PUCH 250 SGS

Restoring a barn-fresh 1966 Sears Allstate

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750 Norton Commando rebuild

Phil and Herb Becker

Herb, of Herb’s Garage

This winter I took my lump over to Herb’s Garage. Herb Becker that is, engine builder of the bike that won first place in the 2003  AHRMA’s Formula 750 races in Daytona.

I managed to talk Herb into a full rebuild on my engine. I was concerned about the off-idle knock, the general leakiness, and occasional smokiness of the engine. Perhaps he felt somewhat responsible for the bike as I bought it from him as a rolling basket!

Good news was the pistons and barrels were in great shape, they are already .020 over from some previous owner. It needed a crank grind and I had the dubious distinction of having the worst crank wear that Herb has seen. it was an even 30 thou down from what is normally a thou. The wear was even, not oval (?!). The shells were worn down to copper, barely a trace of Babbitt left on them.

I joked and said “I guess I shouldn’t have been taking it up to 6500!” Herb’s response was “You shouldn’t have been riding it!”

Read more…

posted by Fastback in mechanical,Norton Commando,parts and have No Comments

Open heart: open wallet

Puch_head_off_pistonsI pulled the head and barrels to see what damage has been done – alas it is the front piston that seized and the rear piston has evidence of oil film loss and scraping. Interestingly these are on the sides that face each other.

I did some research online and it seems that there are four possible culprits:

  • lean jetting
  • low/no oil in mix
  • air leak (causing localized lean/hot spots)
  • timing

I can pretty much rule out air leak and I’m going to go out on a limb and rule out jetting as I believe it is stock.

A mechanic saw the photos and opined that it is most likely timing. This could be so as I haven’t touched the timing since I got the bike. I did reduce the oil to the minimum setting, as I was using modern oils and assumed I could get away with less smoke. Perhaps at open throttle it needs more.

So, clearly a bore or hone and new pistons are in order. The question is why did it seize. I would like to have some confidence in diagnosing the problem before slapping in a new set of pistons and twisting the throttle again.logo_koenig

Clearly this isn’t a unique experience. I found this photo on the net, clearly toasting pistons is a Puch thing. I was hoping to get away with a hone an a set of rings but, clearly, new pistons are needed. So open heart surgery has led to opening my wallet. Those pistons ain’t cheap.

It seems Elko/Konig is the only game in town for replacement pistons.

To think she was so happy just a few days ago….

posted by Fastback in mechanical,parts,Puch,Puch 250 SGS and have No Comments

Spring in my step

With spring just around the corner, and the annual pilgrimage to the CVMG Paris Rally, I have been working on getting my Puch 250 SGS suspension overhauled. The rubber  seals have long gone brittle and what little oil remains is thick and gooey.

IMG_0003The forks I discovered are bent, not surprising considering the condition of the front fender, the dented fork covers and handlebar into the tank. One is bent more than the other – I will seek out a hydraulic shop to see if they can straighten them out.

I took the shocks and forks apart to assess the condition of the components in case more than consumables are needed. Luckily,  seems all is in order, just dirty, gooey and decomposing or brittle rubber bits. One fork seal was brittle enough to almost cut my hand, the other was fairly supple.

20150218_093335_cThe rear brake lever (part no. 175.4011.2) I ordered from Motor West arrived today, or should I say the envelope arrived. It appears the envelope tore open and the lever fell out.

Packing tape was invented for a reason, Matt. *Update: Matt has graciously offered to send me another at no charge. That’s class.

posted by Fastback in parts,Puch,Puch 250 SGS,restoration and have No Comments

New tires – old Puch

Original Semperit tire.

Original Semperit tire.

The original equipment Semperit tires on the ’66 Puch 250 SGS are getting a wee bit, well, tired. With my current push to get the old girl road legal I’ve ordered tires and checked the brake pads. Really, it’s time I showed the bike some love, especially after several years of being ridden hard and put away wet at Paris, literally.

I’ve ordered a pair of Duro HF319 from a local dealer, the tread pattern looks pretty vintage so they should look right.

DURO_HF-319

Part number : 113113

  • Designed as a general replacement tire
  • Excellent load carrying capabilities
  • Can be used as a front and rear tire
  • Excellent puncture resistance

I mean really, isn’t that the basic description of a tire?!

I will also look into getting a 16″ rim for the Velorex to lower the hack as it is currently wearing a 19″ – then perhaps I’ll need another Duro.

Sears Allstate Puch 175 60_57

click to enlarge

 

I came upon this page from a Sears catalogue a while back, it is a great illustration of the Puch badged as a Sears Allstate, although I think the illustrator didn’t understand how brake and clutch levers worked. I’m pretty intrigued by the brown sack outfit the guy on the left is wearing. Is that rain gear? 

 

 

 

 

posted by Fastback in mechanical,parts,Puch,restoration and have No Comments

Dead of winter – parts on order

Eight inches of snow fell in the last few days and it feels like winter! The garage is nice and cozy and Alison has kindly taken our children to her mother’s house for the weekend.  That leaves me free to waste time ordering motorcycle parts and dreaming of warm weather and children bouncing in the sidecar!

Yesterday while Paul and I were trying to master walnut shell blasting (not so good), I was looking at my Velorex 560 and realized I really should get it the proper sized rim and tire.  I had to take a look at the rim and try to figure out which is the hub I’ve got as it determines spoke length. I am ordering parts from http://www.jawamarkt.cz/en. The language is a bit odd on the website but I believe that “ribbing upward” refers to the 360 style of hub (shown below).

I am hoping that the shipping will be reasonable, but I’ve ordered some Hungarian tires too so it might be a bit heavy! I will use the same tires on the Puch as well – might as well go exotic!

360 Jawa hub

I need to rebuild the shocks and forks on the Puch, so I’ll place an order with the Austrians for parts soon. I suppose I should really look at the wheel bearings and brake shoes while I am pushing for road safety certification.

I need a rear tire for my Norton 750 Commando too and want to repair the bondo that poped out. This time I will use fiberglass to make up the difference and just use bondo for a final finish.

Dreams of BMW’s are on hold for the moment… sigh.

posted by Fastback in parts,restoration,Sidecar and have Comment (1)