Tuesday, May 25, 2010

One Thosand Years Later...

Not a weekend's past since my last post when I didn't intend to work on the Puch.

In the last two, I finally got to it. I restored a bicycle, bought a couple of cars (selling one, more on that later), and got caught up in all manner of other foolishness and projects. With my new June 11th Road America Puch Rally deadline fast approaching, I knew is was time for business.

The wheels are off. Swingarm off. Some additional sheet metal off. Started addressing rust, cleaning parts, and preparing for light modifications, which will unfold here soon. The main tin is painted and looks great - rubber knee pads are a treat, all the way from Austria...

Here are some shots of the Puch as she sits now:

There's a lot of sanding, scrubbing, painting, and retouching to come. There will be a few light mods, and a long few nights of assembly.

My goal by memorial day is treating the frame, tool and battery box cover, the swingarm rust, painting the cylinder and pipes, and getting the wheels blasted and prepped for powdercoat.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

BIG Deals.

First, I finished the table I've been building for my mom. I'll post some better pics later, along with some of other furniture I've made over the years.

I knew that something was missing. So, back to sanding a Bicycle frame I've been working on, which is suspended from the basement ceiling. A few minutes into some intense sanding, a short curtain rod fell from the joists above. There it was! I bend it over my head, welded it in, and got back to grinding...

No, I didn't make the marble top. That used to be part of a table that crumbled when my dad fell on it years back. It's been sitting on a crate ever since.

One less project in the queue. And, there are big things happening in Puch Land, thanks to Frankie and Matt:


Stay Tuned! AND GET YOUR BIKES RUNNING! Frozen snot is coming quick.

Thursday, February 25, 2010


Doing some final work to the tin before Graham gets his shot to make it all sparkly and beautiful. Above is a patch where there was once a rough little mystery hole on the headlight shell.

Some boogertime tac welds to fill in that disgusting, heartbreaking void....

It took a lot of grinding, more tacs and grinding to get it to a happy (not ecstatic) place.

I had to restore part of the lip where the rubber knee pads meet Austrian Steel. They were rusted away in some places. Again, I approached the situation with one nerve-racking little baby tac after another. Then, I used a cutting wheel on the new MAKITA grinder (which is the best purchase I've made in a long time) to grind from above and below to thin the bulbous welding formations.

In the end, it looked decent, and the old kneepad fit well. This was all a mightily enjoyable challenge. Although the result wasn't fit for the Discovery Channel, Shinya, even hidden things are perfect classification - I'm a novice, and feel good about ceding that territory to the masters. I mean, if I did perfect work on the first try, masters would be chumps, right? I have a lot of years ahead of me with this stuff...

Monday, February 8, 2010

Strip it!

Been stripping the bodywork for the last week. Spray, scrape. Spray, scrape. Whatever they coated these thing with in Austria in the last 60's is a stoic and stubborn blend. I shall not be conquered.

Want to take it down to bare metal to address some of the surface rust. It's worse where the knee pads met metal, but nothing near fatal.

Also spent a lot of time meditating on the pipes. I have an idea, which might finally set the tone for where the rest of the bike it going. It will be a different, unique look foy! the Puch, but I think she'll be happy!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Right back at it, again.

In the last month, I've actually spent some time in the shop! First, building a long-promised table for my mom (almost done), then, getting the Puch Stripped. I have a challenge - paint, replating and dealing with the rusty pipes, cleaning up the frame and cylinder head...

And, new tires, after they blew out on the last ride to the garage. She was telling me that it was time to get to work...

Monday, November 9, 2009

Falling in love again...

I worked that Benz. More, way more hours under that thing. When I twisted my little 11mm line wrench for the last time, and the hydraulic fluid flowed with nary' a leak - every painful moment was worth it. There was more cutting and re-threading involved than I care to share.

The exhaust did not surrender - it fought to the last and was duly vanquished.

The brakes bled gallons.

When I took the first ride in what felt like an entirely different car - floating along with the power coming on in a classical wave - nothing better.

I'm still riding the puch all original. Looks like I'll be re-chroming the pipes and making do with many of the parts I have on hand - the proper way to do it. I'll be fighting the temptation to buy a Triumph. I'll be repainting a Motobecane bicycle and experimenting with zinc plating and silverleaf. I'll bring the BMW back to riding condition with some new cables, paint, wiring and a pair of new clip-ons....

All in all, many more mistakes, triumphs, fleeting moments of regret and mechanical challenges to come!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

MercCrucible Update

At first, straight forward. Rusty line, fasteners, normal stuff. A challenge for sure. Had it all together, one last fitting on the end of a hydraulic line didn't thread right. I've spent 10 hours working on that one fitting. At this point, I've cut out the line - my cousin offered to remake it for me tomorrow. Here's to hoping. Haven't touched the exhaust or brakes.

To update the analogy of a challenging exam:

Things start well, the questions are a challenge = pulse quickens as your preparation and focus pay off and pour on the paper. 45 minutes in, and you know you're ahead of the game.

The room is dead silent.

In the distance, down the hall, a dull thud. Then another, much louder. The door to the hall bursta open - a flash-bang grenade rolls in and explodes. Your ears are ringing, you can't see - the first row and proctor are on the floor. Some are moving, some screaming - all as a band of German paramilitaries fan out across the room through the mist and chaos.

They're looking for you - the one that dared to crawl under a specimen of rolling national pride - the one that dare lay his American hand upon the delicate underbelly of a Mercedes Benz.

In and out of consciousness, tied down on the proctor's table. Hydraulic fluid drip, drip, drips into your eyes from a perfectly engineered torture device suspended above your head. Your captors sprinkle rust flakes into your face. One even throws the occasional box wrench onto your chest.

Why should I have expected it to go any other way?? :) Love it. Been riding the Puch by necessity - brilliant!