Monday, March 29, 2010

Valve Problems

Some bad news. From looking at the exhaust valves through the spark plug holes while shining a light in the exhaust port, it looks like valve and valve seat replacement needs to be done sometime soon. The edge of the exhaust valve goes to a sharpish edge. Normally, there would be a slim vertical surface between the valve cut seating surface and the valve face. The edge isn't "tuliped" yet but it's on its way. I may try to get through the summer and tear it down this fall but, definitely, no long trips until I can get the heads worked on. I've read that there are only a handfull of decent shops that know what they are doing with these old bikes. Time to start saving my pennies. This is a known problem with early '80s BMW airheads especially the 1000cc models. The valve seat material was replaced with a harder material to compensate for unleaded gas but they don't conduct heat as well. The exhaust valves overheat and slowly deform. I've read that rebuilding the heads are about $600. (Ouch) I guess I'll pull the heads tomorrow and give Porter's Beemershop a call.

Tuesday Afternoon - The recommendation from the Beemershop is that I may be able to get another summer season out of the valves since I don't really put on a lot of miles but check the valve clearance often. When the clearance starts to change rapidly, then time to pull the heads and send them off for rebuilding. The actual turn around for the rebuild could be in as little as 3 weeks but since their machinist is out, they're falling behind. I did order a new exhaust crossover to replace the one with the broken clamp since they're prices are way better than other online shops and I'll start reassembly once all the parts come back in.

Today ia another wonderful, warm day with great visibility. I had meetings for most of the day but at least I had to walk between upper and lower campus to make them all.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sure Sign of Spring

A sure sign of Spring approaching isn't daytime temperatures over 40°F or over 14 hours of light but when the state DOT (Department of Transportation) goes to the trouble of plowing the bike path. They are pretty confident that there won't be any more major snow falls. There is still quite a bit of ice on the bike path where snow melt has run across but by mid-afternoon, most of it has melted.

I pulled off the exhaust headers on the bike to try and get a good look at the exhaust valves but couldn't get a very good look through the exhaust port. According to forum posts, I should try looking through the spark plug holes. i believe I'm supposed to be looking for "tuliping" or thinning of the edge of the exhaust valve. I didn't have a flashlight handy so I'll take a look tomorrow. One of the crossover pipes had a damaged clamp and it looked like the previous owner just glued it on to maintain the appearance so one more piece to order.

Yesterday, I decided to try and attend the BMWMOA rally in Redmond, OR, near the middle of July. We have a family reunion right afterwards in Portland so the timing works out. I'm not sure if I'll go through the trouble of hauling the bike down but I'm giving it some thought. I can't really ride the bike down since there are several of us travelling down to the reunion. Riding the bike as well as driving the truck just doesn't make sense no matter how much fun it would be...

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Not Much Going On

It has been almost a week since my last post. That must mean there isn't much going on. Many of the other blogs that I follow have great pictures taken during their motorcycle rides. Not just yet. Spring is still trying to push winter out of the way but there is a lot of resistance. Morning temperatures are still below zero and afternoon highs rarely work their way above freezing. Not much maintenance got done on the bike last weekend as I needed to order a bunch of small parts. (oil filter, clutch cable, high temperature anti-seize, air filter, petcock rebuild kits (they leak occasionally), fuel line, and a couple of new fork boots) I think replacing the fork boots are going to take a lot of effort but the ones currently on the bike are torn in a couple of places. They are thin plastic kind of like the ones you see on kids toys or cheap truck shock absorbers. I suspect that they aren't BMW parts but we'll see when the new parts arrive. If the new ones are as flimsy as the old ones, I may have to look for a more suitable replacement. Yearly brake fluid replacement, done. Centering and lubing the swing arm, done. I need to pull the bike into the middle of the garage to remove the rear wheel for the rear wheel spline lube so maybe this weekend...

