Friday, August 1, 2014

1958 Raleigh Sports: It's Done! Restoration Days 14 and 15

Not much happened on Day 14, actually.  I spent most of the day working with Dad to repair the sprinkler's main supply pipe, cutting PVC and cementing it together.  I used the remaining time to give the handlebars and brake calipers the WD-40 penny treatment and removed most of the rust.

The first thing I did yesterday, day 15, was pack the fork bearings.  I slathered grease on all four bearing surfaces and smushed them together to install the fork.

Before and After: The frame alone

I enlisted the help of my sister to hold things in place while I bolted them together.  She was a great help.  I realized that the little fuzzy hairs on the tires were rubbing the fenders and making an annoying sound so she cut them all off with a pair of nail clippers. The tires look much better as an unexpected result.

Before and After: Front Brakes

The brakes were more tricky with my rudimentary tools.  I had to force everything together since the spring tension had made all of the different washers and arms spread apart across the bolt.  I ended up hammering in the head of the front brake bolt to get everything together.  

Before and After: Rear Brakes

I had even more trouble with the rear because of the added thickness of the rack mounting.  I left it loose like that for a couple hours until I got the bright idea to tighten the nut all the way down without the fender and rack mounts in the way so I could get the brake side all compressed.  It worked and I was able to get everything back onto the brake bolt.  

Before and After: Crank

Before and After: Rear end

There really wasn't any trouble assembling the rear end with help from my sister.  I tried to get the chain guard to stay higher, further from the chain but the mandatory location of the front mount made it end up in more or less the original position. After the bike was rideable, I oiled the hub with my new SAE 30 oil and as expected, some of it came out of the left side bearing which I was unable to repack with grease.  I might end up having to oil this often or maybe get someone to open up the hub for me.  The gear cable and its chain were also a bit too short.

Previously, this aftermarket Shimano shifter cable stop was positioned forward of the frame pump holder.  As a result, the fork crown dug into the bottom of the stop every time it was turned 90 degrees.  I moved the bracket back to combat this problem but that introduced a new one: The angle with which the shifter cable comes off the shifter was made more acute, so I thought that would affect the ease of gear changing.  I slid a bunch of fuse beads (remember those?) on to see if I could extend the housing in a way, but that didn't quite work.  I had to just settle for the sharper angle.  For one reason or another, shifting is no longer as smooth.  It probably isn't just the shifter cable; it's possible that it is caused by a combination of the problems I mentioned in the last two paragraphs.  It could also be that when the hub was flushed out, whatever grime that didn't come out was loosened up and had migrated to other locations.  Maybe I just have to give the hub more oil and let it all leak out again, making sure everything is thoroughly lubricated while the grime is cleared away from the moving parts.

Before and After: Front end and Dynohub

Not visible here, but I wound the Dynohub wire around the headlight's locking bolt because it used to be too long.  This also provides a measure of protection in case the cable gets pulled; it won't rip the circuit out right away.

As pictured above, the gear cable pulley had to be raised a few inches because the cable and indicator were so short.  This almost interfered with the chain guard.  To install the various clips and rings that secure things to the frame tubes, I wrapped the tube in cloth from the opposite side that the clip was going so my paint job wouldn't get scratched during assembly.  As the clip slid in, the cloth slid out.  I then wiped or sprayed some WD-40 "Long-Term Corrosion Inhibitor"onto the bare metal or chrome parts.  I'm not sure how much more effective this is compared to regular WD-40 but at least it smells different.

Before and After: Fenders

As I said before, I had to trim the ends off the fenders.  They were so rusted that when I tried to straighten out the crinkles, they nearly cracked.  I decided to mount the mudguards at home anyway because I just didn't want my new paint to be chipped off the fender corners before I could protect them.  If Dad got mad at me for adding extra things to my bike (long story), so be it.  He actually didn't get mad. On the left end of the rear axle is a rubber thing taken from my old 20-inch-wheel BMX bike.  I'm not sure if I'll keep that there because I can lose it and I'm wondering if it will slow rust by keeping water away or accelerate rust by trapping water in.  

Before and After: Head tube and headlight

After painting the frame on day 13, I decided to clear coat the headbadge just because.  It gives it a deeper shine, I guess.  Also visible is the front brake cable going through the hole in the headlight mount.  My friend Nikolai happened to drop by and offered that suggestion so now the cable doesn't vibrate against the light during a ride.  

It wasn't until after dinner that I finally finished dealing with the headlight lens and reflector.  I kept buffing the lens with denim and t-shirt material on the Dremel and my sister tried her flute polish cloth on the reflector which worked pretty well.  I got the lens to where it was acceptable and then reassembled the headlight to go for a ride.  

Before and After: The whole thing

 The spray paint ended up with some of that orange peel texture as expected, but I figured it would take many more days of work to make it smooth.  It probably doesn't affect the strength of the finish anyway; in fact, it's probably better that I didn't polish it thin.

Besides the slight shifting issues, the ride quality of this bike has improved a ton.  It feels like new, actually.  I think this is because the previously-loose front fork (bearing race was unscrewed too far) is now at the correct tightness so it doesn't wobble or make noise.  The bike feels so solid and nothing on it rattles.  The only noise comes from the dry, rusty ball bearings inside the pedals which I could not disassemble because the bolts had rusted together.  I'm mystified as to why the hub is still so quiet even after flushing it out because Sturmey-Archer AW hubs usually click pretty loudly.  There still could be a fair amount of grime inside since oil that leaks out is still dark.  Anyway, I'm pretty satisfied.  This paint job can hopefully last until I finish school.  Mechanical-wise, I really didn't do much besides disassembling and greasing up some of the systems because everything already worked perfectly, even after 56 years of abuse.  This bike is unstoppable, (no, really, these things aren't known for being able to stop on a dime) and it should last a lifetime as long as I'm in control of it.  

EDIT 10-13-14: Close-up inspection of the rust-pitted hub shell indicated that this bike has the SW hub, much to my surprise.  It was introduced in 1956 as a replacement for the AW with a "super wide" ratio but was dropped mid year 1958 due to severe reliability issues.  Mine hasn't given me any trouble at all! SW's are very silent though, so that explains the paragraph above.