PROJECT LIKELY FAIL PART VIII
Life doesn’t always go to plan. The same goes for project bikes.
It has been no minor undertaking, this project. I am avoiding adding up my personal outlay thus far, which would be far greater but for the generosity of parts that have been gifted, loaned or given for the cause. Not to mention the time that Phoenix Yamaha of Trowbridge has generously gifted me throughout the season to get the TZR250 2MA up together and ready for its first track outing as I enter the testing phase.
Over the past seven months a combined effort has taken this 30-year-old smoker out of the back of Fast Bikes’ workshop where it has been in boxes for five years. The plan to build, test, then race this bike in the final round of the Yamaha Past Masters (YPM) series at Snetterton has moved steadily along. Now with the first track outing at Castle Combe booked and approaching fast there were just a few things left to do.
Firstly was the radiator; the OE one was the first thing to go into the ‘bin-it’ box. It was rusty, pissing water and beyond repair. Having looked around the paddock the replacement of choice was a far thicker rad than OE, aluminium and designed for quad use. I had it modified for fitting by local engineering heroes Hiscocks of Trowbridge, as opposed to cable ties as seems to have been the YPM solution.
I just needed a hose to be made up from the top of the rad through to the engine. Again this could be modified but Samco offered the solution of a bespoke hose. I was never turning that offer down, famed for being durable, pressure and heat resistant, and of the quality that sees them throughout race paddocks of all disciplines. ‘Fit and Forget’ Samco say, and if you have any reason to need one replaced they have a lifetime guarantee.
I had no idea how much work went into prepping a hose. Firstly Samco engineers had to make sense of my childishly scrawled designs with a CAD drawing. This was then given to their engineers who built a mould, which then allowed them to start adding the numerous layers and liners that deal with the internal pressure and heat, before adding the external silicone outer layer. Have I lost you? I hope not, as its worth detailing the intricacies of design and build to deter anyone using anything that’s not specifically built for purpose. Properly designed hoses are not ‘cheap’, but when they are this good and guaranteed, that’s worth the additional.
So the hose arrived and it was sod’s law that that very day Wayne Philips, my man at Phoenix Yamaha, had literally just sent me a picture of a hose that
he had fashioned to link the rad to the engine. I took the hose to him, he fitted it, dropped the tank back on and we were done. The TZR stormed into life on the first kick and we were ready, it was time to get up to Castle Combe for the first real test. I could not have been more excited.
While these finishing touches were being made at Phoenix I was collecting the essentials for track riding and racing. Paddock stands, fuel cans filled with a 30:1 mix of unleaded and YPM preferred Castrol 747 race oil. I also had BikeTek tyre warmers with me, though was not really planning to use them.
The TZR’s engine was going to need some running in, thus the plan was to stick at 5,000 revs for a couple of laps, in and check. Out again at 6,000 revs, in and check, and thus build it up to make sure that all was running smoothly. Thus I had booked to run in the new riders to track group at Castle Combe; I didn’t need to be out with the swift boys and would give the newbies a very real target.
Phoenix dropped the bike to me at Fast Bikes towers, ready for me to load into the van and get to Combe the next day. At this point you can probably tell from the lack of images of me sweeping majestically around Quarry that all did not go well. It started well enough: I was there in plenty of time, had the appropriate ‘appreciation’ from my fellow track riders for my steed and got through noise testing with some ease, getting a tick in the box meaning it was under 100db.
Returning from the noise test I thought I would go round the car park a few times, you know – just to bed her in and warm her up a bit. At the furthest point I could have been from the van she cut out, wouldn’t kick and I was beside myself. I gave her a minute or so and kicked her into life, added some throttle and no, bogged out again. The walk of shame came next, pushing the bike back to the van to investigate. A quick call to Wayne and we worked it out – the vacuum hose from the fuel tap had come loose from the engine, fuel was not flowing and thus she was cutting out. A quick modification with the use of cable ties creating a vacuum again and the TZR was alive once more.
With my first session due to start I warmed up the TZR, the blue smoke drifting across the paddock to the joy of most, breathing in the nostalgia laced fumes. Slowly I made my way to the collection point and one last check over noticed the damp patch emerging below me.
Oil-infused fuel was pouring out of the bottom of the bike. I turned off the fuel tap yet it continued. Reaching for the bat-phone it became obvious it was a carb’ issue with the probability being that the floats were sticking. I tapped them to try and free the floats to no avail.
Soon the bike was back in the van and I was heading back to Phoenix. They are pretty easy to work on, these TZRs, removal of the tank and air-box and we are at the carbs to find them full of gunk presumably from the tank that was now full of fuel.
The Carbs were cleaned and returned to position and the problem persisted, new needle valves were needed. It had been so long since fuel had passed through them as soon as it did they just failed.
Ordered from Fowlers Parts, they arrived the following day with fresh O-rings for the carbs and, yay, the leaking has stopped. Wizard Wayne has her firing all over again. So there is one more track day between now and the race weekend. Wish me luck for this one, I am cutting this so very, very fine…
We’re sure you could fit a few more wires in there.
Ready for round two! Let’s ’av it!
The boys from Phoenix Yamaha have had their work cut out.
...putting all the right curves in all the right places.
And there goes the ozone.
They custom-built this hose for Charlie...
SAMCO came to the rescue in the cooling department.
How do they work, again?