Thursday, December 7, 2017

RETIREMENT!.....Salton Sea / Mecca Beach Airhead Campout

WOW....November has come and gone!
Officially retired a couple weeks ago and am enjoying the concept of not returning to work.
My job for the past 16 years had become a burden and any sense of enjoyment had long since disappeared. I averaged over 600 hours overtime each season for the past 5 years....one season logged over 900 hours of overtime from April thru November. The physical toll was evident. Plus the fact that the employer left me "short handed" on most the projects I had. I actually started / completed 4 small projects with no help whatsoever last Summer. Enough was enough.....maybe they had in mind for me to give it up?...I don't know and at this point it does not matter.
 Last Winter was a "Working Winter" so I fell behind on motorcycle projects for the year.

We arrived in Arizona in early November, spending over a week traveling South. Spent a few days in SW Montana visiting friends & family....then a leisurely trek to AZ. A short taste of Winter hit Montana about a week after we left so our timing was perfect.
Upon arrival, time was spent cleaning up the Smith property in Fortuna as we were only here for a couple weeks last Winter. Darian has planted a lot of flowers and rebuilt the planting areas. Even a tomato plant!
I prepped our sidecar rig and we decided to attend the "Airheads Mecca Beach Campout" the second week of November. A nice easy ride over & back and weather was perfect. Quite a large turnout and had a great time. Saw lots of friends and made a few new ones too.


Made the obligatory stop at  Glamis CA....then to our typical Taco Shop in Calipatria CA.
['click" to enlarge images]

 Arrived at Mecca Beach mid afternoon and set up camp. Quite a few acquaintances were present.


 Weather was ideal and hardly a bit of a breeze.


 A San Diego "Adventure Riders" Group joined us this year.


 Three sidecar buddies from the Las Vegas area showed up. Two of these guys rescued us a couple years ago when I had electrical issues with the sidecar in the Vegas area.

 Lovely "EML" sidecar rig.

 Two of these rigs have the same 1978 "R100S" drive train as our sidecar.

 One downside to having a lack of wind were the swarms of gnats present this year.


"Gnat" closeup...there were literally thousands of them...cooking was a chore. We luckily completed cooking before they swarmed in. 
 We spent one afternoon over at "Bashfords Mineral Spa" and took in there Hot Springs.
Uneventful ride to and from and had no issues. Great weekend.

Honda gold Wing was way overdue for tires so finally took on that chore. 
Initially didn't order new tubes but after installing rear tire with old tube, had a "no go" tube, leaked.
So I ordered new tubes, (which I should have in the first place) and finished up when the tubes arrived. Purchased some expensive Michelin Tubes but they are at least 3 times heavier than the crap tubes which were on the rims. 

 Fighting the rear tire off / on was a struggle.....times two since i had to remove it again and install another tube. Called a local small bike shop but he wanted $48.00 per tire to mount with me bringing in the wheels. With tax over $100.00., so I forged ahead and performed the changes with my hand tools. Luckily I have quite a selection of different tire irons to do the job.


Changed the oil & filter while I was at it. Today I accessed the Weber Carb and installed a choke wire to manually apply the choke. Have ran it for the past 4 years with no choke, but didn't really need it. Carb has an accelerator pump so twisting the throttle enriches the carb for cold starts, but it take a bit of  "cranking" to pressure fuel up with the fuel pump. Choke application seems to speed up the process when cold. I noticed the air filter element appears poor....so ordered two replacement elements. Filter element appeared to be overly "porous" upon inspection.


 Brought the R75/5 out and performed maintenance on it. The oil filter tube had a "fouled" bolt end thread, which resulted in the tube threading out of the engine block each time I went to remove the filter.  Finally found a replacement tube on EBay last Summer so swapped it out.
Also changed all the gear lube reservoirs re: transmission / driveline / final drive.
Front brake is not functioning as well as it should so pulled it apart to clean / lube parts there. Still seems to be "dragging" a bit. Will require further attention.



Took the /5 out for a little ride after servicing. Mounted a tank bag which I received from my Brother. I've never had a "strap on" tank bag which I really liked, but this one is great. A bit more of a hassle when refueling  but very secure. High quality, hand made tank bag that my Brother used lightly.

 Harvesting in progress at some areas. Very green in the irrigated Dome Valley.


Still have a list of "major" projects for the sidecar but will take them on in due time!


