30 June 2008

Sunday Ride

I'm workin' up to Part 2 of G's Amazing Tales of Service Work Derring-do (Part 1 here), but I ain't all the way awake yet. Might not even get to it today. Just so you know both our bikes are fine, here's a shot, taken yesterday by our friend Bev the fiddle player, of me'n Mrs. G ready to leave Squaw Valley after listening to some Celtic music and stuffing face.

Note the smoke in the air. There's 800-1000 fires burning in California from Big Sur to Crescent City, hundreds of miles from us, but the smoke and ash take I-80 to go east through the Sierra like everyone else. It's been this way for a week, and yesterday was not the worst by far. Compared to earlier in the week, it's just about cleared up.

Click to embiggen

28 June 2008

Moto Tux

Our bud Badtux, The Wrenchin' Penguin, has branched out. He's started Moto Tux to separate his political and mechanical sides. To his everlasting credit, he'll tell us when things go wrong with the same panache as when things go right.

All you gearheads go check him out, if for no other reason than to keep from making the same mistakes yerselves.

After that crack I must go now and sandbag my roof as I expect a shower of Acme medium-range missiles from his direction presently...

27 June 2008

How to diagnose an electrical problem by adjusting the clutch

The other day, Mrs. G told me that her Blast, which she has named "Buellah", heh, was making a pretty loud clunk when she'd put it in first gear while stopped. I tried it. It was loud all right, made my nutsack ascend vertically at high Δ acceleration until it banged into the stops at the thought of what was going on in the cog closet that if left uncorrected would make a lot of expensive work for me later on. I decided to adjust the clutch and see if that helped, so I set the sled up on the service stand I bought just for this bike and turned to. There's no flat surface on the bottom of the bike, so setting it on a milk crate is out of the question.The stand is absolutely essential to work on this thing and is turning out to be worth its weight in gold.

Just a note about the saddlebags. These are model-specific. There's really no place to attach brackets, so these are 'throw-overs', held in place by the seat and an array of nylon straps. The designer was either pretty clever or got the idea at a leather bar.

Click to emHUGEn

The clutch adjuster cover plate is behind the front part of the Y-shaped footpeg bracket, so that's the first part that has to come off. No way around it. Let the games begin...

I said in the post linked to above that there are two fasteners holding this thing on. There are three. After pulling off the seat and battery and moving a plethora of wires and hoses out of the way, the first two locknuts came off pretty easy after a little monkey-motion figuring out what combination of tools to use. The third one was a bitch. I think I had every ratchet, u-joint, extension, wobbler, end wrench, pitchfork, whatever was in my toolbox that I thought might work, laid out before I hit on the answer, which of course was the most time-consuming and inconvenient one of all and the one I was trying to avoid.

A breaker bar and a 12-point socket. Sigh. I like to use six-point sockets because there isn't as much chance of damaging the nut, but the breaker bar didn't have enough travel. It was turn the handle a little, reposition the socket on the nut, turn the handle a little, and so on and so on. Notice all the crap I had to move out of the way to get what little wrench clearance I got. Notice the drilled-off pop rivet that held the system relay on. I pop riveted it back on this time, but next time a nutsert is going in. There are wires and hoses down in the hole as well that had to be manipulated each time I repositioned the socket.

It was a mite tedious but eventually I got the bracket off.

I know all you wrenches are snortin' "Dummy! Why dintcha use an air ratchet?" I tried. My 3/8-drive air ratchet lacked 1/32nd of an inch in every direction of fitting in there. Grrr. A 1/4" air ratchet from the Cheap Chinese Tool Co. is heading towards me on The Big Brown Truck as we speak.

After a coupla hours of screwing around, which included smoke and cold drink breaks and plenty of throwing tennis balls for my pup Tami, this is where I was at:

A few minutes of scratchin' my head tryin' to remember why I took this piece off...

The clutch adjustment took about five minutes.

Reassembly of the footpeg bracket was the reverse of the above, but it went a lot quicker because I had the procedure figured out. Buttoned the sled up and tried the first gear shift. The adjustment had worked, just a nice 'snack' sound, pretty normal for a new bike.

Total cost for the job was about a long gone 50¢ for cable ties and a pop rivet which I always have in stock. I didn't replace the clutch adjuster cover gasket because it was in good shape and I'm saving my new one for the first regular service. I know what me'n Gascacinch can get away with.

All in all, not too bad for my very first time working on this bike. I topped out the learning curve for this procedure, which has to be done fairly often just in the general course of maintenance. It's just like racin' - first you learn the track, then you go for lap time.

Time to go for a test ride.

But wait, you say, what electrical problem did you diagnose?

Well, before you can diagnose an electrical problem, there has to be one.

I decided to go to the post office, a mile away, and pick up the mail. I didn't make it.


26 June 2008

A New Meaning For Hot Foot

Steam powered cars were fairly popular at the beginning of the last century and were very fast for their day, the Land Speed record for a steam powered car still stands from 1906!
128 miles an hour.
Fantastically fast for the day.
That record could soon come crashing down if a certain British team has their way.
They are set to try and top 200 MPH in August.

More info at the Times Online. There is a slide show link for more pictures too.

