Road registering your bike : an update

Time to road register the Husqvarna, as it is a road-going Enduro bike (well sort of). I’ve done this before and documented it here , but things have changed slightly and will do so significantly later on in 2013.

With lots of imported classic bikes, road-based and off-road, it’s theorectically straightforward to get a UK age-related license plate and V5C for your bike.

What you’ll need prior to the application :

– MOT: this will cost you £27.50 (or thereabouts). They’ll MOT on the frame number so you’ll need to make sure its legible, especially if you’ve had it powder coated recently. Remember, the ‘daylight MOT’ is an urban myth; if you’ve not lights then you’ll get an advisory to that effect. You don’t need the engine to run for the MOT and therefore they don’t check for noise.
– if it’s an import (from DK, Huggy’s or one of the others), they’ll give you the Import Certificate to confirm it’s duty paid
– insurance : Carole Nash and others will ensure a bike fully-comp on the frame number for up to 30 days, and then after at third-party-fire-and-theft, until you provide the registration number. It’s a good idea to add them when you renew your policy or do them as a batch if you’ve multiple bikes so as to avoid the admin fee (which is now a ludicrous £30 with Carole Nash). Adding 3 bikes to my Groupama policy this year was at no additional cost. The added benefit is your bikes are ensure against theft from home, if you don’t have an offroad policy.
– dating letter : going to the manufacturers, if they still exist can be a long winded and expensive process. Last did it with Yamaha UK and their letter was very non-specific as it wasn’t a UK bike. If it’s a Japanese manufacturer, I can recommend the VJMC Dating Service . Reasonable price (and the membership is worth it for the newsletter) and they phone you up to discuss the details if they have a query. Obviously, they didn’t want to do the Husqvarna, so I went looking for cheap options, given that I think Roy Bacon may actually have died and for sure had been taken off the DVLA’s approved dating companies list. I went for http://www.dvladatingletters.co.uk/ and despite some trepidation, got a header dating letter from Asian Scooter Fanatics. They did contact me to confirm details on the WR250, and the letter was fine with the DVLA. £17 is cheaper than a manufacturer letter.

You will also need:
– a form V55/4; you can’t download them (as they are self copy and two-sided, though you can order them online or pick one up from the DVLA office when you go. A lot of the boxes in the form are no relevant.
– proof of ID: passport of driving license
– proof of address : council tax or utility bill
– payment : £50 first registration fee and the first years license fee, £37.50 for the Husky.

Now, for the interesting bit. I took my forms (along with bike) to the Theale DVLA office near Reading, as it’s on my way to work on a Monday, expecting to submit the paperwork and then make an appointment to inspect the bike. Worcester notoriously always inspected, and Cardiff never used to, but then started to do so. It seems that the requirement for inspections is now less likely for classic bikes, especially those that are not license fee exempt. No inspection needed, which is a result.

However, this might be in part due to the significant change this year, as the DVLA are shutting all their regional offices (Theale shuts in November, staff redundant), so future applications will be by post to DVLA Swansea only. This means sending all the original documents into them, hoping you’ve filled it all in correctly and potentially then arranging for an inspection, or not.

Therefore my advice is that the next 4-6 months provide a window of opportunity for single visit new registrations to be done. I’ve two Yamaha’s that need to get road registered, so now is the time.

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.

Husqvarna WR250 Road Trial

I’ll keep the information on this page up to date as I get information about the bike.

Husqvarna WR250 RT Parts List

Bearings and Seals (all available from SimplyBearings )

Bearings :
Mains : 3205.BC3 (J.30)

Final Drive Sprocket Bearing 47 20 14
Gearbox 6303 NY (with snap ring)

Seals:
Crankseal : 28 52 7
Drive sprocket seal : 25 35 7

Carb :
VM – 34
Emul Tube : 2-6
Main 150
Pilot

Parts Suppliers

Husqvarna Vintage, Charlie Preston
+44 1509 815066 (telephone)
+44 7814104242 (mobile)
http://www.husqvarnavintage.com

Jef Bens : +32 14 264653 (phone) +32 476 855613 (mobile)
jefbens@skynet.be

Starting work on the Husky

I’d got the bike running back in October, but it sounded like the main bearings were completely shot. Also, the carb was full of old and decaying petrol, which needed sorting out.

I’d got some parts from Charlie Preston including a brake cable, bearings, air filter etc. However, whilst over in Belgium went over to see Jef Bens and see what he could help me with. The RT was a bit unique and whilst the engine is standard, the air filter housing isn’t. Unlike the CR and WR’s, which have the circular air filter housing with a metal connector to the carb, there is a rubber connector for the RT. Hidden away in the shelves, Jef found one, as well as a set of shoes for the full-width hubs for the RT.

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Anyway workshop time involved getting the engine out of the frame and having a look at the piston, bore and starting the complete engine strip. Removed the Power Dynamo set up and then took out the engine mounting bolts. The lower rear bolt was a pain, but all of them gave the impression of having not been removed for a while.

