Saturday, January 24, 2015

Thoughts Thunk

Cool winter days spent in waiting mode can cause odd thoughts to creep back into one’s mind.  

I want to be a motorcycle gypsy.  I want to ride around visiting various locations and immerse myself in places off the beaten path, down dirt roads, off into the wilderness, living somewhat like the folks that originally explored this great nation without benefit of a covered wagon to carry the supplies.  But, I am a product of the 20th century and am married to the creature comforts that I grew up with.

Therein lies my dilemma.  Off the beaten path, especially on a motorcycle, would be challenging.  I’m pretty sure I could find rivers, streams, or lakes to clean up in and probably wash cloths.  Learning to become a hunter/gatherer for food, with modern hunting laws, would be problematic, so securing a food source could be an issue.  

Maintenance on the bike would be essential to live in this lifestyle.  It wouldn’t be good enough to just dump used oil onto the ground, refill, and ride on.  Without a garage full of tools and jacks working on the bike myself would offer problems that would make this life style unattainable.

But, in my, somewhat, rational mind the biggest hurdle would be doing this while not being connected to the real world.  I’m pretty sure I could go without TV, but a phone and computer are another story.  Computers today play such a vital roll in my very existence.  I use the web on a daily basis just to do everyday business and  staying in contact with family and friends.  Being out in the wilderness without a method to contact the outside world would be a problem in case of a breakdown or some type of injury.  

To stay connected would require an energy source.  With that in mind I have been looking into solar panels and deep cycle, marine batteries.  A panel, a battery, some wiring, an inverter, and an electrical outlet would allow for charging a computer, phone, and possibly a light for after the sun goes down.  

A solar panel on the pig pen, an interesting idea that will require more investigation.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Baker Delivers As Promised

UPS came a knocking this afternoon and dropped off my newly rebuilt gear-set.  I approved the cost of the rebuild last Friday afternoon and even with MLK Day and the weather back east it arrived as promised.

Getting started on the installation Sunday afternoon after some other obligations are met.  Hope to be riding by Tuesday baring any unforeseen complications.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Tranny Decision Is In

Heard from Baker Drivetrain today about Petunia's tranny. This was after an additional 3 day delay getting it to them because of weather.  Seems she needs a new main shaft, 3rd, 4th, and 5th main shaft gears, a  counter shaft 5th gear, new shift forks, all new bearings, including trap door bearings which I had already bought and shipped to them.

Because the final bill will be about half of what I was expecting, I approved them fixing it at 11:30 this morning.  At 3:00 I was notified by UPS of a tracking number and expected delivery time for this coming Thursday.  Baker's Customer Service appears to be top shelf, because they got it in late Tuesday and shipped it back on Friday afternoon.  I am at the end of a testing session for the District, so hopefully will start putting her together next weekend.  This rebuild comes with a one year warranty which I hope I don't have to worry with.  The DD6 was installed in March 2009 and had just under 50,000 miles on it.

 I am also changing the compensating sprocket and primary chain back to 25 teeth from the 28 tooth one that came with the DD6.  Looking for more low end grunt off the line to get her in motion and a slightly higher RPM at cruising speed to make better use of the six speed.  If I had it to do all over again I would leave the stock 5 speed in her.  But, to late for that now some almost 6 years later.

I am more than ready to get her back on the road!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Finally Making Progress

Well, I finally got back to work on Petunia.  Of course it couldn't be easy.  Partly because of waiting for parts or tools, partly because I'm hardheaded and chose to do this job without removing the pigpen, and partly because the shop that put in the Baker DD6 back in 2009 used copious amounts of red loktite.  The main shaft lock nut wouldn't come loose to save my life.  This is a nut with a 60 foot pound torque value!  Breaker bar with a three foot extension, heat, then I rented a 3/4 drive impact and after hammering on it for near four minutes it finally came apart.

This is the troublesome nut.

This beast was the ticket to getting it off.

