For forks sake, what is it now?
Front end job goes like a dream, but serious misfire now compromising winter trail time
ompletion of the wonderful XL is nearer to hand, and yet further away (if you follow). New fork seals are in, but a misfire has now developed.
It went like this; get gear on, try to start bike. Won’t start. Choke off. Won’t start, Choke on again, won’t start. Plug out… wet and sooty. Clean plug. Starts first kick choked. Ride to workshop, engine starts misfiring on part throttle, but OK when revved hard. Engine starts dying on tickover, really fluffy, won’t rev past about 3000rpm, then stutters and coughs but eventually revs out. Happy if wide open, unhappy otherwise. Suspect part throttle mixture way too rich, but it doesn’t smell too fuelly.
Arrive at workshop, do forks. Forks come out no bother, good and straight, brake shoes look a bit glazed but still plenty of meat on them. Wheel rim and spokes all good, bearings smooth. Loosen top nuts on both legs, 6mm Allen bit in the wind gun, spin the bottom bolts loose and draw off the sliders – typical – there’s no oil in one leg, and about 75ml of primeval ooze in the other. One fork seal is in upside down. Both stanchions are plenty worn around the seal area. Scored to the extent I’d be ordering up new ones (n/a), or hard chroming them if this wasn’t just a knockabout comedy trailie.
Lever the old seals out, one needs a lot of heat before it’ll even think about leaving its recess. New ones are liberally red rubber greased, banged in with the seal hammer, and politely asked to make up for the deficiencies in the stanchion surfaces. They’re not pitted, but they are worn. Fact is I want to be trail riding this winter, not chasing the chromers until April to get my stanchions back. So the forks go back together. You could call it a bodge, or you can call it making the right call with an unrestored 46-year-old trail bike.
It all flies back together: pinch up the top yoke bolts, nip up the spindle caps, tighten spindle, clamp up bottom yoke pinch bolts, tighten mudguard bolts, job’s a good ’un, or at least a mediocre one. I kick it up about an hour before I head home, just to see how it is and it fires up first prod on choke. Warm it up, choke off, ticks over like a clock. OK then. Must be fine.
Then the fun starts on the way home. Trickling through traffic it begins misfiring
again. Get to the open road and it clears up again. Back into traffic it starts dying. And this time it doesn’t recover when we hit full throttle territory again. We limp home popping and banging and backfiring.
Could be anything; plug, HT circuit, carb. This will need some methodical investigation. On the plus side the forks feel a great deal better with 170ml of 10w fork oil in them. Honda recommend ATF (as most manufacturers did in the dark days of primitive suspension) and 10w is ATF viscosity equivalent. The seals haven’t let a drop of it past them either.
We’re in the one step forward, one step backward stage with the XL at the moment – a part of any early doors running with an old, so far relatively unknown bike. All to be expected and soon to be overcome with a little bit of patience, tolerance and clear thinking. I better get hold of Alan then.
THEN THE FUN STARTS ON THE WAY HOME. TRICKLING THROUGH TRAFFIC IT BEGINS MISFIRING AGAIN. THIS TIME IT DOESN’T RECOVER WHEN WE HIT FULL THROTTLE. WE LIMP HOME POPPING AND BACKFIRING
Fat bastard makes with the big , soft wooden drift
Nearly every socket size needed for this strip
One top pinch bolt’s a 10mm, other’s a 12. What?
One popped out a treat, other needed much heat and brutality
Donking the new seals in with the special donker
One of the old seals (this one) was upside down
All fun and games, eh?
Out with the old oil... what old oil? ‘twas empty
That’s done some work that old stanchion has