July 04, 2014 – Removing The Starboard Bilge Plate Shoe (Part Two)

To remove the starboard Bilge Plate Shoe, I needed to do some work inside the boat.  The first thing to do was to remove the starboard water tank from underneath the main salon starboard bunk.

I used my battery drill, with a flat screwdriver bit loaded into the drill’s chuck. I backed out the screws that held the bunk timbers in place.

I removed the water tank’s vent tube hose.

And, I removed the supply hose from the bottom of the water tank.

The supply adaptor that protruded out of the lower end of the tank was too long to allow the water tank to be lifted clear of the bunk area.  I needed to remove the adaptor. (I do not have plans to reuse the original water tanks, so what damage I might do to them didn’t matter to me.)

I muckled on to the adaptor with my pipe wrench and the fitting broke free very easily!  It turns out, this was two fittings fiberglassed into one. And, it leaked badly.  A very poor design, or some kind of repair.

After the supply fitting was removed, the water tank could be easily lifted out of the bunk and then transferred out into the cockpit.

I also removed what looked like an old “house battery” platform from underneath the bunk.

Next, I removed the Start Battery from underneath the Navigation Station.

Back outside the hull, I used my Makita grinder to deeply clean off the surface of the Bilge Plate Shoe so that I could expose the heads of the fastenings that were hold the shoe to the hull.

Some of the screws backed out easily.

Most of them didn’t!  Because I plan to replace the shoe, I didn’t mind “digging” a hole around the head of each screw, using a hammer and a screwdriver to do the excavating.

After all of the screws were removed, using the blunt end of a splitting maul, I drove the Bilge Plate Bolts up flush with the face of the shoe.

Then, I drove the bolts clear through and free of the hull using a hammer and a drift.

My dog Reuben supervised each step of the way!

Once the Bilge Plate Bolts were clear of the hull, I returned to driving wedges between the shoe and the exterior surface of the boat.

And, the Bilge Plate Shoe dropped free from the hull!

I climbed inside of the hull and gathered up the old Bilge Plate Bolts and backing plates.





Categories: Removing The Bilge Plate Shoes, Restoration Work | Leave a comment

June 30, 2014 – Removing The Starboard Bilge Shoe From The Hull (Part One)

On this day, I decided to do some preliminary “poking around” to get a feel for what kind of condition “ElizaLin’s” hull was in.  Of specific interest was the area that is referred to as the “garboard / keel joint”.  On old wooden boats, this joint is notorious for breaking open and letting water in. On the wooden versions of the Golden Hind 31′, the exterior of the hull was covered with a product that I think was called, “Cascover”.  I believe this was a nylon fabric bedded into some kind of glue. On “ElizaLin”, the covering was breached along the garboard / keel joint and water had worked its way up between the fabric and the exterior surface of the plywood sheathing that makes up the hull.  This covering needed to be removed.

This is the garboard / keel joint that I am referring to, just above my fingers.

Here you can see that the original protective covering has broken down and separated from the plywood hull.

The removal of the loose covering was not much different than removing old canvas style wallpaper.  Just rip and tear!

I also did some removal of the old covering and old bottom paint with a putty knife and chisel.

To remove some of the decomposed “gunk” out of the garboard / keel joint, I used an old trick of creating a “reefing tool” out of the tang of a hand file.

I bent the tang of the file over in my shop vise.

Then, I ground a “blade” on the tang’s tip using my bench grinder.

A file repurposed to a reefing tool always works great!

I also did some exploring with my 8″ grinder; working down the old material covering the deadwood.

But, my real focus of the afternoon was to try to remove the starboard Bilge Plate Shoe.  To do this, I used my 4″ Makita grinder to clean off all of the “old scale” and bedding compound from the face of the shoe.

This work exposed the heads of a few fastenings at the very ends of the shoes.  I tried to back them out with a screwdriver, but the fasteners were just too corroded and they broke underneath the efforts of me trying to remove them.

“Plan B” led me to cut some wedges from a scrap piece of 2 x 4.

Using a hammer, I drove several of the wedges between the shoe and the hull to begin to force the mating joint apart.

This process revealed that there were other fastenings that were holding the Bilge Plate Shoe to the hull.  These fastenings needed to be located and removed for the Bilge Plate Shoe to drop away from the boat.

Here is one of those fastenings.

I cut that screw and drove more wedges between the shoe and the hull.  I didn’t get very far before I quit for the day.  The Maine mosquitoes were getting the better of me!









Categories: Recent Posts, Removing The Bilge Plate Shoes | 3 Comments

Moving “ElizaLin” From The Hinckley Company To My Backyard – (Video)

Here is the completed video that I shot June 28, 2014.


