Archive Page 2

La compression de César

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dirtbag challenge 2013 bike – critical miss v1

ryan and i dragged out the kawasaki roadrunner we tried to build a few years ago and made it our 2013 dirtbag build. everything we did all those years ago had to be done over, but in the end it turned out to be a fun little ripper.
well, until the piston melted down on the dirtbag ride. as it turns out, taking a 46 year old 120cc two stroke trail bike with stock gearing out on the freeway for miles isn’t a great idea. who would have thought?
obviously we didn’t “finish” it, but with ~$300 and probably ~15-20 hours invested, we didn’t do that bad. the bike had been sitting in a guy’s back yard for 20 years or more when we got it and i had to break up the stock piston with a hammer to get it out of the cylinder. we are pretty stoked we even got it running in time for the dbc.
we have a new piston and ryan will be rehashing it next year for his dirtbag 2014 bike and i’ll be building something new, so i figured i’d get some shitty pictures of version one before that happens.

video of the first start at the bottom!

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hobbAD – Wooly Bullies 2013 raffle bike

thanks bully buddies, i’ll get around to it sooner or later!

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halloweener update – the rally part of the update (part 3)

so yes! la rally! my east coast lover, doug, flew over and we tossed the ciao and sparkle butt in the back of the truck and headed to sf. as it turns out, sf is a couple hours out of the way when heading from sac to la, but i didn’t really take that into consideration when i promised bay area peoples i would take their bikes for them. oh well, i had to go get ciao anyway.

i didn’t really take any pictures since i was driving, but doug took this pretty one.
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other than burning a bunch of oil (THIRTY QUARTS by the end of the trip! THIRTY QUARTS!), the truck did pretty alright. it’s totally new engine time. i should be able to pick up a good engine for $200-300, which will make the truck a $700-800 truck, which is perfectly fine by me.

the rally was awesome. i didn’t get any pictures or anything because i was too busy being awesome on my awesome ciao.
ok, it’s more because i pretty much forgot about my camera, but yeah.
on the saturday ride i managed to lose a bolt from my rear wheel (i need to make sure i tighten bolts when putting things together, i guess?), which caused my wheel to jack sideways when i hit the rear brake, which made the tire bite into the frame and lock the rear wheel up.
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i was probably cruising around 50mph when all of this went down, but i rode out the skid for a while so i was probably doing more like 20 or so when i high sided onto my left side. still did plenty of damage, though. ciao bounced down highway 1 shooting sparks and i tumbled after. you couldn’t even tell the ciao had wrecked, it was fine. i got away with some road rash on my already sunburned arm and a pretty nasty bruise on my hip. two weeks after all of this and the bruise was twice as big and twice as purple and there was like a fluid sack or something under it. it was a pretty good tumble!

it was a pretty scenic spot to wait for the breakdown truck, though.
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i could have kept riding had i another bolt to replace the one that went missing, and it wasn’t until i was sitting there on the beach for a while after everyone left that i realized there was six of those bolts holding the engine in doug’s bike. womp womp.

the rest of the rally went awesome. i was able to get a bolt and made the sunday ride without a hitch. i even won a moped at the raffle!

monday morning doug and i went and collected everyone’s mopeds and put them in the truck and headed back. this was doug’s first west coast rally where he didn’t have moped troubles! he was pretty stoked, i think.
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next time i’ll post about the raffle bike i won! and then after that i’ll post about the 2013 dirtbag challenge and the bike ryan and i built! you can’t wait!

halloweener update – more of the same from before (part 2)

alright, continuing from yesterday.

another thing i decided to take care of was my clutch bell. at a creature rally forever ago i had to weld the nut on the back of my clutch because it had stripped out and left me kinda screwed. that fixed me up good enough and, other than the pulley being a little warped from the heat, it ran great forever.

then at a polini cup race i blew a belt and it had flipped out of the rear pulley onto my yellow malossi contra spring, collapsing most of the spring and leaving only one coil still functioning. this made the yellow spring much weaker than a stock spring. i tried to adjust my variator weights to make up for it, but i could never get it to perform very well, and since i welded the thing together i couldn’t swap the spring.

so yeah, i get myself a second clutch pack and put my malossi red spring in it. this works out, except the clutch is a non-reinforced 2-tier clutch bell version, and my reinforced 3-tier bell won’t fit over the clutch for whatever reason. i was getting it ready for the reno rally at the time and didn’t have time to sort it out, so i just put the 2-tier bell on it.

