Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Workshop Wednesday-Good Vibrations

  I haven't made a workshop wednesday post in a while so I'll throw this little tip at ya. As many of you know, I fix outdoor power equipment. Most of what I do is 2-cycle stuff like chainsaws and trimmers. Basically, you neglect it and we resurrect it. One of the most common neglects is letting fuel get old in a machine and many times that requires me to clean a carburetor.

 The rust inside the carb pictured above is pretty bad and just using carb cleaner did nothing toward removing it. Recently I have been experimenting with an ultrasonic cleaner to tackle this chore. So far it's been working pretty good but this carb would be a challenge.

 This ultrasonic cleaner is about as cheap as they get. I paid thirty something dollars for it at the local cheap ass tools store. It's big enough for these small carbs and that's about it. The cleaning solution is just some diluted pine sol cleaner. Some soaps work better than others and I'm still experimenting with different ones.
 This particular unit has about a three minute cycle. All it does is vibrate and that loosens up the dirt. I ran this carb through three cycles, rotating it between each cycle.

 You can see that the rust is all gone. There was no mechanical removal of rust, just a bath in the ultrasonic cleaner. Sure that screw head is dark, but there is no loose rust or dirt left anywhere and I can rob a screw from the "big bucket o' carbs". After drying the carb with low air pressure, I used the kit in the background to reassemble it. The reason for the cleaning determines how far I tear the carb down. When I save time, you save money.

"So what did the shop have to do to fix our leaf blower?"
   "They cleaned the carb."
"You mean they just squirted some carb cleaner in it and blew it out?"
   "No, they used some machine called an ultrasonic cleaner."
"Oooooh!" "I feel so good about the money we spent on this repair. Come give me a smooch!"

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Trick or Treat?

 Today is the one day a year I get to scare the crap out of little kids without worrying about being arrested. Trick or Treating is today in our small town and my wife and I plan to sit on the porch and piss parents off by inserting little nightmares into their kids heads. Hey, if you don't like it then get off my lawn! Just keep walking and take your snot nose kids somewhere else. 
 It's just not the same as it was when we were young. We went out AT NIGHT. We would run from house to house across strange lawns in the DARK. We got hurt all the time from tripping over down spouts or bird baths or even running directly into a tree, and we liked it! It was fun. Costumes never made it through a whole night of terrorizing the neighborhood. They looked like they had been in a war and they were. We fought to be the first to the next house to reap our reward. Ya every so often we had to back track and pick up our wounded or perform a search and rescue mission on a spilled bag of treats, but then we would always push on and complete the mission.
 I said treats, not candy, because we often got homemade goodies and nobody worried about it being poisoned or containing a razor blade. Ya it was kinda hard to deal with a caramel apple while on the run but that's just one of the basic skills we learned as youngsters. Oh ya, candy bars came in one size. Regular size, not this micro sized sampler they are pushing these days.
 Today I will see a whole range of costumes and most of them will not even be intended to look scary. Cute is in, scary is out. That's BS.
 "Mommy, hold my hand and get that piece of candy for me". Not at my house. If you won't walk up and get your own treat then just turn your Spongebob ass around and keep walking down the sidewalk to the next house. Don't worry about crossing the street. The city officials will have checkpoints setup at all entrances to the neighborhood to keep things safe for you.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fender Install

 A while back I reported squirting some paint from a rattle can onto a pair of new fenders I purchased for my dodge pickup. Now I'm not a body man but I figured I could easily swap out a couple of fenders and headlights. I mean, how freakin hard could it be?

 Well it turns out that if you're a moron like me then it can be quite difficult. I needed fenders so I ordered fenders. Turns out not all fenders are created equal. The fenders I bought didn't have the inner steel fender section on them. How lame is that? I mean they are welded together so why offer them separate? Cost I suppose. Anyway, by the time I realized this dilemma I was already committed to finishing this project if I wanted to use the truck on Monday. Thank goodness the Packers had a late start that day.
 I chose to leave the inner section on the truck and separate the two halves in place. This involved the use of a cut off wheel, air chisel, pry bar and BFH (big freakin hammer).

 It ain't pretty but I got it off of there. From here the job was pretty simple. I just had to bolt the new outer fender in place and weld the two halves together.

  I remember when this body style first came out in the early '90's. It was such a radical change from what the big three were offering in the 60's, 70's and 80's and a lot of people just had to have one. My work truck at the time was a v10 version. I liked the look then and I still like it now.
 This project turned out just alright. I knew the paint would not be an exact match and I'm ok with that. The old headlight was so yellowed from age that the parking lights were brighter than the headlights. I picked up these low budget lights from Amazon and think they look alright I guess. If they illuminate the road in front of me I'll be happy. Earlier in the week I ordered the special nylon pop rivets needed to secure the plastic fender liner to the steel fender. That should be a two minute job.
 I think when I'm ready to take on the passenger side that I'll remove the inner and outer fenders together and do my separating and rewelding out in the open. That really was a pain in the ass.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Appleton Harley Davidson

