Friday, September 30, 2016

Shorter Days

A coupe of posts back had a image from WeatherUnderground that showed 12 hours of daylight here in Fairbanks. It is only five days later and we've already lost an additional 34 minutes. Quite the rapid retreat as we continue our decent towards winter. We've already had our first bit of snow a few days back but it won't be sticking for a while. Last year, we had a pile of snow at this point in time. This post is just a quick update on several items.  
  • The Shoe-Goo repair seems to be holding up well and the boots are once again waterproof. I'm impressed at how well that stuff holds. 
  • I stil haven't replaced the front tire on the Ural since the old tire still has about ⅓ tread left. Not enough to hold studs but plenty of tread for driving around. I'm not sure that I'm even going to bother with studding the tires this year as it needs about $200 worth of GripStuds. After all, I'm not trying to prove anything. 
  • I called Aerostitch as the main zipper wouldn't always zip closed and they sent a new main slide and lower stop. It now zips closed except for one tooth at the very top. I had the main zipper replaced last year and it probably needs to be replaced again to completely eliminate the problem. 
  • Two tasks left on the Ural 50k km service. Adjust the head bearings and lubricate the rear brake pedal shaft. There is a mod on SovietSteeds that I will be doing over the next couple of weeks where you add grease zerk fittings to some of these lubrication points. 
  • I am planning to pull off the transmission and front timing cover off of the Ural to examine some aspects of the engine rebuild now that the engine has been thoroughly "run in".
    • Check the lash of the alternator drive gear. Since the alternator is installed after the engine is installed into the frame, I adjusted the lash and marked the alternator adjustment point hoping that it'll be at the same value.
    • The axial runout of the flywheel bothered me and I think that it may lead to accelerated wear of the clutch splines. 
  • I still have BruceW's deep sump pan, oil pump extension and spin-on filter. The plan is to try and get those done next Monday. 
  • At the end of October, I will be heading to the Portland area to look at a used 5th wheel RV. In case you were wondering why the hitch and other towing mods on the truck.
  • Speaking of the truck, it is now 11 years old and probably time to get some more maintenance done.
    • Replace the coolant, transmission fluid, transfer case fluid, front & rear differential fluid
    • Replace the leaking front clearance lights
    • Install locking toolbox in the bed for additional locking storage
  • Start work on the Barrow contract for next year
Plenty to keep me busy…

Monday, September 26, 2016

Home Canning and New Tires

How's that for an odd mix of topics...

Hopefully this batch will turn out better than last years. The general recipe I used is from the Penn State Extension office. I used to have a book called Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills which had all sorts of old timey recipes. I can't find the book but the Penn State recipe sounded pretty close. I had the brined cabbage sitting in the crock for only three weeks which is near the lower end of the recommended time. Hopefully it was long enough. All of the jars sealed up nicely. For some reason I get a real feeling of satisfaction when that happens. For future reference, ten pounds (4.5 kg) of cabbage makes seven pint jars of sauerkraut.

This morning (Monday) was clear, sunny and a chilly 25°F (-4°C). It'll be a bit until I'm used to the cooler temperatures and enjoyed the warmth from the heated grips. Since I only rode to coffee and no other errands, I didn't bother with any of the heated gear. Today turned out to be a good time to install the new tires. On Saturday's ride to the Monderosa, I thought that I could feel this tire sliding but DaveR, who was following me near the end of the ride out, said that he could see the sidewalls deflect on right turns. The Duro has much thinner sidewalls compared to the Heidenau.

The used pusher was the first to be replaced and it is showing it's wear. I'm not really sure how many miles are on it as it. It used to be the spare which I had to swap on back near the beginning of May when I had a flat on a very worn K37.  The nice thing about Ural wheels and tires is that they are fairly easy to work on. This lifetime supply of tire lube was gifted by JedR after we had installed four K37 tires on his rig last Fall. He is very generous.

The No-Pinch tire tool along with the No-Mar tire lube made very quick work installing these stiff Heidenau tires. I think the total time from the wheel and old tire being put on the bench to getting ready to air up the new tire was on the order of ten minutes. So much easier and faster than the Snowflake wheels on the BMW.

