Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Repairing the Kill Switch Lever

When I bought the bike the kill switch was functioning but very...very sensitive. As well the end of the plastic thumb lever was broken off. Initially I rebuilt the broken piece using a plastic epoxy putty. The switch had become finicky and rather than experience one of those embarrassing and dangerous "surprise engine kills" while going down the road and inadvertently touching the kill switch with a winter glove while adjusting the mirror stalk -does it sound like this may have happened to me? - I took the switch apart and did some maintenance to it. I'll blog that separately. So, the plastic thumb part was weakened as I attempted to trouble shoot the switch. I cut a trough into the back side of the switch and fitted in a piece of 6d finishing nail.

Covered it up with epoxy and Viola...good for another 30 years.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Installing the Thunderchild Voltage Regulator and Diode Board

My voltage regulator and diode board arrived. Also included were the little studs to mount the board to the engine case. Big improvement over the 30year old rubber ones. One was all but gone, another cracked through and the diode board was holding on for dear life by two rubber mounts and one of the grounding wires was about cut through from apparently being pinched by the case during a reassembly some time ago. See pic

Note that the old board was in 'pretty good' shape considering this is the original board, not the upgraded one done a couple of years later. Those are identified by a gray stripe across them.

It is VERY tight in the back of the case to get these studs in place. But Thunderchild has made a great work around. The bold shaft is cut for a metric Allen key..about a 4 mm. Bend one of your old keys at a 45 degree angle to be able to place it under the starter on the lower right stud.

Thread your washer and nut OVER the Allen key.

Place the stud through the case and then place the allen key in the stud allen key hole. Picture shows how the key with the nut and washer is placed in the allen key hole.

This allows you to BEGIN threading the washer and nut. DO NOT thread completely. Just get it started and pull out the Allen key. If you don't you end up with the allen key jammed against the starter. Just use is as a temproary holder so you don't drop the washer or nut.

Here is the allen key on the right Upper nut. The Right Lower is the hard to reach one.

Finally, placed a little hose material behind the voltage regulator as padding. What the heck.

Installing the Front Tire - Brake Checks

Installed the front tire and did brake adjustments. While the tire and wheel were off at ADVENTURE BMW in Chesapeake Virginia, I took the time to do some preservation work on the forks and brake calipers.

2008 January Maintenance Log

Last Log Mileage: 95500(est)

Current Mileage: 94707

Monthly Total: 207

Total Miles Owned (since 94272) 1435

01 JAN 08 - Happy New Year! Lots planned this month to get the bike ready for Spring

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Haste Makes Waste

I finally got things back together and have the headlight in the shell using my own approach. The headlight is a standard Halogen Sylvannia light for a car. It still has the ring from the fairing attached to it, but this is not going to work with the standard shell....what to do?

The ring fits inside the shell, but there is some space around it. Here's my idea. I bought some felt weatherstripping and placed a length of it around the outside of the headlight shell and secured it with electrical tape. that extended the edge of the shell with a flexible, soft felt ring. I did the same for the headlight and magically the two rings of felt nest inside each other "pretty good". I then wrapped the joint in more tape. Looks great, works fine.

Only problem was that when I was doing all this, I did not disconnect the headlight from its connector. I did not know it but one of the connections was pulled out and I did not know I did not have a headlight until I was all suited up and ready to ride this morning (30 F).

Well, I fixed it enough for the ride and bought a new $2.50 connector at PEP Boys. Another little project for another time.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Troubleshooting the Flasher Relay

Reference: Troubleshoot Turn Signal Relay - Turn Signal works, indicator flashes once and turns off. Hella DOT TBB 26 1-4x21W-12V 4DB 002 479-08 (A)71315 See Standard Troubleshooting Disclaimer on Main Page

Odd thing. I finally think I had one of those experiences we were told we would someday have. It was like the scene in Red Planet when Val Kilmer says (trying to figure out their way to the Mars Habitat Shelter before their air runs out) :"This is it. That moment our teachers said that someday algebra would save our lives". I now know a bit more about the flasher relay than I would like and I think physics saved me $59.

Removing the fairing was pretty simple actually. As to the turn signals, they used to be up on the fairing and had two wires each - a hot and a ground. The ground went back to the 31 block (the brown one on the bottom - brown as ground). So when the light was on its circuit was fairly clean although connectors can create some resistance. Lets just consider this the 'normal state' of that circuit.

How does a turn signal work? There are several good sites - check out the Vespa repair site. It has a fine explanation.

Basically for this troubleshooting you need to know that there are two magnetic coils in the relay that serve to interrupt the circuit. One is associated with the lights and one acts in parallel and runs the little turn signal indicator light in the instrument console.

When I went to the stalk lights I increased the resistance on the circuit since they are now grounded through the frame and not the block. This affected the behavior of the capacitor in the relay. It apparently had enough juice to pull down its own coil repeatedly, but after the first discharge it failed to provide adequate amps to the second coil (indicator on instrument cluster) to allow it to repeat. So when you turn on the signal it works, but the indicator blinks once and then does not blink again.

I opened up the relay by spreading the base of the cap and examined the relay. Be VERY GENTLE. These things can bounce around all day, but there are some very fine parts that if touched roughly can damage the entire piece. After a couple of days learning about relays and looking at this problem I did the scientific thing of...(See Standard Disclaimer)...placing my fingernail behind the bar that completes the signal and push it about 1/64th of an inch closer to its coil. Bingo! It started to work just fine. So I could either 1) adjust the rest for this bar and bend it closer and reduce the travel distance...or 2) adjust the spring tension and and make it easier to move the bar. I did 2) since it looked like the spring was designed to have its tension adjusted. That's it... a $59 replacement avoided. Clean it up with electronic parts cleaner, grease it with some dielectric grease to preserve and clip it back into the bike. Good riding!