Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

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Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #1 by bigscheaf » Fri May 17, 2019 1:25 am

Like many of you, I have this love affair with a well-aged woman, in my case ever so slightly older. She’s experienced, having traveled thousands of miles before meeting me, but that just makes the ride that much more enjoyable. Unfortunately, she also comes with baggage (literally, we’re talking full Vetter setup here). Dents, rust, scrapes; poor girl’s been through a lot. She’s seen a lot. She came to me fully undressed, ready to start a new chapter.

But seriously, let’s get this thread goin’. I finally decided to start a thread for my 1983 GL1100, Victoria, so I could chronicle her transformation from being old and tired to rejuvenated.

Lately I’ve been working on the engine and getting it squared away before trying to make anything pretty. I had started making a few cosmetic changes last spring while I was rebuilding the suspension and brakes and such, but then tragedy struck when I aligned the timing for the right cam with the wrong timing mark. I was pretty defeated at that point. With an increased demand of my time at work, two boys, and a guards schedule to work around, I put Victoria on the back burner until things slowed down a bit – in case you’re wondering, that’s right now.

I think I’ll start things off with what I got started on before getting into the engine bits, since I had to wait for parts to arrive - sometimes it’s best to build up the momentum so you hit it at full speed when needed. One project was to trim off the backside of a spare seat I bought on eBay and give the foam a little shape to see what it looked like in the flesh. Nothing fancy, and probably pretty standard stuff at this point, but it was a start to rebuilding.

88BCDA5D-8E69-4707-BD31-DD012BCCF98F.jpeg

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The foam is well-weathered, so I’ll probably get all new foam when the time comes. However, I’ll be polling the audience soon in regards to seat/rear fender options. I have a couple of ideas that I need to flush out yet.
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1983 GL1100 https://ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=67673#
1981 CB900F (Resto-mod Project)
1979 CB750F (Wiseco 823)

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #2 by bigscheaf » Fri May 17, 2019 1:34 am

After that I removed the heat shields off a set of headers I also got off eBay (it’s just a great place to find parts at a reasonable price, don’t judge me). I used just a Dremel to cut the tabs that were welded on since they don’t require anything hardcore.

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Then I threw them into a cardbox along with a set of Sportster takeoffs that had a bit of road rash and tossed them in the back of my brother’s car. His work has a sandblaster, and he was willing to help the cause. And no worries, it’s a smaller blaster meant for more intricate parts, not the Big Bertha.

Getting this portion completed is an integral component in swapping out the heads. You know, that whole two birds one stone thing. I’d consider just running headers for the season, but I at least the headers; a man must have standards.

Up next: engine work updates.
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1981 CB900F (Resto-mod Project)
1979 CB750F (Wiseco 823)

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #3 by desertrefugee » Fri May 17, 2019 11:39 am

bigscheaf wrote:After that I removed the heat shields off a set of headers I also got off eBay (it’s just a great place to find parts at a reasonable price, don’t judge me).


Judge? I couldn't agree with you more. I have bought dozens of bits and pieces for various motorcycles on eBay. I've never really got burned, but I've been less than satisfied once or twice.

Have fun with the project.
'97 Valkyrie, '79 CBX-Z, '78 GL1000, '83 Voyager Lite Project, '78 750F BIG Project, '74 750K HUGE Project

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #4 by 5speed » Fri May 17, 2019 11:56 am

E-Bay is a great resource but I've found sellers are going absolutely nuts on their shipping fees..
1982 1100 std.
1976 GoldWing. running but not on the road
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1978 Goldwing. future cafe project.
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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #5 by bigscheaf » Fri May 17, 2019 1:06 pm

desertrefugee wrote:Judge? I couldn't agree with you more. I have bought dozens of bits and pieces for various motorcycles on eBay. I've never really got burned, but I've been less than satisfied once or twice.

Have fun with the project.

I've had pretty good luck with eBay so far. I even pulled off finding, I swear to you, the only NOS oil lock piece in existence for a CB1100F - those are the forks I have for my CB900F project.
pieceoil-lock_big51432MG5671-01_c2eb.jpg

A shop that I had brought them to for a rebuild said they couldn't finish the job because the forks were too pitted. When I took them apart a few months later, I found that the two metal tabs on the left side had been completely broken off for one of the fork legs. Not sure it was from the previous owner or the shop, but I'm leaning towards the shop. Anyway, I had the joy of trying to find one of those and eBay saved the day.
5speed wrote:E-Bay is a great resource but I've found sellers are going absolutely nuts on their shipping fees..

