Saturday, December 10, 2011

Breathe Deep, The Gathering Gloom..........

In a previous post, I showed how I filled in the frame, in front of the tank, to clean up the looks a bit. This still left me with that big hole in the front of the tank. I suppose the thought is, it is there to serve as an air intake. I feel BH could have done better, as far as appearance is concerned. After making a few cardboard mockups, I felt I had the look I was after. I took two short pieces of tubing, hammered a flare on each one and welded them to a piece of sheet metal, cut to the shape of the gap in the tank with two holes cut in it to match the flared tubes. A piece of 1/4 rod was formed and welded to the bottom edge. Then the whole deal was welded to the tank. As always, when I weld a tank, I connect a length of hose from an exhaust source, in this case, my Diesel tractor. The other end goes to the tank filler. The exhaust displaces the air and, therefore, the O2 and an explosion is not possible. A thin coat of plastic filler, primer and paint finishes it off. I turned the bezels for the little grilles out of some aluminum and cut the mesh from an old desk set, one of those deals with a pencil holder, a letter organizer and so on. I keep my pencils in a coffee can. Looks like two, big ol' nostrils, sorta like Paul Jr.
In the photo, the tank appears shiny, gloss black and the frame, sort of a dull gray. Actually, both need final color sanding and a good compounding and final polish. Lacquer is time consuming, but the results are worth it. Ignore the loose wires. They'll go away, soon.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Will Ya Still Need Me, When I'm 64?

It's time to pull the trigger on the new belt. 565 bucks American!!!! While this seems like a lot of dough, it's not quite as bad as it seems. It is a Gates GT Carbon Fiber Polychain, the latest hot setup. Much stronger than the Gates GT that I was running originally. The length that I need, (1750 mm) only comes in a 90 mm width, so by bandsawing it down the middle, I will have two, 45 mm, belts, which is the stock BH width. This should be the last, high ticket, item that I need to procure. I don't mind being nickle and dimed to death, but dropping 5-6 hundred clams kind of stretches the budget a bit, especially with our property tax due very soon.
The belt arrived the other day. Today I worked up the gumption to saw it in half. I'd almost rather do a root canal on myself. I have a, very nice, large bandsaw so I decided to use it rather than the tablesaw. I set the fence at 45mm from the blade and clamped another wooden fence 45mm on the other side of the blade, capturing the belt and holding it snug. I fired up the saw and began to feed the belt into the blade. I "rolled" the belt in, keeping the upper loop stationary and cutting the bottom loop only. All went well and instead of $565.00 worth of trash can filler, I have one belt plus a spare. Tomorrow, the swingarm and wheel assembly should go on for the last time. I may, actually, get to ride this thing before I turn 64 in three weeks. 64!?!?!?! Criminy!!!! I'm my own grandfather.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Polish Joke

Not so funny, really. I've been spending a lot of time in front of the buffer, polishing all of the alloy parts that I can. Both wheels, the brake calipers and master cylinder, motor mounts, etc., etc. It's filthy work, compound and lint all over everything. The results are worth it, though. I was surprised at how dingy everything had become, especially the wheels. I used Blue Magic as a final polish after buffing. It's really good stuff. Cheaper than Simichrome and much easier to use.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Turn, Turn, Turn.

Today, I spent a few hours in front of the lathe, whittling some miscellaneous items. I made two of these little "hats" to cover the swingarm pivot bolts. I have stainless socket head cap screws on order to replace the black oxide ones currently holding the flanged bearings in place. The removal of the handlebar switches left gaps between the grips and the levers, so I whipped up a simple spacer for the clutch (remember those? Real motorcycles have them.) side. The throttle side was a bit more complicated. I still want a kill button, so I made a split collar. I machined a little plastic button and ran a wire to it. A spring from a ball point pen completes the gizmo. I have wired in a relay for the ignition. Turn on the key switch and it sends power to the relay and, in turn, to the distributor. The handlebar button, when depressed. interrupts the ground to the relay and kills the ignition. Simple, huh?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fat Is Where It's At

I always preferred the look of the old style fenders that the early bikes had. I'm, also, not a big fan of the stock, Tupperware, units that Boss Hoss uses. I ordered a genuine, made in China, from American scrap iron, "chopper fender" from an online vendor for a hundred bucks. What a bargain!?!? Of course it was not available in the width required for a real motorcycle, so out came the cutoff tool and I zipped it in half. A four inch strip of sheet metal was clamped between the two halves with these nifty little clamps from Harbor Fright. A few hours of welding, grinding, some judicious pounding with hammer and dolly and, voila, one custom bobbed Boss Hoss fender. A light coat of plastic filler and she'll be good to go. I'll be mounting the plate and tail light under the rear

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Baby's In Black and I'm Feelin' Fine

