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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in catraprez's LiveJournal:

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Monday, July 11th, 2011
1:54 pm
Is this wire live?
Spent most of the weekend playing RV electrician.

In preparation for our upcoming trip to California, I added a fan to the roof vent in our popup camper. The camper doesn't have A/C so sitting out in the sun all day will make it unbearably hot inside. The roof vent has one of those Maxx-Air covers, which allow you to keep the vent open in the rain. I found a Vortex Vent Fan Upgrade at the local RV store. The kit replaced the screen from the inside, so there's no need to break the seal at the roof. Unfortunately it's designed to replace an existing vent fan, but there was no fan in the vent originally. Luckily there's a light not far from the vent. I had to drill a couple holes and poke through the foam insulation to reach the wires. That was the toughest part of the whole installation. The fan works great and moves a lot of air.

My next job involved rewiring the 12-volt plug-in socket. This had been added by the original owner of our popup. I'm sure they just paid someone to add it. Whoever did the work tapped into the 12-volt water tank pump. Unless the pump is turned on, which isn't needed when hooked to city water supply, the socket didn't work. I pulled the icebox out and tapped into the 12-volt power source coming off the battery. Now the plug is live all the time.

The next job I tackled was replacing the electric trailer brake controller. The Reese unit I installed back in '08 had quit working. It had a five-year "limited" warranty, so I sent it back to the manufacturer. All they could tell me was that I must've installed it improperly and shorted out the circuit board. Evidently my claim that it had worked for three years dumbfounded them. I also I had a photo showing the installation and all the wires connected as per their instructions. After going back and forth I was told they could replace the entire unit for the same price, around $35 + shipping, as changing out the fried circuitboard in my controller. Ended up telling them where they could stick their controller and spent $65 for a new Hayes controller.

I was never happy with the Reese controller to start with. The sensitivity adjustment was either too much or too little and using the manual lever did not override the sensitivity setting. Should've bought a Hayes controller to start with. Hopefully I never have a chance to test their three-year "unlimited" warranty. It'll be a cold day in hell when I buy another Reese product.
Thursday, June 30th, 2011
10:31 am
Fab Work - XR75 Chain Guide
One of the things missing from that pile of parts resembling a Honda XR75 was a chain guide. The stock chain guide was just a U-shaped piece of metal that bolted onto a bracket welded to the swingarm. The stock guide is no longer available from Honda and nobody manufactures and aftermarket guide. I could've searched e-bay for a used one, but IMHO it's fairly flimsy. On top of that the bracket welded to the swingarm was broken.

Broken chain guide bracket.

This, and some other damage, indicates the bike has had a history of chain derailments. Thus I decided to build a chain guide from scratch.Collapse )
Sunday, June 19th, 2011
9:55 pm
I was so close to dumping this turd on C-list...

Turned out to be a combination of carburetor and electrical problems. The needle jet was about twice the diameter as the one from the kit. After rebuilding the carburetor it ran really good for a few minutes before it would sputter and die. It did this a couple times then refused to start. I pulled the plug and got no spark.

Damn, must've burned up that $15 cdi module. Ended up putting the points, condensor and advancer back under the flywheel. Immediately I was rewarded with a nice fat, blue spark. Fired up the bike, let it idle for a bit... *sputter-sputter-cough-cough* dead. No spark, WTF? Only thing I could think of was the stator coil was dying. By now It was late Friday night and I had no more patience. I began crafting the C-list add in my head.

Saturday morning, before posting to C-list, I called a former local m/c tech who also races vintage MX and told him everything. First thing he asked me was if the plug cap had a resistor in it? I wasn't sure, but I pulled out my digital VOM and sure as shit it did. He told me to change it out for a non-resistor plug cap. I picked up an Emgo plug cap for $1.79, but discovered the plug wire from the coil has been trimmed so many times that it was now too short. I was thinking of robbing a coil off another bike when I remembered Napa autoparts carried a generic motorcycle coil. They also had a 25% off sale, so it cost me $16.99 + tax.

It's running so good right now, points and all, that I don't want to mess with it.

We did some practicing in the driveway.