I think some of them are doing that so they can trick you into purchasing the item at what seems like a lower price. Bunch of sharks is what they are. That's why I always sort by lowest or highest price, depending on what I'm looking for.
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1983 GL1100 https://ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=67673#
1981 CB900F (Resto-mod Project)
1979 CB750F (Wiseco 823)

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #6 by bigscheaf » Fri May 17, 2019 1:57 pm

So I realized I forgot to include my plan of action for the bike, the overall end goal. So to put it as simply as possible, what I'm aiming for is muscle bike with cafe influence. I've always found that these older Gold Wings always had a muscular stance, like it was a bulldog strutting around - probably why the NGW Project Bike is the Bulldog.

I'll post some pictures to better show what I want the end result to be, but for suspension/brakes I'm considering upgrading to a GSXR/Hayabusa set of forks. Of course, knowing the kind of guy I am, I'll be doing a ton of research for what seems like the best way to use the GSXR forks along with the stock front wheel. I want better handling, but with keeping the stock front wheel I'm hoping to reduce the loss of ride height. I know a set of adapters will be in order any which way I go, but I'm going to do some searching for the best rotor to try with the combo, just not easy to find all the specs of bolt spacing, diameter, etc. On the rear, it'll be something maybe an inch or so longer. Try to get the trail reduced a smidgen in the process.

As for the body work, I'm sticking with the stock faux tank and side panels, but I'm going to smooth out that line on the panels. I think it'll be a good move for making it look a bit more modern without taking away from the overall character. As for the seat and rear fender, that's where the pictures will come in to play. Currently trying to decide between two options.

And of course, recommendations and opinions are always welcome.
1983 GL1100 https://ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=67673#
1981 CB900F (Resto-mod Project)
1979 CB750F (Wiseco 823)

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #7 by bigscheaf » Tue May 21, 2019 5:26 pm

One of the key components to any bike build is the exhaust. Creating an appropriate balance of aesthetics, sound, and performance without compromising in any given area; the conflict of form over function. In an ideal world, form follows function. In this instance, the exhaust being an organic extension of the engine.

Rather than making an exhaust that detracts from the rest of the bike, I'm opting to make a subtle statement with black headers and slip-ons - at least for now. The ultimate end goal is a color that complements the rest of the bike, something understated as to not draw too much attention.

After receiving the headers and slip-ons back from my brother, I proceeded to sand them with 80 grit sandpaper to rid the pipes of any scratches and weld remnants. A nice comparison of the sanded versus the blasted parts. Little Tikes table used for effect.
IMG_8210.jpg

With a little more work, I may have been able to maintain a polished looked rather than spraying them with black VHT exhaust paint, but that would create an excessive amount of work for now and the future. Form follows function, right? I'll update this comment with a picture of the painted headers, as I forgot to snap a pic before slipping them on. The outcome is pretty good for rattle can, but might try out a grill black enamel; I'm worried about the durability of the exhaust paint.
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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #8 by Hanslehoff » Wed May 22, 2019 12:43 pm

bigscheaf wrote:With a little more work, I may have been able to maintain a polished looked rather than spraying them with black VHT exhaust paint, but that would create an excessive amount of work for now and the future. Form follows function, right? I'll update this comment with a picture of the painted headers, as I forgot to snap a pic before slipping them on. The outcome is pretty good for rattle can, but might try out a grill black enamel; I'm worried about the durability of the exhaust paint.


I painted my headers with the VHT exhaust paint 5 years ago and they still look great. Granted, I don't put a lot of miles on each year.

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #9 by bigscheaf » Wed May 22, 2019 3:18 pm

Hanslehoff wrote:I painted my headers with the VHT exhaust paint 5 years ago and they still look great. Granted, I don't put a lot of miles on each year.

