Wednesday, March 30, 2011

You Go Guy

Quite an adventure story here from a guy with awesome video editing skills. He's riding a 1972 Suzuki 185 from Milwaukee to South America. For people not familiar with motorcycles this is a small bike with about 17 hp and a theoretical top speed of 70 mph. You can buy one on Craigslist for 200 dollars and up. I think he left Milwaukee in late January on his motorcycle which seems pretty amazing in itself to me.

I like the idea of the "innocence" of motorcycling that one guy mentions in the video. Riding a simple bike without a lot of fancy gear just for the fun of it. It's not 1972 anymore so he does have a laptop, HD-Pro video camera and a spot tracker - but that's great for us armchair adventurers to follow along.

Another thing that makes this story interesting to me is that the rider is a young guy who served six years as a Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician with deployments to the Middle East and now he's using the G.I. Bill to go to college and taking adventurous motorcycle trips having fun.

In this video he meets another rider and they spend some time playing around on their bikes in the surf and swimming in the Gulf of Mexico. Nice change from that cold Wisconsin winter.

I found the link to this video and some of the story at ADVrider

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Kawasaki C10 Concours Spark Plug Boots and Wires

If you need to replace the spark plug caps and wires on a C10 Concours, you'll need:

  • Spark Plug Wire 7mm Copper Core (non-resistive) - 69 cents per foot at O'Reilly Auto Parts P/N MW11 (4 feet is enough to make all four wires)
  • NGK Spark Plug Cap P/N SD05F - 3 bucks or so a piece at various online motorcycle supply places. I got mine from Bike Bandit since I had a 10 dollar gift card.

You'll need to re-use the wide rubber cap from the top of the old boot and the rubber piece that compresses around the wire at the coil end to hold the wire on the coil connector pin.

I have all the pieces on hand to do the job and took the tank off intending to replace the plug wires and boots today. When I inspected the existing wires/boots I decided to re-terminate them rather than replace. These pictures show what the two ends of the NGK cap look like.

The wire end of the cap has what looks like a wood screw that you twist the wire into.

This is a picture of the wire end of the NGK cap with the rubber boot removed. The OEM Kawasaki Caps have a similar screw but it's harder to see since the rubber boot is one-piece.

I unscrewed the plug wire from each cap, made sure the copper wire at the end wasn't corroded/damaged and then screwed them back together.

The OEM wire is good quality and molded specifically for this application. I decided not to replace it if I didn't have to.

The plug end of the cap has a copper dome with a piece of springy wire mounted on one side. You might be able to see it in this picture. The springy wire is what makes that zip noise when you push the cap on the spark plug terminal. All my springy wire was in place and the copper looked good to I buttoned things back up.

One thing that should be obvious from this plug wire cap construction method is that you shouldn't pull a plug wire off a spark plug by grasping the wire - you'll pull the copper wire away from that little screw in the cap. The nice thing about these are you can take them apart and clean/inspect - or make a new set if need be.


I decided to drain the float bowls because I wanted to see if there was any sediment or water in the bowls. There wasn't so I dumped the gas into my lawn mower gas tank. I did have to make a trip to Harbor Freight to get a longer 3mm Hex Key than what I had on hand so I could reach the 2 and 3 carb float bowl drain screws.

I re-synched the carbs again while I had the tank off - since the last time I did it was in the dark and rain - wasn't sure if I'd got it as close as possible. The carbs were all pulling close to the same vacuum, but I tweaked them a little and called it good.

Next time I take off the gas tank I'll try and not do it when it has 7 gallons of fuel in it - that thing is unwieldy as heck with that weight in it. I also figured out that you can get to the rubber donuts that support the front of the tank from the front - after you've connected the fuel, vacuum and electrical connections. That's handy since one of those rubber donuts almost always falls off when you slide the tank on - and if you don't get it on right you'll have a rocking tank (not good). If I was smarter I'd probably glue or tape those rubber donuts in place.

I tried some Techron Fuel Additive this time - it's two for one at Autozone right now. Could be voodoo mechanics but it makes me feel like I'm doing something good.

The reason I've been fooling around with the plug wires, float bowls, carb synch is because there's a tendency for Connies to have a bit of a surge or flat spot around 2500 RPM. It's not a big deal - you can usually rev up or down to get out of the slight flat spot. I'm pretty much resolved to believing that getting rid of it involves changing carburetor jetting and fuel/air mixture adjustments that I don't feel are worth the effort.

I took the bike for a fairly spirited ride up I-5 and it runs good. It ran good before I took it apart too but I think it's a little smoother.

I'm really looking forward to a let up of the rainy weather here in the Pacific Northwest so I can get out on weekends and actually go somewhere.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Plans for a Summer MC Trip I

View Summer 2011 MC Trip I in a larger map

Ferry from Anacortes to Sidney BC.
Ride to Port Hardy on Vancouver Island
Ferry from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert
Ferry from Prince Rupert to Juneau and back
Ride Prince Rupert to Prince George
Ride from Prince George to Jasper/Banff
Ride from Banff to Kelowna
Ride from Kelowna to Tonasket
Highway 20 home
Total trip about 3K miles