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.