Thursday, June 16th, 2011
11:45 am
The XR75 from Hell
Been a while since I've done anything on the XR75. Between skiing, baseball, remodeling the dining room and work there just hasn't been much time to work on it. I've gone through it six ways from Sunday. It fires up and runs then slowly starts to sputter and refuses to idle. It's running very rich and fouls plugs. Eventually the plug gets so fouled that it refuses to fire. Sounds like a carburetor problem, no?More...Collapse )

I haven't thrown the towel in yet... Unlike the previous owner.
Monday, February 21st, 2011
2:13 pm
Dear Wisconsin Teachers
This does not help your case...
Monday, February 14th, 2011
9:12 am
A Day on the Slopes
Saturday night the snow level dropped to 2,000 ft. dropping a good 3 inches of powder. Sunday morning the cloud cover broke greeting us with blue sky and light clouds.

The view from the parking lot.

More photos behind the cutCollapse )
Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011
8:29 am
This weeks Flying W award goes out to... (drumroll)...

Dustin proves to us that gear really is for sissies, except for gloves and sunglasses of course. Though he might want to invest in a cup. It won't take many more crashes like this before Dustin goes back to being spoon-fed and wearing diapers.

Monday, January 31st, 2011
9:36 am
Project XR75 Almost complete!
Saturday my son and I finished up most of Project XR75. We changed out all the questionable fasteners and replaced most of the phillips-head screws with allen-heads. The petcock was rebuilt with new gaskets and a new strainer bowl as the hex on the old one was chewed up and rounded off.

With the fuel leaks taken care I poured what was left of the fresh gas I had into the tank. The bike started on the first kick! Still need to play around with the carburetor some. The idle speed is very erratic and the sparkplug was still pretty black. Might need to get a small dunk can of carburetor cleaner and a rebuild kit, which includes new brass. The only other items to work on are modifying the ignition cover, fixing the broken piece off the case with some steel-epoxy and fabricating a chain guide.

I picked up a 3-ft. section of 1" x 1/8" flat-stock to fabricate a chain guide. I'll need to weld a section onto what's left of the bracket that's broken off the swingarm. It's been years since I've done any welding, particularly gas welding. I've had one of those el-cheapo oxy-MAPP gas brazing outfits for a few years, but now I find myself with a real oxy-acetylene welding outfit. I did some brazing with it, on another project, Saturday. Slowly everything started coming back to me. I have enough extra stock to do some practice welding this week.

The season opener for the vintage motocross series is this coming Saturday. Unfortunately we are going to have to miss it. Not only does Jacob still need to learn how to ride with a real clutch, Saturday is his Cub Scout pack Pinewood Derby race. This years car is modeled after an off-road Trophy Truck. He's been sanding, priming and painting. I'll post some pics of it when he's done.
Thursday, January 27th, 2011
8:26 am
More progress...
1) Replace throttle cable.
2) Replace shift shaft oil seal.
3) Rebuild petcock.
4) Replace foot peg/side stand bracket.
5) Standardize fasteners.
6) Fabricate chain guide.
7) Modify/waterproof ignition cover.

Replacing the oil seal required loosening the foot peg/side stand bracket, so I went ahead and swapped it out. The replacement bracket must've come off an XR80/100 as the side stand was longer. Swapping over side stands took care of the problem.

Still waiting on the petcock rebuild kit from Bike Bandit. The chain guide mounting bracket, on the swingarm, is broken. So I'll have to fabricate something. Going over to the hardware store at lunch and I'll look around to see what I can come up with. Lastly I need to modify and waterproof the ignition cover.
Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
4:56 pm
Wednesdays Flying W Award
Posted this over on FB, but since some here don't care for or are not linked to my FB, I present to you my weekly entertainment.

Bill's Flying W Award

For those of you going "WTF is a flying W?" it's basically a, mostly, unintended manuever that happens primarily to off-road motorcyclists.

Picture this: Hands holding onto the bars with a death grip. Arms stretched out. Feet in the air with both knees bent. From the front it looks just like a "W".

This weeks inaugural Flying W Award winner is Jack Reggio. Now I don't know Jack... Wait, that didn't sound right? His buddy just posted a video of Jack on YouTube. Bummer! I think we'll be more likely to spot Jack stocking shelves late-night at Walmart than standing on the podium at a National MX or SX race. I'm certain Ricky Carmichael's (the GOAT) record is in no danger of being broken by Jack. No doubt Jack will break something, but I'm sure he's no stranger to plaster already.

That's gonna leave a mark!

