'79 Wing and a Prayer

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NotSoLilCrippseys
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#106

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

I managed to secure some quality time with my son on Sunday (son day?) morning, which enabled reinstallation of the heads, setting timing with new belts, and even a little more.

Given he's spending his summer repairing, building, and installing big bore kits on scooters (49cc, mostly), it's a little surprising that he wants to hang with me and turn wrenches on a day off. At the end of it, I thanked him for helping me. His response: Thanks for letting me help put the heads back on.

After we finished and heaved the motor up onto the bench and out of the way, I stretched things into the early afternoon and prettied up the valve covers a bit.

I have some pics.
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With the motor starting to look like the real deal again, I got inspired to beat my head against the rat's nest of wiring in another futile attempt to get a starter button to bring power down to the starter. After I got back from the office, I grabbed my computer with a good zoomable wiring diagram and some tunes. Zero progress.

Argh is about all I can manage at this point. (I'm imagining the storm cloud above the Peanuts characters signifying anger and frustration.) I've got the wiring diagram up, with plenty of zoom in. I'm chasing things here/there - mostly, I'm chasing my tail.

I seem to be able to manage a couple things that might suggest "progress" of a sort:
  • If I disconnect the stop switch installed by the PO because the start button was hosed, I can jump those wires and get the relay to which they're connected to throw. OK. I guess that kill switch is bad. Good to know. Wasn't planning to keep it anyway.
  • I "think" I found and attached a crucial wire that runs to the starter solenoid, the green/red one. I don't know why was cut/partly stripped and hiding out behind the battery tray. Together, that wire and the red/yellow one are supposed to activate the solenoid when I push the start button/jump the wires, as I understand. The relay throws (clicks), but I don't get power across to the side of the solenoid running to the starter. (But then, maybe that green/red wire goes into the loom and disappears to nowhere, as it's just another one of the many bypassed and re-wired wires. What fun.)
  • Solenoid could be bad, but it's a new one I bought back soon after I picked up this project and discovered an old tractor-type solenoid shoehorned in. Before throwing in the towel for the night, I fished out a spare solenoid from the parts GL we have. It worked the last time I tried turning over that bike.
First move on the next inning: hook up that other solenoid. I'm not optimistic, so my next move will involve studying the stock wiring look under the left shelter of a '79 in an effort to figure out more of what's going on.

I'm not going to reinstall the motor UNTIL I sort out this electrical business. There's no point in it, really, and it's just easier to move the bike around the shop without that hunk of metal between the wheels.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#107

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

I should buy a lottery ticket.

The other evening, I revisited the wiring under the left shelter cover and spent more time with the diagram. But I was tired, and I wasn't eager to mess up more on the wiring front.

With fresh eyes on Wednesday, I threw in the GL1100 solenoid and got serious with the wiring diagram AND the nest behind the unit that neatly holds all the connectors. I needed to see what might have been clipped from the wiring that runs from the kill switch/starter button/brake light switch clamshell into the harness. Unmolested. OK.

I pondered the point/function of a Hella relay through which a bunch of wires run. (I'm pretty confident it's not part of the stock set up - and neither is that blade fuse block (or many of the wires running around in there.)
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I pulled the relevant start button wires off the relay and connected what my 78/9 wiring diagram says should be connected when the start button is pressed.

Bingo! Test light works down at the cable running to the starter.

I have no headlight, and I'm a ways from worrying about that area, but I'm guessing that perhaps the relay may be related to the headlight-off-when-start-button-is-pressed switch. If I don't need the relay, I'd rather not have it in there. When I buy another clamshell with a working button, maybe it'll all be plug and play. The diagram shows me that a press of the start button is supposed to shut off the headlight - or so I think.
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That red/black wire at the starter switch runs up to the headlight in my diagram, and it seems to get disconnected on press.

