The irony is, I found the missing piece as soon as I finished the new one.

Farrell’s feral ferrule

I love old motorcycles. There’s a certain bit of character that they just show up with. At times that character can manifest some trouble, but it’s usually worth it.

One thing a lot of old bikes do not come with is spare parts or instructions. It’s sort of like raising foster children; you get them, you’re likely unprepared and there’s virtually no one to turn to for (constructive) advice and you don’t know how they’ve been treated.

When I loaded ‘Grover’, the 1971 Suzuki TC 90 into the back of my Subaru wagon a several months ago I knew I was getting in pretty deep. The piston was seized there was no real way to check out the rest of the mechanical condition. But, for $150, whaddya gonna do?

Grover the 1971 Suzuki TC90

Grover, as he looked when Jalet finished giving him a bath.

I rebuilt the top end and got it running only to find the main bearings were shot. While the bike was idling the whirring, groaning noise of the main bearings was louder than the engine, and that’s saying a lot for a 2 stroke from the 1970’s!

Over the last few months I’ve split the cases and installed new main bearings. The trouble came when I began to loose track of little parts and pieces. Most notably, I lost the brass ferrule that connects the throttle cable to the oil injection pump. It’s not like I’m going to go to the vintage Suzuki store in my small town and pick another one up, so it was time to do the next best thing and create one.

Using a drill press for a lathe

Poor man’s lathe

Suzuki TS Oil Pump

Oil pump for the TC 90

Around here we’ve got an ethos that goes like this: “Build what you need from what you’ve got for what you enjoy”. Sometimes you just gotta punt.

I had some brass all-thread sitting around from my brother-in-law’s basement he was cleaning out. I figured I would use my faux drill press to turn the threaded material down to the diameter I needed. Much to my surprise the whole thing worked out really well. I popped the all-thread into the drill chuck, locked it on “full speed ahead” and began using an assortment of files and sandpaper to get the diameter I needed.

Brass all-thread in the drill chuck

All thread in the drill chuck

Usig a file to reduce diameter of the material

Use a file for the first pass

Sanding the workpiece while it's in the drill chuck

Sanding for the final finish before drilling



Once the brass was turned down on my super expensive lathe I drilled out the detent halfway through the piece for the fob on the end of the oil injector cable. After that I drilled the remaining distance with a smaller bit so the cable itself could pass through.

Lastly, I cut a groove in the end of the ferrule to allow the cable to drop into place. I used a small hack-saw blade on my first pass then wrapped the blade in sandpaper to widen the groove to the correct width.

The correct diameter now...

The correct diameter

Drilling the brass to recieve the cable

Drilling the detent, then the cable passage

The brass is drilled and ready to cut to length

Drilled and ready to cut to length



Even though I can claim luck as part of my Irish genealogy, no one is exempt from the ice cold bite of irony. When I returned to a box of parts for something else I found the ferrule who’s clone I had just created. Oh well, all in all it worked out fine. I learned that I don’t necessarily need that metal fabrication shop I’d love to have in order to keep a project on track.

The irony is, I found the missing piece as soon as I finished the new one.

Aw, bullocks! There’s that missing piece.

Sanding the groove for the cable to pass through

Sanding the groove for the cable to pass through


Oh, for anyone who want’s to offer the advice, “just run mix gas”… It was clogged injectors that led to the demise of the bearings to begin with. Suzuki (as I’ve since learned) injects oil directly on the bearings before the oil is pulled into the crankcase to mix with the fuel. No oil injection means no oil on the bearings. Last time I checked, that’s a bad idea…

On finding good advice: the fine folks on the Suzuki TS forum are pure gold. They’ve got great advice, and at the very least will encourage you into thinking you can do just about anything.


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