Categories: 1968 Golden Hind 31' Sailboat | Leave a comment

06-21-2014 – Removing The Bilge Plates

To make the final move of “ElizaLin” from The Hinckley Company to my backyard, (Using a hydraulic trailer.), the Bilge Plates had to removed from the exterior of the hull.  Because I had already planned on doing this, (The “shoes” that support the attachment of the Bilge Plates to the hull need to be replaced.), I decided to tackle this job the “quick and dirty” way.

Below are two images that show the Bilge Plates.  Their location conflict with the “lifting arms” of the hydraulic trailer that will be used to move the sailboat into my backyard.

I made the decision to cut the heads off of the bolts that are used to fasten the Bilge Plates to the hull, and just let the plates fall to the ground. I used one of my Makita grinders that had a “cut-off” wheel mounted to it, and another Makita grinder that had a grinding wheel mounted to it, (To remove remaining burrs from the cutting process.).

There were 10 bolts per Bilge Plate.  Five on the inside and five on the outside of each plate.

When I had the heads of the bolts cut off of the port Bilge Plate, I loosened the jackstands on the starboard side of the hull and tightened up the two jackstands on the port side of the hull.  Doing this, lifted the port Bilge Plate off of the blocking it was resting on.

I set up more blocking underneath the Bilge Plate.

Then, using the blunt end of a maul, I pounded on the bottom flange of the Bilge Plate.

The Bilge Plate began to yield to the blows with the maul.

And, down it came!

I repeated the process on the starboard Bilge Plate.

This one took only 30 minutes to get it off of the hull!

Then, I used a forklift to load the Bilge Plates into a trailer to haul them back to my house.

Unloading the trailer back at home.

Waiting for delivery!


Categories: 1968 Golden Hind 31' Sailboat, Removing The Bilge Plates, Restoration Work | 5 Comments

Boat Transportation – Part One – (Video)

On June 19, 2014, I had “ElizaLin” trucked from, Knight Marine Service, located in Rockland, Maine, to The Hinckley Company in Southwest Harbor, Maine.  West Marine Transport was hired for that job and Vaughn West was perfect to work with for this phase of the project!

Here is a short music video of what “Moving Day” was like:

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Driveway Preparation

To be able to back “ElizaLin” into my driveway and into my backyard on a hydraulic transport trailer, several trees had to be removed.  A “crook” in the driveway also had to be straightened out by filling it in.

Here is an image of the entrance to my driveway.

And, looking back towards the road.

I hired a local tree surgeon to remove the trees.  But, due to the 2014 winter conditions and an ice storm, I got bumped way down the prioritized list of jobs.  I began to do some of the work myself; removing a few of the easier trees.

In this image, I have tied off the tree that I want to cut down to another tree to ensure that it would fall exactly where I needed it to.  The anchoring system was a hodge-podge of chains, a come-along, and a couple of lengths of nylon webbing.

The tree is just about ready to fall!

Perfect! (Whew!)

Removing the stump.

Finally, the experts arrived and finished the tree removal.

I cut and stacked this pile to firewood lengths.

The two large diameter maple logs in this pile I gave to a friend of mine who took them to a local sawmill to have them sliced into boards.  The rest of the logs I cut up to firewood length.

On pick up day, Joe and I levered the two large logs up on to skids, then wheeled his trailer in close to the butt ends.  Using my ATV and the winch mounted on its front end, I dragged the logs up on to Joe’s trailer.

There goes, Joe!

And, a nice clean backyard ready for “ElizaLin”!

The final step to the driveway preparation was to fill in the “crook” to straighten out the access for the long hydraulic trailer to maneuver.

The driveway work is done!

The view from the road.

The view from my backyard looking towards the road.




Categories: 1968 Golden Hind 31' Sailboat, Recent Posts | Leave a comment

Purchasing A 1968 Golden Hind 31′

After several months of researching “1960s-style” designed and built sailboats, I made a commitment on March 31, 2014, to purchase a 1968, Maurice Griffith’s designed, “Golden Hind 31”.

To learn a little bit about Maurice Griffiths, please follow the two links below:

Maurice Griffiths – SailboatData.com

Maurice Griffiths – Wikipedia

Here is a link to a very nicely written article about the actual performance attributes of the Golden Hind 31′:

Golden Hind 31′ – Wave Train.

Below are a few photographs of the boat I have purchased.





Finally, here is a video of what this sailboat looks like, shortly after I purchased it.  I have been told that the boat has been sitting “On The Hard” for nearly eight years at the time that I bought it.


