Thursday, November 8, 2012
I made the, temporary, counter top today. Just a piece of 3/4" plywood with 2X4 Douglas fir screwed to the perimeter. I didn't glue it, since I will want to take it apart later to reuse the ply. Even though it is temporary, I had to dress it up a little. I rounded the corners with the router. I will, probably, put a coat of paint on it just to dress it up and so it can be wiped off when I slobber spaghetti sauce all over it. It is sitting 1 1/2" lower than the actual one will sit. I need to add another 2X4 down the center, where it rests on the steel beam. Something to do tomorrow. I still need to pull some new wires to move the kitchen light switch from it's current position, above the new counter, to the other side of the room. I can then cover the exposed studs, steel and wiring with new drywall. Some might like the rustic exposed beam look, but it doesn't work well with walls.
I finished the shelves and installed them a few days ago. I made them from 3/4 plywood and edged them with some red oak and covered the surfaces with Formica.They turned out pretty nice, I think. Wifey likes them so that's all that matters. The pantry, as it sits now, is in no way organized. I piled a bunch of stuff that was stored under the old breakfast bar because I had no place to put it. We need to sort through it and streamline our operation. We have enough Tupperware and other plastic storage containers to fill 4 or 5 refrigerators. She is also compelled to save all of those disposable containers that people give you when they insist you take leftovers home. There are two drawers full of more of the stuff, still to be dealt with, as well as more overflow in the garage storage closets. I realize now that we are typical and why these rental storage facilities are everywhere. Americans have too much stuff and we are unwilling to part with any of it. We would rather pay a hundred bucks a month to store a few old lamps, a bed frame and a set of worn out tires than to toss the crap out. Every little knick knack has some perceived value and must be saved, even though it's been stashed away and unseen for 40 years. Our house needs a high colonic.
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Part of my plan for the kitchen has been to remove the existing breakfast bar and cabinet and move it to the other side of the room.However, I do not want a cabinet under the counter. This way, we can sit on either side and we don't have to worry about grandkids who seem to enjoy kicking the cabinet and scuffing it up. So, since the counter will cantilever out from the wall and I don't want a leg to support the end, I built a steel support. It is bolted to a wall stud and the concrete slab at the bottom and lagged into the header at the top. There is very little deflection when I put my full weight on the end, maybe 1/16". I made it from 3 inch square, 1/4 wall mild steel. It might be a little overkill but I had a stick of it here at The Fongderosa just lying around collecting rust, so it was pressed into service. Free is good
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
While growing old is not, entirely, bad, it is not for the faint of heart. Those that we love also are ravaged by the years. This year has been, especially rough. I lost two of my, beloved, Aunties. The were both, nearly, 90 and had been in declining health for some time. Their race was run and it was time to cross the finish line. I will miss them both, as they were special ladies and two of the last links to my parent's generation. In June, my baby cousin died. She was 51. She had been ignoring her health for a while, but at that age, nobody thinks that there is any real urgency. She woke up, sat up in bed, had a heart attack and was gone, just like that. We were pretty close. We all went camping together at Thanksgiving, with a few other people and had a great time, eating a full on banquet, sitting around the fire and taking snake bite medicine, telling off color stories and acting like kids. I will miss her all of my days. Yesterday I got one of the worse possible phone calls. My brother, Jeff, died. He was 61. He had some health struggles related to a severe infection that he had gotten that resulted in the amputation of his left leg. This was over a year ago and he had fully healed and was running all over on his prosthetic leg. He came to visit several times and seemed just fine. He had a mild case of diabetes, but he controlled it with diet and an oral medication. His doctors told him that his heart, blood pressure and cholesterol were all good. I'm not sure we'll ever know what happened. I guess it really doesn't matter. This is really hard for me to deal with. We were fairly close. Jeff was a bit of a hermit and would be incommunicado for months or years at a time, so it's only been in the past few years that we began hanging out more often. Sadly, that is over. There will be no funeral or gathering, as far as I know. I don't, necessarily believe in funerals, but without some sort of closure it just seems empty, as if a goldfish or a hamster had died. I need to get with my other brother and my niece so we can grieve together. It's what humans do.