JedR had also gifted me with some Tyrebead balancing beads. We had installed them on his bike last Fall and he is very happy with their performance. I had been thinking of using these but hadn't been able to find anyone local that carried them. And shipping was always ridiculously expensive. Two tasks that were on the 50k km task list were checking the bearing adjustment using the two special tools provided in the Ural tool kit and applying some grease to the final drive spline. After installing the wheel, I also adjusted the brakes. Tire pressure in the pusher was set at 40 psi and the sidecar at 34 psi.

Then repeat everything with the sidecar tire. It used to be the pusher when I started my trip last Summer before I switched to a street tire half way down the Cassiar Highway. It has been installed on the sidecar since I returned 13 months ago. It was studded for the winter and the studs removed last May. It was also pretty worn. I definitely got my moneys worth out of these tires.

Two down, one to go. I need to get some other stuff done today so I'll do the front tire later. Plus, it still has quite bit of tread left especially when compared to the rear tires.

Just for grins, I compared the readings on all of my tire pressure gauges. The three dial gauges, one of which is around 40 years old, all matched within a needle width. Two (freebie) pencil gauges were 1 psi higher. And a Slime digital gauge was 6 psi low. I discarded the digital gauge. I had picked it up during my trip last summer as the EZAir dial gauge was somewhat cumbersome to use. But I never really believed the readings. It turns out that my hunch was correct. 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

1st Last Ride

Today was the "real" solstice for this area. Equal day and night according to Weather Underground. So it seemed like a good day for the BMW riding group here in Fairbanks to schedule a "1st last ride of the year". There have been some years when they've made it to the 5th last ride but somehow we don't expect that to be the case this year. Note, I thought about taking the BMW but the Ural was the easier option.

We left College Coffeehouse heading out the Parks Highway towards Nenana. The goal was the Monderosa Bar & Grill just this side of Nenana. Once you climbed into the hills, the temperature warmed up to about 45°F (7°C) but once we dropped down towards Nenana, the temperature dropped to 34°F (1°C). These temperatures are according to my OAT installed in the windshield. This is the view from the Parks Highway Monument looking south towards the Tanana River and the Alaska Range.

Originally, I was just planning to stop and take a photo but the group decided to stop and try and troubleshoot an electrical problem on a R100GS/PD. The fuse for the tail lights/dash lights keeps blowing while riding. I suspect multiple broken wires in the bundle from the headlight to the handlebars. I offered to take the troublesome bike off his hands for $20 but he didn't take me up on it. BTW, the bike with the electrical problem is the red/white one in the foreground not the other red/white R100GS/PD that most seem to be looking at. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

New Tires

I ordered these tires back in July from the local Harley/BMW/Honda dealer and at the time I ordered them, I was told that they would just be added to their regular shipment so there wouldn't be any shipping charge. That sounded like a pretty good deal. They finally arrived today and the counter person complained that people like me were trying to run them out of business. He claimed that the cheapest shipping was FedEx and the shipping for my three tires was $162. I reminded him that I ordered the tires two months ago and that it would be added to their regular order. It wasn't my problem that their tire person didn't bother to look at their online system for any special orders taken by other employees.

But to try and appease him, I offered to split the shipping cost. After all, if I ordered the tires from Heindl Engineering in Ohio, the shipping would've been about that anyway. He continued to whine so I don't think I will be ordering tires from them again. In the past, I had ordered tires from Dan at Adventure Cycleworks. When I talked to Dan back in July, he was saying that business was so slow this year that he didn't think he would be placing another order until next spring. Not as many riders as in previous years. Not as many people wanting to ride to Deadhorse.

Now I just need to decide whether to put these tires on now or wait until after the "last ride of the season" this coming Saturday. I may be busy tomorrow...

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

One More Project Done

The latest project of the day completed. Due to the weight of the diesel engine, adding a snow plow to the front of the truck requires you to add some ballast as far back as you can. The round "plug" in the bed is the gooseneck hitch and is two inches in front of the rear axle. The frame is built from all-weather wood and it is to keep the bags of gravel from sliding around the bed when braking and is braced against the front of the bed, the tailgate, fender wells and the bottom of the bed rail. The recommendation is for 600# of ballast. Right now, I have seven sixty pound bags in place so I need to pick up a several more bags. Last year, I had stacks of bags in each rear corner of the bed tied in with rope.