Categories: 1968 Golden Hind 31' Sailboat, Overview and History - Golden Hind 31' | 8 Comments

Black Lab Adventures – 2012 Charity Fundraiser

November 13, 2012

Black Lab Adventures 2012 Charity Fundraiser

(This page will be posted until December 27, 2012, when the fundraiser concludes.)

Current Total: $1,180.00  (As of Dec 27, 2012)


I am involved with two charities. One charity was founded as a resource to help people; specifically children. The other charity was founded to help animals; specifically wolves and wolf-dogs.


Alström Syndrome International

“Damlaya damlaya göl olur”  ~  “Drop by drop a lake is formed”

Alström Syndrome is a rare genetic “autosomal recessive” disorder. It is caused by a change in a gene called, “ALMS1”. Swedish doctor, Carl-Henry Alström first described the disorder in 1959. An infant born with Alström Syndrome will most likely have symptoms that effect: Vision; Hearing; Stature; Heart; Type 2 Diabetes; Blood Lipids; Liver; Kidneys; Intelligence; and Other Problems. To date, there are about 1,000 diagnosed cases of Alström Syndrome world wide.

Alström Syndrome International was founded nearly 25 years ago by, Jan and Rob Marshall. ASI is located on Mount Desert Island; right next door to where I live. You see, Rob and Jan have been my landlords for the past 6 years. I have spent time in their home helping to rebuild computers to donate to their “kids”; brainstorming web based ideas; meeting and spending time with families affected by Alström Syndrome; and I have participated in the annual, “Stuffing Envelopes” party for their own fundraiser event, each year, for the past 6 years.

Rob and Jan, have also been the caretaker of my Black Lab dog, “Reuben”; providing me the opportunity, and freedom, to ride to all of the wonderful places that I have been able to visit since 2007, (The year that I purchased my Suzuki DL-650 V-Strom.)

Here is a link that describes Alström Syndrome in greater detail: What Is Alström Syndrome?

Here is a link to ASI’s website: http://www.alstrom.org

Just a few weeks ago, the annual “Stuffing Envelopes” party was held in the Marshall home. Folding… Collating… Stuffing… Sealing… Stamping… Mailing… Pizza…

I would like to help Alström Syndrome International with more then just my talents of stuffing envelopes!


Loki Clan Wolf Refuge

“Lending A Helping Hand”

“If you can not give me a place to live, at least give me a place to die.”  – Chief Joseph

I literally stumbled across, Loki Clan Wolf Refuge, during one of my motorcycle riding adventures, in late June of 2012. I was studying a map, looking for rural roads that, laced their way around the White Mountain region of North Conway, New Hampshire. I found one, “thin red line”, on the map, that twisted its way through a section of woods that straddled the Maine – New Hampshire border. It looked highly promising! And, it was! But, not how I expected it to be!

The video clip below best explains what Loki Clan Wolf Refuge is, and what it does:

Since my first encounter with the wolfdogs of Loki Clan, I have returned three more times to help out where they need me to. I work alongside other volunteers; “Weed-whacking” tall grass, cutting and removing brush from the animal pens, erecting fencing for new pens, road work, building new dog houses; anything that needs to be done!

Here are some photographs of my second trip to Loki:  August Fence Party

And, my third visit:  October Fence Party

I returned to the refuge on November 10, 2012 to continue helping to build dog houses for the animals. Here is a link to a photograph album of work done that day:  November Fence Party

Here is a short clip that I shot of the wolves “singing” to each other:

Here are some special photographs that I shot from the November 10, “Fence Party”.

Here is a link to the refuge’s website:  Loki Clan/About

I would like to help both of these charities out. As a way to raise funds, I came up with what I felt was, a brilliant idea of offering up my motorcycle to be raffled off to raise money. However, friends and acquaintances quickly pointed out to me that, I couldn’t legally do that. To conduct a “Game of Chance”, I needed a Gaming License to proceed with a raffling off of my motorcycle.

I sat back on the heels of my motorcycle boots, and scratched my head for a bit; “How am I going to figure this one out, after promising both charities that I would raffle off my motorcycle, as a way to raise funds for their causes?” The answer follows below.

Embedded beneath this text are 12 “Sample” photographs. I culled through five seasons of photographs that I have shot during my adventure rides. I came up with a dozen images that have sentimental meaning to me. I felt that, if they have a sentimental meaning to me, my thoughts are, maybe they would convey, or “speak”, to other individuals as well.

1) For a donation of $10, I will send, (a link via e-mail), three full resolution images to an individual, (4000 x 3000 x 6+mb average size.). A person may choose which three images they would like to receive for their donation to these charities. Along with the three images, a free gift** of gratitude will be included with their order.