My 30 year old torch reached its last leg as I was trying to heat the nut.  Luckily I made the right decision on which way to throw it when it blew.

This is the gear set resting on the bench waiting disassembly.

Baker has an additional internal magnet to trap shavings.  5th gear is next to the trap door and if you look closely you can see the damage to the teeth.  It is buggered up pretty good. The bearing under the main shaft gear was the culprit.

Spoke to Baker this morning because the counter shaft doesn't come apart without a special press.  I'm going to box it all up and send it to them to have it rebuilt.  They list several shops in the area as Dealers, but the three I called are installers, not rebuilders.  The saga continues.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Don't Wanna

In a surprise to me three of the needed tools to take the transmission apart arrived of Friday evening.  They didn't get here until 7:15, but here they are.

I went out early this morning and picked up a 1 3/16" socket and impact driver to disassemble the primary drive.  I found that Baker has a rebuild kit for the DD6 with all new bearings, gaskets, and seals to put the transmission back to new.  Taking a chance, I searched the www and located the kit for a 25% discount with free shipping.  I don't have a tracking number for that yet, so don't know when it will get here.   The main drive bearing tool isn't supposed to be here until Tuesday. 

Because of that I just don't want to work on Petunia today.  Might have to go out and see what other kind of trouble I can get into today.  

Monday, December 15, 2014

As Bad As I Thought

Ordered the tools needed to take Petunia apart yesterday and decided to do some exploratory work this morning.  Took the top of the transmission off and just looking the gears look good.  So, I opted to drain the oil.

This is what the plug is supposed to look like.

 This is what it looked like and I had just changed the oil 200 miles ago.

 This is the pile of shavings

So with Christmas upon us I won't hold my breath getting the tools any time soon.  Baker Drivetrain has a factory rebuild program.  Send in your gear-set, they rebuild it, and send it back within a week.  I will be calling them to check into this.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Petunia Being Naughty

Out for a ride yesterday in cool, bright sunshine.  Everything seemingly perfect.  Then there was a new sound I haven't ever heard before.  I slowed and the noise got worse.  Slowed more and it got even worse.  I seriously thought the motor was blowing up.

Pulled into the gas station that I was heading to, shut her down, looked things over, hit the starter and she fired right up, give her some gas and all sounds normal, give her a lot of gas and she screams just like she is supposed to.  So, I fill her with gas and we roll toward the exit and head back to the house, slowly.

1st gear seems normal.  2nd gear normal.  3rd gear normal.  4th gear normal.  5th gear she begins to howl, shifting back to 4th and she quiets back down.  I did the 5th 4th thing a couple of times with the same result.  Almost back to the city limits I pushed through the noise in 5th and hit 6th at 70 mph and she quit screaming at me.  Accelerated and all seems normal, slowed, downshifted to 5th and the howling started again, slowing farther it got louder, down into 4th and it didn't quiet down like before,  3rd and she went back to her normal sound.

At home rechecked the transmission fluid and it was full just like it was last week when I changed the fluids.  So, I'm pretty sure that she blew 5th gear and possibly 4th.  Looking into what it takes to pull the gear-set out  will require some expensive speciality tools.  There is a Baker Dealer about eight miles from me that I will call tomorrow and see if I can bring the naughty girl in for an estimate.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014


Well, last I wrote there was a throttle issue that I thought would be an easy fix and a oil temp gauge that I guessed would be a PITA.

Lo and behold the throttle cable had broken at the adjusting nut and had to be replaced.  My usually reliable mail order Harley dealer met up with the Christmas season and shipping was sssllow.  The part was in Phoenix for four days before I received it, but it finally got here today and wasn't to hard to get installed.  Of course the fairing had to come off again, but that allowed me to uncross the wires on the oil temp gauge and that was a really easy fix with just removing one bracket.

I also took the down time to change a rear tire.  I was worried about having to remove the pigpen to get this job done, but with just a little thought and a trial run I found that wasn't necessary.

