Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Time for a Sidecar Re-Fit

I'm seriously considering retiring from the working world this Fall so with that in mind will be planning some serious sidecar trips with my Wife. Our last "long" trip (in the only 800 - 1000 mile range) was to Death Valley in 2016. That trip brought forth possible transmission issues when a serious noise developed when I ran the bike hard, overheating the transmission. I change gear lube quite often and am finding metal "flakes" starting to show up on the magnet. So, the transmissions' service life is coming to an end. Rather than remove / rebuild that transmission I decided to have a couple of spare tranny's I had rebuilt for the swap. Both the transmissions came from "derelict" bikes so I have no clue of their condition. Both bikes (I was told) were in running condition before my acquisition. One with the 4 speed was a crash victim, the 5 speed bike had an engine issue. No way was I going to install either of them without inspection / rebuilding. Only want to install once!

Near "As New" input splines:

I had this clean 1972 R75/5 Transmission stored away and have decided to install it behind the R100S sidecar engine. Bob Clement, owner of Bob's Motorwerks, is in the process of rebuilding it and also a spare 1974 Five Speed I had sitting. The 74 five speed transmission has the kick start. That is the same model transmission I'm using in the sidecar now. The 4 speed is a more "robust" design and Bob recommends it for the sidecar.

                                           Bob Clement with his Gold Wing sidecar

I'm currently running a 32/10 final drive with the 5 speed, but that might be a bit high geared for the 4 speed. I also have a 37/11 final drive which is one range lower geared so can swap if wanted.

I've noticed that my rear wheel appears to have a bit of a left "lean" so think the swing arm is probably "tweaked" a bit. Tire wear is normal, handling is not affected so I haven't bothered to do anything about it. Since I'm changing out the transmission, I'll swap out the swing arm with a heavier, later model LWB one I have.

Lastly, I may pick up a pair of matched replacement pistons / cylinders (currently on EBay) to have on hand if needed. The cylinder heads were redone, with new valves / seats / guides a few years ago so should be good for a while yet. I do have a loose pushrod tube on a left cylinder, although it is not leaking, the pushrod tube seal collar is loose and doesn't properly compress the seal to the engine block. I put a couple of hose clamps on the tube collar a couple years ago as a stop gap fix.

So this Winter I will separate the sidecar and go over (at least) the following....Transmission change, inspect clutch (only a couple years old / maybe 10,000 miles on it), change out swing arm, check and /or replace swing arm bearings, possibly swap out Final Drive, reseal oil pan & cooler which have been leaking, replace pushrod tube seals, new tires, and  go over all ignition system components.

As the bike sits now, I would not take off on a multi thousand mile trip as I know the Transmission is tired. Although it still works fine and shifts well, I know its' days are numbered.

Bob works quickly so should have transmissions back in a week or two. His fees are reasonable:
$350.00 Labor + parts for the 5 speed and  $450.00 Labor + parts for the 4 speed. So, barring any major parts needs, I should have both redone for under $1200.00, which I think is reasonable.

                                          Old bike line up in Bob's Shop a few years ago:

A couple years after the previous photo
Bob used to have a yearly "Solstice Party" at his shop.
You never knew what might come roaring in on the gravel road:

Bob performed some restoration work a few years ago on this WW2 Era BMW R75
He said it was the best sidecar rig he has ever ridden.
Mountain view from Bob's place:
Bob's Motorwerks - Roberts Montana

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Big Horn River / Yellowstone River / Musselshell River Loops

Took a ride this weekend and last weekend. Last weeks ride took me over to the Crow Indian Reservation, near where I grew up. Pretty warm day and I made a pretty "mad dash" for a couple hundred miles. Stopped at an old fishing access site we used to frequent when I was a kid.

River was running pretty high. I stopped for a few minutes....found a nice little pocket knife laying on the rivers edge. This is the "Two Leggins" Fishing Access.

