No meatballs, but getting meat into the Husky

After buying the Husqvarna back in October, it has been a stop and start process of renovation, as work, other projects and enthusiasm had played a hand.

Stripping the engine ended up being fairly straightforward, well straightforward for a first attempt at the Swedish take on the two stroke engine. I done the Japanese varieties of Yamaha and Honda, the Austrian varieties of KTM and Rotax, and Spanish Montesa’s and Bultaco’s, but not Swedish.

What you notice, well whant you would have noticed in 1973, is that where the Japanese use splines and keyways, our Nordic ancestors had used tapers. The physical effort of pulling apart does give you the feeling that the engines are strong. The kickstart mechanism is far more straightforward than say with the MX / DT series, though the crankcase, gear box reassembly needs you to be methodical (and the Clymer manual has the method for the 4, 5 and 8 speed boxes).

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The crankcase halves do have a gasket between them; they are necessary and also hard to find, so I managed to reuse mine after carefully splitting using the official Husqvarna crankcase splitting tool I’d got from Charlie Preston (which actually was useful though the cases are easier to split than the Yam’s).

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Bearings are standard metric and even those with a snap ring are easily got hold of. I got the main bearings from Charlie Preston also, but the rest are SKF C3 bearings from Simply Bearings . They were also the source for the standard seals. All the sizes are listed in a separate article and I’ll continue to update this.

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I still need to tweak the clutch and it was sticking after putting the bike back together. That should be straightforward to sort with the bike on it’s side to avoid draining the oil. Again, probably lack of reading of adjusting the clutch. One thing, when disassembling the clutch, is that carefully take out the two clutch rods and the small spaces between them; they are needed to get the right throw from the clutch arm.

With my large supply of gasket paper, I now tend to make my own base gaskets, which allows you to do some tuning. I simply reasssemble the top end with the same piston and ring for now, simply wanting to see how the bike runs before making and changes. Also, the really good sealant I’d bought for a whopping 30 euro at the KTM dealer in Antwerp continues to be a great buy. It doesn’t go hard and (so far) works well. This was used on the clutch cover in lieu of a gasket.

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The engine went back in the frame and manage to suss out the lower rear engine mount bolt. You need to put it through engine, with the nut on loosely, before sliding the engine back into place; this is easier if you’ve not put that very interesting (see other article) front spocket on before, especially if you’ve not split the chain.

The frame was in really good condition and I suspect may not have been repainted as the sticker on the headstock looked unblemished.

All the cables had been replaced, and as it’s a Mikuni carb with an original Gasser thottle a stock £15 Venhill item did the trick. I’d collected a couple of brake and clutch cables from the Telford Show, so have some spares.

The airbox on the WR Road Trail / RT isn’t the classic round one. It was missing the airbox -> carb rubber, but a lucky find at Jef Bens’ meant I had an original one. Though designed for a Bing, it goes on the Mikuni also, but recommend cable tieing it to the airbox before putting the airbox in place. The air filter is the same as the normal WR and CR’s.

For tyres, I’d gone for road-legal Michelin AC-10’s, with 80/100 21’s on the front and 100/100 18’s on the rear. It’s a road bike after all, but the tyres are a great compromise for off road use and also reasonable price wise. There are some sites offering good prices on pairs of tyres (will find the link) and they all usually come from Cambrian Tyres in Aberystwyth anyway. [[This has the advantage that the courier driver knows that the tyres are for me and has already avoided confusion in terms of delivery addresses in the past.]] The steel rims of the RT model made fitting really easy and though the front tube was completely perished, the rear tube, rim tape and clamps were all good.

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The split rear spindle design for the WR Husky is also good and you can imagine Malcolm Smith at the ISDT being delighted if he got a puncture of being able to take the wheel out, without removing the chain, rear sprocket or the rear hub. We like this.

The petrol tank had probably been the item of most concern and I was still kicking myself around missing the internal rust. The paint had mainly disappered from the chrome on the top half of the tank, so I dediced on the DIY approach for a repaint. Using some swatches of RAL colours [ Though I do recommend getting actual swatches not printing them on a good-quality colour printer, which is what I did.]] I matched the remaining orange (not red) paint to RAL 2003 and then ordered two tins of paint from [[ralcolours.co.uk ]. Cheaper than Halfords, but potentially a bit of a stab in the dark. I used etch primer on the chrome, after masking off the sides of the tank and sanding the chrome down with P600 wet and dry. The primer went on well, though the Orange aerosols were not brilliant in terms of coverage and even spray. Given the outside tempreture was around -2 C, I did spray in the heated kitchen (which still contained my garden table) though I should have heated the tins slightly.

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It took quite a few coats and there was only a reaction in a couple of places on the underside of the tank where some of the original orange remained. Unfortunately, the paint for the white lines reacted with the main orange coat, so it’s a far from proffessional looking job, but for less than £30, it was also about the right budget for what will be a bike for using. I finished it off with a quick rub down with P1200 and a coat or two of petrol resistant lacquer. This darkened the orange slightly, but it is still slightly lighter than the original, so probably RAL 2003 isn’t the right colour match.

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The tank still has some rust inside, but it’s a lot better than before, though a fuel filter is a must.

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Tank dry, took the bike down to Castle Garage in Crickhowell for an MOT; passed with only an advisory on the front brake, which I forgot to adjust. Along with the sorting the clutch, it’s looking good for road registration and using.

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