Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Workshop Wednesday-Shop Potpourri

 This is just a mix of pics I found in my phone. All of them were taken at work. The mind is a funny thing and I have no idea what I was thinking when I took these pics. I'll be happy to use them in this blog then delete them from my phone. You, unfortunately, will have to suffer through this meaningless drivel and never find anything interesting.

 I like fixing chainsaws, trimmers and other handheld equipment. Some days it's just an endless flow of repair work, other days the repairs may be slower but I can't think of when the last slow day was. When a customer brings in their equipment, we fill out a work order. Some times the work order has very specific requests on it. Others times not. "Runs like crap" is a bit vague but I prefer it to some of the guess work customers offer when they bring in their broken equipment.

I saw a stack of new shovels and for some reason thought they were picture worthy. Can you dig it?

 Because we are a rental center and a repair facility, we encounter a lot of dead batteries. Portable jump packs are pretty handy and we have a few of them. This one accidentally got monster trucked when someone drove off while it was still hooked to a vehicle.

 I'm not even sure what the heck is going on here. A generator mounted on a push mower  with an electric lawn mower in tow.

 There's only one way this can happen. This stump grinder was out on rental when it accidentally rolled down a hill and into the drink. The tail pipe filled with mud as it tumbled down the hill. I understand the recovery process was quite an ordeal but unfortunately I don't have those pics.

 If you use slime in your tires you should expect to pay more for repairs and this is why. What a mess.

 And finally, a wet ride to work on the bike is better than any ride in the truck.

Sunday, June 26, 2016


 I've been riding the sportster to work lately. Compared to the Ultra, it's light and quick. The weather has been warm and this bike is a pleasure to ride without a windshield. It's just nice to be able to mix things up, full touring hauling capabilities or something I can spank.
 The other day I thought it was gonna rain so I took the bag off the sissy bar when I walked into work that morning.
 I like my job so it didn't take long for the hands on the shop clock to spin around enough times to suggest I should get some groceries down my neck. I fired up the sporty and made tracks down town for some grub.
 Tacos. Not sure why but I had a hankerin for some tacos. I don't usually buy a drink while I'm on a bike but KFC sells these big ass bottles of pop. They are sealed so naturally they are bike friendly.

 Ru Ro Shaggy! When I walked out of the restaurant and approached the bike I realized the Mystery Machine wasn't sporting the bag that normally hangs on the sissy bar. Zoinks! Like, how was I gonna haul my Scooby snacks, man? After a few stupid thoughts that would have never worked, I remembered about the rack I built.

 I had some specific goals when building this rack and one of them was for just this type of situation.

  I wanted something that was always on the bike, ready to serve when needed, but folded up out of the way when not needed. I've used the rack before but this is the first time I used it in an unplanned situation. I dunno, I guess it took a while but it sure feels good when a plan comes together.


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Yesterday in Review

 Yesterday was the first day of summer. It was also my brothers birthday. After work I was enjoying my ride home on the sportster and decided to stop by and pay him a visit. He wasn't home but I was directed to his location. I found him at a nearby driving range.

 When I was in high school I was on the golf team. I sucked then and 30+ years later I still suck but with the added bonus of a backache. No matter, I had good time hitting a bucket of balls with Thomas J.
 When I got home the goal was to check out a lawn mower I picked up the other day. I had been thinking about getting a twin blade 30" Toro walk behind and our lawn mower tech at work knew it. When a really clean 30" rider came in on trade he showed it to me and I jumped on the deal. I don't need a rider for my small yard but sometimes you just gotta answer the door when opportunity knocks.

 Besides, if I mount a big orange flag on it and remove the mower deck, I should be able to use it like a mobility scooter. Er no?
 In other news, I have been experimenting with my new grill that the wife and kids got me.

 These are square hamburger patties with a big long chunk of cheese laid down the center. The burger is then rolled up and pinched off at the ends to seal the cheese in. The idea is to eat them in hot dog buns. They were tasty but a pain to cook without having a cheese blowout. The garnish on the side burner is onion and bacon because if I screw up whats on the grill, I can still save it by sprinkling bacon all over it. That's right, everything is better with bacon. I should probably sprinkle some bacon on this blog.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Happy Fathers Day

 My daughters were gonna rent a car and come up for a visit today but those plans fell through. I get it and I'm not bothered that we won't be celebrating a Hallmark Holiday together today. We'll get together another time.
 So I have a free day. Hmmm, what to do. I guess I could work on that bathroom remodeling project. What started as a few loose tiles has become a complete overhaul from new drywall to sub flooring. It's not the only bathroom in the house so I can drag my feet on that project. I suppose I could do some more painting on the BSA engine parts but it's supposed to be hot and humid today and painting may not be a good idea. The logical answer to the "what to do" questions is to ride but I suspect many of the readers of this blog already knew that. The only real question is "where?"

 I'm not even sure if I'll turn left or right when I pull out of my drive. If it turns out to be an adventure I'll be sure to let you know.


Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Workshop Wednesday-EFI

 I reported a while back that Husqvarna has computerized some of their chainsaws. We can connect a laptop and check trouble codes, run tests along with viewing the running history of the machine. It is the future of small engines until something more environmentally friendly comes along.
 Your next lawn mower may be the same way. EFI small engines have been around a few years but I am first being exposed to them now as Husqvarna is using efi engines in some of their zero turn mowers.
 I do the 2 cycle engine repairs at the shop but I was volunteered to do the troubleshooting on this project. Partly because I had the time to load and learn the software and partly because I already had a laptop setup for running other shop software and partly because I like this kind of techy crap.

