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SR500...She Lives!

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by mattb, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. I might continue to add to this thread detailing some of the ongoing work on the old girl, but in the first place, after three or four months without her because I stripped the countershaft drive on the way to Bendigo...she lives!

    As soon as my Rudd money came in, which was a few weeks ago, I was straight off to the wreckers, where I picked up a very nice grey import SR400 engine for $600! None of the 400 engines there had been started, so it was a gamble, but it was the cleanest of the bunch, and most had their km listed and they were low, around 20,000. A mate Russ who used to work there helped me in this endeavour which made a big difference to getting a good engine at a good price - a big thanks to him! - and that meant that we could wander around out back and check out whatever we wanted to look at (which was a bit of a dream). Anyway, a week later and the scent of VB and sausages was enough to draw in some low-life Netriders, who also happen to be mates and old-bike perverts, including QuarterWit and Devery (plus a mate Bize), and thus began a night of sweaty passion, screwing and grasping for nuts and generally bonding.

    A moment before the old 'out with the old and in with the new'...


    The lads, I'll you guess who is who...


    That's me looking with lusty eyes on Devery as he looks with the eyes of a master painter on a work of perfection, contemplating with a mixture of purity and envy the inviting lines of the SR frame...


    And finally she's in and ready to go!


    That wasn't all, however! We started the thing up, and after a hick-up which was our fault, the bike started first kick and idled low and easily and the engine was a quiet runner! We had the oil observation bleed screw out at the filter to check for oil pressure...but none came! We took the cover and filter off, ran the bike...and no oil came out!

    We poured some more oil down the crankcase breather hole and let the bike sit. The next day I tried, and still no oil pressure! So I pushed it to a car mechanic I know in Brunswick, and he was a bit busy so a week and a half later - yesterday - he called me to come in so we could do it together (he hates kicking my bike), which I was very happy to do, and once we determined which was the oil feed / inlet hole in the filter area he worked away pumping oil into it while I kicked it over, turned it off and kicked it over again. Eventually wham-O! she had oil! (This morning I rechecked pressure via the bleed screw and it gushed like Devery on a CZ500!) I asked Victor the mechanic how much I owed him, after half an hour's work, and we settled it at a six pack! After payment I got on the bike I still had no idea if the clutch or gears were ok, so with tentative anxiety I put the bike into first, released the clutch, and......rode home a happy man! The SR lives again!

    The 400 is quite a different engine. It's not as heavy in its thumpiness, both in terms of the chunkiness of each pulse with the 500 and in the way the 500 has a kind of chuggy resistence at going up the revs. Most people use the terms 'tractor' or 'agricultural' as pejoritive regarding bikes, but they describe exactly what I love, and I miss that element in this smoother revier engine. But...the bike now revs so much more freely on the freeway that she doesn't feel anymore like she's about to self-destruct, which is a good thing! She also idles easily on low rpm, which is fantastic at the lights, and starts with a lazy first kick which is great! The bike is certainly not as powerful, but beggars can't be choosers (otherwise I'd be riding a big single Velocette), and I'm damn pleased. What a charsimatic and cheap bike to own!

    Next up: new swing arm bearings (which is an SR-specific trial), bearings all round, tune the carb, replace some electric bits, replace fork springs, fit a crashbar and barkbusters (without the ugly plastic) and multi-road tyres, and find a way to tie on my new touring-camping gear...

  2. I don't know you blokes, and I'm not much chop with bikes, but what with the grease and nuts and wrenching, I think I might like to have been there.

    Always good to read your posts; one day, when I stop caring so much about you-go-now functionality, and perhaps when I'm slightly less terrified of spanners, then maybe I might own something so charismatic and odd-ball cool :)

    Cheers to you :beer:
  3. Well done

    Stuffed if I'd now anything about oil pressure :oops:

    Great write up and thanks for the pics :cool:
  4. Bloody love these bikes.

    We should do these evenings more often. Book me in if Fi continues to cook for us! :grin:

    Now when can I take it for a ride?
  5. who'da thought that a drop of 100cc would make for a better bike?

    great stuff !!!
  6. Thanks guys,

    later in the week I hope to take a run out to Yarra Glen to check everything is ok, then out for a full day next weekend.

    (Do you hear that QuarterWit - you can join me on the GR and, yes, I'll let you ride the SR! For a bit! If you're good!)
  7. Took the SR out for a ride in the hills north of Yea yesterday, with QuarterWit. Something's as yet not right - feels like either the sprocket ratio is too high, or the carb needs rejetting to suit this smaller motor. The plug is a nice tan, there's no smoke at all and no back-firing, so I'm going to go with sprockets first. The 400 runs a 428 chain at sprockets with 19/55 combo, whereas the I run the XT 520 gear with currently 16/41, though 16/44 is stock. Might go 16/46 to approximate the standard 400 ratio and then I can go up or down the front sprocket.

    Here's a proud pic out at Highlands...

  8. Nice bike!

    Nicely done!
    The SR series by Yamaha are really good bikes, they are simple and beautiful!
    Good work, keep her alive forever!!