Tuesday, 26 May 2015

undertray (tail tidy) part 1

I wanted to fit an undertray"tail-tidy" to my b4 for sometime, I had attempted to making a "tail-tidy" few years ago without success, this time around I can announce my latest attempt seems to have faired a little better? .
Unlike many other makes of bikes, you couldn't buy a tail-tidy for the Bandit 400.
Than why not make one from scratch? As I mentioned I attempted this before and the outcome wasn't great and as I'm not dismantling the whole bike this time. I looked online for mould making materials but couldn't find anything that I thought would help in making one up and that didn't cost the earth, though I did find wax sheets very handy.

One choose I could go with is what several project builders do when they're what to tidy-up the underside of their bike and that is make one out of sheet of steel or aluminium, I'm not that good working-cutting sheet materials i.e. keeping it flat! Even if I manage to cut one out of sheet material, fixing it would be another problem! I didn't want to drill holes in the frame for fixing or welding as this would require me to repaint the frame, which I don't want to do at this moment in time. You maybe thinking why not use cable ties/zip ties? I know cable ties are being used in a wide range of applications these days, but not by me here.

What then! What if I brought tail-tidy for' Let say, Bandit 600, other makes may work too! And modified it to fit the 400? This alternative looked the best and is what I went with..How hard could this be? .

Once I received the tail-tidy-time to get out and see how it fits the b4! So I removed the battery tray, which will be returning to the same location later, fixing the front end of the tidy in place where the battery tray normally lives, at the time of the first fitment I didn't know whether my ideas would work? The front area of the tail-tidy will need some modifying to fit the battery tray back in its location. I also realize by cutting the pillion grab rails off it would achieve neater-sharper-bodyline between tail-tidy and the original bodywork, but this would require modification to the frame as well as we've back to repainting again, which I had already discounted doing.

Another problem to overcome is that the bodywork goes in an upwards direction while the tail-tidy goes in a downwards direction in the area of the pillion grab rails and pegs, my aim at first, was to meet the edge of the tidy to bodywork. But after lot of thought I decided a compromises was needed! So fitment would be to the bike frame rather than to the bodywork. I realized afterwards that there was another possible fix, so after I've completed this tidy, maybe I make another up using that idea?. But that will have to wait till the bike back on the road.

After a lot of work I did achieve a good fit at the rear of the tidy and bodywork leading up to the rear lights, when viewing the bike from the rear you can see both sides of the bodywork and tidy, therefore both sides have to look similar if not hopefully the same, even though the rear indicators and UK number plate will obstruct some of the view. Where on the other hand looking from the side of the bike you can only see one side at a time so it doesn't matter so much if they a little different between them. (not shown here/next post: pt2)

Here's what the rear tail-tidy look like before any modifications, other than cutting bit of the outer edge off the tidy to fit the panel into place.

   Now it's time to stick my head out and get cutting!
And gamble on an uncertain outcome!!.

Friday, 17 April 2015

easy outs! to use or !!

I either have lots of time on my hands and little cash to spend or reverse and at the moment business's wise! Earnings are up, that is for now anyway. At present I'm working on the undertray (tail tidy) which is coming along great! But as normal I'm slow in posting updates and though this update isn't about tail tidy, it is about the difficulty of removing two broken hexagon key type bolts that secure the brake disc to the rear wheel, The question I kept asking myself! Was? Should I use "Easy-outs" or just drill them out?     

I soon realize that with "just" drilling the stud (the 
hexagon key type bolts) out the problem would be in finding the centre of the studs and keeping the drill bit as straight as possible while drilling through without wiping out the threads, as there's little margin for error! Which is why I took the Easy-outs option as I wouldn't need to be as precise with this option-But drilling the studs out would be the way I'll finally win in the end.

The reasons why I didn't go with the totally-drill-out option' that is the first time around, Was' one- Using a handheld drill was a no-no and the other my Clarke floor drill press isn't the most precise drill press around. 

I still needed to drilled holes for the Easy-outs so I came up with the idea of taking one of the broken-off stud heads and drill a small pilot hole in the centre and 
then reseating drilled head
back over each broken stud and in turn drilled a pilot hole 
in each stud and then enlarged them bit by bit until I had a hole larger enough to fit Easy-out into.   

