Thursday, June 23, 2016

Crossing Things Off The List

Petunia is nearly ready with her new 165HR16 automotive tire! I have been, slowly, crossing things off the list to have her road worthy again.

 The new Optima battery is bolted down and I will run the wires on Saturday to complete the process. Battery security is an issue, but this is how I chose to install it.  The bottom plate is bolted with 6 nuts and bolts with the nuts JB welded under the pigpen.  2 of the bolts penetrate the battery base adding an extra layer of security.  It took 45 minutes to install the 5 hex cap bolts that hold the battery down.  While it isn't theft proof, it will take some real effort to get it out and that includes for ME if I have to take it out! Planning to cover the red battery cable between Petunia and the pig pen with black wiring loom to help conceal it from a casual glance.  I am also mulling over some way to have the seat lock in place to help with being a theft deterrent.  

Getting antsy to get back on the road.  My time-out lasts for another 38 days and I will be sitting on ready.  

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Slowly, But Surely

The tire, fender, new drive belt, and most all brackets and accessories are back where they belong.  I have clearance in all critical areas, the tire doesn't rub, and it was time to start the electrical issues I decided I needed to create.

Step one was a new voltage regulator.  For some reason this was an issue I wasn't looking forward to.  Tearing into the motor and transmission I didn't hesitate, but the regulator caused me to pause for some reason.  I did have to disconnect the oil cooler, but other than that it was an hour project that went without a hitch.

Next was to clean up the electrical for the Pig Pen lighting.  When I purchased the Pig Pen it came with these connections which I used because it what the previous owner used.

 I took them out, cut and soldered in new pig tails, and used marine grade shrink wrap to seal the them up.  I will now use Bullet Terminals to allow me to disconnect the Pig Pen if necessary 

Next up was to add in new terminals for hot and ground.

The purpose here is to allow for the use of an Optima Marine Grade Deep Cycle battery which I will mount in the Pig Pen.  I will use this in conjunction with a Pure Sine Wave Power Inverter to allow me to charge my electronic devices off the grid.  I have to get the necessary cables and looking into a quick disconnect to shut the power off from Petunia in the event of an electrical issue.

Connecting the Pig Pen is next on my agenda, but the quick disconnect for the brakes is leaking and I will replace it with a new one.  Not willing to take any chances as I have to remove the front exhaust header to be able to bleed them.  

I have some jobs at my daughter's that will keep me busy for a week or so and then it will be a big push to get Petunia completed.  My Time Out ends in 54 days and I have to be ready!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

1 Step Forward, 3 Steps Back

Spent some quality time in the garage today.  Everything I did the last couple of weeks had to be undone to get to the next steps that need to be done.  Had to remove the rear sidecar mount and right exhaust to get the swing arm bracket off.

Next was to remove the tire.  I let all the air out and installed the Dyna Beads to balance it. This is my first time using them and it was an easy process.  Next was to drive out the swingarm pivot shaft.  I had sprayed it a few weeks ago with penetrating oil and it just slipped out nice and easy.  Unbolted the shocks and the swingarm practically fell out.

Ready to pull the primary innards and put on the new 1" drive belt.

 Looked up at the dash for a long longing look at what I've been missing. 

I thought I had all the parts I needed, but as I was removing the exhaust I found at least three missing bolts or nuts that I need to replace.  Removing the primary cover I noticed the horn wire was damaged in two locations, so I need to repair that.  I also have to go have the split in the fender welded.  Because the fender is buried under/behind the accessories I will just primer it, but not have it painted.  Just add a touch of character to Petunia.

At least I am heading in the right direction and making strides toward completion of this project. 


Sunday, May 1, 2016


Circumstances keep conspiring to kick my ass and I have to admit not being able to ride is wearing me out.  But, I need to give myself a good, strong kick in that ass and plug ahead.

I have made a bit of progress on the Petunia front.  The tire is mounted and it fits under the stock fender with just minor modification.  I did use a tube and was successful on the first attempt without poking a hole in it.

Here Petunia sits on her car tire, under the stock fender.  Had to put her on the ground to drain the primary so I can change the drive belt to a 1 1/8" one.

 I cut down the fender mounting bolts to eek out a little more room.  Stock is on the right, new nut and cut insert on the left.  The bolt that holds the fender screws into the center of this.

Cut pair on the left, stock on the right.  I massaged the fender just a bit to get some spread and that 1/2" was worth the effort as the tire now has about 3/16" clearance at its closest point.

