Friday, November 21, 2014

Honda GL1000 Single Carb Conversion?

We've been at our Winter retreat for 10 days already. Been working on minor projects....cleaning up the yard and some RV repairs which have stacked up over the past 9 months.
Finally took a little time and removed the Gold Wing carburetors. Prior to removing them I performed a compression test on the engine....PSI ranged from 139 psi to 142 psi across the 4 cylinders....sign of a perfectly healthy engine.
 The OEM carbs have caused me minor problems for the past 3 years and have never worked as they should. If the bike sat for more than 2 weeks it would flood and not want to run, usually flooding and gas would expell through the exhaust manifold. After a thorough warm up the bike would then run, but never as good as I thought it should. I got into the habit of starting the bike once each week and warming it up to riding temperature, even if I wasn't riding it. This weekly procedure at least kept the bike ready to ride. But last August it basically "died" on me, not getting fuel to the right cylinders at lower RPMS....engine would run at 4000 RPM's and higher but not in the lower ranges.

 I have a few different options:
1) Rebuild them myself.....this option would be the best. A rebuild kit from "Randakk" runs about $189.00. But the 4 top plastic "plugs" in the top covers have rotted and one had a hole in it last Winter which I jury rigged a fix. I cannot find any replacement parts for these so I'd need to buy a set of 4 donor carbs to replace the top of each CV chamber.  Also I don't have the equipment to properly "soak" them to clean them out. I simply did not want to tear into the complex "4 carb" rack. Once mounted on the bike the multiple adjustment screws are nearly impossible to access. I attempted to remove the bowl drain plugs last Fall....no way to get the soft brass plug screws loose without stripping them. The OEM design is definitely the best, but overly complex and difficult to keep working properly.
2) I had a quote for a rebuild from a retired Honda mechanic....quote was for $850.00 to rebuild / tune the bike. Way more than I am willing to spend. A local shop would rebuild them if I brought them in...cost of rebuild kit plus 3 - 4 hours labor. Likely a total of $500.00 - $600.00 by the time it was done.
3) Go to a more simple alternate carburetion. After many hours of research I found multiple different bolt on options:
        This set up utilizing a "Solex" type one barrel carb sells for around $400.00. I don't like to looks of the squared plenum, I would think that fuel mixture flow would be disrupted.
 This bolt up set up about the same...same carb and slightly better manifold.....$400.00.

This design appeared to be the best...again with the VW one barrel carb and a better designed intake....$580.00


After more research I just don't think the Solex one barrel carb would be sufficient to handle all ranges for the Gold Wing. Read a lot on the subject.... many have installed and like the above set ups.

I finally decided to go a different route and ordered the items below today. This will require some design of my own and won't be a "bolt on and go" scenario, but talking with folks who have built / used them, I think it will be an easier option rather than  maintaining the more complex OEM system. Also should be a better fit for the ranges needed for highway / street riding than the Solex single barrel carb.

                VW Type 4 Bus engine Plenum.......

            Weber "32DFT" 2 barrel carb using a progressive (linkage operated) secondary.

My experience with the Weber carbs has been excellent over the years. I once replaced a troublesome Solex 2 barrel with a Weber 2 barrel on a German car I had years back. The Weber was much better and trouble free.
I will need to come up with either piping or tubing to connect the plenum to the heads. The stock intakes which attach to the heads will be retained and used. I've also purchased a "universal" throttle linkage kit which will allow used of the OEM throttle cable. This project will require a bit more labor to install but I think the final installation will be much easier to maintain and tune than the OEM setup once everything is dialed in. Hopefully I won't regret this decision....Discussing the above set up with folks who have toyed with the single carb conversion, I found that the chosen setup should be the best alternate to the OEM system...we'll see.....