Before inserted the Easy-out I heated up the stud and then tried to turn the stud with the Easy-out, but it wouldn't budge, so little bit more pressure-bit more-bit-more? As I'm thinking how much more will the Easy-out take before snapping-off! Then the Easy-out sheared off.  


I first tried to drilling the "Easy-out" out, but failed miserably, it seems none of my drill bits I had would touch the broken "Easy-out" not even a set of cobalt bits as the "Easy-out" are made out of hardened steel. The only thing that seems to work was a Dremel tungsten carbide cutter bits, so ever so slowly I grinded bit by bit cut through the broken Easy-out, which took few hours to carry out. Once I had grinded the Easy-out-out, I still had two studs to get out. The only way I could now see that had any chance in working is to drill them out after all, and as I didn't want to throw any more money at the problem and I wasn't about to retry an Easy-outs option again. If it doesn't work, I'll have the largest paper weight around. 

When drilling the first stud the drill grabbed the stud and out it came with the drill bit, but I wasn't so luckily with the second stud, drilling until I just touching the threads? I wasn't 100% sure, that I hadn't wiped the threads out at this point!  I tried to use a very small cold chisel to collapse the remaining stud inwards and out, but it was different to tell where the thread and remaining stud started or finish and the hole-size didn't help either. So I finally finished off with a tap sizes M8x1.25 to cleanup the thread and hopefully removed the remaining parts of last stud, slowly may I add! As I do not want to break a tap at this stage, so careful half a turn-in and back-out again and so on. Once in a while removing the tap and clean-out the threads as I go, as bits of broken stud can jam the tap, eventually I managed to clean the thread right through. Fitting a fairly-good! hexagon key bolt into the newly cleaned thread and everything seems to work well, so clean the other thread out with the tap and then fitted the old brake disc and tighten down the only two hexagon key bolts I have left which seems to be holding  
brake disc down very well, but I don't want to torque them fully down yet, 
that is too, I have a new set of hexagon key bolts, as I don't want 
to go through that again in a hurry.

I learnt the hard way that unless the stud/bolt isn't seized in? Then perhaps I'll use an Easy-out, but other while I wouldn't. Drilling them out wasn't so bad after all, though I could do with a better drill press next time.

Most of the clips you see on youtube are removing a broken stud/bolt that haven't been in for more than five minutes and therefore are offering non resistant to being removed.  

Using Easy-out could cause more trouble then there are worth and remember there are made out of  hardened steel which I found makes them undrillable

Spiral fluted type extractors which have a coarse-pitched tapered screw thread. Which are left-handed, for use on right-handed threads.The drawback to tapered screw extractors is that their wedge action tends to expand the drilled stud and thus wedges the stud even more tightly in place to the point of making it difficult, if not impossible to extract the stud.

The Straight fluted extractors, which I didn't come across when I was looking! comes in a kit? That also has associated drills, drill bushings, and special nuts.The stud is drilled out with the appropriate drill and drill bushing. The extractor is then hammered into the hole with a brass hammer, because a steel hammer will cause the extractor to break.
The tools are made of very hard, brittle steel; they can break off inside the screw if too much torque is applied, making the removal much more difficult.
Straight fluted extractors have less wedging effect than tapered screw extractors, so have less tendency to lock the stud into place. 
A further form is a parallel fluted extractor, with no taper at all and thus no wedging. These work well, but have the drawback of requiring the pilot hole to be drilled to a precise size. This size is often nonstandard for most drill sets, requiring a dedicated drill bit to be supplied with the kit.

Left-hand drill bits! I did come across these sets online but when I click on them I could make out for sure that they were left-hand drill bits and not just normal drill sets' that is here in the UK.  

I hear "Snap-On" do some good extractors set, doseone' still gets guarantee money-back or tool replaced? These days when you break a tool! But then "Snap-On" has never been a cheap tool to buy anyway.

One thing I need to do is buy some of the unusual drill sizes that are required when taping new threads.


Saturday, 3 January 2015

The odd moments!

Over the past months I have managed to spend same odd moments in resolving some problems on the bike', i.e. removing the two broken bolts that fasten the brake disc to the rear wheel. 

Rethinking the Front twin headlight by reusing my old headlight buckets, sealing up the outer holes and making good and then remounting so the lights look like they are floating', i.e. you can't see the mounting bolts or support! .  