I put the jack under Petunia then raised the TILT to its maximum height.

This is what it looked like before removing the exhaust, caliper, and unbolting the wheel.

I then jacked Petunia up until I had enough room to remove the balding tire.

 I was going try and change it myself, but for $25 I decided it wasn't worth the effort.  Took it to the shop and they had the new tire on and me on the way home in 15 minutes.  Only took about 15 minutes to have it put back together and sitting back in its normal position.

Headed out this afternoon for a quick trial run and she runs great.  I'm hoping I am done with the working on it phase and can get to the riding it phase.  Been spending some time with maps pre-planning the summer ride.   

Saturday, November 22, 2014

First Ride Thursday, Road Worthy Saturday

The fuel bypass arrived Thursday afternoon and was quickly installed.  Gas tank installed, clutch adjusted, and it was time to ride to get gas.

WOW! is what comes to mind.  Only rode about 12 miles, but the difference is night to day.  I did ride without the outer fairing and windshield, but went on familiar roads with some bends and it was amazing.

Was busy Friday with substituting in 5th grade to help pay for Petunia parts, so didn't get back to finishing up until today, Saturday.  Took her out on an extended, 85 mile, ride with everything buttoned up and WOW is only about half of the description this change made.

First thing I noticed was the softness of the steering.  A needed note is I used my stock forks not the Tri-Glide forks that are 1 3/4 inches longer.  No more of the heaviness and muscle needed to get her turning.  Just a small wiggle of the bars and she was turning into the next lane and back again.  I'm not sure I would call it power steering, but it is definitely relaxed steering.  There is no pressure at all needed on the bars to keep her rolling straight and only one hand needed to turn her left or right when the road turns.

Next thing was the lack of body shift needed to corner.  Before this change I would need to shift my derriere almost off the seat and lean toward the pigpen on right turns.  Today just a body lean was needed and the turn was completed.  Left was just turn the bars and go.  It doesn't seem to take any more effort now than when the pigpen wasn't installed.

A couple of issues I still need to address are the throttle seems to hang open and the oil temperature gauge isn't working.  Hopefully the throttle is just not adjusted enough and will be an easy fix.  The oil temp gauge is buried in the fairing and is a PITA to get to.  Also, after a touch over 12,000 miles the rear tire needs to be replaced.  That will be my next challenge to change it myself in the garage.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Installing Tri-Glide Triple Trees on Petunia Almost Complete

Petunia is almost road worthy again.  Because I had to remove the gas tank I have decided to add a quick disconnect on the bypass hose to make life simpler.  That means waiting for a couple of days for the part to come in because I couldn't find one local.  It doesn't seem worth the effort to install the tank without the disconnect in place, so it is looking like Saturday before I will get to ride her and see how she handles.

With theTri-Glide front end

With the original front end

There are only a few differences between the 09 Tri-Glide tree and the stock 03 tree.  First was to drill the Tri-Glide tree to hold the roll-pin that keeps the wiring mount/stem nut locking plate in place.  It is my understanding that the Tri-Glides don't have anything to hold this nut after torquing.
Yes, there has been a problem with Tri-Glides having loose steering heads and a service bulletin was issued because of this.  There are two ears to lock this nut and when I took Petunia apart only one was engaged.  Now both are doing the intended job.

New, on left, after drilling. Original on right.

Then the brake line wouldn't bolt to the new tree.  It wouldn't clear going up to the master cylinder.  I used an L bracket  to move it enough to clear and will have to make a decision what the next step will be.

The special tool I ordered to remove the bearing races didn't work.  It wouldn't catch the lip on the races no matter what I did. I finally used a big socket and 12" extension with the tool to knock out the top one.  The bottom one was a PITA! I ruined a couple of tools trying to make an adapter, I bought another tool that didn't work, and finally ground down a brake spoon that I made work.

