Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Thinking Inside The Box

I took a little time today and hammered out a battery/tool box. I first made a cardboard mock up. After I was satisfied with the fit, I transferred the cardboard pattern to sheet metal. All that I had laying around the shop was a hunk of 16 ga. It's a bit thick, but at the cost of steel these days, I decided to use it. I don't have a brake. so I used the vise, "C" clamps, angle iron and a body hammer to fold it. A few, quick welds and there you are. The bracket for the fuse box had to go away as it interfered with the new box. The fuse panel was mounted to the side of the box along with the flasher. With the full sized car battery there is still plenty of room for tools and parts and like Johnny Cash's Cadillac, it didn't cost me a dime.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Boy Genius™ vs. Experience

Another guy that has been through this conversion told me that the angle of my release arm was all wrong and it should be pointing at 7 O' clock and push to 5 O' clock as you look down at it. Being a Boy Genius™, I thought, "Hogwash!" The fulcrum is the same, the pressure plate is the same, the release arm is the same. How can the angle make any difference?? So, another trip to the parts house where I purchase a "long" Chevy throwout bearing. I stick it in and lo and behold, the clutch pulls much easier. Boy Genius™ never took geometry, so I guess there are forces working here that I am unaware of. The other thing that, probably, helped is that the new bearing has a curved face that slides over the fingers of the Belleville spring easier than the flat face of the old bearing. The flat faced bearings are for Long or B&B clutches only.
I noticed that when I shut off the engine, I could hear air rushing into the booster. "This can't be good", sez I. I put a clamp on the hose where it connects to the booster and, again, the clutch pull gets easier.
Another thing that has been pointed out to me is the importance of eliminating as much friction as possible and setting up the booster so it pushes the release arm as straight as possible. These are valuable suggestions.
At this time I have an acceptable clutch pull. I'm still going to look for improvement until I achieve the fabled two finger pull each and every time.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Consistant Inconsistancies

Well, today I went out for a short test ride. The clutch just won't work consistantly and it won't disengage enough to shift without clashing the gears. But....it does work, just not as well as I want, soooooooo, I blew it apart again. I need to try a different pressure plate. I put a 12" Crescent wrench on the end of the throwout arm and it took all that I had to pull the clutch. Doesn't seem right to me. I have another pressure plate that I will stick in tomorrow. Fortunately, the mods that I made to the frame allow me to remove the trans and bellhousing without splitting the frame. I can have the clutch exposed in about 30 minutes, so it isn't a huge PITA. I never expected it to work the first time anyway. I've gotten some good advise from several people, so I hope to get it right on the next try. If it takes 5 or 10 more trys, so be it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Nature Abhores a Vacuum

I ordered a cheepo vacuum gauge from Ebay and it arrived yesterday. Hooked it up and I'm pulling about 25 hg at idle. Cool! I then went to my toolbox to put it away and layed it carefully atop my old vacuum gauge.....DOH!!!!! I sorta forgot that I already had one. I'll tell ya, old age ain't pretty and it ain't for sissies, either.

Several people have told me that I need a vacuum storage cannister. I looked around the shop for something to make it out of and spotted an old oil filter. I zipped off the top with a die grinder and soldered in a disc with a hole for the GM one way valve and grommet. I then soldered in a barb fitting for the hose going to the booster and, Voila, one Po' Boy freebee cannister. It's not as large as was recommended, but I think it'll be OK.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Musings of an Uneducated Man

I barely escaped from high school. I took no algebra, no science classes, no foreign languages. Just shop, necessary classes for graduation and various yoyo courses. I may have ended up with a "C" average, but I doubt it. All of this in spite of the fact that I was tested in grade school, because of some unusual talents that I displayed, and was found to have a higher than average IQ.

I digress.

I was watching the Speed Channel this morning, eating my bowl of "Count Chocula" and listening to some guy telling me how performance can be improved by painting the underside of an intake manifold with white paint. According to the expert, white reflects heat and keeps the incoming air/fuel charge cooler, therefore, denser and as my Hawaiian buddy sez, "Mo bettah, brah."

