It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single cylinder engine in possession of a goodly amount of rust is in need of a lot of WD40.
There was excitement. Emma (not the Jane Austen one, the helpful lady at Haynes manuals) told me that the manual for the XL125 1978 – 1987 would be useful as it covered my bike – Mostly. A visit to Amazon (web site, not tropical rain forest) located one on Friday and taking advantage of “Express next day delivery” – free for a month – I was pleasantly surprised an 8:30 knock on the door. Frustratingly the manual covers the next generation of Honda trail bikes to mine so it is only good as a coaster for my tea.
Never fear. An expedition to Halfords. Casting my mind back through many bleary years. Can you still get Gunk? Swarfega? T-cut? You can. A bag-load of chemicals and I was in the shed by 11:00 with a cuppa, radio, chocolate biscuits and a big pile of eager anticipation.
The eager eyed amongst you will have looked at my shopping list and thought “He’s forgot the WD40. It ain’t going to be possible to strip down Little Project without a very big can of WD40”. Good spot. I’d also forgot that I am no longer the owner of an impact screwdriver (I realised this after I was back from the trip for the forgotten WD40) so by 12:30 I was really ready to start.
I thought for years as a kid watching my father do things to his bikes that “buggerit” was the proper and polite term for mishaps involving tools. I sort of associated it with the black bruising one gets on ones nails for accidentally striking them with a hammer. It definitely also applies to those moments when the spanner slips and knuckles drag across rusty casings. I have plasters to make the ghost of Michael Jackson proud.
As the manual may as well have been for a Honda Civic, I was being pretty inventive with the strip down. The objective was to have the engine and wiring loom an the workbench and not to leave too much blood on the shed floor (I added this last objective at around 3pm). I’d worked out which nuts and bolts needed to be removed and so removed them all. Engine wouldn’t budge. Bloody (literally in some places) thing. Anyone else stripping down a Little Project in the sam state of mine, there’s another engine bolt. It is near the swing arm. It will be covered in mud so you won’t see it, but it is there. It will also be rusted solid and seem totally inaccessible to any of your tools. It’s out now. I can’t reveal how because I do have a reputation to maintain. A bit of wobbling, grunting and heaving and the heart of Little Project is resting on my workmate. Waiting for surgery.