Today I decided to take a bit further of a ride. Filled the auxiliary fuel tanks to the brim and wanted to recheck maximum mileage with all the tanks full. Decided to go North to Roundup Montana, then East to Forsyth Montana. From there I followed the Yellowstone River to Sarpy Creek Road, which leads back to my hometown, Hardin Montana. Also there is a little Bar / Grill, the Spring Creek Bar, along the route. They have great burgers and fries so that was my motive for the route.

                                                            The Route taken today
Old abandoned Rail Road Bridge Abutments, in the Musselshell River.

Yellowstone River at Forsyth Montana

I've had issues getting the two auxiliary tanks to draw fuel evenly. I installed vent caps on the vent lines. The problem with the vents installed is that they will draw air into the tanks, but do not allow air to escape. This prevents the tanks levels from equalizing. I've found that by occasionally reaching down and cracking the filler caps loose that the tanks will equalize. The caps are o-ring sealed and take about 6 - 7 turns to remove so chances of one falling off is nil. I will likely just remove the one-way vent caps on the vent lines, which are routed under the seat to the rear.
The bike quit at 135 miles thru the auxiliary tanks, so with 5 gallons more in the main tank, I should have a minimum of 350 mile range. I was running along at a leisurely pace of 60 - 65 MPH. Typically get about 42 - 45 MPG at that speed.
I would bet that there is still fuel retained in the auxiliary tanks as they each took 1.8 gallons when I installed them. I think the only way to get every drop out, would be to plumb them separately with two petcocks, one for each auxiliary tank. That would be a plethora of fuel lines so don't think I'll do that....

Yellowstone full....lots of trees / debris floating down the river.

 Yesterday, 2 gals attempted Kayaking the river, both capsized and had to be rescued near Billings. Anyone on the river at this stage either has a death wish, or is just plain stupid....


Tree with dirt / grass still attached moving down the river.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Arizona - Boondocks near Hyder AZ, Gila River / Agua Caliente

Yesterday was a bit cool and windy, but a perfect day for a quick tour in the AZ, "boonies"...I wanted to test range again with the auxiliary fuel tanks I installed. I made sure all tanks were completely full. The auxiliary tanks run off one petcock. The bike stumbled at a mere 72 miles so I switched to the main tank. I made a stop at Dateland AZ and opened up the caps on both side tanks...finding fuel still visible in one of them above the "metal foil" in the tanks.....after sitting for a minute with the caps off, I could see the fuel level change, equalizing itself in the tanks. I got back on the freeway and ran another 35 miles before "drawing air" again. So I now know I can run a minimum of 100 additional miles with the side tanks, using approx. 2.5 gallons (at 40 mpg) of the tanks quantity. I might now drain the remaining fuel just to see how much is retained in the tanks. If my original "fill" quantities are correct, only a 1/4 to 1/2 a gallon would remain in the combined tanks.

Running 2 individual petcocks / isolating each tank might take care of the non-balancing fuel issue. It is also possible that the OEM fuel pump cannot draw the fuel up high enough as the tank levels drop down.(?)  Isolating each tank will require adding another petcock (which I have) and at least one more fuel line "T".  This set up will end up with a plethora of fuel lines so I think I'll leave "as is" for now.

Got on I-8 and headed East to Dateland AZ  then another 20 miles East to exit
North towards  Hyder AZ. which was a WW2 Military Camp. (click on link) ....a Million Troops trained there according to the "link" info...

Crossed the "Gila River" which is dry most of the time...I suppose a major event will have it running water once a year or so...

Took the old Agua Caliente Road. A local told me years ago that the Hot Springs Resort shut down in the 70's due to loss of the water source....seems that the onset of irrigation of surrounding farmlands upset the aquifer feeding the hot springs and the source gave out...leaving the hot springs dry...

The location now sits boarded up and abandoned. So quiet here...not a sound to be heard.

"Hyder Valley Supply" now out of business.....with the small local population I can't see how any business could survive. Judging from the thousands of empty beer bottles along the miles of road shoulders, bottled beer is a main staple of the locals....picking up the trash is not.

When heading back West, I got off the freeway at the "Mohawk Valley", following the frontage road for the final 60 miles.