Today, we said "Bye bye" to the old breakfast bar and cabinet. Moving it by myself was a chore as it had cement board, mortar and tile. It weighed about 400 pounds, I would estimate. Archimedes said, Give me a lever long enough and a place to stand and I will move the earth." I set a few 2X4s on the floor as skids, lifted one end with a jack and set it on the skids. I then levered it, a few inches at a time until it was out of the back door and on the patio. No back strain or hernias. When I jacked it up about 5 pounds of kibble was under the thing. The previous owners had dogs and allowed them the run of the house. Mice got into the food and stashed it under the cabinet base where it has sat for 27 years. Yeech!!! Oh yeah, there was also a petrified mouse as well. I'm glad Wifey was away for the week so she didn't have to see the "icky" stuff. She would have made me stop while she scrubbed and disinfected everything with buckets of Lysol and other chemical agents. I try to do the big stuff when she's not home. I don't really require a lot of "advice" nor do I need to deal with certain womanly compulsions.
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Phase One is coming along, nicely. The pantry and fridge enclosure are done, other than a bit of sanding. The electrical has been moved as well as the water line for the ice maker and water dispenser. I installed a ceiling fixture in the pantry and a switch. I had to move a switch in the hallway since, after closing off the old doorway, it was in a bad spot. Of course, this entailed tearing into the wall, even more. Crawling around in the attic, pulling wires and sweating copper lines was never fun. At almost 65 years old, it is torture. Tomorrow I can finish all of the drywall in the hallway and get a coat of mud on it. I need to finish the inside of the pantry so I can build and install the shelves. So far, I'm going to put shelves on two walls, in an "L" shape. I may put in some drawers or some bins for spuds and onions. We'll see. It's sort of an evolutionary deal or design as you go. Phase Two should begin in a few days. It will involve removal of the old dining counter and cabinets and building the new counter on the opposite wall. Until the final counter tops are decided upon, I'll build a temporary one so we have a place to chow down.
Thursday, October 11, 2012
I have not begun the kitchen project yet. I got down to the shop to begin some preliminary work and it became apparent that my shoddy housekeeping habits have slowly turned the woodworking side of the shop into a catch all and an overflow area. Three days of cleaning and trash removal have gotten me to the point that I now have a nice, open, workable space. One thing, in particular, that has been an issue for a while is my dust collection system. I ran ducts, a few years ago, but they turned out to be poorly designed, so I yanked it all out and redid them. I now have a dedicated line for the table saw, which is actually a European combination machine with three, 3 hp, motors to power the saw, the planer/jointer, the shaper and the mortiser. There is also a line for the band saw, an 18" Laguna. I also added a drop down line from the ceiling that will be used for all of the portable machines, like the router table, the drum sander, the spindle sander, etc. There is also a floor sweep, for the once every year or so that I grab a broom and clean up. I should now be able to transform a great deal of expensive hardwood into firewood without breathing in too much dust.
Friday, October 5, 2012
At least for the time being, the bike is done. I will continue to tinker with it, of course, but the major work is done, for now. It's time for a new project. We've been in this house for 27 years and the kitchen looks like hell. It didn't look that great when we moved in and time has not been kind to it. The floor had numerous divots in the vinyl, the cabinets, which were cheepo builder cabinets, are shot, the sink has no porcelain left on it, the disposer doesn't work, the lighting is lousy, the pantry storage is dumb, the counters are chipped, the grout is starting to fall out and a few of the drawers are sticky. Other than that, it looks great!?!? The plan is to do the remodel in phases, to keep disruption to a minimum. This will be a total redo. The fridge is new and will stay. The dishwasher is old, but it still works, so it stays, also. Everything else is headed for the landfill. Like the bike, there will be no, hands on, outside help. Framing, drywall, cabinets, minor plumbing and electrical are no problem, for me. Wifey has given a, reluctant, thumbs up. She knows that I tend to drag my feet at times. I intend to work on this project every day, all day, until each phase is done. Phase one will be the construction of a walk in pantry, an enclosure for the fridge and a small wall desk. I will begin next week, when she is away so that, hopefully, when she returns there will be substantial progress but more importantly, no mess. Oddly enough, she is far more tolerant of mess and clutter than I am. The new pantry will be in the spot now occupied by the fridge.
