Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Yuma AZ.- Gold Wings - Suzukis and Williams Wrenches

We are thankful to be in Arizona for the Winter months again. We miss Family in montana but we don't miss the cold weather. We'll be driving to Las Vegas to catch a plane to MT. for Christmas later in the week....then we have the annual Airhead Beemers Club "Last Chance Rendezvous" in the Anza Borrego Desert over New Years.
So far we've had a great wind down here in AZ. I brought down an old dead Suzuki GS850G with me from MT. Took me all of about an hour to get it into running order, then a couple days cleaning and fine tuning things before I listed it for sale. It sold within a week for $900.00.
This old 1980 honda GL 1100 Gold Wing belongs to an aquaintance here in the Foothills. Kind of a "Mad Max" looking thing in its' present state. All the brake system is toast so I'm rebuilding everything....master cylinders and all calipers. ....good practice in case I ever need to rebuild my own.
Installed a new rear tire on my Gold wing the other day. Planned on farming out the installation but the local shops want from $70.00 - $80.00 to change a tire. Can't bring myself to pay someone to do it when I can do it myself....but tire changing sucks!
My Wing has an issue with "popping" through the exhaust when idling and decellerating. Can't seem to pin point what the problen is. Performed a compression check today and all is well...140 psi - 145 psi on all cylinders. Changed plugs....checked the "Air Valve" which is a gold wing item I've never heard of before. Checked valve settings...checked for intake leaks...all that's left is timing and carb settings. hopefully I can figure it out before too long.
The 1979 Suzuki GS850G. Actually a pretty decent old bike. Only showed 18k miles. I picked it up in Billings real cheap last October as a non running derelict.

Went to a Flea Market a couple weeks ago.....saw this old set of "Williams" wrenches which were a fine looking set of vintage  tools. I knew they had to be something special so offered $5.50 for them as the sticker said $6.00. Got them home and after some research found that they were the same serial numbers / sizes specified for WW2 Jeep Tool kits. Pretty hard to find in this condition and as an original set. From a mechanics point of view, the wrenches are fat and cumbersome, I wouldn't care to use them. Put them on EBay and a new proud owner paid $80.00 for them to add to his WW2 collection. I need to find more old screaming deals like this!

We've had a couple of storms in the past week....in fact it's raining out as I post this. We usually get 3 - 4 rain storms each Winter....this is number 2 so we're half way there for the season.
The mountain view from my roof top "sun deck" this evening.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Suzuki GS850G

I picked up this 1979 Suzuki GS850G in montana a couple months ago for a project to turn over.
She's been dormant for a while so didn't get to hear it run. Therefore I bought it pretty cheap.
We arrived in Yuma, AZ. on Friday so today I got around to messing with it. The electric starter didn't work, but I found a bad fuse so after replacement the starter worked. added some gas, and gave it a small snort of starting fluid and she fired right up, but didn't want to keep running. This model Suzuki utilizes a vacuum operated petcock so I found that a vacuum leak was causing a loss of vacuum to the petcock, therefore no fuel was passing to the carbs.

I deceided to pull the carbs and found everything nice and clean. Fixed the obvious vacuum leaks and she fired up and ran / idled like it should.
Took it for a quick ride up the block and it ran very well. Still have some vacuum leak issues at the manifolds so will address them, then clean the bike up better. She'll need a little attention in some other areas but nothing major I can see at this point. Got lucky considering I didn't know if it would even run.

Monday 11/26/12
Installed clamps on the intake manifold boots and that took care of the vacuum loss....a previous owner failed to install clamps when the carbs were removed, it appears. I drove the bike a few miles today and it seems to run quite well. The mufflers appear to have been swapped from another donor. The hangers are home made and the mounting clips appear to be in the wrong place.(?) Probably had some bad mufflers and someone changed then at some point.
Also spent a little time working on the old Goldwing today....checked valve clearances, changed the oil & filter. Drove it a few miles over the course of the day.
Nice to be in Sunny AZ.....Winter is approaching up North.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


