Sunday ! My only day off (get the violins out) and my son and I had a crack at the R1 again.
That 125mm ball-ended 3mm hex spanner / key was ace at attacking the carb array to inlet manifold clamps (I undid the top set of clamps, not the bottom set). The carbs didn’t come off easily. I had to use a length of wood as a lever against the frame to prise the carb bank off, jiggling the carbs as I did so.
Ok, undoing the choke outer cable stay-clamp but leaving the throttle cables intact and flipping the carbs of the R1 upside down was an easy thing; thanks for that tip, Sharksawyer.
Undoing the 3 screws that hold the float bowl on was a challenge. I had to use a hammer and the end of a small flat-blade screwdriver to wack the edge of the screws a bit to loosen them. Why don’t manufacturers fix ‘em up with hex screws ? Anyway, all that whacking damaged the screws, but hey-ho, all the screws unscrewed. I don’t possess an impact screwdriver and I’m not sure that that would be a solution anyway because one of the 3 float-bowl fastenings is quite thin on aluminium underneath. Most of the screw threads were corroded which I figure is the ye-olde electro-chemical interaction between aluminium and steel.
The floats were good though! No petrol in them and tested in a sink of water. The main jet housings were removed and cleaned inside with an electric drill fitted with an ear cleaning bud plus a dab of metal polishing liquid. I squirted carb cleaner into every other orifice I could find. I used-up about 12-15 buds for polishing I guess.
Next, the float bowl needle valve. The, “rubber” (it can’t be real rubber because the latex in the rubber would disintegrate in contact with petroleum-anything) cone of each needle valve was not obviously worn (although, under a microscope wear-and-tear would be evident after 20 years I guess). I removed the float bowl needle valve housing and found that the O ring seals were absolutely and totally shot. The seals broke up in pieces when I tried to remove them. I fitted each valve housing with a new green O-ring seal and polished inside the brass needle valve housing with ear cleaning buds and metal polish attached to a drill until they were absolutely gleaming like gold.
…I’m glad the weather here didn’t break. No cover or workshop for the bike you see. Working out in the intermittent sunshine graced with threatening black clouds.
So, now for a refit ! I didn’t change the float bowl gaskets which looked ok.
That was fast work! I think it was because of all the blackness of a thunderstorm looming above! I gently used a rubber mallet to tap the carbs back into place, rocking the carb bank back and forth slowly as I did so. Beforehand, I sprayed a bit of silicone spray around the “rubber” inlet manifold clamps to help the carbs slide home easier.
From start to finish, it took me and my son two and a half hours. Not to bad.
For those of you reading this, who like me, have never attempted this repair before on a R1, the best tools I had to get the job done were good quality ball-ended 3mm hex keys, long and short versions (~ 60mm & 125mm (ball–ended is important because the hex spanner key does not have to be absolutely perpendicular or parallel to access the head of the hex bolt.)) and a powerful mini led torch.
My R1 works well now. And when I’m not skint, fitting a complete carb overhaul kit is needed to do a pukka job. But as I want to get this bike on the road as soon as possible, I have to work with a miniscule repair budget. I am NOT missing yet another summer of warm twisty tarmac because I, “don’t have the money…” !
Next up is an oil and oil-filter change with a magnetic drain plug. I am absolutely convinced that petrol has seeped past the piston rings and into the engine oil. It must have. Besides, the bike has been standing for years and the oil will have degraded.
Following that, a new front tyre, which I quite fancy to be a Michelin Pilot Road 4 because I want a tyre that lasts longer riding more-or-less upright (I’ve a Battlax on the front at the moment). Why not something sticky you ask? Well, at aged 60, anywhere near that red line on the tacho is now out of bounds; seven or eight thousand rpm in any gear on a R1 is plenty for me. Why exactly? FEAR! Let me explain…
The last time I chucked the R1 down the road was when gave it too much squirt on a zero miles brand-new back tyre when turning a junction on a dry road. On an worn-in tyre that manœuvre would have been slingshot-impressive. But what happened was that that low-speed fall made my bones ache for months afterwards. Forget lifting the front wheel anymore too.
You see, when I was 20-50 years old, the outside of the tyre is where I lived. Now, I’m riding in a style to reach 80 years and remain fully intact too, I hope.
Have fun, always ride defensively, and thanks to everyone who has helped me get this carb job done.