Thursday, September 20, 2012
I went to move the Crapmobile (PT Cruiser) out of the way and, sure enough it barely ran. I punched up the codes and got five of them. I do know enough about late stuff to realize that some codes will flash because of the root issue and not because the problem really exists. Two of the codes pointed at the camshaft sensor so, after consulting my cousin, the mechanic, I went to the parts store and dropped another fiddy bucks on someone elses car. Bingo, it fired up and runs fine. Cheryl La Fong will come tomorrow to take it home and drop off her Yukon for brakes. Brakes are easy and present no problems for me. Should be a walk in the park, just like my Ranger conversion
Saturday, September 15, 2012
OK, so yesterday I pull all the plugs, They seem pretty good, A bit sooty, but I attribute that to the lousy carb settings that I, previously dealt with. I grab my trusty multi meter, a must have tool, and begin to check my plug wires. The very first one showed 0.0 Ohms. No good. No point in checking the rest, so it's off to the parts store for plugs and wires. I had a set of Accel plugs in it from the previous owner (Hey. it always ran well, so why replace them??) When I return, I pull out one of the new plugs to check the gap and begin putting them in. That's when I see that the correct plugs are 3/4" reach with a washer seat. The old Accels were 1/2" reach with a tapered seat. This, absolutely, has to be the last, less than stellar, bit of home tuneup and repairs that I will find. So, in go the correct plugs, all gapped, a dab of anti seize on each one. I have used anti seize on aluminum heads for 30 years. I still have my OG bottle of the stuff. One bottle, one lifetime. I then instal the plug wires. It was a universal set, so all the ends had to be terminated. No sweat, done it a hundred times. Finally, it's time for a test ride. The idle seems off, but I figure it may be timing. Down the road I go. The miss is still there. Crap!!! Back at the house, I get a nice glass of ice water, watch a bit of TV and wait for the bike and me to cool off. After a bit, I go out and survey the situation. I trace all the plug wires and find two of them are switched. Hmmmmm, sez I, this could cause a, slightly, imperfect running environment. A quick switcharoo and she fires up, instantly, and settles down into that 385 horse lope. The timing light tells me it's out a few degrees, so that's reset and it's time, once again for a hot lap around the neighborhood. What a difference. Runs like it should, shifts, stops (Well, sorta. Still have a bit more brake bleeding to do) and makes all the requisite, cool, sounds. With the 2:1 first gear, acceleration is ferocious and immediate. There is a little belt whine, but with the adjuster that I built, to move the rear of the engine from side to side, I should be able to eliminate that. It isn't very loud, but I still would rather it not be there. I just need to check everything one last time, slap the tank back on (I like the early bikes with the reserve tank. You can ride them with the main tank off when you're working on it) and give it a good wash, wax, polish the aluminum and so forth. One other, small, change that I made was, a timing pointer. When I made the new water manifold, I found that after everything was together, it blocked the view of the stock mark on the timing cover. So I grabbed a piece of sheet metal and snipped out this pointer that I clamped onto the water manifold. Now I can set or check the timing without pulling the radiator.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The bike has been giving me fits. Everything now works, just as I had hoped. The swing arm bearings stay straight in their housings, the electrics all function as they should, the clutch and trans is a dream.........what else could a guy ask for? I guess it would be nice if it ran well. I had the carb gone through by a, well known, old timer here in SoCal, Bob Jennings Dyno Service. I still have a miss. I replaced the ignition module. No dice, still there. Tomorrow I'll stick in a new set of plugs and see what happens. New wires will be next if that doesn't solve the problem. All of this would have, likely, been solved by now if my wife and I had not decided to procreate. Our daughter's BF has a PT Cruiser. Last month, it conked out. He had it towed to a mechanic who diagnosed it as a busted timing belt, bent valves and, possible, piston damage. Cost: $3500. Good ol' Dad sez, "Lemme have a look at it." I rent a tow dolly and take it back to the Fongderosa. Upon disassembly, I find no engine damage. 