Monday, May 15, 2006

Finishing Touches

CBR fan bolted into shroud

Oil pressure adapter and detail on fan attachment
On/off switch for electric fan

Oil pressure gauge easily visible
Modified sportster seat
Details of modified sportster seat
Leather to guard frame from scratching

Sexy, sexy signals

Slick tool bag mounting location

The bike is nearing completion now. These are the last few finishing touches that I haven't made note of yet. First of all, there's the electric radiator fan, originally for a CBR600RR. I used the stock CX500 radiator instead of the CX650 radiator, because the 650's radiator did not fit nicely on the 500's engine hanger bracket. I'd have had to use a bunch of washers under the upper mounting fingers. I'd also have had to cut out a center support brace from the 500's engine hanger, so I didn't really want to do that. With the raked out front end, I figure I need all the structural support I can get. So I welded some tabs onto a stock CX500 fan shroud, and bolted the CBR600RR fan assembly to them. I wired the fan to a small toggle switch, which I mounted to a piece of aluminum and bolted to one of the bolts that holds the upper coolant pipe onto the heads.

I also found an oil pressure gauge on eBay for a Kawasaki Vulcan or something. It cost me only $30, and I was able to use all of the fittings that came with the gauge right on my CX500. I had to make some cuts in the lower right radiator mounting bracket, just to make room for the oil line, but otherwise it was a bolt-on mod. The mounting bracket is angled a little odd, but I can see the gauge just fine if I lean over a little while riding or at a light. The gauge works great.

One last finishing touch that came as a great relief was building a new seat. The original seat I made was less than an inch thick, and used ancient foam from an old CX500 seat. It was total MURDER on my ass. So I bought a Sportster seat off of eBay, and heavily modified it to fit. First I removed the staples that held the rear part of the cover to the pan, and peeled the cover back. I didn't remove it completely, but just removed about half the cover. Then I took my angle grinder and a cutting wheel, and cut the pan in half front to back. I pulled the back part off and threw it away. Then I test-fitted the seat, and used an electric carving knife to carefully cut away foam on the bottom of the seat, until it fit flush on my rear fender. Then I cut away just a little more foam.

After that, I covered the cover with plastic wrap so as not to get any resin on it, and bought a Bondo-brand Fiberglass Repair kit. The kit comes with resin and hardener, as well as woven fiberglass fabric. I bought extra fabric, and cut about 10 or so pieces into the rough shape of the new seat pan I wanted to make. Then I mixed up the resin and hardener, ran each piece of fabric through the mixture, and then applied it to the bottom of the seat layer-by-layer to build up a new pan. It worked great! After allowing it to dry for a day, I used my angle grinder (and cutting wheel) to shape the outer edge of the pan, so it was flush with the foam. Then I stretched the cover back over the seat, drilled holes in the new pan, and riveted it in place. The seat still looks stock!

After building the pan and reattaching the cover, I needed a way to solidly mount the seat to the bike. I took a thick steel plate, and welded two bolts into it so that they located into the two holes that are in the frame bracket that runs under the seat. I then riveted this plate onto the bottom of the seat. Because the studs are threaded, and the bracket under the seat just a thin piece of steel, friction keeps the seat from coming off. I also added a pair of conchos I had lying around, and some lace to hold them on. The right one covers a small blemish on the seat cover, and the left is there to match it.

One last mod was adding mini bullet turn signals to the bottom of the forward control bar that I built a few months ago. I just drilled holes in the bracket, fed the wires through, and bolted the signals on. I ran the wires under the engine along the back side of the bar, and then up between the clutch and the oil filter, around the fan, and finally to the wiring jumble under the gas tank. They look pretty sweet mounted low like that.

Finally, I polished up more engine parts. Clutch cover, both valve covers, the inspection port covers, the oil filter cover ribs, the coolant elbows, and more. I wore out a bunch of polishing wheels and covered the inside of my garage with waxy polishing compound residue. But it was worth it for the shine.

Parts Breakdown:
•  Turn signals $24 eBay
•  Tool Bag $Free  (I've had it a long time)
•  CBR600RR electric fan   $20 eBay
•  Sportster seat $45 eBay
•  Switch$4 Radio Shack
•  Oil Pressure Gauge $30 eBay
Total $123

Running total for Chopper: $2094

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