Good to know! We'll see how it holds up on mine after I get to put some miles on her. My goal is at least 3,000 miles this summer, but I have to get her back on the road first. Should hold up fairly well since I sanded, washed and rinsed, then wiped down with alcohol twice prior to spraying on the paint.
1983 GL1100 https://ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=67673#
1981 CB900F (Resto-mod Project)
1979 CB750F (Wiseco 823)

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #10 by bigscheaf » Wed May 22, 2019 6:57 pm

I had a decent amount of time for once to work on Victoria, so I started on the home stretch of getting her road worthy. This meant getting timing marks spot on, valve clearances triple checked, and all bolts torqued to spec.

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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. -Winston Churchill

Everything was coming together well, and I reminded myself that action is better than inaction. Even if you don’t make a choice, you’ve still made a decision. So I put on my war face and waged on. Once you’ve gotten the momentum started, might as well ride it out and see where it takes you.

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I got to the point of putting back on the valve covers and counting my blessings. Despite the weather being overcast and raining off and on, I was still going to get Victoria started and running for the first time this season. Something she hasn’t done since last summer.

I hadn’t put on the mufflers yet since I hadn’t gotten them repainted - O’Reilly only had one can of VHT exhaust paint in black when I was there last. I thought it would be fitting for her to roar to life anyway, let the world know she was back and meant business.

I slid the key into the ignition and twisted it to on. The neutral and oil lights glowed as the fuel gauge began to rise, stopping a hair over the full mark. I hovered my thumb over the start button in anticipation. I flicked the kill switch to run and pressed the start button. Snap!

I released the start button and looked down at the right head. This picture was a little ways after finding what created the snap, but it pretty much says it all.

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Pulled off snapping the end of the camshaft that drives the fuel pump clean off. Apparently I had forgotten to add the top bolt for the fuel pump cover (I think that’s what it’s called anyway), which in turn allowed the fuel pump assembly to become misaligned enough to get cockeyed but remain in place due to the bottom bolt. And well, it was enough of an angle to break it right off.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently. -Henry Ford

I didn’t let this set back get the best of me; far from it. Sure, I kicked myself a bit for making such a mistake, but I tossed my anguish to the side and let determination kick back in. I removed the valve cover, timing belt, cam gear, cam gear plate (or whatever it’s called), and rocker assembly. The camshaft popped out rather easily for me, probably because the end of it was tossed into the junk box.

Fortunately, I had a spare right cam on the workbench from my original set of heads. Slid that one in, loosely attached the rocker assembly, and properly attached the fuel pump assembly after cleaning up a couple of small gouges with my Dremel. It sucks when you make a mistake, but you have to brush yourself off and get back on that horse. I originally thought about not posting about my mistake to protect my pride; however, I realized someone might be able to learn from my mistake and that this blunder added to the story of my bike.

And since I finally got to post at length about my journey with the heads, I’m going to give a shoutout to Oldewing for hooking me up with an assembled set of heads to help get the old girl back on the road a little faster - and if you mail someone a check in this day and age, go the extra mile.
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1979 CB750F (Wiseco 823)

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #11 by Track T 2411 » Wed May 22, 2019 8:00 pm

Good on you for making the best of the situation. I feel your pain, as I recently snapped off an air jet tower while rebuilding the carbs for my '81. And I did post it, for the very same reason.
Now let's get that bike fired up! lolol lolol lolol
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Under Construction:
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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #12 by bigscheaf » Wed May 22, 2019 8:45 pm

Thank you, Track T. It’s never easy to admit defeat, but it’s for the best to prevent history from repeating itself.

She should be up and running tonight, just have to wrap up the reassembly. And would you believe we’re still getting rain. I should have started on an ark. lolol lolol lolol
1983 GL1100 https://ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=67673#
1981 CB900F (Resto-mod Project)
1979 CB750F (Wiseco 823)

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #13 by bigscheaf » Fri May 24, 2019 2:33 pm

As an update to Victoria's condition, she starts up with the choke fully engaged after holding down starting for just a few seconds. I felt rather accomplished and pumped up since by trade, I'm not a mechanic, unless you want to lump me into that category as someone who fixes control systems for large LED video displays. I have to say, Victoria has quite the mouth on her without the mufflers. lolol

Nobody wins when everyone's losing

It's like one step forward and two steps back
No matter what I do you're always mad
And I, I can't change your mind

- Theory of a Deadman

However, with great success comes yet another step in troubleshooting the old girl. From her very short run time, just a couple of minutes, I found that all of the header pipes were warm to the touch except #1. At that point, I conducted my typical first step which is to pull the plug and verify that it's sparking; which it was. Next up was the compression test on all cylinders, #1 being my baseline since I already had pulled the spark plug. After pulling the plugs on all of the cylinders and testing, I found all of them to be right at 100 for the compression.

