Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Choose Your Own Caption

 This is a pic I took of me hauling a subwoofer box home from the store. Choose a caption or make up your own.

A: With a big enough amp and the right speaker I think I can get that extra push  I need for passing long lines of cages.

B: I finally figured out how to tell the car behind me to BACK OFF!

C: Gotta have my jams!

D: what have you got?

Sunday, April 26, 2015


 You gave me life and love and provided the things I needed to grow. You taught me right from wrong and set an example of how to be a good person. When I did screw up you were fair and understanding. As I grew, you accepted whatever direction I chose and you did not judge. Your love and generosity went above and beyond how a mother should treat her children.
 The last few weeks have been hard for both of us. You laid there helpless in pain waiting for the sweet relief passing would bring. We could do nothing but watch. What we saw was a strong, brave woman. You set an example for your children and grand children how to accept life and death. You gave so much and asked for nothing.

 I like this pic of you. It's from a long time ago but you look so happy. I'll remember you this way.
 I love you Mom and I will miss you very much. Rest in peace.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Don't Hate Me Because I'm Fast

 I understand about not liking to get passed on the hiway. I don't travel slow so it doesn't happen often to me but when it does I feel like I've been put to shame. It's not pride in my ride. It's just a gearhead thing. That's how I know exactly why I got the bird the other day.
 I was on a state hiway traveling north on a warm sunny afternoon. The sportster and I were on a mission and didn't want to waste a lot of time in traffic. Unfortunately I rolled up on a "parade". My definition a of a parade is a long row of cars being led by one slow vehicle followed by a driver unwilling to pass. The car in the back of the line, right in front of me, was occupied by some younger gentlemen. Their ride was a small Asian car. Based on their unwillingness to pass and move up through the ranks I would say the extent of the mods to the car would be a shiny tail pipe, maybe a big air kit and some tunes. I could see the driver wanted to pass but he never took his shot. Twice I watched them throw away the opportunity.
 I wasn't interested in waiting around so I made my move. You know the routine. Pick off one or two at a time and keep on motoring. I passed our wannabe gangsters in their wannabe fast and furious car and slid in the opening ahead of them. This didn't agree with them and they closed the gap. At this point I didn't know if they wanted to play or if they were pissed. I didn't wait around to see how close they were actually gonna get and I made another pass. I noticed he was hugging the centerline looking to pass but the pussy never tried. I passed another eight or ten cars but he never came around. When I got closer to the big city the road split into two lanes each way. That's when ours friends finally caught up. The horn on my sporty is louder than the annoying little beeping directed at me. I guess they wanted to get my attention enough to notice they were flipping me off. A split second later they turned left and I never saw them again.
 OK, so I said I knew why I got the bird. When I was younger and got passed I had an immediate negative reaction that lasted a nanosecond. Well, maybe longer than that but never did it boil into road rage. If something is done to endanger me or others that would be different. I'm just talking about a display of power, nothing more. If I get blown away by something with real power then as a gearhead I'm just impressed.
 Why would our friends get so pissed? Was it because they were passed by a bike? What did they expect? If you're gonna pretend to have a fast car you can expect to be called out once in a while. If you think your car can take a bike then you better have a nice car. Even a 26 year old sportster can spank most cages.

 I've decided they were just a bunch of young hot heads. They'll get over it.


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Trailer Update

  I told you about my new 6 x 10 enclosed trailer purchase a while back. Hey I know it's just a trailer but it's my trailer. Something I should have bought decades ago but was too cheap to pull the trigger.

 When I bought it I knew I was going to need some places inside to tie things down. A few recessed floor hooks would have been ok I guess. The problem with that is there is never just the right spot for a strap. It's always a compromise. Plus the fact that I want to tie two bikes down side by side means I'll need more hook points.

 What I decided to do was purchase fifty feet of E-track. With the help of over 400 wood screws I secured the E-track pieces to the outer edges of the floor and also a few pieces across the middle. On the left wall you see another piece of track just above the four foot mark. This will allow me to secure a piece of plywood or whatever on edge if I already have something else in the trailer. Now I should have just the right tie down location for whatever I want to haul. I still might do something for storing straps and E-track clips but I really haven't given that much thought.
 Another reason I went with E-track was because as I mentioned I might want to haul two bikes or just one big bike down the middle. I found these wheel chocks online. They just clip into the track and I can put them anywhere I want.

