söndag 21 juli 2019

Progress, finally, and the end of the project approaching.

Close to another two months have passed since my last post. Sadly there hasn´t been much activity on the racer restoration during this time. I´ve been very busy working and also building my ported H2 bike. I figured I could use the extra spare time on that project while waiting for stuff to happen on the H1R tank. The last few days have been very shaky concerning my health as well... To say the least.

A couple of weeks ago I returned from a trip to Hong Kong and felt weak and powerless. I´m not going to bore you with the details but I ended up in hospital for two days in the "Heart intensive care unit" with pulmonary embolism. Working long haul flights for more than 20 years total and 18 years in a row takes it´s toll. So, now my medical certificate has been temporarily revoked until further. Right now I have no idea how long it is going to be before I can get it back, if I ever do... 

The good part is I´m now able to attend the biggest gathering in Sweden for classic racing enthusiasts the first weekend of August in Linköping, a couple of hours south from Stockholm. I have notified them I´ll be there with the H1R and they were very, very pleased to hear that! The theme of the year is "GP500 racers" Do you think I need to go there with this bike? The famous H1R "Esso" Gunnarsson won the Swedish GP on July 1970. Yeah, I need to do that!!

Well, that gives me less than two weeks to get it done... Is that even possible? Right now I feel like the guys in "American Chopper", Fast and Loud" and those other Discovery shows on TV.

"Will we ever be able to get this done before the deadline..."

We´ll see how that´ll play out. 

But I´m going to do my very best!

A couple of days ago the tank was finally done! Bert had worked his magic and finished it in due time for the Racing meet.

Here he is, in person, holding the tank for a nice portrait. No time to polish it fully. 
I´ll just have to do that myself.

I think we all can agree he did a great job! And at a very reasonable price as well. 
It didn´t get more expensive than another copy from France I got pictures of when I had given this job to Bert. 

I´m more than pleased with his work here. Bert is one of the most important contributors to this project! He fixed my expansion chambers and he copied my tank. There´s no way to thank him for these efforts enough. Remember ALUCARS in Hällestad, Sweden, for all your aluminium welding and constructing needs. He is also a wizard with steel sheet metal...

I went to Hällestad last Friday and then directly to our 
friend´s summer house where my wife and I were supposed to spend the weekend with me relaxing and catching my breath (!) I had other plans, though.

Just a quick comparison between the new and the old tank.... I can´t believe it is finally done. I´m so, so happy with it!

Let´s start polishing....

My plan here was to give it a good polish by hand. No machine polishing at all. I know I could get it super shiny and mirror like, but that´s not what I like just now.

My favorite polishing compound came with me to the summer house together with some rags, Autosol and a couple of different automotive waxes.

A couple of hours later I´m done. That shine will be more than enough for this tank. Remember it´ll be used only for riding the bike, not for display. The old, fiber glass tank will get cleaned and polished later on. 
I always seal polished aluminium with a good quality car wax. This is one of my favorites. Turtle car wax. It actually seals the polished aluminium surface quite good for fingerprints and stains etc.
A close up of the rear of the tank before wax was removed. The rear hook is clearly visible and you can just discern the reinforcement Bert welded on to the inside of the tank. That aluminium block was then drilled and threaded to accept the mounting screws. Real nice!
Another picture of the tank with the drying car wax on. Soon to be finished!

Here I have started to remove the wax and the final finish is getting there. In this picture you can see the fitting Bert made for my Pingel high-flow petcock. He simply got rid of the adapter nut and welded a threaded aluminium block in to the bottom of the tank. The threads are NPT, "Pipe" threads that are commonly used in VVS applications. A very elegant solution!

The under side of the tank cleaned and polished. It was a great day to do this work since the sky was all blue and the aluminium reflects everything around it. This way the tank got the same color everywhere in each picture.

And the top side of it.
As you can see it isn´t mirror polished. It has a slight dimness to the finish that I like. Here you can also see the reinforced tube fitting Bert made. A small aluminium piece welded on to the "bulb" and a threaded brass tube fitting screwed in to it. sturdy and good-looking!

And now I could finally start the polishing and waxing of the original tank. Bert had it for a few months and that stopped me from working on it. I had polished a few spots on it for Johnny to match the color when painting the fairings and seat. Now it was time to get it all polished and cleaned up.
It does show signs of wear and use. The paint isn´t perfect and it has its flaws here and there. It is most probably an early repaint, but it is what I want on the bike. So. let´s just try and make it look as good as possible. 

Another couple of hours in and I´m done polishing. Inch by inch. Slowly, carefully not to over press and polish right through the very thin layer of paint on it.

Approx 90% of the blemishes where removable with the POL compound plus the Autosol. Time for a layer of that nice car wax.

Here we are!

Both tanks are done. I need to consider getting another set of "KAWASAKI" lettering for the aluminium tank. I might have a set extra. Actually even two sets, I think. One black and one red. Maybe red on the alu tank? Why not? That tank is more or less my own idea, so maybe...

A few pictures for comparison between the two.

The top side here on the left.

The small damage to the paint on the original tank next to the fuel filler is very visible here. I don´t mind it at all. Gives the tank more character in my opinion.

From the rear we can clearly see the difference between the original with its deeper surge tank and the new one with its reduced one.

The front side. Bert did the same to the hooks here. They are screwed in to a welded aluminium block on the inside of the tank. It makes it look much more original than if you just would have welded them on from the outside. The difference in angle from the different surge tanks can also be seen here. The aluminium tank sits much lower at the rear than the original one.

I think I need to get those "KAWASAKI" letters on there.Looks better with it. But black or red?

I have a NOS set of red decals and a NOS set of black. Take your pick!!

What did my wife and her friend do while I was polishing tanks?

Yeah, they went in to the forest picking mushroom...

A nice batch of Chantarelle!

I told her to hold my tank and feel the weight... It is really very lightweight!

Today I drove back to Stockholm with my two tanks and a few parts. I now have one week and maybe two days more next week to get this baby finished for the show. 

A quick test on the frame as I got back home. 

Yeah, fit like a charm! 

Maybe you don´t notice what happened in my garage...?

I cleaned it and pulled the racer a bit further out on the floor to be able to walk around it and work on it. The H2 project is hiding to the left under covers until further. Now I need to focus on the H1R!

Looks good from the right hand side as well.
The black, original, seat cover is out and lurking on top of my brown leather one. It will be replaced for the show coming up. I´m so happy to have the electrics and ignition system done. All I have to do there is fill up the battery with acid and connect it to the system. I also need to route the air hose and the engine breather pipe and connect the two stroke oil tank and get the fairing done....

I do have my work cut out for me the coming days. I know how easy it is to get stuck with something not working or some parts lacking. 

Please keep your fingers crossed this will work!

It will be on display, that is for sure, but will it start? Will I be able to actually drive it in the "superparadeGP500" class at the show?

Time will tell and I will keep you informed all the way! The posts will be coming more regularly the next two weeks and then it´ll all be over. The bike will be done and the restoration of a lifetime will be finished...

Stay tuned until the bitter (?) end. 

Thanks for reading!


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