I'm managing to get out of the office most afternoons for at least a 5 mile walk. Usually as part of my lunch break. Today, a couple of meetings got cancelled so I'll be heading out to lower campus for my last meeting of the day. Of course, I'll probably take the scenic route just to get in a few more miles. I used to really enjoy this time of the year. Since I started riding, I now look forward to late spring and summer even more. This time of the year is clear with 200+ mile visibility, snow still covering up the dead leaves and stuff left over from last fall, and very few tour buses and almost no RVs cluttering up the roads.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring is Getting Closer

You can barely identify the brown grass showing in this picture but it really is there. The afternoon temperatures are above freezing though the early morning lows are still around -6°F. Even though Spring is supposed to start tomorrow, I don't think it will really be here for quite a while. Maybe mid-April. Still lots of ice on the sidewalks, in fact a little more than before due to the warm days, so still minimal walking outside. I still seem to be doing fine walking around, in fact, on Monday, I walked 10½ miles around the SeaTac (I had a long layover). Still no real issues with my sore knee. It still feels a little weak after a lot of miles but it has felt like that for quite a while.

Yesterday afternoon, I spotted an old Kawasaki riding towards the Parks Hwy in the late afternoon. I don't think that I will be able to get my bike out for another month or so due to all the snow and ice in our driveway and subdivision roads. I still have more work to do on the bike anyway. This weekend, I plan on adjusting and greasing the swing arm bearings, replacing the front and rear brake fluid, engine oil, transmission oil, drive shaft and rear drive oil, adjust the valves and lube the rear drive spline. That should be just about all the maintenance I need to do at this point. I still need to pull off the exhaust headers to try and get a good look at the exhaust valve seats to see if there is any evidence of valve recession. So far I haven't seen any evidence in the valve adjustment changing rapidly but it doesn't hurt to get a better look. I needed to remove the exhaust header nuts anyway to put on a coat of high temperature anti-seize. I've been reading a lot of other blog posts about people out riding some complete with video. Makes me feel a bit jealous. Just a bit....

Saturday afternoon - Another "Spring-like" day. Temperatures worked their way up into the mid-30s (°F) and lot of water flowing into the parking lots. I only walked 5 miles today since I was "volunteered" to help with a spaghetti feed fund raiser at the high school. Entertainment was provided by Cold Steel, a local steel drum band, shown here setting up. I think that there may be some food left over since the early turn out was pretty light.

This must not be my month for computers. When I turned on my PC at home, there was a "pop" when something blew in the power supply. Instead of ordering a new power supply, I just pulled out the hard drive and put it into another old PC we had laying around. After booting up and installing a bunch of drivers, I'm up and running again. Maybe it's time to retire this machine as it is about 6 years old, still running XP and all I normally use it for is going on the Internet and accessing network devices around the house.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

This is a blossom on a plum tree in front of my folks place. It looks like spring has come to Oregon. Today started out damp and cool but the sun eventually came out. It has been a good family visit and I head back north tomorrow. Today was spent just running around with my sister and her family to Albany and some shops around Corvallis ending with a seafood dinner. I made what turned out to be a delicious mushroom risotto, steamer clams, grilled shrimp, and some poached cod. I rarely get fresh seafood so this was a real treat. It has been a pretty short visit so there wasn't much time for anything else. Tomorrow, I head back north. The spring weather was a nice break.

The drive in my Macbook Pro died again. This is the 256 GB SSD. It seems like it fills up to a certain point the becomes unreadable. I can restore it from my Time Machine backup once I get back to my office

Tuesday afternoon - Time Machine restore worked once again. It has been quite a while since the last time the drive "died". I deleted about 10 GB of stuff off of the drive and all seems to be fine once again. Fortunately, I didn't lose anything significant. Anything that I am actively working on I keep in DropBox so it is automatically pushed to "the cloud" to sync my other computers. I had suspected that I was going to start having problems due to the machines recent behavior. Normally, the boot process only takes about 12 seconds and lately, it has been over double that. I have had a couple of "grey screens" telling me to reboot but thought that that may have been caused by a memory leak in the 3.00 version of Aperture trial that I recently installed.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

On Thursday evening, we went out to the University of Connecticut campus just to look around. It was pretty deserted as it was Spring Break. We did run across this strange sculpture near the center of the campus. Don't know what it was supposed to be and there was no signage. The campus itself was huge, especially for me being used to UAF.

