Friday, September 19, 2014

Trap Line

I came home from work the other night and saw that I had caught what I think to be the varmint that has been chewing on the truck wires. He was running back and forth in the cage but since it was late, I figured I'd "take him for a ride" in the morning. The poor little guy either had a heart attack over night or had run himself to total exhaustion. Regardless, I took him down the road about a mile or so to a nice wooded area and cut him loose. Now I can fix the fuel pump wires again. 

Harley parts came in the mail yesterday so I can get back on that project and the weather's good for painting, at least today. Should be able to do a little of both this weekend. And maybe find the break in the truck wires and get that soldered up.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Now We're Rocking!

The girls seem to have taken to their new life in confinement - they've started laying eggs. Now if the Zombie Apocalypse comes, even though the garden has gotten away from me a bit, I'll be eating some nice veggie omelets.  Of course now that there's only two chickens and there's two of us here, they'll have to be heavy on the veggies and light on the eggs.

I couldn't find the "high" nuts I wanted locally to fasten the jugs to the crankcase. I called the Fastenal store that's only about a mile from the college and that went about like most of my phone conversations go when I'm looking for something a bit out of the ordinary. I tell the guy I'm looking for 3/8 fine thread nuts that are taller than standard like they use on "U" bolts for leaf springs, since this seems to be the most common usage of the high nuts. I hear him turning pages like he's looking something up in a catalog or maybe he's just thumbing through a magazine. Anyway, he tells me all of their nuts are about the same height. I didn't bother telling him that in addition to the high nuts, there are coupling nuts that are longer still and jam nuts that are shorter. I went on-line and looked up Fastenal and they, of course, sell high nuts along with many other types but when I typed in a store search, the local store didn't stock them anyway. At least I learned I can check to see what's in stock before calling or running over there to buy something they don't have or getting frustrated by some knucklehead who's supposed to be the authority but doesn't know diddly.

Next step was the J&P catalog. They've got them and they're shiny too. They also have wrist pins, so I ordered a couple of those. I pulled the one back out and measured it and it's about .001" under where the rod goes. Even with a new pin it might be just a little loose still but it'll be much better. It should only have about .0015" clearance total so taking an extra grand out will make a big difference.

Working on assembling the rocker boxes now. The previous owner painted them but didn't mask off the holes for the rocker shafts so I need to clean the paint out of the holes. Also the first one of the shafts I tried to fit up had the threads on the end a bit too big in diameter to fit the hole. The shaft has a center hole machined in the end of it. I'm guessing that a center punch was used to drive the shaft out of the rocker box and it spread the threaded end out about .010". Just enough so a nut won't start easily and the shaft won't fit easily into the hole. I filed the thread down and ran a die over it - probably have to do the same with the rest of them as well. Not a big problem, just a little time consuming. According to the manual, if the engine is in the frame, the rear cylinder needs to have the rocker box bolted on to the head in order to have enough clearance to fit. I'll get them both, front and rear, rocker boxes bolted up to the heads and then bolt the assemblies down after the wrist pins and nuts get here.  

Next step is wait for the mailman. The parts have been shipped so they should be here by Friday - Saturday at the latest. In the meantime, it's good weather for painting, so I'll try to get a little more of that done before the rain comes back.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Big Jugs

Getting down to business right here - jugs, pistons and rings. The second compression ring is the gap-less type, top compression ring is conventional one piece. I checked the end gaps and most everything was good as is. Two of the rings took a quick swipe with a file to get the gaps within spec. I also remembered to check which way the pistons should be oriented prior to installing them. Valve pockets face each other for intake valve clearance. There's a little excessive clearance between the piston pin and the connecting rod but not much I can do about that other than buying a new set of pistons. Can't see that happening right now.

Here are the pistons in the cylinders ready to be bolted down. The nuts holding the cylinders down are supposed to be taller than normal, like you would use on a U-bolt for a leaf spring. I went through the boxes and bags of parts and didn't see anything that looked like that - didn't see a set of eight plain Jane ones either. I'll run uptown this morning and see if the auto parts or hardware store have any. 