 In theory it all seems so wonderful. I think this will be more than strong enough but the only way to know for sure is to strap the rat bike in and go for a ride down a bumpy road. Not today. The sun is shining and the road is calling.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-High Mileage Car

 Our shop at work not only handles the daily activities of a repair facility, but on occasion it hosts projects of friends and family of the business. One such activity has been that of the some high school kids that are building a high gas mileage car.
 Last Saturday I was on the job in the shop repairing some chainsaws. On the other side of the shop some of the kids were working on their project car. I couldn't fix saws and eyeball what they were doing so I did the logical thing and clocked out to help the kids with the car. I said "helped" but I didn't do any work. The help I offered was more in the form of offering suggestions on ways they could fulfill their visions. Techniques, tools available, time savers and such.

 When I was a kid I was in cub scouts. The very first year that they offered a pinewood derby race, I was the winner. My car rocked and I'm sure pops was thrilled to have kicked the asses of the other dads...errr kids that raced. The truth is that I learned  lot, and remember it all, about building that car. My dad made suggestions and showed me how to perform tasks but made me do the work. I was young and needed guidance unlike these HS kids that already have a vision and possess many of the skills needed to build this car.
 There's a saying the best way to learn is to make mistakes on your own till you figure out what works best. There's also the proven method of mentoring or job shadowing. I suppose it depends on the task at hand which method is best. You probably don't want a brain surgeon or the dude working at the nuclear power plant using the "figure out what works best" method. I think in the case of the high mileage car it's best to let the kids figure things out on their own. What they've done so far is pretty impressive.
 I really don't know how the competition works but I wish them luck!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ride Day!

 Its been a long time since I've had time to throw a leg over the bike. If you search back through the archives of this blog I probably reported my last ride. I've just been busy. The sound of other bikes rolling down the road has finally made me crazy and I'm gonna drop everything and get out for a few hours today. Ok so I'm not really dropping everything. I've just re-prioritized my errands to only include things that can be done from two wheels.

 If you have the means I encourage you to get out and enjoy the day too!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-Whutcha Gonna Blog About?

 That was the question I was asked on Tuesday afternoon. Crap, I forgot my faithful audience would be expecting some witty gem on Wednesday morning. Writing this blog isn't something that comes naturally to me. I'm the quiet one sitting in the corner with nothing to say. I'll participate in a conversation but I'm not usually the one that starts it.
 I've been trying. My role at work is a mechanic but has included selling mowers and chainsaws in the showroom. This started out being pretty tough but I'm doing better lately. I can comfortably talk about things mechanical and I enjoy explaining these things to people that want to understand. This makes lawn mower sales easy for me. I also don't bullshit customers. If they're looking at crap that won't meet their expectations then I steer them in a different direction rather than making the wrong sale.
 So back to the question. What am I going to blog about? If this were to be a technical tale then I would need supporting pics. I don't have anything put together for that and now it's already quitting time Tuesday afternoon. I see some of the young guys are in the shop swapping some tires on a truck. A closer investigation revealed the tires were just some worn out mudders. Nothing new to report there.
 I could talk about what seems to be the hot topic at the hair. Really? I've let it get a bit longer and in order to keep a neat appearance I have tied it back. Ya a pony tail. And if you believe the rumors then I guess I'm planning on a sex change too. My wife doesn't particularly care for it this long and in fun she tried to get my mother to convince me to cut it. That backfired. Mom said to let the boy express himself. Hey, when I was a kid I got the bowl on the head or summer shave. In High school I was under my parents roof and had to follow their rules. At 17 I joined the military and that was the start of 21 years of constant haircuts. When I got out of the service I kept it shortish because my wife liked it that way. Now it's time to let it grow a bit before it all turns gray or falls out. But we'll just brush off that topic, I don't want to talk about hair.
 So what is this blog gonna be about? I'll tell ya. Frosty, from the landscaping crew, walked into the office and slapped this guy on the counter.

