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Refurbishing the Duke (again).

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by Artie, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. Rufurbishing the Duke (again)
    This is just a simple run down on the original wreck repair and current refresh of my old mate, the Duke. Il do this in two parts, it'll be a bit like War and Peace otherwise...

    The Duke and I have been a team for a very long time, I bought her as a wreck way back 1997 and first registered her in 2002 (I think).

    Im into the rebuild part of our culture and do way less miles than a lot of you. We each have our own thing.

    The last rebuild was a 48' 5T Triumph which then sat in my lounge room for a couple of years. This is the first model with a swing arm rear end. I bought this as the original basket case... about 6 boxes of bits and a chassis....

    Both these machines cost $1500 to initially buy. I didnt keep tabs on the Trump, but the Duke cost me just over $3,000 ready to rego.


    And let me say, that you CANT do that with an old Trumpet if there is ANY oil in the machine... NONE....

    After her display period, I rode the Trump for a few years, and while it was incredibly reliable, it struggled to do highway speeds..in fact at 65 mph my vision blurred, the vibrations were that bad.. and folks, that is normal, we dont realise just how good we have it today. Riders of the day talk about their fingers losing feeling from the vibes after a ride...

    So the Trump had to go into storage (just recently sold her), she deserved better than this..


    In the mean time I had taken possesion of this in 97'



    This had hit a flock of sheep at full tilt, you can imagine the chassis damage etc.

    It should have looked like this...


    First thing was to deliver the frame with engine in and back wheel on, to Laurie Alderton in Smithfield of Sydneys west (legend! recommend him to anybody), Laurie straightened her all out, re welded the entire chassis and re rolled both rims.

    In the second chassis pic, just up, you can see the curve of the two bars as they joint at the head stem? Uh huh, they are now straight.........

    I dont have too many pics of the early part of the build, didnt seem necessary then. I wish I had more now though... (your camera is your friend).

    I sourced a set of new old stock (NOS) fork tubes from the Netherlands of all places and had the sliders checked and then rebult them, they have never leaked and it all works pretty well, if a bit soft, so I messed around with various grades of oils until I settled on straight .......Auto Trans Fluid.... I was geting pissed because, Im a pretty big guy and all the normal grades are quite a low viscosity and in desperation I grabbed a bottle of this I had laying around.... its worked great for years....

    So I got the chassis back, stripped it completely and had it powder coated black and the rims gold. Suddenly I had a rolling chassis so I stuffed an engine back into it. Actually thats not true..the swing arm pivots IN the transmission on these, I had to stuff the engine back in to get it to rolling chassis stage.

    Panels where an issue, I didnt like the Mike Hailwood scheme, and as this was a wreck recovery I didnt see that it was sacriligious to wander off and do my own thing...

    But where do you get panels?

    It took years and I ended up repairing the old tank. In fact the panel repair on the tank cost as much as the chassis repair, weird. The original fairing was in several pieces and is made of a kind of plastic, I bought a chemical plastic weld kit and reassembled it then trimmed of the bottom so it resembled an SS fairing.. I never used it and swapped it recently to our mate Shane as part of a multi panel swap (more on that later).

    So I eventually after trawling through ebay and other sites I had a set of panels and used an SS style fairing and painted it all black. It was either red or black and black won. Then one day I found a few more panel parts..but I didnt need them.... then...why not have two sets and be both red and black? It only takes 20 mins to change a set over.

    Then sort out that amazing Ducati wiring mess. Mine was an 83 model which is very late in the range, they would have it sorted by then right? Up to a point, mine has a lot of Denso bits which means its been reliable, but this also gave the mob back in Italy time to MESS with it.. I have many different coloured wires than the manual says I should have...

    See Steve trying to help me work it out...??


    Turns out my brown wire was white and should of plugged into the green wire which was black... easy!

    BUT, we got it all worked out and registered and went for that 'first ride', it went like stink, much quicker than I thought it would and better than Steves (head scratcher) 82' 900SS. Thats not right, its only 600cc. After a 20k's of sedate riding and then a few mad thrashes I found out why.... the front piston burnt a hole though.. it was running slightly lean and 2 stroking.. great for short term power, bad for burning pistons....It has a piece a shrubery in the main jet, not blocked, just slightly restricted... crap!

    Anything could have gotten into the fuel lines at some point during the build.

    Anyway, it has Borgo pistons and they cant be had for love of money (I have seen them from time to time over the years since though). I was just about to get a pair made when I found an old V2 big bore kit.. its a 6mm bore increase over std and is out to 680cc. Whoa.. now its got pretty good acceleration but a heap more torque... nice... and less cost than having 2 pistons made.... in fact I sold the original barrels off and covered its cost. Had to muck around making shims to bring it back to street petrol comp levels but its been reliable now for years, well worth it.