The mornings have been getting consistently colder but still above freezing. I still have been riding everyday still preferring the Ural to the BMW. Maybe it's time to remove the sidecar. After all, there's still some two wheel weather left.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Misc. Fall Tasks

Not very much exciting going on this past week. After my knee started feeling better, I started working it a bit harder. I used to get a lot of miles in every day walking but lately, even 4-5 miles is unusual. I may start riding the bicycle some even if I have to haul it somewhere to start riding.

I did get some work done on the truck this week. Changed the engine oil. The oil, air and fuel filters are well under the change interval. I installed this trailer connector inside the bed using a premade harness that splices into the existing trailer connector wiring. I still need to make a wooden frame to hold about ten bags of gravel at the rear of the bed. This would be 600 pounds, the recommended counterweight to offset the weight of the plow hanging off of the front.

I also installed a shoe kit on the snow plow which helps to keep the edges of the plow from digging into the ground. The pile of washers allow you to adjust the height. This also seemed to be an opportune time to move the snowplow out of the garage.

September 15th is the first day when you are allowed to run with studded tires. Since I had never swapped tires on the BMW, this was an opportunity to take it out on the road. After sitting since the end of March, I just charged up the battery and the engine fired up on the first compression. I only drove it around 20 miles or so. The riding experience is so different from the Ural. A lot of clutch slipping is needed to get moving, the throttle requires a lot more effort, shifting is so light and easy, and before I knew it I was past the speed limit. The first curve reminded me how heavy the steering is.

The other Fall task was clearing up some of the fallen leaves. Bridget had me pick up a leaf blower and I must admit that it did speed up the chore. Especially where the leaves were mixed with gravel. The electric leaf blower also had a vacuum/mulch feature that worked really well. What would've been about four large bags of leaves fit into one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Fall Weather

After the clear, sunny weather the last couple of days, today's overcast with sprinkles wasn't very welcome. Plus it was 32°F this morning. More of the same is forecast for the next couple of days. Note that we are now well past the "leaves change color" stage and well into the "everything falls all over the yard" stage.

The first photo was taken on Sunday afternoon as the rain was rolling in to stay for the next couple of days.  On Monday, I was walking down the sidewalk and something in my left knee went "pop". Never a good sound. I managed to hobble my way to the clinic and after several hours, they weren't sure. And the insurance wouldn't authorize any other tests until it has been a problem for "a while". That must be a new unit of time in the insurance industry. They suggested that I come back in a week if I still couldn't walk. Health care at its best.

Today, I rode out to the coffee shop and though it's still a bit challenging to get on the bike, it isn't any worse than getting into the truck. This photo was taken out near all of the box stores on the nice road that was put in for no obvious reason.  Maybe to entice other box stores to develop the area. I stopped at the farmer's market on the way home and picked up another cabbage and some beets (yum!).

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Leaky Boots

We had pouring rain earlier in the week (as in several inches). Enough rain for me to discover that one of my boots leaked. I assumed that it had simply needed to be re-waterproofed and stopped by REI to pick up some Nikwak leather wax. I finally got around to retreat the boots and discovered an open seam. I could stick my finger all the way inside the boot through the seam. So time to go boot shopping again. These lasted one year of almost daily use. Not too bad but I expected more. For now, I may just use some Shoe Goo or something like that to hold the seam together.

I had done one more repair that I had not documented in the blog. Part of the plastic buckle had broken and they would no longer "latch" closed. After studying the buckle's design, I fitted a piece of "springy" metal (actually a piece of a used hack saw blade) under the buckle to back up the broken plastic piece. It now works better than new.

The last couple of days were spent helping some good friends put up trusses on their addition to their shop. They have hosted many of the airhead tech days and other get togethers and they are always open to helping others. Many have used their shop, motorcycle tire machine and other tools to get their bike back on the road to continue their moto adventures. On Wednesday, we put up the trusses, and Thursday was spent bracing, blocking, and other tasks getting ready for the roof decking.

Fortunately, the weather cleared up very nicely though the clear skies brought below freezing morning temperatures.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Geocaching at Creamer's Field

Sunday evening was spent looking for geocaches at Creamer's Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge. There were a lot of sandhill cranes. Becoming very noisy when you walk near their "territory". Just a iPhone photo. I'm not really sure how many geocaches we found but at least a half dozen or so that were placed since the last time we were here.

