Wally Wonders Why No editor, no publisher, you get what you get

January 25, 2011

Derelict Wing

P1130062Well as last fall approached my scooter moved to the mission fields of Northern Baja and it’s place in the garage was filled with derelict GoldWing whose previous owner called Pearl.  Rather than a pearl, I was hoping to find a diamond under all the rough that was every conceivable do dad that someone could burden a perfectly good motorcycle with over 3 decades.

The scooter had gotten me back into the fun of riding that I had lost for a time, but the lack of even occasional highway speed made less than practicably for commuting to work.  Enter the Derelict

1973_GT380K_red_700The  ’79 GoldWing seemed fitting.  I graduated high school in 1979 and a bike like this was certainly unattainable to me at the time and I only read about them in magazines.    The GoldWing was pretty cutting edge at the time with a high performance flat-four water-cooled liter motor, shaft drive,  not to mention three disk brakes on tubeless tires.  They were smooth, fast, reliable, quiet and quite the opposite in most respects from the 1973 Suzuki GT380 that  I was riding the heck out of,  leaving two-stroke blue smoke trails across the state.  1979What the bikes had in common then was that they were both standards.  With the exception of a Harley, which in the 70’s were fairly unreliable, there really wasn’t such a thing as a tourer, crotch rocket or cruiser in those days, just motorcycles.  In 1979 bikes with full fairings and bags were an oddity.  GoldWings of today come standard with everything but the kitchen sink, however in 1979 you couldn’t even order yours with a fairing.  So I chose a 70’s GoldWing, hopefully a 1979, as my target get back into it bike, because it represented the kind riding I like most and the kind of bike I would have chosen if I had been able to afford one.

P1130082So rather than being ridden for the last few years the Derelict has been sitting in a driveway uncovered and exposed to all the weather.  It was was not a pretty sight, but it was a ‘79, the price was right and now it is sitting in my garage.  I was told by Pearls previous owner that it was running great until it was parked and that all it needed was a little cleaning and a new battery.  I loved his optimism, but took his words as a grain of salt.

P1130094First order of business was to strip the Derelict of all its rusty crap: Fairing, bags, pizza box, light bar, neon lights, chrome dodads galore, floor boards front and rear, engine guards, exhaust guards, exhaust extension, luggage guards, leg guards, aftermarket horn, cruise control, extra winkers and one of the hugest ugliest and mildew-iest seats I’ve ever smelled.

PartsBut as nasty and undesirable as I thought this huge pile was, it only served as more proof that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure because within a few days a guy from east of the mountains came and bought the whole thing.

P1130086Second order of business was to give the electrical and engine a semi-thorough run through so that I wouldn’t damage anything by installing a new battery and turning the motor over.    It was easy to identify non-stock wiring because every last accessory seemed to have been installed using red wire and black electrical tape.  Previous owner had said that he once cleaned the solenoid, but that it must need a new one because every time he hooked it up to his car the starter just would just spin even without the key on.  Turns out, that’s what happens when you hook the wires up wrong after your cleaning.

P1130145In addition to the wiring, I also checked out and replaced timing belts, fuel lines, fuel, and fuel filter.  Changed oil, oil filter and poured a little oil down the sparkplug holes to get at the rings.  I felt a bit like I was overdoing it before even trying to start the bike, but the last thing I wanted was to ruin the motor because I was too impatient to be thorough.   One broken timing belt and the whole Derelict would be toast.

Next up, will it run?

Then, will I be able to locate stock front pegs, rear pegs, kickstand, handlebars, front signals, rear signals, grab rail, headlight and seat?

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