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Mecca Beach / Sand Storm

We made a quick run over to the Salton Sea / Mecca Beach on Saturday. Since I was riding the solo /5 BMW, Darian followed up in her "chase" car. Was easy to throw all the camping gear in the trunk, rather than pack a bike.
We joined up with a few dozen fellow "Airheads" who were attending the yearly event. Great to see friends and catch up on "BS". We attended the same campout back in 2008, that was the last time we were in the area for the gathering.
 The old /5 ran without a hitch and worked well. Used 2.8 gallons to achieve the 130 miles to Niland CA.The "new" bar backs I installed made for a much better riding position. Also the small "S" Style fairing made for less wind blast on my chest.

 The Mecca Beach camping area is nice. Lots of sandy beach to set up on if one wishes. We set up across the lot next to a picnic table. A lot of close friends showed up. B. Jan Hoffman, the Airheads founder, was in attendance. B. Jan is always a "hoot" to camp with. He has always been a gracious guy and always has some good stories to tell.

A typical Salton Sea sunset. Numerous waterfowl always around. I was awoken by a massive wind in the night. At one point it was completely still outside but I could hear the roar of the wind approaching. When it arrived it was ferocious.  The large tent we were using has an 8' height so it was a good test for its' endurance. It fared well, only pulled up a couple side pegs while dancing in the wind. Packing up the tent in the 40+ MPH wind was a chore...eventually I chose to roughly roll it up and stuff it in the car trunk ...and deal with properly storing it when we got home in less windy conditions.
 Part of the ride home was with a tail wind, but turning east/west brought me into a "crosswind" which was massive. Approaching the Glamis Dunes I expected some blowing sand...but what was found was much more than that. Topping a hill, I saw a Ca. Highway Patrol car sitting with the lights flashing. I slowed down and came across a 8" sand drift across the road, probably 80 feet long. Plowing through the sand was a bit squirrely. Passing through that drift I then encountered numerous more on the road.
                                           Beautiful Downtown Calipatria CA.


 The blowing sand was brutal.....unfortunately I had my 3/4 helmet on so got a face full of sand along the way. Meeting RV's was another experience. Some of the morons were traveling at 50+ MPH and plowing into the drifts on the road. I met a couple at a "drift" and was pelted mercilessly by the flying sand.
Luckily the "dunes" area is only about 10 miles long. After passing the dunes area, the crosswinds were the next challenge. Leaning a 30* or so to keep upright. All in all there were no problems but by the time we arrived home I was worn out....the longest 150 mile ride in recent memory. Part of the Adventure!
The "lightness" of the R75/5 is not an asset in high crosswinds. My old Gold Wing would have fared much better in the wind, but not too well crossing the sand drifts in the road.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Arizona Sunshine...Mecca Beach or Bust

 Spent some time today and installed the "Emgo" S-Type Fairing. Planning on riding to the Salton Sea tomorrow for an Airhead gathering. Also installed the old "Bar Backs" I had purchased last summer. The Bar Backs were missing the top clamp....and the original /5 top clamp wouldn't work with the :stud" arrangement they use. A trip to the hardware store and the bolts needed were found.
 Euro Bar Fitment...a bit low for my crippled back. I think the repositioning of the bars will save me some back agony. Off for a couple hundred mile run tomorrow morning. Time / miles will tell.



Bar Backs rendered the friction damper unusable, but I only used it when parking anyway. Also installed a cheapo after market "S" Type Fairing. Should keep a bit of the wind off me. 


Emgo Viper Fairing 70-52501


The "bar backs" didn't come with the top clamps. Found a pair of "K-Bike" clamps for $10.00 on Fleabay. Wasn't sure if they would fit, but they fit just fine. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Sub Zero Winter in November

The past week I've been closely following the weather forecast while working 13 - 14 hr. days. Initially the forecast showed a three day "cool down" with temperatures in the teens. The outlook degraded on a daily basis over the next week. When forecasts started showing temps. in the near "zero" mark it was time to go. We hurriedly prepared for departure last Friday evening and with all our earthly possessions were heading South on Sat. afternoon. Currently we are sitting South of Las Vegas NV with temps. in the 70's. Billings is now at minus 4* with minus 25* wind chill factors. Tonight the Billings forecast is for minus 10*.
Yuma AZ. is in the low 80*'s...we'll be there this afternoon. RV's and subzero weather do not go well together. I know from experience....We've been "chased" South by Weather numerous times in the past. Hated to leave work on such a short notice, but luckily I work for people who understand.

