Like a rolling stone

The (non beating) heart of Little Project has gone away to be treated by Dave at D & M Engineering in Newark to be tinkered with.   I have to say that Dave has been incredibly helpful and communicative on what was needed and might also need doing so as well as sending them the crank I also posted the cylinder head and the barrel.  We are going to have…

  • A crank rebuild with a new conrod and bearings plus the crank will be sand blasted to get rid of all of the bits of rust (and bits of hacksawed conrod that had fallen into it).
  • A rebore of the barrel to 1.25 o/s with shiny new pistons and rings to match.
  • New inlet and exhaust valves and a new exhaust valve guide.
  • The valve seats are going to be  re-cut.
  • The cylinder head and barrel are then going to blasted such that they look like new.

As I said, the chaps at D & M have been incredibly helpful so far and if you do need some work doing on the nether regions of your engine I can’t recommend them highly enough.   They specialise in classic racing Honda motorcycles, so it may be that the Little Project engines come back ready to break the 50mph barrier.

Whilst the bits are away I decided to concentrate on cleaning up the rest of the engine.   There’s a bit that covers the top of the cylinder head, let’s call it the cylinder head cover for convenience.    Even allowing for the bike having been sitting outside for a decade it was in a bad state.     It has its own little community of life-forms living on it.    There was almost a miniature lawn growing on one part of it.   It looked like this.


I know that it doesn’t look it in that photograph, but this bit of metal has lots of nooks and crannies in it.   You would never describe it as being easy to clean.   You know that stuff that people (women mostly, I think) put on their face to make the cheeks look less/more rosy?  I think it’s called foundation.    Now imagine trying to put an even layer of that stuff on Keith Richards face.

Have you imagined?   Getting into the dells and valleys of the cylinder head cover is far more difficult than that.    You’ll remember the cleaning process for al-you-min-ium parts, (I can’t put them in the rust removal tank as it has started bubbling a bit and I think it might eat them), the process is 240 wet and dry followed by 600 wet and dry followed by a severe thrashing with wire wool bathed in Solvol Autosol and finished with a gentle buffing with fresh baby seal skin (or a cherished tee shirt if the skin is not readily to hand).

My fingers are far too manly (that’s another way of describing them as plump) to access some of the deep little curves that I’ve found.    I suggested to several other (smaller) members of the family what fun it would be to spend the day cleaning bits of a 30 year old farm bike but there didn’t seem to be a lot of enthusiasm for this, I can only assume there was no interest because it is a bit cold as what could be more fun than sitting in a freezing shed dipping your hand into cold water and then getting bloodied knuckles when you bash them against a sticky uppy bit.

Never daunted I fashioned a crude “rubbing stick” out of bits of doweling and set about some polishing.   It took quite a bit of polishing and I don’t think I’m going to get it any better than this.


Buoyed with success I bounded up to the house to show how exciting it can be polishing stuff.   Sadly everyone had gone out so this is the first chance for anyone to say “Goodness, that’s shiny”.

Everyone had gone out.   It dawned on me.   I didn’t need to be cold to do the next bit!    I’d two hours before the house refilled.   If anybody asks you if you know why there are oily fingerprints on the kitchen door and there seems to be splashes of all sorts of muck around the sink, don’t mention this picture.


There is still a fair amount to do on this one, but in the brief time I had in the warm it now looks like this…


I know that’s a bit soft focus and carefully lit (I had to pose it such that you can’t see the unclean bits) but even so!   Even if the engine never runs again it is going to be gorgeously clean.

I’m hoping that some time next week the crank comes back.   If it doesn’t then I’ve a clutch to play with.   It is very manky and the postman has been put on alert for a delivery of clutch plates and springs.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and I do hope you have an enjoyable week.   I’m off to have a large glass of gin.


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