A proper amount of force

IMG_3141I guess there are two kinds of mechanics: Those who follow the specs and those who don’t. Of course there is an advantage to belong to the first group. Specs are specs for a reason. Unfortunately I belong to the second group. Much of this can be attributed to the fact that I don’t have much money. Torque wrenches are expensive for example. Now that I’m about to split the engine and check it out I’ve decided to switch to the spec team. 

In my Haynes manual, torque settings are specified in the most clear way possible, and the engine chapter turns out to be mostly in the really low range where the specified torque seems to be even more important. So I’ve decided to invest in a torque wrench of okay quality but a fraction of the price of the really good ones. It’s got to be better than me estimating.

Hopefully doing things by numbers instead of gut feeling will give me a more profound knowledge of how things are supposed to be and feel. In a way, I do believe that intuition is a powerful tool and that for example chain slack could be adjusted based on a feeling but how the hell am I supposed to know the difference of a hundredth of an inch in the valves without measuring?

Other things on my list are checking the valves, plugs, bearings, fabricate a makeshift bracket for the new speedometer until I get a hold of a welder to make the real one, solder some plugs to make the electrical system easily replaceable in a plug-and-play fashion, break the chain and really clean it (assuming I get a hold of a new master chain link), possibly paint the engine, synchronize the carbs and check the cam chain. Except for soldering, all this is new to me and a part of my great motorcycle transformation process. It’s going to cost me a lot of money too, I guess.

On YouTube I saw this guy who took apart his Kawasaki Ninja-motor only to discovered he was missing teeth in the gears and such. That has become a nightmare scenario now. It runs great although a bit rough in the low range so I really don’t want to jinx it but at the same time I feel that it is better to do this now, on an engine with more than 70 000 km on it than on a newer engine working perfectly. If I fuck up too much I can always buy another engine with fewer miles or have it renovated by someone who knows what he’s doing. And if I am to succeed in this myself, I have to be able to do it the scientific way and not try to be “the engine whisperer”.

I am also thinking of buying a motorcycle lift. I have the paddock stands and would like a lift table but they are pretty expensive so I might settle for a cradle version lifting in the engine block. Then again, we’re cramped up in a small space and things are tight as they are. I mean, we don’t even have a good workbench to do carb work and more. It’s becoming more and more frustrating being limited by the space rather than anything else…