If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Three ... Two ... Ignition ...

I have now changed the ignition switch on the Yamahaha. What a beast of a job!

It involved taking off the clocks (which I hate, as those bloody wires never seem to want to go back in the same place) and the top yoke. Then the fun started, as I tried to separate the old switch from the yoke. The switch is attached (heh, was attached) with two security bolts. These are designed to be tightened to a certain torque value, and then the head of the bolt is designed to snap off. So if you want to take the switch off, there's nothing to turn. David Lambert, who supplied the new switch, advised in an email to tap them round with a small chisel. Well, no chisel I have is small enough for that, and the half-inch one made no impression at all. So I attempted to drill them out. At this point I discovered that the bolts are made of the hardest substance known to Man. I wrecked two drill bits before resorting to brute force 'n' ignorance, and knocked the mounting lugs off with a cold chisel and then turned the bolts out with a pair of massive Mole grips. Surpisingly hard work.

The new switch went on without a problem, and the bike was back together in no time. I now have a lovely crisp clickety-click switch, and everything seems to be working perfectly. The slight brightening of the headlight when I touched the brake lever has gone; in fact, now the headlight dims very slightly, which is what I would expect. Road test tomorrow, assuming the rain holds off. (We're going out to the step-daughters for a meal tonight, and I need to be clean for that, so playtime has been curtailed in favour of a shower and shave.)

These security bolts are a laugh. They are meant to make it hard for a thief to remove the ignition switch and thereby steal the bike. But that, of course, is utter bollocks. The wires from the switch go to a block connector behind the headlight shroud, which is easily accessible with nothing more than popping the plastic off its lugs. If you know which wires to bridge at the connector, the bike is yours. All these bolts do is make it bloody difficult for an honest owner to carry out some basic repairs. They have been replaced with nice, simple Allen bolts. If anyone gets close enough to find that out, they will have nicked the bike already.


  1. Reminds me of Torx. They came out first in the star shape and then some bright spark decided to put a pip in the middle!

  2. The pip in the middle isn't confined to Torx bolts - it's another security feature often found on Allen heads. The idea is that it stops an ordinary key being inserted. You need a special bit with a hole in the centre to fit. These are supposed to be sold only to the trade, but sets of bits are readily available now. I find that you can usually break the "pip" off, then just use ordinary tools.

    My old Maxi had security bolts on the steering column support and ignition switch/lock, but thanks to BL quality control they hadn't been tightened sufficiently to break the heads off!!

  3. IIRC, Torx were originally conceived as security items, but of course now you can buy a set of Torx drivers in Halfords. Ditto the 'pipped' ones in due course, I imagine. Just goes to show that security is never about making it impossible for someone to nick your car or bike, just make it harder and (hopefully) not worth the effort. With the Yam, the 'not worth the effort' bit is easy.

  4. XX These security bolts are a laugh. They are meant to make it hard for a thief to remove the ignition switch and thereby steal the bike.XX

    The BEST anti theft device is the "Yamaha" badge.

    CZ is/was(?) another. A mate in Sheffield was most upset when he came out of the club to find someone had nicked the security chain and lock, but left the CZ propped against the lamp post.

  5. "The BEST anti theft device is the "Yamaha" badge."


    CZ were, of course, the same company that produced Skoda, back in the days when filling the tank doubled the resale value of the vehicle. I should know: I had a Jawa, which were CZ's older cousins. The story of the security chain doesn't surprise me in the least. Must have been a nice chain.

  6. Filling the tank can do that with a brand new Rolls Royce these days.

  7. And, no. I do not mean Rolls Royce are crap either. :-))

  8. You're not wrong. I wonder how much they hold - it's probably a secret, along with the power and torque figures. "Power: adequate."

    I can remember filling up the Rangie one day (90 litre tank) when the pump cut off because it wasn't set up to deliver more than £100 worth. Filling that old beast made me cry.

  9. The reason the CZ wasn't nicked is simple - only a CZ/Jawa owner would know that the gear lever doubles as the kick-start...

    It also operates the clutch when properly setup, which saved my bacon on more than one occasion. And I'm sure I once had the throttle cable break in the twist grip, and made it back by tying the inner cable round the frame and pulling the loop with my left hand - it went via the oil pump on that side, you see... Thanks to the foot clutch and some careful balancing I was able to pull away and ride home...

    Those commie bastards weren't as daft as we "superior" westerners made out!

  10. Slight correction: the gear lever doubled as a crude clutch release on the CZ and perhaps the very early Jawas (the ones with the round finning, pre-72 or so) but the later Jawas with square fins didn't have that. The gear lever clicked back to act as a kickstart, but that was it. Model 634, if you need to check. I know because mine didn't, and my mates CZ125 did.

    You are quite right, of course, that those Eastern-bloc things were 100% bodgeable. They might not have been very reliable, but a ball of string and a bent nail would have you home again most of the time.

  11. Electric starts were the first nail in the coffin.

    Now motorbikes have more electronic Gubbinses than a Currys trainee managers wet dream.

    And A.B.S!? WTF is THAT all about?

    Rear brake slightly before front, and a bit of cadance. Then they can shove A.B.S up their arse.

