Sunday, March 29, 2015

Rat Bling

 Sadly there is very little to report in the way of motorcycle repair. I've been so busy with other things that there just hasn't been time. Pretty soon I'm gonna just start freaking out and make time.
 Now just because I haven't physically worked on the bikes doesn't mean I haven't been thinking about them. I did pick up some pin striping for the Rat Turd. I like the barbed wire look so I got that. I see this look everywhere. Tats, stickers, lengths of barbed wire pin striping and even embroidered hats. The problem with that stuff is it's all wanna-be barbed wire. I didn't want to pretend so I bought the real thing. 75 pounds of it. Thats right. Go big or go home.

 A co-worker had some laying around at the family farm. I won't need all of it so if you want to detail your old ladys buick or keep the neighbors out of you veggy garden, come get some.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Toy Hauler

 For years I've had a desire to replace my crappy old open trailer with something decent. Well a couple weeks ago I got a lead on a trailer at a dealer about an hour north of here. I drove up there and checked out what he had to offer.
 I was impressed with the quality of the trailers he had. I really wasn't looking for a full featured everyday use trailer but I was willing to spend the money on one if I could get a deal. Well after checking out what he had to offer I was ready to buy. I had a fist full of cash and was looking to haggle on price. He wasn't. Apparently he didn't need to sell a trailer that day because he wouldn't budge a nickel. All I wanted was for him to give me a deal on a spare tire or something. Anything. Nope. Well, screw it. I left his business and will never bother going back there.
 On the way home I passed M. Schettl Sales. You may remember me talking about them. They sell enclosed trailers so I swung in there to take a look. The salesman was cool. We talked bikes for a while before we ever discussed trailers. I apologize for forgetting his name.
 I told him what I wanted, how much I was willing to spend for it, and he made it happen. I got a good deal on a new trailer and left there happy. You should shop there too.

 It's a 6 x 10 plus 2 feet in the nose. It has a fold down rear ramp, LED lighting and a dome light inside. Just a basic trailer but that's all I need. I ordered some E-track so I have some place for tie downs. When I do that install I'll post again.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

All Tanked Up Again

 Last week I showed you the backbone for my new fuel tank. This week we'll look at the tanks themselves.

 This tube would have represented the entire finished volume of the new tank(s). Six inch diameter and thirty six inches long. That will give me just over a gallon more than my stock tank. You see here I'm making the first of two cuts in the tube. A later design change will only use two of these tubes.

 I cut out end caps for the tubes out of some scraps of steel. They will need some grinding to get them close enough to size to fit the tubes.

 This is the new tank(s) mocked up. The project has been sitting like this for about a week. I got side tracked. I also wanted to let this soak in a bit and toss around some ideas about how to proceed. One thing that I'm thinking about working into the design is a new place to mount the key switch. The reason for this is that a future project will probably be building a new front end for this bike. If I move the key off of the forks, my new front end will be just that much easier to build.

 Just for fun I've added this pic of my original design. I like the look of the three tanks but that small tank is just a little too close to the seat and doesn't allow me to slouch if I want to.

 I already had the tube cut so I thought about using it somewhere else. This would be doable but I can't stand the way it looks (as if the two tank design is appealing). As I write this and look at the pic, I'm thinking a smaller diameter tube on top might not look too bad.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Fast lane

The morning commute can be a real drag for some people. I don't mind the drive and I certainly enjoy the ride when the weather is biker friendly. If I had to pick one thing that really cheeses me off it's the passing lane about six miles into my ride.
Why is it that so many people don't know how to act when there is a passing lane?  There's a sign posted that tells you how to proceed but why bother reading it. "SLOWER TRAFFIC KEEP RIGHT".  It's just ridiculous the way some people drive. If you were moving at 53 mpg before entering the passing zone, why the he'll would you speed up to 60+ after moving to the right? Now everyone that wanted to push you out of the way before the passing zone is enjoying a normal flow of traffic until you exit the passing zone and SLOW BACK DOWN TO 53!? What's the freakin problem?

The other annoying driver is the one that stays in the fast lane and just paces the car that moved over. HELLO! OTHERS! You have to know we want to pass. We're all bunched up behind you. Or maybe you don't know because you think mirrors are just for putting on makeup or picking your nose. Ok, its not just rhe guys. Some of the gals are also guilty of not using their mirrors.
And how about the driver that passes at the last minute forcing the passee to ride the gravel, unable to merge. What a dick. Don't be a dick.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

All Tanked Up

 I've been talking about making a fuel tank for the Rat Turd for a long time now. Well, I finally found some scraps layin around that I think will make a tank unlike many others.

 This was the pic I was working off of. With the bike against a white background I was able to print out a few pics and start doodling. What I came up with was an idea to run three separate tanks. Round tubes running sideways rather than front to rear.
 In the search for parts I heard a lot of "why don't you just..." or "wouldn't it be easier to..."
I would stop them right there. I don't want it to look like everything else. My goals were to have something unusual, functional and at least the same capacity of the stock 3.2 gallon tank.

 I needed a main backbone to support the tanks. My usual approach to something like this is to make a cardboard template.

 This is the design I started with. This plan would have had three tanks with a total capacity of 4.4 gallons. I was happy about the volume but it looked so bad that even I couldn't stand to look at it. That's sayin a lot. My new plan will be just two tanks for a capacity of 3.5 gallons.
 As long as I was gonna have to cut this thing out with the plasma cutter I figured I might as well personalize it a bit more. Instead of just ending the bracket at the front I thought it would be interesting to stretch it forward a bit to cover some ugly wiring and modules and junk. You can see I added an outline of the rat from my stickers which I will paint later.