 A few weeks ago I got an invite in the mail. I lost it so I don't remember the official title of the event but I can tell you it was some kind of customer appreciation party at Appleton HD. It wasn't a "bike" event but it seemed appropriate to brave the cold and ride up there. I arrived to find the parking lot full of cages and only two other bikes there. Whatever. I guess I didn't expect to see a lot of other bikes when the temps were in the forties.
 As I walked into the dealership the first thing I noticed was the lack of bikes. They cleared the sales floor and had half of it set up for feeding and half set up like a casino. Of course they still had all of the clothing available and I had kinda thought about buying a sweatshirt but I really had a different purchase in mind so I wandered over to the parts counter. They were offering a percentage off parts that night so I took this opportunity to pick up some different handlebars for the Ultra. See, I'm getting comfortable with the bike but I'm not completely comfortable sitting on it. These bars will move the grips two inches closer to me so my arms won't be stretched straight out while sitting upright. This position will mimic the Kawasaki Voyager that I put over seventy thousand miles on and did a bunch of Iron Butt rides on also.
 The food was next. A generous buffet style offering that included a smoked turkey that was delicious.  
 After filling my stomach I sat down and played some black jack. The deal was that the big winner at each table got their name put in a hat and they drew three names from those to receive some prizes.

 I did quite well, starting out with $5000 of funny money and finishing with over $300,000. That made me the big winner at our table but my name wasn't drawn for any of the prizes. No matter, I had a good time. Thanks to the crew over there for putting on a nice party. It would have been nicer if my wife could have made the trip but she was feeling a bit under the weather. She wisely chose to stay home and get some rest.
 The late night hour ride home was dark, chilly and a bit challenging. The lighting on the Ultra is pretty decent and gave me confidence looking for deer while I dealt with the cold. The wind protection is ok except frigid air sneaks below the fairing and above the radiator pods. This hits my knees with a wintery blast. It's not the worst thing but I do need to remember to stretch my leg out and make sure it still works before coming to a stop.
 So there you have it. That was my Saturday night. What did you do?

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Primer, Paint and Pigs

 Last weekend was unusually warm for this time of year which plays perfectly into my procrastinating hand. I don't have a clean warm place to paint during the winter months and I had a few projects that needed to be done before it gets frosty outside.
 One of those projects is my '67 BSA. I don't have a solid plan for this bike yet but I can't do anything if the frame isn't ready. A few weeks ago I fizz bombed the frame and Sunday I clear coated it. If I end up modifying the frame then I'll just have to redo it. After 35 years of ownership I don't think one more tear down is gonna make a difference.

 In my garage there were two large boxes taking up a lot of valuable real estate. Each of those boxes contained a front fender for my rusty pickemup truck. I needed to get some undercoating, primer, color and clear on them while the weather still allowed. Now I know this is kinda like putting lipstick on a pig but winter is coming and I'm pretty sure, if left in this condition, the weight of slush and ice would pull the inner fender down on the tires. A new fender will put things back the way they should be and hopefully prevent any frustration during the wintery months.

 I know it won't be a "perfect match" like the can claims. I'm not too worried about that. When I roll into the parking lot at work I'm surrounded by some nice newer trucks. Hopefully my efforts here will help prevent any parts from falling off my beast and scratching one of their beauties. Sure a new truck would be nice but I guess my priorities are just somewhere else. I mean none of those guys are riding a new Harley Ultra Limited and maybe don't care to.
 The old Dodge has some rocker panel issues too. I might buy some weld in replacements and try my hand at making that happen. I've also got this idea about making my own rocker panel/step combo. We'll see.
 This would be a good place to add a witty comment and wrap this thing up but I got nothin. Later.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Rat Sticker

 Something happened the other day that kinda caught me off guard. During my lunch break I had some errands to run and rolled into the hardware store in the city where I work. As I walked across the parking lot I noticed an older couple getting into a newer car. I didn't recognize them but I was very familiar with the decal in their back window. That's right, this elderly couple was sportin a Greasy Shop Rag sticker.
 I had to chuckle. I felt like I finally made the big time. Oh sure I'll hand these things out to anyone that will take one and I make them available at the bike shows, but I'd never seen where a stranger had put one on their vehicle. Too cool. I wonder if they read this drivel or just like displaying a pic of a rat dropping a steaming deuce.
 On that topic I'd like to thank all of you that follow this blog. I don't advertise on the site and there is no monetary gain but knowing people are out there reading this does kinda encourage me to continue. It's nothing special, just me babbling about bikes, making observations about what I see around me, or maybe sharing some technical info. I like to add some witty comments when I can but I've been informed I'm a lot less funny than I think. No problem, I like putting a few thoughts down on "paper" even if no one gets it. Kinda like leaving a diary laying around for anyone to peruse.
 Some people claim blogging is a dying format. I don't know, I got into it late and will continue as long as I can come up with something semi-interesting to say. I imagine at some point this space will be just some ramblings from a grumpy old man. "Those dang nabit neighbor kids were on my lawn again last week..."  or "Well by golly some young whippersnapper on a crotch rocket blew me away on my scooter" might be something you'll see here in the future. In fact if you were to scroll back to older posts you'll notice it started out strictly about bikes and slowly morphed into whatever it is you see here now. I personally like writing about things technical but I get the biggest feedback from the personal posts. The riding season isn't year round in these parts so I'll have to sneak some more of those personal ramblings in here if I'm gonna continue posting twice a week.
 Twice a week for two years now. Every Wednesday and Sunday morning. Huh. I never really had a plan when I started this and I guess I don't have a real plan moving forward.
 So stick around, maybe one of those rare gem posts will pop up here soon. You wouldn't want to miss it. Let me know if you need a sticker and I'll see about making that happen.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Slimey Crud Run

