Death by Nutshells?

This afternoon I started with the disassembly of the 1972 Honda project bike.  I was prepared for more ‘discoveries’, and it didn’t take long to realize that this poor bike was just not cared for properly.  That will change.

The seat came off easily, as did the fuel tank.  So far, so good.  The remnants of the original fuel line were rock-hard and were discarded.  As each nut, bolt, screw and thingamajig came off the bike, they were tossed into zip-lock bags with little notes documenting their locations and purpose.  I also took quite a few digital camera pictures to catalog the original state of the bike, for future reference.

Then it got interesting.  When I removed each air filter, I could hear rattling sounds coming from within.  Hmm.  When I tipped the air filter on its side, little nutshells poured out.  Both air filters were equally filled with nutshells.  I assumed a mouse may have taken up residence in these air filters at one point, but what doesn’t make sense is that when the filters are mounted on the carburetors, there’s no way for a mouse to get inside.  I can see two possibilities.  First, it’s possible these air cleaners were occupied by little critters before they were mounted on the motorcycle.  The other possibility is that the nutshells were placed there maliciously by a person to create issues.  Regardless, one carburetor showed signs of ingesting these nutshells.  I had expected to see old sticky gasoline residue and dirt in these carburetors, but not nutshells.

Shifting to the electrical system, I decided from the start to replace the original rectifier.  Rectifiers are like electric valves, converting AC current from the alternator to DC that the battery, engine and accessories can use.  These old rectifiers were made with selenium, and tended to degrade over time.  Today, rectifiers use silicon, which is more durable and efficient.  This will improve the bike’s charging capacity, which is important since, for safety reasons, I plan on riding with headlights on.  A picture of the original and replacement rectifiers is below.

When I extracted the original wiring harness, I compared it to the new one.  This comparison is shown below.  The old harness was cut away, removing all the wires that connected everything forward of the engine.  Poor bike.

Sunday I completed the disassembly, removing the engine, rear swing arm suspension, center stand and front forks.  The frame is in good shape, but it’ll get cleaned and repainted.  Both front and rear brakes look almost new.  I thought the front forks might be leaking, but both forks were filled with oil and it looked good.  I’ll still replace the fork seals.  Finally, I did pull the engine head cover to take a peek at the camshaft lobes and rocker arms.  Everything looked excellent.  Over the coming weeks, I’ll start the reassembly.  Wish me luck!

One Comment on “Death by Nutshells?”

  1. Wow you went to town on it this weekend. The only think left to take off is the paint.I like the way your keeping notes and pictures. That will be cool when it’s all done. This Honda will actually have it’s own birth certificate and you as the actual father. Can I be the official witness when you christen the bike.

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