Next up, I guess is chasing down the other wires into and out of that relay. One is clearly a ground over to the regulator.
One wire runs to a fuse in the block. And there's more. I decided to call it a win for now and leave more electrical for another session with the bike.
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Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#108

Post by Old Fogey »

Yes, on the US bikes with the permanently on headlight the power to it runs through the starter switch; not the best idea and probably why a PO ran it through the relay. Pressing the switch cuts the power to the headlight and bypasses the coil resistor so that the coils get the full 12v for starting.
Not sure how may other regions had that system. We did not here in UK, there is no requirement still for daytime headlight. Permanent headlight was not mandated in European countries until 2011 and most manufacturers made it automatic so that even here you would find it difficult to get a NEW bike without it.
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#109

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

Old Fogey: Thanks. Right now, I'm guessing that relay might be the workaround to cut the headlight AFTER the PO had a failure on the start button - or maybe not. I'm not good enough at electrical to be at all confident that my guessing is close to accurate. What I do know is that I can get power to the starter motor via the start button wires IF I don't use that relay. And that's progress.

I took some time late this afternoon to put a wire wheel on the rusty and peeling paint parts of the frame - and to then paint those bits.
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Restoration, it ain't. From 10', it'll look nice, I'm sure.

From what I've seen on the forum here, many people strip it all down, then paint or powdercoat. That's not my deal here. I don't even have side panels that belong on the 79, never mind the assorted other goodies needed for some sort of resto. I've got a 79 frame with some 79 parts AND some 78 parts on it. And I'm thinking I'll put a GL1100 front end on it - because I have one and want to challenge myself a bit more.

After finishing that work, I had another peek into the tank - this time with a high-powered flashlight. Oh, boy. I must have been fooling myself last winter when I decided I didn't really need to get some electrolysis going on if I cared about the gas I was running into the bike. I'll obviously be pulling the tank to clean it. Why not? Motor is out (not that relevant to tank removal, I know), rear end has to come off to do the tire, handle brakes, etc. And while I'm back there, I might as well clean and repaint the final drive housing. I mean, why not?

If folks can't tell, getting those heads back on has really helped to buoy my motivation on this project. There are 150 things to do, but I know how to do a lot of them already.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#110

Post by pidjones »

Pull the shocks, rear fender(s) and rear brake master to ease pulling the tank. I just cleaned a Triumph tank and am real pleased with it. Acetone (removes gas residue), distilled vinegar (probably ~3 gallons for a GL1000 tank), drop in a length of sash chain in to help scrub. Shake and roll so every surface gets a couple hours minimum to soak -maybe 24 hours total. Drain and fresh water rinse several times, fill all the way with water and a cup or two of baking soda then let set for an hour or two. Drain, flush, dry with a vacuum cleaner sucking on it to reduce the pressure inside (but not collapse it) and evaporate water faster. This also helps to indicate when it is dry. The tank will cool from the evaporation, then warm to room temp when it is gone. On a GL1000 tank, I'd hook the vacuum hose to the level guage hole sealed with a shop towel and maybe slightly restrict the fill spout hole. Do this in a room with dry air. Dries out pretty quick. I coat the dry metal with marine fogging oil spray or 2 stroke oil (or both). Inspect your two pickup screens. On my Hunley build, one was shot so I ripped it out and replaced it with a mesh fuel pump "sock". This is also the time to MAKE SURE both pickup lines are open. They do get badly plugged on some bikes. Rebuild the petcock. Clean and test the level sender and give it a new gasket.
"Love 'em all.... let God sort 'em out!"
Ex 2006 GL1800 - the Black Pearl SOLD! to make room for:
2021 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited Dark Chalk Metallic
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#111

Post by Lucien Harpress »

NotSoLilCrippseys wrote: Thu Aug 04, 2022 7:20 pm
If folks can't tell, getting those heads back on has really helped to buoy my motivation on this project. There are 150 things to do, but I know how to do a lot of them already.
Honestly? This right here is why my threshold for tackling the big jobs has gotten so low- I've done it at least once and (mostly) know what to expect. My very first bike I didn't even fully take off one of the crank covers because the engine guards were in the way, and I didn't trust myself to remove them. Now? I'm willing to take nearly every bike I own down to the nuts and bolts because it's honestly not that big a deal anymore.

Of course the only way to learn that is by doing it, and I've stretched it out over.... 15 years?

