Sunday 16 February 2014

(This post is actually a reply to some comments that has to be published this way as its all exceeded the character limit that I can write in the comments box.)

Thanks guys. There's some really good pieces of advice here.

 Johnse, I like the term 'A job done once is a job done right.' I think this is the method to adopt. After reading these comments I feel a lot more confident that the engine problems could be fixed and the engine may not be terminal. It was actually the recommendation of some guys at who suggested it may be better to just scrap this engine and start fresh. They think that with what happened in Spain there may be a blockage further inside the engine that may be causing issues with oil circulation which is then triggering these recurring breakdowns.
But I think that after some thought there could be different reasons for all these issues. I know that the piston that was put in in Spain was in a pretty bad condition. The mechanic actually said so, but it was the only one I could find at the time (if I knew more about engines then I would have had a brand new one shipped over) and maybe by the time I got to St Louis it had had its day. The work I had done there was obviously poor as whatever he did, it made the engine seize seven times on the next cross capital ride. It was unfortunate I was stuck in the customs office when he was working on the bike. It took them two days to sign a bit of paper for my bike! The seizing has now stopped since I've had another rebore and new piston... but I think now that I do need a new cylinder. Its had two rebore's now and I know the last one wasn't good. It actually has a smoothed out hole in the barrel. It doesn't sound good. And with the spark plugs it may be down to a case
of having to use cheap parts. So maybe its not necessary to have a totally new engine bolted in. If I get it fixed right with good parts then the problem may be solved. I was under the impression though that Honda still made c90's in Japan and still sells them in a few countries around the World? I think they brought out a new model in 2007 and was under the impression that the engine space is still the same size so placing a new engine in would work? I may be wrong.
 I think my next plan is to get to Ghana. I know that Accra has the biggest market for finding spare parts in the whole of West Africa, so finding a good quality cylinder and piston maybe hopeful. I will then find a good, recommended mechanic, sit down with him, explain everything and then work with him as much as possible to get it fixed. Ghana is an English speaking country so this will be a massive advantage. Its been a huge hindrance trying to explain things with the mechanics so far due to the language barriers. They have been shit too, really shit. I don't care if I'm going to be the Accra mechanics most annoying customer... we will work to the European standard!

And with response to the other comments... I took off the sprocket cover the other day as we thought there may have been a timing issue, but everything looked fine in there. My spark plugs are generally black, so the mixture is rich. I am finding it very hard to get a slow steady idle speed without the bike shutting off every time I come to a stop. The carb seems to need constant attention as after an adjustment where it stays on, the engine is steady etc, after 800 miles or so the engine shuts off at a standstill again. I do the adjustments when the engine is warm too. Sometimes after an adjustment and I start the bike cold the idle speed is revving like crazy. I am finding it a challenge. The carburettor was fully dismantled and cleaned when I was in Bamako too, 800 miles ago.
I'm pretty adamant that there isn't an issue with the air filter or any gaps in the line. My head is down that way often but I'll try the WD40 experiment and see. Just got a new can. I'll get on with the filters also and I think its a very good idea to try and find another filter for my fuel line.

Anyway, I'll try all this and if it doesn't work I'll just have to try something else. It is quite easy to go a bit mental out here with all these bike problems but I'll keep going. At least with every time the bike breaks I become less and less devastated so that's a good thing I suppose. And with all this I'm learning about the bike. Before I left home I would have been hard pressed to point out where the piston was in the bike and what job it did. I practically knew nothing. I think now though I could have a good go at drawing the inside of the engine from memory. Learning the hard way!

Thanks for taking the time to write these replies. Its really appreciated and it helps a lot.

All the best,



  1. Don't know if this is relevant or helpful; I find that now that my bike is running much better, idle speed actually increases when the engine is hot. When I had the problem I mentioned with the choke cable, my idle speed would start high and fall as the engine warmed up (I thought this was normal, and assured it was fine by my mechanic.). I'd also expect a rich engine to react really well to being warmed up - not to cut out.

    It kind of makes me more interested in what your fuel mixture is doing under different conditions. Would you feel confident putting the bike on the centre stand and running it full pelt for a minute or so and stopping it without letting it sit there ticking over? The spark plugs SHOULD come out roughly the same. (As far as I am aware that is. I've never touched a c90 and don't really know how they're supposed to run.)

  2. Erm... I'm getting the feeling I have to handle her gently until I get to Accra. Don't really want to demand any high rev's until I get this cylinder sorted out.
    I'll give the choke cable a good looking over too. I don't think there an issue as I'm pretty hands on with where the choke cable enters the engine most days but I'll see. Get the Haynes out!
    It does cut out as it gets warm though... and my spark plug has never had any white deposits on it. Was brown until Mauritania. Been black since.