Nice try.

Firstly, colors refect or absorb radiant heat, such as sunshine. Put a black object and a white object in the sun and it's easy to see that the white one will be demonstrably cooler than the dark one. Put the same objects in the oven, set it at 350 and check them in an hour. They will both be 350 degrees. In an engine, the friction, and combustion heat will transfer to all parts of the engine regardless of their color, just like the oven. Some areas will, naturally, be hotter than others. The exhaust manifolds will be much hotter than the intake, but not because of their respective colors. Additionally, colors do not exist in the absence of light. The inside of an engine is black. You can paint it pink if you like, but in the complete darkness of a lifter gallery, it is still black.

Maybe you know something that I don't, but for now, I believe this to be pseudo science, like concrete sucking the life out of a battery.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Switch Panel

One of the big fears among BH riders is the frame breaking at the juncture of the rear down tubes. There is quite a distance between that point and the shock mounts. It is, certainly, not the best engineering. I figured that I might as well install gussets in that area while the bike is down. While cutting cardboard templates and trying to determine what size and shape to make them, I thought, "Why not make them large and use one of then as a switch panel." So I did. Now the left side cover will come off easily since it is no longer "wired" to the bike.
I also took some time to clean up the wiring a bit. There were still a few bad splices hiding under large wads of electrical tape. Some solder and shrink tubing did the trick. I tucked all the wiring up and as far foreward as it would go and now I have a nice shoebox sized area ahead of the battery to add a toolbox. I'll make a mockup from cardboard and then do some tin knockin'. I wish I had a sheetmetal brake, but a coupla pieces of angle iron clamped in the vise will do.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Better Mousetrap

The past few days have been spent installing the NOS Datsun brake booster on the bike. I had none of the brackets or any other hardware to make it work, so I improvised. I welded up a bracket to bolt to the side of the block in the holes provided by Chevy for the clutch linkage pivot ball. So far, so good. I rigged up an arm that pivots on the foot peg mount and engages the booster push rod. I then ran the clutch cable to the arm. Squeezing the lever pulls the arm and pushes the booster. A short. adjustable push rod goes from the opposite end of the booster to the throwout arm. I ran a vacuum hose to the booster and fired it up. It felt like the cable was welded to the frame. Two finger pull my butt!! Realizing that I may not be pulling enough vacuum, I went on my merry way to the junkyard in search of a vacuum pump. GM used them on a bunch of 4 cylinder stuff in the early 80s. I figured I'd pick up a couple just in case. Yeah, right. We have two large self serve yards nearby and not one lousey early 80s Citation/Sunbird/Cimmaron to be found. Too old for the regular yards and not old enough for the antique/oldies yard. So I went home and stared at it. I thought that something like a Harley mousetrap might be the answer, so I fabbed up this unlikely looking contraption. It pivots on the old swingarm hole. I went to the hardware store and grabbed two of the heaviest springs that they had. One end attaches to the lower end of the mousetrap and the other to a tab welded to the frame just under the seat. The springs are stretched tighter than a bowstring. A link attaches the mousetrap lever to the throwout arm. As it sits, the spring is over center and holds the mousetrap in the engaged position. As I pull the clutch lever, the contraption goes over center in the opposite direction and the tension of the springs assists the vacuum booster. The springs are a bit less powerful than the Belleville spring in the pressure plate, so when I ease off of the lever, the clutch re-engages. It seems to work very well. I still have some fine tuning to do. The hardware store springs look like they're stretched to the limit. I'm going to look for a more powerful spring to replace them. Maybe a hood hinge spring off of a large car or truck.
Of course, all of this didn't go without some hassle. The fuel pump had to be relocated. The On/Off/Reserve lever now pokes through the side cover. It looks better than what I had before. The hidden switch panel that I had, so cleverly, built also got the heave-ho. I need to find a new spot for them. I didn't like the key switch on the side cover because the leather fob rubbed on the paint and left a worn spot. I'll sit on my little thinking stool tomorow and stare at it some more