    Don't they teach motorbike riding to todays youngsters, or something?

  12. I stand corrected - I assumed that they both had the clutch release. After all, so much else was common....

    Properly adjusted it meant that you didn't need the handlebar clutch lever, except for moving off.

  13. Don't worry. Eastern stuff. Depends on which end of the five year plan they were produced. Clutches could probably be engaged/disengaged and gears changed by everything from the actual clutch/Gear lever to a bent Kopek shoved in the headlight bracket, at various, and varying, times.

  14. FT: man after my own heart. Complexity, especially when it takes things away from the rider (rather than just providing information) is always a Bad Thing. So, temperature gauges and trip meters Good, ABS and interlock gizmos that mean you have to face Mecca and perform a ritual with a goat before you can start the engine, Bad. Kickstarts, in principle Good. But electric starters are so reliable now and they are so kind to older knees that I really quite like them.

    MD: the majority of the Jawa/CZ output did have the clutch/gear thing, so you are forgiven for thinking that they all did. The main problem with the combined kicker/gear lever was not that it was a bad idea - it wasn't - but that it left the kickstart too close to the footrest. You had to operate the kicker with your toes only. If you used the arch of your foot your toes hit the footrest and got bent back with great force. This was excruciatingly painful, and led to a premanent limp until I sold the bike.

  15. I was always taught using the method, if you can not do the basics, you do not get better by using a gadget.

    Calculators and maths being a prime example.

    Of course, as I actually have gout at the moment, I CAN see the benefits of an electric over a kick start.:-)

  16. And if you ride a big single in traffic, you really need a kickstart! I stalled my XT350 a few times, and when that was warm it was an absolute bitch to start. Ten minutes was not uncommon. If you're at the head of a traffic light queue, you get unpopular very quickly. The 600E has a lecky foot, and restarts are a breeze.

    Totall agree about the basics. If you know the basics, you know *why* you are doing something, and that makes you better at it and in control. Relying on gadgets is de-skilling. I use a calculator, but I always try to do it in my head first. Keeps the brain alive.

    Sorry to hear about the gout!

  17. Furor: A big +1.

    If I could have my way, all rider aids would be banned, electronics would be trimmed back to simple electrics, headlight switches would reappear and hi-vis consigned to the dustbin. If you can't master the skillset needed to operate a motorcycle unassisted, take the bus.

    Electric starts are a good thing, though.

  18. That's why I drive a 23 year old car...

    True story: On my way back from a training course many years ago, the BMW R65 started running badly. I realised that one of the Bing carburettor diaphragms had split, since this had happened previously. I diverted into Cambridge and ended up outside a Honda dealership. I thought they might have some SuperGlue (On reflection I'm not quite sure why), however they didn't. But the newsagents across the road did.

    Much to the dealers annoyance I effected a temporary repair, and was on my way again 10 minutes later! It lasted for several weeks, by which time I had sourced some Stromberg equivalents for a couple of quid, at the local car accessory shop...

  19. Adopr, Adapt, and Improve.

    Or, Keep Calm And Carry On.

  20. "Old", though does not neccessarily mean easier.

    Any one ever strugled with a VW Beetle Heynes manual?

    EVERYTHING, "It is better to remove the engine to effect this repair".

    So much so, I was half way to unbolting it when I realised that it was one of the FEW things you did NOT have to remove the engine for, to refill the windscreen wash bottle.

  21. You mean the Beetle had a windscreen washer? I seem to remember my old bay-window camper had a Fairy Liquid bottle on the dash. You had to lean out and squirt. Foolproof, no Haynes manual required.

    I think Haynes, on the whole, are pretty good, although more and more these days they seem to tell you "this procedure is best entrusted to a dealer". The old ones used to include major stuff like a full gearbox rebuild. Good bedtime reading for the fetishist mechanic.

  22. Haynes manuals these days are crap. The ones I have from 30 years ago are infinitely more helpful, and contain proper engineering drawings of component assemblies. Armed with these no explanation is needed, and the leftover washer or spacer lying on the garage floor can be easily identified!

    BTW - didn't VW Beetles use the spare wheel to pressurise the screen washer bottle?

  23. XX microdave said...

    BTW - didn't VW Beetles use the spare wheel to pressurise the screen washer bottle? XX

    Yes....Well I will say mine did, and from the affor mentioned Heynes, it would appear they all did, at that time. I don't know if later models changed the system.

    It does have the added advantage of having to fill the spare with air, every time you go for petrol though. You are not left at the side of the road wishing you had remembered to invite the foot pump to the party.

    XX Richard said...

    You mean the Beetle had a windscreen washer? I seem to remember my old bay-window camper had a Fairy Liquid bottle on the dash.XX

    That does NOT mean that Heynes advice was to first remove the engine before filling it, did not apply.

  24. MD, you are right. The spare (mounted on the front, battering-ram style) was linked to the washer bottle. I had forgotten that. That's actually a pretty neat arrangement, when you think about it. And it worked, too.

    FT - of course, I did always take the engine out as a precaution before taking the Fairy Liquid bottle inside for a fill. Can't be too careful.


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