A Airhead gathering is scheduled for Mecca Beach, along the Salton Sea this weekend. Maybe we'll attend to see all our friends. The Airhead Community suffered a tterrible loss last week with the sudden death of one of the active So. Cal. members. Steven VanTwuyver passed away in his sleep a few nights ago. He was a good friend and we've spent many, many weekends camping with him over the years. I rode to Death Valley with him and another friend a couple years ago. It is hard to accept such a sudden loss of such a close friend....

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Fall in Montana

Nice cool Fall day so decided to take the /5 on a little ride. Installed a new pair of Napoleon Bar End mirrors I recently acquired. The short stemmed OEM mirrors gave me a view of my arms....had some proper long stemmed mirrors but they vibrated and didn't look correct with the Euro Bars.

 Took "Duck Creek Road" which eventually connects to the Yellowstone River Road. Always a nice ride along the river.
 Used to be dozens of 40's - 50's cars lining the river banks for slope protection....the way things were done back in the days. They've removed many of them. There are still many along the river in less accessible areas.
 Went through Laurel MT. and over to the "Canyon Creek Battle" site.
 Most of the "green" has turned to Fall browns / tans.
 Snow flurries in the Pryor Mountains it appears....


 Snow flurries in the Absaroka (Beartooth) Mountains too.
All the Billings deciduous trees are in there Fall colors and leaves are everywhere.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Winter is approaching?

Not much new around here. Been working mostly 6 days a week so not much riding activity. Have tried to ride one of the bikes each weekend as time allows. We took a ride to Belgrade MT. on Labor Day with the intention of attending an Airhead Tech Day, but rode into torrential rain coming into Bozeman. We had a motel reservation so checked in and never got over to the Tech Day location. The following day brought more unsettled weather so we headed back to Billings. Originally planned on a trip through Yellowstone Park but the weather did not agree with that plan. Some areas in and around the Park had snow.
Took a 200 mile sidehack ride around Yellowstone / Big Horn Counties a couple weeks back.

Winter is drawing nearer so I anticipate my work will end in the next 2 - 3 weeks. We'll  pack up and head for Arizona when work slows / weather deteriorates. The Montana weather has been surprisingly warm this Fall, still having 60 - 70 degree temperatures. That will come to a screeching halt before too long.










 We have 3 or 4 motorcycle trips planned as usual for this Winter.
My main Winter focus is a long list of RV repairs and upgrades which are due. Also need to diagnose & repair the old Goldwing as it has been "dead" for the past few months.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Honda CX Road Trip

CX Honda's have always been a favorite of mine since I owned a GL650 SilverWing a few years back. They are known for their reliability and longetivity.

This afternoon, while working, three young guys rode into a parking area at Badlands National Park where I am working. I had a nice, but short visit with them.

 They were traveling across the country from North Carolina, heading West. Two of the young guys had passengers. They looked like they were having the time of their lives. All three had bought cheap CX 500's for their journey. Riding two-up with all their gear they were a bit "over taxed" but obviously the bikes were getting them across the country.
 I was real happy to see young folks traveling across our great country and seeing it from a "biker" prospective. This is the type of trip I always wanted to take but never took the time in my younger years. I had numerous opportunities but ......
So Cheers to you fine young people on a trip you will never forget! Happy Trails and enjoy!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Mt. Rushmore Revisited

We rode the sidecar over to Rushmore a couple weeks ago. Decided to run the /5 for a few miles today. Went to get it ready and saw leaky old fuel lines. I'd replaced the "easy" ones last winter. Pulled the airbox cover and replaced the cross-over line and the ones to each carb. 