Saturday, September 13, 2008

300 mile shakedown run

Today I, and two other guys, took a ride of about 300 miles from the north San Fernando Valley to Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino mountains. The bike and the trans performed almost flawlessly. One thing that I did discover is that the suicide clutch/jockey shift, while a noble experiment and fun to ride, sucks big time in off camber, low speed U turns. With this in mind, I will be gathering the necessary parts to convert to a hand clutch/foot shift this winter. The other problem is it still drags the pipes and kickstand badly. I will try to increase the preload on the rear shocks, but I think I still need to lengthen the shock mounts a bit more. It's not a big deal. I just need to make up two new ones, about 20 minutes work, whack the old ones off and weld the new ones on. That will be tomorrow's little project.

I am waiting until I'm satisfied that I have a finished product and, then, I want to shoot a short video of the bike and of me taking you, my faithful followers, on a short little ride so you can see how it all works. I have to wait for my production team (wife and granddaughter) to come home first.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Carburetor Blues

The miss got so bad that the bike would barely run. I pulled the carb and, lo and behold, it was all clogged up with crud. The filter in the fuel inlet was completely blocked. and there was sediment in the float bowl. In my haste and cheapness, I used the old inline fuel filter when I reassembled the bike. I think I put it in backwards and it flushed all the accumulated gunk into the carb. Bad idea. After a good cleaning, everything is hunky-dory.

Another, ongoing, problem with my bike is the front brake light switch. It is inside the right hand switch assembly on the handlebars. It would work occasionally and, finally, the brakelight would stay on all the time. I pulled it out......again and found it had shorted........again. I gave it a flying lesson. I removed the 3 way fitting under the triple tree, drilled and tapped it for 1/8 pipe threads and a regular old hydraulic brake light switch was screwed in. I suppose I could have found a, proper, four way fitting at the local parts store. The one I use has a good Dorman inventory and a savvy parts manager, but I was too lazy and cheap to drive over there. End of problem, I hope.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Takin' A Leak

Bike night went well. There was no drama, but when I got home and parked the bike, the next morning there was a substantial puddle of 90 weight on the driveway. The Curtis box was leaking out of the output side. This is entirely the fault of Jack Phillips who sold me a defective gearbox. Well.........it could have been, partially, my fault. When I removed the side cover, there was a square indentation on the lip seal where I MIGHT have pushed the key into it, in my haste. It's far simpler to blame Jack than to admit that I may have f***ed up........as usual. One hour and a 6 buck seal and it's tighter than a frog's ass.
I haven't really romped on it , yet. There is a miss that I have to trace down. It ran perfect prior to the tear down. The only thing I touched was the fuel pump and lines, so I suspect a fuel delivery problem. I'll check it out tomorrow. The bike seems to have a whole different personality now. It sounds and feels different, especially when I close the throttle at freeway speed when exiting. A real nice rumble as the engine slows down. First gear feels a bit like a car taking off in second, but the bike doesn't care. It just sorta hunkers down and pulls hard. I don't have to slip the clutch at all. If I hit second a little hard, the bike torques to one side a little. This was a bit disconcerting at first, particularly because I have one hand on the bars. After a few times, though, it's no big deal.
I think that I am going to be very happy with this conversion. I am still going to try to rig up a hand clutch/foot shift. I may hunt down the booster and the bits and pieces and go that route. I've heard of two finger pulls with the stock BH booster setup.
I'll be the first to admit that this conversion isn't for everyone. Most of you love your automatics. I can't blame you. They are nice. I can't leave well enough alone, so that was one reason to yank it out. The horror stories were another. As I stated, early on, I can't afford to throw 2 or 3K into my trans every year or so. I didn't keep records of the cost of the modifications. It was under 3K. I did all of the work, so that, alone, saved me a bundle. The changes to the bike, while they are reversable, should be considered permanent.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Dialin' It In