We all are faced with trials and tribulations at some point in our lives. The magnitude , of course, varies from soul to soul and some folks' trials pale in comparison to others. It all depends on ones' point of view and attitude.
My Mother faced numerous cancer issues throughout her life, she lost her twin brother and also young children. But throughout all her life she took these trials head on and never lost faith. She forever was worried about everyone around her and never once was concerned about herself. She simply soldiered on without looking back. I've tried to learn from her example, though I will never live up to it.
We are currently facing some life changing health issues in our immediate household. We kind of have to laugh it off and tell ourselves that "Now it's time to pay for all the healthy years we've been blessed with".  As serious as these issues are, we look around us and see others with much more dire situations. So, there again, it depends on ones' point of view and attitude. Just have to take things on one day at a time and one step at a time. Don't ask "why us?" but be thankful for what we have and what is ahead. I don't mean this in the material aspect, but rather in the spiritual aspect. Life has been good to us. We just now have a few "bumps in the road" to contend with. No matter how tough ones' situation becomes, others can be envious.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Honda Goldwing: 550 miles in 14 hours

I decided to make a two day weekend run into Yellowstone Nat. Park and the Cooke City area on Sat. / Sunday. I packed minimal gear including camping gear. I was up before sunrise and hit the road around 6:00 AM. The forecast was perfect and this was a great choice for a weekend ride.
The photo below is near the East Summit on the Beartooth Highway.

The always stunning view of Pilot and Index Peaks. Cooke City is directly behind the twin peaks. The old Goldwing developed a slight "pop" under deceleration from one of the right cylinders....not much I could do while on the road as I didn't really want to perform a valve adjustment on the shoulder of the highway.
I ran right through Cooke City and only stopped for gas. The highways leading in / out have been rebuilt over the past few years. A lot of shoulder timber was cleared so no more of the surprise deer "jumpouts" into the road like I experienced years back. I had a number of very close calls with deer over the years in this area.
I entered the Park at the Northeast Entrance near Silver Gate MT. $20.00 entrance fee for a motorcycle. you'd think it would be cheaper due to lower impact on roadways, etc...but no such luck.
Photo below was near Tower Falls. Quite a lot of tourist traffic this weekend, as usual....

I didn't really have a planned route and started off towards Cody Wyoming along Yellowstone Lake. Decided to back track and head over towards West Yellowstone MT. instead.

Another shot up on the Beartooth highway. People were skiing there recently. The snow is vanishing quickly now.

Yellowstone Lake near West Thumb.

I stopped in West Yellowstone for a quick lunch and then decided to head over towards Bozeman. Next thing I know it is 5:00 PM and home is only 3 hours away.
Got over to Big Timber and decided to check out a campground but it didn't look very appealing. I decided to head on to Billings and home.
I have been suffering from some sort of arthritus lately and was having serious neck and shoulder pain on the right side for the last few hours. Made it home just before dark and racked up 550 miles during the day.
I awoke at 1:30 AM with a blinding pain in my left shoulder. No more sleep during the night and I struggled with the blinding pain all day. By 4:00 PM I was a serious basket case and had my wife run me to the emergency room. After two  injections of Demerol and some other major pain medication injection I finally was able to maintain my composure again. They hooked an I.V. up and ran EKG tests to make sure I wasn't having a heart attack.
Spent about 4 hours in the hospital and they let me go home. I guess I'll need to minimize my "Banzaii" road trips as I cannot physically handle those kind of hours on the road anymore. I've been experiencing serious joint / pain issues over the past year but have never gone to an MD before.  I've broken a few bones over the years, suffered 3rd. degree burns and have had too many wounds stitched up to count....but this joint pain issue is the most painful malady I've ever encountered.
I need to rethink my ways and work towards more moderation in my activities from now on.
This is the first time I've been faced with physical limitations in my life....sucks getting older but I just need to be smarter with my choices.....
After a few more similar episodes this Summer and a couple MD visits I finally was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis....at least I now know WTF is going on.

Monday, June 4, 2012

"Gered & Dodique" of the Gremlins

My Brother "Eli' has been musically inclined all his life and was involved in numerous bands over his years. Back in 1968 he and a college buddy put together a single 45 record on the "National" recording label. I no longer have any of my old records but found that their recording has resurfaced on a web site and has "come back from the dead" after all these years. The obscure recording is listed on the "Garage Hangover" web site:


I see an original copy on EBay for $50.00. I visited with my brother tonight and he has a couple dozen 45's stashed somewhere.....he said we'll list them on EBay when they hit $500.00 each...LOL

Gered & dodique also wrote a theme song for a Montana Childrens TV Program, which I remember well as a kid....

