Restoration of Motorcycles
By Gurmukh Singh Salh

Restoring a motorcycle is an art. To restore any bike, we have to travel back to the era of its manufacturer; we have to recreate history by tuning the motorcycle’s sound to its original version and recreate the original paint scheme to the smallest details of that time.

To do all that one should have a lot of experience and must have toiled for many years. Special tools and workshop manuals that relate to the machine of that time are the essential requirements.

Before restoring any motorcycle one should have the passion inside to recreate the history, and to restore a motorcycle to its original looks. One has to make a detailed step by step plan for restoration.

(A) The first and the foremost task is to give an OIL BATH to the motorcycle to be restored. This has multiple benefits as it helps to loosen the rust, helps to dislodge the stuck parts, helps in disassembling the motorcycle easily and there is minimum parts breakage while disassembly.

One should keep the vehicle in oil bath depending upon the severity of the rust etc. Usually it takes 2-3 days to a week.

(B) Before starting the actual disassembling a motorcycle, one should go through the workshop manual thoroughly and further take the help on the internet to get more knowledge about the motorcycle.

(C) The motorcycle should then be disassembled step by step as laid down in the manual. Simultaneously one should make a list of the missing parts. All parts should be stored in different boxes properly labeled for example. body parts, electrical parts, engine parts, gearbox parts etc

After disassembling, remove paint and sand blast all body parts including the chassis, forks and arms. Then send body parts for denting and after denting apply anti rust primers to all body and chassis parts to prevent them from rusting again.

Next one should look to the engine and the gearbox. Inspect all parts for wear and tear. Replace all badly worn out gears, shafts, pistons, valves and valves guides bushes and bearings etc. Wash the chambers thoroughly with pressurized water hose to dislodge all the dsut. Now one can start assembling the engine and the gearbox as per manufacturer’s specifications. When the work is complete, pack the engine and gearbox in separate plastic bags and keep aside.

Now proceed to the front shock absorbers or gudder forks and chassis. Make all worn out bushes, check rear swing arm bushes and if they are worn-out then make new bushes. When all machine work is complete, assemble the chassis frame and suspension, this is to check the alignment of the chassis. If it is OK then disassemble it and send it to the paint shop with all the body parts.

Now we go to electrical parts. Send the magneto and dynamo to the specialty shops for rewinding and magneto charging. Similarly send the speedo meter to the specialty shops if you can not restore them.

Now is the time to inspect all nuts and bolts, resurface their heads with fine grinding stone and then send them for zinc or cadmium plating.

Then we move to the wheel’s breaks and hubs etc. Turn the break drums, realign the break shoes, check the wheel bearing, replace if necessary. This should be done before painting.

On receiving the body and chassis parts from the paint shop, start assembling the chassis and frame .When the chassis is complete with suspension, wheels, handle, bar stand etc, start fitting the engine and gearbox in the chassis.

After this completely re-do the electrical wiring. Fix the engine oil tank, connect it to the engine and fill it with the recommended grade lubricating oil. Kick start the engine to rotate it (not to fire the engine) till such a time that the oil start to drop into the tank from the return pipe.

This is the time when we attach the magneto and set the ignition timing as per the specifications. Then start the engine. When the engine starts, place a fan near the engine head to cool it down as at this time the engine is tight and it heats up soon. We need to vent the heat to save the piston and the rings. After running the engine for one hour, give it rest for half hour. Do not turn off the fan. Repeat this running-in procedure 7-8 times with the fan running consistently.

Check the engine breather pipe while the engine is running. When the running in is complete and engine is cooled down, inspect for leaks and take corrective measures.

Now we fine tune the engine. Adjust the engine tappets and adjust the carburetor air mixture. If everything is working 100% then the time is to ride the motorbike.

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