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