Haven't ridden this bike much since putting it together last Winter due to leaky fuel lines. Finally got off my duff replaced all the fuel lines this AM and took it for a 200+ mile jaunt. It never "missed a beat".
My old Honda "took a crap" on me yesterday at the end a 380 mile ride so the /5 will be the ride of choice for a while.

Out in the flats of SD. The exodus from Sturgis was well under way. 




Mr. Washington 



Some small storms in the area but nothing serious.

South Dakota 350 miles ....Dead Honda

Finally got in a decent ride today. Leaving Wall SD  I ran East to Kadoka, SD....misread my map and ended up 15 miles past my turn....back West 15 miles and headed South on Hiway 73. The Exodis of humanity leaving Sturgis and heading East was unbelievable. A solid line of vehicles as far as the eye could see,
I looped around South then West, eventually passing through Pine Ridge SD. A very depressing place.
Heading North towards Hot Springs the weather began to turn:

The Black Hills are in the back ground, shrouded by the thunderstorm. The road appeared to be heading directly into the storm. I took a few minute break and headed into the darkness.
A few miles down the road, it turned in a more Northeasterly direction which was just outside the worst of things. I hit light rain for 20 minutes or so but just missed the main storm:
 Glad I missed the wall of water. Looked like a real "gully washer".

I stopped at a Conoco Station at Hermosa SD and filled up. The bike had ran well up to that point, averaging at 43 mpg. Immediately after fueling up the bike started running ratty. I stopped in Rapid City and the engine did not want to idle. Headed down the freeway and the engine ran OK at higher RPM's but let the RPM's down, and it barely ran at all. Pulling into our RV Park, I had a hard time keeping it running for the last 100 yards. As soon as I let off the throttle it died and I rolled into my space. Rode 350 miles today.  Well at least it got me home and didn't die hundreds of miles from home.
I have not a clue as to what is going on with it. It has not run as good as it should for the past year, but nothing as bad as this. Likely a fuel delivery / carburetor issue or bad fuel (?)....don't know.
Appears that a multiple carb rebuild might be on my list for this Winter.....or sooner. I do have a good old school Honda GoldWing mechanic located in Billings. Maybe I'll get a quote from him for a carb rack rebuild. I imagine he will want way more than I am willing to spend. A complete rebuild kit from Radakk is about $150.00. The Honda will be "resting" for a while in any event.


Friday, August 8, 2014

Little Projects.....Big guns.....Bad lands

Many years ago I purchased my small open motorcycle trailer from my Brother. He had built the trailer back in 1967, then it sat unused for many years. Prior to my use, I sand blasted and painted the trailer before putting it to work. 20 some odd years later, my Wife had been complaining that she was tired of towing the "mobile eye sore" around the country behind her car. She was correct, my restoration had depleted to rust and missing paint. My Winter neighbor in Yuma was hounding me to help out with a project so the little trailer became our focus for a couple of days.....

("click" on images to enlarge)

Initially we were going to spray paint the frame, but opted to "brush" paint it to allow a much heavier application. The heavy plywood decking was still in real good shape, other than a few stains and weathering. I have a couple of .50 caliber ammo cans which mount to the trailer for storage. Of course they were painted too. 
The final product looked real good and my Wife was happy, no longer embarrassed to drag the thing around. The toughest thing was finding replacement wheel seals for the bearings. They were shot and the spindles were old Studebaker units. After many miles / phone calls I finally found a shop that had boxes full of NOS seals and he had dozens of them. I bought a couple spares for the next time.

We have been in the "Badlands" of South Dakota for the past couple of months, after spending a few months in New Mexico. 

