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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Wheel Dilemma

It seems that Halleys comet makes an appearance more often than this meteor these days, and for that meteorites, i apologise.
ive got more excuses for my lack of effort than a thirty year old virgin, but as the great George Washington once said
"It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one."

In reference to the above, you will be relieved to hear however, that i am 33 years old, and mrs M will be ushering in the arrival of our next meteorite sometime around August. Wahey!!

"So what on earth have you been doing all this time besides neglecting your blog, work, changing nappies, and decorating a new nursery" i hear you cry.
fear not enfield fans some progress has been made....


My year on the motorcycle began in ernest. I had just purchased the correct forks for the meteor rather than the sidecar forks which the bike came with and i had full intention to strip them down and tidy them up.

Then i recieved an email from a fellow meteor owner John Carsley stating that he was also in the process of doing one up and was one year along. 

Being an absolute novice on everything that has an engine and two wheels i was most grateful to have a guy who was doing the same project as me whom i could pester for tips when the time came to rebuild my motorcycle.

i asked him to send me over a pic or two thinking it would probably stir up a bit of my almost non existant competitive side (total disgrace at every sport ever attempted.)

he attached a couple of photos starting with what appears to be his bike arriving at his workshop.
i took a peak. Parts wise, he had a lot more to work with than me, but he still had his work cut out 
John then kindly sent me this pic of the progress he had made on his bike within 12 measly months. I was impressed. i was ashamed of myself.
This was a restoration masterclass. John carsley being professor of bling. Me feeling like the class clown!   
I kidded myself that if i was retired, had a workshop like this guy and a bucket of cash to blow on my motorcycle i could produce something to a similar standard. bull. shit.
so i thought "if you cant beat them join them", and begged him for a few secret tips in getting a finish shinier than a bald mans head.

John Carsley Polishing Masterclass (many thanks John).

"As you can see by the pics my gear consists of a palm sander, many grades of paper , my two polishing motors and a basic linishing machine.

What it does not show is the time i have taken, and all I can say here is that time can be a huge factor in the job outcome.
Start with rough and move through the sanding range (do not be afraid to use machine cutting oil on some final sanding paper).
I also find that Brakecleaner is excellent for cleaning rubbish off the job before hitting the polishing wheels. Again time is the key(in my opinion).
Try a small piece yourself and maybe look for the help I have mentioned.
Finally do not be afraid to use good talcum powder for the touch up before showing off your work."


I bought myself a bench grinder from ebay for about £100, bought some spindles and polishing mops and went to work on my wheel hubs.
I Achieved a decent-ish result but nowhere near the above.
The corrosion on the hubs was pretty deep and i am still unsure whether to polish any deeper in case i lose the profile of them. Take a look. This may require some professional work to finish them