 Here is the inside of one half of the bracket cut out of a plate of steel. The round black piece is the rubber mount from the bike frame. I've cut a small strap and bent it so it will fit around the mount. It's welded to the plate and this is how the front of the tanks will attach to the bike.

 The two plates welded together and temporarily bolted down. The rear brackets bolt down with the original bushings in the factory location. I have no doubt this will be plenty sturdy for my new tanks. That's all for now. Next time we'll take a look at the tanks and maybe some plumbing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-Random Pics

 Blah Blah, I got home from a long day of work yesterday just wanting to do some laundry, cook dinner and chill while net surfing. I pulled in the drive, hit the remote for the garage door and up goes the door as usual.

Turns out it only went up because I splurged for the battery backup model door opener. The power was out in the entire city.

 So there we sat in the dark doing our best amish impersonations. I'm not good at it. I don't mind camping on purpose. I hate being thrown into it. It's amazing how quiet this neighborhood is with the power out. My wife enjoyed the quiet.

 We did break the amish atmosphere when the phones started dinging and chiming with power outage updates through the grapevine. Rumor has it a squirrel is to blame for our inconvenience.

 So after an hour of torture, the power finally came back on. Ya I know, it was just an hour but every minute during the hour you wonder if it will come on in seconds or days. It's amazing how noisy this house is when the juice is flowing. I enjoy the background noise.


Sunday, March 8, 2015

Rat Turd Exhaust-Live!

 It's been driving me crazy. As you know a while back I built a homemade header for the Rat Turd. What would it sound like? Would it sound like a turd? Would the rain flapper go klinkity klink when the bike was idling? Well with the weather as cold as it's been and the fact that I have other things torn apart on the bike, I finally got a chance to push it outside and fire it up. You be the judge.

 I like it. It sounds like a big throaty four cylinder jap bike. Not the little 550 that it really is. I also got the rain flapper klinking noise I was hoping for. It's actually a lot klinkier than the video reveals.
 I still have to seal the elbow below the muffler. I hadn't done this yet because I didn't know if I was gonna get the sound I wanted. I was happy to see that when I held the rain flapper closed the only place it leaked was at this elbow. My header collector seems to be welded up tight. Schwinnggg!

 I still have the restrictor that came with the muffler. Of course it was removed before I ever started this project. Now I may use it to fine tune the sound and klinkability of the rain flapper.
 I sat on the bike and revved it up a few times. I think it's gonna be alright. The outlet points away from me just enough so I won't be breathing rat fumes yet it's close enough for me to enjoy it. The fact that it points up may lessen the offensiveness of it's tone. I'm not gonna get into the whole "loud pipes save lives" debate. That's not why I built it.
 So it looks like this project is a success and fine tuning it will be simple enough. For that it gets the Greasy Shop Rag stamp of approval.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-Slow Days, not Snow Days

 Not much exciting happening at work. I've been busy putting together proposals for our fertilizer and weed control applications program. I enjoy taking care of that part of the business, I'm just not fond of sitting behind a desk all day.
 I did get a chance to do some wrenching yesterday but that was only so I could get my truck running enough to haul my ass to work. I was in a rush to get there because it started snowing. Turns out mother nature is a bitch and she suddenly quit dropping the white stuff. Nothing to plow. I know some of you are buried with snow but here we are a foot below average. You can see dirt in farmers fields. I don't think they ever opened the snowmobile trails here. It wouldn't suck as much if the weatherliars were even close on their forecasts but every time they predict a storm we just get a heavy dusting. The crust in my underwear can do a better job of predicting the weather.


 I added this pic just because it makes me happy. Thanks Frank. It reminds me of vacation fun with friends and twisty roads. It also reminds me that we are only a few weeks or so out from riding season and I haven't touched this bike all winter. I'll get right on that. Yep.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Hiway Bar Shifter

  Ya know how sometimes ya get comfortable on the bike and just don't want to change positions yet? I get this a lot when I'm eased back on the Rat Turd with my feet up on the hiway pegs. The bike has a small engine and sometimes I need to grab a gear or two to properly blow off some cager in my way. This has meant lifting my foot off the peg, finding the shifter down on the side of the bike and making the gear change down and then later back up. Oh the horror having to deal with this! I need a rat with the proper propulsion system.
 I can just make a shifter up on the hiway peg. To do this I needed to dig into my stash of lawn mower parts that just seemed too good to throw out. I had a forward/reverse pedal from a Yazoo mower that seemed like it would make a good heel/toe shifter.

 First I needed to make a bracket the shifter could rock on. This was a simple matter of welding a bolt to a piece of steel that I drilled a few holes through.

 Here is the Yazoo shifter in place. The way I have it mounted under the foot rest means I will have to make an intentional effort to change gears. I don't foresee any accidental shifts.

 I needed to get the shift linkage to change direction so that pushing down with my toe will result in down shifting. To do this I found an old rear chain sprocket from my Aprilia. Making this piece part of the linkage is very cheezy so naturally I went ahead and made it work.

 Down on the shift lever I just bent a rod and welded it to the foot shifter. The long shiny shift rod is a piece of steering linkage from a Husqvarna lawn mower. I have a few left if you need one.

 I just need to throw this in here so my wife can better understand some of the uses of the 10 ton porta-power she bought me for my b-day. If you look two pictures up you can see a steel bracket I made. It's above the rusty round transmission end cap. I had overbent the piece trying to get it lined up just right. In the above pic you can see me using the hydraulic spreader to bend it back into shape. Thanks again to my wife and kids for the tools!

 So there it is. In your face low budget rat shit. I'm not sure what's next. I still want to make a fuel tank but I don't have the material yet. What I mean is I haven't found any junk laying around that will work. I do have to relocate one of the air horns now that my new shift linkage is in the way. Maybe I'll work on that next.