Sunday, April 15, 2018

WOW....where did the Winter go?

So......here it is April 15th. 2018, and going into Spring.
We've been delaying our migration to Montana due to inclement weather there.
I'm still getting used to the "Retirement" thing, which means we don't HAVE to be anywhere at any given time. Every year I was required to report to work in mid March so we had numerous harrowing foul weather trips back to Montana.
My motorcycling was minimal this Winter....first a 6 week or so fight with vertigo.....then a terrible 3 week sickness that was near to pneumonia.
Between health issues we were able to spend 15 days in Hawaii with our Daughter and friends. Had a great time and truly enjoyed our time there. Friends we stayed with have been there off and on for 15 years so "knew the ropes" to the out of the way places. Rain was nearly a daily occurrence on our side of the island....but a short drive across the island (Hilo) always brought sunshine.





A few days after our return we made a quick trip to Montana to see family....and a lot of snow / cold.

Never did have the chance to refresh my sidecar rig. We plan on moving out to my Brother in Laws place in mid to late May. There I will have access to a big shop with a concrete floor. Plan on refitting the sidecar when we get out there.
Planned on heading out tomorrow AM but the forecast is for 45 - 50 MPH winds tomorrow right on our travel path.....calm for the next day so we'll delay an extra day.

Took the old /5 BMW for a couple short rides this afternoon....beautiful 80+ degree day.







Thursday, January 11, 2018

As the World Spins / Airheads Last Chance Rendezvous 2017

Went into December working on some small bike projects / maintenance / repairs.
Took a nice day ride (approx. 350 miles) on the Gold Wing on December 15th.
Went over into the Anza Borrego Desert and up into the mountains and then dropped down into Borrego Springs.


 The Coastal Fires were underway in CA. so things were a bit smokey.


 Box Canyon area below.


 Montezuma Grade dropping down into Borrego Springs CA.


 The ride took me from +100' below sea level up to 4000' then back down to 100' below sea level.


 Beautiful downtown Borrego Springs


                                                         "Round and round we go"
Strangely I awoke the next morning very light headed and dizzy. Never having experienced this I was quite perplexed.....what the heck is going on?  Had a 40 mile errand to run, so I took the bike. I was OK as long as I focused forward, but was not at all comfortable. I kept thinking the condition would go away but it got continually worse each day 24/7.  Over the next week I had to really focus to even drive the car, and turning my head side to side (as in checking the rear view mirrors) made me dizzy. Walking was a challenge at times...occasionally I carried a cane.
The Airheads Agua Caliente Campout was coming and I planned on riding the /5 BMW out there.
A couple days prior I attempted a 2 block /5 ride to the hardware store and really had problems. I could barely keep my balance and could not look to the side while moving, as I would uncontrollably veer in the direction I was looking. At that point all bikes were put away as I would likely get into BIG trouble trying to ride. Wow....this was nuts.
MD care is quite a P.I.T.A. here in Yuma. I talked to my MD's nurse in Montana and she said to get to an emergency room. Well, my Wife was a nurse, so Blood Pressure was checked / pulse rate...all was OK....not an emergency in my eyes.
After 2 weeks I finally went into the hospital emergency room since there was no improvement....literally 100 sick, coughing, hacking people in the waiting room....nurse said about 5-6 hours to be seen. So much for the ER....way more expensive anyway....and my huge deductible insurance doesn't cover much of anything.
So off to a Walk in Clinic. Another room full of very sick people and a 2 hour wait.....off to another MD which was "accepting new patients".....next available appointment, January 23rd, 4 weeks out.....finally to another close by walk in...of course they do not accept my insurance carrier, but I can get in quick with only 2 people ahead of me.....finally!
Ends up I was diagnosed a Middle Ear Infection according to the MD....a big antibiotic hypo in the ass....giant horse pills twice a day....Musinex / Flonase was the treatment. I was expecting quick recovery, but here we are 3 weeks later and still a bit shaky, but recovering pretty good.....light headedness is gone and only minor dizziness when lying down.
I feel very sorry for those who suffer from continuing Vertigo...I never realized how debilitating it could be. I could hardly function at all....no way could I go out and do much of anything...staggering around like a drunk.

Airheads Last Chance Rendezvous

So the intelligent decision was made to drive the car to the Agua Caliente Campout. We packed for 3 nights / 4 days and off we went. Had a great time, only had a couple 7 oz. beers over the entire weekend due to the antibiotics I was taking....but who needs booze to have a good time!


