Saturday, December 8, 2018

Tuetonic QSL 1000 Mile Solo Seat Mounts

I ended up with a spare seat with my last BMW R75/5 purchase, but had no suspension spring or mounting frame.

I've been meaning to fabricate some reproduction QSL seat mounts for many years. I've owned a number of these seats over the years and they are by far my favorite. The seats are fairly rare and I've ran into situations where folks have the seat, but no mounting hardware.
I've seen a couple different styles of seat mounts that QSL used, but they are basically the same.

The spring was the hardest item to acquire. I actually talked with a fabricator to build me a couple years ago but the cost would have been prohibitive. Eventually I found that a parts shop had built a few of the springs and offered them for sale. I purchased one, but they supply was very limited and I see they no longer offer they were expensive. A $100.00 if memory serves me. 

A friend in So. Cal. heard I was going to fabricate a seat frame for myself so asked if I could make him one I finally decided to go ahead and make up a few. I patterned them from an original seat frame that is on my BMW R75/5. 

I scrounged up the steel needed at a local scrap yard and cut everything needed under somewhat crude circumstances....I only have a 4" side grinder, but with cutting wheels and a vise / clamps it worked out ok without any injuries to 
I haven't welded much over the past 40 years and was going to give it a try, but since a few of them would be offered for sale decided against that. Luckily I know a local guy with a welding shop he runs out of his garage....only a couple blocks away. His fees were not cheap, but the quality of his welding is worlds ahead of what I could do. 

Below is the OEM mount which is on my /5. 

I ended up making 4 of the mounts. One of which went to my CA. friend, one which I will use for my spare seat, and two to sell. If I am successful selling them, and there is anything resembling a demand, I'll maybe make up a few more. I put one on eBay starting at $50.00 with a "Buy It Now" at $80.00. I've listed another for $80.00 on a couple other sites.  

Today I fabricated the lower clamp bracket which holds the seat to the spring. Had to cut it out of a plate. Bending the edge tangs was the hardest part as I don't have much of a vise, but got it done.

Loosening the Allen head pinch bolts allows the seat to be adjusted fore & aft. 

So now I have a complete extra seat. Maybe need to find another bike to mount it on?

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Wandering - "Tumco" Gold Mines - Ghost Town

We wanted to do a little hiking a few days ago so decided to head over into California a few miles to some interesting areas. We've passed the turn off to "Gold Rock Ranch" dozens of times but didn't want to drive the rough road in with any of the vehicles we had in the past.

There are some small residences there and some RV spaces to rent. A little store with a museum describing the history of the area. A lot of off road folks filter in and out from the Algodones Dunes. 

Snooping around the museum we see information about "Tumco", a ghost town / abandoned mining site back across the highway. Seems there was at one time up to 3000 hardy souls living in Tumco. It was originally named "Hedges" but the name was changed when a large mining corporation purchased the mines and surrounding properties.

Very easy road going in...only a short drive off the main road.

Recent rains made conditions possible for this lone mushroom to take hold. Poor thing was dry as a bone now, but still hanging in there.

LOTS of old tin cans, thousands of them, scattered about the area. Also lots of rusty scrap metal, mine debris. 

Old foundation pit.

Two walls left standing, both about ready to collapse.

Quite a few remains of structures about.

The most substantial building left standing.

Remains of a floor slab.

Not sure what the structure above was....definitely steel. 

Someone's impromptu Memorial.

Eroded tailings / waste piles.

More tailings, eroded to caves & sinks.

Old equipment foundation.

Large tanks from mining....probably from cyanide leaching process. (?)