The primary oil is draining and this week I plan on taking it apart, pulling the rear fork, and installing the new drive belt.  After I get that done I will install the new voltage regulator and think about reinstalling the pigpen.  Then I will move forward with relocating a deep cycle marine battery into the pigpen.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Getting Closer.....UPDATED

Got up early and with nothing else to do I tried to inflate the car tire on Petunia's new rim with my little pancake compressor. And it worked like a champ!

 I  used the strap to be sure the tire was against the wheel as tightly as possible.

Pumped it up to 50 psi, did a few bounces on the garage floor, and headed inside for the all important bath test.

All was going well until about the 10 o'clock position.  One spoke has a leak.  Of course one lousy spoke has a leak. A quick, stupid, thought crossed my mind to just use a can of Fix-A-Flat, but it evaporated as quickly as it entered.  I marked the leaker and will pull the tire off, reseal the leaker, coat the entire rim again, wait the week for it to set up and mount it again.

If it doesn't work then I will just have to go with a tube.  

On another note, with the tire aired up it is apparent that I will have to go to a 1" drive belt.  I expected that, but was waiting to confirm before buying the parts. I'm off to shop and break down the tire.

Broke down the tire and cut out the leaking spoke area.  This is what I found...

The 3m 5200 Adhesive not only pulled off rather easily, it pulled all but 5 of the Seal All nipple covers off.  The remaining 5 were way to easily peeled off!

 I then used a scrub pad to clean up the rim and ALL of the residue wiped off without any effort at all and with just water.

So, it is an abort on running tubeless.  While being hard headed is one thing, being stupid, especially on the motorcycle, is quite another.  If the stuff that is supposed to keep the tire inflated can just be wiped off I can imagine what would happen at 65 MPH on a hot day rolling across the desert somewhere. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Well Damn

The starting fluid fire trick didn't work!  It started a fire, but not enough air to set the bead.  I'll post a video later.

Went to three tire shops and none would touch it because of liability.  So, I ordered a bead seater that operates on 100 psi and the beads are so close together that didn't work either.

Not willing to concede, I cut some four inch blocks to spread the beads.  Hoping the ninety degree weather holds for a few days of baking in the sun.  My thoughts are it will allow the tire to soften and reshape itself, hopefully allowing the beads to spread far enough to allow the tire to inflate.

Running out of options here.  Any suggestions?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Tire Install Heading to Plan Z

It took the 3M 5200 Marine Adhesive a full 7 days to set up.  By set up I mean that it still felt tacky, but also felt dry and I really had to push to leave a fingerprint.  Getting antsy, I put the tire on the rim.

That was easy enough, but putting air in was another story.  My small 3 gallon compressor was no match for the task at hand.  So, off to the neighborhood Independent motorcycle shop I went. Explained to them what I wanted and they said sure they would air it up.  Pulled around back and was looking forward to having this part of the experiment done.  But, there is always a but, the tire is so stiff that it wouldn't push up to the bead.  We used a ratchet strap to try to compress it and that didn't work either.  Even with a 100 gallon compressor there was to big of a gap between the tire and rim to set the bead.

So, with Plans A and B not being unsuccessful it was time to re-evaluate options. Sometimes you have to dig deep when you are hard headed.  That brings me to Plan Z.  You know about Plan Z?  That is the what the hell am I going to do now plan.  The am I a quitter plan or am I really a risk taker plan. Being me, if this is going to fail it is going to fail big.  Not just fail big, but I am going to show just how it failed.  This is Wednesday morning and I have several necessary things I have to get done today and might not to get to Plan Z today, but I will post about it no matter the results.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Comments Link Should Be Fixed.

Somehow the comments link got changed.  It should be fixed and comments can be left again.  Sorry for the inconvenience.

Thanks Barry for alerting me.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Tubeless Spokes...Past the Point of No Return

People say it works.  Others say it is crazy and they would never do it.  Me, I'm a risk taker, and being able to plug and air a flat in some remote location sounds a lot better than worrying about a flatbed coming to get me.  So, I took the plunge!

First order of business was having the new 16" x 3.5"  rim respoked and trued. I opted to have the Wheel Shop do this because the cost didn't come close to the effort and chance of me not doing it correctly.  Picked it up Thursday morning, gathered the necessary supplies, and set up shop on my mobil workbench.

 Respoked rim and step 1 Seal All and a bottle to control the application.