Originally found at Fark.com

Pretty cool.

20 June 2008

Limey Day ...

Every so often, we get 'days'. Last week we had a 'Pickup Day'. Mostly everything in the lot were full size pickups. Today was 'Limey Day'; nothing but British cars. I had a couple Jags, a Mini, and to cap it off, Nunzio brings up this '71 Triumph TR-4 for a safety inspection.

Nunzio (l) and Harry (r)

Click pics to embiggen. Cell phone pics; sorry about the quality.

17 June 2008

Hey OPEC, Seen This Yet?

Custom Made Oil.

Made with genetically altered microbes;

LS9 DesignerBiofuels™ products are a family of fuels produced by specially-engineered microbes created via industrial synthetic biology. Starting from raw, natural sources of sugar such as sugar cane and cellulosic biomass, these renewable fuels will fundamentally change the biofuels landscape and set the stage for widespread product adoption and petroleum displacement. LS9 hydrocarbon biofuels have higher energetic content than ethanol or butanol and have fuel properties that are essentially indistinguishable from those of gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel.

It's a reality.
It is nowhere near ready to be produced in the astronomical amounts the world uses every day, but it is real and it is coming.
It may help with peak oil, but we still need to get it together and find alternative ways to power our insatiable use of energy.

I am still amazed.

15 June 2008

"Untainted by Technology"

I haven't put up much about my new bike. I been too busy ridin' the sonofabitch. My choices are to:

A) Piss Fixer off by using all his bandwidth
B) Post everything I want to on this sled, or my favorite
C) All of the above

It might be down for a day or so pretty soon as I intend to install the right side shift conversion at the 500 mile service. In the meantime, us old farts with Royal Enfields are pretty much interchangeable, so enjoy this video. His bike is newer than mine and has quite a few detail differences, but it's pretty close.

The gent makes one little mistake - he says the rear wheel is turning because the clutch is dragging. It's turning because the rear wheel is off the ground with the clutch engaged. This is entirely normal and just means that the rotation of the crankshaft is passing through the gearbox to the rear wheel without much resistance. That's a good thing. The rear wheel will stop turning without any change in engine note once he rolls it off the center stand.

I think from his license plate that he's in New Jersey, but I could be wrong about that.

Thank you, glssgrg.

14 June 2008

Escape clause ...

So, I've had my Escape a year now and put a little over 12K on it. In my book, and the Mrs' (she got hers - the black one - in November) they're great little cars. They hold enough crap, are extremely comfortable, and get decent mileage (20 - 23 mpg with the 3.0L V-6, the four cylinder and hybrid get better, so do the 2WD models). One of the great things is the 'fold-flat' seats. Shayna loves them because she has a flat, level floor to walk around on when we take her places.

Another good thing is the SIRIUS satellite radio that Ford throws in for the first year. I've already renewed the subscription for 2 more years and it will be a must in the next car as well.

Power from the 4-valve V-6 is more than ample (200 hp) and getting up to highway speed is easy. I don't miss the V-8 Explorer in that regard nor do I miss parking the bigger car. The Escape fits anywhere a car would.

They are also very sure-footed. I've taken mine on road calls in axle-deep snow and mud and door-deep flooding and it ran like a champ. Mrs. F was also impressed how well it fares in inclement weather. In my book, no car is worth what they're asking for them but by today's standards, the Escape is a good value for the money.


And just to add, the Mrs. has the leather interior in hers while I have the cloth (easier to clean) in mine. Both have held up well and the leather is easier to clean than I thought.

07 June 2008

Out Of The Crate 200 cc Enduro, $1500

Hard to believe but here it is, brand spankin' new,

I did get a chuckle right off the getgo, they call 'em "Dual Purpose" now.
My Dad raced a Yamaha 250 back in the seventies and after he sold it twenty five years later, found one just like it and fixed it so it looked brand new.
I'll be damned if they didn't call 'em Enduro's back in the day.

Anyway,There it is, Made In China, of course, but shipped to your door for fifteen hundred bucks, some assembly required.
Not much, the handle bars and controls, front wheel and fender, a few other little things.
They say you can be riding it in a little over an hour.
Comes with a warranty no less and a piece of paper with enough digits to let you get a title and license it.
75 miles to the gallon, disc brakes on both ends.
It ain't a bad looking little critter.
As long as ya didn't go out and thrash on it like I would, it sounds like a hell of a deal. Parts may be a bit of a problem getting to in a hurry though.

Here is the link,The Roketa 200.

H/T to Possum Living for the homework on this.

05 June 2008


Mrs. G wants me to get one of these. She says I'll stay home more, get in less trouble, and live longer. Only things I wanta know are does it go 'vroomvroom' or do I have to do it like usual, and where d'ya put the quarters in? The swing set is starting to get boring.

She lets me ride this one while she's shopping:

03 June 2008

Where I work* ...

It was hotrod day at the shop. My Escape looks way out of place next to Indian's '23 T and a customer's '67 Chevelle convertible.

And Sam's got a new pup! His name is Chuck.

Click pics to embiggen. Again, sorry about the quality but I took 'em with my cell.

*Part of an ongoing, semi-regular series.