This idea was born after searching for a product called EZ Steer. I found an article by Dave "Ultraboy" Bickford who did the change on an 07 he triked using Harley parts.  Props to him for all the leg work, parts list, and saving me a bunch of money.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Waiting Is The Worst

 So, Petunia sits, torn apart, waiting.  Waiting for a couple of small parts and a specialty tool.

The speciality tool is a bearing race removal tool.  I searched the internet and nothing I found would help me remove the races, so I ordered a Park Bearing Race Removal Tool.  A necessary evil to complete this project the right way.  Straightening up the garage this morning I ran across a new rear bumper that I had forgotten I had bought.  Today seemed like a good day to put it on.  The new one is on the left.

Next I needed to find a permanent location for the toggle switch for the lean adjuster on the pigpen.  There is a blank on the fairing cap that I took apart and found with a little modification would work better than drilling another hole in the fairing.  This picture shows the result.

The final project for today was to rebuild the front brake master cylinder.  Back when I converted to the Brembo calipers I just cleaned it really well, but still worried about not removing all of the Dot 5 fluid.  No pictures, but there was nothing to worry about as the old plunger and seals were in very good condition.  Now I get to sit, wait, and wait, getting antsy to get this project completed and see what the difference is going to feel like out on the road.  Total garage time today was under two hours, but I felt like I got a lot accomplished.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Garage Time Returns With Winter

Well, the temperature in Arizona has finally dropped into the mid eighties.  That equates to around sixty-one degrees in the mornings and it actually feels quite cold to me.  I used my thin winter gloves in my travels this week and my hands still felt cold.

So, because it is now winter in the desert, I have decided to start my winter updates on Petunia.  Went into the garage a few minutes ago and it was pretty nippy for me, so I will wait for another couple of hours and try again.

Best part about doing winter updates now is when I finish them in about a week I will be acclimated to the cold and then can start riding again by Thanksgiving.

Progress update;  I am changing out the stock triple tree for a 2009 Tri-Glide triple tree.  That will change the rake of the front end and it is said to have the effect of adding power steering when driving with 3 wheels. I was following most of the directions, but after removing the front wheel I wanted to see if I could take the forks and fender off as a unit to save some time.

And it worked.

So, how much change am I going to get?  Here is a comparison in the upper tree. Tri-glide is on the left, old is on the right.

Lower tree.  Tri-glide on left again.

You really can't see it, but the new tree has quite a bit of angle to it. 

Of course I have run into a couple of minor obstacles, like a couple of bushings that I was going to reuse, but can't get them out of the old trees.  I will check with my local Dealer and if reasonable will go pick them up, if not the mail order will be here by Thursday.

Updated update; Local Stealer has to order the parts I need (surprise), it takes 7 days to get here (maybe), and cost $3.95 each and I need 2.....order online for $1.49 each and will be here Thursday.  Not sure why I even bother to check anymore.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hello, Dexter Highjacks the Blog

Hello, this is Dexter! My daddy is attempting to make me a biker dog and I'm not sure I'm a willing participant!  Being four years old it is hard to learn new tricks. Granted, he was willing to try small steps, like taking me to the Dog Park, but after peeing and playing we had to get back in that loud contraption!

OK, he did get baffles and it isn't as loud as before, but I'm little and not sure I even want to be a biker dog.  He tells me it will be a lot of fun and there are great things to see in the world. We went for a 75 mile jaunt a couple of weeks ago and I refused to go again the next day.  I need small steps, not gigantic ones!

Daddy has been asking every day if I want to go on a motorcycle ride and I get excited, but not sure if I'm ready.  He takes me outside, I smell the great fragrances, but when it is time to load up I chicken out.  Well, today it was time to take the chance.  It was a perfect day, cool, partly cloudy, to get our ride on.

We left about 9:00 AM in cool weather, up something called the I17.  Daddy was happy that Petunia pulled us up something called 7 mile hill/Sunset Point without any trouble at all.  Once up the hill we pulled over at the Rest Area to take a break and allow me to stretch my legs.

