M.M.M. Presents Project Turd 

 Part 4- Mange be Gone

by Ken Madden

The frame and engine of the Turd have spent 18,000 miles collecting oil, dirt, leaves, road kill and some sort of mange in between the fins on the left cylinder.


Before I cleaned the chassis, I cleared away many of the easy-to-remove parts–things that would get in the way while painting. The tank, seat, side covers and fenders were already gone, so I moved on to the foot pegs and the brake and shift levers. I tore out the two huge air cleaner boxes. This gave me quite a bit of access to the rear of the frame.

The carbs come off this bike very easily, so they were outta there, and the exhaust, too. I used waterproof auto body or duct tape to tape up the holes and keep crap out of the engine. The spark plugs stayed in, but the wires came out. The plugs will remain in place through the cleaning and painting process, and then the Turd will get a new set.


The struts and rear wheel were also removed. If your bike doesn’t have a center stand, a milk crate or a couple of 4″ x 4″ boards work just as well to prop it up.


Before the final frame prep, I had to mount the solo seat I picked up for twelve bucks at a car show swap meet. It is an old Bates seat with all the character of cracked leather and not so perfect chrome on the two small springs that will make up for the Turd’s lack of rear suspension. Yamaha was good enough to put a stud for the tank’s rubber mounts in a handy spot. I welded a 3/4″ tall piece of threaded rod to the top of it and had a front mount for the seat. To keep the back of the seat from wobbling around, I welded two more studs for the springs to ride on.

Now I could finally start to clean the thing!

The secret ingredient in cleaning a dirty, oily engine is Tide powdered laundry detergent. I rinsed the bike with water to free up the loose filth. I mixed hot water with plenty of Tide powder in a bucket until the mixture felt slimy with just a little bit of grit left. I used a Scotch Brite pad as an applicator and got in between the fins, under the motor, along the frame rails…wherever it needed cleaning. (If you are not going to paint do not use a Scotch Brite pad. It will leave scratches.) I let it set a minute or two then scrubbed the stubborn stuff before rinsing with water.


After the rinse, there were still small crevices filled with goo. I used Gunk engine degreaser foam on these areas. The can had enough pressure to dislodge the dirt. The bike was again rinsed with water.

After it had dried, I used a clean Scotch Brite pad to scuff the remaining shiny spots that were to be painted. I taped off the chrome, aluminum, wires and everything else that I did not want paint on. I used tin foil to mask off the weird shaped parts that tape and paper wouldn’t stick to.

I applied a good wax and grease remover (PPG DX 330) to the areas to be painted and the a PPG sealer primer. (A rattle can primer would also have done the job.) After that, I painted most of the engine and the frame gloss black. The paint was kept as thin as possible on the parts of the engine that get hot. This will help it to last longer and resist flaking and fading.

Some spraying tips:

  • Make sure bike is stable!
  • Wire the chain or belt out of the way.
  • Wire or tape cables out of the way.
  • Put clean paper or cardboard under the bike to keep the dust down. pt4_d

At the last minute, I decided to polish the carbs. The tops and bowls came out fine. The middle intricate cast parts and linkages were filthy. Liberal amounts of Gumout carb cleaner and a nylon brush brought them to a better than new appearance. The cleaner will leave a residue if allowed to dry, so I used a cloth rag to keep it wiped up. CAUTION!! Use eye protection! I didn’t, but twenty minutes of eye-stinging, water-flushing madness in the bathroom made me a believer. OUCH!

We are nearing the final assembly and detailing of the Turd. Stay tuned…


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