After another hospital stay, I figured enough clowning around. I've missed the riding season due to a variety of issues, some unforeseen and some self imposed. Back to the shop. In the past week, I've managed to prep the frame and the side covers and get a nice coat of black acrylic lacquer on them. the covers came out pretty nice after the mods that I made to them and the frame looks real good as well. Once they're rubbed out, they'll really sparkle. Tomorrow I will actually begin re assembly. I should be able to get the frame wrapped around the engine, the fuel and cooling systems installed, the front end on and a bunch of other odds and ends. Maybe next month I can make some noise. Probably when I fall off of a ladder

The Prime Directive

The frame in primer. I did a bit of molding around the neck, the swing arm mounts and the rear frame gussets. I'll let it sit for a few days to finish drying and shrinking and then the lacquer goes on. The engine/trans are cleaned and detailed to LaFong standards. I replaced all of the bolts that I could with stainless socket head cap screws and those little snap in chrome caps. I got a new chrome intake manifold (thanks Stan) and stainless 12 point bolts from ARP. The fuel system is done, the clutch and shifter are very close, a couple of hours work and they'll be done. A few more welds and the swing arm will be done also. This will leave the rear fender that I have to widen and a modification to the tank that will be the subject of a future post.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Genesis or the Application of One's Self

"In the beginning, God created the Boy Genius™. He saw that he was good".
Well, it may not have been exactly that way, but it sounds good, huh? Actually it was slightly less dramatic. As a kid at Camellia Avenue Elementary School in the early 50s, I displayed some unusual talents. My art skills were quite advanced for a 5 year old and the teachers took note. I've posted a painting that I did in kindergarten and another that I did, almost 60 years later. Yeah, yeah, I know, "which one is which?" Later on as I learned to read, I was reading at a level far above the usual Dick and Jane stuff. I got into trouble for reading my entire textbook in a few days, rather than waiting for the whole class to struggle along, at one or two pages a day. Again, the teachers took note. It was during this time that someone decided that I should be tested. I'm not sure if it was to find out if I was bright or an idiot savant. They gave me the Stanford Binet IQ test. I scored 124. Now, this should have marked a turning point in my young life. However, this was the unenlightened 50s. I suppose I was expected to do better, at that point, without any outside influence. I was never guided into any special programs or counseled in any way. I was just told, every time that I screwed up, that I was a smart kid and that I should "apply" myself. My parents, who were good people, pretty much did the same. I don't know if they were intimidated, by a snot nosed kid who may have been smarter than they were, or not. So, all of this, and my life long inability to focus on anything for more than an hour or two, led to a school career marked by failure with occasional bursts of mediocrity. I graduated from high school with a low C average. I attended school in the Navy and did well because the curriculum interested me. Later I attended welding school with the same results. I never had to study during either course. That is the extent of my formal education. I bounced around, pretty much, the rest of my working life doing this and that. I was an embalmer, an auto body and paint guy, a teamster, a carpenter and a bunch of other stuff. I guess my failure to "apply" myself led to my failure to capitalize on my, alleged, talents.
So, to get to the point of all this. Little Carl was a 7 year old "Boy Genius™", Big Carl is a pretty smart guy. No more and certainly no less. Do I feel that I am smarter than everyone else? No, I do not. I feel that I am smarter than most, if not all, of the ditzels, dimwits and career under achievers that we all come into contact with every day. I can, usually, do the Sunday NY Times crossword puzzle. I can visualize a finished product while looking at a raw piece of material. I can do, basic, math. I can speak, spell and write reasonably well. I can dress myself. Am I still a Boy Genius™? Yes, absolutely. An adult genius ...........Nahhh, just Ol' Carl, the guy that knows how to do a variety of things with a fair degree of competence.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Back on Track

Back to the subject of pulley alignment and tracking. On the V8BikeRiders website I have seen posts where riders have been advised to loosen their rear mounts and pry the transmission over to correct belt tracking problems. I would imagine that the engine/trans would tend to shift to the right under power. With this in mind, I slotted the mount holes on the rear cross member, that I built at the beginning of the build, to allow for adjustments later on. I also built this little gizmo to allow for easier tweeking of the belt tracking.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Square to the World