2) For a donation of $20, an individual may select any six images of their choice. I will e-mail a link where full resolution sized images can be downloaded by the individual. Along with the six images, I will include three free gifts** as recognition of gratitude.

3) For a donation of $30, an individual may choose nine photographs of their liking. Again, a link will be e-mailed to a location where those images can be downloaded. Along with the nine photographs, I will include six free gifts** of gratitude, with their order.

4) For a donation of $40, an individual will receive all 12 photographs, in full resolution size. As a way of saying “Thank You”, the individual will also receive ten free gifts** included with their order.

Important Notes To Read:

One hundred percent, (100%), of the money raised, will be equally divided between Alström Syndrome International, and Loki Clan Wolf Refuge.

This fundraising effort will conclude at 8:00pm EST December 27, 2012.

The “free gift”** will be in the form of an entry, to a drawing, where an individual will be given my motorcycle. Because of the motorcycle’s high mileage, (110,537 miles), and the amount of personal custom modifications I have made to the motorcycle, the bike has no published “book value”, or “street” value. The drawing is NOT a contest for a prize of value!

To the individual who has been determined to receive my motorcycle, they will assume the responsibility of its delivery to them, and for the removal of it from my residence. (14 Whitney Farm Road, Mount Desert, Maine 04660)

Because of the high mileage on my motorcycle, and the personal customizations I have made to it, I will not be held liable, or responsible for the motorcycle, or any part that I have made for it, in any way, once it has been determined who is to receive it as a free gift, and after it has left my residence, and is in the possession of that person. The motorcycle is being given to an individual in, “as is”, condition.

Details of my motorcycle can be seen here:  My Motorcycle/About

Added to the gift of my motorcycle will be the following:

This pile of used tires.  There is still quite a bit of tread left in all of them!

Also, a box of various spare parts, an OEM rear shock, (Needs rebuilding), an OEM Service Manual, and four homemade tools: 1) “Bearing Basher” – Used for seating a new steering stem bearings; 2) Stem nut removal and tightening wrench; 3) Socket/wrench to remove the swingarm bolt; 4) Custom wrench to remove clutch pushrod seal cover plate.

Determine what level you would like to donate to this charity fundraiser. Than, select the photographs that you would like to receive via an e-mailed link, by using the PayPal “Purchase Button” below. Within the “Instructions To Merchant” box, on the PayPal form, enter the number and description of the images you would like to receive. Within 48 – 72hrs, you will receive your images and your free gift(s).

To repeat, 100% of all money raised will be divided equally between Alström Syndrome International and Loki Clan Wolf Refuge.

(I am a “one man band” here, so please try to be patient with me as I try to juggle AND spin several plates at once!)

Thank you,

Barry Buchanan

#1 – Bar Island, Bar Harbor, Maine

#2 – Cape Breton Highlands

#3 – Gaspé Peninsula

#4 – Lac Ha! Ha!

#5 – Meat Cove

#6 – Miscou Island Lighthouse

#7 – Moncton Mud Puddle

#8 – Moose

#9 – Mount Katahdin

#10 – Rainbow

#11 – Rivière Éternité

#12 – Val-Racine

Categories: Recent Posts | 4 Comments

My Motorcycle: 2007 DL-650 Suzuki V-Strom (non ABS)

November 11, 2012

I purchased my Suzuki DL-650, V-Strom on, March 31, 2007.  The day that I rode away from my local dealership, there were zero miles on the motorcycle’s odometer.  I had arrived at the dealership on a 2006, Kawasaki Concours, that I had purchased from the same store the previous spring.  I needed to have the Concours inspected so that it was “road legal”. Upon conclusion of the inspection, the Service Department Technician told me, “Your motorcycle needs new front and rear tires to pass the Maine State Inspection regulations.” At that moment, I didn’t have the money for new tires to be mounted and balanced. So, I began sitting on different motorcycles in the showroom… It was the only way that I could legally ride away from the dealership!

When I slipped my leg over the V-Strom, and grabbed hold of the handlebars, I felt an immediate connection with the motorcycle. It fit. It fit me perfectly! When I looked ahead, imagining a ribbon of tar spun out in front of me, I felt very different then when I rode my Concours, or previous to that, my 2003 Kawasaki ZZR-1200, (The ZZR was my very first motorcycle. I purchased it used in 2004, then traded it in on the Concours in the spring of 2006.). As I sat on the V-Strom, in the showroom, I clearly remember a comment that I made to myself; “I can do stuff with this bike. I can do stuff with this motorcycle that I can do with no other motorcycle. It is different. It is different in a good way!” So, I bought it. No research was done, and no test ride was needed. I just flat out bought the bike “untested” by me, in any way.