This morning I made the longer shock mounts and moved them forward a bit. I seem to have plenty of ground clearance now. I took a short hop down the block and back and it seems good to go. I'll be heading to the local bike night at Route 66 Cafe here in town tonight. It's about 15 miles round trip. Should be a good shake down ride. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed and my cell phone charged. I hope the gremlin bell works.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Today, UPS arrived with the, long awaited, master links. On they went and away I went. The first thing I noticed was the stench of burning rubber. The second was the rear of the bike sat WAY too low and I couldn't turn without dragging the pipes. I was afraid that would be the case, but I thought I would try it first. Back to the shop. The bracket that I made to support the bottom of the rear fender was too wide and the tire was dragging against it. Easy fix, just whack off the extra. The stock, swingarm on my 98 had a downward bend near the shock mount. I didn't include this bend when I made the new one. Big mistake. I snatched the swingarm off, pie cut it and welded it back together. This raised the back about 2 inches. Better, but still not enough. Tomorrow I will make new, taller, shock mounts and lift the rear another 1 or 2 inches. Maybe I'll make them with several holes so I can adjust the height of the bike. This will come in handy if I give a ride to a fat chick. The wife tips the scales at a staggering 105.
All thing considered, it was a good day. It runs well, tracks straight, shifts up and down and makes bitchen sounds when I down shift. I think I'm gonna like it

Saturday, August 16, 2008

All Dressed Up and Nowhere To Go

Everything is all buttoned up. All the wireing, fuel lines etc. are in and connected. Hit the button and she fired up instantly. It was bittersweet. Such a lovely sound, but all I can do is sit there and rap the throttle and let it idle and listen to the cam lope. I shoved in the clutch, stuck it in first and eased it out a bit with the brake on and felt it pull on the chains. I think it's going to work just fine. I have master links on order from three different vendors. I will have no shortage of them by next week. I may have a pair by Tuesday. Keepin' the fingers crossed. Between now and then, I'll give it a good cleaning, some wax, chrome polish, Armorall, Ben Gay, Right Guard and Peach Flavored Astro Glide.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

The Missing Link

Isn't it always the case. The project is for all intent and purpose, done. There will be a few loose ends, I'm sure. Yesterday was spent installing the exhaust, the rear wheel, hooking up a few stray wires and tightening nuts and bolts. Next came the chains. Laid 'em on the sprockets, determined that 5 links needed to be removed. No problemo. Let's see, where are the master links??? For the next 5 hours I turned the shop upsidedown looking for the *&%*#$@* master links. They are gone, vanished, taken aboard the mother ship, grew legs and walked out. All I can figure is that I, inadvertently, threw them away. Now, one would think that procuring a pair of #630 masterlinks in the greater Los Angeles area would be, fairly, easy. Nope, no dice. I called, drove and computer surfed all day today. I should have stayed home and watched Oprah. So, It's back on line to Bike Bandit and they order them for me from Wisconsin, which is not only the cheese capitol of the US but, evidently, the Fort Knox of motorcycle chains. So, instead of filling the air with the stench of tire smoke, I filled the air with a string of expletives.
I will spend the next week cleaning the bike and the shop, Taking the promised pictures and looking in the same spots, for the 50th time, for the elusive links, which will reappear the day after the new ones arrive. One of Murphy's Laws of Mechanics
I'm pissed, but resigned to my fate. Some day I gotta get organized.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Tomorrow Is Only a Day Away

If all goes well, I will be irritating my neighbors again for the first time in a while. The swingarm is done. The sprockets are aligned (I had to make a spacer to go between the BH hub and the sprocket assembly to move it over 3/8"). The chains are on. The rear fender is on. The fuse box is in and the wires are routed. Tomorrow the pipes, seat and tanks go on, and that should just about do it. I'm holding off on the battery holder because I may switch to an Optima or Odyssey gel battery. I may just make it to bike night tomorrow night.