i decided to do something about that finally. i pulled the 2-tier bell and compared it to the 3-tier reinforced bell. you can kinda see here that the 2-tier bell (left) has a ditch that runs around the outside of it whereas the 3-tier does not. i colored the 3-tier bell with a blue sharpie in that area to verify that it was infact dragging here, and it was.
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you can also see the thickness difference between the two bells in this photo.

here are a couple closeups in case the picture above doesn’t show it well enough.
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i ended cutting a bunch off the end of the starting clutch bell, coloring it blue, installing the bell to check where it rubs and then pulling the bell back off and doing it again.
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took like 5 tries before i got it to clear.

ok, so got all of THAT sorted. next, my rear hub has been leaking oil ever since the nut stripped out on the back of my rear variator and kinda lathed the seal and hub case down all those years ago. all that oil saturated my rear brake shoe and ruined it, so i changed the shoe and replaced the seals.

apparently i didn’t get a picture of the seal in the hub, but here it was after i pulled i out.
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and here’s the hub itself.
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i was worried there wasn’t enough sealing area left for the outside of the seal, but there was nothing to do but put in the new seal and hope it was ok. it totally wasn’t ok, it ended up leaking oil everywhere at the la rally, even with the new seal. anyone have a spare vestap rear hub? haaah.

seal looks oily here only cos i good and lubed it up before putting it in.
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rear seal looked fine, but i replaced it anyway. M! for malossi gears! really though, i had a couple of transmissions at one point that i was swapping out and kept forgetting which had the gears in them.
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i tried sanding my brake shoe to see if it would work alright, but it was no use. it’s too bad, i had a kinetic shoe in there, which is the widest shoe available for vespa mopeds. here you can see the different sizes lined up. left to right – kinetic shoe, ebc shoe and stock ciao shoe.
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while i had the wheel off i noticed the bearing in the carrier thingy on the right side (what do you even call that thing) was super notchey and in bad shape. figured i ought to take care of that too while i was at it.

i ground the heads off the stock rivets and pried the two pieces apart. with a little banging, the bearing came right out.
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the new bearing (double shielded 6202) pressed in pretty easily.
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pop-riveted the two halves back together and it was good as new.
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i buttoned everything up and was pretty well ready to go.
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i had a couple more things to do – the decomp didn’t return as quickly as i would like and i needed to figure out what i was going to do about lights.

the decomp thing is due to the cable being kinda sticky. i lubed it up as best as i could, but i felt like the little spring on the head wasn’t going to be enough to ensure it closing all the way, so i rigged up a lever return spring.
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it works perfect to give the cable an extra push. i’ll replace the cable someday, but this is working great for now, so it’s good enough!

as for the lights, i ran out of time. i entertained the idea of a bicycle friction generator light, but those things are expensive for the nice ones and the cheapies are way too crappy.
in the end i just ran without lights. i stuck a derbi light on it so that it looked like i had a headlight, but there isn’t any wires running to it or anything.
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and that was it! i think. that was a lot of typing, i hope i didn’t miss anything.
i took some pre-la rally pictures in the sf moto elevator.
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alright! part 3 tomorrow!

halloweener update – ain’t got nothing else to do (part 1)

i have totally slacked on updating this thing for reasons that are many and more and because of that i have a huge backlog of things to post about, which is daunting and becomes another reason for not updating this thing. makes perfect sense, right?

i suppose i’ll pick up where i left off and go from there.
last i visited this thing, i was getting the truck and the ciao ready for the la rally that happened a couple months ago.this is going to be a three parter, i think. pretty sure not many people read this thing, and it would be asking a lot of those who do to have them read this post as one whole thing, so yeah. i’ll split it up for you guys. first i’ll start with the ciao, since i had to dig into that a bit to make it rally ready.

i threw it on my lift and pulled the head to install the decomp valve. it had been removed a couple years ago for a customer’s bike, which is the main reason ciao’s been parked for so long. i lapped the new valve into the head real good, decked the head on some glass real quick to make sure it was still flat. i sprayed on some copper spray gasket and torqued the head back on. went to start it and, surprisingly, it fired right up! it’s been sitting pretty much since september of 2010, so i was expeciting it to need at least a carb clean, but nope! fired up on that old gas and idled no problemo. i decided to clean the carb anyway.