 The weather was the best I can remember from the 20 odd times we've gone....no wind and sunny...sunny....sunny! They had a typical turnout of probably 50 people throughout the weekend. Great food and camaraderie with old friends...and a few new ones.


 Some folks left after day 2...some new folks came in....Darian went out on a big hike with some of our friends....I stuck close to camp and minimized my "staggering" around....lol.


The next 4 weeks will be busy......2 weeks in Hawaii to visit our daughter....1 week in Montana....then likely to Death Valley ..sadly probably in the car....but I hope to trailer a bike up there. 
Due to being messed up I could not do the repairs on the sidecar I was planning. I'll attack that after we return from Death Valley if all goes well.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

RETIREMENT!.....Salton Sea / Mecca Beach Airhead Campout

WOW....November has come and gone!
Officially retired a couple weeks ago and am enjoying the concept of not returning to work.
My job for the past 16 years had become a burden and any sense of enjoyment had long since disappeared. I averaged over 600 hours overtime each season for the past 5 years....one season logged over 900 hours of overtime from April thru November. The physical toll was evident. Plus the fact that the employer left me "short handed" on most the projects I had. I actually started / completed 4 small projects with no help whatsoever last Summer. Enough was enough.....maybe they had in mind for me to give it up?...I don't know and at this point it does not matter.
 Last Winter was a "Working Winter" so I fell behind on motorcycle projects for the year.

We arrived in Arizona in early November, spending over a week traveling South. Spent a few days in SW Montana visiting friends & family....then a leisurely trek to AZ. A short taste of Winter hit Montana about a week after we left so our timing was perfect.
Upon arrival, time was spent cleaning up the Smith property in Fortuna as we were only here for a couple weeks last Winter. Darian has planted a lot of flowers and rebuilt the planting areas. Even a tomato plant!
I prepped our sidecar rig and we decided to attend the "Airheads Mecca Beach Campout" the second week of November. A nice easy ride over & back and weather was perfect. Quite a large turnout and had a great time. Saw lots of friends and made a few new ones too.


Made the obligatory stop at  Glamis CA....then to our typical Taco Shop in Calipatria CA.
['click" to enlarge images]

 Arrived at Mecca Beach mid afternoon and set up camp. Quite a few acquaintances were present.


 Weather was ideal and hardly a bit of a breeze.


 A San Diego "Adventure Riders" Group joined us this year.


 Three sidecar buddies from the Las Vegas area showed up. Two of these guys rescued us a couple years ago when I had electrical issues with the sidecar in the Vegas area.

 Lovely "EML" sidecar rig.

 Two of these rigs have the same 1978 "R100S" drive train as our sidecar.

 One downside to having a lack of wind were the swarms of gnats present this year.


"Gnat" closeup...there were literally thousands of them...cooking was a chore. We luckily completed cooking before they swarmed in. 
 We spent one afternoon over at "Bashfords Mineral Spa" and took in there Hot Springs.
Uneventful ride to and from and had no issues. Great weekend.

Honda gold Wing was way overdue for tires so finally took on that chore. 
Initially didn't order new tubes but after installing rear tire with old tube, had a "no go" tube, leaked.
So I ordered new tubes, (which I should have in the first place) and finished up when the tubes arrived. Purchased some expensive Michelin Tubes but they are at least 3 times heavier than the crap tubes which were on the rims. 

 Fighting the rear tire off / on was a struggle.....times two since i had to remove it again and install another tube. Called a local small bike shop but he wanted $48.00 per tire to mount with me bringing in the wheels. With tax over $100.00., so I forged ahead and performed the changes with my hand tools. Luckily I have quite a selection of different tire irons to do the job.


Changed the oil & filter while I was at it. Today I accessed the Weber Carb and installed a choke wire to manually apply the choke. Have ran it for the past 4 years with no choke, but didn't really need it. Carb has an accelerator pump so twisting the throttle enriches the carb for cold starts, but it take a bit of  "cranking" to pressure fuel up with the fuel pump. Choke application seems to speed up the process when cold. I noticed the air filter element appears poor....so ordered two replacement elements. Filter element appeared to be overly "porous" upon inspection.


