Monday, March 1, 2010

Adventures In Motorcycle Mechanics: Wet Points

After figuring out that the ignition cover gasket had failed on the DT I decided I'd fab up a new gasket rather than just buy one. The bike is already about 35 years old and parts are getting harder to find as time goes by. Most things can be had on eBay, especially if you get an exploded view parts list so you know what to call the parts. In the case of things like this simple gasket I feel like it's wise to explore making your own. There are several reasons for this.

For one you get them as fast as you can make them. No scrounging or waiting for parts to arrive in the mail and no worrying if you ordered the right one. If it doesn't fit you alter it. If you see an area for improvement you can do that. So, for me the added effort of plotting a pattern and cutting one ends up being better than buying one. Another good reason to make as many parts as you can is that you can effect repairs anywhere you might find yourself breaking down. In the case of this gasket I did save money but only a dollar or two. If I end up using the remaining gasket material I'll increase the savings. Even a one more repair would better than double the value.

In the case of this gasket the bike failed in my own back yard. No big deal but had it failed out on the road things might have been different. For future reference, I now know what to do if this ever happens again no matter where I am even if I can't get the "parts". To be sure there are many things you simply won't be able to make yourself but the more you can the better off you'll be. Not to mention that in the coming years as fewer and fewer mechanics are willing to work on this bike and the parts become even more scarce this is one less thing I have to fret about. This gasket is more symbolic in that effort anyway. It's just a weather seal and while the failure of the last one killed the bike it's not all that big a deal.

I've also made a simple trace of the original that I'll label and tuck away in my repair manual. You can bet I'll be keeping a piece of gasket material in my tool kit from now on. Incidentally the leftover disc from the center of the ignition cover is big enough to make all of the gaskets for a carb rebuild!

We'll see if it was a successful cleanup later when I install the new battery and try to kick it over. The points looked good and now they're dry and protected.

(I did consider Permatex for this job but I wanted something cleaner and I want to be able to easily pull the cover again if I didn't get things dry enough the first time. Or worse, if I need to replace the points, condensor or magneto.)

Plenty of great ideas came from this repair. It's times like this when I wish I had more resources to venture into start up territory. There's more than one opportunity here.

No comments:

Post a Comment