When I rode the V-Strom home, I had to weave my way around and over, many frost-heaves and pot holes that, pock marked the back roads leading to where I live. As I did so, I was grinning a very large grin, and even laughing at times! Maneuvering the motorcycle, slinging it this way and that way, through the bumps and pot holes of that early spring day, I sort of felt like I was on a set of downhill skis. The bike had “edges” to it; edges that I could carve deep turns with!  I loved the feeling! I was hooked! Unfortunately, for four days after I got my new motorcycle home, there was snow on the roads. Even though I am pretty good on a set of downhill skis, I know that any street motorcycle, including the V-Strom, is not a good traveling companion in the snow!

Five seasons later, with 110,537 miles clicked over on the odometer, I would like to share a more personal view of my motorcycle.  Below are some of the details that have evolved over the many trips I have taken with my V-Strom.

I have lost count of how many times I have dropped my bike. I have nearly lost count of how many times I have laid the bike down in the street! The first time was in the Fall of 2007 when a deer jumped out of the woods, and slammed into the right rear passenger footpeg. The deer, the motorcycle, and I, all skidded up the road on our sides. By the time I got up to survey the situation and damage, the deer was gone. She left a whole bunch of hair in the road though! Follicles of hair were also stuffed into the right passenger footpeg and the hinge area of my Pelican sidecase. The most serious laydown was in northwestern New Hampshire on an early November morning back in 2010. At a speed of 55mph, I hit frost in the road, and the bike slipped out from underneath me in a split second. The motorcycle and I skidded, and slid, close to 120 feet down the road; both of us coming to a stop in a ditch on the opposite side of the road. I picked the bike up, started it, and rode away!

All of the miles and riding experiences, on my V-Strom, helped to shape me into a better rider. The same is true for the motorcycle itself. The miles, and the experiences, shaped my bike into what it has become; a reflection of my riding style, where I like to ride, and simplicity of maintenance.

Here is a photograph of my 2007 V-Strom as it currently sits; battle scared, but ready to set out on a new adventure!

A closer look at the front wheel will reveal the following:

Custom front fender; SuperBrace Fork Brace; and Fork Boots. What can’t be seen are, a set of Race Tech Emulators sitting inside the bottoms of the fork tubes themselves.

I chose to install a Buell Ulysses headlight assembly to streamline the fairing, and to eliminate the notorious “buffeting” the V-Strom is known for. The fairing is welded sheet metal that I purchased at my local Lowe’s hardware store.

The crashbars I fabricated out of ½” Black Iron Pipe, also purchased at my local Lowe’s.

I also installed a SW-Motech skidplate. I modified it a little bit, after hitting a few rocks with it.

On one trip, I lost my oil reservoir cap. I ended up whittling a stick down to size, then wrapping the newly tapered end with electrical tape, and jamming it into the oil filler hole. I rode to a nearby motorcycle dealership, (I was on the southern shore of the Gaspé Peninsula.), with the sole of my boot, holding the temporary plug into the engine case hole. I was lucky that, the parts manager was able to find an oil cap that fit my bike! When I got home, I swore that I would never have something like this happen again! I attached the new oil cap to the frame of my motorcycle with a modified Mackerel fishing jig.

Tucked in behind the right crashbar, there is a Fiamm brand automotive horn.

In the BIG laydown I mentioned above, I ripped off the right rear passenger footpeg, and I destroyed the lower exhaust shield. I made a plug and fabricated a new fiberglass exhaust shield. I also modified both rear passenger footpegs, so that they would work with what was left of them.

The rear exhaust shield has been coated with a rubber undercoater spray paint.

In 2009, I fabricated a custom luggage rack out of steel tubing scavenged from discarded cafeteria tables from my local high school. The rack is large and strong enough to carry a Pelican 1550 case, and two, one gallon gas cans on either side of the Pelican case. The gas cans are supported by the luggage rack’s “wings” on either side.

The taillight is a LED unit I purchased from my local NAPA auto parts store. The license plate light is from a marine parts store. It is a light that a person would see on the stern of a small motorboat.

Tucked in behind the left crashbars is another Fiamm brand automobile horn. I have two of these horns mounted on my motorcycle. And, they are both wired “hot”. That means, the bike’s key does not have to be in the ignition switch for the horns to work. With the motorcycle parked, turned off, and the key in my pocket, I can “tap” the horn switch, and a loud noise will emanate from the bike. This has been particularly useful to me in getting someone’s attention quickly!

One of the fist aftermarket parts that I purchased for my V-Strom was, a decent set of “dirt style” footpegs. These have been a wonderful addition! I have always been “sure footed” while riding my bike!

