Sunday, November 30, 2014

Random Pic Day

I was thumbing through my phone today and saw a theme for a few bike pics. Not sure why I take pics at this angle. I guess I just like to get a feel of the size of the beast.

Big beautiful bike

This is Dans Warrior in two-up touring mode.

My '67 BSA

I've seen this bike at a few shows. Doesn't matter what brand it is, it's just cool.

 All the kids were home for the holiday. It's kinda a tradition to sit around the dining room table and play board games including monopoly. Last nights game will go down as one of the most memorable. Lots of deal making, mini tantrums and rule checking went on. Because of a deal I made with Kenzo where she had free rent for life, I decided to tear down hotels and sell a monopoly for $1 to another player, then fund rebuilding of the hotels. The plan worked and the game ended with a huge shellacking as I rose to victory. Ya, we've got our own rules.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Workshop Wednesday-Doing Laps

 Some days it seems like you're just going in circles. I don't mean wasting time spinning your wheels.  More like making laps in life. Another year, another season, been there done that, taking care of business. The more laps I make, the easier my job gets. I'm not as physically strong as I was decades ago when I began the role of landscaper, snow plower and mechanic. What I am is more experienced. Big things don't seem as big anymore. I work smarter and that makes life easier, even on days like yesterday when I was having my ass handed to me due to circumstances beyond my control.

36 seconds of your life you'll never get back.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Winter Beater

 Todays blog isn't about what I've been doing in the world of motorcycles because I haven't done much bike related things this past week.
 "What the hell?" you say. I know, right. Where will you get your fix of reading about sanding rusty parts and watching paint dry? I don't know but I promise some boring BSA painting story in the near future.
 "What was so damn important that you didn't work on the bike?" you ask. Well, it's too cold and icy for commuting to work on a bike and my Isuzu crapped out on me so I had to come up with new wheels. I bought a winter beater and it needed some work.
 Coworker Al found it for me. It's a 2000 Dodge Ram 1500, 360 cubic inch v8, 4x4 shortbed. The best part is that I know the guy that owned it from new till a few months ago. The second owner never drove it but did do some work on it. There is no hidden history that may bite me in the ass later.

 Purchase price was very reasonable so sticking some money into it to make sure it stays reliable isn't a problem. Friday I put a front wheel bearing in it to help keep it going straight down the road. I also added a speed sensor in the trans and an O2 sensor in the exhaust to get the check engine light to go away.

 Yesterday I took the blue beast to the shop at work and spent the day under the hood. A whole lot of stuff had to come off the front of the engine to replace the timing chain cover gasket. It would have been a much easier job if bolts weren't breaking off as they were loosened. Luckily that happened after the store was closed and no customers were exposed to my verbal rampage.
 The Dodge runs good and should serve me well.  "Why a pickup and not something smaller?",  you ask. Good question, thanks for asking. I'll be able to tow a trailer with this truck and I have plans to buy a small enclosed trailer for hauling bikes or moving kids belongings around. It should also do well getting me to work on unplowed roads early in the morning. There's something else. I had a lot of trucks when I was younger. At some point I got away from that and I miss it. Something just feels right about having a pickup truck even if it's just a half ton short box. It's a truck thing and those of you with trucks know exactly what I'm talking about.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Workshop Wednesday-Turn up the Heat

 Somehow I became the guy at work that gets asked to fix heaters. I'm certainly not the most qualified but it always seems to fit into my schedule better than the other guys in the shop.  We are currently under an unusual cold snap so I'm envious of anyone living in a warm climate right now. Looking at the US weather map, it seems we all are feeling the frigid grip of old man winter.
 The heaters I am asked to work on come in various forms, shapes and sizes using many different types of fuel. Today I was working on a small propane unit. The whole dang thing had to be torn down to get at the pilot light jet. I was feeling like this was a lot of work for fixing such a simple heater and it seemed like there was a lot of stuff crammed in a small space.

