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  • Writer's pictureElder

The Rusty Wanderer Bike Rebuild - Part 2

Updated: Sep 21, 2022

Oh Boy, two posts in the first day?!? I have a backlog, sue me.

So first things first... This thing doesn't roll. My brand new garage has this gnarly rubber stain from shoving it in here.

I should probably start by saying that I'm not a mechanic, I don't have a motorcycle stand or any fancy specialized tools. I'm wingin' it, baybeee. Since I'm new to this, I started by doing some research and looking for the Haynes manual. That's on order, but I did find some information on a surprisingly specific forum with a URL like it was straight out of 1998. Just type what you wanna see and add ".com" My new second favorite website that starts with "X". I'm gonna be referencing this a lot, so thanks a ton to this crew.

My initial thoughts on this issue were that the brakes were seized up. It has been sitting in a cow pasture for like 10 years. So in typical Elder form, I didn't wait for instructions to arrive and just started reverse engineering things (see entries - Looking At and Making Educated Guesses) to figure it out. Don't worry, I'll do all the spec work right once I have the manual, but for now... Let's just rip this wheel off so I can push it around the garage and not leave any more scuffs.

I found that these little suckers here

hold the right side of the axle. And this one

threads directly onto the axle on the left side to keep it in place. There's definitely supposed to be a cotter pin through the left side castle nut to keep it from rattling itself loose, but that's apparently been lost to the ages. First item added to the shopping list; Shitload of assorted cotters. Not a lot of other options here, so I just went for it. I disconnected the front brake cable and speedometer cable from the housing, cracked those two nuts loose, removed the castle nut, and tried to slip the axle out. It didn't move. I ended up taking a heavy screwdriver and a three pound hammer to punch it out. Obviously not optimal, but it had to be done.

Once I had it out, I could see that the grease was so old it was essentially just wax holding things in place. So I busted out the ol' degreaser and got the shop towels out. 35 minutes of furiously stroking the shaft later and it was good as new.

Now on to the brakes. This model has drum style front and rear brakes with internal shoes and pads. Luckily, this housing was easy to take apart to get eyes on. Unluckily, I was right. These suckers were seized and rusted solid to the drum with enough suspicious white dust in there to fuel a South American coup attempt in the 80s. I'm pretty sure it's asbestos from the original brakes. Wear your PPE, kids. In this shot you can see both brake pads rusted to the drum while the shoes they're supposed to be connected to are still in the housing on the ground.

I cracked the brake pads out of there, tossed the pads and shoes, greased the axle, and put everything back together, took a deep breath, and spun that wheel like a contestant on The Price is Right. Finally. It spins freely.

Now I need this thing moved closer to the workbench so I don't have to haul every socket across the garage just to find it's the wrong size and walk back and forth six times. This is not supposed to be an "Appease the Daily Step Goals Gods" project. So I drop ol' Rusty off the center stand, and try to push it. No dice. Turns out the back wheel isn't spinning because I'm not smart enough to make sure it's in Neutral before I try to push it around. 10 minutes of arguing with the stuck clutch to get it into neutral and NOW we're ready to roll it to the back of the workshop. Op Success. We're mobile... so long as you're okay with people-power.

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