Friday, July 2, 2010
78 GL1000 restore
About 3 weeks ago I found a mostly dead Honda Goldwing on the south side. It was all kitted out in peeled chrome, dry rotting saddle bags, ape hangers and other stuff that I could do without. So the brothers went down and rolled it into the back of Little Moe and drove it home. It's now in the back yard where its metamorphosing into a 600 lb 1-liter bull dog rat ton up endurance trailer queen street bruiser salt flat fuel burner super bike. The nice thing about Goldwings is the engine. It's the most complicated engine you could want in a bike, but also probably the most durable and reliable. It's a 1-liter boxer engine, so the cylinder heads stick out either side. As most BMW folks will tell you, that makes it so much easier to to top end work! You can change head gaskets while sitting on the side of the road, etc etc. Well if it were air cooled that might be the case, but as is you'd be spilling coolant all over the highway.. anyhow. The cylinder heads (you get two!) are easily accessible to both the mechanic, the riders knees, and weather. The last two bits are not so fantastic. The valve covers are naturally covered in chrome, because this is a big fat bike for fatties who like to have everything electroplated in nickel and chromium to give it that cheap, polished look. Because the real polished look takes time and work, rather than time and chemicals. Anyhow, due to the reactivity of aluminium alloys in relation to PH and the presence of other alloys, the nickel/chromium coating bubbles and peels and reveals the white hydroxide corrosion underneath. Hydroxide corrosion itself is not so difficult to remove and prevent. But in the presence of electroplated nickel + chrome, or copper + chrome, it is a complete pain in the ass. If you want to avoid wasting hours of your time, but want to restore the aluminum parts to some degree, pay someone else to do it. Otherwise you may peel, sand, brush, or try anything to remove both the old nickel/chrome and the hydroxide corrosion without making the old valve covers into a complete mess. If you do get them polished up to a nice brushed aluminum finish, either stop there or have them powder coated. Do not try to paint them. This will end in tears. Paints of any kind are not durable enough for the kinds of things valve covers go through. So, first things first, if the engine don't work right, whats the point? GL engines are interference type with belt driving timing gear. The belts on this bike had seen 54,000+ miles, which is probably 30,000 too many. Anyhow, belts are cheap and easy to change, so rather than risk complete engine disaster, I replace the belts.