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77 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted twice yesterday, once re: cleaning the OIF reservoir and once to get info on the Hancox DVD's.

It was only after a very frustrating hour of digging through the sordid wreck that this newly reunited '76 Bonnie has become that I realized that I basically crashed the party with two questions and no introductions. Given I consider myself more civilized than that, here's the lowdown.

Back in 1976, a close family friend purchased a brand new T140V from Countryside Triumph in Tallahassee, FL. I think, if my adled memory serves, I was 7.

The owner decides after several years of riding and tweaking and tuning that he really wants a Harley and so my Dad expresses interest in the Bonnie and a deal is struck. I believe this time to be around 1983. Sadly, when it came to live at our house, its pretty red and white paint job was covered in black laq. Later, it would become BRG while there with my father.

My father rides it for several years, encounters a mishap between valve and piston, rebuilds it and continues to ride it. Then 1987 arrives.

I'm about to graduate from high school when my father comes home with a new (I think) Yamaha XS 650 Special II with wire wheels and such and proclaims that we're going on a motorcycle trip after graduation, he on the Yammie, me on the Triumph.

Waaay too excited for my own good, not only do we plan this thing out, but he also hands me the title to the Bonnie as a graduation present as if to impart to me "its yours, wreck it gently".

We survive the trip (actually enjoyed it!) and I continued to own, ride, polish, care for the Bonnie until I was shipped overseas in the military. It sat for several years, being ridden and cared for by Dad in my absence.

I return from service and head off to finish college, Bonnie in tow. I take her out on a back road one afternoon after some PM, routine maintenance and a good washing to open her up and hear the pipes when all of a sudden, the right piston begins to misfire, smoke profusely and then lose compression. She doesn't seize but we do limp home a$$ puckered and forlorn.

I scurry up about $1500 from work, some back military pay and set her right again with new bits inside and out at the hands of a skilled wrench in Gainesville, FL. She returns with a beautiful purr and once again, the world is right. I even employ her prowess while dating and take my-then-girlfriend-now-wife for rides on her. While I won't say it sealed the deal, it didn't hurt my case either.

We (Bonnie and I) continue our love affair for several years, surviving marriage, children and a mortgage until I am transfered to South Florida for work. I take her home to Dad's house rather than take her south, where she takes up residence next to his Electra Glide Classic and gets routine attention and rides.

Then one day, with little forewarning or consideration, I hear that she has been relocated to my brother's house in Jacksonville. :eek:
I flinch at first and call to check on her. "She's fine" I'm told. Repeatedly. ;) That was 2001. Time passes and my job changes again and I find myself moving back out of So Fla and closer to Jacksonville. I begin to ask when would be a good time to come pick up my bike. I'm always told "anytime but if you want to leave her with me, I'll replace the clutch" or some such other project which continues to lull me into believing that she is still well cared for and being maintained. :rolleyes:

2009 rolls around (yeah, work's kept me waaaaay tooooo busy) and I decide that its been a while and I'd like to see her some day SOON!!! (I don't go to my brother's house often, can you tell?)

I visit unannounced in January of 2009....and this is what I found...

I promptly retained the services of a U-Haul and kidnapped her for return home. Upon arrival at the house, my wife looked at her and asked "is it even the same bike?"

I tell her it is and when I'm done peeling skull-and-crossbones-with-skateboard stickers off of the tank I'll be in to help with house chores (gotta start kissing up ASAP 'cuz this project is gonna cost me!)

All he can say for himself is "when you're done restoring her, you'll know her inside and out! Can I take her for a spin when you're done?"

Her frame and bottom end casing #s match. Her top end was replaced long ago after being re-bored to +60 and then determined to have problems with tolerances and subsequently replaced by/at M.A.P.

As I indicated in a previous post, her frame has been powdercoated and her head tube decal is long gone, a facet I was proud to have preserved for soooo long.

Her seat is worn and split, her tank ding'd, her rims more rust than chrome and her brake system a storage facility for old, contaminated DOT? brake fluid.

I don't know that a single thing on her works as it should although I am told that her Amals have been sleeved and her head has had an unleaded conversion done. ("Really? How could I tell? From the way you've treated her?") Aside from that, her pipes won't stay on, her center stand is bent (how?!? nevermind, I don't want to know) and her shocks saaag like a cheap wet tent.