I think the swingarm polishing is now done' One! Can always do better, but there's have to be a point where you have to call time?.

It took time, but finally got around to working out what fiberglassing materials I wanted and putting an order in, but it's been some months now since I received the materials.
Over the Christmas and new year I've started fiberglassing the undertray.


You will have to wait too see what the good side looks like, but I'm very happy with the out-come.

Hopefully post more details on all the above soon?. Meanwhile a very good new year to everyone and I'm back out to test-fit the undertray again and then more cutting and fiberglassing?. .

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

520 chain

With 30mm jack-up-dog bones kit off my large list of need to get parts list and with the jack-up kit fitted as well as the last link finally taking out of the 520 chain I can now recheck my work in June of last year' O god was it that along age.

I will need to fit a new chain slider but at the moment the old one is in place which needed some reshaping to fit in and the new slider will need the same doing to it. I need to spend my ready money on items more need in-keeping the build moving along.

The chain clears the outer wall of the tyre.

Rechecking previously chain adjusted I'm now very confident that I have the right offset on the front sprocket from TALON  and the milling on the rear sprocket hub (see very bottom photo) the chain engages with both sprockets nicely, wheel and chain spins freely with all the right gaps in all the right places.

I'm sure the new chain is as align as the old chain every was, it only waits to see how well it all perform once the bike is back on the road...I can dream! .

There's a fair gap around the gear shift rod.

If you have the rear sprocket hub machined; make sure the machinist doesn't remove the thin sprocket alignment lip!

I think the photo shows the rear sprocket hub before machining?.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


Short of money to throw at the little bandit the only progress I have manage to
make over the past months has been to tackle few miscellaneous jobs on the b4, as well as improving on the working space around the bandit. This is partly due to time on my hands' Back in January a guy came out to do a immobiliser job £250 on my van and at the time I didn't know that he hadn't done a bona-fide job which came back in April to bite me. I'm my own boss and work over past year or two hasn't been that great but this year work has pick-up and looking good? That's is till I came across this guy, in the end another guy and some £800 later and with the van unable to move for three weeks while we wait for free-run control module. Just think what I could have brought with that for the b4. I've always tried to keep bit of back-up money in business account for that rainy day, which got me thinking lets use some of this on bandit! Otherwise, what's the point of it all? . But hang on now the car due for a MOT...you'll can't win!

 Anyway !!
With the swingarm back in for the moment and shining, there still few light scratches showing through which needs bit more 1000/1200 paper and then back on the polish machine. I've decided to polish the whole swingarm and not to paint any of it as I think it may look a bit funny even though it means more polishing.

I've also rethought the rearsets, still keeping the original sets but reworking them but will cut the remaining backing plates off now.
As I have with many other parts on the bike is to remove the casts processing marks "burrs marks" on the front wheel, first with a file, then sandpaper P40/80 which is where I'm at the moment. Next step with P150/220 then wet and dry paper 400/600/800 and not forgetting too rounded off all the   hard edges. The rear wheel I'm holding off until I know how the drilling of the broken disc bolts works out, one thing I will say' Stay away from easy-outs, there don't work and just make matters worse.

The undertray backing plates have come along a long way since the two photos that I posted awhile ago and is where I made the most process lately and now I need to finally order some fiberglass materials to see if all my hard work has paid off. (no photo)

The twin headlights were inspired by the old Triumph Speed Triple bug eyes, I'm not such a fan of the more modern triple lights. The lights here are Bates and the light units themself need replacing so I'm after new set of twin headlights and have tried finding a new set online without much luck. Yes there's lot out there but most not to my liking? I've never really liked the Bates set of lights I used. I have thought of going back to a single headlamp but I don't think I will. As you can see in the photo I'm also looking at mounting them in another way to unclutter tops of the forks, again bit like the triple's, would mean welding a block to headstock to mount them off and could work the steering stops in too?. If I mount headlights in this way maybe set of lights off a old Triple but the cheapest I've seen so far is £210+.The tach-clock cover has a bit of damage and therefore have wondered about painting the covers to go with black set headlights as there's is already a lot of polished items!.