2.4 MoPar engines are not "interference engines". Still, a head gasket set, new head bolts, oil, coolant, etc. sets ol' Dad back another 350 bucks. Sigh, you have to help your own. She was laid off from her job and has limited funds. Another thing that would have made it nice would have been for this car not to be a complete PITA to work on. Changing a timing belt shouldn't take 2 days. Admittedly, I don't work as well or as fast as I once did, and these late model crapmobiles are my nemeses anyway. Anyway, after a few setbacks and do overs. the crapmobile runs again. Woo Hoo. Hopefully, I can devote my time and the five bucks that I have left to getting the bike straightened out. Oh yeah, she says her Yukon needs brakes.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I have welded the outside tabs on the swing arm to prevent the twisting of the bearings, as described in an earlier post. A few coats of paint and she's back on the bike. This is the third swing arm, with one modification. Version 3.1. I have also removed the Grip Ace and replaced it with the original style switches. Of course, there was some rewiring to do. I had to cut apart the harness that I made a few months ago, pull all new wires through the bars, redo a number of connections, abandon a few circuits and so on. I hope to have it all buttoned up tomorrow. Wiring tends to confuse me, so I have to really focus my thoughts while trying to figure out what goes where. As an aside, I thought the issue that I had with the bearings twisting might have something to do with the tendency, to eat up swing arm bushings, that the BH has. There is only one mounting ear on the stock arm, on the outside. Under hard acceleration, uneven pressure is exerted on the bushing, trying to twist it in the frame. I posted my thoughts on the V8 website and the response was underwhelming, to say the least. The Philistines, there, would rather discuss light bulbs, magnets to trip red light sensors, oil and car tires than real mechanical issues that seem to plague their bikes. No problem. I will continue to improve my bike to my standards, whatever they may be.
Friday, July 20, 2012
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
I posted, earlier, about the Grip Ace system that I installed on my bike. My initial enthusiasm has waned, somewhat. I had a problem with the keypad, so I returned it to them. They repaired it and sent it back in a timely fashion. Now, it has failed again. I have considered returning it to them, and I may, to be fixed again. I will, however, not be putting it back on the bike. As my focus was always to simplify things, this adds a component that seems likely to give me further problems. Secondly, the keypad has no feel to it. The buttons are difficult to find and identify by touch and are impossible to use with gloves. So, wiser and poorer, I will relegate the Grip Ace to the Big Box O' Prototypes to rest, along side of sprockets, chains, a swing arm, several shifters and numerous bell cranks and widgets.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
Today, I rode to the Hells Angels bike show, about 30 miles from the house. All did not go as well as hoped or expected. The first problem was with the swing arm mounts. The first arm that I build had two tabs on each side that sandwiched the bearing. When I built the current one, I put tabs on the inside only. What happened was, the bearings, being spherical on the outside diameter, twisted in their housings and the entire swing arm pulled in towards the front of the bike. I will have to add tabs on the outside, like I had in the first place. Not a huge deal, but a bit of a drag. The second thing was the bike quit running about 1 mile from my in laws house. It was getting fuel, so it had to be electrical. All of the fuses were fine. Note to self, put a test light in the toolbox. I ran a hot wire from the fuse panel to the distributor and it fired up. I pulled the wire off to kill the engine and it kept running. After that it started normally, without the hot wire. Very odd. I did notice the cap was arcing, so it is probably junk. Tomorrow, I'll check things out. The only bright spot in this little fiasco was that it took about 90 seconds to pull the seat and tank. The quick release tank mounts paid for themselves. I just wish it hadn't been so soon.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
