Ascot Forum

Second Generation Ascots => The V-Twin Years: Modified To Full Customs => Topic started by: Luke on August 30, 2014, 11:05:21 AM

Title: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on August 30, 2014, 11:05:21 AM
Hey everybody!

I have been lurking around here for a few months now ... figured I should introduce myself or more importantly the Ascot ;)

This gal was the first street bike, bought new from the dealer by my best friend when we were 16. It is also the first on road bike I ever rode.

Matt was a heck of a guy, a true friend and eventually an excellent example of the cop that you would want to pull you over, if it had to be done ;)

He went on to own several other bikes including a beautiful VFR750 that he raced through the police force... even went to Europe to race!

Sadly one evening when going off shift (in his truck) he was killed instantly by a drunk driver at only 27 years of age. This, of course had far reaching and very sad consequences for many, including myself. His Dad (my 2nd Dad) recently passed and much to my surprise he willed the bike, Matt's favorite, to me.

What an honour! ... and oh just a little pressure to do it right!

I had begun disassembling her with a view to full restoration. Then I found you guys and all your amazing ideas and have decided that a resto-mod would be closer to my vision. That back end needs some help. ;) The gas tank is off being professionally repaired due to the rust issue, but aside from that she is in pretty good shape. Just lots of refinishing and paint to be done. So... off with everything!

Thanks for all your collective info! It helps a Jeep guy get a handle on something a little smaller. ;)

Cheers,
Luke

I couldn't even wait to start tearing into her before I remembered to take my first pic. lol
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Woodguy on September 03, 2014, 07:22:23 AM
Hey Luke, sorry to hear about your friend.

Look forward to seeing pictures of your restoration!
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: J6G1Z on September 03, 2014, 08:33:56 AM
Welcome to the forum. I too am sorry to hear of your friends passing. I have also lost loved ones due to drunk drivers.

How many miles are on that bike? It looks real clean! What condition is the paint in? I'm a firm believer in trying to maintain the original paint whenever possible. They are only original once, after that... Well, it's just another painted bike. If the paint is already too far gone, then have at it.

The tail section offers many ways to clean it up. Only limited to your imagination.

Be careful tearing her down & take plenty of detail pictures to help jog your memory at re-assembly time.

Good luck & please keep us posted. We like build posts.
J.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Lefty on September 03, 2014, 09:57:01 AM
Welcome aboard Luke, looks like a pretty clean VT!
Looking forward to your build, Lefty.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 03, 2014, 11:30:02 AM
Hey... Thanks guys!

32,000 km ~ 20,000 miles

Don't they all look good from that distance. ;) My first wish was to restore her and keep her as original as possible, but as I took stock of her condition I realized that was going to be tough. The frame needs to be painted. Too many little rust spots that will just get worse over time.

I'm still waiting for my repair manual to get here so just trying to keep my hands off of the complicated stuff ;)

Most of the damage is just to paint although I had to laugh when I tried to pull the battery... At one point my little buddy decided to put an AGM in that was too big... don't worry just shove! It took an afternoon just to get the cage bent back to it's original shape :)

Thanks again for the tips and welcomes!

 
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: J6G1Z on September 03, 2014, 11:47:55 AM
Carry on then. My VT Ascot just turned 20K miles & the finish is bad. This bike has been ridden & parked in the rain for a few years in its past. It has spots of rust just like you mentioned. Have you seen the Elsinore inspired Ascot? I'm thinking of painting mine some day to look like this bike: http://ascot500.com/index.php?topic=233.0
Instead of red down the tank, etc. I was thinking of using British racing green like the very first Elsy's had.

Good luck on the bike
J.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 03, 2014, 12:04:20 PM
BR Green would look amazing...
Do you think that those are conduit nuts at the top of the rear shock?
I have used them on my jeep (IFS) to level the suspension. If in fact they are ..... do you think he added those to change the spring rate?
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Bucko on September 03, 2014, 08:37:33 PM
... At one point my little buddy decided to put an AGM in that was too big... don't worry just shove! It took an afternoon just to get the cage bent back to it's original shape :)

Not that weird: I've been trying to do the same thing myself.  There are couple of reasons why (for me) it's a good idea.  First is that there are more AGM options for the next common size battery up which make the price a little better and provides a lot more cranking and stand by power.  Second, and this one really applies to me: the next size up is exactly the same battery as my 900F and 1100F take which means I have some back up options if one of my batteries dies (the only catch is the terminals are reversed on the Ascot but that's easily resolved with a new + power strap.

