Tuesday, February 12, 2013

First Commute with the Rig

This morning (02/12/2013) was my first commute into work with the sidecar rig. I hope it starts up okay later on today as I have a meeting in town at noon. Maybe I'll just have to go for a ride later on this morning. I wasn't aware of the temperature when I left though I did have to turn the heated liner up a bit more than on previous rides but arrived toasty warm. In fact, warmer than when I commute by bus. Without the benefit of reverse, parking takes planning, especially in a non-level parking lot. Fortunately, it wasn't that hard to push the rig into a space.

Even though all of the parking spaces have outlets available, I don't have any way of keeping the engine warm. I thought about throwing the battery tender into the top box to at least keep the battery fully charged. I guess I'll see how it goes later today. In this picture, it looks like the bike is leaning away from the sidecar by more than the 1° that I measured the other day. Maybe I shouldn't rely on the gadgets and use my eyes more.

Speaking of gadgets, the second photo was taken using the camera in my iPad (I've never used the camera before). My phone decided to stop working last night after a reboot and it's been sitting on my desk getting it's programming and apps restored from my laptop. This is one of the first uses of the laptop since I started testing out the Chromebook. This is an example of something that couldn't be done without a "real" computer handy. If I was out of town with just the Chromebook, my phone would've been dead until I got back to my office.

Tuesday Afternoon - Well, a little bit worse than expected. At 11:30, the engine barely turned over after sitting outside since 8:00 probably due to the cold. It had dropped to -18°F by then but was still nice and sunny. The engine did start but was running a kind of rough but after a minute or so, it settled down to normal. I rode downtown for my meeting, nothing abnormal until around ½ mile from my destination, the engine started running rough again. Almost like it was running on one cylinder. But I kept the revs up and made it to my destination.

After the 3¼ hour long meeting, The engine again barely turned over but fired and started on about the second compression stroke. It ran rough and there would be occasional pops from the exhaust pipe. Kind of like it was running too rich. But if I kept the revs up, I had no problem going down the road. Another oddity was that neither the heated gear nor the  heated grips worked. They aren't even on the same circuit to the battery. The battery voltage was a steady 14.4v though the lights on the Gerbing controller were flashing red suggesting low voltage. Power cycling the controller got it working again. At about the same time, the roughness disappeared and the heated grips started working again. After arriving home, the engine wouldn't even turn over let alone start and I could not hear a click from the starter relay.

Odd, I guess I have my work cut out for me for the next couple of days. You gotta love these cold weather gremlins.

18 comments:

SonjaM said...

Those darn gremlins. I hope you can scare them off. At least you got to your destination. Good luck finding the problem.

Keith - Circle Blue said...

The rig didn't strand you, but it does definitely sound like you have project. I second Sonja's well wishes on finding your gremlin!

RichardM said...

After the rig sat in the garage for a couple of hour, it started up and ran just fine. Gremlin chasing is one of the things I still enjoy doing...

Erik R said...

Is it possible that the carbs might be icing up in the -18° temps?? When I was much younger, we had an old Chevy truck with no ducting to draw warmed air off the exhaust manifolds... When it got super cold, she'd run rough. Just a thought??

redlegsrides said...

Richard, there might be something to the freezing carbs theory....I've not had my rig sit for hours in such cold weather.

I don't recall, did you change your oil to 5w30?

As to the electrical gremlins,those are the worst in my mind, to troubleshoot.

Dar said...

Richard do you have any gasoline antifreeze in it? Sounds love riding your rig though I am so envious!

Trobairitz said...

Not just chasing gremlins but cold weather electrical gremlins.

Hope you get it sorted and it is an easy fix. Do they have a block heater type of apparatus for bikes like they do for cars and trucks?

Glad it managed to get you to work, your meeting and home without leaving you stranded in those temps.

RichardM said...

Nope, didn't get stranded. My meeting was a the power company and it was suggested that if it didn't start, it would be easy to push it into a warehouse to warm up and jump start.

RichardM said...

I never thought of carburetor icing but I don't think that there was enough humidity for that to be a problem. Maybe the enrichener mechanism on the carb (no choke on these CV carbs) could be stuck again but I thought that I cleaned it out pretty well last month. Especially with the popping in the exhaust. Too much fuel. Fortunately I like to "dink around" with stuff.

RichardM said...

Yes, at Chris' recommendation, I now have 5w30 in the engine. I think that the hard starting may be dirt and junk within the starter motor. I suspect that it hasn't been cracked open in 30 years.

RichardM said...

No heat in the gas but at those temperatures any separated water should be frozen in the bottom of the tank. But you're right, you always have to wonder after every fill-up on the quality of the gas. It's more variable than you'd think it should be especially in the winter.

RichardM said...

No block heaters for bikes (I wonder why not!) but I think I may have something figured out for the oil. A small silicon pad heater stuck onto an aluminum plate and mechanically fastened to the bottom of the oil pan should get enough heat into the engine to ensure oil flows. Plus a similar, lower wattage pad under the battery should keep it toasty warm. All of this running around was in town so little danger of getting stranded somewhere. I can always walk...

VStar Lady said...

At least you didn't get stranded ... and sounds like you have options to explore and another challenge!

RichardM said...

Nope, not stranded. Too close to home for that to happen. And it isn't the first time I've had similar symptoms but it never last for more than maybe 10 seconds at a time...

Conchscooter said...

The Bonneville has factory installed carburetor heaters which struck me as eccentric. Perhaps 82 degree days in February is eccentric instead. I think this hack may see you riding a great deal more than you might had you left the BMW solo.

RichardM said...

That's how I ended up in Alaska. It was over 90°F in February one day when I lived in California and I decided that I wanted to move somewhere cooler. I think I found somewhere cooler....

Unknown said...

Richard:

I hope your silicon heater idea works then you could start riding farther afield. At least you can do a bit of riding while you experiment with solutions

bob
Riding the Wet Coast

RichardM said...

I have two small silicone heat pads ordered and they are both pretty low wattage. I'll see what fits on the pan, the engine case and the battery tray.

I think that I'll be taking the starter apart to clean out some of the thirty year old dirt and grease as even when the battery was fully charged, the engine cranked pretty slow.