Monday, August 02, 2010

Hanging Around

I've been sticking pretty close to home while Betsy is in Minnesota so I can take Edgar out for walks and play fetch with him. Betsy has been at Big Bass with the girls until yesterday.

Becca flew to Paris from Minnesota yesterday and is out having lunch now. Rachel is trying to decide what to do next - Peru, NYC or ?

I took a motorcycle and a lawnmower apart on Saturday...and put them back together. The KZP has a minor oil leak. I think it's from the valve cover. I thought maybe if I tightened the valve cover bolts it would cure it.

You have to take off the gas tank and move the fairing and coils to get to all the bolts. I found out two of the outer bolts are stripped - not the threads on the bolts - the head. It's a steel bolt going into an aluminum head with a low torque value (90 inch-lbs) and stripping them is fairly common. There are two simple fixes - tap it out to accept a 1/4 inch SAE bolt or use a 6mm heli-coil. I need a valve cover gasket before I do that though since I'll have to pull the valve cover. For now I used some blue loctite on the stripped bolts and tightened the rest of them to spec.

I'm thinking if I go to the trouble of pulling the valve cover I might as well check and adjust the valve lash. This bike uses shims to adjust the valve clearance - so that's bit of a pain. One shim is 5 bucks from Z1 Enterprises ($12.52 from the dealer) and there's 8 valves so it could run into some money. I have to measure the clearance and then figure out the shim size I need - so it will take some time. It's a shim over bucket design so you don't have to remove the camshaft.

The Connie uses screw-type adjusters so no shims to fool around with and the Harley has hydraulic lifters so no valve clearance adjustment needed.

Given what I paid for that police bike I don't want to put much money into it - so I'm just going to ride it for now and see how it goes. It's more of an oil seep than a leak, not enough that you have to add oil - but enough to get a few drops on your pants when you flog it a little. It's my wet weather commuter vehicle so I'm using wearing over-pants when I ride it anyway.


I rode up to Bow, Edison and Bellingham yesterday via Chuckanut Drive. Nice day. Usually I wind my way up there on the backroads but I enjoy riding the Connie on the Interstate. It loves to cruise at 70. Riding home I was thinking there must be a sign on I-5 that says keep left except to pass - there were lots of people in the left lanes driving at or below the speed limit. Consequently you end up with mini traffic jams all along the route. Once you blow by the people who like formation driving you find big open spaces of road.

I'm thinking about a hug-the-coast trip now for a longer ride. Basically a trip around the perimeter of the U.S. Just takes time - a trip down 101 and 1 would be a week - could do it in less time; but if I have to hurry why bother? Probably another week for the South, another for the East and then another to come back across the I need a month or two. If I don't take any vacation for awhile I'll have a month in January - going South would be nice but I'm not sure about the trip back across the North...don't really feel like not taking any time off until next Spring. I wish we could all just take August off.

Maybe a 3 week trip would work for the hug the coasts trip or a couple of weeks to just hug one coast. I have a night at Deetjens Big Sur Inn and I'd like to ride Highway 1 North of San Francisco, and check out Mt. Lassen in California and Crater Lake and the Three Sisters in Oregon. Maybe later in September or October when places are less crowded.


I ordered a Valve Cover Gasket and some ThreeBond 1194 gasket maker/sealant from Z1 Enterprises today and they shipped this afternoon. That was fast.

Threebond 1194 is a replacement for Yamabond 4 which I wanted - but has been discontinued.

I also ordered a 6mm helicoil kit from eBay so I can practice Thread Repair 101

I'm thinking I may need a set of Cam end plugs if I can't seal the existing ones with the Threebond.

I need to clean the engine and then spray it with some powdery substance like athletes foot powder or deoderant, to help me find out exactly where the oil is weeping from. I think it's coming from high up on the engine but oil has a tendency to spread out, blow around and run downhill so finding a leak can be a bit of a challenge. I don't think the leak is down at the head gasket - but if it is there are some o-rings on the head bolts that can cause leaks (so I've read).

I like taking things apart to see how they work - and motorcycles are complicated enough, and there's enough an amateur like me can do, that it keeps things interesting. It beats sitting at my computer all the time and gives me some new things to learn - plus the test of what you do is a go no-go sort of deal rather than something more abstract where your work is being rated by what someone else thinks. You're either riding or walking - pretty simple stuff.