 A few weeks ago I took a little ride on my old Goldwing while here in South Dakota. I happened across a little Military Museum at a small town and decided to tour the place. While looking at their Equipment Display the owner came along and stated that it was time to give his 105 mm Self Propelled Gun a bit of exercise. I thought the display was a "static" display but I was mistaken. He opened the overhead doors, fired the thing up and backed it out the door, telling me to mount up.He explained my escape route from the gunners position in case of a fire....then away we went!

 Overhead view of the turret mechanics.
Optical equipment from the gunners position. The interior had little comfort and was all steel.

View from a "vision slot" when in the gunners seat.


He cruised a few laps around the property and ran it up to 30 - 35 mph. Has a Rolls Royce Diesel engine and Allison Automatic Transmission. Originally of British decent, he found the tank in Australia, and imported it back to the US a few years ago. Quite the ride / experience! Not often one gets a chance for something like this.

 Working 80 - 90 odd hours a week hasn't left much time for riding recently but we've been able to have an odd day off here and there. I had to deliver pay checks to some workers across the Park on a Sunday so opted to take the sidecar over. The "Loop Road" is about 35 miles long.
 We've been performing various pavement maintenance on all the Badlands National Park roadways so I've driven back and forth across the Park dozens and dozens of times....some days well over 200 miles worth.
A very beautiful place. Thousands of motorcycles passing through due to the proximity of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally. Seems that everyone visiting the Black Hills also comes here.

 One Saturday, I completed my work by early afternoon so we decided to ride the Hack over to Hill City to a little Mexican Food Cafe we found a year or so back while working at Mt. Rushmore. Some guy in a red dress was admiring the sidecar.....
 He had friends.......They were on some sort of Charity Run, which required their "best dress"...literally.

 We timed our ride home just right, having a nice sunset before arriving at 'home".

 Last weekend we had another "free" day so decided to make a ride over to Pierre SD, the State Capitol. Hill leading down across the Missouri river into Pierre.
Actually a pretty boring ride for 120 miles each way....lots of grain fields and corn fields. Not much else. There were a lot of "Loud Pipes Save Lives" believers on the road, heading to Sturgis.

I did fire up the old /5 BMW a few weeks ago and took a short ride around town. When I assembled the bike I replaced the seriously bent rear turn signal mounting bracket with a new one that came with the bike. I didn't notice that it was 2" longer than the old one. Once I mounted the saddle bags I realized that the fit was not good.
The side reflectors were tight against the saddle bags. Being lazy, I just never got around to resizing the brackets. Late today I got caught up on work activities and decided to give the bike a little attention.
I thought I might be able to cut the 2" required with the bracket in place with a hack saw but immediately realized that this thought was a "no go". Ended up pulling the wiring out of the bracket, removing it and easily lopped off  2" from each side with a power cut-off grinder. Fit is much better now! almost looks like a planned event.

 The clearance from boot heels to mufflers is nil on a /5 with the stock "cigar" mufflers. I had these exhaust shields on the sidecar rig but boot heel clearance on that bike is good....the right side is shielded by the sub frame and the left side a way above the muffler. So I opted to remove them from the hack and install them on the /5.
I already have some melted boot heel remnants on the left muffler, but no more.
I've been watching eBay looking for another set of  muffler shields....a pair came up the other day but they are asking $169.00...you gotta be kidding me?

Looks like a week end off this week. I hope to give a couple of the bikes some extended exercise.
Would like to ride the /5.... but a "weeping" oil pan gasket is haunting me. The previous owner installed a silicon pan gasket which seeps oil. When I pulled the oil pan last winter, I carefully cleaned / washed the gasket as recommended prior to re-installation. Even though I carefully "snugged up" the oil pan bolts, the gasket still "squished" out on one side a little bit. Not a serious leak but will likely make a mess underneath on an extended ride. I have a paper gasket so maybe I'll do a quick change tomorrow AM. (?)

Traffic is nuts out there with the Sturgis Rally going on....maybe I'll ride over there and check it out. Went there in the 90's but haven't had any urge to return during the Rally....we'll see.