Friday was spent in airports or in the air as I worked my way west from Hartford to Chicago to Denver to Portland. I then drove to Corvallis to visit family for a couple of days. The ride was somewhat entertaining as the rental car had the Ford Sync system. I plugged my iPhone into the USB port then use voice commands to select tracks to play. For example, press the button on the steering wheel, hear a "bong" then say "play artist Amy Grant". The radio then starts playing music from my phone. Pretty cool system.

The trees are blooming here and I was hoping for some clear blue skies to take some pictures. So far, it has been mostly raining or drizzling. So here is a shot of my sisters little dog. Quiet, not hyper at all and really well behaved.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

UConn Workshop

I'm currently teaching a IPv4 Multicast Workshop at the University of Connecticut. Since we need layer 2 access for some of the labs, all of the equipment needs to be shipped and set up at the location. The group is 100% local, that is quite a change from many of the other workshops I've done. This is only my second visit to Connecticut. Too bad there isn't more time to look around. We usually don't get finished until late in the afternoon or evening and I'm pretty tired by then. Maybe this evening, we'll have some time to look around. Todays class is scheduled for 9 hours and that is a long time to be focused on highly technical content.

The venue is great, there is plenty of room to spread out and have all of the noisy equipment in a different room. For these workshops, 22 Cisco and Juniper routers are shipped along with a pile of laptops and cables. Everyone who attends has an opportunity to configure a variety of routers participating in a variety of roles within a network. The workshop is designed for network engineers from providers and regional networks but most of the attendees are campus. It is a stretch for some as the routing protocols and policies are different. There is one motorcycle rider in the class and he is a "rounder" i.e. he rides year around. Aerostitch suit, full face helmet and riding a Harley just about every day unless it's snowing. He doesn't claim to be a typical HD rider.

My knee is still doing fine. I used the hotel treadmill again without any issues so I'm still convinced that the joint pain was a side effect from the Januvia. There may still be an actual injury in my knee but it isn't preventing me from participating in some activity. Running is very stressful on joints so I may avoid it until I lose a bunch more weight.

Wednesday evening - Walked downtown this evening to dinner then walked on the treadmill for 4¼ miles before heading to bed. Tomorrow should be much shorter day than today. I really enjoy teaching these workshops.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Is Januvia the Problem?

Not being able to walk the terminals is causing this trip to feel much longer. Right now I am sitting in SeaTac waiting for the fourth leg (of five) to Washington Dulles. Then just a short hop to Hartford, CT. Two of the legs were on Alaska Airlines and the other three are on United or their partners. I'm not looking forward to the next leg at all.

I read on the Internet, and we all know how reliable that is, that joint pain is a known side effect of Januvia, one of the medications that I have been taking for the last couple of months. Yesterday, I went back to Byetta instead of Januvia to see if it makes a difference. It's significant that my knee is no longer sore. On Friday, I was barely able to walk due to my knee. Today, there is no pain in my knee and I'm still having to walk quite a bit to get from gate to gate. Some muscles are now sore probably from me trying to move while minimizing stress on my knee. The Byetta has some other issues but not being able to walk wasn't one of them. I'm thinking that Januvia was the problem. Up until last month, the only joints that were sore were ones that were "stressed" at some time in the past like my right shoulder and hip from my fall during the Equinox Marathon. Running probably added my knee to the list of "stressed" joints.

