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Tricks of the Trade 

Colin White

by Colin White

Not recommended!The aim of the new column is to share some secrets that I have picked up working professionally on Japanese motorcycles during the 70's and early 80's. Working on bikes at home on your own, sometimes at night, can often be a love-hate thing. When things go wrong we often feel like selling all our bikes and finding a new hobby. Fortunately this sort of thing doesn't last and is soon forgotten.
There are however, easy ways to do things that can seem to be very awkward at the time. My first tip is to not believe everything you read in the non-genuine workshop manual. A classic example of this is as follows: 

Clutch Hub Removal Made Easy
Expensive little chaps!Figure 1 shows a diagram of the WRONG way to hold a clutch centre, drum or hub for shaft nut removal. These nuts have a lock washer and in some cases a dished pressure washer as well.
Once the clutch plates are removed the drum spins freely. The figure 1 is from a Haynes book and take it from me, this method is fraught with danger. One slip up and the lever changes angle and breaks out a clutch finger from the clutch basket! Figure 2 shows a typical Japanese clutch basket showing the delicate fingers. The primary drive gear is integral with it, and it also has a cush hub built-in. These little guys are expensive and breaking one will really ruin your weekend.

There is an Easier Way!
Before you remove the engine from the frame, drain all oils, take off the clutch cover and your final drive sprocket cover. Leave the rear drive chain on and remove the clutch plates. Select your bike's highest gear (top). Now choose the correct sized socket with a short extension and T -Bar. After the lock-washer has been bent back you simply put one foot on the back brake pedal and undo the nut. The rear brake stops it from turning. The final drive sprocket nut can also be undone the same way. Finally, if you have accidentally broken a finger and there are none available at any price, breaking out a finger diagonally opposite is not out of the question. The balance will be restored and ridden normally the clutch should operate OK.

Profile of Colin White
I asked Colin if we could do a profile of him. Apart from being interesting, it also shows he's well qualified to give maintenance tips.
"Born in Syney in 1948. Left school at 15 years to commence apprenticeship with local Electricity Commission. Relocated to Perth in 1967 and completed apprenticeship with a local firm in 1970.
Worked as a 'Sparky' until 1974. Opened the doors of The Honda Shop in 1974 with partner and also started 'wrecking' motorcycles as Two Wheel Wreckers. Achieved Trade Certificate status as qualified Motorcycle Mechanic in 1979 after managing workshop for five years.

Continued working in workshop concentrating on performance modifications and some racing sponsorships unti11982. Both retail businesses were sold by the mid-eighties. Commenced employment with Honda Australia as Motorcycle and Power Products Area Manager for WA. Left Honda Australia in 1990 to move to Denmark for the 'good life'. Lectured part-time at Albany TAFE for a few years before commencing current position at Thornton's Hardware in Denmark. Married to Joanne with two daughters, Natalie and Katie. Currently own CB750K1 and Suzuki T350."