Archive for November, 2010

Threw on the gas tank (needs some adjusting to get it on right) and the front fender to see how it would look.
Not bad I must say.  Tank still needs lettering and a coat of clear, but its starting to really look like a motorcycle now!

The guys over at the forums have been really helpful for random questions about this British bike!


Front fender on, gas tank fitted

Cleaned some more pieces

Posted: November 27, 2010 in 1971 BSA Lightning 650

Was able to find a little time to clean up the front fender, the gas tank styling strip, and the gas cap.

Front fender and the cap were both huge improvements, but the styling strip has a few imperfections to be worked out.


Gas Tank Style Strip Before Cleaning

Styling strip and Gas cap clean (Spot towards middle of gas cap is a vent hole)

Front Fender Dirty

Front Fender Clean, pic isn't that great, but its a big difference

New fork seals came, so the forks have been buttoned up with oil added.
Speedo and Tach were cleaned up and put on the bike today as well.

Started to figure out the wiring, but it’s going to be a challenge.  Someone has messed with it before so there are wires spliced everywhere and colors that don’t add up to the diagrams.  We will have it sorted out and working really soon though!


Speedo and Tach

Coils and Rear Shocks

Posted: November 26, 2010 in 1971 BSA Lightning 650

Did some work this morning, repainted the bracket white for the coils and did some clean up on the coils themselves.  Got it all mounted in the frame and read to start wiring everything up!

Also took the rear shocks apart, and had to fabricate a special tool to get the job done.  The springs will be cleaned up really nice, and the shocks will be repainted black as well.

Also have a pic of the gas tank styling strip before cleaning is done.

Pics are below:


Coils outside of bike before a bit of cleaning

Coils back on the frame

Rear shocks taken apart

Headlight Mounted

Gas tank styling strip before cleaning

Jonathan’s Virago

Posted: November 26, 2010 in 1982 Yamaha Virago XV750J

This bike was gifted to Jonathan many months ago from a close family friend.  It wasn’t running, and over the last few years the previous owned had it at a few Yamaha dealers, as well as two private shops to try to get it up and running again.  Nobody could seem fix it.

When Sonny got his hands on it, it was another story.  After doing a full inspection of the motorcycle, he figured out all that ailed it!

The first part that had to be replaced was that problematic starter that these early Viragos were famous for.  That wasn’t all however.  A new battery was put on, as well as new tires, spark plugs, spark plug wires, fluids, and the carbs were torn down to each individual piece to throughly clean the fuel system.

Turned out that there were two jets somewhat hidden in the carbs that not only the other private techs overlooked, but both of the Yamaha dealers as well.  After cleaning them up, and re-syncing the carbs, the bike fired right up!

Now that the bike runs like a dream, it’s going to be polished up.  For now, some mods being done recently will be forward controls (which are on the way), hard boxes, and a larger gas tank off of the 920 Virago.  Eventually, it will most likely be turned into a bobber.

Sadly, we do not have pictures of the process to get this bike up and running, but here are a few pics of the bike as it pretty much is now.

Check out for tons of Virago information, tech help, and a great community of bikers!


The Virago the day it arrived

The Virago as it is now (not much has changed...YET!)

As mods and cleanup are done, updates will be added to this blog!

Here are some pics of the gas tank after all of its sanding, priming, and painting.  In total, it was about 8 hours of sanding, all by hand, and about 1 hour of priming and painting.  We are letting it harden for a while and adding a clear coat in the future, along with decals.

Tank Primed

Tank Painted

Doesn’t look to shabby if I do say so myself.



And so it begins!

Posted: November 25, 2010 in 1971 BSA Lightning 650

Welcome to the Sonny and Sons Psycle Shack blog!  Our fist rebuild is of an old BSA classic that not many people have seen before!

Enjoy your stay, and don’t be afraid to post comments or questions!

BSA – Current Progress

Posted: November 25, 2010 in 1971 BSA Lightning 650

So here is the first post!  It will be a big one that will showcase all of the progress done on this BSA project up to the creation of this blog.  Work was started on Oct 27th, 2010.

Lets begin!


How we got it

Believe it or not, but this is the BSA as it was purchased.  The parts are in a few boxes, we aren’t sure whats missing, and the realization of the task ahead is starting to sink in…It’s going to be a fun project!

The motor on the table before the top end breakdown

Engine is seized from sitting, and the top end needs to come off to free the pistons.  The rocker box cover has already been removed in this picture.

The pistons are now free

Finally got the entire top end off, and freed the pistons.