From what I've gathered from previous research, this should be closer to the 140 range. However, since I swapped out both heads and haven't even gotten her close to running temp yet, I'm wondering if it will be a little lower on all cylinders due to the work done and the head gaskets not getting a good warm up to form the Honda ultra bond.

We're going down, down in an earlier round
And sugar we're going down swinging

-Fall Out Boy

Anyway, I cranked her back up for a moment to see if there was a change in condition after swapping in a new plug, for posterity's sake. This time around, after running for a minute, there was a couple of knocks from #1. Barring on the side of caution, I hit the kill switch.

I verified that my timing was still spot on - left the timing covers off just in case I had to check it - and valve clearances all around; .004 on all intake valves and .005 on the exhaust side. The only other step I took was to drain the carb for #1 to see if any fuel ran out, which it had a pretty decent stream. Tightened the drain screw and cranked her a few times with the kill switch turned to off. Drained the carb again and got some fuel coming out again; more of a dribble than anything, but it proved that the #1 cylinder was receiving fuel.

At this point, I believe I'll need to pull the carbs to address #1. Victoria only got up to about 1500 RPMs during the couple of startups that I conducted; hoping it just needs a quick cleanup for the jets to get the #1 cylinder firing.

I'm no hero and I'm not made of stone
Right or wrong
I can hardly tell
I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell

-Five Finger Death Punch

Only time will tell if I'm the right path to getting Victoria back on the road soon. Stay tuned to the GL1100 Affair for further news.
1983 GL1100 https://ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=67673#
1981 CB900F (Resto-mod Project)
1979 CB750F (Wiseco 823)

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #14 by bigscheaf » Mon May 27, 2019 12:56 am

Despite being on call during the thick of baseball season, I decided to knock out a bit more on Victoria to get her up and running last night. Since running open headers in your neighborhood is generally frowned upon, I decided to pop off the GL1200 headers and slip the stock exhaust in their place. I’ll have to formulate my plan for the exhaust since the headers bend up a little too high to put on the slip-ons as is.

While I was at it, I thought it’d be a good idea to make it so my right header had all four studs for attaching the exhaust. At first I didn’t have a great idea for getting 2 out of my old head, then the light bulb turned on.

AB62E3EB-4548-4E3B-AC2E-7D4CCF67EC1A.jpeg

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I used two of the exhaust nuts to make a makeshift “bolt” you could say. Spun the first down and tightened it up, then spun the second on top of it and tightened it all down. Since the top nut kept the bottom nut from going up, I was able to crank it with the wrench until it was close to coming out, then I loosened both nuts before complete removal.

I’m sure I could have googled a few other ideas, or it may have told me about this idea, but I take a bit of pride in engineering my own solutions and not having to look it up.

Today I wrapped up with stock exhaust install, put on the faux tank and seat, and wrapped up all the other loose odds and ends. Despite just being little things, they certainly add up, don’t they?

The reason I got to button things up was because... I GOT IT TO FIRE ON ALL CYLINDERS. I decided to try an old trick on the carb for the #1 cylinder, I started tapping it with a screwdriver handle immediately after starting it. BOOM. Idle was fairly even - still need to sync the carbs to even it out - but the header pipes for all 4 cylinders were hot to the touch.

Probably need to go through the carbs to be on the safe side, but I was finally able to get the engine up to temp, verify the fan kicks on, and get her up to 85 in a ridiculously short amount of time compared to my Yukon. And tomorrow morning I get to do the secondary torquing of the head bolts. Progress is progress.
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1983 GL1100 https://ngwclub.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=16&t=67673#
1981 CB900F (Resto-mod Project)
1979 CB750F (Wiseco 823)

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Re: Vivacious Victoria - A GL1100 Affair

Post #15 by JohnnyNumbers » Mon May 27, 2019 10:57 pm

Excellent progress! Post a picture of Victoria in her current running condition.
John

1976 Honda GL1000 LTD
1999 Honda Valkyrie Tourer
2001 Kawasaki ZRX 1200R


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