I will be posting a bunch o' pictures soon of the (hopefully) finished product. Stay tuned chilluns.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Objects Are Closer Than They Appear

More progress today. Got the rear brake hitched up. I had to fab up a new hard line, since the old one is a few inches short. Some of the riders of the earlier BHs have recommended cutting the caliper bracket so that it floats and is no longer bolted to the rear of the swingarm. I went ahead and modified mine as well. This actually serves a two fold purpose. Besides floating free, now the arm that anchors the bracket takes all of the braking force and transfers it to the front of the swingarm, near the pivot. This eliminates most of the tendency of the rear end of the bike to squat under hard braking. Tomorrow I'll bleed it out and replace the defective brake light switch. All that remains, as far as I can tell, is to make up a new battery holder/rear fender mount, hang the pipes, put the tank on, re route a few wires and a coupla other small odds and ends. I was hoping to have it ready by next Wednesday, but I may come in early and under budget. I still have my old Nesco trans setup to sell, so that will cover chrome and powder coat later on. Hopefully there will be enough left over for a tank o' gas and a few cool ones.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I can taste it AND smell it, now

Today was spent on the bike and a woodworking project.
I finished mounting the fuel pump, installed the trans mount/crossmember and stared at the battery holder, trying to see if it will work. I think I'll just make a new one, instead. I should have the fuel system plumbed, and all the electrics back in and hooked up this weekend. I need to get some radiator hose, as the old one leaked. Just a tiny bit of welding and grinding on the swingarm and it will go back in to stay, until this winter when I'll be sending it and a few other things for chrome and powdercoat.
I'm really getting stoked. I'm pushing for Wednesday the 20th. We have our local bike night every Wednesday and I have missed them all this summer. I guess I coulda ridden my moped, a 78 Benelli that I bought new. It has about 600 original miles. Original tires, spark plug, everything. I payed 100 bucks for it. Saw one on Ebay for a grand. After 30 years, I think I'll keep it. The only thing I've had longer is the wife. She still looks good, too.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

I Can Almost Taste It !

A lot has gotten done in the past 3 or 4 days. The modifications to the swingarm are about finished. Just a bit of grinding and finish welding. I was able to run the crossmember through the chains, as I had originally planned, rather than under them. It just takes a more torturous route. All the wierd bends and notches are pretty well hidden. I will, eventually, have the arm chromed, but will dust the crossmember with flat black so it hides in the shadows. The Curtis box is in for the last time. The QD bushings and front sprockets are drilled and tapped. I need to find some 5/16 USC X 3 inch grade 8 socket head cap screws to cinch them down. The shift and clutch linkages are done. I'm sure there will be some final "dialing in", but it looks good for, maybe next week.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Jockeying for position

Well, it's been a while since any, real, work has been done on the transmission conversion. I have just about finished the jockey shift/suicide clutch setup. It works slick as snot on a doorknob, sitting on the bike while up on the jacks. I expect it to be, pretty much, the same on the road. I have many miles on similar setups on my Indian and 3 of my HDs, so the learning curve will be short. BTW, the bent rod from the clutch pedal will be replaced with a straight piece. It's leftover from the, ill fated, foot shifter.
The antique, purple, glass doorknob has been on the road with me for years. I ran it on the 3 jockey shift HDs and, more recently, on my Cushman scooters. Maybe it's a good luck charm. I hope so.

As can be seen in the picture, the chains are in place, though still in mockup stage. That's why one has more slack than the other. The visual impact of the dual 630 chains absolutely kicks ass.