Ran across a group of Border Patrol Officers on a hill above an abandoned old gas station location. They had some sort of mobile tower erected, likely looking for illegal people / activities. Did not take a photo of them.
A nice day ride totaling 175 miles. Actually very pretty desert country. The bike worked flawlessly as usual. The Gold Wing likes to lope along at 65 - 75 mph and is happy there....I boosted it up to 90 mph a few times just for fun....Will likely need a new rear tire for next summers riding season as this one is getting a little thin.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Colorado River Ride - Arizona

Took a quick ride up to Quartzsite last week to check out one of the local "Flea Markets". Also wanted to check the highway range of the auxiliary fuel tanks. Riding around town they ran out of fuel at 60 miles. I re-filled them and surprisingly they only took about 2 gallons total....my initial fill showed 2.8 gallons so I think the fuel pump meter was off at the gas station.
I ran to Quartzsite and hit "air" at 80 miles...haven't refilled the tanks yet. Either the tanks are not drawing fuel evenly or their capacity is around a gallon each. I could pull the fuel line off each tank and see if any fuel is remaining. If they are not drawing evenly, I could isolate each tank and add another petcock so each tank has its' own.

I routed the individual fuel tank vent lines up under the seat and they were open.....bought a couple of cheepo one way vent valves and installed them yesterday. /that should reduce any fumes or chances of leaks due to expansion....although I won't over fill the tanks.
I wandered around the largest Flea Market for an hour or so....found a nice set of Heyco, West German end wrenches for 5 bucks. Upon leaving the area, I spied a friend on a Ural Sidecar rig pulling into the Post Office. He and I have a way of crossing paths by chance quite often....this is the 3rd. time we've had this occurrence. I followed him out to his place for a quick visit and looked at his recent completed Gold Wing Project...an 1100 model he has redone....very nice bike and spotlessly clean. Also for sale....if I had room for a 4th. bike I would own it.

His "Adventure Rig Options" stir up some attention at the local Border Patrol Check Stations....lol

Took a break near Palo Verde at a Colorado River access point.

More like a lake here....a few folks were fishing.

Worked my way down to Ogilby Road which then leads to I-8. The road is in rough shape.

So I was able to make the 220 (or so) mile loop without adding fuel....should have 1.5 to 2 gallons left in the main tank. Safe range with the added tanks is now at 280 miles. I would normally have to fuel up at Quartzsite to make this loop.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

GL1000 Auxillary Tank Plumbing

Got the parts needed to plumb the tanks in the mail late today so hooked everything up:


I purchased two petcock assemblies but the schematic shows using only one....I guess they figure the tanks will draw evenly (?) The additional petcock lined up neatly with the existing one and both are "Horizontal / Off".... For some reason the extra petcock they supplied is opposite with "Horizontal / On".
I'll try it with one petcock and if the tanks don't draw evenly I'll add the second one.
I'll visit the gas station tomorrow and see how much they hold and check for any leaks.

Nice day (78*) in So. AZ. today....(Home / Montana is near zero & below currently - glad I'm not there!) took a nice little 80 mile ride:


Old Mission overlooking the Colorado River.


Large collection of old military tanks / hardware out at the Yuma Army Proving Ground. They have a couple dozen on display....the old WW2 era Sherman Tank directly behind the bike is heavily "Pock marked" with .50 & .30 Caliber hits....must have been a target practice victim back in the day.


Honda GL1000 Auxilary Fuel Tanks

Finally arrived in Yuma AZ. on Dec. 1st. after a long trek down. Caught by some inclement weather in central Nevada but had no issues.
I had delayed preparing the Gold Wing side tanks all Summer and finally had the time to start work on them once we were here.

The Emblems were simply glued in place so came off without a fight. With not much Paint Stripping experience, I purchased a spray can of paint stripper.....the paint partially came loose but they were quite a mess when the can ran empty.....the next day I bought a quart can of "brush on" stripper which worked quite well. After 3 applications all paint was gone...took a lot of scraping & scrubbing but finally was removed.  I then scrubbed them with SOS Pads.....and some fine grit wet sand paper....finally polished them with "Mothers" Aluminum Polish. Not overly shiny but I wanted the "raw" appearance.