    This is her before decals and clear coat and in case you are wondering I was 'testing' the big bore kit for smooth torque delivery...


    And this is her 9 years later, getting a tad tired....


    Ill dig up some more pics for round two, which is the current refresh.

    I swapped this tank, duck tail and the original firing with Shane and got another SS fairing, his old tank (now refurbished) and the shorter seat.

  2. Lovely old Duke. I'll always have a soft spot for these old Pantahs/Darmahs/SD, my old man had an MH900 when I was growing up, classic stuff.

    More pics of the Triumph please!
  3. Nostalgia tends to make people forget these things. I had a Laverda twin for a while and by the time I'd finished with it, it had nylocs and spring washers on everything.
  4. Round two.... yes Ibast... the trump had loctite dripping off almost as much as oil.... I really dont have many pics of the Trumps build... it was before digital technology made much of an impact in my life... yes... it was that long ago....

    I often got stopped when out, particularly before the decals where fitted and asked what it was... this was quite regular... so for the record ..its...

    A 1983 600SL Pantah in Mike Hailwood colours (or was). I fact I believe that all 1983 (aussie) Pantahs were in the MH scheme. Which incidentally ISNT the Italian flag but rather, Mike the Bikes personal sponsors scheme, Castrol.

    Ok, so when doing a refurbish after such a long time ...where do you start? Well, whats 'wrong' with her....

    Clutch far too hard for long term town use...

    Clutch slips in top gear under hard acceleration.. (almost 'normal' for these things)

    Paint is crows footing... Im told I used too much hardener in the enamel

    Dont really care for the styling of the big slab sided tank.....never did 'like' it...

    Rear shocks leak.....

    Rear tyre shot..(I know not refurbish item but, needs doing)

    The engine is fine and needs nothing after all this time.... still starts and runs great... good lil Duke.....

    So I fitted a hydraulic clutch cover, braided line and a new master cylinder, removing the old cable clutch set up.

    Damn master cylinder doesnt work...working on that now..... then Im told that the hydraulic is almost as hard as the cable!!! Bugga... we will see how that goes.... work in progress....

    Once thats sorted its geting new clutch plates, not worn, just hard...fresh plates helps the slippage issue.

    Repaint, but also the tank style issue.... then while on another aussie site a guy posted this pic....


    He had just bought that bike... and he wanted a standard tank....hmmmm..... we can do business here.... so a straight swap occured. He got the original repaired fairing, the orginal repaired black tank and the black ducktail... I got the tank, the SS style fairing and the seat (shorter).

    and here it all is after fitting....



    And as is now...about to get a new filler cap and paint....


    Red set of panels sitting on floor behind her...


    And thats where she stands today... should get colour on this week.... when that happens Ill post up more pics.....

    Rear shocks...Ive received the seal kit for the Marzzochis but Ive also ordered a set of new Konis oops...Ikons..... these are in stock now in Albury and Ill pick them up shortly... may well refit the Marzzoks at some point...not sure... Incidentally, these werent too badly priced, complete with springs to suit my weight for just over $300 (adjustable valve rates).

    Updates as they happen...

  5. Mate

    Looks Awesome. Can't wait to see it finished.

    Always good to see these beasts around, I think we can lead a charge of rebuilt Pantahs :)

    CAtch ya
  6. Finally got some colour on the beast today, like everywhere else its been damn wet round here.... not complaining, other places have it far worse........ and yes I am thinking about our mates up north... cant imagine what you are all going through up there.

    This is a base coat and is almost a matt finish, its supposed to set pretty hard and is what you will see when the damn stone chips happen rather than the white of the gel cat.

    This is 3 coats and I have to let it get a bit harder before I can sand it, so hopefully Sunday arvo I can get a start on it.... as an aside.... I almost like the matt finish.... sort of.... almost..... but shiny is nice..so shiny it will be....

    I forgot to mention that I glassed all the holes up as the breather tube was not longer required as the new cap has one internally and the cap also has different bolt hole spacing (naturally) so new ones will have to be drilled.



    Im hoping to get some shiny bling on during the week but thats up to the weather, cant paint in wet air. So if I get 'er done Ill post up some pics.

  7. Fantastic look mate.

    is that doing to e black or a gun metal grey - shows up more grey in the photo.

    You don't muck around, it wold be great to go for a ride with the two Pantahs down the track.

    Keep up the great work.
  8. G'day Shane, it does look grey but its actually black, I guess cause of the matt finish. No not mucking around Im actually quite keen to get her done... I want to ride the damn thing.... I wish I had met up with you during the winter, would have it finished and being used by now.

    Im keen to do a ride, perhaps we could arrange to meet in mid Vic Bendigo or something one day, sounds like fun.