Last week was very sunny and warm but it has been pouring rain yesterday and today. Yesterday evening was the monthly Airhead get together. This time, it was held at the Howling Dog right across the street from the Silver Gulch. The proprietor has several airheads with a R100GS with a huge tank being his latest acquisition. I talked quite a bit with a new member about his older Ural that has been retrofitted with a newer 750cc engine. The older models had a fixed front sidecar mount (no vertical adjustment) so the larger cylinder hits the mount. He is planning on having Mickey modify the mount sometime this winter.

Since my last post, I did rebalance the carbs and I'm happier with the result. I had forgotten to "zero" the TwinMax before starting and I thought that it was running a little rough. Last night on the way back from the airhead gathering aka "Barley Therapy", the engine ran a little rough. I really need to come up with some mod to keep rain and snow out of the air box. After drying out overnight, it ran fine.

Friday, September 2, 2016

50,000 km Service

A minor milestone. The owners manual only lists maintenance for up to 30,000 km. So I'll just follow the 10,000 km list and call it 50k

  • Change engine oil and filter. (See Lubrication List, chapter 11) 
  • Change transmission oil. (See Lubrication List, chapter 11) 
  • Change final drive oil. (See Lubrication List, chapter 11) 
  • Inspect air filter element. 
  • Torque cylinder head stud nuts. 
  • Adjust valve tappet clearance.
  • Change oil in front fork shock absorbers (on telescopic fork models) 
  • Replace the spark plugs and inspect ignition leads. 
  • Replace in-line fuel filters.
  • Check:
    • Carburetors while idling for synchronous operation 
    • Check steering column bearings and adjust if required. 
    • The condition and action of the brakes, lubricate the brake shoe fulcrum pins and cams. 
    • The tension of wheel spokes. Adjust if necessary. 
    • The toe-in and camber angle of the motorcycle and sidecar. 
    • Electric wiring. Tighten connections if required. 
    • Fasteners for proper tightening. 
    • Check battery electrolyte level.
    • Check tires, tread depth greater than 3/32” 
    • Check the timing. 
  • Repack the grease in wheel bearings, adjust the bearings. 
  • Lubricate: 
    • Foot brake pedal shaft
    • Hinges of foot brake pedal shaft and linkage.
    • Lever pins and thimbles of clutch and front wheel brake control cables.
    • Drive shaft splines 

The rebuilt engine now has 5,400km and I was curious what the condition the oil was in. Not much swarf on the magnetic drain plug and no evidence of aluminum or even moisture in the drained oil. The last oil and filter change was at 1,500 km since rebuild. The "book" says to change the oil every 2,500 km but Mickey said that with the additional capacity of the deep sump and switching to the spin-on oil filter, I can double the change interval without concern. With the deep sump pan, the oil capacity increased from 2 qts to 3⅓ qts. Not an "official" recommendation but more a suggestion based on experience. Since the oil will be changed again in a couple of months to something more appropriate for winter, I used a cheaper 25w50 synthetic blend.

The transmission oil was last changed before my trip last summer using Amsoil full synthetic 20w50 oil so it has over 20k km on it. The folks at Raceway suggested the I can double the normal 10,000 km change interval with the Amsoil. The drain plug is on the right and the fill plug is on the left. No other metal or water in the transmission drained oil. The oil was actually still amber colored and pretty clean. It could probably have gone even longer. Since I didn't have any Amsoil full synthetic, I used some other 20w50 full synthetic that I had on the shelf. Hopefully, it'll be as good.

The final drive was replaced last summer by Raceway so the oil has over 15k km on it. This is the drain plug. No other metal or moisture in the oil. I followed the directions and flushed out the final drive by filling it 135 ml of engine oil, spinning the rear wheel a couple of revolutions and draining it out. No other metal or debris came out. It was black but still pretty clean. I refilled it with 135 ml of 80/90 full synthetic oil.

After the engine cooled, I re-torqued the head bolts to 35 ft-lbs and adjusted the valves. The left didn't need any adjustment at all and the right both needed to be tightened 0.001". In other words, the heads didn't need to be torqued and the valves were fine. The carbs were balanced using the TwinMax. Only minor adjustments needed but I think I want to check it again. Maybe tomorrow...

Jed had some of these stickers made and gave me one. Somehow, it seemed really appropriate today. Tomorrow, I'll start with the rest of the list.