 Brought the R75/5 out and performed maintenance on it. The oil filter tube had a "fouled" bolt end thread, which resulted in the tube threading out of the engine block each time I went to remove the filter.  Finally found a replacement tube on EBay last Summer so swapped it out.
Also changed all the gear lube reservoirs re: transmission / driveline / final drive.
Front brake is not functioning as well as it should so pulled it apart to clean / lube parts there. Still seems to be "dragging" a bit. Will require further attention.



Took the /5 out for a little ride after servicing. Mounted a tank bag which I received from my Brother. I've never had a "strap on" tank bag which I really liked, but this one is great. A bit more of a hassle when refueling  but very secure. High quality, hand made tank bag that my Brother used lightly.

 Harvesting in progress at some areas. Very green in the irrigated Dome Valley.


Still have a list of "major" projects for the sidecar but will take them on in due time!


Christmas Season in the Dome Valley.


Sunday, October 22, 2017

Vintage Derale Oil Cooler

Work is finally completed for the season. Will be heading South this coming week. Looks like we'll have good weather for the trip for a change. Typically we are racing snow storms heading South.
Have a large list of repairs to do this Winter.
Finally found a vintage aftermarket "Derale" oil cooler which hopefully will fit the sidecar rig.
Cooler was listed for $80.00 + shipping on EBay....no takers and it continually dropped in price until it was offered for $30.00 Total, shipping included. Couldn't pass that deal up.
UPDATE: After some research I found  some facts concerning this particular cooler set up. The design led to some failed engines and were known "in the day" to be a piece of crap. Tom Cutter stated that many people who installed this cooler soon became "pedestrians"....lol...$30.00 "down the drain" I guess. Won't be installing it. 
I'm glad I reached out for others experiences prior to using this.


 Been running the side hack with only the "Brielle" oil pan cooler. It's cooling effectiveness is marginal at best. Plus it has developed leaks around the gaskets. I'll renew both gaskets this winter while I have the bike pulled apart.






Still "on the fence" as to whether I'll install the newly rebuilt 5 speed or the newly rebuilt 4 speed on the sidecar. The 4 speed is a bit more robust, but I do like the 5 speed for the extra gear range. Bob C. at "Bob's Motorwerks" rebuilt both transmissions and found serious issues with the 4 speed. It now has all new bushings, bearings and springs, plus other parts. It had evidence of getting pretty hot at some point due to a poorly adjusted shift fork. Bob was confident of it's rebuilt condition though.
I'll have the rig torn "down to the bones" for a week or more. Hoping to do some long range rides next season so will address any issues / upgrades I can think of. 
Due for a couple of tires on the side car and the Gold Wing....my Wife hates the word "tire"....as it always seems to be a topic with me.....lol

The old Gold Wing has developed an issue....either starter or solenoid. I know the 8+ year old battery is shot so will replace that first. 

The Slash 5 will get a "newer" pair of later model carbs which I obtained. I will need to tear them down for a rebuild likely, although they appear to be ready to go. I'll go through them anyway....one of them has a different float bowl on it with dual independent floats.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

BMW Transmission rebuilds update / Beartooth & Yellowstone Park


Appears that Bob @ "Bobs Motorwerkes" has completed the 1974 five speed rebuild. He found that the transmission was a VERY early manufactured unit. Shimming limits were found due to the case design....available shims either left the gear train sloppy...or too tight. Bob called and had a simple solution....double gasket on the rear cover. This will allow the use of available shims and leave enough end play. He said in all the hundreds of transmissions he has rebuilt, he had never ran into this situation. He did not like the "double gasket" solution but short of changing the rear cover, it was the only option he could come up with. I told him to continue with that scenario. Over all the transmission was in very good condition. He changed all springs, and all the bearings showed no wear / issues, so they will be reused. 
The 4 speed, which I thought would be an easy rebuild was another matter.... all the bushings were worn out, bearings not much better. Also someone had forced a reassembly in the past and "galled" a shaft....also, the rear output seal was installed backwards. So, the cost of this rebuild will be higher than I hoped. All new bushings, bearings and springs, plus machine work on the galled shaft. But the bottom line is that it will be a reliable unit for the sidecar, and I'm looking forward to tearing down the sidecar this Winter for a refit.
On the slate: Oil pan leak needs to be addressed.....push rod tube/ seal replacement  (seal retainers are loose on tubes, causing leaks) .....change out rear swing arm to a "cush" unit I have....change out transmission......maybe even touch up some of the sidecar frame paint......lol


Didn't get many miles on the BMW's this Summer. My old /5 is suffering from Carb. issues so I bought a pair of newer model (1973/ 74) carbs to rehab this Winter. The early Code /3 /4 Bing Carbs had inherent design issues.

