Tuesday, September 11, 2018

"Top O' The the Rockies" on a vintage BMW R75/5

So....a little late with this ride report. But better late than never.
The Paonia Colorado ride was uneventful. Rode through some beautiful country. I'll let the few photos I took tell the story:

Originally planned on riding the GL1000 Honda in the background but after experiencing some issues on a 100 mile "shake down" run decided to go with the simple, more reliable R75/5. Downside was that the BMW needed new tires, so tires were ordered at the last minute and received in the nick of time. Wheel bearings were lubed and final drive splines cleaned / lubed. The final drive splines are near their "end of life" but enough left to finish the Summer.

Decided to split the ride to Paonia into two days...stopping at Rawlins WY. the first night. Photo above and below is in the middle of nowhere between Riverton and Rawlins WY. Bike worked fine without any issues.

A long ways between gas stations in Wyoming. Arrived in Rawlins WY. at about 3:30 PM....way too early to stop for the day. Plus it was hot as hell and the campground I stopped at had zero shade. Decided to proceed into Colorado....maybe Craig?

Ended up at the local over-priced KOA outside Craig.. Explained to the owner that I only wanted to "rent" the camping spot, not "buy" it....but the price was still $29.00 for a tent spot. Most KOA's are higher. Place was OK and had spotless showers. 
A young couple in an SUV set up a tent next to me. I noticed a large alcohol selection being placed on their table. I jokingly asked "When does the bar open?" The cute gal replied "Right now!" Her husband came over and we visited into the wee hours of the night....with a LOT of drinks. After an hour or so of chit chat he asked me what I did for a living....and I asked him. Ended up he was a Police Officer from Indiana. We had a great visit and it was fun to visit with a cop, "off the record"....lol.... He gave me a lot of insight into a Police Officers experiences. 
Upon taking down my tent the next morning found that the sight was absolutely infested with "earwig's"...a pesty little bug which hides everywhere. I ended up rolling a dozen or so of them in my tent....they accompanied me to Paonia.

The following AM I pressed on towards Paonia CO. On a remote stretch a pickup forced everyone off the road to make way for a HUGE oversize load. Their traffic control was poor and vehicles were somewhat trapped and asked to pull nearly into the ditch. I luckily stopped right at a pullout spot so just shut down and watched the show.

Arrived at Top O' The Rockies Rally in mid afternoon. I wasn't planning on meeting anyone there so just set up my tent at the first spot I saw. Ended up next to some guys from Texas and had a great time visiting with them. 
Later I did run into more folks I knew from California. 

This "K-Bike" was parked on the site.

Some "modifications" had been performed....what a mess!

I awoke Saturday and after wandering around the campground came to the conclusion I wanted to hit the road a day early. I checked weather reports and saw that rain was forecast for Sunday. Plus 700 bikers would be hitting the road about the same time.....on the road I go! 
I took an alternate route heading North through Grand Junction - Rangely CO. 

Some fantastic twisty, remote roads. 

I want to go back through the area again....maybe on the sidecar with my Wife.

Got caught in a pretty torrential rainstorm somewhere in Colorado. Stopping wasn't really an option although I did see a pullout with a cover....but decided to "ride it out". Wasn't too bad and I think I missed the worst of it. Later in the day I passed through the "Flaming Gorge" areas (above) and had another BIG storm right next to me. Only got a few drops as I was outrunning it. 
I met a large group of Harley riders, maybe 60 - 70 of them. Mostly dressed in "do-rags" and tank tops with an occasional helmet. They rode directly into the mess photo'd above. They couldn't have faired too well.

I made it to Rock Springs / Green River WY. that evening. Stayed at the local KOA. That place really screwed tenter's with a $43.00 a night rate. But the tent spot was enclosed / private with a wooden sun shade. The showers were atrocious with a toilet nearly in the shower stall.....of course some dude was shitting up a storm 3 feet from me while I showered. It was BAD. Nuff said....The next morning as soon as my tent / gear was stored, the rain came. Nothing too bad and had minor showers over through South Pass. Temperature was much cooler.
Near Riverton WY. the bike "stumbled" on me a bit...almost like it was running out of gas. I switched fuel valves and the symptom relieved. Filled the tank at the next station and the bike seemed to be fine again. Not sure what was going on but it didn't reoccur.  
Remainder of ride was great and no more showers. Back to "home" base by 5:00 PM. 
Rode a total of around 1500 miles in 4 days. Just enough.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Paonia Colorado Trip Prep.?