I spent 5 or 6 hours in the shop today shimming, prying, leveling, dropping plumb bobs, measuring, establishing center lines and so on. Things just didn't seem right. Nothing was the same from left to right or top to bottom. The long and short of it is, the engine did not sit in the frame straight or level. It was 3/16" low on the right side and skewed to the right about the same amount. I don't know why my belt tracked straight with everything so far out of whack. I thought, at first, that it might have been due to all of the mods that I made to install the Ranger, but the only, real, change was the rear mount which was built with the original front and top mounts in place. Of course, all this tweeking came at a cost. Now the swing arm mounts, that I built at the beginning of this saga, are misaligned. So, out came the smoke wrench and 2 minutes later they were off and laying on the floor. No drama other than the small brush fire in front of the building. I'm still pretty spry for 63. Ran, grabbed the hose, ran through the shop,dragging the hose, soaking everything in the process, out the front door and extinguished it. After catching my breath, I tacked the mounts back on. Everything is now coplanar. That is very important with a belt drive. Every component has to be at 90 or 180 degrees to each other. If not, there will be tracking problems. Some riders compensate for misalignment by cranking up the left adjuster. This is bad practice for several reasons. First is the one inch diameter axle and the large slider blocks in the swing arm. They do not allow for the axle to be "gimbled" over. What really happens is the swing arm and the bushings are placed under, even more, stress. The other thing is the belt is deformed. The belt is, basically, a cylinder. When you tweek it to one side to adjust tracking, it is forced into a slight taper or funnel shape. It will take a set as the fibers bed in. The only real solution is to be anal about setting everything straight. I'm glad that I noticed this before finishing the swing arm. I only want to build this last one

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Prototyping and Change Orders

I stayed pretty busy today. I generally go into the shop with high hopes of getting something done, but often end up being distracted. I suspect it's an ADD thing or sumpthin'. I rarely seem to work in a linear fashion, choosing instead to fiddle fart around with three or four minor projects instead. I made a mounting bracket for the fuel pressure regulator. I re assembled the paint free frame around the engine/trans unit. The transmission crossmember that I built previously will need some minor notching to clear the large front pulley. It actually clears as is, but I need a bit more so I can change the belt without splitting the frame. The old swing arm is another story entirely. It has been cut and welded too many times and the pivot mounts need to be altered to clear the pulley as well. So, it to, has been consigned to The Big Box O' Failures. I feel that Boy Geniuses™ rarely fail, so henceforth The BBOF shall be known as The Big Box O' Prototypes. Has a much more professional ring to it. I grabbed two more pieces of the 2 inch square tube that the first swing arm was made from, mounted them in the mill and cut the slots for the axle just as I did in January 2008. No need for pictures, same deal as before. Tomorrow I hope to make up the new pivot mounts. cut and weld the swing arm to put the bend in it and weld on the shock mounts. The new swing arm crossmember will be much simpler, hopefully, than the old cut, weld, cut weld, #*&%#*& lousy no good, cut weld again monstrosity. We'll see.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Strippin' and Slickin'

The past few days have been spent stripping off all of the old powder coat from the frame. It went fairly well. Boss Hoss didn't sandblast the frames prior to coating, so it didn't stick particularly well. Much of it practically fell of and paint stripper took care of the rest. A few passes with a 4" grinder with a wire wheel got into the nooks and crannys. Tomorrow I'll sandblast and begin slicking everything off with plastic filler and get it ready for primer. I was able to get good ol' lacquer primer/surfacer on line. I'm surprised that the tree huggers would allow it here in The Peoples Socialist Republik of Kalifornia. I have a new, unopened gallon of black acrylic lacquer that I dug out of the trash at work. Your tax dollars at work. Rest assured that an American Taxpayer will make good use of it. Some have said, "Why don't you just powder coat it?". Bondo and powder coat don't play well together. Lacquer has a look of it's own. Sorta warm and organic unlike the plasticky looking powder. Lacquer is totally forgiving. Chips and scratches are easy to fix. The real reason? Even though I have to buy the primer and thinner, the paint job will run less than a hundred bucks. Scrooge LaFong wins again. I think it's one of the Beatitudes, "The cheapskates shall inherit the good trash"

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Not the Same Old Shift

It's time to replace the ugly shifter that I cobbled up after the failed jockey shift episode. My idea was to find an old bicycle and use one of the crank arms as a shifter. After cruising a few yard sales, I found that junk bikes are still to much for the Po' Boy and most don't have the type of crank setup that I'm looking for. So, I grabbed a hunk of rectangular aluminum, put it between centers and cut away everything that doesn't look like a shifter. My lathe has a taper attachment that made it easy to come up with something that doesn't look home brewed. I stopped at the bicycle shop and bought a wedged cotter that most of the older bikes use to hold the crank arm on. I milled a flat on the shifter shaft and the cotter holds everything together nice and snug. At the same time, I moved the pivot up to the same axis as the clutch bell crank. This, of course, necessitated making a new bell crank since the old one had a little 3/8 bushing and the shifter uses 5/8. I cut it out with the torch, cleaned it up on the grinder and disc sander, made up a new hub, popped in a couple of bushings, added a Zerk and it's a done deal. Same for the lug that will weld to the frame. All in all it came out pretty good, I think

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Oh What A Tangled Web We Weave

