There is a pub about ten minutes away from here called Pope’s Grotto. Named after the slightly famous garden and tunnel built by Alexander Pope in the 1720’s. I secretly harboured a wish that it referred to nefarious behaviour by a long gone Pontiff but you can’t have everything. It was Alexander Pope who came up with “Hope springs eternal”, to quote him fully it is “Hope springs eternal in the human breast;Man never Is, but always To be blest:The soul, uneasy and confin’d from home,Rests and expatiates in a life to come“.
The observant amongst you will have noted the mis-spelling of HOAP in the title. Even the unobservant can’t have missed that is all capitalised. More on that later…
As Little Project is now stripped to the bare essentials, I should be considering the condition of the paint work on the frame and swing arm. I did mess around with spraying an unseen bit of swing arm (I believe that Honda decided that the colour should be “Electric Orange” or some such similar), but it is still too cold in the shed to contemplate any serious paint work. Also, I’m rubbish at spraying things so I need to read “A Dummy’s guide to painting your motorbike” before committing too much expense and time into this. The colour match isn’t too bad though, the unseen bit of the swing arm looks like this…
It may be a bit too electric orange. Regardless, I shall wait for warmer weather before moving on with paint. I decided instead to take a look at Little Project’s engine.
This is yet another “old lady who swallowed a spider” type problem. To remove the barrel I have to remove the head and to remove the head I have to disconnect the cam chain and to disconnect the cam chain I have to remove the cam sprocket and to remove the cam sprocket I have to undo to the two screws and to undo the two screws I have to remove the base that holds the points on and to do this I have to remove the points and to remove the points I have to remove the points cover.
When it comes to the clutch I will hold a lottery on which bit is rusted, rounded or sheared. At least then I may be able to claw some cash back to help pay for the repairs. I got stuck at “Remove the base that holds the points on”. The lower screw was seized solid. After three months of thinking to myself “How the bloody hell will I get that out” I am now a bit blasé (off subject, I couldn’t find the bit of my keyboard that copes with accents so I had to cut and paste blasé from Wikipedia. Twice) about these things so out came the ultrasonic plutonium tipped drills, in went the double-triple-quadruple hardened stud extractor and kaboom! The stud extractor snapped in half, inside the head, which I have to remove to remove the da de da de da de da.
“Oh flip” I cried (The neighbours children were in the garden). Not even diamond tipped hacksaw could compete with the stud extractor. The only solution was to saw through the casing and fetch the base off with a big hammer. Add a “base that holds the points on” to the list of things that need to be purchased.
The head came off sweetly after this although I was confused briefly by some of the residue on the valves. The confusion was quickly eradicated by a glance into the barrel. I’ve mentioned before that these bits should be shiny and clean. They should also possibly be coated by a fine layer of oil to keep things moving smoothly. In the barrel of Little Project was the remains of a mouse (the furry type, not the computer type). Truly. Very decomposed but definitely mus musculus or one of his very close relatives. There was a lot of other stuff as well. After removing Mickey the inside of the barrel look like this.
This barrel is not coming off. There has been some chemical transition involving oil, petrol, water and mouse juice that means the piston is welded solidly to the barrel. The barrel moves up and down as far as the con-rod will let it and that is it. Buggeration, as we say where I come from.
This is where HOAP comes in. I know I need a new engine. Ebay has one for sale. £200 for a seized one with no guarantee it will work.
There’s a question that I would like to ask of you. How many pages forward do you go in a google search before giving up? I was up to page 6 before I found HOAP. Dave in Gateshead (5 hours from me) has a little project of his own that he has had enough of. It’s not a 1983 Honda CT125, it is a 1975 Honda XL125 including just about every bit of the bike and three, yes! Three! Engines. Dave didn’t want to sell off one of the engines, he wants “the whole bloody lot off my hands”, so after some careful negotiations and a bit of give and take I’ve bought the whole lot.
This means that Honda On A Pallet (HOAP, right?) is being delivered sometime next week. It also means that I’ve two bikes to put together now. From Dave’s (somewhat sketchy) description, HOAP “is all there, may need a couple of bits but most of it is good and it has been looked after” so in my slightly bemused state I expect to stick HOAP together in a morning and use the rest of the bits to make Little Project a road legal wonder. There is a small chance that the next post may bring news of another little project being undertaken by somebody else. In the meantime, thank you for your attention.