asked what it is was.

“It’s a Honda CL360 street bike.”

“What is that?” My brain was running at full throttle when a poof of smoke rose from my ear. I had never heard of it.

“It is just a little street bike; you have to know about a 1975 CL360. You know about almost everything else.” He said.

“First off, I don’t know about every motorcycle ever produced. I can hardly tell you about the different types of Harley Davidson and much less any thing older than 1989.”

“Are you interested in it or not?” He said.

“Heck yeah!” A free motorcycle who couldn’t pass that up.

The day arrived, when I picked it up with a trailer. Apparently registration ran out on it and he never got it renewed.

“Oh yeah, it has been backfiring when it runs and it does not run very well.” And he failed to mention the fact that it a nasty seventies orange, had old spoke wheels, drum brakes all around, a leaking fork seal and … that’s it… for now.

I was there with a trailer and he had the title. It couldn’t run, so I took it home and let it sit in my garage until the past couple of months where now it won’t start at all. I wish I had a picture of my wife the day I brought it home. It was the look of “Is that a motorcycle and why is it here?”

“It’s my project.”  I smiled with a grin.

She rolled her eyes, frowned a little and said “I hope it was free.”

“It was.”  I said back to her and she walked back into the house.

I began inspecting it to size up my work.  The carburetors were so fouled up the throttle plate would not move. The points are black with carbon. Points?! What the heck is points?  This is the electronic era. Where is the electronic ignition?

I vaguely remember reading about them in my automotive class and I have never ever worked on anything with points. Only the electronic ignition, the wave of the future for 1975.

As I was cursing the fact that it had points and I hadn’t any clue as what I should do about them, my wife returned into my garage. “Are you really going to fix that thing?” She said to me.

“Yes, I’m going to turn it into a Vintage Cafe racer with my own twist to it.”

That is the beginning story of my project bike. As I work on it, I will be posting things about it.

There is just one thing I need for it… a name. Every cafe racer’s bike has a name.  I’m open to suggestions and you are welcome to post any.

Ooh, and here is a pic of what my bike should have looked like but doesn’t:

Uploaded on October 21, 2007 by V-rider

Uploaded on October 21, 2007 by V-rider of Flickr.com

Garage: 1994 Mazda Miata (another one)

1994 Mazda Miata

How I deal with envy…

In the not to distant past, in a location fairly close to where I live, Austin asked me to take a look at vehicle he was keen on purchasing.  Being the good brother-in-law and only mechanic in the family it was my duty to go.

As we pulled in the driveway I was eying the gleaming red Miata with quite the skepticism.  My gaze shifted over to Austin.  “You’re sure you want to drive that, Austin?”

“Just shut up and look at the car.  I know what I want.”  He retorted.  Not wanting to the press the issue, I stepped out and gave the little convertible a good used car look over.  After finding almost no problems, except for a few minor leaks which is common for a car that age, I hopped into the passenger seat and Austin pulled the car out for a test drive.

I decided I would give him one last chance to change his mind.  “You know this is a Miata? The most common drivers are old dudes in mid-life crisis that can’t afford a Corvette.  I won’t think any less of you if you decide right now you don’t want one?”  Raised my eyebrow a little.

“That’s it!”  He pulled the car over.  “Drive.”

“I’m not driving this car.  Do you know what people are going to think of me?”  I asked.

“They’ll probably think that you are gay, but it really doesn’t matter.”  He retorted.  I reluctantly wrenched myself out of the passenger seat.

“Fine, are you happy, now.”  I said with little enthusiasm as I started the car.  I pulled a quick U-turn. “Huh?”  I mumbled a little under my breath at how sharply the car made the turn.

We entered onto the highway and I pressed the gas pedal, worked the gears up to 62 miles per hour and tested the clutch.  They all felt good.  The throw for the shifter was quick, and while the acceleration wasn’t blistering fast, it was adequate.  “Ah.” I let out a little sign of interest while ignoring the grin creeping onto Austin’s face.

Next, I slammed brakes and gave a quick turn into the neighborhood.  The car darted in and held the line.  The tires squealed a little in response to my maneuver but held their grip.  I whipped the car around and pulled it back into the owners driveway.  “Wow,”  I turned to Austin, “you should buy this.”  And he did.

The one test drive of that little car gnawed at me for weeks.  My 240sx was great but my motivation on the car had diminished into nothing.  I needed something new, something my wife could enjoy with me, something that didn’t have a harsh ride from the suspension modification, something that didn’t rattle the very innards of your brain with it ultra loud exhaust note, something rear wheel drive, something that could handle and get great gas mileage…

The next day the 240sx was for sale and the day after that it sold.  I started searching.  The nights ate at me.   The days dragged into weeks.  Every day I would call on a car and it would either be sold or an automatic.  Who wants an automatic?  That’s no fun.  I was never going to find a decent rear wheel drive car for a good price.  Everything I wanted seemed to sell like hot cakes.

Then that fateful day came.  A man was moving out of state and had to sell his car that day.  I talked him down to a reasonable amount, he signed the title over to me and the rest is history.

I became an owner of a 1994 black “A-Package” Mazda Miata with 113,000 mile on the clock.  Here are the specs and there is more to come:

Engine: 1.8L, 128-HP and 110 ft-lbs of torque

Transmission: 5 speed Manual

Differential: Factory Torsen Limited Slip Differential

Fuel Economy: 23/27 (City/Hwy)

Interior/Exterior/Top: Black/Black/Black

Inherited Nickname from the people I work with: The Black Mamba  (Why, I have no idea?)

Twin Mazda Miatas

Garage: 1992 Mazda Miata MX-5

Miata MX5

Miata MX5

Shortly after the sale of the second (and sometimes first) love of my life the SV650, I was left with a horrible dilemma. What am I going to do without a second vehicle?

My wife was nine months pregnant and was due literally ANY day. ANY day. Many people go through a period of time during moments when there just doesn’t seem to be that much mental clarity. Sometimes it is after their kids go away to college, or sometimes it is when they are about to have kids. I did what any man going through one of these times does…I bought a Miata.

That at least is what my wife tells me. I would rather say that the Miata is one of the single best handling cars to drive stock and as a result is likely one of the funnest cars that you can drive within the realms of legality. I won’t go into a full review as that will come later on, but here is the story.

The car cost me the exact same price as my motorcycle was sold for $2600, and it was immaculately clean and had been fully detailed with 118,000 miles on it. It is a base model for the year, which includes neither power windows, power mirrors, power roof, or power steering making it the ideal enthusiast car. It has load of details that continue to travel along those lines. The Miata has a 5 speed transmission and four wheel disk brakes that are not anti-lock brakes. Because this is the ’92 model there is only a drivers side airbag, which has a certain benefit for me…my 3 year old can drive in it without any worry of being killed by the airbags. That doesn’t seem like the best logic, but my daughter LOVES this car. She begs me to take her in trips and we have probably put about 1000 miles in it together in the few short months of driving it.

There are only a few problems with the car. It has a couple of leaks that need to be taken care of and appear to be at the hoses, and I need to do the brakes. Other than that it is one of the best things you can buy for $2600.

Here are the specs:

Engine: 1.6L DOHC 4 cylinder
Horsepower: 116hp@ 6500rpm
Torque: 100 ft-lb@ 5500rpm
Drive: Rear Wheel Drive
Transmission: 5 Speed Manual

Curb weight: 2264 lbs

Fuel Economy: 21/27 according to Mazda. I get 32mph consistantly.