Nicholas Fluhart

August 31, 2009

UPDATE: Project Recon

Filed under: Project: Honda Recon — Nicholas Fluhart @ 12:30 pm

So far, the Recon project has been a success and I have a buyer lined out. The engine runs smooth and quiet and overall the bike performs well. However, after getting a chance to operate it, I noticed it developed a popping sound on the right front. The sound became exceptionally worse in reverse. At first glance I thought it was a brake issue, but when I applied the brake the sound remained the same which means it likely isn’t the brake. The only other thing it could be is a wheel bearing issue. Perhaps I had incorrect bearings? Well, not exactly.

Getting Started

Getting Started

So I pulled it up in the shop and slid a jack under it to remove the wheel. I buzzed the wheel off with the impact wrench, removed the cotter pin from the spindle, removed the nut, and slid the brake drum off.

Removing the Drum

Removing the Drum

When I removed the drum, there really wasn’t anything immediately noticeable. Everything looked functional and I could see no obvious damage. So I turned my attention to my initial concern: the bearings. Again, nothing obvious jumped out at me, however upon closer inspection I could see that the bearing collar, which serves as a spacer between the two bearings, was a little more loose between the bearings than I’d like it to be. Although it’s a simple spacer, it serves an important function. These ball bearings are not tapered and they cannot take any amount of side-load on the inner race. When the drum/hub is installed and the spindle nut is tightened, the collar keeps the inner races of the two bearings from getting mashed from the side. It holds the races evenly under the load. If the collar is worn on either end, which usually occurs if the hub was at one time operated with a defective bearing, the races will be subject to a direct side-load and immediately begin to bind. To test my theory, I reinstalled the hub and tightened the nut. Instantly I could feel that the more I tightened the nut, the more I could feel a drag on the bearings until they began to bind. The next step was to pull the bearings and replace the collar. Fortunately, I happened to have a new collar on the shelf from a previous part-out job, so that saved me from having to make one from scratch.

The New Collar

The New Collar

Only one bearing and seal needed to be removed in order to replace the collar. Once I had the hub on the bench I proceeded to remove the inside seal and bearing. The challenge here was to keep from damaging the seal which I just recently installed.

Removing the Seal

Removing the Seal

I used a wide flat head screwdriver to gently remove the seal in a circular pattern. I then proceeded to remove the bearing. Note: The seal could also have been removed at the same time as the bearing. As the bearing is pushed out it will typically push the seal out as it goes. However, it can sometimes complicate bearing removal and since I planned to reuse the components, I didn’t want to smack the bearing any harder than I had to.

Removing the Bearing

Removing the Bearing

After I removed the old collar I inspected both bearings which I had just recently replaced during the rebuild project. Fortunately, I noticed the noise immediately upon operating the ATV and was able to catch it in time. Both bearings appeared to be in good condition. They turned smoothly and had no slack. I installed the new collar and reinstalled the bearing and seal. Ideally, it is best to use a press to install bearings. However, when one is not available you can use something with the same outside diameter as the bearing to tap it into place. You never want to smack the center race. In this case, I used a socket.

Reinstalling the Bearing

Reinstalling the Bearing

Once the components were all inspected and reinstalled, I installed the brake drum back onto the spindle and reinstalled the castle nut. I spun the hub and it worked perfectly. The nut was good and tight but the bearings had no excessive drag and turned smoothly. Mission accomplished. I installed a new cotter pin through the castle nut.

Installing the Hub/Drum

Installing the Hub/Drum

When the drum was properly installed, I began adjusting the brake shoes. I pulled the rubber inspection plug in the drum and used a narrow brake spoon to work the adjusters.

Adjusting the Shoes

Adjusting the Shoes

I adjusted the shoes until they maintained the proper drag on the drum, then I reinstalled the wheel.

Finished

Finished

After I completed the repair, it was time to put it through the paces, after all, I have to make sure it will hold up through a variety of service environments.

Mandatory Testing Procedures

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August 15, 2009

Project Recon

Filed under: Project: Honda Recon — Nicholas Fluhart @ 8:27 pm

I thought I’d make a post on a project I recently completed. It’s nothing out of the ordinary, but it turned out to be much more involved than I initially anticipated, as is usually the case with most projects. This is a 1998 Honda Recon 250 that I purchased late last year.

1998 Honda Recon 250 - Finished

1998 Honda Recon 250 - Finished

I bought it for $350 with the intention of fixing a few things and selling it for around $1500. That’s pretty much what I did, but I ended up fixing a lot more than I intended to fix. When I purchased it, I knew it needed a quick top-end rebuild, front brakes and wheel bearings, but the main thing it needed was to determine why it wouldn’t shift out of neutral. I have some experience with these engines and knew that sometimes the internal linkage could wear and bind which causes it not to shift. This is usually an easy fix. It’s best to pull the engine but you typically don’t need to split the main cases. I figured since I had to put a set rings in it, I might as well pull the engine anyway, so that’s what I did.

At the Bench

I removed the top end and side cases and began inspecting the shift linkage. This is where the first round of unexpected repairs began. I couldn’t see anything wrong or worn which was bad news because that meant the problem may be in the transmission and I would have to split the cases, so I did. And again, I couldn’t see anything wrong. I inspected the shift drum, forks, guide rail, and the dogs on the gears. Everything looked great. I reassembled the main cases, tried it again and I was able to shift it by hand perfectly. This was confusing. Clearly, something must have been in a bind and was now free. However, this was concerning because I didn’t actually repair anything and it could potentially fail again. It was at this time I decided to replace the whole gear set and linkage in the transmission to be on the safe side. Fortunately, a friend had a transmission he was not using so I was able to get everything I needed. Finally, hours of disassembling, reassembling, dissembling, and reassembling again, I completed the engine.

Completed Engine

Completed Engine

After I finished the engine, I went ahead and replaced the front bearings and seals, went through the drum brake assemblies and hung new springs and shoes. Although the rear brakes had new shoes, they didn’t work that great, so I disassembled them. That’s where the second round of unexpected repairs started. During inspection I found that the axle splines for the wheel hubs were worn almost completely smooth and the axle bearings had slack. So I pulled the axle and housing as well as the differential. It’s fairly easy to install axle bearings in a differential, but as I disassembled it I found that the pinion bearing also had slack. Pinion bearings require special tools and a lot of finesse. Fortunately, the gears were in good shape. What is more fortunate, is that I had just purchased another Recon for $100 and it had a lot of what I needed on it (I wish I had it back when I was working on the transmission).

On the Floor

After finishing the chassis, I put my attention back on the engine and installed it.

In the Frame

Once installed, it fired right up and ran perfectly. After it was all over, I had pretty much rebuilt the ATV from front to back, including a lot of cosmetic stuff. It turned out to be far more than I wanted to do and far more than I had time or energy, but when I finished I still only had about $650 or $700 in it, total. It took about five months working here and there in my spare time.

Finished

Until next time…

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