As far as the gas tank goes, I live and die by Evapo-rust. The tank on my 1000 was a MESS, and a couple weeks' soak cleared it up better than I could've imagined. The trick is to go all in and buy enough to fully fill the tank- I've tried the "buy a gallon or two and just rotate the tank", but it's too easy to miss spots. The downside is how expensive it tends to be, but I bought a gallon here and there as I got the money, and it can be re-used, which helps. I've still got my three bottles worth in the garage.

Regardless, looking forward to the next update.
1997 Valkyrie- Light Cutomization, but Too Busy Riding
1980 KZ1300- Bike's Haunted
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1974 Velosolex 3800- Better Than Walking
1972 CB750- Broke the Chain And Ate the Motor
1969 CT90- The Most Fun You Can Have on 90ccs.
1965 CA77 Dream- Needs a Full Teardown, but Complete

All advice I give is only valid until an expert corrects me.
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#112

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

Thanks for both the tips and the encouragement.

On my last GL tank de-rusting adventure, I gave up on evaporust (4 gallons at something like $25 a pop). I found it to be just so slow to get the heavy, heavy rust off. I had nuts and washers in there, I rotated, etc. It was working, and I reused the stuff on other rusty metal bits. I won't knock it for derusting.

But why not play with electricity and water? What could go wrong? I had been reading about electrolysis and seen some amazing photos. I went with that approach for the first time and was amazed by the results. I became a convert. That bike has 6k on it and counting; no issues with fuel. Last winter, I derusted a left for dead '70s steel tank over about a week. That tank was a goner, or so it seemed. I was surprised it wasn't leaking at the seams.

When it comes to another challenge, I guess one either throws in the towel or grabs some wrenches, a rubber mallet, and uses the towel as a shop rag. As the tank won't clean itself, I pulled it.
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The battery tray was going to need a little refresh, and the rear master was eventually going to need to come off. Final drive, rear wheel, and more were on the checklist as well. A few bolts more (tank bolt and two bolts holding the bridge just behind the shelter), a gentle but solid thwack with the rubber mallet up front, and some jiggling yielded a bouncing baby 5+ gallon tank.

And it's so clear how one quickly goes from a simple tinker to git 'er done to a down-to-the frame and back job. I could have a frame on the floor in probably 3 hours or less - with bits scattered all around.

I headed off to the local grocery for 4 gallons of white vinegar and some baking soda to get a soak started overnight. Today, I think I'll pour it all into a 5 gallon bucket, peek inside, and likely refill with more rotation. After that, I'll flush it out and set up an electrolysis bath to pull off what's left of the rust. And then I'll coat with some light oil so I avoid as much flash rust as I can.

Truthfully, this GL1000 tank is in much better shape inside than the GL1100 tank I was when I started on that one. I'm feeling pretty good about my prospects here. (I didn't take photos of the inside and just dove in. Darn!)

Now, the pickup screens are perhaps another issue. One is no longer attached. The other appeared ok, but we'll see after she's clean inside. Mesh fuel pump sock. Hmm. It seems like a game of "operation" to imagine attaching a sock down in there with super long tweezers.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#113

Post by pidjones »

Harbor Freight long hemostats and angled needle nose pliers. And patience. Can't say enough for starting a derust with acetone to remove the petrochemical residue. Allows you choice of deruster to get to work.
"Love 'em all.... let God sort 'em out!"
Ex 2006 GL1800 - the Black Pearl SOLD! to make room for:
2021 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited Dark Chalk Metallic
1972 Triumph T150V Trident rescue - in sad shape
1976 Yamaha RD400c
1978 GL1000 with '75 engine - the Hunley
Ex 1978 GL1000
Ex 1979 GL1000
Ex '79 CB750F rat bike
Ex '86 SEi
Ex '77 GL1000
Ex '76 RD400
Ex '72 Penton 125 set up for flat track
Ex '73 RD250
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#114

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

pidjones: thanks.

With the wheel, final drive, brake, battery box, and more out of the way, I could get in and inspect some of the key rust areas: swingarm, behind the brake master, under the battery area.

The swingarm is really quite solid, with very minimal surface rust, and the area below the battery is in very good shape. The master cylinder attachment area is a bit rougher, but it's not bad at all. A little wire wheel action and paint will help enormously. The center stand mounts are similarly solid. Not too bad for almost 45 years.
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I don't think this bike saw much wet weather riding or salty New England winter roads, even though I fished it out of precisely the kind of place you'd think would see heaps of steel-eating road conditions: the Maine - New Hampshire state line.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#115

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

OK. Another issue.