Every rider eventually experiences the effects of trying to set a sidestand down on top of soft ground, (Or, soft tar for that matter!). The foot of the sidestand buries itself into the soft turf. If the rider isn’t quick enough, over the bike goes! I took care of that problem by welding an old countersprocket gear on to the base of my sidestand. After that, I never had any problems with parking on soft ground. (I don’t have any clearance issues with the SW-Motech centerstand I installed too.).

Incidentally, I modified the bottom feet of the SW-Motech centerstand. I welded short “stilts” to the feet, so that the centerstand would lift the rear wheel higher off of the ground then what the centerstand was originally designed for. I had to do this because, one season, I mounted up a set of Metzeler Karoo tires. The profile of the Karoo tire was so high that, with the motorcycle up on the centerstand, the “knobs” of the rear tire still touched the ground. I didn’t like that because it interfered with chain maintenance.

I mounted a fuse box underneath the seat.

I installed a set of Suzuki handguards that I painted to match the rest of the bike.

On the left handleguard, I installed a Datel volt meter.

At 63,080 miles, I burned out the stock Suzuki instrument cluster. Water got up inside the case that houses the gauges, and shorted the circuit board out. After doing some research, (And continuing to ride the bike about 1,200 miles without any instruments!), I settled on installing an Acewell 3901 instrument cluster. It satisfies all of my needs! Particularly important to me are, “Trip 01”, which I set and reset during each fuel stop. “Trip 02” keeps track of cumulative mileage during a trip. Currently, the Acewell odometer reads, 47,457 miles.

As a “back up”, I installed a very generic marine fuel gauge to inform me of rough gas usage. I had to electrically “trim” the gauge with resistors to obtain a workable reading. When the tank is “Full”, the fuel gauge will read at the ¾ mark. When the gauge reads “E”, the tank IS empty!

There is a 12 volt accessory socket stuffed in between those cables and wires up front. And also, the switch to operate the “High” and “Low” settings of heated grip elements I installed.

It has been one heck of a cool bike to ride all of those miles!

Categories: Recent Posts | 10 Comments

Replacing A Clutch Pushrod Seal and Countershaft Seal

October 11, 2009

During the latter part of the 2009 riding season, the clutch push rod seal of my motorcycle began leaking. I was not ready to tackle replacing the seal, so a little online research gave me a “quick fix” to hold me until I was ready to tackle this job.

1- Remove the clutch release mechanism.
2- Pull the clutch push rod out of the motor.
3- Squirt a little high quality grease through the push rod hole in the seal.
4- Reassemble everything.

It worked! Eventually though, I knew that I needed to replace the clutch push rod seal, clutch push rod, and a worn clutch release mechanism.

And, I figured that if I was going to take the time to replace the clutch push rod oil seal, I might as well replace the countershaft seal, and the sprocket spacer o-ring, while I was right there. At the point that I did this job, my motorcycle had 62,441 miles on it.

This was not a really difficult job to do. However, there is one bolt that I did not have the right tool for. I couldn’t get the bolt loose with the tools that I owned, so I ended up fabricating a special wrench to get at this bolt.

The parts that I will be referring to can be viewed in the below diagrams.

#15 = Clutch Push Rod.
#23 = Clutch Push Rod Seal.
#17 = Clutch Release Mechanism.

#48 = Sprocket Spacer.
#51 = Sprocket Spacer O-Ring.
#37 = Countershaft Seal.
#40 = Seal Retainer Plate, (The Seal Retainer Plate did not have to be replaced on my bike.)

To get at the area of the motor, where the work needed to be done, I had to remove the countersprocket from the motor’s countershaft. This is where I started the job; mapping out my steps forward below.

1- I placed the transmission in neutral.

2- Then, I rolled the motorcycle up on to its centerstand..

3- I removed the countersprocket cover. (Three 8mm bolts.)

4- Next, I removed the clutch release mechanism.

4a- Using 10mm and 12mm open end wrenches, I unscrewed the clutch cable adjusting lock nut all the way off of its threads, (this is the bottom most nut on the clutch cable.). The 10mm wrench is used on the cable sheathing to keep it from spinning. I used the 12mm wrench to loosen and remove the lock nut at the bottom end of the threaded adjuster.

4b- Next, I loosened the two 10mm bolts that hold the clutch release mechanism to the motor bracket. Wrapping my fingers around the release mechanism, (to keep it from falling apart), I pulled the clutch cable and the threaded adjuster up out of its bracket. I taped all of parts of the clutch release mechanism together, and then draped it out of the work area.

5- Using my fingers, I pulled the clutch push rod out of the motor. This was kind of cool to do!

