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The Dart

16. July 2010:

An impulse buy of the larger (and better)!!

Again, I stand in front of the gate with another Morini. It is almost on the brink of beeing embarrassing! The next thing that was supposed to happen was of course, that I had to finish my current projects, but then yesterday I "impulse bought" a Dart! Tsk, tsk! Yes, I know! The Morini virus has hit me hard!

A random look in DBA.dk (sort of the danish ebay equivalent) and an ad on a very inexpensive Dart popped up. Information was sparse: engine wasn't running, and there was also no picture, but I said to myself "I can always have a look at it - a Dart 400 engine is always nice to have."

The trailer behind the Fiat 127 and onwards to Herning. A couple of hours on the road and I was received by a namesake, who, by the way, also is a trained engine fitter. Then a little further to his garage, the door was opened and a Morini in a condition a lot better than expected was revealed to me - So, of course there was no way round buying it!

Back home I immediately looked at why it wouldn't start. It soon became obvious: the timing belt was missing several teeth and was almost worn thin from what seemed to be a lot of attempts to get it started. The Morini got a new belt and the valves were examined: three pushrods were bent. They were replaced, the valves were adjusted, it got a pair of new spark plugs, and I also found a battery for it.

Typical problem born out of ignorance. My guess is that there most likely has been mounted a NOS "original" belt. It was also a B-belt on an A-pulley, so it has certainly been very loose. Since the Dart (at least with fairing) offers the engine and thus the belt higher temperatures such an old belt has a short span of life! Good thing I have a couple of the excellent HNBR belts in stock!

Then the big moment came: would it start? Five seconds with the starter and it started to cough - and very soon it had the finest stable idle! I took for a spin to get it warm and changed the oil - also no nasty surprises in the oil! Wonderful!

Hmmm, now I got quite keen on getting the MOT done in a hurry. I didn't need to buy anything; tires and brakes were fine. Only a couple things needed attention: horn and brake switch weren't working and the foot rests lacked rubber.

The rest of the evening was spent with the project: The horn switch was missing a spring. I made a new one out of a modified spring from a ball point pen. Brake switch only needed lubrication, but where do you get special rubbers for the foot rests at midnight? Well, you simply cut a couple of pieces out of an old tire.
Around two o'clock at night the bike was, in my opinion, ready for inspection.

Midnight ingenuity... I do not know if it would have passed the MOT without rubbers, but it felt better with - rubbers a la BT45!

Friday morning I washed the Dart and went off to the various authorities to get a short-term plate, MOT, insurance papers and finally the license plate.

The reason why I wanted the MOT as soon as possible is so that I can lend it to my sister-in-law. Her Excalibur has a totalled motor (a wrist pin on the loose and the following implications require a new piston, cylinder, crankshaft and connecting rod). She got her drivers license last year and has barely had a month with her Morini. I feel a little sorry for her having such an aggravating beginning of her Morini-life, so the Dart came perfectly timed. She comes on a visit in the weekend and so I can give her the surprise that the biking-season for her isn't quite over yet! - By the way, if you have a 500 motor you want to sell, please don't hesitate to write!

I have been riding my new Morini around 100 km by now and have sort of gotten used to the slightly different style the Dart has - and I must say that I am very enthusiastic about it! I have ridden a Dart previously, but only briefly and that on wet tarmac. Today I was able to have fun with it and despite the somewhat bad tires (I of course am going to change to BT45's when the tires are worn) I really feelt how well the bike handles! A bit of a shame that I don't get more time with it for now ;o)

The big plan with the Morini isn't entirely clear since the whole thing obviously cames as a surprise - even for me! But I will most certainly keep the budget at an absolute minimum. It is so nice looking as it is, so I'm not going to "renovate" it, but simply maintain it and make small improvements by and by. The colour combination I'm keeping, but I'll try to find a fairing or possibly make one myself. Ejvin (the most Beautiful Morini in Denmark 2010) has made molds for his beautiful Dart, so I could probably keep the costs at a minimum if I made it myself
There were prouced some red Darts that were intended for the Japanese market, and that look I'm going to lean towards.

This is as far as I know the original red version

But, as I said, it's in surprisingly good condition. It is obvious that there has been a previous owner who knew what he was doing. For instance, there are stainless bolts everywhere and the alterations in connection with the removal of the fairing are really well done. I guess the Morini has suffered the same fate as so many of the Darts: it has been in the asphalt at one time and the fairing was ruined! - The exhaust is a little scraped and also the handlebar has been in the asphalt.

All in all I'm really happy about my impulse buy. I will most certainly never feel "buyers remorse" about it. My new Dart is cool! and I am very pleased to have a "backup-bike" that from day one serves a good purpose.
© Søren Høyer Hansen Wellcome sir1@morinist.dk