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.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Exploratory Surgery

Today felt like a good day to start tearing Petunia apart to see exactly what would be required to install a car tire on her.  Looking it over the pig pen HAD to come off.  I was hoping that wouldn't be required.

This is the tire with only 1,200 miles that started this idea.

Next I had to remove the tour pack to expose the fender and I removed the chrome frame covers.  That allowed me to see that there is 8.5" between the frame rails.  The fender, however, is only 6.5" wide.  That 2" could be better used in tread width I think. 

 Space on right side between fender and frame.

Space on left side.  The chrome piece on each of these pictures is to hold the tour pack in place and I'm thinking they could be relocated to the outside.

Another issue I noticed is the long ass screws, LAS, they used throughout the bike to attach things. These, and several others, will be getting cut off to only the necessary length.  The nut and washer above the LAS is used as a spacer to connect the fender to the frame.  

This is the 1.5" drive belt which is really a 1.75" pulley that takes up a lot of space.  My first thought is go with a 1 1/8" pulley and a 1" drive belt, but as I was studying it using a chain drive popped into my feeble little brain.
Anyone have an opinion on using a chain?

My thoughts on using a chain are that older Harleys use them, race bikes are chain driven, and it will free up a ton of space that might be necessary.  

I also plan on replacing the swing arm bearings and bushings.  I read bad things about the pivot shaft freezing and being almost impossible to remove.  I am happy to report that mine, while rusted, turned with just a bit of effort and seems to move without much effort at all and I haven't even sprayed any penetrating oil on it yet.  

I now believe that while this won't be just a bolt in operation that with  a bit of effort and time it has the possibility of being successful.  That and it will be a lot cheaper than a new bike.  I keep trying to convince myself that is a good thing.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Pondering the Impossible?

I put on a cheap, off brand, tire not long after reinstalling the pig pen.  After only 1200 miles it is bald and now, after not riding for 4 months, almost flat out in the garage.

So, I made the decision to look into going to the darkside, putting a car tire on a motorcycle.  Researching the topic shows a consensus that you can't put a car tire on a pre 2009 Harley FLHT.  Reason being there isn't a car tire that will fit the 3" rim and inside the frame.  

Never the one to take no for an answer I will attempt to do what they say can't be done.  There is the possibility I have to much free time on my hands, but who knows it might even work!

Friday, September 4, 2015

Going Camping Part 2, Ends Early

The rain finally stopped and I got up to make coffee.  Set up the burner, filled the pot with water, and reached for the coffee.  It wasn't there!  I looked everywhere twice to be certain and sure enough I FORGOT it at home!  That was another 50 mile trip down/up the hill, after breakfast, to find a store to get some because the plan was to be up here for six days.  Six days without coffee just won't work.

The grill on the end of the table was useless to cook anything without the cover on it to keep the heat in.  The single burner camp stove was a lot more useful.

 I had been seeing the commercial for Spam, glorious Spam on TV and thought I would give it a try.  It had been years and I found it to be just awful and uneatable.  It was so bad even Dexter wouldn't eat it.

We secured the coffee, came to camp and made a pot, filled my cup, and headed to checkout the Blue Ridge Reservoir.  In all my travels up here I had never seen it.  After 10 miles down a rutted road I found it tucked among the trees, down in a valley.

 At the end of the road was a boat launch ramp and up the hill only a couple of parking spots. As there were some guys launching their boat that would need to park, we just looked for a few minutes and headed back out.  In order to fish here you would have to have a boat.

We headed back to camp for another pot of coffee and I took the opportunity to start reading a book I have had for a while, titled The Harley-Davidson Reader, a collection of stories about the founding of the Moco.  Interesting people and stories so far.  An interesting fact I learned was the early, original claim by one of the Davidson brothers that Harley was proud of being such a quiet motorcycle.

It started clouding up and in the distance you could hear the low rumble of thunder.  Dexter thought this would be the perfect time to become a lap dog.

This is when I noticed Dexter breathing funny.

Started a fire just in case the storm came back tonight.

Lasted until about 9:00 and then turned in.  More lightening, thunder, and rain during the night.   Dexter had a restless night and started whimpering.  He crawled up and stuck his snout in my face and his breathing was raspy and he started to cough.  When the sun was coming up he was dragging and barely moving.  After making a pot of coffee I made the decision to pack up and head home to take him to the vet.  Getting home the vet couldn't see him until Thursday morning.  Took him in and found he has a respiratory infection.  He will be taking meds for 12 days, but should be fine. 

The great, forgetful, camping trip was cut short by a sick pup, but it was fun while it lasted.  I'm not sure that Dexter really liked camping.  It is a good thing I am bigger and get to make the rules.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Going Camping Part 1

After substituting for 4 days in one week I needed a break.  Decided to load the truck and head for the hills that I had been pondering for a couple of weeks.  Had been checking the weather regularly and all looked well, until the truck was loaded.  Sunday, flash flood warnings were issued in the area I was headed and Monday called for a 60% chance of thunderstorms, but that meant 40% chance it would be clear.  Odds were good enough for me, so I loaded Dexter and off we went at 7:00 AM, Monday morning.

Stopping at the rest area at Sunset Point to relieve Dexter and grab a water I noticed I left the eggs and cold food at home.  Weighing options I continued on to Verde Valley and then made a swing by Walmart in Cottonwood.  That would be a 28 mile side trip, but going back home would be about 80 miles.  I took Dexter into Walmart, in a basket, and he was the hit of the parade.  Something about the cute little fellow that the older ladies couldn't resist.  About 15 miles out of Walmart I realized I forgot the eggs, AGAIN! This wasn't boding well for a successful trip.  Found a grocery store in Verde Valley that I could have used instead of the trip to Cottonwood, but it was supposed to be an adventure.

Dexter's first trip to the forrest at Clint's Well Campground.

First step was to put up the tent.  Next put down the sleeping pad and sleeping bag, get the pillow....find the pillow....forgot the damn pillow! Non-issue, roll up a pair of jeans, cover with a towel, problem solved.  I see a pattern developing here.  

Dexter didn't see any problem, he found himself a nice place to lounge.  Right by my makeshift pillow.

Camp set up ready to relax and the sun is shinning.  Why was I worried?

This was two hours later.  About 1:00 PM.

So, the camping adventure begins.  It was very nice for two hours and then the rain started.  At about 12:15 AM Dexter was yelping and trying to crawl under me.  The thunder was a rolling, booming, set of explosions bordering on scary close and the lightening was lighting up the night.  It was quite the experience and sometime after an hour or so I fell asleep.  I woke up about 4:30 AM and it was still raining, so I went back to sleep.