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1988-1989 Beginning 1989-1990 Mock Ups & Test Beds 1990-1992 First Streamliner
1992-1994 Second Streamliner 1994-1996 Third Streamliner 1996-1997 Fourth Streamliner
1997-1998 Fifth Streamliner 1999-2000 Fifth Streamliner 2000-2001 Fifth Streamliner
2000-2001 Fifth Streamliner 2000-2001 Fifth Streamliner 2002-2003 Fifth Streamliner
2003-2004 Sixth Streamliner 2004-2005 Sixth Streamliner 2005-2006 Seventh Streamliner
2006-2007 Eighth Streamliner 2007-2008 Eighth Streamliner 2007-2008 Visit to Thunderdome

2000-2001 Fifth Streamliner

I can't remember if it was that day or the next morning when we opened the overseas shipping container, that had become the home of Black Lightning for over one year. Larry has an extensive collection of British, Italian and American bikes, 13 of which are Vincents. So the first thing was to push about 3 or 4 non runners out of the way and a couple of tons of parts.

There she was, very dirty. The salt from the crash certainly didn't do her any good after almost two years of neglect. The rear chain was rusted solid as was the front temporary wheel, and the tire was flat. Remember, the front axle had been broken in the 1998 crash. I said to the Vancouver bunch, "Are you sure you want to do this? I'm speaking from experience, as I've done this several times before on my own, and it's a lot of work and a lot of money." The head of the group, Dan Smith, hesitated for a minute, then said, "Let's get it out of there."

I got my salt trailer, with two flat tires, towed up to my worn out Nissan truck, and hauled it, with the streamliner, down the hill a couple of hundred yards to the cement pad in front of Larry's garage/shop. A quick wash job did wonders. Robert Watson torched off the rear chain. We aired up the tires so it would roll. Dan started a list of parts that would be needed. I told him everything I could remember from the log book that would be required--tires, front axle analysis, magnaflux frame, and so on. It was getting hot, or raining, I can't remember which. I finally found my pit tent--Larry had forgotten where he had put it. This took a couple of hours. We put the tent up, which was a great help.

Robert straightened the handlebar support which had been bent in the crash of 1998, and welded a few obvious weld cracks in the front end area. Dan Smith and Keith Sides asked me to go over the fuel system, as neither of them had ever run a Hilborn/Kinsler fuel injection system before. This I did, answering all of their questions. The rest of the day was spent cleaning the liner. The next day a couple of guys on Vincents showed up, and helped with the continuing cleaning. I decided to start Black Lightning to see if she would still run. Larry scrounged up a battery and charged it. The fuel system was cleaned. The fuel filter was full of gunge, which led to a later anodization of the fuel tank by Sonny Angel. All the nozzles were cleaned, fuel lines blown out.

I gave the barrel valve to Keith Sides to free up and clean, also the pill selector valve, explaining it's function and how to load it. All of the fuel systems were put back together by Keith and Dan, with me explaining what lines go where. I asked where the fuel was. Larry didn't know. Another search began. We found the fuel about an hour later, no nitro, just alcohol. This could be a problem. I remembered that when I last ran the streamliner it was on 50% nitro. I knew that all the settings for the 50% nitro blend would cause a very rich mixture on just alcohol.

Oh well, the only thing to do was to give it a try. With alcohol in the tank, fresh oil and plugs in the engines, I hit the start button. There were fuel leaks at the barrel valve, at the selector can, and two of the #6 Airquip fittings had been over tightened by Keith, as he had never worked with aluminum Airquip fittings, that is used in racing.

Now to see if I had spares to fix the problem. Another search. Wow. What luck. I found the two fittings and the two "O" rings needed. Keith and Dan put them in, and I was ready to try to fire it up again.

The engines were turned. After a few backfires through the blower, Ron Peers noticed that the "O" ring on the plenum pop off valve had come out of it's groove. That was fixed. After a little coaxing, and a shot of ether down her throat, the engines fired. She was running on all four cylinders, but it was so rich the unburnt alcohol permeated the air, making all our eyes water.

After that Dan continued with the list of things to do, and buy. I told him everything that I could think of.

There were four glaring oil leaks that had to be fixed, two of which were the engine cases. The rear oil pump retaining nut, in the engine case threaded portion, had a crack about one inch in length. I had ground the crack for welding, but forgot during the hurried engine rebuild before Bonneville 1998. My fault.

Dan came up with a clever jury rig to fix the leak. He removed the nut, turned about 1/4" off the nut, thereby allowing the nut to catch a couple of unbroken threads. The other leak was the oil intake banjo bolt fitting mating surface to the engine case. Dan put this on his list to do: make tooling to correct the oil leak. I didn't think that any of them had had experience with body work, so I told Dan that I would take care of putting the body back together, do the work on the skin, and paint the liner.

We made a plan to meet once a month at Larry's shop, where we would all work to get Black Lightning ready to return to Bonneville.