Did have a nice day ride through Yellowstone Park via the Beartooth Highway on the old Gold wing. It performed flawlessly as usual. Took advantage of the 320 mile fuel range.

                    A group of mountain goats at the West Summit of the Beartooth Pass.

                 Wonderful weather for most of the day.....but pretty smokey in the lower elevations.

                                                              Pilot / Index Peaks

                                              The "Devils Slide" outside Livingston MT.

                  Heading into some rain....waiting it out a bit and got a little wet anyway.


Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Time for a Sidecar Re-Fit

I'm seriously considering retiring from the working world this Fall so with that in mind will be planning some serious sidecar trips with my Wife. Our last "long" trip (in the only 800 - 1000 mile range) was to Death Valley in 2016. That trip brought forth possible transmission issues when a serious noise developed when I ran the bike hard, overheating the transmission. I change gear lube quite often and am finding metal "flakes" starting to show up on the magnet. So, the transmissions' service life is coming to an end. Rather than remove / rebuild that transmission I decided to have a couple of spare tranny's I had rebuilt for the swap. Both the transmissions came from "derelict" bikes so I have no clue of their condition. Both bikes (I was told) were in running condition before my acquisition. One with the 4 speed was a crash victim, the 5 speed bike had an engine issue. No way was I going to install either of them without inspection / rebuilding. Only want to install once!

 
Near "As New" input splines:
 
 

I had this clean 1972 R75/5 Transmission stored away and have decided to install it behind the R100S sidecar engine. Bob Clement, owner of Bob's Motorwerks, is in the process of rebuilding it and also a spare 1974 Five Speed I had sitting. The 74 five speed transmission has the kick start. That is the same model transmission I'm using in the sidecar now. The 4 speed is a more "robust" design and Bob recommends it for the sidecar.

                                           Bob Clement with his Gold Wing sidecar



I'm currently running a 32/10 final drive with the 5 speed, but that might be a bit high geared for the 4 speed. I also have a 37/11 final drive which is one range lower geared so can swap if wanted.

I've noticed that my rear wheel appears to have a bit of a left "lean" so think the swing arm is probably "tweaked" a bit. Tire wear is normal, handling is not affected so I haven't bothered to do anything about it. Since I'm changing out the transmission, I'll swap out the swing arm with a heavier, later model LWB one I have.

Lastly, I may pick up a pair of matched replacement pistons / cylinders (currently on EBay) to have on hand if needed. The cylinder heads were redone, with new valves / seats / guides a few years ago so should be good for a while yet. I do have a loose pushrod tube on a left cylinder, although it is not leaking, the pushrod tube seal collar is loose and doesn't properly compress the seal to the engine block. I put a couple of hose clamps on the tube collar a couple years ago as a stop gap fix.

So this Winter I will separate the sidecar and go over (at least) the following....Transmission change, inspect clutch (only a couple years old / maybe 10,000 miles on it), change out swing arm, check and /or replace swing arm bearings, possibly swap out Final Drive, reseal oil pan & cooler which have been leaking, replace pushrod tube seals, new tires, and  go over all ignition system components.

As the bike sits now, I would not take off on a multi thousand mile trip as I know the Transmission is tired. Although it still works fine and shifts well, I know its' days are numbered.

Bob works quickly so should have transmissions back in a week or two. His fees are reasonable:
$350.00 Labor + parts for the 5 speed and  $450.00 Labor + parts for the 4 speed. So, barring any major parts needs, I should have both redone for under $1200.00, which I think is reasonable.

                                          Old bike line up in Bob's Shop a few years ago:

 
A couple years after the previous photo
 
 
Bob used to have a yearly "Solstice Party" at his shop.
 
You never knew what might come roaring in on the gravel road:
 

 
Bob performed some restoration work a few years ago on this WW2 Era BMW R75
He said it was the best sidecar rig he has ever ridden.
 
 
Mountain view from Bob's place:
 
 
Bob's Motorwerks - Roberts Montana
 
 
 





Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.