On the last build I cut lot of the wiring that was packed into the original single headlamp, this time around I wish to improve on my work and tidy things up by taking out some wires that are no longer needed like the old orange and red headlamp wires. The wiring on the floor is my relays and wiring I put in to handily the twin headlights, I place the two relays near the CDI but now I fitted an undertray I will remount them near the battery and cut down on the run of wire from relays to lamps.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014


Well it's been awhile since I worked on the bike, I keep saying I'm going to spend few hours on the bike today but never get there in the end until now, though I've given lot of thought to what to print or polish and if print! What print colour to do them in, like the calipers.

What you see here is only lightly polished to shows the scratches/marks that are still on the surface of the swingarm after sanding' Like the forks, the swingarm did't look that bad until I started polishing and then all the marks start jumping out at me..lot of hard work...sanding/polishing for this reason some of the area around the shock maybe printed.


As you can see I've removed lugs on both sides of the swingarm I haven't decided whether to fit a metal chain guard yet, if I do I what it to be very minimises so you can still see most of the top run of the chain. As I'm not doing any major bodywork to the b4 by doing these little items may just add like something to the whole picture. I may also fit a small home made hugger to keep most of the mud from the wheel being thrown up at the shock but at the same time not covering any of the tyre up.

By removing the lugs has helps to tidy-up the look of the swingarm and makes it lot easier to polishes.


If you enlarge this picture it should shows after a light polishes the marks that still need removing so the finale polishing reflect as much light as possible from a smooth surface'  i.e. radiants gleaming lustres.  

                                                                                                                  Bit more done and looking better, I can do better I have two more grades of compound to go a pink and a yellow- super high gloss. There are still areas where I need to do bit more sanding and have found wet & dry paper works best for removing fine line and marks still showing through the fine polishing stage. At the moment the chain side looking the best side, so more work to do to the other side, so back to work. SEE       

Monday, 21 October 2013


Business workload has improved even though the bike build hasn't, it's getting little like my 1969 swb 4.6 xj6 series1, Jaguar with manual gearbox/overdrive. Which has been stored in the garage along side where the Bandit is kept for some years now but unlike the Bandit have no plan to start working on it yet.

Few months ago I brought the undertray which you see fitted in the above photo (the photo doesn't do it justice). It's made for the Bandit 600 so needed to do some cutting and filing to get it to fit, I've left the pillion grab bars in place as I didn't what to cut them off at this moment in time. There are areas where the undertray doesn't meet the b4 bodywork very well if not at all, also where the battery meets the undertray  the tray will need cutting-out and reshaping so the battery can be refitted. As well as this am reshaping the rear of the undertray where it also meets the rear light and the two fixing bolts for the rear b4 bodywork. To do this' I need to fabricate number of backer plats which allows you to lay-up the repair the same way the undertray was built--gelcoat first. Which hopefully will means very little finish work will be required.
I google' moulding material's but couldn't find anything that would make my life any easier so decided to return back to the old trusted car body filler to fabricate the backers. The photos below shows some of the backer plates I've made-up so far, these still need some finishing off, i.e. more reshaping, smooth-out and painting.
When I get to re-fibreglassing the undertray the backer plats are waxed with releasing compound and then fixed to the outside as tight as possible to the undertray which is first turn-up-side-down, then lay two coats of black gel coat into the repair areas, once the gel coat becomes tacky start to lay-up the fibreglass fabric mating, when the repairs are done let dry for 24! Hours and then removed and discarded the backer plates.
I've been working on the swingarm on and off over sometime now regards to polishing and possible other ideas which is why I haven't cut anything off yet? . The photo shows how the swingarm might look like but since this photo was taking it's been re-sander back again before being re-polishing again.
I seam to be coming across more then my own fair share of problems during this build and this is the latest' After finishing the sprockets and chain setup? I started sanding-down the mould edges that are left behind in the rear-wheel casting process and needed to remove the brake disc to do so I had to undo the Allen-key-type bolt's head of which I managed to removal three of them but the other two bolts were partly seized and the Allen-key bolt head was rounded off so had to drill the head out and the last started to come out but as I thought it was coming out it snap-off.
I do have a set of extractors somewhere but can't find them so looks like I have to buy new set.
Again this happens a while ago' it pays sometimes to walk away from a problem but not this long.

The June to October time is busy time dealing with car and van MOTs and many other thing that needs doing at this time each year and now I hoping I can spend bit more time on the bike, lets see?...................