I am pointing to the clutch pushrod in the photograph below.

Next, I focused on removing the countersprocket nut.

6- I used a piece of metal tubing that I slide across both sides of my swingarm, and through the rear wheel. I rotated the rear wheel so that, one of the wheel’s spokes fetched up against the steel tubing to prevent the wheel from turning when I loosened the countersprocket nut.

7- Using a hammer and the flat blade of a screwdriver, I lightly tapped and bent upright, the bent down portion of the lock washer that is folded down on to one face of the countersprocket nut. The washer is made of relatively soft metal. It bent fairly easily.

8- I used a propane torch to heat up the countershaft nut. Suzuki uses a “red” thread-locker during the OEM installation of the countershaft nut. It’s tough stuff! During re-installation, I planned on using a “blue” thread-locker.

8a- I heated up the countersprocket nut.

8b- Using a 1 1/4″ socket, I removed the countershaft nut. My 1 1/4″ socket is for a 1/2″ drive ratchet. To add leverage, I slid a piece of metal tubing over the end of the handle of the ratchet. Because the countersprocket is “married” to the rear sprocket by the drive chain, and the motorcycle’s transmission is in neutral, when I loosen the countershaft nut, a spoke of the rear wheel will fetch itself up against the metal tubing I placed across the swingarm members; preventing the countershaft from turning while I tug on the countershaft nut, (The nut was installed with 105ft-lbs of torque pressure and red thread-locker. It takes effort to break this big nut free!)

While the above was cooling off:

9- I loosened the rear wheel axel, and the chain adjusters at either ends of the swingarm. Doing this will make it easier to remove and reinstall the drive chain and the countersprocket.

10- Next, I removed the lock washer, countersprocket and chain by sliding it off of the countershaft. I draped the chain over the swingarm and “benched” the countersprocket, lock washer and countershaft nut, so as not to lose them!

11- The photograph below illustrates what the seal retainer plate looks like; the part that needs to be removed next. There are three, 10mm bolts that are holding the plate in place. Before I removed it, I made a note of how the kickstand safety switch wire and the gear indicator wire were routed.  The gear indicator wire is led behind the “ear” of the seal retainer plate.

The two aft, “exposed” bolts to the seal retainer plate are very easy to remove. The forward one, that is located above the “ear” on the seal retainer, was very difficult for me to remove and reinstall. A 1/4″ drive, 10mm socket will fit on to the bolt. But, there is not enough space to also fit a ratchet on to the socket to remove the bolt. A 3/8″ drive, 10mm socket is too large of a diameter, plus there is still the issue of not enough space for a ratchet. I could slide the “open end” of a mechanic’s wrench on to the bolt, but I could not get enough leverage to turn it in the tight quarters. The “closed” end of the wrench was like the 3/8″ drive socket, there wasn’t enough clearance room.

The “difficult” bolt, is the one above the clutch push rod opening in the seal retainer plate.  (In the image below, you can see the “temporary fix” of grease being used on the clutch pushrod to stem off the tide of leaking motor oil.)

Finally, out of frustration, I made my own wrench! I borrowed my landlord’s truck and I drove to my local Napa store and purchased a cheap 10mm, 1/4″ drive socket. Back home, I cut the socket in half, “height-wise” with a hacksaw, and welded it to some scrap, angle steel that I fabricated as a handle. My homemade wrench worked like a charm!

With the seal retainer plate removed, I was now able to remove the clutch push rod seal. Here again, I didn’t have a proper tool, so I modified an old, flat-blade screwdriver into a “seal remover tool”. I formed a “hook” out of the blade by heating it up red hot and twisting it with my Leatherman, needle nose pliers.

12- Using my seal remover tool, I reached through the clutch push rod hole and began to pull, (I had to be careful not to pull the motorcycle over on top of me!). I learned that I can’t get the seal in one yank. It took several attempts to get the seal out of the motor. I shifted the seal removal tool around to different locations and applied pressure to the seal by pulling it towards me. The seal eventually “popped” out.

13- While I was right there, I installed the new clutch pushrod seal. At the bottom of the opening where the seal fits into the motor, there is a small “weep hole” for motor oil to pass through. If the push rod seal is seated too far into its opening, the “weep hole” will be blocked. Oil will leak out of the seal if the seal is seated too far in; blocking off this hole. The exposed face of the clutch push rod seal must be installed “flush” with the face of the seal opening.

Now, it was time for me to move on to the countershaft seal and the sprocket spacer o-ring.

