Friday, November 26, 2010

Schwinn Caliente / Bottom Bracket Shell

Safety Glasses or Goggles must be worn when working with chemicals, grinders, hammers, drills etc. I also strongly recommend wearing surgical gloves when working with any chemicals, cleaners, polishes, rust-removers and de greasers.
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Above: It is not necessary to remove the drive-side cup when servicing the crank/bracket. To position the bracket shell for cleaning, just loosen the clamp on the work-stand and swing the frame in or away from you. Then re-tighten the clamp. The bracket should now be tilted down towards you. You will want to do this with the drive side cup on the far or inside. (see pic above). After you have cleaned it out as good as you can with a rag it is time to spray the inside with Clean-Streak. To avoid making a mess hold a small plastic tub under and behind the bracket. This is to catch the drippings and catch any spray that comes out the other side. You want to do this outside or in a very well ventilated work area. I do this with the exhaust fan on and the overhead doors slightly open. In the summer I do all the spraying of cleaners/de greasers outside whenever possible.
After spraying the inside of the bracket-shell, I jam a clean rag or wad of paper towel inside the bracket. I push it in there real good to make contact with the drive side cup. Then I pinch the rag with needle-nose pliers and twist while pushing in at the same time.
You want to do all this before the cleaner dries up. So it is best to have everything ready in advance. Then remove the rag or paper towel and check the inside with a flash-light and repeat if necessary.
As for the bracket, left side cup and retainer ring. (see above pic) I first wipe off the excess grease then place them in my make-shift parts cleaner for spraying. (see pic below) Kids do NOT use Mom`s pot and strainer as they will then be contaminated (toxic) and no longer safe for cooking. Ever!

Below: This is the original steel three piece crank off the Caliente. The chain-ring guard is in rough shape at the mounting points. Also it is extremely heavy. I decided to replace it with an alloy crank that I scavenged off a parts bike. The replacement crank is nothing special but is considerably lighter and looks to be in good shape.
Above: The replacement crank installed on the freshly cleaned, greased and rebuilt bracket. I did eventually replace the chain with a new Schwinn (derailleur chain) and install new dust caps. The rebuilt bracket is very smooth and the replacement crank looks better and weighs considerably less than the original.
Above: While the original chrome-plated steel stem on the Caliente looked ok. It too was extremely heavy. And the clamp and bolt (on the stem) looked more "Huffy Cruiser" than "Schwinn Road Bike". So I cleaned up this used alloy stem and installed it on the bike.
Above: The brakes are generic "Star" side-pull caliper brakes. On the front brake caliper half of the plastic washer between the two arms was missing. This caused the front or right arm to rub on the back or left arm. Looking through my tray of small brake parts I located a replacement. I had dismantled the caliper for polishing anyway, so replacing it was no big deal. I also noticed the return spring on the caliper would not stay in place on one side. It appeared to be bent, so I tried to straighten it with no success. Digging through my pile of old brakes calipers I found one with a similar spring. I installed it, and it works fine.
Although if you look closely you can see it is a tiny bit too long. "No harm No foul" In other words "good enough". I almost replaced the brake calipers with center-pulls (and I still might) but they are working fine "so for now" I`ll keep them.
Well friends that`s all I have for today. I will be touching up the paint and taking the finish photographs Monday. It will be too cold for paint touch-up before that. With a little luck I should be posting the finish pics Monday or Tuesday. Till then RIDE SAFE and remember to always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE!
Above: My next project, I am really looking forward this one. Cheers, Hugh

Monday, November 22, 2010

Toddler Chopper Bicycle

Hello and Welcome. I built this Mini Chopper (Above) from a toddler bicycle I had that was missing the front-end. I had given the front wheel & tire along with the fork to a friend, for something he was building.
Above: The chrome tip fork I used for the mini chopper was originally part of the white Nishiki Olympic hanging on the wall. The frame was stressed. So I stripped it
for parts and hung it up. Turns out the fork fit ok, but the Steerer tube was too short. I solved this problem by cutting a 1/4 inch off the top and bottom of the head-tube on the toddler frame.(after removing the cups of course) This gave me enough exposed thread to mount the fork on the frame. I had kept the bearings and hardware with the fork. The Nishiki bearings fit the cups on the Huffy head tube pretty good.
Above: For the stem I used an old Schwinn stem that I think was off an old Varsity.
The handlebars are from a typical 1980s mountain bike. I cut about 4 inches off both ends of the bars. Then I put on a set of Schwinn-like grips I had left-over from some long ago project. As for the head-set, I screwed on the threaded top cup/cap. Then I put-on a keyed head-set washer then the Nishiki threaded lock ring.
At this point I ran-out of threaded tube, so no cap nut.
Above: I took the "John Deere Yellow" wheels off this John Deere tyke bike. Looks like I might be building a Mini John Deere Chopper at some point in the future. The original wheels were also yellow but not the same shade.
Above: I replaced the red/pinkish pedals with these black ones from the scavenged pedal-box. They are a little too big for the bike. I will see if I can scrape-up a smaller black set.
Above: I`m not too keen on this "girly looking" Pacific saddle. I need to find a black mini bmx saddle. I think "Bullet-Proof" makes one that costs about 10.00 . I might spray this one black "for show" till I find one. I forgot to mention how I removed the paint from the fork blades. I used a 4 inch angle grinder with a soft brass wheel-brush. I used the same to clean-up the dingy looking Schwinn stem. As for chopping the head-tube. First I made a groove using a cutting wheel attached to a 3/8 high-speed drill. Then finished the cuts with a hand hack-saw. The cutting wheel on the drill was too difficult to control. To cut-off the bar ends I placed the end in the bench vise and cut those by hand with the hack saw. I used the jaw-width (vise) as a guide to cut-off the exact amount from both ends. Then filed off the sharp edges with a (hand) metal file.
Above: Me cleaning the last traces of white-paint off the fork crown using a "tooth-brush size" brass detailing brush. Right now I am putting the finishing touches on a Royal Blue Schwinn Caliente. I sure hope they make fingernail polish in royal blue. I`m sure gonna need some for touching up the paint.
Above: Preview of the Caliente. Till Next Time, RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE,RESTORE&RECYCLE!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Schwinn Varsity / Restoration in Pictures