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inside of the frame’s kinda a mess. i end up cleaning that up a bit. not like remove dirt, but more like cut metal out and stuff. you’ll see.
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21mm straight throuuuugh
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ever since i built this bike, i’ve had issues with the float bowl hitting the frame. i cut a bunch of the frame out and switched the race bowl for a plastic bowl so that i could wittle some of it away to get as much clearance as possible, but i’ve still managed to crack a bowl or two from frame flex and stuff. not to mention it has always kept me from having the belt properly set on the rear variator due to the engine not being able to slide back far enough. i never fixed it because i was always too lazy, but i decided that it was time.

it’s down in here where the float bowl hits the frame.
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i know it’s not super clear, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

and here you can see how my belt sits like a whole millimeter down into the rear pulley. it’s been this way for like 8 years now! so silly i haven’t fixed it sooner.
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so out comes the engine and in goes the angle grinder.
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i didn’t really get a before picture (other than the one above), but here’s what it looked like after.
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i put the engine and carb back in and yay! i finally have full travel at the rear variator!
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i also took care of my idle screw issue. when i built this thing i realized there was no way i was going to be able to get to the idle adjustment screw on the left hand side of the carb, so i just removed it and capped it off. then i tapped the other side thinking i would have room to get to it there. turned out i totally didn’t, so i just capped that side too.
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well, i was tired of adjusting my idle with the throttle cable adjustment and having no slack at all in the cable, so i took a phbg idle screw and ground most of the head off. then i cut a new screwdriver slot in it. it finally fit in the frame, but other than getting to it with some long pliers, i couldn’t adjust it really. at this point i decided i was spending way too much time on something so silly, so i cut a window in the frame.
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that did it!

stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow!

quick truck update

new distributor cap, rotor and plug wires and the truck is running so much better! just a bit more work here and there and it should be la ready.
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ciao update later!

new shocks for the truck

last weekend i spent a couple hours playing with the truck. as i said last time, it burns a little oil (and leaks a bit too – as in quite a bit), so after verifying the pcv valve was ok (a bad one can cause your engine to suck oil from the under the valve cover and dump it into the intake, giving you smokey exhaust and requiring frequent oil top-offs), i figure it’s probably bad rings on one or more of the pistons.
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i ran a compression test on all six cylinders and i got quite a spread of numbers in the results; they range from 145psi to 170psi.
however, after doing some homework it would seem that i might be alright there. my reading tells that all cylinders should be within 15% of one another. i coulda sworn it was 20%, at least that’s what i remember from back in my bmw days, but i’m going with what the internet says. internet’s always right.
anyway, 170 x .15 = 25.5 (26 rounded off). 170 – 26 = 144, so my lowest cylinder just cuts it by the skin of it’s teeth (pistons have teeth, btw).
my next lowest reading was 152psi, then 158psi, 168 and two at 170. while having one cylinder just 1psi away from not making the grade is not ideal, it’ll do for now. once i get back from la i’ll plan on doing the rings.

however, it seems like rings probably aren’t my oil consumption problem, which more or less leaves valve guides. they are pretty easy to do on this engine, and with the right tools can be done in like an hour or two without removing the head from the engine. i’m going to buy the tools and plan on doing that before la, but depending on time and such it might have to wait also. i did pick up a case of 10w-30 at costco, so maybe i’ll just bring it along and top up as needed!

i replaced the plugs while i was at it. there were three different types of plugs in the thing, only two being the proper type. oh well, they are all proper now!

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see that thing hanging under my dash near the driver door there? kinda what from this angle appears to be right next to the clutch pedal? that’s my ignition switch. i should probably get that taken care of before the trip too, but it’s not a priority at the moment. also, yes, that is the same seat cover that every other old truck ever has.

an issue i discovered when driving home from reno was that both the front shocks were completely blown. L was following me in her scion and said that at times the the front wheels would dribble down the freeway like a basketball. shocks were like $35 for the pair, so i busted that out real quick.
here’s the passenger side shock next to the new one. the old shocks had less resistance than a toy accordion, and since everyone everywhere has a toy accordion i assume you all know what i mean.
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driverside old –
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driverside new –
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the radius arm bushings need replace super bad too, but i’m not sure if that’ll get done before la or not.
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the rear shocks seem fine, but i’ll probably replace them anyway since they are so cheap.
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i’ve got a 4.10 dana 60 full floating rear end, great for towing and hauling anything but ass. it’s not a fast truck, but i didn’t want a fast truck. i can’t drive 55! no, really. ok, i do 65 comfortably, maybe 70 if i feel like burning money.

the hood hinges are pretty blown out. the springs are fine, but all the pivot points are sloppy and the hood hangs about a foot lower than it should when up, i have an ever-healing cut on my head from constantly running into the hood latch. i’m going to change those soon.