 A Milwaukee Brewers Santa gnome. He stands about a foot tall although when discovered he was on his head. I like him. Is it because he has a full head of hair? Maybe because he has a complete set of tools for the job? Nope. When I first saw him I thought life has been throwing this foot high, over weight, butt ugly dude nothing but scraps and he ground them up and made brats.
 So there it is. Do the best with what you've got and try to deal with a bad situation as best you can. That's what I'm doing.


Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter

So the bike repairs have been slow. I got involved working on my budget pickup truck build. It needs a lot of work, some mechanical, some visual and some just to personalize it.

 This last round of repairs involved meats and a muffler. The BFGs rock. In my opinion they transform a vehicle into a truck. Anything less and you might as well be driving a car. The truck got a "leveling kit".

This gave me 2" in the rear and 2.5" in the front. It wasn't added because I need more ground clearance or wanted a certain look. It was added because I planned on replacing the rear axle and needed new u-bolts. I also wanted new nitro shocks. Buying this kit was cheaper than buying the parts individually and I feel the stance of the truck is a nice compromise between stock and too high to get in and out of without running boards.
 I also replaced all the steering components under the front end. The stock components were worn and I didn't like the way it was engineered. Originally the drag link ran from the pitman arm to the passenger side wheel. The tie rod was connected to the drag link just shy of the wheel and then ran to the other wheel. This is what is called a "y" system. It seems stupid and allows for "bump steer". I used mostly components from a '98 one ton to create a "t" system where the tie rod runs wheel to wheel with the drag link connected to the top of the tie rod. The difference was immediately noticeable.
 You also see in the first pic the tail pipe of a Flowmaster Force II cat back system. It mounted perfectly in the factory hangers. Thanks Greg for welding up the seams. The Force II is advertised as having moderate sound. I find it to have a nice low rumble at idle and mellow sound in town. On the hiway it doesn't seem very loud outside. In the cab you just realize there is something other than stock handling the exhaust chores. It's louder than stock without any annoying raaaaapppp. The muffler itself is heavy gauge welded steel and should last a long time. Exactly what I was hoping for.
 Next week is supposed to be cool and wet. Maybe the week after I can start commuting on the bike again.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-My Saw Quit Oiling

 I've had a few people tell me that they enjoy reading this blog because every so often they learn something new. So to keep the peeps happy I'll continue to throw in a few workshop wednesday posts that are purely educational.
 One very popular customer complaint I hear is "my chainsaw oiler isn't working". We all know what a chainsaw is but I know some of the readers here have never used one so I'll explain. The chain on a chainsaw runs in a groove on a bar at a super (duper) high speed. It needs to be lubed or the bar, chain and drive sprocket will wear out prematurely. Oil is added to a tank and then moved to the bar via a pump.
 Now most everyone that buys a saw knows this very basic information. The problem comes in when some people don't realize how this happens. The oil has to get to the bar somehow and most of the time that path involves the oil moving through a hole in the bar to the groove in the bar where it lubes the chain.

 The hole I'm pointing to is where the oil passes through to the groove in the bar. See, nice and It didn't come in that way.

 Here you can see the hole is plugged. The oiler won't work this way. Debris gets under the chain and then gets packed into the hole. By the way...Ewwwww. Look at all the hair stuck to this bar. I suspect some of the "debris" plugging this hole is animal parts. I don't judge. I just fix the saws.

 Sometimes the saw isn't oiling but the hole in the bar is clear. This seems to usually boil down to a few things. One thing could be a hole in the line running from the tank to the pump. Another could be debris in that line. This happens when crap gets in the tank during oil fill-ups or if the filter/screen falls off the line in the tank. Another problem could be a plugged vent in the tank. I find that a systematic cleaning and inspection of the entire oiler system usually reveals the problem. I only dig into this if my initial inspection of the oiler drive gear proves it to be ok.

 The oiler usually lives behind the clutch. Some like the one pictured above are driven by the crankshaft and oil all the time. Others are driven by the clutch and only oil when the chain is turning. This is a bad one. You can see the plastic gear is worn and the pump will never turn this way.
 So there you have it. Some basics on automatic chainsaw oilers. Happy?