Thursday, November 22, 2018

4 WD Land Rover Discovery 1

Back in the AZ desert for the Winter.
 Have lots of bike repairs to still do but kind have lost interest at the present time. Will get to them when I feel like it, which is not right now.
Been wanting a 4 WD for use here in the desert. Had my mind made up to buy a Suzuki Samurai...Sidekick or some thing like that.
 Looked at Suzuki's, some Trackers, a couple Mitsubishi's. Drove a few vehicles and found the small Suzuki's to be "tinny", rattily and basically "cheap" feeling. My Wife wanted nothing to do with the small 2 door Samurai's as she felt claustrophobic in them, being so small.
The small 4 x 4's bring high dollars here. There are literally hundreds of them in our area. Cheapest ones around here priced from $3200.00 running as high as $6000.00.
After a few weeks of hunting I spied a very nice / straight 1997 Land Rover Discovery sitting along a residential street with a "for sale" sign in the window. Priced at $2950.00. Definitely the cheapest, nicest rig I'd seen so far. Auto transmission and small 4.0 liter V-8. Odometer read 154k miles.
With that mileage I suspect that most "bugs" have been
Made arrangements with the owner to test drive that afternoon. Seller was a nice young guy. He bought it as a "drive to work" rig, but right after purchase he was promoted in his job and given a company vehicle. I noticed that the rear sunroof was partially open in the "vent" position. Found it would not close and glass was sitting very crooked in the mechanism, not  good. The owner was not able to get it to close and just left it open as it sat in his garage all the time. He pointed out known problems to me and seemed a bit intimidated by the rig. I think his mechanical abilities were minimum.
The rig actually drove wonderfully....AC was ice cold...all the other power windows functioned properly....leather interior was very nice with only honest wear. The transfer case shifted through its' modes without problem. A couple of minor oil "seeps" found (transfer case inspection plate / power steering hose fitting) but nothing to send me running away. Had new tires installed (not aggressive off road tires), a new battery, and recent oil change.
That night I began an internet search concerning Land Rovers. Found a huge owners base.....most in a deep "Love / Hate" relationship with their rigs. Found numerous reoccurring issues that some owners have. Some folks claim they're the worst vehicles ever made....others say they are reliable and love them. Did find a huge used parts inventory via eBay....and parts fairly cheap!
After reviewing the "list" of vehicles I'd driven / considered, and weighed the risks of buying a 20+ year old British 4 X 4, I decided to make the guy an offer. Made an offer of $2.5k and after a bit of silence, the guy accepted the offer.

My first order of business was getting the rear sunroof fixed....or at least closed. The headliner is nice and clean so doesn't appear to have ever had any water leaks. 
Could not find any schematics concerning the sunroof mechanism so went in kind of blind. 
The glass was sitting very crooked so obviously the mechanism was out of alignment. I was able to remove the glass using a small right angle torx driver. 

After some research I found that the headliner must be removed to fully access the sunroof motor....but the motor seemed to function fine. Looking over the headliner, I saw that it would be a BIG job to remove. Headliner removal would be a last resort.                                                                            
I found the mechanical sunroof crank mechanism hiding behind a small plate next to the overhead electric switch. I lubricated the visible parts of the mechanism with silicone spray, then manually cranked the mechanism in and out. After a few "trips" the mechanism equaled itself straight.
I reinstalled the glass panel but could not get the window to retract "down" into its' closed location.
It would travel forward / back but would not drop. Thinking maybe it was just binding, I very carefully "tapped" the linkage (on a metal portion, much of it is plastic) and lo and behold it moved. Tapped both sides in succession and down it went. Now it seems to function properly, but we'll minimize the use of it.

So far I've spent some time looking things over, checking for loose screws / bolts (have found a few), and basically making some simple repairs. Found that the cruise control does not function, and the passenger electric seat "recline" operation is a bit finicky, but works. Small things....drivers door storage bin is missing, one headlight washer assembly was missing (found one on eBay and ordered for $15.00). Went to check the transfer case oil level (minor seep on inspection cover) and found the check / fill plug very tight and could not get it out. Afraid to damage anything so I shot some PB Blaster around the plug and will give it another try. Another Owner told me "not to be scared, put a cheater bar on it"...which is what he did when he encountered the same problem.
So far we are pretty happy with the purchase. My Wife is much more comfortable riding in this than any small 4 x 4 we drove. And I just love the looks / styling of this vehicle....all the window / glass area makes it a "wide open" feeling while driving.
Time will tell....ask me in a year if I still love it!

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" 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 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 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.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.