 I got a late start on Sunday morning. I've been busy and really needed a day where I could sleep in past 530am. I woke up at 6. Oh well, I tried. The plan was to ride down to Pine Bluff with Dan and check out the bikes at the Slimey Crud Run. I make this ride twice a year and can't believe I made these plans forgetting how long it actually takes to get there. It's a two hour ride. If we followed the plan we would get to an empty parking lot in Pine Bluff. Most everyone would have left for Leland. We changed our destination but kept the start time and headed for Leland.
 The night before I was on the Ultra Limited in the same kind of temps. I had the seat heater and hand grips burning along with my heated jacket. None of those luxuries on the Rat Turd so I bundled up to face the 45 degree chill. At one stop I was asked if I was dressed for snowmobiling. Hey, ya do what ya gotta do to keep warm.
 We had a nice ride down. Dan led on his suzuki 400 enduro and I followed enjoying the start of the fall colors. The trees were at that just right stage where they provided a nice background but weren't littering up the turns with leaves. All the corners were easy to read and the sun was never in my eyes. Actually the sun never made an appearance. This allowed me to find the lean limit on the right side of the bike.

 You can see I ground a hole in the copper tubing wrapped around the exhaust pipe. This is part of an unfinished project that I will now have to rethink.

 I guess people are making the trek to Leland earlier every year. When we arrived there must have been at least five hundred bikes already there. I made a victory lap through the center of it all and snaked my way up to the highest ground to get a good view of the bikes rolling in. Actually I picked that spot cuz it's close to the hot dog stand. I skipped breakfast this morning.
 The Rat Turd has become quite the spectator magnet. There was a constant barrage of questions and picture taking. While I do enjoy seeing the reactions to this abortion on wheels, I had to walk away and check out some bikes. I was hoping to find more rat bikes and did see three others. Too bad that two of them have already been featured on this blog. The third was pretty cool.

Initially this bike doesn't seem all that special. I mean we are all numb from seeing this style seat, tank or bars but it all blends very nicely on this bike.

 A closer look reveals some very nice attention to details. I didn't talk to the owner and don't know if it's gonna stay in this rat state or if this is just mocked up and gonna get paint and such. I like it.
 A couple other bikes caught my eye.

Clean, basic and simple. That's what I want to do with my BSA. It should have just whats needed to make it move down the road. No extras. I got some inspiration today checking out the bikes at the slimey crud run and I got a chance to have some nice conversations with other motorcycle gear heads. A good day I'd say.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Green Lake Bike Show

 If you follow this blog then you know I was at a bike show last weekend. You'd also know that I don't own a show bike, rather an unusual rat bike. While we were sitting at the show shooting the breeze, Mike, one of the show organizers, asked me to help him out of a jam. I said sure and asked what he needed. They needed another judge for the show. Sounded good to me. I was given a clipboard with the bikes I was to judge listed on a score sheet. No explanation needed. I asked Al if he wanted to help and we scrutinized the bikes in that class.
 I'm not a show bike kind of person even though I've had my bike at shows. I guess I'm at these few shows cuz they are local, support good causes and are a motorcycle activity I can participate in without having to ride in formation next to some stranger of unknown skill level that may or may not be drunk. But just because I don't own a show bike doesn't mean I don't know what it takes to build a bike or maintain and present something worth looking at. I enjoyed judging those bikes and thought a lot about the scoring system. I feel the right bikes won that day in the class I judged but I would do the scoring a bit different if ever asked to do it again. I'm not gonna go into detail but I did find the score sheet categories interesting. Paint, chrome, wheels and tires, accessories, something else and overall appearance. I could only imagine the frustration of the guy judging the class with bikes in it like my Rat Turd or the guy that wrote "rust" under "special features" on the registration card. Ya it was rusty but that was the point. It was a rat.

 There was a entrant in the show I was really impressed with. It was a 2015 Indian towing a 1915 Indian on a trailer. Both bikes were purchased new by the same family 100 years apart.

 That's it for pics. I didn't snap any pics of the shiny bikes. We all know what those look like.

 So after being exposed to the judging side of shows and having enjoyed participating a few times, I might just have to step up my game and produce something a bit more show worthy. I have no thoughts on what exactly that means but it seems like something I might like to do.

 This morning I'm gonna meet up with Dan in Ripon and we will ride down to the Slimey Crud run. It's about a two hour ride and the temperature is about 45 but should warm up to 60 and partly sunny. That means there could be a pretty good turn out. I'm hoping to see some unusual bikes and I'll snap some pics for you if I do.  Later.