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Tips for Extra Long Motorcycle Projects. There are those out there with tons of time on their hands – they start a project one weekend and it’s done the next.
Then, there are those whose projects seem to last forever, balancing projects between work, life, and other commitments. This post here is for you. Full disclosure, the very first Harley I restored took about 4 years. That’s right, marvel at my patience and commitment.
As a hobbyist, however, I have learned a few tips for extra long motorcycle projects. Kind of like winterizing a motorcycle, these tips will save you some money in the long run – essentially they are things to consider when you are really tearing down a bike for extended periods of time.
5 Tips for Extra Long Motorcycle Projects
1. Consider your workspace and living situation. Is there any possible way you can store the bike in a climate controlled or at least enclosed garage? If not, consider a storage unit (although these can get pricey – the like to upcharge you after the first few months). Finally consider building yourself a miniature enclosure with pvc pipe and tarps. I did it, and it worked pretty well.
2. Consider bringing sensitive pieces of the project or the entire project inside during various stages – more on this below. If your house has slab on grade floors, be really nice to your significant other and he or she may let you park it in the living room (mine did). If you have raised wood floors, be careful of weight. A frame and a couple wheels doesn’t weigh too much, but add the engine and you may have issues with the floor being able to support it.
3. As you open up the engine, stuff openings like intake manifolds and exhaust ports with rags. For additional protection, you can add ziplock bags and rubber bands to form a tighter seal. This will not only keep you from dropping something in there, but will keep our critters and moisture.
4. For sensitive parts off the bike like carburetors or really anything made of rust prone metal, again consider bringing them inside temporarily. In conjunction or alternatively, invest in rubber bins with locking lids. Finally, add in gallon ziplock bags and pack those bags not only with the parts, but with paper towels you swap regularly. The towels will attract and absorb some moisture that wants to attack those parts.
5. Finally, rotate and turn over some parts regularly. If the bike is sitting on the ground, move it forward and back a foot or so periodically, so the bike is not sitting on the same part of the tires. Tires will oval our over time. Also, add a little oil to open cylinders and rotate pistons via the kickstart or real wheel. Cylinders are notorious for getting a rust ring where pistons stopped if not lubed and moved regularly. More suggestions on this in my post about starting rebuilt engines.
Like I said, these 5 tips for extra long motorcycle projects are meant to save you money. Maybe you broke down your bike to do a valve job; but if you don’t rotate those cylinders you could end up having to do and spend more than planned. This is where my decades of hobbiest wrenching comes in handy – miscellaneous advice you may not have considered.
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