14- First, I removed the sprocket spacer. I wrapped a strip of rubber around the spacer, to protect the surface, from marring it with a pair of channel-lock pliers. The action that I used to remove the spacer was to “twist, counterclockwise” while pulling towards me with the pliers. Once the spacer started to slide, it pulled easily. When I got the spacer out towards the countershaft splines, I was able to remove the spacer from the shaft with my fingers.

The sprocket spacer was pretty grungy, so I cleaned it up with some Scotchbrite.

15- Next, I used my seal remover tool that I made for my push rod seal to remove the countershaft seal. I had to move the location of the tool and pull, several times to free up the seal.

16- When I installed the new seal, I lightly coated the seal with fresh motor oil.

17- I used a 2″ PVC coupling joint as my “seal driver”. I did part of the job very cautiously. I tapped once; checked. Tapped again; checked. I had to “tilt” the PVC adaptor, and tap “locally” a few times at different locations because the seal started to install crooked. The final resting place of the seal was just inside from the radius of the seal opening.

18- I removed the old o-ring from inside the sprocket spacer. I had to clean out the o-ring groove of crud. I used a rag and the end of a welding rod. While doing this, I was very, very careful that I didn’t mar the groove surface. It would cause an oil leak if I did scratch it. Then, I lightly coated the new o-ring with motor oil before installing it into the sprocket spacer.

19- Next, I slid the sprocket spacer on to the countershaft with a twisting motion. I pushed it all the way in with my fingers until I could feel it bottom out against the countershaft bearing seal.

Now, it was time to leak test my work!

20- I slid the clutch push rod into place.

21- With the bike in neutral, I started the motor.
Even though the countershaft nut isn’t in place and the clutch release mechanism isn’t installed, there shouldn’t be any leaks out of either seal. I shifted through some gears, (Yes, you can use your gear shift lever without your clutch.), and I gave the bike some throttle. I shifted through gears and revved the motor to put some pressure on the seals.

I was satisfied that there weren’t any leaks. It was time to button things up. Placed the transmission in neutral, and I shut the bike off.

22- To give myself some working room, I removed the clutch push rod. Some motor oil dribbled out of the push rod hole, due to the motor being warmed up during my leak test. I wiped it up with a rag.

23- I installed the seal retainer plate. I had so much trouble trying to get the difficult bolt back into its hole that, I ground a slot for a screwdriver into its head with my Dremel tool.

(I could not find any torque values for these three bolts. Other bolts of similar size, in this area required 7ft-lbs of torque. That is the amount I used.)

24- When I installed the retainer plate, I remembered to place the gear indicator wire lead behind the “ear” of the plate. The kickstand safety switch wire went over the plate.

25- Next, I slid the countersprocket and chain back on to the countershaft.

26- I added the locking washer, (I used a new washer due to the several times I have removed the OEM washer for sprocket changes.).

27- Then I squirted some “blue” thread-locker on to the threads of the countershaft, then screwed the nut on.

28- I removed the metal tubing from on top of the swingarm, and slid it underneath the swingarm,then back through the rear wheel. I rotated the rear wheel so that a spoke fetched up against the metal tube.

29- I used my torque wrench to tighten the countersprocket nut to a value of, 105ft-lbs.

30- Using a hammer, and a flat-blade screwdriver, rebent the countershaft washer down on to the countershaft nut to lock it into place.

31- Next, I adjusted the chain to the tension that I like, and I tightened up the rear axle bolt.

32- Then, I slid the clutch cable back into its bracket and tightened up the locking nut.

33- I decided to install a new clutch release mechanism. My original one was quite worn, and was missing some of its internal ball bearings, (I lost them during subsequent maintenance…..)

Here are some photographs of the old clutch release mechanism.

And, the inside of it, with the ball bearings missing.

When I mounted up the new clutch release, I had to set the proper clutch adjustment for the mechanism. Before bolting the new release mechanism into place, I loosened the lock nut, and backed off the adjusting screw. Once the release was mounted into place, I tightened the adjusting screw until it bottomed out on the clutch push rod, and then I backed the screw off 1/4 turn and tightened the lock nut. (This adjustment is per the Suzuki Service Manual.). I had to make cable adjustments once I had reassembled all of the clutch related components.

33- I conducted a “leak test” on the bike again. I ran through the gears, and I tested my clutch cable adjustments. No Leaks!

But, because I have never done a job like this before, I was concerned that I may have missed something while doing the work. So, I decided to ride my motorcycle around for a couple of days, before installing the sprocket cover. Doing this allowed me to inspect both seal areas, from time to time, to check for leaks. There weren’t any, so after about three days of riding, I reinstalled the sprocket cover.

Categories: Motor Related, Replacing A Clutch Pushrod Seal and Countershaft Seal | 18 Comments

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