Wheels Dilemma

i dont get a great deal of time to devote to this motorcycle. When i finish work and return home, a toddler is usually thrust into my arms and i am tasked to either feed or bathe her or both depending on how much my little darling has been stressing out mrs meteor that day.
Spinelessly, i tend to find myself hiding in the toilet almost daily for a bit of piece and quiet, cradling a crappy old smart phone in order to scour the internet for any second hand parts which are on my mental need-to-buys. 
The hardcore readers of this blog will have probably noticed that i have had a degree of success with some spares and it was worth the hours of pins and needles in my legs and perment red circles on my thighs where my elbows have been resting for so long.
However, it appears that in 15 months of looking, the holy grail of meteor minor spare parts has still managed to elude me.....
In comparison to my official redditch parts book, the above image is the closest example of a "standard" meteor minor i have seen. i look at this pic all the time for reference.
 The reason i have included it today is because i wanted you to look at the front mudguard. it is a deep valance side number plated behomoth for the 17" wheel.
I was discussing the mudguard with some meteor owners at The Sunbeam club classic bike show at llanishen high school recently, and all of which seemed to think they look shit on the small 17" wheels and had opted for the more sleek chrome "sports" version
This item may be as popular a pork chop at a bahmitzfa, but my bike was originally a "standard" and thats what i was intending to restore it to
I have contacted every royal enfield dealer in the country in the hope that they may know of one and had no joy whatsoever.
it appears that availabilty is thinner than a chickens lip.
Up until recently, i had full intentions of producing a bike to the same concourse originality as the above example.
i have got almost all the other tinware but it seems i have hit a brickwall on this one.
A company called Rennovation Spares in redditch did have a guy whom said he could make me one, but it was way out of my budget. 
Apparently these deep valanced mudguards would be pressed from a single sheet of material between a male and female former of some sorts.
But with 50`s tooling long gone, the guy would need to take a standard mudgurard blank and secret weld on additional side panels to create the deep valance.
It was £250 bucks before i even considered adding paint or chrome.
I suppose that if that was the last thing i needed for the bike i would consider it, but i have got so many other bits to get at the mo i just couldnt justify it.
Anyways, i needed to push on and get the hubs on new rims, complete the forks, and spray up the tin items. i needed to make a decision. Nerds and purists beware....
When i saw these items listed on ebay from indian enfield spares outfit  `Enfield county` for a meager £75 bucks delivered to my door, i thought i had struck gold.
It was as good a match for the orignal as i had seen.
My excitement was only momentary as i soon learned that it was for a 19" rim. ( i believe all indian enfields run on 19")
So i was in a dilemma
Pros- i could achieve the correct look mudguard, complete my tin ware and get it all sprayed up and fitted. plus i needed new rims and i was going to go for stainless wm2 dunlop profile rims. The indians knock these up for about half the price that i would pay for top quality mirror steel 17" rims from the likes of "devon rim company" in the uk which i was originally intending to use. This would mean i could pay for the paint job on my tin ware
Cons- i would have an incorrect motorcycle. the meteor minor runs on 17" wheels. The bike in the photo runs on 17" wheels. John Carsleys bike is on 17" wheels. plus i rember the gurus at llandow classics telling me that although the indian stainless rims are good quality, they have a slight yellow tinge. (they also suggested that a 19" rim would offer a more comfortable ride but i would need to change one of the gears in the gearbox)  

I have lay awake at night mulling over the above for months. if money was no object of course i wouldnt even consider it -id be rolling on devon rim mirror steel crowned by the most expensive bespoke mudguard money can buy.
Unfortunately my lottery numbers havent made an appearance just yet and the only twin mrs M wants me to blow my bank balance on is a Jane Power Twin double buggy for my two meteorites.
"it doesnt matter which side of the fence you get off on. what matters most is getting off. you cannot make progress without making decisions" -American entrepeneur Jim Rohn
With my bike sat stagnant in the shed mrs M bought me, i decided to push on and get the mudguard and the rims. something that may come back to haunt me.


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Frame Fiasco

Restoring a Royal Enfield  Meteor Minor Motorcycle Frame

Inflatable dartboards, chocolate teapots, ashtrays on motorcycles, glass hammers, and shit flavoured lollipops.  
All of the above pretty damn useless.
But top of the useless list has to be “women drivers”. Sure, they cant wait to tell us men how we are the inferior race and how they are genetically designed to multi-task, but put a woman in charge anything resembling a motor vehicle and her skills become about as useful as a barber shop on the steps to a guillotine.

Where is this bigoted rant going I hear your cry. Fear not reader all will be explained, because when it came to overhauling my meteor minor bike frame back in late spring, the  inadequate driving skills of the fairer sex did happen to prove quite handy. Read on…………

It was about xmas last year when a then pregnant mrs M commandeered my mazda Turbo and relegated me to driving her 1.0litre Toyota Yaris. A never-once-cleaned deathtrap covered in peeling stickers of brightly coloured flowers.
It wasn`t the macho look which i`d usually go for, but I was guilted into relenting to her on grounds of “Safety for the baby”.

To cut a long story short, she left my beloved blue mazda “road melter” overnight at a train station and a woman bumped into the back of it.
Then,  a lady in our street drove into it while we were sat in the house watching x factor.
And then,  to top things off, Mrs M was cruising slowly through a supermarket car park when…
MRS M: “ this old dear just started reversing and drove straight into the back door, ”
ME:”was she going fast”
MRS M: “no I just watched her slowly reverse into it”
ME: “why didn`t you beep your horn then to let her know you were there”
MRS M: “Oh….er…. I didn’t think of that” *see bottom of page
I rest my case. women drivers. Useless. But meteorites, every cloud has a silver lining and this chain of unfortunate events  did result in me striking up a pretty decent relationship with our local bodyshop repair man, -afterall he was sharing my paychecks.
Nevertheless, somebody I would come to need after the balls up with my meteor bike frame.....