I mounted the tanks as I figured they should be mounted but they crowded the foot pegs quite a bit. did not like that at all....found by reversing the tanks there was a lot more foot room and the lower mounting bracket holes were right above the passenger foot peg mounts.

I had a few old BMW Airhead fender washer plates which were the exact length needed. Just had to ream out the holes a bit. I removed the rear passenger pegs as they are never used anyway, but they would still fit if needed.

I found this schematic for plumbing in the tanks somewhere. I order two petcocks as I'm not sure the fuel would draw evenly from the tanks with one outlet?????....maybe some smart Engineer could educate me on that matter.....or I install one petcock and give it a try.....but maybe it would be better to be able to isolate the individual tanks using two petcocks, which I ordered.

Kind of an "Aluminum Overload" in their "Raw" state....I ordered a pair of simple  "Honda" emblems to attach to the sides. Don't think I'll paint the tanks. If I decide to sell them down the line color match won't be an issue.

 One has some minor  "road rash" damage but nothing some alloy filler couldn't fix. Was going to buy some Aluminum "propane only" brazing rod but haven't been able to find any other than on EBay....at $30.00 + with shipping.

Monday, September 5, 2016

The motorcycle repair "Piddly Project List"

Luckily I've had most weekends off from work, but due to Family outings / commitments and short day rides I have not completed any little repair projects on my list.....likely they will all simmer until the Winter months.

The partial list for piddly stuff:
1)  - rebuild the Honda Gold Wing front brake calipers....easy job, just ordered the new rebuild kits.                      EDIT-- received brake caliper kits and rebuilt last weekend...yay
2)  - install the Gold Wing auxiliary fuel tanks.....need to perform some minor aluminum filling /paint removal          on both...then fabricate two small mounting brackets...plumb in the fuel lines.
3) -  replace the /5's header guards....bought 2 cheap on EBay for spares....found they are in much better             shape than the pair I have on now. Might need new clamps.
4) - address oil leak on sidecar rig....appears that the oil pan gasket is seeping...pretty bad when engine is            cold, heals up a bit after engine heats up. Has the "Brielle" static oil pan cooler spacer...maybe it is                warped?
5) - mount a volt meter on the Gold Wing...purchased a stock 1978 Honda GL volt meter. It will be                   mounted in the tank shelter where the stock fuel gauge sits. Volt meter is more crucial than the                       fuel gauge. Fuel gauge is finicky anyway....sometimes works....most times doesn't.
6) - developed a "chirping" noise down low on the engine of the Gold Wing...haven't properly diagnosed it            yet...I think one of  the idler roller bearings is getting tired.(?)

The list for "not so piddly" stuff:
1) - maybe change out rear swing arm on sidecar rig...current swing arm appears to be a bit tweaked.(?)
2) -  change out the sidecar transmission....had an evil noise during Death Valley trip last Winter....it                       went away and has never reappeared. Some tiny metal flakes on magnet....chances are a bearing is                wearing out. Not sure if the spare transmissions I have are up for the task.
3) - might change out the /5 transmission too....2nd. to 3rd. gear has a bit of a "catch" when shifting.
       has been that way since I acquired the bike so is not a priority.  

Monday, August 29, 2016

NW Wyoming Scenic Mountain Routes for Motorcycles

I've been "itching" for a long day ride on the 1977 Gold Wing for a couple months, but the front brake calipers were sticking. I finally got off my rear and ordered a couple of caliper rebuild kits which arrived last week. Late Saturday I decided to tackle the rebuilds. Everything went without a hitch and in a couple of hours I had functioning front brakes. Had it put together just before dark in my outside "garage".
Prepared the bike late Saturday and hit the road at 7:20 AM Sunday AM without knowing where I was going. Decided to plan my route "on the fly"....
NW Wyoming, heading South, sounded good as the early sun wouldn't be in my eyes.

Stopped at the junction at Fort Rockvale MT. for my first major route decision of the day....Life is a Circus?

