Sunday 30 March 2014

63 years young

No, not me; I’ve passed that particular milestone already.

Pretty much anyone who lives on the North American continent knows what a miserable and seemingly endless winter it’s been. The bike has been ready to go with new goodies, an oil change, and needed repairs done for a month now, yet when I look out the window I still see this:

DSC_7460 (2)

So what to do? Well, another project of course.

Our little lake is only about a mile long and 1/2 mile across so my 12’ aluminum boat is just fine with a small electric motor. And the loons like it that way as well – nice and quiet. But I wanted to be able to go out on much bigger White Lake for some decent walleye fishing so I needed an outboard motor. Not willing to pay a king’s ransom for a new (or even relatively new) one, I had been keeping an eye on Kijiji for something older and, most important, cheap. Then a week ago I found this:

2014-03-25 11.04.37

A 1951/52 Evinrude Fleetwin 7.5 hp. It looked a bit rough but it’s the kind of motor I grew up with so the pull of nostalgia was strong. And while the current owner wasn’t giving it away I could live with the price, knowing full well it would also probably need a lot of work.

“Should just have to put gas in it and go” he said. “It was running fine when we put it away.” I didn’t believe a word, and even if it had been running fine, putting it away years ago with a full tank of gas was likely not the smartest thing he’d ever done. It’s a 2-stroke, 24:1 gas:oil mix, so that full tank of oil-mixed fuel eventually degraded and completely clogged the fuel line and carburetor with tar, which is slowly being dissolved as I write this.

I also don’t expect it saw too many professional motor mechanics in its time. Stripped slot screw heads abound (praise be for an impact driver), and there are not a few small parts (non too critical fortunately) that appear to be missing from previous dismantlings and reassemblies – you know, when you tighten everything up only find an extra piece or two on the bench, at which point you say screw it and toss it in the trash? That kind of stuff. 

But it’s mostly all there and not too badly beaten up from years of bouncing around in the back of a pickup. The compression is good and, surprisingly, many parts are still available. So now it’s time to try some serious CPR and see if I can bring the old girl back to life while I wait… and wait… and wait for the snow to finally leave us.

Wednesday 19 March 2014

Why am I living where the air hurts my face?

The folks in central and north-eastern North America can, and often do, disagree on a lot of things: religion, politics, guns – it’s a long list. But one thing we can all agree on is this has been the winter from hell, although hell may not be the most appropriate term unless Hell itself has frozen over, which is a distinct possibility this year.


Tomorrow is officially the first day of spring. By now we should be seeing some warm, sunny days and patches of muddy earth emerging from under the blanket of snow. Possibly even the small spikes of a daffodil or two poking up through the still-frozen ground. The maple syrup businesses would be in full swing as we celebrate the coming of spring with a trip to the maple bush, a taste of maple candy, and a gallon (or two) of fresh syrup to take home. The last few maintenance items on the bike will have been done, possibly a pre-season wash if we’ve had a really nice day, our riding gear is all cleaned and ready to go, and we’d be waiting for the last of the ice and snow to clear the roads so we can get that first ride in.

Not this year.

airFour months of unrelenting cold has left us with a couple of feet of snow still on the ground (and more to come tomorrow according to the weather guessers), side roads coated with 6 inches of ice, and a frost so deep it will take until June for the earth to thaw.

I may be planting my tomatoes in July. That is, if I manage to survive the cabin fever until we see a real spring emerge.
I’ve had enough.

Drastic measures may be called for.


Wednesday 12 March 2014

This year’s upgrade

A couple of months ago I posted (here) that I’d purchased (Thank you eBay!) a hard to find dash panel needed for my ignition switch position change project on the Dyna. Then I started the search for all the other bits and pieces needed to make the shift.
As it turns out all the existing components (except for the ignition switch itself) would plug into the new dash panel without modification. I needed a couple of small mounting clamps but that was all. The existing wiring could be re-routed, but had to be extended about 10 inches to reach the new switch position. Fortunately that was accomplished by simply making up 3 extension wires and did not require any mods to the existing harness. (I don’t expect to ever revert back to stock, but keeping my options open seemed the best way to go.)
Of course, when at the dealer poring over parts books trying to determine what components could be re-used and which ones not, I came across this nice combined speedo/tachometer unit.
A simple drop-in, it addressed the issue of losing my tach after I made the change. I hadn’t planned on purchasing a new speedo but then I thought, in for a penny… so I bought it. (And a big shout-out here to the parts people at Freedom Harley-Davidson for being so helpful. Thanks guys, I really would have been stumbling around without your assistance.)
Once I got the garage cleaned up a bit so I could work (here) it didn’t take long to make the change.
2014-02-23 14.51.07
2014-02-25 13.10.52
2014-03-11 13.30.33

Button it all up again and here’s what it looks like now – before and after.
Before and after
I really like the new look and the convenience of the new switch position.  Meanwhile I’m busy getting rid of all the removed parts (on eBay, of course) to recover a large part of my investment.
So now I have a clean garage and a motorcycle all ready to go. WHAT’S SPRING WAITING FOR? If it doesn’t get here soon I may just have to find another project.

snowman end is near

Sunday 9 March 2014

Signs of spring

A couple of weeks ago Dar, over at Princess Scooterpie, issued a challenge to post any sign of spring in our respective necks of the woods. Looking out at snow everywhere and temperatures below zero (on both C and F scales!) all I could do was enjoy everyone else’s postings vicariously as it seemed spring was going to be a long time coming in this area.
But then I thought, “What is the real sign of spring for a motorcyclist?” It’s not the first sprig of green grass, or the flowering tulip beds. No, it’s even earlier than that, when you start getting your bike ready for the upcoming riding season. And even earlier than that, when you start getting your garage ready to start getting your bike ready for the upcoming riding season.
So here is my first sign of spring post from the (still) frozen north. (Click on image.)
Snapshot 2 Captioned
Let the fun begin!