"Happy Herb" McCallister has been searching for the dynamic musical duo for a few years so I hooked him up with brother Eli.

Pretty cool to see their music resurface and find its' way to the internet.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Not so Naked Goldwing?

After some research I came up with a set of soft saddle bags for the Goldwing. Definately not a "top of the line" set, but I've had a couple other Nelson-Rigg Products and they are functional and a decent value. This set is easily removed and mates up to a Nelson-Rigg trunk which we use on the sidecar. Typically these run $169.00 + Shipping. Found a set on EBay for $128.00 with free shipping so I'm happy with that buy. They have "stiffeners" to hold their shape and rain covers in case of foul weather.

I could also mount them from under the seat but they would take more effort to remove so I'll leave them mounted high for now. The tank rack allows my magnetic tank bag to stay put as the tank side shelter panels are fiber glass. Can't say I really love the rack on the tank but it is functional and will allow any of my tank bags to sit on top.

The bike had a pair of engine guards in a box so I went ahead and mounted them. They will give me a place to place my feet on if I want.
The fuel gauge and temperature gauge were intermittantly functioning so I cleaned all connections and got them to work ....for a while. After some research I found that the gauges run off of a 7 volt regulator which is often prone to failure. When it malfunctions, both gauges will quit working. Gauges showing a "pegged out" reading relates to a full 12 volts getting to the gauges, 12 volts reaching the gauges will eventually cook them......a "bottomed out" reading means an open circut. Mine were "bottoming out" so must have had an (sometimes) open circut.
I priced used 7 volt regulators on EBay for $25.00 + shipping...Honda wanted over $100.00 + for theirs. I found another unit being built by an electronic savvy Goldwing rider for $35.00. Installed the new one and the gauges immediately began working as they should.

I'll need to get a new rear tire installed before any serious riding in the Spring. I'd like to do a weekend ride in Montana this Spring....maybe over the Beartooth Mountains?...We'll see if I can talk my wife into riding two up. She doesn't have much interest in that scenario but I'll keep working on her.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Hack'in Brian's GoldWing

A buddy of mine picked up a hell of a deal on this old sidecar a couple weeks ago. Very nice rig and a high quality built chair. Nice interior and pretty heavy frame. He got it very cheap by being the first in line on a Craigslist ad. He got lucky!

The seller included some good quality attachment goodies and a hydraulic steering damper and mounts. Brian contacted Jay @ DMC sidecars and bought some Vetter lower mounts and two generic upper frame mounts.

The lower rear mount went on easily and bolted right into place....the upper rear mount was attached low at first, but I didn't feel the attachment was good due to the proximity of the fuel tank....if the mount was to rotate it would contact the tank. We moved the mount up, just below the seat on the main frame. This location also gave it a better geometry.
The front upper mount went on in the only place it could go, due to the fairing mounts, etc.
The front lower mount gave us some grief. Vetter's intention was to install a longer engine mounting bolt and attach to that. We ran into a totally rusted solid bolt in place since the bike's birth no doubt. Heating, beating, cussing did no good.....reanalyzing theat attachment showed that the mount would also hit the exhaust header and would have required denting in the header for clearance....not a good option....we ended up modifying the lower mounting plate and cutting sections off for clearance. Also drilled additional holes for an additional clamp. With some tweaking and enginuity we got it into place.

The steering damper mounting plate had to be moved to clear the upper front strut but all went together well. The steering damper is a nice unit and looks as new.
Getting the geometry set took a few hours. The cylinder heads position limited the amount of rotation for the front lower mount but we finally got it into an acceptable location.
The wiring caused me a little grief but we got everything wired in and working. tomorrow we'll install a pair of turn signals on the hack fender.

The bike seems to track well and the DMC supplied mounts gave us nearly everything we needed....with a little creativity. Brian's passenger needs to figure out which way is which?

I love the "boat tail" configuration of the side car. This side car is a perfect mate for the goldwing with its' wide stance.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Last Leg of Death Valley Ride

Gosh, with all the excitement of picking up the "new" old Honda Goldwing, I forgot to finish up the ride report from the last day home from Death Valley.
We ended up in San Clemente Ca. and toyed with going up and over the 74 to Lake Elsinore but that would have been a very long day. We ended up going down I-5 to Oceanside then East to highway 76 to Julian.
We woke up to pretty heavy fog or "marine layer" as they call it on the coast. By 9:00 AM the fog was lessening and visibility was over 1/2 mile so we were good to go.
We made a stop near Bonsall and then headed towards Julian.

