A lot has happened in the word since I last posted to www.Squariel.com.au. So much, in fact, that I have been wondering where the time has gone to. It would be great to be writing a post about how the restoration is about complete and I am ready to start the square four. Alas, I knew that it would be a while of nothing happening but did not really think that it would be this long. As I had completed everything that I could do that did not involve significant capital outlay, it was always going to be a case of sitting back and restocking the war chest. There is nothing like a global pandemic to keep me at home for a while and since the home jobs were by and large up to date, I have been able to dust off the covers and revisit my old friend.

Did the tank ever come back?

20-20 hindsight is a wonderful thing and I did finally get my fuel tank back from Shiny Bits. So, in hindsight, would have I done things differently? The answer is yes and no. The Shiny Bits team did a remarkable job in salvaging the Squariel fuel tank. It is not “better than new” or even “as new” but it is still the original tank in a Triggers Broom way. There is now so much copper plating holding the thing together than it could be made into a monument. There is still a visible mark where somebody came a cropper in years gone by but that is part of the character. The difficult part was getting it back into Australia from New Zealand. It matters not that it came here in the first place. Nor does it matter that it went back to New Zealand OK. As far as Australian customs are concerned it may has well be a souvenir from Chernobyl. Much frustration later, I was able to convince the freight company and the various government rubber stampers, that it was inert and posed no danger to anything other than my bank account. So finally, the tank came back.

Ariel Four Fuel Tank
Tank Repairs
Chrome Plating Copper
First of many layers of copper
Vintage Motorcycle Restoration
Ready for Chrome
Motorcycle Chrome Plating
Ariel Tank Chrome

On to the 4GMKII Engine

The remaining tasks to complete the restoration are all big ticket items. I need a new seat, new exhaust headers, painting, and the engine reconditioned.

I have headers and seat on back order with Drags. Nothing more to do there than wait. Painting will be done last as I do not want things knocked around moving them around the garage. That leaves the engine overhaul. In the time that I had been procrastinating over starting on the engine, the AUD has plummeted in value against the GBP. Ouch! It looks like many others are using this shutdown time to work on their projects as Drags are out of stock for a lot of the engine parts that I need. More back orders.

Cleaning the casings

So to buy some time, I have started cleaning the alloy cases. After many cups of tea, I have decided to go for wet blasting. This is a low-pressure version of bead blasting that uses the abrasive medium suspended in water. The secret to volume over pressure so it is softer on the components that other forms of blasting and gives a durable final finish.

1956 Squariel 4GMKII
Ariel Square Four Engine Before Cleaning

I have chosen a specialist in wet blasting who is not too far away from home and dropped my casings off to him in the weekend. Initial thoughts are that I have made a good choice. The owner, Wayne, is passionate about all kinds of classic machinery. Both cars and bike. English, European or British. He loves them all! He was excited to see the Ariel cases and after a couple of minutes rummaging in a corner, he pulled out the file for the last Square Four engine that he blasted. He also has a contact who can repair the damaged alloy fins. He showed me an alloy repair that had been done to a lever off a classic Japanese trail bike. It looked fine to me. It was not good enough for Wayne and so he is sending it away to get redone. My parts are in good hands

Ariel Sqaure Four Cylinder Head
Squariel Head
Ariel Square Four Cleaning
Stripped 4GMKII ready for wet blasting