Took some time to go over the Goldwing a bit yesterday.
Pulled the timing belt covers to look at belts / idlers. All looked nice and clean...belts good...idlers appear good / bearings feel smooth. Timing covers are tough to remove with radiator in place, but it is possible.
Started gathering up camping gear and spare stuff. Decided to pack compressor / tubes / tire tools. Had an older, large tank bag which I've seldom used, so went over it and figured out a mounting method. Goldwing tank shelter is plastic, so I installed a metal "tank rack" years ago to facilitate a magnetic tank bag.
Tank bag is huge and easy to organize with 4 different small storage areas and the main area. In order to hold its' shape, I cut a card board liner to set inside.

Noticed the right fork seal starting to lose some oil. Ordered new seals a couple days ago but will ride this trip as is.
Noticed the coolant level was down a bit so topped off coolant tank. Occasionally the coolant tank will "burp" out some coolant through the overflow tube. This has happened twice on very hot days when engine is shut off.
Forecast for hot weather next week so hopefully won't have an issue. Bike normally runs fairly cool at highway speeds.

I recently removed the auxiliary saddle fuel tanks. The additional auxiliary fuel petcock (a cheap one) caused a fuel draw issue when it allowed air to be pulled through when in "off" position. This pulled air into fuel pump and caused a fuel starvation situation. Decided to sell the tanks off so a new owner now has them. Still plenty of fuel with the stock 5 gallon capacity = minimum 200 miles @ 40+ mpg.

Simple packing: tail bag holds tent / sleeping bag / tarp / therma-rest.
Left saddle bag holds stove / cooking / eating gear / misc. stuff.
The right bag for clothes. 
Small military canteen, water / scrub pad for bug removal.

Had to run to "town" today (about 120 miles round trip), decided it would be wise to ride the Goldwing to road check everything. All was fine until about 6 miles from home. Main tank ran out...switched to reserve but bike would not run properly....like on 3 cylinders.(?) Seemed to be starving for fuel. Luckily was able to nurse it home. After it sat for 15 minutes or so it fired up and ran fine. Now I'm nervous since I planned on riding the bike 1600 miles in the next few days.

I received new tires for the R75/5 a couple days ago so scurried around this afternoon and mounted both new tires....lubed wheel bearings....lubed final drive splines (getting thin)…..installed a U.S.B. port to charge phone...installed the small cafĂ© fairing. Performed oil change about 800 miles ago so that's good. Recently adjusted points / valves and replaced valve cover gaskets. Should be good to go.
I dug through spare parts and will take a spare rotor / removal tool...spare points / condenser....carb diaphragms...air compressor...tubes....tire tools...hopefully stuff I won't need. 
One thing about the old BMW's is that it is possible to perform minor roadside repairs, while the Honda GL is a bit of a different animal with cooling system, electronic ignition, fuel pump, and cam belts.

Removing the rear tire on the /5 is a bugger....saddle bag frame prevents tire removal without raising the bike at least 12" off the ground / left muffler must also come off.  Luckily I had an engine hoist at hand so just "picked" the bike off the ground. On the roadside, the saddle bag frame would need to be removed...or the bike laid over on it's right side. 

The tires I removed from the bike today had some life left....but were 5 years old and had some uneven wear. I had hoped to get a few more miles out of them, but no way would they have made the 1600 mile round trip. Seems that when tires get down, the remaining tread disappears quickly. Don't want to arrive in Colorado and be staring at bald tires. I've seen guys in the same predicament...buying tires at a rally isn't cheap, but is possible. Leaving on such a trip with marginal tires is not smart. Plan on pulling out Wed. AM and camping in southern Wyoming. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Trip Plan: Top O' The Rocky's Rally - Paonia Co.

The annual Rally is coming up next week so hope to attend. Haven't been there for 15 years or so.
The BMW R75/5 has had some weird electrical symptoms which I eventually diagnosed as a failed battery. Bike ran & started fine, but signals / front brake light switch stopped working...as well as intermittent function of the generator light / oil pressure light. I traced wires / inspected everything / could not find anything wrong.  Battery would show 100% after charging, then drop to 55% after sitting on the bench overnight. Upon installation of new battery everything came to life and worked as it should. The Odyssey PC680 battery was 6 years old. After some correspondence found that one high ranked BMW Guru does NOT recommend the PC680's and Odyssey in general due to the same type of "no warning failures".  Maybe I'll look at other brands next time.... Mottobatt?

Planned on riding the R75/5 to Colorado.....but looking at the tires, I'm not sure they have 1500 miles left in them. Still have tread, but tread seems to vanish quickly when they get to that stage. Ordered a new set of tires today, but not sure they'll get here quick enough to mount for the trip. With that fact I'll likely end up riding the Honda Goldwing to the rally. The Honda is definitely more comfortable for long mile days. Plus more stable in cross winds / rain. I also mounted a USB port / voltmeter to the bike to charge my cell phone.