Man....we got a lot of crap loaded on the bike....

took a quick break near Pala Ca. A lot of Indian Casinos up in that country now. The ride was beautiful and I had to shed a layer as it got warmer going inland.

Stopped in Julian for expensive gas then crawled down Highway 78 and the Banner Grade towards the desert. The temperature went up as we went down.... the Banner Grade is a steep 10%+ grade with 10 - 15 mph warning on the multitude of corners and switchbacks. Not a real fast road for the loaded sidecar. On our desent we did not encounter one vehicle coming up from behind and I took my time going down, taking in all the beautiful scenery. A great ride down into the desert.

I love this section of the desert. We ran towards Octotilla Wells on Highway 78. A great straight section....a couple of crotch rocket bikes came by while we were stopped....they must have been at 100 mph + as they screamed by heading into the desert.

Looking back up the 78 towards Banner Grade.

Break spot:

The terrain gets rocky heading down deeper into the desert.

The navigators view:

I've always wondered where the "Iron Door" was located....and we finally found it.....nothing like a cold beer and a frozen / micro wave corn dog for lunch!

The "Iron Door" was always an "Airhead" watering hole back in the days......now it's also a official "Clamper" Watering Hole too. Leaving there, we headed into Brawley Ca., then the back road through Glamis and then Ogelby Road to I-8...then Yuma.

This was one of those days when it was good to get home, but I didn't want the ride to end.....Time to plan the next ride before we head north for the Spring.....kinda thinking about the Central AZ. mountains...?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Wing - A - Ding....A Naked Thing!

I've always been intrigued by the older "naked" Honda Goldwings. I remember drooling over one back in the early 80's. I never looked too hard for one since I've been somewhat of a "BMW Guy" for the past 20 years.
Well recently the planets aligned and next thing I know I have this sitting in my yard. A 1977 GL1000 Gold Wing. From what I can figure it started the 21st. Century as a forgotten derelict. A new owner bought it and brought it back to life from the frame up.

The 2nd. owner who refurbished it kept logs on all work and repairs, which included a fresh 1978 model engine about 12000 miles ago. One log book recorded every fuel fill up and the MPG attained.
The major rebuild was completed in 2007 and only 14k miles have been run up since.

Jardine Headers were installed, new Progressive suspension front & rear, new paint. Also new cam belts and carb synchronization 1600 miles ago. The Progressive Springs are pretty stiff so it isn't an "air ride" but is positive in the corners.

We picked the bike up in Lake Havasu Az. and I couldn't help but ride it the 160 miles back to our place. The bike performed flawlessly and has more torque / power than anything I've ever ridden. I filled it up after arriving home and pulled off 45 MPG at 55 - 70 MPH. Had a lot of traffic and construction on the 2 lane so couldn't really stretch her legs. One open stretch brought me up to 85 MPH with hardly a twist of the wrist.

The only problem I've found is a non-functioning fuel gauge so I'll be sorting that out in the future. My biggest complaint is the high handle bars. After 20 years on BMW's I'm more attuned to a more forward riding position. Unfortunately the control wiring is threaded into the handlebars so bar swapping will be a major pain in the ass. I adjusted them back so now they don't feel like frikken "ape hangers".....but still sort of look like them.

It is a fairly heavy machine but due to the low center of gravity the weight doesn't really reflect.

Some of the engine clear coat has shed from the valve covers and cam covers....maybe I'll strip it off to raw metal....but likely I'll just leave it be. Asthetics aren't my top priority.

Included were a stack of books, shop manuals, records, plus spare parts: Rear rack, crash bars, floor boards, the stock seat, new brake pads and a bunch of other small items.

Realistically I got this bike for a possible future sidecar tug. The water cooled engine is a good candidate for sidecar duty. That might be in its' future but for now, it will be a solo road cruiser.