    Updates as it happens...

  9. Sunday morning... up early, did NOT go to the bucks party last night.... and dont I feel better for it today!!

    So up out of bed and sanded, sanded, sanded.... then I sanded a bit for a break.... and on went the colour.... this is only one coat and this is the gloss straight off the gun (with a little over spray, the dull areas, a some orange peel, paint was too thick...), quite few more coats after this but each one needs several days to harden up before it can be sanded back for the next coat..... after its last coat it will get lightly sanded then buffed untill all marks are gone. It will be shiny then but, I guess you could call it a 'shallow' shine.... the decals (im not sure which ones yet) are placed and then several coats of clear with a fine sand between each coat... then a buff and polish and THEN the shine will look like its an inch deep....

    Some pics.....

    the tank looks grey in the sunlight.... its still liquid paint here...


    But its is black....


    Would you believe I was thinking... this piece is done perfectly.... then a drop of sweat fell from my head onto it... grrrrrr.....


    and the piece of wire holding this up touched it after I had finished....double grrrrrrrrr....


    and here it is all (carefully) assembled...





    Not much will change from here until I have the last coat on, decals in place and clear over top.... so I wont bother with any more until then.. that will take several weeks.

    I hope youve enjoyed the pics so far.... next lot will be of her finished and screaming with shine.... oops almost forgot, the fairing will get chip touch ups than a sand and only on eor two coats as its still pretty good.... thats why it hasnt been touched up to now....

  10. Great to see it coming up
  11. great yarn, artie, and well documented with pics

    I laughed when you said you used auto-trans in the forks; I had no end of trouble 'tuning' the front end of my XS-650 D Yamaha back in '79, and eventually did exactly the same thing to it, with the same pleasing results.....
  12. Looking good mate!

    As for the deacls, a finer combination than black & gold there is not, the classic Pantah or MHR decals in gold would look a million dollars I reckon.
  13. Hi MV and Hornet and thanks, gold decals to replace the original whites as was on it, is the plan, with some minor gold pinstriping something along the lines of the 900 SS of the same era. Getting the decals together now.

    I had no experience with ATF as fork oil, just desperate and knew I needed something thicker than the bottles I had bought and the day I had wasted. It was the thinnest stuff I had... lucky me....

  14. Today the fuel filler arrived, had to chuck it in the lathe and remove some mounting lugs so it is now a flush fit unit... it looks the part I think....



    A couple of mates and myself are going to make a mold of this tank before I get the last coats of paint on... its seems to be popular shape and I think it would look OK on my GSX1100 as well.... thats a project I have stored in the shed for another day....



  15. Mate

    That filler doesn't look the part - it's frickin awesome :)

    Luving this project Mate.
  16. Thanks Shane, Im enjoying showing the world.... a first for me..... :)
  17. This is an unashamed plug for a business. No apology here....

    I ordered the decals in both white and gold, want to tape them on and 'see' both colours...

    So I ordered 2 sets fromk Cutgraphics in Brisbane (who had supplied the original set) for a very reasonable $45 delivered... pretty ok with that.. then I remembered that i hadnt ordered the 2 small "Made in Italy" stickers which sit next to the filler cap.

    I had already paid for the other decals so I emailed Rod Campbell at Cutgraphics and asked how much to add the required stuff.

    his reply ..... "No worrys Rob Ill throw them in FOC"

    That was unexpected and I cant recommend this guy enough... his website is below....


    He has my endorsement based soley on my experience....
  18. I'll back you up here mate.

    I ordered the "Pantah" decals for the cam covers when Blackie was "Reddy" :)

    Excellent product and excellent service. Will defo get the rest of my decals for the rebuild from them.
  19. Examine your decals carefully before committing to them, my first set from this company had white showing through the green bits. They were promptly replaced but even the new set is a shade or two lighter green then the originals, its grown on me now but those that know can see the difference. On another subject check out this great video i came across yesterday http://vimeo.com/11285536 about the restoration of a 69 Norton.
  20. Thanks Andy, the decals arrived today (or I checked the mail today) and so did the mag, thats gold, thanks mate!

    The mags a goldmine of non stock Dukes most of which were wreck recoverys, loved it.

    For the record Andy (coastdude) had a spare copy of a 1990's streetbike special on old 'special' Dukes, and he kindly sent me the unwanted copy... you are a legend mate.

    Particularly because it features another Pantah which has the same 680cc tratment mine has... as I said.. gold...

    The decals look pretty good, peeled th ecorner back and th egold is deep and rich, you cant 'see' them cause they have protective film on both sides... but the gold is so nice I think Ill use the white set on my tool box or something...

    Thanks gain and cheers.. if you need anything mate, just ask.