a 71 Bonneville to un-customize... - Triumph Forum: Triumph Rat Motorcycle Forums
Member's Restoration & Rebuild Projects Details of member's own projects.

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post #1 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-22-2010, 04:03 PM Thread Starter
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a 71 Bonneville to un-customize...

There's a bit of good mixed in with the bad when you buy complete bikes on ebay - like this one, that was 5 hours away... I bought it without seeing it in person, without having had to learn how to assess things and, most importantly, without having had to muster the energy to negotiate. The bad parts, of course, are that I have to take someone's word for it that it runs, and runs fine...

The 'facts', such as they are, are that the title I've got is the original Michigan title, issued 1971, miles 0. I don't know when it was last licensed, since I bought it from a guy who was just doing the ebay thing, but the odometer reads ~5,500.

First things first:

It wouldn't go up on its centerstand, as it leaned way to the right with both feet on the ground. How could this get bent? Maybe somebody got sloppy with a floor jack? The brackets on the frame look square, but I'm not quite sure how to check. I'm hoping I can figure something out here (bend it back straight?), and not need to get a new centerstand. But once I can get it off the ground...

Some obvious stuff—I need a front fender and want normaler mufflers and bars. There's also a whole lot more chrome here than I'm comfortable driving around. Someone chromed the side covers and lower rear motor mounts (is that what they're called?), painted (cleared?) the air boxes, and swapped in a chrome rear fender (from what I assume is a TR6? maybe?). (It looks like they also did the forks with shiny silver paint; i'm hoping i can just strip it and buff it back down to the buffed aluminum). I'd love to trade this stuff to someone who wants it, but will otherwise do what I can to get it back to black or, for the fender, the color I end using for the tank. Anyone who wants to swap for chrome should just let me know.

From there, some more minor stuff. Someone painted the front hub(?):

There's a problem with the seat hinge setup - the brackets in the seat pan don't line up with the hooks on the frame - the front hook on the frame is about 4 inches rear of where the seat bracket meets, so someone used a hose clamp to attach a bolt horizontally to the frame rail, with a nut as a spacer, in the 'right' place to attach the seat... not sure what to do about that (probably get the right seat):

And I'm choosing to ignore this for the time being:
If you had a hole in your crankcase, wouldn't you bolt a soup can lid over it with some gasket maker and hope for the best? I have no clue what this is. Just inboard of the left footpeg...
All in all, though, the chrome looks pretty clean, and I'm mostly excited to find lots more good news and cheap fixes as I proceed.
So, in the meantime, any takers on chrome pieces? And any thoughts on that soupcan hole-plug? And how to straighten a center stand?

Last edited by therabbithole; 11-22-2010 at 09:33 PM. Reason: fixed picture links
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post #2 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-23-2010, 01:17 AM
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Soup Can Repair

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Originally Posted by therabbithole View Post
And I'm choosing to ignore this for the time being:
If you had a hole in your crankcase, wouldn't you bolt a soup can lid over it with some gasket maker and hope for the best? I have no clue what this is. Just inboard of the left footpeg...

Good news. That's not the crankcase, it's the outer primary. A relatively simple job to remove and inspect. Replacements come up fairly regularly on eBay, or you may know a good welder who can do a proper repair.

Good luck with your project.
Cheers,
Neil.
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post #3 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-23-2010, 03:45 PM
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That's a real nice project you have on your hands. Even if you did pay way too much for it based on the sellers description that memory will fade once you get her on the road.

I don't see anything that can't be fixed and the "learned ones" on here are real helpful.

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post #4 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-23-2010, 05:30 PM
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The first thing I would do before spending any money on repairs is to get it titled in Ohio in my name. That way the deal is all finalized and the bike will legally be yours.

Painted rims would frighten me to ride on without looking inside the rim to that everything looks good. People paint things to cover other things up sometimes. Safety first!
-Steve
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post #5 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-23-2010, 07:41 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks, a lot, everybody.

To Neil - yes, I suppose I'd rather sound dumb not knowing that was just a primary cover than have a more expensive thing to repair. I've seen others on ebay that seem to have repairs in about that spot - how does that happen? Is it the primary chain letting go? Laying it down on its left side so that the foot peg pokes a hole? I'll put it off for the time being... Unless you think it ought to be more of a priority.

To Toxic - - money. money money money. I guess my Honda got to be too cheap. Or at least, investing in it didn't seem to have quite the payoff. I'm aiming to have this on the road for under $3,000 total (including purchase, missing parts, outsourced labor, tags and insurance). A dreamworld? Perhaps. But I'll hold on to your advice about those memories fading once you're on the road...

