The Paso Project - Page 8

March 20, 2007

It took me a while, but I finally found an alternative for the seals that go in the steering head of the frame. The original seals were missing, and they are an odd size at 45mm ID x 52mm OD x 2mm thick. Ducati has made them obsolete, which makes matters worse. ProItalia, who has been great for having parts in stock that I needed, did not have these, so....I went to Ducati's website (Ducati) and got to their list of dealerships in the country. I started to call all of them, hoping someone would have some on the shelf, but I had no such luck. I then asked a couple of Internet acquaintances in other countries to call their local dealers for the seals. I even emailed Australia and they didn't have them. I was getting despirate. A couple more weeks went by, and I eventually decided to try a similar size that I found at Metric Seals. Part # S 45 X 52 X 4 WAO is 2mm thicker, but they work wonderfully. They are a green color, but a phone call reassured me that they were compatible with grease and oil.

[New steering stem seals from Metric Seals.]

Now that I had the seals, I was able to reassemble the front end. I'd previously greased the new bearings really well and was set in installing the seals. I dropped the bearing back onto the race, installed the seal, then put the distance piece (spacer) into the frame to see how they all looked and fit. It looked terrific!,br>

[The new upper steering stem bearing placed in the frame.]

[The new steering stem seal installed.]

[Showing all the parts installed without the steering stem.]

I then moved on to the bottom seal. I went to clean the area where the seal goes, and something didn't quite look "right".

[Part of the old seal still in the frame. Notice the lip or groove showing the separation of the parts.]

I looked a little closer, and I couldn't believe it....well, ok, I could. Nothing really surprises me with this thing, any more......the metal portion of the old oil seal was still in the steering head. Unfortunately, there didn't appear to be anything to grip to pull it out, and it was powder-coated over. Fortunately, I was barely able to catch the lip of the metal ring with a hammer and punch and start rolling it out. I'm still amazed I was able to catch the lip of it, as it didn't feel like there was anything to catch.

[The old seal starting to be rolled over and out of the frame.]

Removing the oil seal section left the frame really nice, clean, and smooth, and the new seal fit right into place....even easier than the upper seal, since I had to deal with the powder-coating on that area.

[New seal installed on the bottom of the frame.]

During this whole ordeal of having to find the new seals, then going through the motions of installing them, I had a lot of inactive time that I filled by taking the front rotors over to Rick's shop, Motorcycle Parts Plus, to borrow his sandblaster. I was hoping to get rid of all the rust that was in the centers, so they'd look a little better. Since the rotors are cast iron and will rerust, I only bead blast the sections I was to paint. I then masked off the contact area with black electrical tape (it curves easily and doesn't leave that sticky residual), and then I painted the centers a gloss black.

[The front rotor sandblasted.]

[masked off with electrical tape.]

[Sporting new paint.]

If you remember from my previous update, I was wanting to try to use the more common, 12mm-wide, wheel bearings that are less expensive than the 16mm OEM ones. Rick (Motorcycle Parts Plus) said he could do the conversion for me, plus, I was having a difficult time trying to figure out how to drive the front-wheel bearings out. I don't have any pictures, as Rick did the work, but he made a special stepped drift/punch to drive the wheel bearings out. The ID of the bearings are 20mm, but the axle is 17mm, so the way the front wheel spacer (that goes through the hub, between the two bearing) is designed is with a "step" to it on both sides. This smaller OD of the spacer is 20mm so the bearing's ID slides over it and rests against step on the spacer. Anyway, to properly make spacers for the 12mm bearings, Rick decided to make a 4mm spacer for both the inner and outer races of the bearings. On the outside, you can't even tell a differnce.

Here I tried to make what I just wrote a little easier to understand (I hope it works):

[Drawing of the step in the spacer for the front wheel's hub.]

On the rear wheel, though, the spacers cannot be placed inside the hub because of the way that wheel's spacer is. The 4mm spacers had to be made for the bearing's inner race, but on the outside of the hub. The brake side will be easy to install between the bearing and the rear brake bracket, but the other side has to be placed between the sprocket carrier and the wheel's bearing. With the design of the Paso's rear wheel/axle/swingarm, this isn't difficult to do....but I will have to take special precautions to remember it each time I take the rear wheel off, or there is a risk it will drop out and there will be binding that can cause some damage to some of the components....and potentially be unsafe to ride.

To take up some more time, I was getting ready to install the front wheel when I decided I'd try to clean it up a little. The clear coat was cracking in several places, small pieces were missing, and the rim was oxidizing in several places. Originally I was going to leave it alone, but I couldn't bring myself to put it back on the bike while looking that badly, so......I would up using some paint stripper on the clear-coated section over the raw aluminum, left the center black alone, and then lightly sanded the aluminum.

[The front wheel showing the discoloration, some cracking in the clearcoat, and the overall weathered and abused appearance..]

[Showing the paint stripper doing its job on the clear coat.]

[You can see on the right side, where I've scraped some of the clear coat off with the help of the stripper.]

[Wiped clean and lightly sanded. Still not buffed, yet.]

I got tired of working on the rim and having it put more and more time between now and getting the bike running, so I put the front end back on the bike and will work on the rim some more when I have some time to do a little bit of polishing.

Here's the front end, FINALLY back on the bike!

[The fornt end FINALLY back on the bike.]

So, naturally, after all the hassel of repairing the bent rim, replacing bearings, having spacers made, mounting new tires, using paint stripper and sanding the front rim, two weeks ago, I was offered and accepted a Paso rolling chassis. This Chassis has wheels that are in better condition, and with good bearings, for the cost of gas to go pick it up. Regardless, the trip to Atlanta to pick the bike up was well worth it in the fact that the tank is practically rust-free, and it came with a nice Corbin seat. You can read more about this rolling chassis on the Pile of Paso page.

[My Pile of Paso parts bike.]

[The inside of the Pile of Paso donor bike.]

Now that I have a tank that doesn't need cleaning and sealing, I'm debating on skipping the removal of the swingarm, just checking torques instead, and seeing if I can get this thing to fire up, but.......with what all I've seen throughout this bike. I just can't bring myself to skip that step. I have no idea what I'll find in the swingarm pivot area nor the rear shock pivot points. I'm almost demanded to remove and inspect everything there.....if not for any other reason, for safety.

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