Wednesday, April 15, 2009

wherein i say nice things about DomiRacer

So you remember from, um, one post ago, that I got a box of parts from DomiRacer that should add up to a complete magneto-flywheel assembly. So it turns out that I got two flywheels, and both of the coils were lighting coils. You need one light coil and one ignition coil.

So I checked my order and sure enough, I specified 2 when I ordered the flywheel, and didn't even notice then they replied back with a change in the prices. The coil part numbers I asked for were correct, at least. So I emailed them and explained the errors and they said they would credit me for the flywheel if I sent it back, and send me the ignition coil in place of my second light coil. I paid shipping on that heavy brass flywheel, but of course that was my fault. Later they even called me on the phone to verify that they were sending me the right coil.

So there you go. DomiRacer is A-OK.

Now that I have a more or less complete bike, I feel more confident investing more time in the bike. I had some fear that the project would stall indefinitely waiting for the magneto and flywheel, but now that I've got them I'm going to go all in.

The engine turns freely by hand with the plug out, and you can feel compression if you put your thumb in the spark plug hole. I think I want to use a compression gauge to measure more accurately the wet and dry compression, as a heads up for what I'll find when I tear into it, and as a baseline to compare to when I'm done.

Dry compression is the reading you get with the pressure gauge screwed into the plug hole, turning the engine several times. You then remove the gauge, squirt some motor oil into the combustion chamber, and repeat the compression measurement. If you get too-low compression in both tests, this means your valves and possibly also your rings are bad. If you get low compression dry but significantly higher compression wet, this means your valves are probably OK but your rings are bad. This is because the oil flowing down from the top of the piston onto the rings formed a temporary seal, correcting leaky rings if the were leaky. If both readings are good, with the wet perhaps a little higher, then your engine is in good shape.

With this bike having only 8,318 miles on the odometer, it seems perhaps a possibility that the rings and valves are healthy, and I might even go so far as to start riding the bike without completely tearing the engine apart. But there is likely rust, mouse droppings, spider webs and oil sludge all up in there, and so that would be risky. I need to at least know I'm going to have oil pressure and the oil gallery that carries lubricant from the oil pump to the upper valve train is not blocked.

Right now in this bike I have $585.61 in parts, plus the $375 purchase price and $60.38 in taxes, title, and fees. That's $1020.99. I would surmise that if you could find a complete but not running 125 Bronco, you might get it for $600 to $1,000, though that bike would not have a brand new alternator-flywheel or muffler and whatnot. I budgeted $1,500 beyond the purchase price, so I've got about $800 left to get it running. I think I can make the engine run, but won't be able to ride it regularly without rebuilding the wheels, which I think would put me over budget. But we shall see.

I've been stuck on the couch with the baby, one or the other of us sick some of the time. And all of the time waiting for the weather to improve. I spent the time researching Ducati history, and polishing the Wikipedia Ducati Bronco article. I also created a new Berliner Motor Corporation article, which turned out far better than I had thought. I was able to find a lot of source material on Google Books. I made a half dozen new motorcycle stubs for various bike mentioned in these articles, like the Ducati 60 and so forth, and also a lot of little tweaks on articles like Motorcycle Frame, which didn't even mention pressed frames. This could go on forever of course, but I think revising the Wikipedia history of Ducat Singles to include the story of the pushrod OHV bike's and not just the bevelheads is doable. I fear Ducati two-strokes will be forgotten; I know I have little interest in those smelly, smoky things. *winky winky*

Today think I can see something like a sunbeam out the window, so I think I'll strap the little guy to my back and wander out to the garage. Of course, I can only finish putting the lights back on my wife's Yamaha Vino 125. After that's done, then maybe I'll get to work on the Bronco.

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