Overhaul Of a Meteor Minor Motorcycle Frame
I'm not sure whether royal enfield used to stove enamel the original paintwork on their frames. The paintwork on the headlamp housing/casquette was badly corroded,  and what paint there was easily flaked away to reveal a  powdery white aluminium corrosion.

Unlike the paint on the casquette, and the fuel tank which i blasted off effortlessly in my earlier blogs, the black of the frame was as tough as a south wales nightclub bouncer and was just as dull.

Even on my buddies heavy duty bead blaster, it took me over 2 hours to shift the old black paint and the remaining corrosion which had appeared in all the nooks and crannies. Still, i was pleased with the results (see pic at top of page) and the frame didnt require much filler. I was ready to move on.

My mate Ross .
The more keen eyed avid readers of my earlier blogs will have noticed Rossy as the guy who "aquired" me some BSF tools from the shed of an old pensioner that died in his street. All above board i assure you meteorites.
However, rossy's entrepeneurial gusto and talent for turning around knackered old items and flogging them for a tidy profit on ebay has earned him a reputation for being a bit of a wheeler-dealer / ducker-diver amongst my team at work.

Del Trotter
Ross L Gleen

Rossy is an all round good egg and i am a tight bastard, so when he offered to respray the bike for free how could i say no?

He had his own little spray shop set up in his mums garage and the gloss black went on without a hitch to a standard that Banksy would be proud of.

Never one to quit when im ahead, i suppose alarm bells should have began to ring when he offered to laquer it with some special laquer from "a good friend of mine" who has a carbon fibre business..

Apparently,  laquer was assured to dry as hard as the sole of a zulus foot.

Actually, it was a Disaster.

After all our hard work, it appears this pal of rossys forgot to mention that the laquer in question dried to a matt cloudy finish similar to the blurred faces in an adult "contacts" magazine.

I took it home and stared at it for a few days.

With almost no spare cash in my motorcycle fund, or any fund for that matter, it was looking like i was stuck with it.

Granted, most of the black frame would be covered by components of the bike, however i knew that if i rebuilt the bike on a frame which i wasnt happy with, i would always regret it.

Then, like an avenging angel sent from heaven above "CRASH!"

The old dear drives headlong into my mazda car door in the car park while Mrs M merely looks on in apparant suprise.*see bottom of page

With the insurance job in hand, we elect to use our tried and tested local bodyshop guy Steve who does a swift and tidy job and drops the car back to our doorstep within a few days. On return of the car, i just happen to be out the back moping around and  glaring disappointedly at my bike frame -pondering the future of the whole project.

"being as though, you have put so much work my way lately" he said "i`ll respray that frame for you for 25 bucks. i`ve got a bit on at the minute,  but i should get it back to you in a week or so""

Before he had a chance to change his mind, i had thrust £25 into his hand and humped the bike frame into the boot of my car to drop it back to his workshop. I hoping for a quick turnaround.

Quick turnaround. hmm. i think not. It appears that when Steve was doing a Job on mates rates rather than the more lucrative insurance work, he attacked the task with all the enthusiasm of a comotosed sloth.
Days became weeks, and lush green leaves turned to orange and red, before finally disappearing into the great gutters in the sky.

But, just as my 33rd birthday rolled around and i realised i had been dabbling with this project for exactly a year, I had the phone call and Steve had indeed come up with the goods.
I was absoloutly chuffed to bits with the results. A rock hard glossy finish that would hopefully see my old frame right for another 53 years. See the results for yourself:-
Upcoming Blog
For those of you still interested, i am currently restoring my forks. Blog Due in the next few weeks when i figure out what i am doing!
*some artistic licence used when describing Mrs M`s driving skills and intelligence. In reality mrs M has yet to do anything wrong in her entire life and is a wonderful driver.


Saturday, 15 September 2012

Tin ware Night mare

 Why has there been no blog?
First off, I wish i could tell you all that i have got balls the size of watermelons and that i laugh in the face of danger.
i dont.
i would however like to think i`ve done the odd outrageous act in my life that some people may consider to be courageous. I`ve jumped out of aeroplanes, gone bungee jumping into water, and have even driven my wifes deathtrap of a car for the last nine months at speeds in excess of 40mph. Brave. ish.