 First step is to put Seal All into the spoke indentations.  I did 4 - 5 at a time and waited about 5 minutes to go to the next 4 - 5, just long enough for the Seal All to not run.  Being careful to not get big air bubbles because that is where leaks come from. 

I let coat one set up, about 45 minutes and proceeded to coat 2.  Same procedure as Step 1.  There are many small air bubbles in coat 2, but it is said that this isn't an issue.  I let this dry from Thursday early afternoon until noon Sunday.

Next coat is with 3M Marine 5200 Adhesive.  I found where some people have used only this and swear by it.  Because it is thicker than Seal All I choose to use the Seal All first with the hope it will seal better around the spoke nipples. 

Lesson I learned with the 5200 is it goes a lot further than I expected it to go.  I bought 2 tubes and used less than a quarter of 1 tube.  I cut down a plastic putty knife to fit the shape of the rim and it pushed a lot of the sealant up the rim edges.  I than put a bead just down the center and it worked a lot better.  There is no hurry with this sealant as it is slow drying.  My plan is to put another coat over this one in about 3 hours and then let it dry for 72 hours before mounting the tire.

So, now I am past the point of no return.  If it works I will be thrilled. If it doesn't work I guess I can still put a tube in it.  Balancing it has popped into my mind as I was sealing the spokes.  I plan on using Dyna Beads. To that end I also picked up a new rim strip to cover the adhesive because the Dyna Beads are free floating inside the tire.  I'm not sure how abrasive that is, so the rim strip is for an extra layer of protection.

Up Date;  The 3m 5200 didn't set up as quickly as I had hoped.  It was still to tacky to add the final coat until Monday evening.  I then put on what I hope is the final coat and it went pretty much just like the first.

I about drove myself crazy trying to make it perfect and finally said good enough.  So, it sits in the garage drying.  I will sit it outside in the sun for the next couple of days to speed up the drying process and hopefully will be able to mount the tire on Saturday.  

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

The Learning Curve Continues

Spent some quality time in the garage today learning about lacing a spoke rim. Sounds simple enough to put a spoke in a hole, stick it in the rim hole, start the nipple, count four holes, and go the next one.  Then flip the rim and repeat.
This was the result of that flawed thinking.

It seems that I used the wrong holes on the first side and that made the spokes way to long for what I had hoped to accomplish.  Looking and thinking about it I made an adjustment that appeared to lead to a solution.  However when I tried to straighten out my mistake I mixed up the spokes and that wouldn't work out to help me measure for the correct size spokes needed.

 It did allow me to be able to mount the 4" rim to Petunia and check for clearance for the brake caliper. Looking from the rear you should be able to see the hub isn't centered because it moved as I was mounting it to the axel.

 Looking from the right side there is clearance for the brake caliper, but I'm going with the 3 1/2" rim to not push the issue.  That and half an inch narrower rim will result in a narrower tire.  Still searching for those little numbers.  On the left side I'm pretty sure it shows that I will be changing to a 1' drive belt. 

At this point needing to order an unknown size spoke and worrying about being able to correctly true the rim I called a favorite local tire shop.  They would furnish new spokes, lace, and true the rim for only $125.  It took just over an hour to get there, drop off the rim with hub, and get back home. When I was leaving Steve told me it could be a day or two to be finished.  Here it is three hours later and he called to say the rim is ready to be picked up.  I'm pretty happy with my decision to have them True the rim for me.  

Next up is sealing the rim to allow for running a tubeless tire.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Finally Back To Installing The Car Tire On Petunia

Spring has sprung out here in the desert, I'm 8 months into my time out, and getting itchy.  So, into the garage to start to piddle because I will be able to ride again before long and don't want to not be ready.

This is the first tire I have changed.

 Success, with minimal effort.

 This is the rim strip that I paid to have changed 1,000 miles ago?  Looks like it hasn't been changed in forever.  I have been charged for a rim strip every tire change in the 9 years I've owned Petunia.  Makes me wonder how many tubes I've paid for and didn't get.  This strip was so brittle that it took very little  effort to snap it in two when pulling on it. Plus it was stuck to the rim and I had to cut it to get it loose.

 Test fitting the new tire under the fender.

 View from the rear. Looks like room to me.

 I took the fender all the way off to get better measurements and found this lovely crack that will have to be repaired.  I'm going to replace/cut down the mounting hardware and massage the fender a touch wider to make a little extra room.  I read somewhere that it was the little numbers that counted most.