I still have to re weld the swingarm crossmember, weld on a new brake anchor, build a battery box/holder and a few other, small items and she'll be ready for the shakedown run. I'm gettin' itchy. Can't wait to hammer it in first!!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

"I sense failure is rapidly approching." The Brain

Well, thing are moving along again. The trans is in for the last time (knock on wood) the Curtis box is in for the next to the last time and final alignments and adjustments are being made. As I feared, there is a clearance issue with the swing arm crossmember and the chains. I was expecting to, possibly, have to notch it out a bit. Yeah, right. It will require a bit more than that. I had to cut the crossmember nearly in half and will reconfigure it to pass under the chains. It's a little bit of a setback rather than a failure, but no real biggee. I should have it re done by Saturday if I'm not preoccupied with other stuff. I have to take wifey out for din din and a show. It's anniversary time again. 39 years!!!! It was cheaper to keep her, as they say. No alimony, no child support and, oh yeah, made the last house payment last week Woo Hoo!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Workin' on the Chain Gang

MMMM..... three piece sandwich

Today I mounted one of the rear sprockets to the BH hub. These sprockets come blank, with a 7/8" center hole. I had to lay out and drill the 4 holes to bolt it to the hub and also bore out the center hole to 2 1/8". I had to use my big ol' honkin' 14" faceplate for this bit of backyard machining. I had to, first, machine a plug to fit the center hole. this was used to find the actual center of the sprocket to lay out the mounting holes and later to attach it, concentrically, on the faceplate Once I centered it up, it went off without a hitch. I ended up with a center hole that was a bit over the 2 1/8 that I was aiming for but no biggee. It'll be fine. There will be a second sprocket next to it since I will be running two chains. I'll wait until I get the front sprockets mounted up before I machine the other one. I have the QD taper bushings coming in from Grainger on Monday. These are different from the ones that BH uses. Additionally, these industrial sprockets are made for #60 chain which is 3/4" pitch. 630 motorcycle chain is also 3/4" pitch, but narrower. I will be running M/C chain, so all 4 sprockets will need to be machined thinner. My old lathe is getting a workout. If you're any kind of gearhead, shop around for an old lathe. They are indispensable. Plus, when people come into your shop, they will know that you kick ass.
I received the QD bushings and after mounting them and the sprockets on the Curtis output shaft, it looks as if the outer, rear sprocket will bolt up to the hub and line up pretty well. The inner cog will need to be bored out to 6" to fit over the hub. Both of them will be separated with a 1" spacer, drilled and bolted together in a three piece sandwich. This should be done by next week as I am over committed and won't be able to work on it much this weekend

Monday, February 18, 2008

Mounties to the Rescue

I went to replace the fan switch today, since it never worked. I just switched it on and off manually. In order to get a socket on it, the upper motor mount needs to come of. Mine did..... in three pieces. It's a nice piece of machining, but it seems a bit wimpy. I checked with BH and decided that they were a little too proud of their work for the Po' Boy. I made a new one out of some mild steel. Took about an hour. I will, probably, make another one for the left side. I'm gonna make this thing bullet proof if it kills me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

No More Fuelin' Around.....the puns will only get worse

I never was real fond of the electric fuel switchover valve. More to go wrong at exactly the wrong time, so here's my fix. I bought a marine quality manual valve and screwed it into the "in" side of the fuel pump. Later, I will plumb the lines from the main and reserve tank into the two "in" ports on the valve and the 'OUT' will go to the carb. There is also an "off" position. I also moved the whole assembly to the left side so the valve handle will be easily reached and to make as much room for a battery/tool box later in the build