However, after a hot summers day  spent inside a sweaty windowless factory, and  being welcomed home to the sight of mrs M waiting at the door with her arms outstretched offering up a teething overtired baby, i would need to have total disregard for my own safety to tell her to:-

"hang on to the baby a bit longer, i just need to jump on the computer for a few hours to waffle on about my wrecked old motorcycle."

I`m not insane, and to be fair i quite like my un-melon like balls just the way they are. besides i am loving being a dad to the lilly the meteorite, and that my friends is why i have had to take a 6 months sabbatical away from this blog. afterall....

One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.
Andre Gide (nobel prize winner)

Right enough, the blog has been neglected, but behind the scenes progress on the beast itself has been simmering along slowly like a decent chilli con carne bubbling on the hob.
where do i start....

A Rolling Chassis
As we all know, i am by know means a motorcycle boffin. i can talk on the subject of classic bikes with about the same authority as i can talk about knitting. So i was a bit nervous to say the least when i got dragged into a conversation with this  guy in work whom had previously won awards for the restoration of a millitary BSA m20 motorcycle.

The guy was an absolute encyclopedia of knowledge about classic bike nerdiness and talked for about twenty minutes about the ins and outs of all sorts of bikes without me knowing what the hell he was on about.
smile and appear interested i thought, i`m gonna need this guy`s help one day.

Anyway, one thing i did take from our conversation was when he said-
"One of my biggest regrets was decideing to get my engine right first and then look at sorting out the frame. The problem with doing this is that once you have stripped the bike to piece part,       say on day 1,  it may be years before you see anything resembles a motorcycle again.
This does nothing for your motivation, i`d get the rolling chassis sorted first, you`ll get all the bits you need for that bike dont worry."

It seemed to me that he was talking sense. With limited time to commit to the bike, i would need the instant gratification of walking into my shed and seeing something that half resembles a motorcycle to keep me interested, other wise it would just become yet another flash in the pan idea doomed to a life of rust and corrosion in the corner of my shed. Time to make a plan.

From my own experience within the aircraft industry, i can tell you that the more heavy duty pieces of structure tend to be more robust and have the greatest longevity. They have enough meat on them for you to cut away the bad stuff and still leave you with something that will look good and serve its purpose. common sense i suppose.

My crusty old naked frame (talking about bike) was made of sturdy stuff and i knew could be brought back to life with a bit of elbow grease, all i would have to do was get the items to dress it.

I knew it was the thin crappy pieces of material which are the items that would fail to last the distance from the late 50s. Unless your name was doc Emit Brown and you drive a Delorean, these parts would be at a premium and would probably end up making a sizeable dent into my daughter`s inheritance.

I whipped out my trusty 1958 Meteor minor parts book and decided to make a shopping list of part numbers for the i would need.

These are the bits i was after:

Hitchcocks have the meteor minor toolbox listed as "temporarily unavailable", as are much of the tin ware items on the meteor minor. 
I`d been searching for about 5 months when this toolbox pitched up on ebay.
Realising they are about as common as rocking horse shit, i did a deal with the seller to end the auction 8 days early for a princely sum.
Its actually from a crusader, the lid part numbers are the same, but the box body is different. I dont think it will be a problem, and figure i will just have to "make" it fit

Chainguard pt no. 43501
Chainguard pt no. 43506
Chainguard pt no.43507
A fully enclosed chainguard in 3 sections with rubber gators in the middle. do these really exist anywhere outside of google images?? rarer than a pork chop in a bar mitzvah.

Rear mudguard pt no. 43736

Another ebay bargain? it definately looks the part and has apparently come from a 1960 meteor minor deluxe. It is in chrome, and has the cut away on one side only (front right of photo, back left of drawing). I intend to spray it when i get the rest of the big tin ware items in the list so that they are all an exact match for colour.
Front mudguard pt no. 43735
I contacted various dealers yesterday to try and source one of these mudguards. There are literally none around to suit a 17" rim. I was considering opting for one of the retro style handbeaten mudguards made by some dude in india until they told me that they are for a 19" rim, it will be no good.
Other News
 If your interested, i have just done a full overhaul on my bike frame. it was an absolute fiasco. keep an eye out for the next blog in a week or so.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Meet my Baby Meteor

Yes folks,  The meteorite has arrived.