If you look in the lower right corner of the photo you can see the new breather tube. The stock one was looking a little shabby so I sprung for a chrome one. Nice and shiny but didn't fit initially. I had to file a bit to get it to thread up in the cover and the top bend was not bent enough. I bent that a bit more and added a second bend below it to match the case profile. Looks pretty snazzy now. On the left side of the photo is the new sprocket. I need to make a tool for holding the sprocket while tightening up the nut on the countershaft. Surly has an old piece of chain I can slice up to make a tool that wraps around the sprocket. I'll talk to him about that or I could make a spanner with a couple of pins in it to match up with the holes in the sprocket. 

While I had the carbs out I checked things out a little closer. The stock one that came with the bike initially appears to be a 38mm - the bore is tapered inside. The other factory carb is a 37mm, so they are both smaller than the 1-7/8" on the S&S but the S&S does have the restrictor. I was fiddling with the S&S and could see that the accelerator pump rod wasn't doing anything so I took things apart to see what was going on. Just stuck from some gasoline that had turned to varnish. As long as I was piddling with things, I cleaned the rest of it up and checked out the main jet. It's a 64. Don't know if that's good or not, not having any experience with these things but I've got a number to start with.

I also took a look at the head gaskets. The previous owner had some thinner ones he saved because they'll give a little more compression than the ones in the gasket set -.017" versus .0325". I don't know how much difference there would be in the compression ratio between the thick and the thin but I'm thinking for ease of starting, thicker is better.

So no painting yesterday, in spite of the good weather for it. I really wanted to get something done on the bike. I've been thinking, I might not even try to light this thing off this year. By the time I get it all together it's going to be pretty late in the season. Not much sense in pouring gas in it and adding acid to the new battery just to let it sit for six months.Of course I could just hook some jumper cables up to something else and it's not that tough to drain the gas tank and the carb. I would like to hear it run. If nothing else just to know it will run so I can have it ready for next Spring. 

Depending on the weather, painting schedule and missing hardware, I'm going to try and have the top end buttoned up this week. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014


As mentioned in the last post, I've got the bed extension for the mini-lathe all buttoned up. I've got the rack for the cutting tools, the sharpening set-up is done - nothing holding me back from turning out some turnings except time and talent.

Went out into the shop before I went to the gym and drug all of the carbs out of the box so I can start figuring out what I'm going to do to get gas and air into the engine in a controlled fashion. The bike had the S&S on it when the previous owner got it. The one on the left is the factory, the one to the right of the S&S is one the previous owner was planning on running, the one on the far right is a junk version of the same thing. 

The S&S appears to be a "Super B" which is listed as an 1-7/8" bore. The stock is an 1- 21/32 (42.5mm) which is about .201" smaller than the S&S but the S&S has a tapered reducer on the mouth of the carb that makes it smaller than the stock one. It actually tapers in to reduce the bore diameter and then tapers back out to make a smooth transition to the 1-7/8" diameter before the butterfly. 

So I've got several choices here. I can run the stock carb and the oval air cleaner. I can run the other factory carb with the stock air cleaner, I can run the S&S with the teardrop air cleaner, or I could run one of the factory carbs with an air cleaner of my own manufacture. The S&S filter is pictured on the left above. It's a K&N which would make it readily available. The one on the right has a John Deere part number but it's for a Kohler engine. The diameter is comparable with the K&N but is about a 1/2" narrower. Depending on what I choose for a carb, I could make a cute little aluminum air cleaner using either of the two filter elements. Now that the wood lathe is running, I could even make a form and try my hand at spinning something. I'll be thinking about carbs and air cleaners until I'm actually ready to bolt one on and then it'll probably be the S&S anyway. Easy enough to change if I don't like it. I would like to try spinning something, however.