I have unlaced the 3" rim from the hub and will will test fit the old spokes into the new rim to be sure they are the correct size.  I will then order a new set of spokes.  While waiting for them to get here I will mock up/lace a 3.5' rim and a 4" rim to see which one fits best in the area I am confined to.  This little extra work will help me determine the need to go to a 1" drive belt, which I am thinking will be a necessity,  and checking actual clearance of the brake caliper.

Doing the impossible takes a little longer, but if this works out getting 25,000 plus miles out of a rear tire sounds good to me.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Tribute to Veterans

I first shared this back in 2012.  It is just as important today as back then.  Thank you to all that have served and a heartfelt thank you to those who have lost a loved one serving.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Back To Being Retired

The PE teacher experiment is over.  After three weeks the District found a qualified, REAL Pe teacher.  I am honestly not disappointed and I know Dexter is happy to be back walking in the cool mornings.

Now, maybe, I will find the energy and desire to get back in the garage to my tire project.  The tire is an Avon 160/80/16 tubeless.

Need to take the old tire off the rim, unlace the 3" rim, use new spokes and lace up a 3.5" rim, seal new rim to allow use of the tubeless tire, and then air it up to see what I have to do to the fender to allow it to fit.  

The weather is getting beautiful here with the highs in the low 80s and mornings in the low 60s/high 50s.  Perfect garage weather.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

And Life Changes Again

I think I found a workable tire, it has been ordered, and I await delivery.  I still haven't taken the current rear tire and rear fork off yet because of laziness and the chance this tire may work without further modifications.

But the big change is I was offered, and accepted, a job at my Daughter's school teaching PE as a long term substitute. Only know right now it will last until Christmas break in mid December, but there is the possibility it will last to the end of the school year.  No, I'm not bored being retired, but because of my riding time out, I need something to get me out of the house and into the fresh air.  Plus it will help offset the cost of Petunia's updates.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Working For Insurance Is Interfering With Playing

My first step was to find out what a motorcycle tire size converts to in an auto tire size.  Found this handy site,, that tells me without any modifications to Petunia I can go up to a 18"x4.25 rim and use a 150/70-18 tire.

Petunia is the top row listed, left-right, by model, year, front size, rear size

To convert the bike tire to something useful I need to know how wide a 150 tire is.  You get that by dividing 150/25.4 = 5.9".  So, a 5.9" wide tire should fit.  I'm sure there are many who got this far and found, like I did, this converts to something like a 175R16 using the stock rim.  Therein lies the real problem, it doesn't work on a 3" rim as the suggested rim size is 5" - 5.5".  Any size below 175, that I found, is a donut spare and not usable for high milage.

So, I went to the Harley parts site I use to look into what I could do, or what might be possible.

Schematic for a 2003 rear fork assembly

 Schematic for a 2010 rear fork assembly

Seems all of the major attachment parts, connecting the rear fork to the transmission, are the exact same part numbers, so the 2010 fork would be a plug and play replacement.  But at $950 plus tax and shipping I wasn't willing to take the chance.  

Not willing to give up I searched E-bay for a few days and found a trike shop selling a 2010 take off that had less than 600 miles when it was converted. At $170 with free shipping I was willing to take the chance that this will be the answer to putting Petunia on the darkside.  It got here this week and is only 1" wider than the stock one.  Plus it came with the axel, axel nut and adjuster cam, all the bushings, and piviot shaft.  This week when I get the stock one off I will post comparison pictures.

Another reason it seemed worthwhile is I need to pull the rear fork to replace the bushings, bearings, and the drive belt.  I know the drive belt might last another 20 - 30,000 miles, but I really need to go to a 1" drive belt and pulley versus the 1.5" setup for stock 2003 and with 85,000+ on the current belt, plus with pulling the extra weight of the pig pen, I would rather do it in the comfort of my garage than calling a tow truck and going to the dealer to have it fixed. 

Rim size is also a problem. Up to 2008 Harley rims are 16" X 3" and I need a minimum rim size of 16" x 4".  Can't find anything that works, but because I have spokes I can find a 16" x 4" 40 spoke, drop center, chrome rim.  I'll order one of these bad boys and teach myself to lace and true a rim.

To be determined issues; a tire that might fit, fender clearance, using a 5" 2009-up rim with crush drive.  Adding to my already long list of wants I am adding a tubeless tire to run on my spoke rim. Might as well shoot for the moon when doing the impossible.