After 9 months, 12 days, and a gruelling 35 hour labour, my wonderful wife, the heroic Mrs Meteor delivered the heir to this motorcycle and new addition to the Meteor Family -Lilly Belle Mary on the 12th Jan 2012.

She was a big momma,- 8lb 13.5oz and is absoultely beautiful. I was bursting with pride from the moment she came to meet us (even though she poohed on me straight away!) and haven`t come back down to earth since.

So i suppose i should take this moment to explain how i have neglected my meteor minor and have spent the last 40 days and 40 nights walking in a wilderness of sleepless nights and being elbow deep in dirty nappies.

But that wouldnt be strictly true. Sure, i have been known to change the odd soiled diper when nature calls for my little girl, and i`m now typing this blog with my left hand whilst i sling my little girl over my right shoulder,
But Mrs M`s wonderful boobs have been taking care of  Lilly`s midnight snacks, - which means during the night i am about as useful as a   one-legged man in an arse kicking contest and my reputation for being able to "sleep on a washing line" has remained in tact

Thankfully, my new role as chairman of the Llandow father/daughter cuddle-club has not been overly taxing on the energy levels. 

So rest assured fellow meteorites,  even as i boldly venture into the strange new world of fartherdom, a parrallel dimension exists just at the bottom of my garden. A sanctuary free from crying babies and stinking nappies. A place where men can be men and the motorcycle is god! The church of St Enfield`s doors are open and i`m about to start my sermon of the new year.......

Saturday, 31 December 2011

Restoring a Royal Enfield Meteor Minor- The Legacy Update

Restoring a Royal Enfield Meteor Minor-
In my last posting i said i`d try to get another blog in before the arrival of both the new year and my new baby meteorite. New years eve is upon us and Mrs M is bursting at the seams her due date is today, and she says her belly feels really tight,- so i suppose i`d better get on with it.

Xmas in sunny south Wales went without a hitch. Not counting the fact that Jamie Oliver`s timings for cooking a turkey were spot on if you like your food with the same amount of moisture as Ghandis flip flops, And my darling wife having a bump in my car whilst out xmas shopping......

Mrs M: "i was sat in the car in the car park, i lokooked in my mirror, saw her reversing, and just watched her drive straight into me"
Me: "she couldn`t have been going very fast. did you beep the horn?"
Mrs M: "No, i just didnt think of it at the time"


Anyways, on the upside,the wonderful  mrs M did give me a decent wedge of her hard earned cash to spend on the bike. Hitchcocks here i come. Fuel tank restoration part 2 will be posted sometime in January as long as i can steer clear of being knee deep in baby pooh for long enough to put pen to paper.

Legacy Update
Those of you whom have been following this blog from the start will remember that back in November i decided to join the Royal Enfield owners club. i aimed to enlist their help in researching the history of this motorcycle.
About a week went by before my welcome pack landed on the doorstep and i must say i was impressed, i received:-
a) 3 copies of the REOC bi monthly magazine called "the Gun" which contained news about club events, reviews of different rallies, readers problems and tips, and a for sale and wanted section.

b) My membership number card

c) Various branch details

d) List of approved Spares Suppliers

e) A Royal Enfield Owners Club car sticker

but most importantly,
f) The contact details of all the REOC management commitee

My first stop was to contact Jim Millar. He was the machine dating officer for the REOC and i thought  i would send over rubbings and pics of the frame and engine numbers to see if he could throw a bit of light on the legacy of the bike.
Otherwise, i would have to move to plan B, -drive to Llanfalteg and put thumb screws on the mysterious Mr Taylor until he told me what colour the tank and frame were.

Jim Miller
 In my minds eye i had visions of a man in a huge vault of old books blowing dust off a huge leather bound archive of old Redditch Royal Enfield manufacturing logs.

 He would carefully thumb through the pages which were yellowing with age until he found a match to my engine number -SMCA 7591.

As the custodian of this hallowed book, he would then have access to an unfathomable amount of information regarding my particular motorcycle,
-right down to what colour underwear the fitter was wearing on the day he proudly wheeled it off the production line. Mr Taylors thumbs would be able to keep twiddleing for now at least.

Hmmm, that wasn`t exactly how the story went. Jim Miller had just quit his post as machine dating officer.