To Steve - Thanks for the pointer on the front hub; I wouldn't have thought of that. Your two points are related, actually, as I'm in a bit of a State-of-Ohio bind: the state won't issue a new title without physically inspecting the vehicle to verify that the vin matches the old paperwork - and I don't have a truck, so I'd have to go to motor vehicles to get a temporary tag that would allow me to drive the motorcycle to an inspection center... That's my understanding, anyway. So as much as I want to get the new title asap, I'm not sure that I'm ready to take the risk of running it across town without doing a bit of work... like to the bearings and brakes.

But that leads me to another question, and it'll make me sound dumb but I'd rather not risk it - there's no dip stick in the oil tank. How can I check the oil to make sure it's safe to get it started?
- Justin
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post #6 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-24-2010, 12:11 AM
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It wouldn't go up on its centerstand, as it leaned way to the right with both feet on the ground. How could this get bent?
Usually done by a 130 kg fat bloke standing on the right hand side of the bike, and then leaping 4 feet in the air doing a half pike summer-salt and ploughing their entire weight onto the poor bloody kick starter and centre stand in some over exaggerated theatrical rubbish designed entirely to impress some random person walking past who couldn't give a rats about the bike and in reality is staring at their girlfriends arse.

These things really aren't that hard to start.
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post #7 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-24-2010, 06:16 AM
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Thanks Dogtired. I needed a good laugh this morning.
-Steve
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post #8 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-24-2010, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by dogtired View Post
Usually done by a 130 kg fat bloke standing on the right hand side of the bike, and then leaping 4 feet in the air doing a half pike summer-salt and ploughing their entire weight onto the poor bloody kick starter and centre stand in some over exaggerated theatrical rubbish designed entirely to impress some random person walking past who couldn't give a rats about the bike and in reality is staring at their girlfriends arse.

These things really aren't that hard to start.
That was awesome needed that this morning

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post #9 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-24-2010, 12:02 PM
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Justin,

You were born with 10 dipsticks, 5 on each hand, unless you come from Banjo County where I hear they have 6 on each hand.

Stick your index finger down the hole and if it's wet, there's enough iol. The original is probably at the botttom of the tank having fallen off. They're cheap to buy.

Title wise, I don't know how it is in the US, but I wouldn't do too much if there might be an issue. In the UK a van costs 50 for a day's hire and I'd rent one rather than spend 50 on a bike that I couldn't register. you may be tight for money but maybe you know someone who'd do a favour for a bottle?
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post #10 of 234 (permalink) Old 11-27-2010, 03:09 PM Thread Starter
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belatedly: "awesome" indeed

Oh man, dogtired, that is indeed awesome. [I wish I cold come up with a more original word right now.] I'm thinking of posting that in my garage...

As for my update on everything generally, I'm going to put off the titling questions. I'm not worried, really, since I do have a title (and have even had luck getting titles for untitled vehicles) and, in any event, the absolute worst case scenario is that I end up selling parts (probably ultimately for profit). In the meantime I'll do what I can to learn some stuff.

To that end, and once I found out how to verify oil (thanks lots Dave), I went ahead and started it. It actually started okay - particularly in light of the absence of a centerstand (more on that later). The thing is, though it started easily enough (4 or 5 kicks), I couldn't tell if it was really loud with the shorty mufflers or if it was revving way too high. (The tach's broken...) It sounded and felt like the slides were stuck open. I twisted the throttle, and it did increase engine speed and would go back to 'normal' when I closed the throttle handle, but it didn't sound right. So I shut it down pretty quickly. And decided to get into the carbs, and start removing sellable parts....

Step one:

I'm pretty sure it's supposed to be easier to visually differentiate between gasoline and guiness. I was surprised it started; and happy to have some new parts cleaner.

Step two:

Hmmm. I was actually expecting worse. Gonna have to do some more gas tank research: soak it vinegar, phosphoric acid, oxalic acid; electrolysis; radiator shop dip tank? I've actually got a second tank on the way, which I know isn't perfect either, so I'll wait a bit on any decisions here.

Step three:

Chromed rear fender off, en route to ebay - lots of mismatched hardware but, fortunately, none of it particularly rusted and almost all the threads still functional.

Big picture:

Seat, tank, fender(s), air filters, carburetors, side covers and several yards of black tape all removed. This looks like progress to me.

Last edited by therabbithole; 11-27-2010 at 03:24 PM.
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