The poor running has gotten worse. The bike blows out clouds of black, gagging, acrid smoke, will barely run, will not idle at all and there is gas leaking around the front of the carb. Time to yank it off and have a look see. To me, carburetors are black magic and one must swear a holy oath to Satan in order to understand their intricacies. So, with a crucifix, some wolfbane and a tub of holy water at my side, I will jump in with both feet. After dis assembling the carb two or three times, the bike is running a bit better, but still not well enough to ride with any degree of confidence. The idle quality is pretty poor, though it runs well above idle. I'm sure it is a minor glitch. Fuel pressure is good, 5-6 pounds. The bike ran perfectly when I tore it down. Tomorrow, when I'm in town, I'll pick up a book on rebuilding and modifying Rochester carburetors and see if I can figure things out.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
After fixing, yet another, leak, this time the fitting that screws into the reserve tank, it was finally time for a ride. The brakes are still a bit spongy and the engine runs pretty lousy. I'm not sure what the issue is, but I had noticed a pretty bad misfire the last time I rode it. It did not heal itself during the time it was torn down. Could be fuel delivery, could be ignition. I suspect a vacuum leak, since it pops, quite a bit, through the exhaust on deceleration. I'll have to delve into it next week, since I'll be away from the house until Monday. Aside from the two problems, everything else seemed fine. The clutch and transmission work flawlessly. The belt tracks right down the center of both pulleys. All of the electrics work as they should. Nothing fell or flew off except my BH cap, which I retrieved on the way back home. It's too bad that Boss Hoss didn't explore the Ranger transmission. Once sorted out, it really is a splendid unit. The lack of a reverse gear is problematic for those used to the two speed Nesco. I will admit that I wish I had a way to back up rather than using my, increasingly, worn out knees. Note to self; When parking, choose wisely.
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Well, tomorrow did come, but not without some drama. I suffer from atrial fibrillation. It hits every now and then and when it does, I'm not much good for anything except laying on the couch and watching daytime courtroom drama, Jerry and Maury. I woke up this morning and knew it would be a pretty fruitless day. By noontime, I was feeling pretty good, which is uncommon, as it usually wipes me out for the entire day. Cool, time for a ride. Down to the shop, hook up my shiny new timing light and set the ignition. It settled down into that lumpy idle that really made the day a little brighter. I top off the radiator with water, I'll add coolant later. Cool, time for a ride. I see a pool starting to form under the bike. Yup, water. Lessee, oil, gas, water, gear oil and brake fluid. Three out of five fluids decide to leak. It's coming from the outlet neck. Off it comes. It has an O ring and it seems fine. I clean everything up, cut out a gasket, slap on some more RTV, button it back up and pour the water back in. Fired it up and everything stays nice and dry. I decide the radiator needs some new pads to sit on, so it's off to the BORG for some of those self adhesive rubber pads that go on the bottoms of furniture legs. By the time I get home and get everything done to my satisfaction, it's kinda late, I'm tired and there's leftover sausage and peppers from last night. In the epic battle of Food vs. Motorcycle, food wins.
