Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Thank you time: Mikuni carb and the best resource out there for parts and knowledge

If you own anything with a Mikuni carburetor, you must be aware of Sudco International. I have been doing business with them and considering my vintage VM28s are nearly one of a kind, they were a life saver! Chad spent time figuring out what parts would fit and he treated me like I was ordering hundreds of dollars of parts when in fact my orders have been very small. A big thank you, Ms Elly would not be alive and soon back on the road without their help! If you need help with tuning or understanding how VM28s works, there is no better resource than the Kawasaki Triple site since these were OEM on these two strokes bikes.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Ms Elly, mostly clothed

Engine operational, all electrical work is done, lights and turn signals functional, I am starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel and she looks amazing!
Photos are actually from the 4th of July weekend, I guess she is declaring her independence from rust, mostly, but most of all from an unduly, untimely demise in a barn.


For effect, this is the before picture about three months ago.

She lives! First engine start in probably 20 years

After resolving most of the issues in my previous post, she still would not start. As it turned out, all she needed was a few minutes to fill up the carbs. What you see here is the very first start after my previous attempt a few minutes earlier did not succeed and I decided to let her sit for a minute.

I was so tuned to listen for a loud twin cylinder rumble (like my Ducati) that I nearly missed it. At first it just sounded like the starter picked up revs but I could barely tell the engine was running! In this video the revs are already north of 2000 rpm as the idle speed was way off and so was the air fuel mixture. Still, she is alive! Now the tuning can start.

Vintage Mikuni VM28 and other mistakes I have made on the path to success

  1. If you clean the carburetors except the main jet because "everything else looked clean, the main jet must be clean too" you are not done. See photo of the main jet finally removed for cleaning and covered in 20 years of crud. I initially decided to leave them alone be since they would not come out. Well I should have known better and to go after them precisely because they would not budge! Lesson learned. Not to give away the ending but after cleaning the main jet, she started right up.
  2. You cannot bench test a generator (I said generator, not an alternator). Well you can but you need to provide current to the electromagnet shields or nothing will happen since the rotor needs to actually cross a magnetic field in order to generate current. If you forgot your high school physics, you will disassemble and clean the generator three times looking for a problem that is not there. Ask me how I know.
  3. The shift linkage can be installed either outward or inwards, towards the center of the bike. If you install it towards the pegs (outward), the shift pattern is reversed so when you think you are in 1st, you are actually in 5th and so on. Sooooo when you think you are in neutral, you are actually between 4th and 5th in an accidental neutral......Face palm!
  4. Timing is everything. Especially if you want to start a 4-stroke engine but your distributor is incorrectly lined up to spark at the exhaust open cycle, two cycles off. Oops.