We met some humans. The lumpy ones were my favorite.

 Well, until I found some more my size.

 This is me leaving Sunset Point  going to a place called Prescott.

This is just after stopping in Prescott at the county court house.

 We walked around and I got to wet some trees.

 Daddy told me how good I was being and that he loved me!

 I hate Doggles, and refused to wear them, but as the day progressed my eyes started to bother me.  Daddy stopped and made me wear them.  I resisted, but they did help my eyes, so I pretended to be OK with them.

 Here we are almost home after almost 200 miles! I can't believe I rode almost 200 miles!!  Until today the most I have ever ridden is 75 miles.  I'm not sure I want to admit I had fun, but we were outside, I made some new friends that I may never see again,  we went on a couple of walks,  Daddy kept telling me I was a good boy, and the Doggles made my eyes feel better.

This being a biker dog might just work out for me. Especially if everyone thinks I'm as cute as they did today. I think I might need to get a leather jacket to keep me warm and dry if it rains.  Daddy mentioned a camping trip in the next couple of weeks. Not sure what a camping trip is, but today didn't hurt me and I did have some fun.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Dexter and the Learning Curve

Dexter was a willing participant in a Saturday 75 mile ride.  It was a great day in Arizona with bright sunshine and mild temperatures.  He sat on the seat for about the first 15 miles, then got into his bed and napped most of the rest of the ride.   Only issue on the ride, that went over some small hills, Petunia didn't seem to want to pull herself on some of the upgrades. Mmmmmm.

Sitting and trying to remember back on the when I first got the pigpen, some 7years ago, I began to remember Petunia would haul the tub at 90 mph.  That is when the cam adjusters came apart and I took her in to have new gear driven cams put in.  After getting her back, she wouldn't pull the tub over 40 mph.  I had a couple of other things done to her, so took her back to the shop and they said nothing was wrong with her.  Took the pigpen off and the bike ran well except for gas milage, so just left the tub off.

Sometime in the night, Saturday, it popped into my mind that along with the gear driven cams the Baker 6 speed was also installed at that time.  That lead to my remembering that after last years motor update I realized that now that sixth gear was usable.  Putting the extra weight of the pigpen could have negated that change.

So, Sunday I was going to test my thoughts that I just wasn't using the correct gear for the conditions.  Getting ready to retrace Saturdays route, I took Dexter out to go for another ride. Pushed Petunia into the drive, got out the harness, and Dexter ran back to the door and wouldn't move.  I opened the door and he ran inside, refusing to come back out.  I guess he wasn't ready for a repeat of yesterdays fun.

Retracing my route I kept Petunia 1 gear lower than I had on Saturday and she did great.  Unless I was on flat ground I stayed in 5th gear and no problem. With the cruise set at 70 she pulled the small hills without a worry while turning 3,000 rpm.  On flat lands, in 6th gear she ran 70 mph @ 2,500 rpm.  The learning curve for driving the hack continues and that is the easy part.  I'm hoping Dexter isn't going to start being a problem.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Dexter the Wonder Dog Goes on the Road

Today was the day.  Dexter has been hanging around the pigpen while I continued to make minor adjustments and deciding how I was going to connect his tether.  On a mild, overcast day it was time to get out of the neighborhood and hit the real road.

Sitting on the seat

 Lets try laying down

 Time to try out the bed

 Can't you see I'm trying to nap

 Can we go home now?

 No, I don't have to go!

So, after a 40 mile round trip to nowhere we found our way home.  Dexter didn't jump out of the pigpen and seemed pretty relaxed the whole time.  I chose to not remove the seat because it seemed to be a better choice.  I don't like the double link chain I got for the tether because there was fur that was pulled from Dexter stuck in it, so I will get a different kind.  Other than that I think the day went well, Dexter seems happy, and he didn't seem stressed at all today.

He is currently curled up next to me sleeping. Such a good, tolerant little fella. Next adventure might be out to the lake to play in the water.