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Hello and Welcome, I believe this is where we left off, the Varsity frame cleaned-up and ready to start. I cleaned-up the kick-stand with the soft brass wheel-brush on a 4 inch angle grinder. Then I gave it a  quick coat of  Turtle-Wax Chrome-Cleaner / Polish / Rust-Remover.
Above: Fork and crown/crown-race all cleaned-up (Mother`s and brass-brush) and ready for bearings and grease.
Above: The One-Piece "Ashtabula" Crank all cleaned up and ready for re-assembly. Ashtabula is the city in Ohio USA were virtually all these cranks were once manufactured for Schwinn. (and many others)
Above: The Ashtabula crank back on the bike. I should have used this crank on the Continental as it is near flawless. Did I mention these make great small-boat anchors?
Cleaning-up the stem-mount shifters, refurbishing one side at a time.
It is always nice to have the other side intact for a reference. I used the Turtle-Wax on the Chrome, and Mother`s on the un-plated metal parts. And brass detail brushes on the mounting bracket.
Above: I used the soft brass wheel-brush (mini angle grinder) and Turtle-Wax Chrome Cleaner/Polish on the Stem, Seat-Post, and the Seat-Post Clamp and Bolt.
I also polished the bars with the Turtle-Wax and touched them up with the soft brass
wheel-brush. Brass wheel brushes throw lots of bristles when using! Always wear safety goggles or glasses! This bike is really starting to come together now.
Above: The original rear derailleur cleaned-up great, but there was no way to tighten it up. It would not stay in the proper position even though the spring was fine. I think a plastic part on the back side was missing or broke-off. I like the Sun-Tour derailleurs better anyway. Fortunately I found this one still on a parts bike. It was a real mess. I had to take the bottom half apart to clean the jockey wheels and frame.
The wheel-set got the usual brass detail brush after polishing with the Turtle-Wax. The rear wheel got trued on the stand, the front was fine. I decided to go with CST Black-Walls with the wire bead. As usual the CST`s were a pain in the neck to get mounted properly. But I got them seated properly after a little hand manipulation at low pressure.
Above: I was able to re-use the front "Schwinn Approved" derailleur. The pedals are not very good or visually pleasing.(ugly) But they are the only 1/2 inch thread pedals I have on hand right now. Did I forget to trim and cap that cable?
Above: The bike is finished! I only used the aero levers because I had a slightly scratched-up used set laying around. The "Shorty" fenders are take-offs from the last Continental. I decided to go with a good used saddle for this bike. I wanted this bike to be reliable and affordable.
Above: After re-storing this Schwinn Varsity I have a whole new respect for the Schwinn Continental. While both had obsolete one piece cranks and were hopelessly over weight. The Continental was still a huge improvement over the Varsity. Till Next Time, Ride Safe and remember to always RESCUE, RESTORE & RECYCLE

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Schwinn Varsity / Cleaning-up the Frame

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This is typical cracking of late 70`s early 80's old Schwinn decals. The Gold decals seem to be the worst (for cracking). At least I thought so, until I saw these. After striping the bike down to the frame, it`s time to remove these badly cracked decals.
Some people think the cracked decals give a bike character, I respectfully disagree.

Above: The bike stripped down to the frame. I did relocate some of the clutter so I could "get to work". Look for me on a future episode of "Hoarders"

Above: This is "The Stuff" I like to use to remove all kinds of crud. I love Goo-Gone, almost as much as I love Mother`s Mag and Aluminum Polish. This won`t remove the decal by itself. But it will soften it up a bit. I put some on a rag or paper towel and rub the decal and surrounding area down real good.

Above: After wiping off the excess Goo-Gone I warm-up the first 5 or six inches of the decal with the heat-gun. You want to keep the heat-gun moving all the time to avoid cooking the paint. Try heating the decal for a short time and then try to scrape the decal off. I like to use my thumb-nail with a paper towel over it. You might want to use a plastic scraper. If the decal is hot enough it should break-up easily when scraping.