The tank cleaning went really well, with 18 hours in a vinegar bath, a good flush, and 24 hours in electrolysis. I was really pleased with the results, and my screens are actually ok, the lines aren't clogged, and things were looking good.
The gooey mess that electolysis creates to show you it's doing a job.
The gooey mess that electolysis creates to show you it's doing a job.
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Not too shabby
Not too shabby
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I'm happy
I'm happy
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I went to coat the inside with a light oil. On a whim, I plugged the fuel fill hole with a hand and stuck my eyeball into the sending unit hole. Was that light coming in? It must be a reflection. I held it up to a light and did it again. Damn!

I've got a pinhole in the bottom of the tank. It's weird that I didn't really notice leakage through 2+ days with various solutions in the tank. I guess removing some rust in the bottom opened a really thin bit that was about ready to let go. Not cool. It's down at the bottom rear, where the tank hangs out by the rear swingarm. (No photo right now, unfortunately.)

I have a spare tank for a GL1100, but I expect there are not insignificant differences. Fitting a tank that's not quite right INTO a frame is a lot different from shoehorning one on the top of one. I think I can already sense a difference around the rear master cylinder.

I think I'm going to try solder before I start getting serious about sourcing an alternative that might ultimately have similar issues.

The silver lining is that I discovered this hole BEFORE I reinstalled the tank and motor and filled up the tank.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#116

Post by Whiskerfish »

That sucks. Back when Dave was running cyclepsycho's he kept a rack of cleaned out tanks ready to ship. I do not know if the new guys has kept up with that or not. https://cyclepsycho.com/
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and a whole garage full of possibilities!!

Psst. oh and by the way CHANGE YOUR BELTS!!!!
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#117

Post by NotSoLilCrippseys »

Whiskerfish. Thanks for the tip.

Looks like their eBay store, where they want to send people for parts, has shut down. I can reach out, but anything decent is going to run me $200+ - it would seem based on the "rusty" options I see on eBay.

I think this is one of those "devil you know vs. the one you don't" sort of things. There's a picked-over parts GL1000 in driving range that I could probably pick up for under $200, but photos show a sad looking, long-abandoned Wing. I could pluck a few bits I need from it - if they're even serviceable. The tank could be good; it could be even worse than what I have. Heck, the motor might not have water in it or be seized. And then...

I'll give the repair a go. It'll take much less work than pulling a motor and replacing head gaskets, and I can know if I've fixed it before I button it up and start the bike (unlike, say, head gaskets). If I can't make it happen owing to a lack of skill/practice, I can hire a pro. I'm sure it's a pretty straightforward job for someone who does that sort of thing (solder, braze, weld) most days of the week.

Moving forward with this bike really is about Patience. After I reset a completion goal to Summer 2023, I found myself more comfortable with the nagging and emergent issues. It's good for me.
Avatar is a summer '21 photo of the Blue Phoenix, our Winter '21 GL1100I gone naked.
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Re: '79 Wing and a Prayer

#118

Post by pidjones »

Clean it real well (much better than you have - I'd try vinegar), and do a POR15 liner. You'll have to rip out the screens or have constant air supply blowing through them in the coating step. And constant air through the supply tubes (but just while coating). Took me ~8 hours for the whole process on an RD400c tank, but did a great job. Whatever you do, avoid Kreem like you owe it money!
"Love 'em all.... let God sort 'em out!"
Ex 2006 GL1800 - the Black Pearl SOLD! to make room for:
2021 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited Dark Chalk Metallic
1972 Triumph T150V Trident rescue - in sad shape
1976 Yamaha RD400c
1978 GL1000 with '75 engine - the Hunley
Ex 1978 GL1000
Ex 1979 GL1000
Ex '79 CB750F rat bike
Ex '86 SEi
Ex '77 GL1000
Ex '76 RD400
Ex '72 Penton 125 set up for flat track
Ex '73 RD250
Ex '68 TR6C - chopped
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