Tom's CBR 600 F2 project

 

16th of July 2016

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Just got back from a week's holiday, so took it for a test ride last night. It was all fine, but the temperature gauge was reading really high (in the red). This shot up so fast, but the bike didn't seem that hot. Having checked the sensor which plugs into the radiator, and realising it wasn't that, I then checked the temperature sender unit to make sure it wasn't giving any false readings. This too seemed fine.
I then traced it down to an air lock in the radiator. The fix for this was really simple - I just got the bike up to temperature and let it idle with the radiator cap removed (never open a hot radiator cap as this can cause you severe injuries), and after a few hisses and bubbles, the temperature readings are all correct. Even after a relatively hot day here today (24 degrees celsius), and took it the 35 mile round trip to work today with no problems. Finally, after a lot of hard work, it's become the bike I couldn't afford to buy. The only way was to make it. Now onto the next project!


4th of July 2016

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Exactly 1 year ago, I finished the bike. It had developed a sticking carb which meant the fuel found it's way past the piston rings when stood, then collected in the oil. I once again did a full engine out dismantle and reassembly to make sure it's all in working order and there was nothing else, as I can't be bothered to take it all apart again after this!
I got the carbs balanced and the float needles replaced and this has now fixed the leak (I also changed the fuel tap and put a less rusty tank on which may not have helped in the first place). I've treated it to entirely new bodywork (sold the 125 bike which paid for this). I'll also treat it to some lighter mirrors.
 
Cost of carb balancing, float needles, fuel tap and tank: £170
Bike has cost me £975.80


4th of July 2015

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It's now pretty much finished (aside from a few cosmetic tweaks along the way). Cost of bike: £400
Cost of parts: (battery £70, plugs £16, engine head £67, oil £30, coolant £12, oil sump tray & filter £17, rocker head cover £12, exhaust outlet bolts £1.80)
 
Cost of timing, tuning and valve clearance adjust: £180


2nd of July 2015

Ok, a long time since an update (life has a knack of being demanding).

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Well, I reassembled everything a month ago. No more leaking, but I still couldn't get it to run. So, I took everything back apart and made sure #1 cylinder was at top of compression stroke. I then found the cam chain had slipped off the bottom end! Put that back on and made sure timing marks of cam chain gears lined up (IN and EX) are level with engine housing. I then checked the timing mark is also on 'T'. Everything lined up and camshaft lobes are facing the right direction. I then turned the entire engine through a complete 360 degrees with a spanner, just to make sure nothing hits. It all seems fine. I made sure battery is fully charged (it's pretty much new). I put in 4 new plugs, new rocker cover back on.
Checked the HT leads are in at the right order. Connected everything back up (radiator & refilled with coolant). Turned fuel tap on – watched fuel going to carbs through clear fuel pipe. I know carbs have fuel. Ignition on, kill switch set to run. Choke on slightly, press starter..... and..... whir, whir, whir (etc etc).
Then I remembered. I didn't check my shims and valve clearances.
What followed was 3 hours work checking all the shim tolerances and adjusting the valve clearances. (It wasn't an easy job). It would then fire briefly, but with a flame out of the exhaust. I took it to a local mechanic with timing gear and he adjusted the timing. It now runs fine with no leaks! I've still got to do some more work on the bodywork as it's tatty, but you get the general idea.


14th of May 2015

Since I'm still waiting for a replacement oil pan gasket (eBay £4.98), I thought I'd check the timing. So here's some pictures of me doing that.

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First job was to loosen the spark plugs off as I wouldn't have been able to turn the engine over manually with them in. I'd be working against the compression of the engine. Next, I took a 17mm socket and removed the right hand side timing cover of the CBR 600. On the F2, this is apparently easier than the older and newer CBR's. (So I'm told). Step 3, I now used a 14mm spanner to turn the engine over clockwise, until the 'T' mark aligns with the notch on the outer cover. Step 4, check that the cam shaft gears are lined up correctly. There should be the word 'IN' on one gear, and 'EX' on the other. (The IN is for the intake side - the carburettor side. The EX is for the exhaust side, so you can't mix them up). They should be parallel with the top of the rocker cover so that 'IN' and 'EX' are just visible. With these checks done, I know the timing should be correct. At least, according to the manual. By the way, take care when loosening and tightening any of these bolts as they all bolt into an aluminium engine, and it's very easy to strip or damage the threads. I found smearing all threads with multipurpose LM2 grease works well to avoid messing up delicate bolt threads.


30th of April 2015

More problems have surfaced. As there were fluids leaking out of the engine head, I've had to pull it all apart (again!). Upon inspecting the old head, It's clear that it's suffered some damage at some point.

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It looks like the outer spring seat has pushed past the spring retainer. I'd need a spring compressor if I were to attempt to reseat this, but as I'm changing the head, I'll get a replacement head with valves already inserted.
Inside the rocker cover, it too looks like it has suffered some damage. (These were only hairline cracks in the aluminium, and I only spotted them while cleaning. They then broke into bits in my hand). Will need a new rocker cover. I'll also need a new oil sump tray as it was leaking. When I took it off and cleaned it carefully with a rag, it was easy to see why. I'll need a replacement one of these too.

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With that all said and done, I've removed the remains of the paper oil sump gasket, fitted the replacement head which didn't come with exhaust studs (£67 eBay). I've ordered a couple of exhaust studs to go with it (£1.80) and this is now all assembled. I didn't fancy trying to remove the studs from the old head. If they had snapped, I'd have had to drill them out and wreck the old head further. Was just as easy to buy new exhaust studs. When draining the oil, it smelt strongly of fuel so I'll need to replace the oil filter as well. This all kind of makes sense as the engine head has water, oil and fuel all swirling around it. If any internal channels were cracked, it could all mix together. It's just one thing after another which I really didn't need.


