Friday, August 4, 2017

Tinfoil and vinegar

I decided it was finally time to get down to doing some work on the Kawasaki. A while back I had cleaned and rebuilt the carbs. (One of the POs – don’t know which – ‘forgot’ to replace a few small parts like springs and such and mis-installed a few others, proving once again that some people should never be allowed near tools.) Not surprisingly, once the carbs were set up properly it fired right up and ran well. Since the heart seemed strong it was now worth my time and effort to get it into reasonable shape to pass a safety check and, ultimately, get it licensed.

IMG_0140Fork seals were leaking and the clutch cable was frayed. The exhaust system was also leaking. And just overall, the bike looked ratty, which could trigger a more detailed safety inspection that I wanted.

Seals were easy to replace, as was the clutch cable (although very messy as it’s routed next to the front sprocket and is therefore subject to a lot of chain lube spray). A new, less radical, set of bars was obtained (surprising how many new parts are still available for a 35-year-old motorcycle), and the air box was replaced by 2 separate air filters.

IMG_0077But I wasn’t sure how to proceed with cleaning up all the surface rust on every chrome surface. As you can see from this shot of part of the rear fender it was pretty ugly. And every chrome surface was similar. Enter Google and YouTube where I discovered that a bit of tinfoil dipped in vinegar would remove that surface rust and leave the chrome, if not pristine, at least shiny.

I was pretty skeptical but decided to give it a try.

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Et voila! Worked like a charm. The chrome is still pitted and will rust again if left to the elements, but the improvement is remarkable.

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And just to highlight the difference, one muffler has been cleaned up and the second has yet to be touched. That’s tomorrow’s job.

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So who knows? I might get this thing on the road this summer after all.

4 comments:

  1. Good heavens, that's interesting and spectacularly successful by the look of it. Thanks David - no doubt we'll receive your consulting fee in due course! Now to find something to try it on!

    I have cleaned silverware with hot water, aluminium foil and bicarb - that works really well.

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    1. Geoff - it won't meet the standards of a concourse level restoration but it sure looks a lot better.

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  2. Aluminum foil and vinegar, thank you. I had not heard of that before. The results look good.

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    Replies
    1. Richard - I'm quite pleased. We'll see how long they keep their shine - hopefully quite a while.

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