So as I mentioned in my previous entry, I bought a 1972 Honda CB350 Four motorcycle for Leila recently.
Our first day working on the bike I chose something as easy as it is vitally important: the brakes. (Warning: Super geeky mechanic talk ahead.) The front brake handle exerted no pressure whatsoever, and even pulled fully it would not even slow down the wheel if you spun it. After inspecting the brake pads through the caliper and determining that they would be okay to use for at least a few miles, we bled the front brake. Leila sat on the bike and operated the brake handle while I worked the bleeder valve open and closed with the most adorably tiny wrench in my kit, draining the fluid with a vacuum pump.
Let me just set the scene for you here. If you've ever bled brakes you know that smell, that acrid chemical smell of brake fluid. This stuff smelled, easily, 20 times worse. Tons of particulate matter in the fluid when I got a big enough sample of it to see. There were maybe only a few ounces left in the lines—barely enough to fill the cylinder inside the brake caliper. It was brown and disgusting, too; I mentioned the smell, right? I'm sure I mentioned the horrific smell.... Anyways so we ran some more fluid through the lines and we'll probably run quite a bit more through before I'm content that the lines are clean enough, but we'll end up having to clean the brake caliper pieces too.... No matter. It's a while yet before this bike will be drivable anyway.
One thing made me super happy about the whole thing, though, even if maybe we didn't get much accomplished beyond bleeding the front brake and getting the gas tank removed: Leila was super pumped the whole time. That's what this was about. Later, space cadets.