But my wife loves her, I miss her glory and "voice" and my father can only cuss and throw things when he sees her. I think he might be the only one who regrets letting my brother drive away with her that day more than me.

So that's what brings me here to you all, dirty Carhartts, grease under the remnants of my fingernails, at your mercy and on your coattails for info.

Where do I pay my admission fee?

Oh, and this discussion re: the sludge trap just makes me smile with joy to know I have yet one more thing to look forward to!!! :rolleyes:


Central Florida

162 Posts
the old girl comes home, a poem


i gave my speed twin framed 650 to my brother sometime in the 70's.

show chromed, cams, special head,zooted out to the max.

he won't tell me what happened to it.

i don't really want to know.

for you a rebirth.

good save.

Super Moderator
13,956 Posts
Before you start dismantling the bike, put everything you still have back in place (loosely, at least), and take one each side-shot from the left & right side, for "before & after" comparison later!

This makes at least 2 or 3 restoration projects starting right about now, this forum is going to be that much more interesting for a while.

37 Posts
Howdy, Jake!

First... let me express my condolences.

Next... your brother won the Chutzpa Award (a polished mahogany base supporting a pair of HUGE Brass Ones) for his immortal line...

"When you're done restoring her, you'll know her inside and out! Can I take her for a spin when you're done?"

I'd just LOVE to present the award... :kick: That guy reminds me a lot of MY Brother!!!

Believe it or not, your pictures are an inspiration to me.

My newly acquired Tiger 750 is rather daunting for a Newbie; it's been sitting neglected in a garage for 25 years.

Your bike let me know just how bad things COULD be.

Good Luck...

Mr. T.

77 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Trying to tidy up and consolidate the postings on this project and keep it in the appropriate places in hopes of making GPZ's administrative overhead less.

Its been a while since I've been able to get back around to the Bonnie (the initial post was from 2009). In the past month or so, I've been busy and thought I'd update.

I removed the engine from the frame and pinned it into the stand. I cleared (and I use that word because not much was able to be cleaned) wiring, brakes and an assortment of other items to get the frame down to the essentials.

It appears that the frame was powdercoated but the nicks, chips and scratches have left me nicked and bloody and disgusted with the state of affairs so I'm going to strip the frame and paint it in the interest of making life down the road easier for touch-ups and such.

The initial "before" photos from a few years back (I think these were in the original post):

Recent disassembly:

And now I am into the heads and cylinders with a few odd discoveries:

I keep threatening to learn how to post pictures in the threads so be forewarned. :rolleyes:

Couple of discoveries, as mentioned above: The bike is +.040
It was rebuilt in Gainesville, FL a number of years back after a seizure. A new set of jugs were required as the stock original cylinders were at +.060. IIRC the +.040 jugs were avail at the time and so we went with those instead of going back to a stock bore. At some point in time after that job, it appears that the piston on the primary side met an intake valve but they didn't stay together long enough to create offspring in the way of metal bits and fragments.

It has had an unleaded conversion (ULC) done on the head since the Gainesville rebuild. At the time the ULC was done, it appears that the valves were reinstalled in reverse, i.e. the primary side intake was moved to the timing side and vice versa. The reason I suspect this is that both the valve and the piston still wear the marks of their brief tryst but there is a layer of carbon over each leading me to believe that they've been operating without concern ever since. That's the only way I can account for why a valve that is now on the timing side has matching marks to those on a piston crown on the primary side. I know valves don't swap sides of the bed in the middle of the night.

I've been able to disassemble the rockers and rocker boxes as well as removing the studs from the mating surfaces in order to begin cleaning them up and getting them ready for reassembly. The pictures of the valvetrain show just how much gunk and gasket remained on each. I may need to replace several of the rocker box studs if I can't find a tap and die set to clean up that odd thread pattern (it doesn't match my SAE or MM dies).

I will get to measuring the bore as soon as I can get my hands on a set of mics and bore gauges, hopefully this weekend or next week. Thankfully the cylinders look to be in good shape with a clean combustion chamber ring and proper hone marks. I have a machinist near me that I may take it to just to check my assessment.

Aside from that, the only things I'm sweating are a list of tools I'll start shopping for shortly, to include: clutch hub puller, clutch plate locking tool, some cam gear and pinion pullers, tappet block removal drift, etc, etc...:SLEEP
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