I finished painting the south side of the house yesterday, at least the ground floor. The weather was cool and mostly cloudy, so a good time to paint the southern exposure. Might do a little more painting today, might not - want to get something more done on the bike but the cool temps are a reminder that winter is on the way. Practically speaking, painting the house should be higher up on the list of priorities than finishing the bike but being practical has never been a failing of mine.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Beauchamp Kung Fu

Saw this poster here with the Rex Beauchamp name on it, which led to this:

When you talk about backing it in to a corner - this is how it's done. This, in a round-about sort of fashion, led to this:

Surly's got this place on his to-do list. The photo is from here. I didn't go too deep into this blog but lots of motorcycle stuff, including iron head Sportsters. I'll have to scope it out further when I have a bit more time.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, more rain = more mowing. Sharpened the blades and threw a new air cleaner on the mower, then mowed the front yesterday. Will do the back today when I get home from the gym. Also ran the weed-whacker a bit yesterday and got the lathe extension lined up and bolted down. It took a bit of filing and fitting but I'm set to turn. I've had a leak on the patio doors on the upstairs of the new barn basically since the barn was finished. The doors got twisted, as you can imagine, when the barn blew down. I think I cured that the other day as well. I'll know next time a hard rain comes from that direction. With what we've been experiencing of late, shouldn't have long to wait. Crazy weather this summer - temps in the forties last night, in fact.

Sportster parts showed up the other day so it'll be a coin toss as to work on the bike or paint the house this weekend. Maybe I can squeeze in a bit of both. Definitely need to work on both. This working four days per week stuff needs to stop. It's going to take me a long time to get caught up at this rate but it's paying the freight on the projects. 

Enjoy the weekend.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Nothin' Much But The Grass Still Growing

Photo From Here
The photo was labeled as an Aermacchi - Metisse. Not much to go on as far as identifying the power plant with it hidden behind the fairing, but seeing the back part of the frame I knew at a glance it was a product of the Rickman brothers. Fillet brazed, nickle-plated frames with workmanship of the highest order. Sweet.

Worked on the Sportster just a bit yesterday. Had to get a blood test in the morning to keep an eye on the lipids and the A1-C. You'll worry about that crap when you get older too. Or you could take better care of yourself when you're young, so you won't have to worry about it when you get old. Regardless, after coming home and grabbing a bite, I installed the new points and condenser and ran the new wire for the coil. I also piddled around with a couple of non-essentials like polishing the chrome cover for the battery. The piece around the sides of the battery cleaned up nicely but the lid has the chrome about worn through to where you can see copper underneath. All part of that "triple chrome" plating, don't you know. Looks like a good place to put a sticker to me. Couldn't work on it for too long because I was trying to squeeze in some more mowing between the raindrops before I went to work. Not much to report there but it's something.

I checked out the schedule for the Spring semester machining classes and the one I'd like to take they offer in the middle of the day. If I get lucky, I could work that in between my teaching assignments on the same days. I'm going to talk to my boss and see what he's got for me next semester. Might just work out.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Chicken Coupe

Can't be a sedan, there's only two doors.

Spent most of my energy over the weekend working on the chicken coop. I lost another chicken the other night when it didn't come home to roost. Lost several more earlier this summer when they got caught in the corn field when the sun went down and they decided to become involved with something slightly higher up the food chain. So the two remaining pullets have gone from free range birds to yard birds. The picture above is not the best, and it was taken before the job was completed, but I painted the trim, put new poultry netting over the top to keep the chickens in and the hawks out, plus I used some sheet metal I had salvaged from the old barn around the bottom to keep anything from burrowing under the fence and, hopefully, going through it. I liked letting the girls out during the day but I see no reason to support the local raccoon population. They're doing just fine on their own. I suppose a chicken tractor would be a good summer alternative. I might consider that for next year.

Keeping the varmints in check can be a real chore. Mice, squirrels, raccoons, coyotes, skunks, deer, mink, woodchucks, moles, 'possums - we've got them all and all of them have caused some type of issue around here at one time or another. Except the skunks. Fortunately we, or the dogs/cats, haven't had any run-ins with those but you can tell they're around. I did catch a few mice in the sticky traps I placed under the hood of the pickup truck and I rid the world of a piney squirrel over the weekend. I'm going to continue with the traps for a few more days before trying to fix the truck. I remember reading that most every animal is instinctively aware of and afraid of lions, so lion poop will keep other animals away. If the circus ever comes to town, I'll have to get myself a truck load and spread it around- if the truck will start, that is. I did learn that I can haul 2x4's in the little clown car if you fold the seat down - you can even close the deck lid if they're just 8 footers.

Off to run some errands and by the time I come back the dew should be off the grass enough that I can mow again. Need to do it today because it's supposed to rain again tomorrow. At least it's not snow.

Have a good week.