13th of April 2015

Dripping fuel
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I have a huge problem here. Having reassembled everything, I'm still getting fuel pouring out of the spark plug drain holes. This shouldn't be able to happen because the drain holes (pictured) are only to let water out if it collects in the spark plug HT-lead tunnels. They should not actually be connected to fuel channels inside the engine head. The leak only happens when the bike is running. When the engine is off and the fuel tap still on, there's no leak. Think fuel is being pushed at pressure into channels of the head it shouldn't reach. Having triple-checked the head gasket is fitted correctly, not pinched and laying flat (It won't actually fit the wrong way around, so it's not that), I can only assume that it's a crack in the engine head somewhere internally. Because of this, my next step is to get a reconditioned engine head (eBay currently £67) and give that a go.


29th of March 2015

I had a couple of hours free in the shed today, so I've started on some reassembly of the bike. I've managed to reassemble quite a lot. Just got to make sure the air box is bolted down correctly, connect up all the fuel, air and water hoses again, fill with water and oil and give it a test to see if it now leaks.
 
I've done everything I can think of to stop it leaking with a new head gasket. I've also used gasket sealer, which some would say isn't needed. Having spoken to various people, I'm taking the most popular view that 'do it once, do it right' as I don't want to have to pull it all apart yet again.

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21st of March 2015

I'm waiting for my head gasket to arrive. In the meantime, I've been working on the fairings which need repair (the bike had been dropped by one of it's previous owners on the right hand side). It's a time consuming task, but while I wait for the gasket this is a good use of time.

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As you can see, I've been carefully measuring the existing logos on the good panel and have redrawn most of them to be replicated on the other side. If you need, you can download them from here as PDF files.

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As a side note, I ordered the head gasket on the 12th of this month. It was shipped the next day. It somehow took Royal Mail 8 days to move it from Milton Keynes to Norwich. I had planned to get so much done on my week off and thought I'd have time to have it all ready and running again. I obviously didn't factor in the Royal Mail delay. At least it arrived undamaged (a minor miracle in itself).
 
 When I next have shed-time, I'll start reassembly of the engine and just rebuilding everything back up.


12th of March 2015

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Made more progress with the couple of hours I had today.
 
Separated the engine head from the block by first removing the camchain adjuster which gave me enough slack to take out the camshafts.

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My pizza box lid is doing a brilliant job of helping me to keep track of which bolt goes where. I've now removed the head gasket, which is no doubt past it's best, and ordered myself a new replacement today. While I have had to remove the exhaust, now is a good time to clean it up and paint it with VHT rustproofing paint. Should hopefully withstand 800 degrees c according to the tin. Time will tell.


5th of March 2015

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I've now stripped down most of the engine and I'm left staring at the engine head.
 
To save a bit of work, there's no need to disconnect the throttle cables from the carbs – you can lift the entire unit up and out of the way (I've placed them on the handlebars while I work on the engine).

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A top tip I learned from my dad was to take a bit of cardboard and write down the bolt locations when you remove something. This makes it a lot easier to find that elusive bolt when you come to reassemble everything. The only problem is I'm going to need a bigger bit of cardboard. Actually, while I'm on the subject of problems, I've had a few issues working out how you remove the cam shafts without having to remove the cam chain and mess up the timing. This is obviously something I don't want to do.
 
I've possibly found a solution. I'm going to mark on the chain and on the cam gears so that I can make sure they are always aligned. The second thing I can do, according to the haynes manual, is to slacken off the tension of the cam chain using the cam chain tensioner. This should allow me to remove the camshafts... in theory.


3rd of March 2015

As you can see, I've now removed all the fairings (which are in a pretty bad way), so these will want a bit of time and hard work spent on them.
I've been going through the wiring loom from front to back. There was a lot of unnecessary wiring been added over the years, which had been very badly bodged in. I've now cleaned this up and soldered any joins rather than using terrible connectors which fall apart over time.
 
To stop if backfiring, I traced the fault to spark plug #4. I've replaced all the plugs, put a new battery on and sorted out a dodgy fuel hose under the tank. It started right up and ticks over. There is now a new problem – There's a massive coolant leak between the head and the main engine block. Looks like the head gasket needs replacing. Think it was coolant (although could be mixed with oil), coming out all over the floor. I now need to drain all the coolant, remove the tank then strip the engine down until I can get at the head gasket to replace it.

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19th of Feb 2015

This is my latest project. Yes, I already have a motorcycle. The problem is it's a 125cc and I need something quicker.
Although, don't get me wrong - the 125 has been brilliant over winter; providing over 100 miles per gallon, super cheap insurance and tax at only £17 a year. But that's a different story.
 
I've had the bigger version of the Fireblade before, the 998cc and regretted selling it. I decided I wanted a project bike and so when this came up for £450, it was worth a go at getting it back on the road.
 
The first challenge was actually getting it home. Because I don't have a proper motorcycle trailer, I'd planned an elaborate (bodged) ramp using ladders and scaffolding boards. Still can't believe it actually worked. I'd placed a couple of car ramps under the ladder for additional support, otherwise the weight of the bike would have just folded the ladders.

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It's now back at home. Which was nerve-wracking getting it about. It only just fitted inside the van height-wise. I only had 2 inches clearance on the inside of the van's roof. Worked like a charm though.
 
The bike is a non-runner at the moment. The starter engages, but just backfires and never bursts into life. The battery then goes flat.