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Yesterday was to be the day that I went for the first ride in a long while. The motorcycle gods were not pleased with me. I was unable to bleed the front brakes. After much pumping, disassembly, reassembly and other assorted frustrations, I finally, at the suggestion of my guru, pressure bled them. I used a standard, pump style, oil can with a short piece of hose shoved on the spout and the other end on one of the bleeders. I cracked both bleeders and bled the caliper first. Then I tightened the one without the hose and pumped until fluid appeared in the master cylinder reservoir. Repeat for the other side and, voila, we have brakes. Cool, time for a ride. Fired it up and noticed a fine spray of oil from the front of the engine. What the Sam Hill is going on now?!?! Off comes the radiator. There is no leakage from the top of the engine. I finally determine that the timing cover seal has packed it in. Off with the pulley and hub. A quick trip to the auto parts store yields the wrong seal. Rats!!! I examine the old one and there seems to be no problem with it. It fits snug on the hub and there is no wear on the hub surface. I clean everything, slather a little RTV on the outer surface and pop it back in. No leaks. Cool, time for a ride. I reassemble everything and fire it up. Clutch in, hit the shifter and it won't engage. I don't seem to be getting enough stroke to fully disengage the clutch. Off comes the bell crank and over to the drill press. I drill another hole, closer to the pivot. Reinstall and we have full clutch disengagement. It's a bit stiffer now, but still very light. Cool, time for a ride. So far, I just timed the ignition by ear. I figure, let's set it properly and be done with it. After a prolonged search, I determine that my timing light, that I've had for 30 years, is AWOL. Off to Sears to get a new one. 70 bucks later, I'm in my truck, headed home with my shiny new toy. I'm certain that I will find my old one tomorrow. When I got home, it was late, I was hungry and didn't want to play motorcycle any more. A nice plate of sausage, peppers, onions in a tomato base and a 24 ounce cool one and I'm in a much better place. Tomorrow will be a good day for a ride
Sunday, April 29, 2012
I got the system back from Grip Ace the other day. They were very helpful, answered every question and email, returned the part promptly and included the correct electronic flasher at no charge. It works just fine now. Just a few more wires to connect and a quick check of all, nuts bolts and other doo dads and I'll be ready for a shake down run, hopefully in a day or two.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Thursday, February 16, 2012
Well, almost anyway. The bike is coming together slowly. Most of the paint is done and just needs a final polishing and a bit of wax. The right side cover needs a respray. I should have it done tomorrow. It looks a bit dull in the pic, but out in the sun, it should really pop. I still have a few more wires to pull along with a few, minor, detail issues.
Friday, January 27, 2012
Yesterday was a red letter day. I fired the bike for the first time in way too long. The new fuel system seems to work fine. I had a few minor leaks (ya gotta tighten down ALL of the fittings). Once again, I have to give props to my Odyssey battery. It has sat, unused, since I tore the bike down. I put the charger on it for 20 minutes or so and it started immediately. The real bonus was the clutch. In a previous post I outlined how I redid the bell crank from the cable to the booster. I'm not sure why, but the pull on the handlebar lever decreased markedly. It now feels like a normal HD clutch. Very light and smooth. I'm stoked over it. I may play with the ratio a bit to see if I can get a little more stroke. It will increase effort at the lever, but a bit more won't be an issue. For the few clutch bikes that are still out there, I really recommend the piggy backed booster and mousetrap. It was simple to build and it works.
It's said that man's opposable thumbs and his tool making/using abilities separates him from the lower primates. I have found that I needed a few special tools to work on the bike. The first is a 9/16 inch hex key to remove the new swing arm bolts. Nobody stocks one and, online, they are too expensive for the Po' Boy. I went to the hardware store and picked up a 1/2 inch coupling nut, took it home, ran a bolt into it and welded it up. I now have a small hex drive that I can insert into the head of the bolt and put a socket or wrench on the other end. The second one is a spark plug socket that I can use to pull the plugs without dropping the headers. I just took a cheapo 5/8 deep socket, cut it down to about one inch and welded a nut on one end. It slips on the plug and, again, I can turn it with a wrench. The last one is a 1/2 inch length of 1/4 inch hex key, once again, welded to a nut. I use this to adjust my fuel pressure regulator. It is tucked up under the neck and the adjustment screw is impossible to get at with any conventional tool. I, simply, insert the key into the screw and turn it with my fingers, using the nut as a little thumb wheel.