Fortunately, Graham, the chairman and don of the REOC organization was on the blower to me the next day to pick up the gauntlet with support of new replacement dating officer Tom Bray.
It turns out that he did indeed have a record of all the Royal Enfield Engine serial numbers which were produced at the Redditch factory and he had found mine without a hitch.
The engine was as advertised, a 500cc Twin which did indeed belong to a 1959 Royal Enfield Meteor Minor. I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that the integrity of my bike and this blog was intact and eased back in my chair to begin rattling off a list of questions regarding the motorcycles registration details, original spec and colour etc. That was when he dropped the bombshell.......

"i have been populating a spreadsheet with a list of engine serial numbers and matching them up with the frame numbers.....your frame has obviously been overstamped with a second set of numbers, but none of the combinations of these numbers are anything like the original serial number for this particular engine."


He advised me that years ago when men were men and everybody maintained their own motorcycles, people would often go to scrap yards which were full of old bikes, and interchange any unserviceable items. The boys in work were right. Mrs M had bought me a "ringer"
Graham been looking at the pics i took of the bike and the photos of the dodgey serial numbers. The frame certainly looked the part but he advised me could possibly belong to a Royal Enfield Constallation (the frames are identical).

He would need to contact replacement dating officer Jim Millar, and together they would decide on what my actual frame number was, and whether i could be allocated a new number or the records could be updated.
Until then, the tap of information regarding the bike would have to be turned off.

Well folks that was the last i heard from the REOC and it appears my old Meteor is having an identity crisis. i emailed them last week so hopefully the new year will bring some more interesting news. Hey, i may have even got round to doing something on the bike

Happy New Year
Meteor Man

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Royal enfield Meteor Minor Restoration - Fuel Tank Overhaul part 1

Blog 4 of 4 -to read earlier posts, click archive at top of page

Restoring a Royal Enfield Meteor Minor Fuel Tank Intro
For most of my life i had quite short hair. High and tight -marine corps style. I used to put gel through it and keep it trimmed regularly.
You see, a hair dresser friend of mine once told me that "peoples hair are their crowning glory" and that the way that you keep your hair says something about you on a first impression.

That, my friends, was before i met mrs Meteor. 10 years ago, she was a plucky young student full of querky ideals -or as me and my buddies thought, she was mad as a bucket of frogs.
On realising that my hair had a bit of a wave in it, she demanded that i grow it beyond its regulation 2 inches to see how it looked.

In an attempt to woo the young Miss M, and despite being called a "tatty bastard" from many of my pals at the air force base where i worked, i perservered and cultivated the curly indie rock god mop you see below. I now call it "biker chic"!
(above) Me trying to look cool  in a 1965 RAF Vickers VC10  engine intake (2004) -one of my few good hair days

From my earlier writings you will have probably guessed that mrs M rules the roost around my house. There are jelly fish with more of a backbone than me, and so the curly hair stayed. Afterall, she is always right. hmmmn.

However meteorites, i assure you that this fuel tank, the crowning glory of my Royal Enfield Meteor Minor, will not be under the influence of mrs M`s darth vader like rule.
As the most important visual feature of the bike, i intend to restore it to a state more polished than the pitch of a door to door encyclopedia salesman.
Read on......

Stripping the Paint

Apparently Diamonds are supposed to be the hardest thing known to man. I think Clint Eastwood`s "Gunney Highway" in "Heartbreak Ridge" comes a close second
("i eat razor wire and piss napalm, and i can put a round through a fleas ass from over a 1000 yards").

Whatever. Somewhere high up on the hardenist list is Aluminium Sulphate, and a buddy of mine has an aluminium sulphate bead blaster at his work.

I gave him my rusty old tank, and let him go to work on it. A day later he handed it back to me blasted and then soaked in a strong chemical agent. Apparently the inside was dirtier than a tramp`s armpit at a mud wrestling competition
I was absolutely thrilled with the result see below:-

left side "like a new pin"

Right side- hiding a bit of a filler under where the chrome panel sits. Dropped once upon a time?

Lining The Inside of the Tank
With the tank stripped back to bare metal and with no surface finish to protect the steel, i knew  that i would need to get something inside the tank real quick before a new layer of surface rust began to take hold.

I had the outside of the tank primed straight away, but didnt have the first clue in regards to how i was going to protect the inside surface of the tank. A few days had gone by since i had the paint removed, and i kept the tank next to the radiator in my spare room to keep it dry and free from moisture. The corrosion hadn`t started yet, but the letter was definately in the post that was for sure.