Christmas Season in the Dome Valley.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Vintage Derale Oil Cooler

Work is finally completed for the season. Will be heading South this coming week. Looks like we'll have good weather for the trip for a change. Typically we are racing snow storms heading South.
Have a large list of repairs to do this Winter.
Finally found a vintage aftermarket "Derale" oil cooler which hopefully will fit the sidecar rig.
Cooler was listed for $80.00 + shipping on EBay....no takers and it continually dropped in price until it was offered for $30.00 Total, shipping included. Couldn't pass that deal up.
UPDATE: After some research I found  some facts concerning this particular cooler set up. The design led to some failed engines and were known "in the day" to be a piece of crap. Tom Cutter stated that many people who installed this cooler soon became "pedestrians"....lol...$30.00 "down the drain" I guess. Won't be installing it. 
I'm glad I reached out for others experiences prior to using this.


 Been running the side hack with only the "Brielle" oil pan cooler. It's cooling effectiveness is marginal at best. Plus it has developed leaks around the gaskets. I'll renew both gaskets this winter while I have the bike pulled apart.






Still "on the fence" as to whether I'll install the newly rebuilt 5 speed or the newly rebuilt 4 speed on the sidecar. The 4 speed is a bit more robust, but I do like the 5 speed for the extra gear range. Bob C. at "Bob's Motorwerks" rebuilt both transmissions and found serious issues with the 4 speed. It now has all new bushings, bearings and springs, plus other parts. It had evidence of getting pretty hot at some point due to a poorly adjusted shift fork. Bob was confident of it's rebuilt condition though.
I'll have the rig torn "down to the bones" for a week or more. Hoping to do some long range rides next season so will address any issues / upgrades I can think of. 
Due for a couple of tires on the side car and the Gold Wing....my Wife hates the word "tire"....as it always seems to be a topic with me.....lol

The old Gold Wing has developed an issue....either starter or solenoid. I know the 8+ year old battery is shot so will replace that first. 

The Slash 5 will get a "newer" pair of later model carbs which I obtained. I will need to tear them down for a rebuild likely, although they appear to be ready to go. I'll go through them anyway....one of them has a different float bowl on it with dual independent floats.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

BMW Transmission rebuilds update / Beartooth & Yellowstone Park


Appears that Bob @ "Bobs Motorwerkes" has completed the 1974 five speed rebuild. He found that the transmission was a VERY early manufactured unit. Shimming limits were found due to the case design....available shims either left the gear train sloppy...or too tight. Bob called and had a simple solution....double gasket on the rear cover. This will allow the use of available shims and leave enough end play. He said in all the hundreds of transmissions he has rebuilt, he had never ran into this situation. He did not like the "double gasket" solution but short of changing the rear cover, it was the only option he could come up with. I told him to continue with that scenario. Over all the transmission was in very good condition. He changed all springs, and all the bearings showed no wear / issues, so they will be reused. 
The 4 speed, which I thought would be an easy rebuild was another matter.... all the bushings were worn out, bearings not much better. Also someone had forced a reassembly in the past and "galled" a shaft....also, the rear output seal was installed backwards. So, the cost of this rebuild will be higher than I hoped. All new bushings, bearings and springs, plus machine work on the galled shaft. But the bottom line is that it will be a reliable unit for the sidecar, and I'm looking forward to tearing down the sidecar this Winter for a refit.
On the slate: Oil pan leak needs to be addressed.....push rod tube/ seal replacement  (seal retainers are loose on tubes, causing leaks) .....change out rear swing arm to a "cush" unit I have....change out transmission......maybe even touch up some of the sidecar frame paint......lol


Didn't get many miles on the BMW's this Summer. My old /5 is suffering from Carb. issues so I bought a pair of newer model (1973/ 74) carbs to rehab this Winter. The early Code /3 /4 Bing Carbs had inherent design issues.

Did have a nice day ride through Yellowstone Park via the Beartooth Highway on the old Gold wing. It performed flawlessly as usual. Took advantage of the 320 mile fuel range.

                    A group of mountain goats at the West Summit of the Beartooth Pass.

                 Wonderful weather for most of the day.....but pretty smokey in the lower elevations.

                                                              Pilot / Index Peaks

                                              The "Devils Slide" outside Livingston MT.

                  Heading into some rain....waiting it out a bit and got a little wet anyway.


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.
 
(CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE)

                                                            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.


Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.