some pictures-
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that’s my truck! i took it for a spin to run some errands once i was done and replacing the front shocks made it a whole new truck.
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alan and i are going to go hit up a couple pick-n-pulls this weekend and i’ve got a short shopping list of odds and ends i wanna pick up. namely those hood hinges. and maybe a tail light lens. and a non-mix-matched set of plug wires. and possibly a set of rear shocks if i see some that look newish. and a steelie spare wheel with a good tire. and and and an dn adnadn adna dna dnadn adnadn

new toy – 1968 ford f250

i’ve been looking for a truck for a while now, and talking about how i needed one even longer. after selling the ninja earlier this month, i was finally in the position to do something.
my criteria was that it had to be 1975 or older (ca smog exempt), two wheel drive, six cylinder and manual. shortbed would have been nice for parking in sf, but that alone would quadruple the price on most trucks, so i wasn’t holding out for one. besides, i knew i’d be happier with a long bed even if it is going to be a bitch to park sometimes.
i had a lead on a 68 f100 short bed in reno, my friend and fellow los dorados member troy was also looking for a truck, so i took a bus over the pass and we went truck shopping.
that f100 ended up being a bust, i had heard about it from don sumpter (who is the latest member of los dorados) – the truck belonged to his neighbor’s coworker’s mother-in-law or something to that effect. apparently the old lady’s husband died a while back and left a couple trucks behind and she wanted them gone. unfortunately, don had no direct line to her and i never got to see the dumb thing.
don was also selling his truck, a 79 ford f150. it was too new and the 6cyl and 4 speed had been replaced with a 352 v8 automatic lump, so i knew it wasn’t for me – though it is a super awesome truck. troy ended up picking it up cheap and is really happy with it, even if he is a little embarrassed by the political commentary on the tailgate.

i was extremely jealous and it really got me pumped to find a truck of my own, i was emailing people with trucks on craigslist from washington state down to southern california. people were getting mad at me because i couldn’t remember which truck they were selling. was that the 72 dodge or the 74 ford?
i finally found what i was looking for. a clean looking 68 f250 on reno craigslist. 300 4.9l inline six with four on the floor. it was sitting over in sparks, the pictures were pretty bad but i could tell it wasn’t super rough (some of the trucks i was looking at were pretty bad).


it was priced about what i was looking to pay at $800 (it was up for $1000 previously, but i had my filter set at $850 so i missed it), so i decided to go for it.
i texted with the guy and he said the first person to show up with $600 can take it. this was a wednesday and i was at work, i texted L to see if she wanted to go to reno for dinner.
we drove to reno after i got off work and by time we got to the place, it was getting dark. the truck looked awesome, though the battery was dead and the guy couldn’t get the truck started.
after a couple hours of messing with it and a new battery, the dude offered me the truck for $500 (what he paid for it, he says) and swears it runs great, he just had it running three days ago.
the whole time i’m telling the guy it’s a bad connection at the battery, so after i agree to take it for $500, i grab his pliers and take apart the hot wire battery terminal and scrape the corrosion out of it and cut the wire back past the corroded part, put it back together and started it up on the first crank.
i drove it up and down his street with a flat front tire (not having power steering it was a bitch) and was in love with it. we exchanged papers and i told him i’d be back on saturday to pick it up.
that saturday L and i drove back to reno and stayed at troy’s. we went to the pick-n-pull and got a new seat for his f150 and some stock steel ford 8 lug wheels for my truck. i hated the chrome chrysler wheels that were on there and it needed tires no matter what, so i figured i’d spend $40 on proper wheels and put tires on those instead. and that’s what i did.
after putting tires on the truck, i took it to troys and crawled around under it for a good hour or so rigging up the brake and tail lights. this thing’s going to need to be completely rewired someday, but it’s good enough for now.
new wheels and tires on, tail and brake lights now working, it was time to head back to sacramento.


the drive went pretty well, though the front shocks were so blown that at random times the wheels would start dribbling down the freeway. i also noticed that oil pressure was getting pretty low, so i stopped and ended up putting three quarts of oil in it. it smokes a bit and is weeping around the oil pan and lifter cover, so it definitely needs some work, but i couldn’t be more happy with it.
i am planning on driving it down to la for the bullies rally at the end of next month, so i have some work to do before then. i’ll have doug and probably troy along with me, it should be pretty exciting!
i hope we make it!

coming out of retirement

i dragged this thing out from under a bunch of other projects and knocked the dust off of it.
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i pulled the head to install a new decomp, bolted it back on and fired it up on the 2 year old gas that’s still sitting in it. didn’t even bother cleaning the carb! ciaociao is back!
gotta replace the thrashed belt and oil-soaked rear brake shoe and maybe figure out some lights for it and it should be just about la rally ready.

i’ve been crazy busy lately and doing a bad job of keeping this thing up to date. i have some fun stuff to post about. i’ll get on that.


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