Monday, August 17, 2015

Where To Begin

I have recently found myself in a very dark place.  Many factors that I will spare you the gruesome details. With the exception of going to the doctor and finding I'm pre-diabetic. Probably my great Southern heritage and love of anything fried and/or sweet.  I am related to my Me Maw.

An admission, that I am more than embarrassed by, I was arrested for DUI/DWI. Yes, I know better.  No, it wasn't intentional.  It just happened and there are no excuses, ever, for driving drunk.  But those are the facts that I pled guilty to.  I have always owned my mistakes.

In retrospect, for me, it was a blessing.  In my dark state I had been making some bad choices that were out of character for me.  Regardless, I have to own up to my failings.  This is partly how I found out about the pre-diabetes.   So, I am suffering the debt that Arizona demands and the worst part is not being able to ride Petunia for a year.  In Arizona a DUI conviction requires an ignition interlock for a year and Arizona just passed a law to allow them on motorcycles again, but they aren't yet available.

So, I have been spending my time evaluating, heavily, what and why I am in this dark place.  Again lets spare you the gruesome details, but internal, self reflection is an awful place to go when a person is honest.

I am making an honest effort to learn and grow from this terrible event.  I can guarantee that there will never be a reoccurrence.  On a brighter note, as I close, I have lost 35 pounds as I make lifestyle changes to combat the pre-diabetes.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Time Out

It has been a while since my last post.  Seems I have a couple of issues I need to address before they become major issues.  So, I am on a time out to do that.  When my issues are resolved I will be back, hopefully better than ever.

Friday, March 6, 2015


First Petunia and the pigpen.  I am learning that 1 gear lower than I want to run is the best option.  Keeping the RPMs near 2500 - 2650 allows for an average 37 MPG and if I upshift a gear she runs @2000 RPM, but the MPG drops to around 23.  I'm sure that has to do with the fuel map I have loaded into the ThunderMax.  I can't change that right now because ThunderMax isn't supported on a Mac computer.  I may dig out my old computer and have the charging outlet repaired to be able to use it to reprogram the ECM.

Petunia is otherwise running great.  I am getting more and more comfortable riding with the hack and right handers are becoming second nature.  I have found that by dragging the rear brake a touch I can shoot her around corners without the 3rd wheel coming to high off the ground.  It is a pretty cool feeling when accelerating out of the turn.

Finishing touches on the shower install are just about completed.  Had an issue with water running out of the entryway.  The shower head wouldn't adjust to spray in front of the drain, so I had to get a 15" shower arm with a 90 degree bend and that puts the spray completely in front of the drain.

 When a girl is under 39 having to use grab bars doesn't seem right, so I choose to install  her a  ballerina bar.

 A handle to help get over the 2 1/2"  threshold.

Luckily I am just about finished with this working crap because old age is setting in.  I tweaked my knee last week and this week I have a pain in my hip whenever I take a first step or two after sitting, kneeling down or dismounting Petunia.  Thankfully they don't treat old guys like horses that are breaking down. 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Completed Project?

My two week project is 98% completed in just one day over the schedule.  Because my daughter, Jeane, has Multiple Sclerosis mobility has become an issue.  Getting into and out of the tub was becoming a real safty issue for her.  So, I removed her tub and and put in a barrier free shower.

Had to break the floor to move the drain.

 Drain set and floor repaired.

 Walls installed, curb set, and shower pan poured.

 Walls waterproofed and tile going on.

Tile being grouted.

Glass block going up.

Repainting the walls on Monday, clearing out Jeane's garage, returning unused parts, and installing grab bars are all that is left.  She is moving back home today and gets to use her new shower tomorrow.  Oh, and now she says the shower looks so nice that the vanity needs updated too!  

Sounds like I have another project in the pipeline.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

New Project

Well, about 750 miles on Petunia since the transmission rebuild and all still seems well.  I have mostly been riding her daily around town, but have had her up to highway speed on several occasions.  I think I am still just a touch gun shy of trusting her yet.

Dexter has become a problem, as he isn't cooperating with riding.  Not sure how this is going to work out, but fighting him to get in the pigpen and having him miserable isn't working for either of us.  Treats don't even work anymore.