 The program for troubleshooting this Kohler engine seems very complete. We can monitor every part of the efi system, check codes, log data, set event triggers, access service manuals and so on. In this particular case the MIL (malfunction indicator light) was on but there were no codes stored. Turns out the system is very complete but can't diagnose every problem. For that we needed old fashioned common sense. If the computer says the engine is ok then the problem must be elsewhere. Sure enough, the MIL light had a wire pinched during assembly and was illuminating.

 In other news...the big talk in the shop yesterday was a high speed motorcycle chase. My work space is the closest to the road intersection and I could hear a loud sport bike coming down the road. As it turns out we had a guy running a back hoe in the yard and he heard the bike too. Pretty loud. The rider blew the stop sign and headed down the hiway. Pinned throttle through 6 gears for as long as I could hear him. The sound of the local cops siren finally drowned out the sweet sound of an inline four at full tilt. I have no idea how this story ends but I like that the "big news" in this small town is nothing more than some guy up to shenanigans on his bike.


Sunday, June 12, 2016

HD For Sale

 No, not one of mine. Maybe you remember back in February when I posted that a friend had a bike for sale. When my wife told me the other day that the bike was still for sale and actually still sitting on a bike jack, I volunteered to help her get the bike ready for sale.
 Yesterday after work we hopped on the Ultra and rode about an hour and a half north. Temps were in the 90's and we had a nice back road ride to Chris's house. Upon arrival I wasted no time getting the 2004 Road Glide ready. We lowered the bike off the jack, aired up the tires, checked the oil, hooked up the battery and made a few other checks. The bike fired right up and didn't miss a beat. I checked the brakes and took it for a ride. The first thing I noticed was how wonderful the low speed handling was. Much better than my Ultra. Another thing I noticed was how much lower the seat was than my bike. I felt very confident riding it and in fact there was a long discussion afterward about selling my bike and buying this one.
 The bike runs good, handles well and is in good shape. These pics were taken before any cleaning was done to the bike after winter storage. Let me know if you want more info on this fine machine.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016


 I enjoy grilling burgers and such. My grill is a charcoal unit that is built pretty heavy. It's old but has a lot of life left in it I suppose despite the fact that I rescued it from being scrapped. The problem is that it's always a hassle. First I have to plan if there is charcoal and lighter fluid available. Then I have this stupid ritual where I lay out fifteen rows of five briquettes, douse them in lighter fluid and fire it up. Then you gotta wait for the coals to heat up. It's just not fast paced enough for me. I've desired a gas grill for quite a while now and my wife and daughters knew it.  They decided Fathers Day would be a good opportunity for me to get one. Due to the logistics of getting a grill home from the store, I was actually involved in the purchase which came last weekend. Ya its early but I'm worth it.
 For the last three nights I've thrown something on the grill for dinner.

 The wife says my Fathers day gift would have been a perfect Mothers day gift because she isn't doing all the cooking now. Whatevs. Thanks Honey and kids for the grill!
 Here are some other flames I saw this week.


Sunday, June 5, 2016

One in a Hundred

 My wife has been self appointed as our road trip photographer as she rides on the back of the Ultra. Her mission is to whip out her phone and take a kazillion pics hoping to catch that one magic pic. Yesterday afternoon we were about an hour away when a storm front threatened to block our route home. This was a big angry cell and we could see a lot of rain coming down.
 We raced to get around the rain and were successful even with a stop to view an eagle dining on some road kill. Those pics didn't turn out but this gem was on the camera when we got home.

It's not really a pic of anything but I like it. For a phone pic at 60ish mph it turned out pretty good.


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Is It Wednesday Already?

  On one hand it feels like the work week is flying by because I had Monday off. On the other hand the week is going slow because my wife is vacationing in Canada while I hold down the fort. If you read this I hope you're having a great time visiting your aunt!
 Here is one way I pass the time in my home workshop.

 My '67 BSA Lightning is in pieces right now. I tore it apart before I really had a plan of how it would look when it was done. That means to visualize the bike I have to look at this pic on my puter. Yep, feet up, squeezing my brain muscles trying to get some good ideas out. One thing came out for sure, I know the bike will be blacked out and I started with the engine.

 Here are all the major pieces of the engine in their natural aluminum color. Yuk. Why yuk? Because if you google '67 BSA, every picture of every engine is the same. Oh sure some have more or less paint on the cylinders but that's it. This isn't a restoration so I don't have to be a lemming here.
Here is the engine after applying Eastwoods two part ceramic high temp paint.

 One can wasn't enough and I had to order more so I can finish. The paint comes in a special can that allows you to puncture an inner can and mix the activator with the ceramic coating. I like the way it went on, now I just hope its as durable as the reviews claim.
 The frame is already painted but the forks and swing arm are not. I think I'm at the stage where I need to paint some key pieces and then mock the bike up a bit. I have a few ideas for the rear fender and mufflers and I'm not sure if the frame needs to be modified. I guess I just don't have the vision to hack away at these pieces just from a picture.
 My goal is to have this bike done by September. Right now I just don't have a vision of the completed bike to believe I can achieve that goal. I guess part of the problem is that I refuse to work on it just to meet a schedule. The good news is that the more I write about it in this blog, the more motivated I become. The other good news is that it's possible to have the bike assembled but not finished. Come to think of it, all my bikes are like that.