There was some disbelief from myself when Dai Walker mentioned a product called ‘Start ya Bastard‘ but indeed there is an Australian (no suprise) alternative to EasyStart (for the original joke advert)
There is no doubt that some form of magic spray such as Get Out You Bastard would have been welcome in the Bwlch workshop today. It all started in a straight-forward manner wheeling the bike up to the garage. I’d bought the bike from Jef Bens earlier in the year (at pre Brexit exchange rates). There aren’t many 360 bolt-ups and the bike is from 1967, which was the fourth year of manufacture (there were 100 250cc bikes made in 1964) so some rarity value. Aim was to strip the frame and start to have a look at the engine, prior to a return visit to Jef’s to work out what I needed to complete the restoration. The aim is for a race, rather than show bike, though I’ll probably powder coat the frame, after some modifications to get large shocks in and check that I can get some footrests etc.
Engine came out relatively quickly and managed to remove the plastics (which looked like a 70’s replacement for the original ally ones). A real mix of nuts and bolts with some I suspected of being imperial and had to dive to the back of the workshop to find my 9/16 spanner for some of the frame bolts. The bike smacked of having been apart for a while, so was already wondered what challenges what might await.
With the engine on the bench, thought I’d tackle the frame first and after getting the rear wheel out, hit the first problem, with the steering head bearing. Unlike 70’s Jap bikes, after removing the main nut above the top yoke, the bearings sit between an outer and inner top shell. You usually knock this round with a drift or screwdriver, but Swedish wisdom has this as a flat sided cone, which according to the manual you can adjust with a pair of split pliers. With some heat, I got this moving but then it stuck solid and wouldn’t move. Heat and repeat a couple of times and still no joy, so I retired for lunch and to listen to Ann Peebles ‘Can’t Stand the Rain’ which had just turned up in the post. As an aside, the postman used to race a bit of motocross and his father used to race CZ’s back in the day, so will need to catch up again at some point. A quick tour of the garage and you could see the look of lust for racing in his eyes. Always good to see.
With the rain coming down. Paul appeared up from Llangynidr as obviously any form of gardening was going to be futile. I had considered a trip up to the lake to sail the recently re-rigged boat but a brief glimpse of sun wasn’t long enough. More heat and effort from the pliers and still no movement, even with both of us on the case. Paul nipped back to the house to pick up a set of stilsons of various sizes, but even these weren’t able to move the cone. Time for more tea and then after removing all the front end put the cone into the vice and then moved the bottom yoke to free the cone. This took 1.5 hours of buggering around and with the upper bearing cone finally removed it was on the next challenge. I’d already eyed up a potential issue.
There is no doubt that 70% of posts to bike restoration forums have “swingarm bolt” in the subject line, just do a Google search (though you can substitute swingarm bolt for pivot bolt to find more). A quick look showed that this wasn’t going to be easy. The earlier Bolt-Ups have different swingarm arrangement to the 1967 models, with a bar acting as a pivot shaft, with two bolts holding it in place at either end. The 67 models moved to the more commonly seen approach with a single bolt, with threads at each end, passing though swingarm bushes and bushes on the frame. A quick tap and it was clear this wasn’t going to move in a hurry.
One of the first decisions you have to make is that the bolt is going to be scrap by the time you get it out, so some form of replacement is going to be needed. Using a drift to preserve the threads and nothing moved at all. Out with the penetrating oil and the heat still nothing moved. So, some direct hits onto the shaft and some movement so a glimmer of hope it was going to come out. Now with a mushroomed end of the bolt, out with the angle grinder to trim it up, before continuing to push the bolt through. It’s long bolt and not the biggest in terms of diameter and therefore to find a suitable drift. Got so far but then the bolt got stuck.
With what must have been only 2 or 3cm left to get out it still didn’ want to emerge from its hole, the bolt wasn’t going any further. So put the bolt into the vice and by leveraging the frame with a long 1m crowbar got it out some more, but still it wasn’t completely out. Time for another cup of tea and a decision to be made. The option was to cut the bolt and then hammer the small part back in, past the swingarm section and then pull out the swingarm. A bit of a risky strategy, but the tea and some fig rolls determined that this was the only way to go. Back out with the angle grinder to cut the bar and trim round the edges to ensure it fitted back into the hole.
Well surprisingly it worked and the crowbar separated the swingarm from the frame, leaving the small cut section in the frame bushes, or so we though. Got the drift out with some careful use of a long screwdriver and job done. Except what had happened to the small section of swingarm bolt we’d cut off ? Strange. but finally job done. It had only take 4 hours.
The good news after removing the bolt was that the Speedway GP from Cardiff was on BT Sport so a dose of racing, along with the last of the Belgian beer supply and Suzi Perry helped erase the memory of the swingarm bolt. Amazing how long what should have been a simple job can take. I’d been relatively methodical and mad some notes of parts that would be needed. In particular, the existing ignition was on points, (Femsa) and this would need changing to Motoplat or other electronic.
More on the restoration project to come, time permitting. Next job will be to strip the engine and have a look inside.