After my bad experience with the (crap brand) Heavy Duty tire tube failures on the sidecar I'm a bit nervous as I also installed extra heavy duty tubes (name brand) on the Honda last Winter when I installed new tires. I hope the XHD tubes are up to the task. Lesson learned for me...."heavier" not necessarily "better". I've rode around a 1000 miles on the new tires and XHD tubes so hope they will carry me there and back with no issues.
Don't care to be dealing with a failed tube on the Goldwing on the road shoulder. I'll go prepared though with extra tubes, tire irons and an air compressor.

Been corresponding with a few Airheads over in San Diego who are attending the Rally so will likely see some familiar faces.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

"POP" goes the STI inner tubes

Installed new K-Block Tires on all corners of the sidecar a few days back. For my initial shake down run I hauled a package to UPS in Billings. Total distance around 100 miles. The following morning the sidecar tire was flat....upon inspection I found the "new" STI HD Inner Tube had split open at a seam.

I contacted the seller and he claimed this was a "first" for them and said he would send a replacement tube immediately. With his input I figured this was probably a one time issue. I replaced the faulty tube with a used spare Michelin tube I had removed. 

Yesterday we planned a sidecar trip over to Red Lodge Montana to visit a great Mexican restaurant and then ride up the Beartooth Pass. I had the other STI Tube in the sidecar pusher tire. All was going fine for about 50 miles, then about 3 miles outside Red Lodge, at about 60 MPH the bike began to slightly "sway / yaw".....not realizing what was happening I immediately began to slow down. When at about 25 MPH things got REAL squirrely. Any faster and it might have been a "wreck". Safely got the bike to the shoulder and realized the rear tire was flat. 

Luckily there was a pull out / entryway to a Vet Clinic  across the highway. Hated to, but "flopped" the bike / flat tire across the road into the pullout. No way was going to attempt a repair 12" from live traffic.

Years back I decided I needed to be prepared for such an event so put together items to deal with a sidecar tire repair: Automotive scissor jack / (large) Tire irons / Small "Slime" mini air compressor / one spare inner tube, luckily an 18" one. I had wired the sidecar battery with a plug to attach whatever accessory might be needed. 

A Gal was working in the Vet yard so I told her what we were up to....I did not have any "soap" with me to assist in removing the tire, so asked her for a little dish wash fluid. I had never attempted to use the scissor jack and wanted to block the bike up....thankfully the gal also had some scrap blocks which I shoved under the engine for safety's sake. Figured out how to "set" the jack....and initially it did slip on me....thankfully the blocks were in place. 

This tube failed exactly like the other one....split at a seam.

Nice view for tire repair.

Thankfully I had one new 18" tube in the storage area. 

  The little compressor had never been removed from case and worked fine....back in business in about 45 minutes. In the future will carry a small bottle of soap and more extra tubes. 
We continued on our ride to Red Lodge. Had a great lunch then rode to the Vista Point on the Beartooth Highway. 

A lot of traffic on the Beartooth Highway....and a lot of motorcycles.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Montana Day ride....Big Mountains and Big Rivers

Took the R75/5 for a little day ride on Monday...beautiful day. Upon leaving realized my signals weren't working....oh well I have arms to signal with. Took back roads from Columbus MT. over to Big Timber Montana....one stretch requires getting on I-90 but only for 9 miles.

Stopped a Big Timber MT. to top off fuel....took a break.

Bike working fine other than no turn signals (?)

Rode over to McCleod MT. Not much there...a Post Office and Store....a little Bar & Grill up the road but they were closed.

Nice series of paved paths at the Natural Bridge area. The Natural Bridge collapsed a few years back.

East Boulder River

Beartooth Range in the background

Turned 50K along the way.

Stopped at a Fishing Access along the way. Yellowstone River running real high. Beartooth Mountains in the back ground.

Crazy Mountains

Beartooth Range

Short ride....155 miles. Took about 6 hours....nice leisurely ride!

R100S Sidecar Upgrades / Repairs

Finally was able to begin sidecar upgrades. I have access to a 40' X 64' shop so am out of the elements. I haven't had the luxury of working on a real concrete surface for over 20 years!

Day 1: To start out the sidecar had to be removed from the tug. It's been a few years since they have been separated so had to verify / mark some of the wiring. "Gang plugs" are used for most connections but there are a couple of individual connections so they were marked for reassembly.

Seat is removed. Heinrich fuel tank was drained prior to removal...weighs over 50 lbs. when full. 
Right saddle bag removed - 3 bolts.

After wiring is disconnected, the connection pins are pulled, the front support / hydraulic damper are disconnected...2 jack stands are placed under sidecar frame....then the bike is simply leaned to left and walked forward.

Free at last. Removed the right saddle bag also. Spent a couple hours getting to this point. 