It's time to address the wiring on my bike. The original harness looked as if it was made by a black widow spider on LSD. Additionally, it had been violated, repeatedly, by person or persons unknown who did not own a soldering iron, an assortment of crimp connectors or the crimping pliers. He (they) did, however, have an unlimited supply of electrical tape. I removed the entire harness and set it in front of me and went at it with knife and wire cutters. All I was left with was a few connectors and some lengths of wire. The factory wires with the application printed on them will, more than likely, be reused. Many of them will hit the trash can. There are no more electric pumps or tank valve so those circuits are no longer needed. The, mysterious, master relay will also disappear. I don't, quite, understand its function. I have wired a few cars and bikes over the years and none of them had a master relay. Another thing that will cut the number of wires to a minimum is the Grip Ace system that I bought. The blinker, starter, high/low, and horn are all controlled by a touchpad that fits into the left grip. There are two, small wires that pull through the bars and connect to a module that controls all of the, previously mentioned, functions. All of the, sometimes, troublesome and bulky looking handlebar switches will go into the Big Box O' Unused, Unwanted and Unnecessary Parts. Simplification does have it's cost. I had to add a few relays that BH didn't originally us. I still have the fan and horn relays, but there are new ones for the lights, start circuit and the ignition. The new harness, when completed may be sent out and covered with, old style, cloth braiding. I have a local outfit that we used to use for our Austin Healey harnesses. Fortunately, for me, they're still in business. I do not like taped harnesses or the corrugated, split plastic loom tubing that most people use. Just too cheezy and off the shelf looking. The braided loom will look really nice next to the fuel lines. Most people will never see it. Those that do will, probably, not notice anything special but that's OK. I and other detail oriented folks will see the difference. Sorta like a secret handshake.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Trikes and Trikers

On a motorcycle website, that I frequent, many of the members ride trikes. Often, some of them feel compelled to defend their choice of rides. Excuses range from, they are too old or infirm and a trike is their only choice all the way to trikes are, quite simply, better. I have ridden a few trikes over the years and even built one in the 70's. As a certified Boy Genius™, I have my thoughts about two versus three wheels. Of course, I am going to share them. The following are the reasons people ride tricycles.
1. Too old or infirm to ride a two wheeler.
No problem there. We all have to do the best we can with what we have left.
2. They have more carrying capacity.
Yes they do. There is plenty of room for a change of undies, tampons, your large collection of, douchey looking, do rags, nail files, Depends etc. How do the two wheel guys manage?
3. They're safer.
No they're not. Avoiding objects in the road is more difficult. Swerving between lanes, in an emergency, is out.
4. They won't fall over at a red light.
Oh Brother!! Maybe you should take a bus. What makes you think you won't just fall off the damned thing at any given time.
5. My wife likes it better than a bike.
My wife would like it if I wore a tuxedo, threw away all of my crappy T shirts and took up embroidery so I could keep her company. I'm keeping my testicles right where they belong. I love my wife, but certain thing are sacrosanct.
6. There's really no difference.
Uh huh, and sex with a man is just as good if the lights are off. Motorcycles, the kind with two wheels, are a Zen sort of thing. If you are a true biker, you know what I mean. You become one with your machine. Your brain is wired to the whole bike. You can feel the engine, feel the tires as they contact the road. The bike/man leans, counter steers, makes minor corrections automatically. The trike is a three wheeled car, a hermaphrodite contraption, a compromise.
Will the Boy Genius™ ever own a trike? Only if or when I fall into the first category, too ancient or stove in to handle two wheels. Of course, the extra room for travel essentials will be nice and, maybe, Wifey will want to tag along from time to time. Hmmmm, lesse, a Richmond 5 speed, a Jag IRS. You don't think I would take the easy way, do you?

Monday, January 17, 2011

More Fuelishness

I have decided to remove the electric fuel pump from my bike and run a Race Pumps, piston style, pump. It will provide all of the fuel that I could ever ask for. It is not a cheap setup. The pump and regulator (you have to run theirs) run about 250 bucks. It is not a quick bolt on. A dimple needs to be made in the frame tube to allow the pump to fit. To make things even worse, I am re plumbing the whole system with black anodized AN fittings and black braided hose. I do not care for the looks of the braided stainless and the red and blue fittings that many choose to run. Too flashy for me. I know all of this seems to be overkill, but it looks so cool. I know of, at least, two BHs that have burned due to leaky fuel lines. I have never been a fan of worm clamps and auto part store rubber fuel line. The lines, that I put on during the Ranger swap, have already begun to get hard and show signs of aging.
Pix show the finished lines and pump. The AN fittings required a bit of finesse to install. The finish is quite fragile and ordinary wrenches will scar them. There are assembly tools available, but they are costly. I simply used a heavy piece of leather from an old belt and clamped the fitting in the vise. Using another hunk of leather i used a Visegrip to assemble the fitting to the hose. It sounds a bit brutal, but the fitting were scratch free after assembly.