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's Not Easy, Bein' Cheezy

I've been obsessing over the pot metal flanges on my new swing arm bearings, so I went to Grainger today and coughed up the cash and got the genuine Browning, cast iron flange, bearings. You can see from the pictures that they are much more substantial than the Taiwan cheepos. I had to enlarge the hole in the swingarm mount to accommodate them and needed to take a few thousandths off of the bearing housing so they would fit snugly. These are killer and will be maintenance free.
I see no reason why this modification couldn't be done on the stock BH setup as well. You would need to get a 2 1/2" holesaw, a big ol' 1/2" drill (I call mine the Widowmaker) and make a centering jig for the holesaw. This is nothing more than a piece of 1/4" plate with a 2 1/2" hole in it. Center the jig over your existing swingarm bushing, clamp it securely and cut the hole. The jig will pilot the saw on it's outer circumference. They are usually piloted by the 1/4" hole that is made by the drill, but we already have a 3/4" hole, so without some method of holding the saw on target, it will lurch around like a sailor on payday
I picked up two spherical rod ends for the shift linkage also. Oh yeah, I ordered a shiny, new Kuryakyn shift peg to replace the hex bolt. No more cheezy shortcuts.......for now.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Paradigm Shift

I decided to switch gears (pun intended) a bit and make the shifter and linkage today. Here's what I came up with. I may put Heim joints on the ends of the rod if it needs them, but I think this will be OK. It shifts just fine sitting still while making the requisite VROOM VROOM sounds. The hex head bolt will be replaced with something a bit more attractive

Powder coating blues

I recall reading on the V8riders site that there were some problems with the powder coating on some of the older bikes. I have noticed a great deal of peeling on my frame, some from before and some as a result of the modifications that I have made. On closer inspection it does not appear that the frame was sandblasted prior to coating. All the metal has the cold rolled finish still on it. No wonder it's falling off. I have had quite a few items coated over the years and the guy always stresses proper prep work for a good job. Thorough cleaning and sandblasting is paramount. I'm surprised that BH would take such a crummy shortcut. I will not. Actually, since I'm a cheapwad, I'll probably paint it. Depends on how much is left in the ever dwinding pot when I'm done

What a groovy and swinging cat Carl is.......

The swingarm is mostly complete. There is a bit more finish welding and grinding to do, but it looks like it'll work. There could be some chain/belt clearance issues later on, so there may be some minor notching on the left side. We'll see. I did a quick and dirty wheelbase measurement and it looks like it'll be about 82 inches. I will bolt everything up, later today, and drop it down on it's wheels to have a look-see and to sit on it and make VROOM VROOM sounds

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Metallurgy for Dummies/Carl/John

Some concerns about my use of mild steel for my swingarm have been raised. There are terms that always bring a knowing smile and a nod of the head to most people. Terms like "Board Certified", "Micro Brewed", "Heliarc" and "Chromemoly". While I have no problem with the last two, I believe them to be, at times, buzz words. I'm a lousy TIG welder, so that's out the window on this build. Cars, bikes, high rise office towers and a myriad of other stuff has been built out of mild steel, with success for a hundred years. They have been gas, arc, MIGed TIGed, bolted, rivited, furnace brazed and even glued together. I believe my swingarm will be just fine. I don't know what BH uses, but the induced hydrogen embrittlement from the chrome plating would certainly negate some of the advantages of using chromemoly. I'm gonna run it and like it. If it fails, I doubt that it will be catastrophic. I will be keeping a close eye on all of the modifications for signs of failure. Just ride in front of me so the parts falling off don't hit ya.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Don't mock my mockup

Here are a few more shots of the bike mocked up. The overall proportions look good. I don't want the stretch limo look. I welded up the swing arm mounts last night. Next, I will connect the two swingarms with a crossbrace that loops under the Curtis box to keep the wheelbase as short as possible.

No huge errors or problems.........yet. I did have a slight problem with one of the mounts. I didn't properly brace it and when I finished welding it in, it drew about 1/4 inch from the heat. A bit of heat with the rosebud tip and a judicious application of the BFH eliminated that screwup. Yes, I knew better, I thought the laws of the universe would change just for me. Man plans.... God laughs.

Stay tuned as I continue to create problems and attemt to solve them

Friday, February 1, 2008

Light at the end of the tunnel, dim but perceptible

Today I made up the swingarm mounts. There will be two on each side rather than the one that BH uses. No real, solid, engineering reason why. I just thought it would be better, or at least no worse. Tomorrow is Saturday, so I'll be able to spend all day in the shop. I hope to have all the welding done and maybe take it off the jacks and see how it looks.