Day 2 - removed the old transmission and installed the rebuilt 4 speed transmission. The swap went without any issues. Cleaned up frame areas while trans was out. Cleaned around clutch assembly. No oil leaks evident as I hoped....Rear main seal / oil pump seal were replaced a few years ago and all looked good. 

Rebuilt transmission. Had to remove the clutch actuation assembly to fit the trans in the frame. The small release bearing had fresh lube on it from when Bob's Motorwerkes reassembled it. Bob also had pre-lubed the input splines. Trans fit in perfectly with no hassle. I had previously replaced the driveline flange bolts with "non-lock washer" bolts as recommended. Used a touch of "Blu LokTite" on the threads as before. Took care to clean up threads of old LokTite prior to installation. 
I have a custom made "heel / toe" shifter which I might (?) install.

Mounted the replacement mechanical speedometer. Used a small windscreen mount already present (but not used) on the bars. Was going to center the gauges but the speedometer cable length is minimal so will likely need to leave it offset to the side.

Speedo came with a stock BMW cable which appears to be fine. H20 boot was good. Just need to add a zip tie on the top flange to insure it's water proof.

Remounted carbs, but will need to pull them back off as I will next pull the cylinders out enough to replace the pushrod tube seals.  Also will drop the two piece oil pan / Briel Cooler to replace those gaskets. Ordered new head gaskets / o rings / oil pan gaskets so will need to wait for their arrival later this week. 
Toyed with the thought of only removing the rocker arm head nuts and leaving the top / bottom bolts in place in order to not replace the head gaskets. I have never done that but have seen it done in the past....but considering the labor involved to pull everything back apart due to a head gasket failure, I decided against that! This way I will be able to inspect /  de-carbon heads / piston head if needed.

Day 3: Spent a couple hours working on bike today....removed headers / exhaust. Pulled the front engine cover off and removed carburetor's. Sorted through spare parts I've gathered over the past years.  Found lots of stuff I forgot I had: 4 new driveshaft bolts which I could have used last week....but I cleaned up and reused old ones as I forgot I had new ones. Recently bought a new clutch cable as a spare, during inventory I found another shorter, new clutch cable and 4 decent used ones. So.....got plenty of them. Note to self..."don't buy anymore clutch cables".

Day 4: Today decided to tackle the oil pan gasket replacements. Pulled the pan / "Briel" spacer. Pan interior looked pretty clean. Spent over an hour cleaning mating surfaces and the years of grime on everything. I had forgot to buy oil pickup gaskets so had to go "old school" and make my own. 

Scrubbed on oil pan. Could eat my lunch out of it now!

Everything appears nice and clean in the crankcase.  

Pulled oil filter and changed it while I was at it. New white "$2000.00 O-Ring" and gasket.
Everything nice and clean now....oil has been leaching from pushrod tubes for quite a while...made a mess of things. 

Pulled the right side cylinder and replaced the pushrod tube seals / head gaskets. Had to reuse base shim plate gaskets. Cylinder / piston carbon build up was very minimal. Forgot to take any photos in the heat of things...lol.
Will replace the left side seals tomorrow.
Replaced left side seals the following day.....but....upon "run up", found seepage at cylinder bases on both sides. I did not have replacement "shim type" metal base gaskets for the 1000 cc engine so reused the old ones. Contacted Capital Cycle, and they had the new base shims for the 1000cc engine so I ordered.....along with two more head gaskets / upper cylinder stud o'rings. Received parts in two days so went into the engine again today. Practice makes perfect they say. Ran up engine for a few minutes and all seems OK, no leaks detected. The old base shims had been reused at least 2 times so their life cycle's were more than complete. 
Remounted sidecar to bike with the help of my Brother in Law. Ordered 3 new heavy duty inner tubes for all three corners tonight. Should have everything completed in the next 10 days. Still have tires to mount....and will lube all wheel bearings. 
Found a small "drip" from the driveshaft boot....clamps were "snugged up" and all looks good. 

Last Winter I took a lot of time to clean / organize 40 + pounds of BMW Airhead hardware and misc. small bits. Nice to have a large selection of spares. I replaced some hardware during the project.

Rode a few miles to heat things up....happened to cross paths with Bob Clement (Bob's Motorwerkes) riding his R80GS through Columbus. We visited for a bit....always nice to see Bob!

Retorqued the heads yesterday and boy they seemed "light". Upon retorque I ran them up to 27 - 28 ft. lbs. Most of  the BMW "gurus" say 25 ft. lbs. but I'm sticking with the 28 ft. lbs. I've been using for the past 25 years.  

Waiting on replacement tubes for the new tires....tubes in place holding fine but are at least 5 - 6 years old...time to replace.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.