Monday evening - This afternoon, I used the treadmill at the hotel fitness center and did 2 min jog/2 min walk intervals for 50 minutes to see how my knee was doing. Absolutely no issues. Calf muscles were a little sore but that was about it. I feel confident that I found the culprit.

Since I wanted to use the fitness room at the hotel but I forgot to bring a pair of running shorts, I needed to find a shopping mall. Fortunately, there was a Cabelas superstore nearby next to the UConn stadium. This is a shot from the front door looking towards their two story display. It was a fun store to look around in. I managed to leave with just the one pair of shorts.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Dry Spline

I am finally getting around to some bike maintenance. The transmission input spline needs to be greased roughly annually. To get this far, I removed the tank, seat, air box, battery box, swing arm pivots and several emissions hoses. Then the bolts holding the trans to the engine. Pull the clutch lever to separate the engine and the transmission. It took about an hour to get this far.

In the picture above, the transmission is on the right and the engine on the left and you can see the spline roughly in the center of the photo. The shininess isn't necessarily good. It means that it doesn't have any grease on it. Now I need to pick up the appropriate grease and moly 60 and some sort of brush to apply a thin coat of the grease/moly mixture to the spline then put it all back together. I probably should lube the swing arm bushings and they did have plenty of clean grease. I will be teaching an IPv4 multicast workshop at the University of Connecticut next week so I need to get it all back together tomorrow. I'll get to stop and visit my parents in Corvallis, OR, on the way back home next weekend. That'll be a nice break as I haven't seen them since last summer.

On another note, I visited the clinic to ask about my sore knee and mentioned that it started hurting when I started jogging. The doctors response was simply "don't jog". I can live with that as my only motivation was to try and recover some time. Today I walked about 1½ miles and it was starting to get sore. My upcoming travel should help my knee get some rest. I think my miles for the next couple of months will be low...

Friday Afternoon - This afternoon, I stopped at the local Harley/Honda/BMW dealer to try and pick up Honda Moly 60 and it didn't look good for a while. The guy at the parts counter had never heard of it. Fortunately, someone else walked by who knew exactly where it was. A couple of tubes in a cardboard box under a counter. It was something the guys in the back used in the shop. Rarely does anyone actually ask for it at the counter. I suspect that this tube should last a lifetime as it isn't used for a lot.

Friday Evening - Yum, a mixture of Unocal heavy grease and Honda Moly 60 paste. This is what I spread on the transmission input splines. When I started to clean them, I found a thin layer of grease so I was glad that I didn't wait too long to do this maintenance item. I assembled the rest of the bike but didn't adjust the swing arm bearings. It needs to be centered in the frame and I need don't have time to do it today. I just reassembled the swing arm so the pieces weren't laying around catching dust. I'll center the swing arm within the frame and adjust the bearing pre-load when I get back from Connecticut.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Sore Knee

I went for a jog/walk this afternoon and I now have a dull pain in the middle of my right knee. I guess, I should avoid any kind of running for a while and just stick to walking. I guess that is what I get for trying to increase my activity level. The last thing I need is some sort of knee injury. No significant activity over the weekend except for a diabetes conference on Saturday and a wedding on Sunday. Kind of made it difficult to get in any sort of exercise (that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it) except for walking to church. I was originally trying to jog/run since I can cover the same distance in less time. From everything I've read, your Calorie consumption per mile was pretty much the same whether you are running or running. For some reason, I have a hard time believing that since it is so much more difficult to run.

Since it will be warming up this week, I plan on finally getting some work done on my motorcycle. When it is below zero outside, the garage is just too cold to work on things. Just some routine maintenance that, for me, only needs to be done annually. I still need to address the difficult starting and rough running in rainy weather last summer. From reading Charlie6's July 2008 post, the problem may be very small hairline cracks in one or both of the coils. There are a bunch of other things as it is an old BMW airhead. I think they are known for needing a lot of routine maintenance. But, at least the average person can actually do the work. No need to take it in to the shop for most things.