Now I am into a new project for my daughter.  I allowed myself a two week window, but after two days I'm already a day behind my own timeline.  Funny how as I get older things always take longer than I remember in the years gone past.

This is where I started, getting final approval before she leaves for school.

 This is two hours after the fun has begun.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Riding In The Rain

Finally, at long last I took Petunia and the pigpen back on the road.  This is my street about twenty minutes before I left.

This is about twenty miles from the house

 The clouds and rain were coming after me

 This was looking back toward the house and it was worse coming back

Petunia ran well, the transmission seemed to be working correctly.  Shifting was stiff at first, but the heel/toe shifter needs to be readjusted because it doesn't feel right to me.  The break-in procedure for the transmission is to ride-it-like-you-stole-it! So, I took them at their word and at 85, in the rain, on the wet roads, I ran out of nerve before throttle.

I changed from a 28 tooth compensating sprocket to a 25 tooth one.  The result is 2,600RPM @ 60 MPH in 6th gear.  With cruise set, she pulls hills without any trouble and maintains 60 without any effort.  70 MPH is @3,000 RPM and Petunia sounds like she wants another gear.  I'm going to ride her like this for a while before I make any decision about replacing the 28 tooth sprocket.

So, wet, chilled, and with a smile on my face I am happy that this project is complete.  After the necessary speciality tools I had to purchase, waiting out the weather delays getting the gear-set rebuilt, and not removing the pigpen, this project really wasn't bad.  Similar to my take on rebuilding the motor, it is just like a car only with a lot less parts.

Petunia.....Almost There

Spent Wednesday in the garage putting Petunia together.  Went to the manual for the torque specs for the comp sprocket and ran across the warning about silicone sealant needed on the primary housing.  How did I miss this in the hundred times I read and reread how to take apart and reinstall this transmission?

Spent Thursday taking Petunia apart, applying the silicone to the appropriate bolt holes, and putting her back together, again.  Thinking I was about done, I tried to put her into gear to torque the comp sprocket and she wouldn't shift into gear!  Looking for an answer I realized I didn't double check the shifter pawl adjustment and it was slightly off.  So, I had to take the primary housing off again to adjust it.  Frustrating as Hell to be in such a hurry and spinning in circles.  Putting it all back together a third time and it shifted as intended, so put the primary cover on and got ready to fill it with oil.  That is when I couldn't find the drain plug.  Searched high and low until I gave up and went to the Stealership, fighting Super Bowl induced traffic, and paid $7.56 for a new one that lists for $5.45 in a Harley Parts Catalog.  Got home, installed the new plug, filled with oil, started putting tools away and THERE is the missing plug sitting in the middle of the work bench!

Moved to the right side to button it up and the step that I thought was going to be the hard part...replacing the head pipe and heat shield.  But, first I decided to take the time to bleed the brakes because the head pipe limits access to the master cylinder.  When I got to the head pipe it went a lot quicker and easier than I could have imagined.  At this point with only needing to install the floor boards and adjusting the clutch I was done for the day.  I was worn out, it was getting darker, and I was having difficulty seeing in less than bright lighting conditions.  I opted to put away all the tools I didn't need anymore and started Petunia just to warm her up.  She started on the first crank and sounded great!  This almost gave me the energy to finish her up, but I really had had enough for one day.

As I'm sitting here it is raining.  Supposed to rain all day today and some of tomorrow.  Of course it is raining this is Phoenix Open week.  I'm heading out to Denny's for breakfast then into the garage to put on the floor boards and adjust the clutch.  When that is done I'll be taking out the rain gear and going for a ride.  I've earned a ride, rain or not!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Progress Is Slow

Bad news is Petunia is still apart.

Good news is the gear set and shift forks are in the housing.  Everything spins freely and feels good.

Bad news is I currently have divided priorities and Petunia got shifted to the back burner.  I did get far enough to know I have to jack her up and loosen the rear wheel to move it forward to install the drive belt pulley. 

Good news is Wednesday should be the day I can get back to her and hopefully make some progress.  It seems like it has been forever since I got to ride.  I am more than ready to change that.

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.