I've been thinking about final drive options. The Gates belt that we have on our bikes will be way too short. They only come in a few sizes and, evidently, there isn't one that will fit. Gates makes a belt called the Eliminator. It is supposed to be stronger than the GT, but it won't fit the BH pulleys. The pulley for this belt are only (I think) available in steel. A 70 tooth weighs 50 lbs!! The last option and the one that I am considering is chain. I will be running two 630 chains side by side. It should handle the power and look bad ass. I need to look at a double strand sprocket and see if there is room for the two chains. These sprockets are made for a special double strand chain. The regular bike chains may rub against each other which doesn't seem like the hot setup to me. More research. The devil's in the details, but it's been done before.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Swing arm

Today I started on the new swingarm. I used 2 inch, 1/8 wall mild steel tubing. It was a tiny bit off from the stuff BH uses. I had to take a few thousandths off of the slider blocks before they would fit inside. Thanks to my trusty old 1925 Dalton lathe/mill combo machine, everything went charmingly. Tomorrow I'll do it again. I may be up on two wheels by this weekend. There is still the clutch and final drive issues, but I'll address those later. So far it is fun since there have been no problems that weren't easy to solve.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

In the past few days, I have tacked in the extended swingarm mounts and cut out a rear mount/crossmember. The crossmember will bolt to the rear of the Ranger where it bolts to the Curtis. I will weld ears to the frame to bolt the crossmember onto so the entire thing will drop out. This will make splitting the frame easier later on. To those that may have noticed the pitted appearence of the new crossmember, this is due to my being a scrounger and a tightwad. It's a piece of 1/2 plate that was part of a target at the shooting range at the jail, where I work. A little flat black and you'll never notice the bullet holes.

I picked up the square tubing for the new swingarm today, so as soon as the welding is done on the frame, I will start building the arm. It will be a shortened version of the stock item with a few changes to keep the wheelbase as short as possible

So far, so good. Minimal bloodshed, no hurling of tools/parts, one minor temper tantrum when I realized I had built two identical swingarm mounts. They should be mirror images. DOH !!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

And The Beat Goes On.

Earlier this week, Monday to be exact I received the Curtis gearbox. With 90% or so of the needed parts and lousy weather, I decided it's now or never. Wednesday and Thursday evening were spent splitting the frame and yanking out the Nesco. No big deal. Everything came apart nicely. I bolted the Curtis to the Ranger and stuck the assembly on the bellhousing and bolted everything to the block. There is no clutch, yet. Everything is a mockup at this stage.

Using three Sawzall blades I amputated the rear crossmember. I coulda used the smoke wrench, but I figured I may be able to reuse it and didn't want to booger it up too much. Waste of time. It won't fit the reconfigured swingarm mounting plates. Chucked it in the weeds. Buh Bye.

The new plates for the swingarm were cut from 1/2 plate. I picked up two 3/4 inch four bolt flange mount bearings from Grainger. Appropriate holes were drilled in the plates and the bearings bolted in place. I was a bit dissapointed that the housings for the bearings are die cast. They are rated for around 3000 lbs (I forget exactly). I'll be keeping a close eye on them. If they give me any grief, Browning and others make them with a cast iron housing. I may go ahead and change them out anyway before I put it back on the road. These will be good for the time being.

Tomorrow I will weld up the plates and work on the crossmember. I hope to have the mounts all done and good before next weekend. I'll be fabbing a new swingarm after that. By the time I get through cutting and modifying the old one, I could just go ahead and build one from scratch.

So far, it all looks good. Everything fits as well or better than expected. The bike will end up less than 2 inches longer than stock, about 50 lbs heavier and I'll be able to hammer the crap out of it in first and second. Whooo Hooo