The Aermacchi Project, Part 4: Cleaning Up — and/or Shopping

Reader Contribution by Margie Siegal
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The factory manual exposes the inner workings of the Aermacchi’s 30mm VHB Dell’Orto carburetor.

This is the fourth installment of an ongoing series detailing Margie Siegal’s restoration of a 1973 Harley-Davidson 350 Sprint. You can read the Part 1 here.

It is a not-often-discussed fact that motorcycle restoration involves a lot of cleaning of parts. Unfortunately, the elves and pixies who turn up at 2 a.m. and move tools around in my garage so I can’t find them the next day don’t seem to want to clean parts. A while back, someone wrote The I Hate to Housekeep Book. It was a best-seller. I once asked Dave Kafton, my volunteer mentor, why he didn’t have an apprentice or two. He said that most of his apprentices quit after several days of parts cleaning.

I am sitting here with a carburetor, which I have finally put back together. I am so glad that the Sprint has only ONE carburetor. Carburetors seemingly have several hundred tiny parts, all of which need to be squeaky clean, and many of which are easily damaged by too aggressive scrubbing. If you restore a Honda Four or a GS Suzuki, you have FOUR carburetors, and at some point may be tempted to run screaming into the night. There are tiny holes in various parts of the Sprint’s carb, which have a tendency to gum up, and which have to be reamed out with tiny bits of soft wire. Too stiff wire will damage the holes. Argh.

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