If the rubber cushions are removed from the batter box, the next size battery fits in with only a slight manhandling required to get the front metal strap closed and bolted back into place (no wrecking of the box required).  Since I use AGM batteries, vibration (which I think the rubber pads are there to reduce) really isn't an issue but I'd love to find a way to add a 1/4" to the depth of the front strap so that I could leave the cushions in place and make it easier to remove, but that's a project for another time.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 03, 2014, 09:10:20 PM
I can appreciate the benefits of the AGM ... a little more finesse was in order however ;)
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: J6G1Z on September 04, 2014, 06:08:35 AM
Do you think that those are conduit nuts at the top of the rear shock?

I don't think I'm not familiar with conduit nuts. It appears to me that those shocks have adjustable spring pre-load by turning that spanner nut.

J.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 04, 2014, 04:39:08 PM
Maybe if I would have called it by it's proper name "electrical conduit nut" ;) They make great spacers (1/8") around the bottom of a coil-over.

In other news ... Received my new (used) airbox and filter today. Major score at $10 shipped!

On the bad side .. upon removal I found a gaping hole in the exhaust chamber which looks like it was previously repaired. :(
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 04, 2014, 05:10:45 PM
Here's a nice rusty shot...  ;) 30 years of oxidization...
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: J6G1Z on September 04, 2014, 05:50:25 PM
There are a couple of after-market exhaust systems available for the VT Ascot.
http://ascot500.com/index.php?topic=33.0
http://ascot500.com/index.php?topic=34.0
I like the NOS system better, but they are only available in chrome now. Plus you have to be careful that they are not dented. I don't know much about the second system. Of course you could use the original head-pipes, extend them back & then install the mufflers of your choice.

J.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 04, 2014, 10:03:34 PM
I'm thinking ... it's time to learn to weld.  ;D While I mull that end over ...

I've switched to that rats nest of wires that the engineers put directly behind the headlight bulb ... must have decided that on a Friday.  ;)

"Lets just shove all the connection points in here so you have to take the headlight apart to do anything... K ?" ... lol
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: J6G1Z on September 05, 2014, 05:33:56 AM
All the Japanese bikes are that way. Some worse than others.  At least all the wires are color coded & fairly easy to trace.
On my FT Ascot, I was able to shove the fuse panel inside the headlight bucket also.

J.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 06, 2014, 11:32:34 PM
Did a little repair work today :)

I found that the idiot light cluster was just about to fall to pieces at the mounting holes.
So I did a little plastic welding to fill in the gaps, with a heat gun, soldering iron and some plastic borrowed from my Jeep wheel well trimming ;).
Then made a little bracket that bolts to itself (underneath) to sandwich the area and get a solid mount. I will probably paint it even though it will never be seen ;)


Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: thumperdh on September 07, 2014, 02:44:09 PM
Very cool. I'm subscribed. Can't wait to see progress on this thing.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 19, 2014, 04:19:55 PM
^^^ Thanks for the encouragement.  :)



Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 19, 2014, 04:35:22 PM
The journey of discovery continues ;)

I found the coil mount bracket held up with a zip tie ... I thought, Oh one more lost bolt to find...

Not so easy. The bolt is snapped off in the frame, just for a little added challenge it is almost a quarter inch below the surface. I will wait until I get the frame off and then see if I can drill and remove the bolt from a better angle.

Oh and the plastic coil cover bolt was stripped although that took 2 seconds with the Grabit.

Sorry for the bad pic  ::) edit .. found a good one 
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 19, 2014, 04:42:13 PM
Yes .. even the peg mount bracket welds matter ;)

Almost done ...

Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 20, 2014, 10:59:54 PM
Began to clean up the rad today to find brass under all that chipped peeling paint... I remembered reading about it on the Elsinore inspired build. At this point I think that I will still be using the plastic guard, so the rad won't even be seen ... but I'm going to polish it anyway ;) it's really quite a beautiful part.

note: I have not cleaned the fins out yet, I'm actually in the process of straightening them first.


Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: J6G1Z on September 21, 2014, 07:31:46 AM
You probably already have, but if not, make sure you flush out the radiator from both directions. You can flush the engine out also.

When you refill the radiator, make sure that you use an anti-freeze that is aluminum & magnesium safe. Mix it 50/50 with de-stilled water. If I recall correctly, the cooling system should hold a bit more than 2 quarts.


J.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on September 21, 2014, 12:05:34 PM
Thanks for the tips J .. much appreciated! I am used to funky coolant types as my Jeep uses HOAT. I'll be stocking up on distilled water :)
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on October 03, 2014, 01:02:27 PM
Nothing exciting to update ... lots of dis-assembly. Just the swing arm and motor left to remove... and I still have not found a single part that doesn't need restoring. 31 years will do that. :)

Lots of sanding and more sanding ... and polishing. Considering investing in a Sodium Bicarbonate blaster.... and better compressor.

Ordered Swing arm removal tool from the U.K. (Kev) Great service so far .. I received a tracking# mere hours after payment!

Cheers All,

Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on October 10, 2014, 09:35:05 PM
Well ... it's officially a frame-off restoration now ;)

How-to decorate your basement with a VT500...

Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: J6G1Z on October 11, 2014, 06:40:07 AM
Very nice & clean working area.

I often hang bikes from the rafters to work on them.

You are definitely into it now. Do you have a build plan yet?

J.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on October 11, 2014, 02:19:56 PM
Very nice & clean working area.

Oh that's easy ... just crop out the messy side ;)

Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on October 11, 2014, 03:19:13 PM
So far the plan is back to bare metal with everything... then self etching primer and POR-15. I have had excellent results with it in the past. I may leave the wheels bare aluminum after stripping... looked good in pictures... we'll see. :)

I am attempting to match the original finish where ever possible, however I am going to experiment with the exhaust after it's stripped and polished. I'm not sure how much having it re chromed will cost me yet. But I'm going to try Duplicolor's Metal-cast first and see how close I can get to "black chrome"

https://www.duplicolor.com/products/metalCast/ (https://www.duplicolor.com/products/metalCast/)

then.... and not in any particular order
Tune up, rebuild, lube, fluids
New bearings
Wire by wire inspection of harness
Shortened turn signal in front and/or eliminated in the rear.
Mirrors...? shorten or moved
Handle bars ? a little less pull back and rise
Re sculpt that rear end into something a bit more pleasing to the eye ;)
Tank, fender, side panels and rear cowl prof. painted original
Tribute items :) paint, embroidery etc.

phew ... :o

Oops forgot .. new shocks and springs
 
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on October 12, 2014, 08:07:52 PM
Success! With minimal carnage and the threads in tact. Just need to find a bolt for it now.

You never quite know if it's going to end in tears or not... removing a snapped bolt that is. I'm on a lucky streak.


Here is a link to the tool I used... they have come in handy many times.

http://www.thegrabitstore.com/Pages/default.aspx
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on October 21, 2014, 08:37:50 PM
So... the $ involved in a bi-carb blasting set-up and obligatory compressor upgrade had me searching for other options. :)

I took a chance on a $15 can of "Dad's Easy Spray" .. I mean c'mon with a name like that it has to work right?

Wow ... The high heat treatments (exhaust etc.) were unaffected. Everything else stood no chance. The first pic is less than 5 minutes after spraying. The second is after a very light scrapping with a putty knife and nylon brush, it has not even been rinsed yet.

Very impressive stuff ... but nasty! Ate through the first pair (8 mill) of gloves I tried ...lol
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: J6G1Z on October 22, 2014, 06:06:25 AM
Wow! Looks like that stuff works real well.

I've used a bath of mineral spirits to try to remove spray paint & it didn't work very well. I then ran across a bottle of DOT 4 brake fluid that I had left over, so I poured that into the mineral spirits. The next day the paint brushed off the parts with minimal effort.

Good luck
J.
Title: Re: VT500 Resto-Mod-Tribute
Post by: Luke on October 23, 2014, 01:27:32 PM
Wow! Looks like that stuff works real well.

You bet... nothing short of a full face shield and chemical proof gloves will do though. Within seconds of accidental skin contact you know it!