Like a Hail Mary Pass, I went ahead and dove straight to troubleshooting the bike myself in my own garage. Like I previously wrote, taking things apart isn’t necessarily tricky (except maybe for the stripped bolts), but doing it on a vintage two-stroke engine I’ve had no previous experience troubleshooting is. But like a desperate/excited quarterback, I just said, “Ah, what the hell. Let’s just go for it!”
(Excuse the numerous football analogies; I undertook this during a football-filled weekend.)
So I got started on the left case cover to see where the clutch cable attached to, making sure nothing was amiss there. First of all, can I just say how much I hate stripped heads on bolts? Those things get me so belligerent like nothing else!
Anyway, though not being completely familiar with what I was looking at, nothing seemed wrong on this end of the clutch cable, nor did anything pop out or fell out when I removed the case cover. So off on the other side I went.
…but when the heads are stripped on the case cover bolts, I had to! Seriously, I HATE stripped bolts!
After some life-hacking (thank you rubber bands!), I managed to finally unscrew one or two really troublesome bolts to remove the right case cover where the actual clutch assembly was. On this end, there wasn’t anything that looked wrong, but again, I’m not completely astute to what I was looking at, only that nothing was grossly amiss that I could tell.
Looks fine to me!
It does look “simpler” than the clutch side of the ’79 Honda XL250 engine I last opened up.
It was at this point that I decided it would probably be best to bring it in to my friend Rob’s shop, and have him take a gander with his more experienced eyes. Not only that, but if the problem does end up lying in the transmission itself, I simply do not have the needed tools to remove the clutch basket (and the magneto on the other side) to be able to split the crankcase to get to the transmission. I suppose I could improvise with what tools I do have to get the job done like I did when I disassembled the engine on the art bike, but I need to be able to put this engine back together to a functioning state, so I’d rather not life-hack my way into it.
And I am actually starting to get the feeling that the problem really is in the transmission, namely in 1st gear. I wrote previously that taking off on 1st gear was tricky, which I thought was a fueling quirk. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was just the 1st gear failing until it finally did completely, leaving me unable to get into it from Neutral as has been the case since.
So off to Rob’s shop is where the engine is going next. Once opened up and we can thoroughly troubleshoot the issue, I’ll also hope to source and order all the gaskets that could do with some replacing, as well as replacing all the case cover bolts with either socket head cap or hex head cap screws.
You know, I didn’t think I’d be tearing down two engines within six months when this year started.
But hey, new experiences has been this season's recurring moto theme, hasn't it?