 "whuth thith do? Howz come you got one of theze in there?" -a line you hear in our shop every so often.

 Working on this reminded me of something I saw many years ago during bike week in Florida.

 Now that's a heater! My little project didn't have as many tubes and hoses as this bad boy but it felt like it for a while.
 It's funny how the mind (my mind anyhow) wonders. I got to relive a warm vacation while turning wrenches for a paycheck.
 It snowed last night. Not a lot but enough that we'll have to do some salting. Gotta go!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

BSA Frame Paint

 I have been preoccupied with work and other projects this past week so nothing was happening with the BSA. Yesterday I walked into my little workshop and eyeballed the bike and thought, "dude, you need to get yer ass in gear on this thing". I took my own advice and pushed forward.
 The front forks had to come off. When I removed them all of the ball bearings fell out. I found all but one. That's right, one got away. How screwed up is that. No matter. If things go the way I plan then I won't be needing them anyway.
 I threw the frame into the bed of my truck and took it to work where I had a warm shop to do some painting. The first step was to do a little sand blasting.

 A little hand held media blaster was just right for a project this size. The pic was actually taken before any blasting was done. The shiny areas are from some sanding that I had done a week or two ago. Blasting was done in areas that were greasy and just too confined to get clean by other means.
 The next step was primer. I used a dark color primer and allowed it to dry for half an hour. Prep work for the color coat was nothing more than shaking up a can of rustoleum. Two coats went on ten minutes apart. I then put on two coats of clear.

  I think it turned out pretty good. The paint was dry when this pic was taken and it has a decent shine to it. Ya sure it would be nice to powder coat and bake the frame for a durable finish. That's not in the budget and its also not something I can do myself. I don't like to farm out work if I don't have to. The whole point of this project is to enjoy building something myself. I will probably take this bike to shows but it will definitely not be a show bike. For me, tearing a bike down to the frame and squirting a little paint on it is as much fun as riding the thing. If need be I'll tear it back down and spray it again years from now. I've proven that.  I was painting on this bike thirty something years ago.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Workshop Wednesday-Swept Away part 2

 A while back I started a project where I was putting a hydraulic broom on a John Deere tractor. I just got around to finishing this thing up. A big storm is coming and I've officially pushed this project off till the last minute.

 So at the back of the tractor we have a pto shaft with our new 12 gpm pump. Also shown is the flow control valve and electronic controller. This will allow us to speed up or slow down the broom without changing engine speed.

 Here we see the new bracket I made for the hydraulic oil tank. Also pictured is flow control regulator bolted in where it will live under the tank. Also pictured is a hydraulic filter mounted on the new bracket.

 This really is a sweet little tractor. Here we see the controls in the cab that I've added for various gizmos. I'm a sucker for gadgets. The switch box on top controls mostly lighting including front, rear, dome and strobe lights. Below that is a port for charging a phone. The next controller down runs the electric drop spreader and vibrator for salting sidewalks. Below that is the flow control I just bolted in for controlling broom speed.
 Here we see the completed pump and tank addition between the tractor and salt spreader.

 I guess I forgot to paint that rusty bracket.  The broom functions great! This is gonna be so much more reliable than the original john deere broom plus give us more control.

 As long as I'm on the topic of snow and ice control, here's a pic of the new spreader I'll be running this year.

 It has all stainless steel construction so rust isn't a concern. This unit uses an auger rather than a chain to move the material to the spinner. Same as last year this unit is electric. At first I was concerned an electric spreader would not be powerful or reliable enough for commercial use but I was wrong. These units offer individual control over auger feed speed and spinner speed. Whether you want to cover a large area or small, thick or light application, this unit has the perfect setting. I also like the fact that this spreader is sealed at the bottom unlike previous models. This will keep salt off the new aluminum bed and keep it looking decent.
 It's pretty nice working for a snowplow dealer. Almost every year my plow and salter are sold as used and I get to start the season with the latest and greatest new gear.
 Let it snow!