Above: This is me demonstrating my paper-towel over the thumb-nail method. After I scrape an area it will leave some flecks behind.

Above: Here is the first 5 or 6 inches of the decal removed. Afterwards I put some Goo-Gone on a clean paper-towel and wipe off the flecks. They will slide around a little, so you will have to fold the towel and hit it a few times.

Above; It should look something like this when you are finished. Now it`s time to clean-up those bearing-cups and races.

Above: After wiping-off the grease I cover the race with a good coat of Mother`s.
After it sets for a minute I wipe it off and buff with a paper towel. I usually have to repeat this two or three times before it really shines.

Above: I think this looks fine and it feels smooth. If I am still not satisfied
with the results. I sometimes sand it down (just a little) with # 600 automotive grade wet-sand paper, then re-polish.

Above; The head set bearing-cups get the same treatment. Sometimes I will use a brass-bristle detail brush on the inside of these. After all the bad decals are removed and all the races /cups are clean I wipe the frame down with Armor-All "Cleaning" Wipes.

Above; Now we have a nice clean frame to work with. Note: This bike is actually finished now. I will be posting the restoration in pictures in a few days. I think you will like it. Till next time, PLEASE RIDE SAFE and remember to always RESCUE,RESTORE&RECYCLE Cheers,Hugh

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Brake-Lever hoods for old Schwinn`s

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Above: This brake-lever was used on the Schwinn Continental and some Le-Tours and most likely several other bikes (circa 1980). It does not look like a good candidate for brake-lever hoods. As you can see the suicide lever on this one has already been removed. For removal see August 8th 2010 (We don`t need no Stinking Suicide Levers!) I chose to remove the cap screw on the side of the lever frame. This gives the hood a better fit. If you do this, make sure that you can not manipulate the post to come out of the housing after installing the hood. If you can replace the cap screw and continue.

Above: To remove the lever loosen the clamp using the slotted screw located in side the lever body. On some levers you will need to use an an Allen wrench. After you slide the clamp off the bars then remove the screw and remove the clamp. This will make it easier to install the hood. Take notice of how this came apart, as you will need to re-assemble it later.

Above: I have already removed the tip/adjuster from the lever. It screws off by turning it counter clock-wise by hand. You may need pliers to get it started. I like to insert the lever body into the hood as shown. Be careful using the "Cane Creek" hoods they are not as pliable as the old gum hoods. Do NOT insert the
lever body all the way just yet.

Above: Depending on the climate, You might want to warm-up the hoods "a little" using a heat-gun (set on low)or hair dryer gun. This will make the hood somewhat more pliable and easier to stretch over the lever body or frame. The key words here are "a little" You still have to handle the (insert swear word here) thing!

Above: This is what it should look like when you have worked it into place. Now you are ready to do come cutting. You will need a razor knife with a fresh blade and a small pair of sharp scissors. Use EXTREME CAUTION when working with SHARP TOOLS not
a job for children. If you don`t feel confident find someone with experience to do the cutting for you.

Above: You can feel where the post meets the frame of the lever you might even see a slight ridge. When cutting it is better to come up a little short that to cut too much off. If you cut it close enough, the tip will push the excess out of the way when you screw it back on.

Above: When screwed back on the tip / adjuster should make contact with the hood.
This one is not screwed-on all the way in this pic.

Above: Here I cut-out the channel for the lever using the razor knife. After cutting out the channel you can touch-up the edges with the small scissors.

Above: After trimming the channel cut, I screwed the tip/adjuster down all the way.
Then re-attached the clamp to the lever frame and mounted it on the handlebars. The top cut can now be touched-up with a single edge razor blade if necessary. I decided to leave well enough alone.

Yeah Baby! That`s what I`m talking about!

Till Next Time, Please RIDE SAFE and Remember to Always RESCUE,RESTORE&RECYCLE
Cheers, Hugh

Monday, November 1, 2010

1980 Continental finished

Hello and Welcome,
I put the finishing touches on the 1980 Continental Sat am. It was cloudy so the pics don`t really do it justice. Also, a bike I built last winter came back for repairs /changes

This pic got the Bare-Bones Continental featured on for Halloween! SWEET!

The skin-walls look like white-walls. But are actually a tad darker than a white-wall

Going back to the Phat  SAKE Road-Champion bars was a good choice

This is always a good pic to include in your ads. It shows attention to detail

The hoods required some razor cutting and removal of the "suicide levers"

The Track-Saddle goes well with the tape and hoods and the bare-bones look

Chain-stay guard made with 3-M detail tape.  There is a  little rust spot, at just past  12 : 00 on  the chain-ring guard.

An old friend came back this week  for some changes / repairs.

Damaged levers replaced with re-furbished two-way levers. Extra padding was added to the bars on the flats and inside the curl.

Above: Work has resumed on the Red Varsity. I found some near-mint and very correct looking wheels for it today for 15.00 (and some change). I might be going with road-tires after all. I have a set of black-walls that I think will look great on this bike. Updates coming soon. In the mean-time Please Ride Safe and remember to always RESCUE,RESTORE&RECYCLE
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