Someone need to tell these kids not to build jumps in the woods.
11:19 am
Project XR75
One down, but another added to the list:

1) Replace throttle cable.
2) Replace shift shaft oil seal.
3) Rebuild petcock.
4) Replace foot peg/side stand bracket.
5) Standardize fasteners.

That had to be the easiest throttle cable I've ever replaced. The hardest part was removing the phillips-head screws from the throttle housing. Impact drivers are one of those must-have tools for anyone who does their own wrenching. Once I got them loose it reminded me that I need to standardize much of the hardware (and replace phillips-head screws with allen-heads). Before a race I go over all the fasteners on my bike(s) with a T-handle wrench making sure they are not loose.
Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
8:59 am
Slowly, but surely...
It's all coming together.

Only a few items left to tackle:

1) Replace throttle cable.
2) Replace shift shaft oil seal.
3) Rebuild petcock.
4) Replace foot peg/side stand bracket.
8:46 am
Cool mods
Looking up some info on the XR75 I came across some pics of a few seriously modified machines like this one:

What stands out is the modified flywheel/ignition cover. It exposes the countershaft sprocket making it easier to swap sprockets and keep the area clean of mud and crud. So I'm thinking of doing something along those lines. Behind the cutCollapse )
Monday, January 24th, 2011
11:05 am
There's something to be said for...
Buying a used motorcycle from someone you know. This XR75 is the third used bike I've purchased from someone I didn't know. It's not like I expected it to be a cream-puff, it was far too cheap for that. I've also bought used bikes, from people I know, that were in far worse condition. However it's the unknown that often leaves you feeling like you got the shaft.

Thursday night I had it running until I cracked open the throttle. The motor bogged (lean?), burbled (rich?), backfired (WTF?) then quit running. Tried restarting it, but nothing aside from a few pops in exhaust. Okay, quick check of the basics. Air? Yep, still breathing. Fuel? Check! Spark? Hmmm, kind of weak. Pulled the flywheel cover and noticed something strange... Behind the cut (with pics).Collapse )
Thursday, January 20th, 2011
4:54 pm
And the list grows
Okay, so I'm fairly confident I found the reason why the littl 75 was running rich and fouling spark plugs. The float height was way, way off. No wonder it would only start with the choke open and the throttle WFO.

Found a few other things that need repair and put some of the less critical items on the back burner. The one that really pissed me off was the damn kill-button I replaced. The one I had was NFG. Never liked that stupid Honda design anyway. Figured out which seal was leaking and, after I got the kill-button diagnosed, was able to check the ignition timing.

Found some other interseting things too. The frame is a '74, but the motor is a '73. The flywheel side cover has been cobbed together. Someone tig-welded the removable ignition cover to the flywheel cover. Looks like a pretty good weld job though. There's supposed to be three screws hold the flywheel cover to the case, but there are only two. The boss for the third screw was broken off probably from a chain derailment at some point.

Ended up buying $80 worth of parts from two different sources. Still wasn't able to find a kill-button, or at least the one I wanted, so I'll probably make a trip to a $tealer for one. Just need to find one who isn't going to hose me. Although it didn't need it, I bought an oval (vintage) front number plate. For $3 I couldn't pass it up.

The revised listCollapse )
Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
11:34 am
Project XR75
Last Saturday this little number followed us home.

It's a 1974 Honda XR75. My oldest boy is going to race vintage MX, in the XR75-class, on this bike. I looked at several XR75's and twin-shock XR80's (also legal for the XR75-class). Prices, and condition, were all over the place.

Click here for the rest.Collapse )

Finally I need to teach my son how to ride a bike with a clutch.
Thursday, September 16th, 2010
2:22 pm
Friday, September 10th, 2010
5:19 pm
Since I've been living under a rock...
You may not be aware that we've moved across the country. Things are still quite hectic at the moment.

Post from mobile portal m.livejournal.com
Thursday, September 9th, 2010
8:07 pm
Riddle me this...
If Interstate highways were constructed and maintained with federal funds, why do individual states have toll authorities to extract funds from the users?

Post from mobile portal m.livejournal.com
Tuesday, March 30th, 2010
2:35 pm
2010 Pinewood Derby

That's one happy boy! He scored a total of three trophies at the 2010 Cub Scout Pack 77 Pinewood Derby.

Click here for the rest of the storyCollapse )
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