My wife hasn't been too keen on riding pilion for the past years so I threw on a windscreen and back rest. The bike came with a luggage rack so it was installed and attached a backrest for her sake. We ran 20 miles on the Interstate but she still isn't too thrilled about riding on the back of a bike. I removed the backrest after the ride but left the rack mounted as I will use it. At some point I'll find some soft saddle bags for storage. I had an extra set of windscreen mounts so I'll leave them on the bike so I can swap the windscreen between the sidecar and the Goldwing. The windscreen really is great on the highway.
We rode over Telegraph Pass right outside our door and encountered real high winds coming back. The heavy bike was very stable in the high winds. More stable than any bike I've ever ridden.

I am very impressed with this machine as a highway cruiser. Very effortless to ride.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Death Valley and Beyond - BMW Airhead Sidecar Tour

Pacific Coast - Tire and (almost) Tears....

We found a nice little motel with a view....
In the morning we pulled out and checked out one on the big rocks there at Morro Bay.

The sliding hood on the sidecar wasn't closing properly and has been tough to get closed lately...I didn't realize that the lock nuts had come loose on a mount....
Attempting to close it, Darian pulled with all her might when my fingers were under the deck. The result was my fingers getting caught in the lid, gashing two fingers top and bottom. My left index finger was laid wide open....We found a drug store and stocked up on bandages. Should have had a few stitches in it but no way were we going to deal with that....Since I seriously cut two fingers on my right hand last week...I now had 6 different injuries to my fingers. ....had to man up and just deal with it! At least I could still get my gloves on and the constant (painful) movement while riding kept them from stiffening up.
Heading south we headed towards Malibu and LA..... Traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway wasn't too bad at all...

During a break we visited with a couple on Harleys and they took this photo for us...me and my bandaged fingers....lol.

We arrived at the Malibu Campground well before dark so had plenty of time to get set up. We stayed here years ago on a car camping trip and liked the place...downside is that you cannot bring your vehicle right to the campsite but carts are provided to move the gear the 80 feet or so to the tent area.

A great view.....for $29.00...hell, KOA's are often higher than that...

and a nice colorful sunset....

Looking closely at the rear tire situation I decided that it would never make AZ. Of course I have a couple brand new tires sitting in Yuma but never dreamed I'd wear one out so quickly....maybe I should slow down in the curves a bit more?
I think I'll be dragging a spare with me in the future...I've taken one with me before but never needed one.

I called an acquaintance in Murrieta hoping that he might have a cheap used tire but to no avail...he hooked me up with a tire shop in Reseda. By chance I had done business with the tire guy via internet and bought the saddle bags on the bike from him. He would not answer his phone so we just headed towards his shop. We went through Malibu Canyon and then onto Highway 101 to Reseda...unfortunately the guy did not have a rear tire of the size needed.
He gave me the name of another tire shop in LA so we braved 15 - 20 miles of city traffic to find the next place. He did not have a highway tire but had a more treaded tire which would fit. He let me remove the wheel to save $60.00 and mounted up / balanced the new tire. The areas of LA we were driving in were pretty seedy....bars and graffiti everywhere...

We wanted to get back to the coast so decided to get on the 405 freeway to avoid the city streets....bad idea on the sidecar. The road was rough.....traffic running at 80 mph+. I tried to keep in the slow lane at 65 mph but the road condition was terrible with holes, ruts, nasty mis-matched rain grooves.....you name it. Traffic was passing us like we were standing still. After 20 miles or so I couldn't take it any more and took an exit....which by chance took us right to the coastline again.

We wandered through coastal LA streets for the remainder of the day and eventually ended up in San Clemente CA for the night. We were going to go camp near Carlsbad CA. but were worn out and a seedy motel / shower sounded better.
This location left us only 300 miles or so from home so we decided to make it to Yuma on Friday.

Coastal views:Coastal Gas:
Probably the shape of things to come for all of us. We saw gas as high as $5.60 a gallon along the trip.

Some Coastal shots....

We got on a lot of little city streets along the coast....stop and go....stop and go....stop and go.....I decided to get south a little faster and got on the 710 Freeway for a while...another mistake which took us onto Terminal Island over the big shipping channel bridge. With 6 lanes of very fast traffic being in the proper lane at the proper time can be an issue for us who don't know where the hell we are going anyway. Sorta lost so Darian got me headed back in the right direction into Long Beach. From there we stuck to the Pacific Coast Highway 1 all the way south to San Clemente.

Gila Mtns.

Gila Mtns.