Thursday, October 20, 2016

It Was Inevitable

Well, I knew that it was going to happen sooner or later. In case you can't see it, there are snow flakes coming from the clouds. This morning, it was only 9°F (-13°C) and the National Weather Service said that snow was possible this afternoon. I guess they were right.

I took the truck to Alyeska Tire and had the tires siped. i.e. They cut slits across the tread in the center 50% of the tires. The slits are maybe 316" deep. The purpose is to have more edges on the road in slippery conditions. One of the side benefits is that the tires run cooler. I tried to take a picture of the siped tires but they are really difficult to see. Because of the snow forecast, the tire shop was packed with folks looking to get snow tires. I'm glad I arrived 15 minutes before they opened. I was 6th in line and out of there in only 1½ hours. By the time I left they were predicting six hour wait times. 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Ice On the River

Still no snow in the long term forecast (not that I'm complaining!). This is the Chena River that flows through downtown Fairbanks and ice is starting to form. Since I was working on the Ural a few days ago, the BMW was easier to get out of the garage. There was a lot of wind today and you can really feel it when coming from the sidecar side. Occasional gusts would want to push you to the left and you can feel the sidecar occasionally get a little light. As in the wheel not being firmly planted on the road.

When going down the highway, I would shift towards the sidecar with more weight on the right peg. The 30-40mph wind combined with 18°F (-8°C) ambient temperatures reminded me that the BMW still needed to have the handlebar end covers installed. And, it feels like the left heated glove isn't working again. Sigh...

Later in the day - As expected, another broken wire in the left glove. Fixed. The next pair of heated gloves will be battery powered...

Tuesday Morning -  And again! This time the right glove decided that it wanted some attention. The break seems to frequently occur right at the end of the strain relief. The problem isn't the strain relief but they use plastic insulated wires that get brittle when cold. Not the best design for something that will be used in the cold. So I carefully cut off enough of the strain relief on the connector and the remaining wire to solder. Then slip some heat shrink tubing over the splice and tape it all up.

I was thinking of looking for some springs at the hardware store that can be slipped over the remaining strain relief and the first couple of inches of wire. Both repairs could use some additional mechanical support to prevent the wire from flexing.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Back to the Old Routine

Rode to College Coffeehouse this morning enjoying another beautiful day. In the background is Ballaine Lake with rocks and logs on the surface that people had thrown out to see how thick the ice was. A friend mentioned that he saw a couple of students running around on the ice a few days ago and from his vantage point, he could see the ice flexing. He suggested that they carefully make their way towards the shore.

I went ahead and added two more LED shop lights in the garage replacing three fluorescent fixtures. Now there is plenty of light when working in the garage. In fact, it feels more like a shop than a garage. I wanted to recheck the alternator gear lash as I occasionally hear a whine from the front of the engine. After checking that the marks I made during the rebuild still lined up, I went ahead and removed the alternator leaving the cush drive still attached to the engine. At the time that I rebuilt the engine, I didn't know how to adjust the alternator gear lash without removing the timing cover. I now know that I could simply remove the alternator and measure the lash at the drive.

I don't have a dial indicator but the lash feels like it's in the neighborhood of 0.002" which is what I had set it to while the engine was on the bench. That's when I made the marks.

Since the rig no longer creeps forward in first gear with the clutch disengaged, I'm not going to bother removing the transmission to check for abnormal wear on the clutch. In other words, the Ural seems to be running fine.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Another Beautiful Morning

Sunday - Another beautiful morning. Not a cloud in the sky and 23°F (-5°C) about an hour before sunrise. After the record rainfall this summer, we expected the moisture to continue and get dumped on with snow. But then again, it's still early in the season…

No challenges or engine failures makes for boring posts. Not much to write about.

Monday - The project of the day was replacing the old, flickering, dim fluorescent shop lights in the garage. There were 6 fixtures, each with two 40 watt T12 bulbs. Today, I replaced 3 of the fixtures. The LED replacement fixtures are 42 watts per fixture or about half of the power for a whole lot more light. The old fixtures were wired into the permanent wiring and the new ones were designed to plug into ceiling outlets. A quick trip to Lowe's got me all of the pieces needed to install quad outlets on the ceiling for the lights so they are still controlled by the wall switches.

Plus, we had a 10' track with 3 LED flood lights that used to be in one of the bedrooms. That now lives in the garage illuminating the workbench area. This is also plugged into my new ceiling mounted box. I'll replace the other 3 fixtures next month.