Another month scorches by, which means even less time before Charles ‘Charlie’ Charles will be lining up on the grid to go racing. Getting nervous much, Charlie?
It’s time to get serious! Two issues ago I introduced you to my intention to build a TZR race bike from a rolling frame and box of bits and pieces, replacing what was absent or spent. Then, to get at least one round of the Yamaha Past Masters Racing series under my belt and start the process of losing my OJ (Orange Jacket) status. Last month I told you about a fantastic day I had at Brands Hatch with the genuinely brilliant people in the YMPR paddock (who are to become my target through the visor), as they prepared for the first round of the series. However, by the time you are reading this the YMPR’ers will be three rounds in and I have spent way too little time with Wayne Philips, who is building the bike ‘with’ me at Phoenix Yamaha in Trowbridge.
Fortunately for me, Wayne has not been lording it about like myself. He has been putting in the time bit by bit, in-between jobs, and steady progress has been made. As I had left it before heading to Brands the TZR was sat on the reserve bench at Phoenix. I had been relatively busy getting the parts together that we needed, so that we could at least get the bike running and test an engine that has not turned for some five years.
I had acquired a rear mudguard from eBay for £20 which meant that many of the internals could be attached. Having failed to replace the lost manifold for Beej’s F3 racing system (I’m still looking for it! – BJ) I had also dropped in the standard exhausts for the job to progress, as well as various copper washers, front and rear wheel oil seals and, much to the annoyance of our Beej who never ran one, an airbox, once again from eBay.
Having received a call from Phoenix that I should go over as Wayne had found a bit of time, my TZR (okay, Beej’s TZR) was in a very different place indeed. The carbs had been sent, returned and fitted having been sonic cleaned, the rear mudguard was fitted, pipes were fitted, the radiator fitted, and Wayne had set up an intravenous fuel drip into the engine and was ready to start her up. A few kicks and the brand new plugs ignited and she was away, puffs of blue smoke bellowed out of the pipes and my untrained ear was telling me that the bike was sounding pretty damn good, all things considered. However, the puddle of water that was congregating beneath the bike was concerning.
The natural place to start was the radiator, in the end this is knackered and as I had learned from the YPM chaps it would not be up to the job even if it was absolutely spot on. The preference in the paddock was to replace the standard radiator with that of a 400cc Quad type as supplied, again, via Fleabay, from GPI Racing. I duly ordered and received the new radiator to find it being at least three times thicker than standard, the additional fluid capacity making sure that the TZR (which apparently takes an age to warm), will have plenty of cool
fluid when running at full chat. This radiator came with its own challenges though, which I will get to, but further investigation showed that it was not the knackered old rad that was pissing fluid, it was the motor’s top-end.
Fortunately the heads can be removed in situ so the investigative work began, first thing to check was the gasket, if indeed there was a gasket considering the time this bike has had out of service. But it was there, without any causes for concern, refitted, restarted and then the source was discovered as fluid made its way up and through four of the bolts that attached the head to the barrel. A quick look at the exploded diagram of the top-end in the manual highlighted the problem.
When the engine was rebuilt they had omitted to use nut crowns which keeps the seal water tight. Fowlersparts.co.uk came in to save me once more and two days later, and £21.36 lighter, the engine was sealed and we could move on.
This project has been running bit by bit, the successful test of the engine had given the green light on moving forward to other areas of the build/refurb. One of the more essential items we were missing were the keys, thus Wayne had hotwired the TZR to get it running.
However Beej recovered these which not only allowed us to use the ignition, but also open the fuel tank which had a very pronounced rattle of something rather amiss on the inside. We discovered the tank is full of rust, and if that isn’t bad enough I had been given the advice that these fuel tanks were liable to rust through in two significant places at the bottom of the tank.
Here lies another significant issue; the rust spots via a little pressure and agitation with a screwdriver became gaping holes on both sides. In short, the tank is shot, but before racing to my laptop again to hunt for a fresh one we are going to look at possible alternatives to get the tank sealed.
This is where the radiator comes in, as quality as it may be, we need to modify the brackets so that it fits the TZR. Fortunately working with a local dealer means the contacts are there to help out and a chap called Andy Taylor, whose bike we featured in FB some time ago, is willing to help out. Thus the tank, radiator and bike will be winging its way to Hiscock Engineers for a bit of potential welding love. Hope to bring you more on that next month.
Despite trying to recycle as much of the original bike as I can there some things that will have to be replaced, the clutch and power-valve cables are looking very tired and have the potential of ruining the project through a fail. The brake lines also need updating and I am currently awaiting a delivery from Venhill for these replacements. I will also be speaking to Bike Torque Racing about replacing my discs and getting a quick-action throttle in place. There is also the small matter of fairings, levers, spare wheels (actually spare everything...) that needs to be addressed as well as your paddock essentials, the task is really finally dawning on me now. It’s huge…
But once all of that is achieved, I can finally get to ride the TZR and race it. A recent trackday at Castle Combe has reminded me that once all of the above is done, I still have a lot to learn about riding and race craft. If the prospect was not so exciting I would be utterly and truly exhausted.
It’s all coming together!
Charlie, pretending to actually do some of the work on the TZR himself...
Something missing here...
...wishing he’d never met Charlie.
Wayne at work...
Knackered old rad...
... and a shiny new one!