Wyoming Highway 14 beckoned me so off to Greybull Wyoming I went. Stopped in Greybull for a quick fuel up and a massive breakfast burrito.....the "gas station burrito" left a lot to be desired....even the hot sauce sucked. But it filled the void. Typically, "gas station burritos" suck...this one was no exception.

Some minor clouds and a LOT of smoke in the air all day. The old bike hit a steady 42 MPG all day long which gives me a total range of 200 miles with the 5 gallons. I have a pair of  one gallon saddle tanks, which replace the side covers. That will boost my range to 280 miles. I will prepare them this Winter and mount them. They are massive tanks and somewhat "angular" which will look a little strange on the bike.  Guess I don't really care what they look like but the maroon (purple?) paint needs to come off first....then a little aluminum fill repair.

Just before Shell Wyoming...looking up towards Shell Canyon.

Red sandstone lump....

Part way up Shell Canyon I stopped for some photos...the above and four photos below are at the same location....kinda gives a panorama of the awesome place....

I covered the next 30 odd miles quickly to Burgess Junction and stopped at Bear Lodge for a quick break. A few other MT. bikers were also there. I thought I recognized one of them, but couldn't place him....right after they pulled out I realized one of them was an old acquaintance that I hadn't seen for 30 years....just didn't recognize him right away....leaving there I was initially headed down the mountain to Dayton WY....but then something inside overtook me and I did a u-turn in the highway and headed back to WY Highway 14A....this mountain road parallels Highway 14 and comes out in Lovell WY.... Don't know why I turned around but I don't question such snap decisions....just meant to be. 

14A is a great mountain road...about 15 miles of variable 10% grades down the mountain....got behind some older / slower riders and followed them a while as passing wasn't safe. One old fellow looked pretty shaky on his loud Harley....he "squared up" most of the curves / corners. Made me nervous watching him....when I finally was able to pass he disappeared quickly in the rear view mirror. 

Next way point was Powell Wyoming for fuel and refreshment. Decided to take a 19 mile back road I'd never traveled over to Belfry MT. But when I got to the next junction, my bike turned back South towards the Chief Joseph Highway....what the heck it was only 3:00 PM so I had plenty of time for Chief Joseph and then the Beartooth Highway. That stretch would be around 165 miles to the next gas station, within 35 miles of my 200 mile maximum limit. Since gas consumption was stable I knew I'd be fine. 

Top of  "Dead Indian Hill" looking into the Sunlight Basin. Great set of roads ahead...I've ridden it once this year already....time to go again!

Looking SW

Clark Canyon  / Sunlight Basin

Eerie view of a smokey Pilot & Index Peaks.

Stopped at Beartooth lake for 1 minute and a couple photos....temps dropped quickly and the riding jacket liner had to be zipped in. Probably only in the high 40's / low 50's going over the Beartooth Pass....I did not stop for any photos for the remainder of the ride.....focused on getting over the top and down the hill....Arrived in Red Lodge MT at 5:30 PM and took on 4.1 gallons of gas....surprised I didn't have to go on the reserve tank petcock setting....supposed to be a one gallon reserve.Must have been real close. I noticed a faint "bird" sound coming from the lower front of the engine. Figured one of the cam belt idler rollers was going....not much I could do but keep going. Ran 35 miles and stopped.....noise was gone.(?) Still completely quiet when I got home. I'll check them out closer this winter in AZ. as long as the noise doesn't reappear. The idlers were replaced less than 10k miles ago so I'm not too worried. 

A great ride and I covered 452 miles per my odometer....bike never missed a beat. 
I see the National Gold Wing Riders Association is having their National "Wing Ding" in Billings this week.  They say 11000 - 12000 riders are supposed to attend....that's a LOT of Gold Wings. Working 10 - 12 hours a day doesn't leave much weekday time but maybe I'll try to check it out if I can.  Most the later model Gold Wing riders seem to "look down their nose" at first generation Gold Wings like mine from my past experiences....But then I guess it doesn't have 150 pounds of chrome, 250 pounds of farings, and 50 pounds of lights....lol

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.