Sunday, November 9, 2014


 Sometimes when I ride the sportster I like to rest my feet on the passenger pegs. This just gives me a way to change up the riding position and keep comfortable. On one such occasion when I returned my feet back to the forward controls I noticed something was different. Sure enough another part decided to go awol. This time it was the right foot rest. It got away and will be held for treason if ever found.  You may remember that the left foot peg played this game during my august vacation. It was caught trying to escape and has since been tried and locked down.

 That left peg may get paroled.  This is the perfect excuse for a little project. A chance to personalize the bike a bit more. There is no set theme to this scoot, I mean it has an eagle sculpture on the sissy bar and  rocket tail lights. Thats about it. I would love to carve something and then pour a casting but I'm really not equipped to do that. I'll have to think about it. So if you see me with my feet up on the work bench staring at them in deep thought, just assume I'm trying to figure out where to put my boots.



Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Workshop Wednesday-The Ride Home

 On the way home from work last night I had some trouble with my car. As I accelerated from a stop sign while making a left hand turn I couldn't help but notice the rear end wanted to go right. I felt like the clown in the parade on the bicycle that steers with both wheels. When I let off the gas I heard a clunk and the rear end wanted to go left. Al happened to be behind me so I called him and told him to watch the back of my car when I gassed it. I knew by his reaction over the phone that things weren't good. We pulled over to investigate.

 It seems the arm that locates the rear axle to the frame is no longer connected to the frame. Much of the frame is rotten. I had recently discovered that the frame was bad all the way to the back by the hitch mount. At that time I inspected the rest of the underside and never noticed this. It seems to be rusting from the inside. Extreme bummer.

 In other news, I recently posted about ethanol and phase separation. I wanted to post this pic to better show what I was talking about.

 This is an extreme example of water in fuel. Greg pulled it from a customers snow blower. Surely all this water isn't just from ethanol but this is exactly how it looks in your fuel tank. When you consider most small engine equipment is gravity feed, it's easy to see how a small amount of water can prevent an engine from running.


Sunday, November 2, 2014

BSA Wheels

 Saturday I had planned to inspect the BSA wheel bearings, polish the rims and mount the new Dunlop K70 tires. I ran into a snag.

 The rust on the wheels was more than just surface rust. In spots it was pitted deep. Being on a budget I decided to just paint the wheels. I prepped the chrome and applied an adhesion promoter, then gloss black. I later added a crooked gold pinstripe and clearcoat. No, the pinstripe wasn't supposed to be crooked, it just worked out that way. I left 1/2" or so of chrome at the edge of the rim to allow mounting the tires without screwing up the paint.

 One extra thing to screw up my day are these bead locks. I thought about eliminating them and I still might as I have not tried installing the tire yet.  At this point all I have done is the rear wheel. The front wheel is still holding the frame up on the lift table.

 I needed some masking tape for this project. I had a roll here in the shop but I think my daughter used it for removing lint from her clothes. No biggy, I'll hop on the bike and get another roll. It was a chilly 36 degrees but this is a small town so I wouldn't be out long enough to get cold.
 There are some advantages to living in a small town but at the moment I can't think of any. How much does your town suck when you can't buy a roll of masking tape? It's not that everyone was out. Nobody offers it. Beer, liquor, smokes, cheese, antiques and lottery problem. Masking tape requires a ride to the big city. I ended up using pinstriping tape and electrical tape for my masking.

 I think I'm ok with the way they turned out. I'll leave this one near my desk in the workshop and stare at it for a while. If I come up with something better I have no problem changing it. I guess I'm just not in a hurry.

UPDATE: I wrote the above crap on saturday. Before the day was over I decided I hated the rear wheel. I'll sand it down and remove the crooked gold pinstripe. The stripe may go back on but it will be straight. I removed the front wheel and started painting it. All black, no chrome.  I'll finish it today.