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With the engine on the bench, removed the four head / cylinder nuts, to find a pretty good fitting piston, with only limited wear marks on the skirt. Little end bearing and gudgeon pin also looked and felt okay. Drained the oil and then left it to move on to other jobs.

One of the main things was to look at is the petrol tank. I’d got a replacement tap., but the tank itself was internally pretty rusty. Looking at the interweb, I tried the electrolysis method which seemed to be pretty good.

Further stripping of the engine was okay, with the clutch side being fairly straightforward. One of the bike challenges was removed the front sprocket. Like similar vintage Montesa’s the sprocket sits on a taper shaft, rather than splines [Husqvarna changed to splits in 74 I think ]] and if it slips, it tends to weld itself to the shaft. I tried removing it before going to the [Telford show but failed. A repeat attempt with the assistance of Mark (and his Montesa specifically built pullers) also failed.

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The engine then did a road trip with up to my parents. Only with the use of oxy-propane heat, a long chisel and a very large hammer did the sprocket finally come detached. Speaking with Charlie Preston it seems that in many cases, an angle grinder is commonly the only solution.

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I’d also managed to find the original part, crankcase splitter (which is shown in the Clymer manual), which actually works a treat. One of the main bearings was completely bollocksed so hence the noise when running. The big-end bearing seemed okay, with no travel etc, but you never know and this might need replacing in the future.

Cases were easy to split and with the procurement of a oxy-propane welding kit from Welders Warehouse getting the bearings in, was straightforward.

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More on the rebuild and further work on the Husky to come.

Chemical magic

One of the problems with sorting out petrol tanks is that some of the chemical liners that people did use now run the risk of interacting with the high-level of ethernol in petrol.

A little bit of research on t’Internet and I came across a chemical process. There are some youtube clips and a few alternate suggestions, but you may need some modifications yourself.

Getting ready to start.

Basically, I used :
– a transformer, 12v DC 2.5 amp. Whilst most people use car battery charges it seems, there is a snag. They are getting a bit too intelligent and my Optimate charger knew there wasn’t a battery in the circuit. Something from the model railway or Scaletrix I would suggest as a good choice.
– soda crystals, or soda carbonate. Tesco’s have it (ordered online for home delivery in my case). You’ll need 1kg of crystals for 10l of water, approx.
– a coat hanger, or something similar as the ‘sacrificial anode’; this is where the rust ends up
– a headlight bulb or a meter. I soldered in a 12v headlight bulb to give me an indication of the current passing through the circuit.
– some wire to make the circuit and some clips.
– a plastic cap, off an aerosol can, with a couple of holes in it and poke the anode through it.

Place the positive wire on the sacrificial anode and the negative on the tank, where there is a good connection. Make sure the anode is in the solution, which you’ve poured into the tank, and that it’s not touching the tank itself.

Electrolysis after a couple of hours

Turn on the circuit and the bulb will initially be quite bright. You will see the solution will effervese and bubble slightly and after a few minutes, the bulb will dim a bit. Within the hour, inspect the anode and you’ll see that there will already be a collection of rust on it. Clean the anode, the bulb will brighten again and repeat.

It’s an impressive process and you keep collecting rust as the process continues. I changed the solution after 24 hours and then repeated again. I’ve order some inline filters, but this should make the petrol tank useable.

Lust over common sense ?

A trip to the midlands to find some crankcases for the SC500 ended up with another bike in the van. I’d been watching it on DK’s Offroad’s homepage and though not an out-and-out motocrosser, I did fancy something different.

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One good piece of advice is to do your research before you buy, rather than afterwards, but it’s all part of the fun to find out what you’ve got in garage, after you’ve put it there.

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So what’s good about the bike:
– it’s had very little use, as you can see from the wheels, footrests and general condition on the engine
– it’s complete (except the ignition, see below)
– looks great and needs no real cosmetic work; it’s going to be an original looking end bike.

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So, what’s not so good:
– the ignition; given the experience with the Yamaha’s I’ve learnt that to get performance and reliability you need go for a later electronic ignition and fixing the original usually just compounds problems.
– the bike is a little more obscure that some. Husqvarna only made this model for one year, as more a trail bike.
– needless to say, the lights and wiring for the lights are missing. Getting originals will be nigh on impossible.

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Some kick spanner activity confirmed a couple of things:
– the Motoplat coil didn’t match the Femsa ignition and stator (which the bike should have had). Description in the ebay listing in that it didn’t have a spark.
– the replacement ignition (I’d assumed I was going to be doing) is going to be a Power Dynamo one , as this keeps a larger flywheel and fits the larger ended crank.
– I needed a puller to fit the Femsa flywheel (33mm x 1.25mm) : I’ve found a nice one in the UK from Billet Parts

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Further research and work on the bike to come and some details on getting components.