Knowing sweet F.A. about motorbikes, i enlisted the help of a seasoned biker i knew named Nige. He`d done up plenty of bikes in his time and even made his own trike. With his barbed wire wristband tattoo and shaved head, he was Biker-cool personified (apart from his secret penchant for tinkering with vintage lawnmowers). I knew he would have the answer.

 (above) me with stangely shiny and concerned face holding freshly primed fuel tank. bad hair day

Nige advised me that lots of people used a special resin called Petaseal which could be poured inside the tank, and would  set hard to form a seal against the elements.  Sounds like a plan i thought, so off i went to see the gurus at LLandow classics.

They did sell petaseal. However, after i talked to them about my plan, they told me that although i was on the right lines, petaseal had become a bit outdated. Apparently, fuel companies nowadays have introduced an ethanol mixture into their unleaded fuel, which breaks down the components of the fibreglass-like petaseal and allows bits to break off and enter the fuel system.
However, they did stock an a new alternative called TAPOX  which was german made and almost twice the price, -£37 bucks. Tapox claimed it would  stand up to this industrial alchohol and llandow classics had not sold any yet, so i was in uncharted territory, a pioneer in the new method of lining fuel tanks.

The xmas edition of the REOC`s gun magazine reinforced this theory regarding the ethanol in lined fuel tanks, so i took it as sound advice and dug deep in my pockets and shoe-horned out the near forty notes.

I rang up old man meteor and he came down to oversee the pouring of the two part mix. I sealed off the petrol tap hole with a plastic rubber blank so that the threads were protected, and used a sheet of plastic and some elastic bands to seal the fuel cap.
I mixed up the two components inside the tapox  box (hardener and resin) and funnelled it into my freshly primed tank.

I sloshed it about as per the instructions, to such an extent that the ever impatient old man meteor threatned to leave and go home if i shook the tank for another second. Afterall, he had waited at least two minutes and the impregnable 12 0/c lunch barrier was fast approaching.

The instructions inside the tapox said that you need to apply gentle air pressure after you have coated the tank. I assume this is to help it set. It warns you not to use electrical appliances such as hairdryers etc as the tappox mixture is highly flammable and it certainly smelt that way.
Chez meteor maybe a decent shed, but it doesn`t boast the facilities of an air compressor and  
I opted to ignore this step. Instead, I whipped off the plastic sheet covering the petrol cap and pointed it down wind atop my patio table for a short time.  This may become something i`ll regret.

I took a sneaky peak inside the tank an hour or two later, the tank was well covered but still wet with the red tapox mix. Mrs M was beckoning me back to my dad-to-be diy duties, so i put the tank back in the shed and awaited the mixture to cure overnight. This was the result the next day:-

(above) the worst of it

Although the Tapox had cured perfectly, it hadn`t seemed to key into the metal with the even coverage i had hoped for.
I was left with what i would describe as wrinkles of untreated areas which looked like a tigers scrotum!

I must admit i was a little disappointed. This was not the aircraft quality result that i expected and so I headed back down to Llandow classics to see what they thought.
To be fair, i was the first guy that they had sold this tapox stuff to, so they didn`t know what to expect either, however, the guy there said that  may be that the resin had dryed this way due to some residual contamination after the item had been soaked in a chemical cleaner. To be honest i think he`s probably right.
I`ve used enough dodgey chemicals in my time to know that some cleaning agents definately leave a film of chemical residue behind after cleaning. Hey, you live and learn.
Besides, the guy reckoned the tank was in pretty good nick anyway and the tapox had covered enough to do its job, particularly at the most vunerable rear end where they are prone to rust.

He advised me to maybe inhibit the tank by maybe pouring in a bit of diesel to keep it free from any moisture damage and i went on my way. reasonably satisfied.

(above) the primed tank. Filler definately requires some rework

Well meteorites, xmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, and so is mrs m`s belly- only two weeks to go and  i absolutely can`t wait! 
i did broach the idea of Enfield as a middle name, but she told me that i needed to get a life.

If the meteorite hasn`t arrived by xmas, she has promised to helped me out with all the extra furnishings i need to finish the tank off as a xmas present such as the badges and petrol tap etc.

hopefully, i`ll get one more blog in by then, but part 2 of the fuel tank will be coming sometime in the new year. if not have fun over the xmas period.

Meteor Man