We could not tap them down, and we had to heat up and cool the cylinder four times to free it all up. After that, we shimmed the cylinder so the pistons were all the way up,  put pressure on the kick-start, tapped them down and they came right out.

Carbs taken apart

Took the carburetors totally apart (jets are still in for now while they wait to be cleaned).

The lines were so old, they were hard as rock and stiffened right onto the pipe the fuel goes through. We had to take a hacksaw and cut the lines free.  Can’t see in this picture, but the are disgusting on the inside and definitely need this cleaning.

Frame before repaint

The frame (and swing arm) before cleaning and repainting.

Frame after paint

This is the frame (and swing arm) AFTER the paint. Pic does not do it justice at all, it almost looks brand new.

Had to use a special cleaning fluid two times first, then soap and water twice, then sanded down the entire frame, then wiped it down with acetone before the actual painting was done. Took about 4-5 hours.

Clear coat on the frame

This is the frame with a clear coat on it

Again, this picture does not do it justice at all, it looks really really nice in person.

Top motor mount

Here is the top motor mount with paint and clear coat.

Battery Box

This is the battery box with paint and clear coat.

Right side cover

Left side cover

Here are the side covers painted and cleared.

Motor mounts before and after sanding

Engine mounts and carb kits came today.

Here is what (in total for both) 1.5 hours of hand sanding did to get all the old paint off. After the sanding they were wiped down with acetone.  These babies are now prepped for a coat of paint tomorrow, then a clear coat after that!

Carbs rebuilt

Carb kits came, and my father and I each rebuilt and cleaned one. He also polished them up a bit to make them look nice.

Cylinder back on

The cylinder is now honed and painted with black heat paint, and the pistons have been polished and cleaned of the carbon deposits, as well as the new rings being put on.
The dark spots on the top are from oil to keep the gasket surface from rusting, and won’t be seen when the head is back on.  Pistons now move freely, and the engine is no longer seized! Soon the entire engine will be complete!  They are gonna work like they are brand new!

Rockerbox cover polished

Rockerbox cover cleaned and polished. I don’t have a before pic, but this was super dull and dirty.
Can see the reflection of one of the big tools behind me haha.
Ran through a polisher/buffer, used a wire brush to get in the fins as good as possible, and took a wire wheel on a drill to get as much as the remainder as possible.

Motor mount painted and cleared

Here is one of the motor mounts re-painted and cleared.
Only one pic because they are both the same.

Head bottom

Head top

We cleaned, lapped and put the valves back into the head tonight.  We performed a leak test after lapping the valves, and they are literally perfect. No leak AT ALL.

Primary cover off

Unexpectedly had to pull off the primary case tonight to manually turn over the engine with a wrench. Pushrods wound up seating wrong and jamming the engine and causing a valve spring to stick. Everything has been sorted out, and is perfectly fine.
After sorting that all out and getting it to turn over properly, we called it a night.
Not like this cover didn’t need to come off, it was being removed Saturday, if not tonight, for the polishing anyway.
Here you can see the primary chain , clutch, and etc.

Primary cover

Primary after polish

Here is that primary cover, before and after the polishing.  Used a buffer wheel with different grades of rouge to get that nice shine.

Carbs on motor

Slapped the carbs back onto the motor, and tightened down the rockerbox cover.
Starting too look like a motor again! 🙂

Behind the left side engine cover

Behind the cover on the other side of the engine.
Can see points, kickstart and shifter shafts.

Left engine cover before polish

Left engine cover after polish

Here is the left side of the engine all polished up.  Used the same method as the primary cover to get that shine.

Right side motor complete

Here are some pics of the left and right side of the motor after its polishing, cylinder painting, and top end rebuild.

Tank left before repaint

Tank right before repaint

Tank top before repaint

Tank bottom before repaint

This is the gas tank before its sanding and repainting.  This will all be done by hand and will take a bit of time to do.

Airbox before repaint

Here is what the airboxes look like before the repaint as well.  Only one complete box is shown here, but they are both the same.

The motor in the frame, left side

Motor in the frame, right side

The frame on a motorcycle/ATV jack

These are various pictures of the frame finally back in its home.  Took some time to get it in there because of bolt lengths, and involved some clever maneuvering.  It’s finally starting to take some shape though!

Forks apart

Took the front forks apart tonight in between sanding things.  The short pieces will be polished and the long pieces will be cleaned.  Also putting in some new fork seals which are on the way as I type this!

Forks polished and put on the frame

Here the forks have been polished up and put back onto the frame.  The lighting isn’t very good, so I will try to get a better pic of it up when I can.  It almost looks like a motorcycle now!