Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Project Warthog: Getting Gas to Flow

With new fuel tank parts now in hand, we can continue the work on plumbing in the auxiliary fuel cell.

However while waiting for new tank parts, a discarded piece of aluminum diamond plate caught my eye,.... hmmm... odds and ends laying around and a cutter / grinder at hand makes for a dangerous situation.

Could not resist, made an elephant ear for the Warthog...? WHAT???   Now why would I do that??
Can you guess the purpose of the giant ear?

With new fuel tank parts in hand, now to figure out where to drill for the aux fuel line bulkhead fitting. After trying several different combinations and sizes, settle on this.

Note how bad the old plate was rusting and flaking. The tank itself is in great shape, no rust.

Dry fitted the 1/4" connection. Inside view. Can fit a socket or wrench on the nut to tighten.

Outside view of the barbed nipple with a rubber washer.

Started with the rubber washer but then remembering my experience with rubber and fuel in Canada causing leaking problems. Decided instead to go with JB Weld epoxy and a copper washer for a leak-proof stable seal.

Painted the epoxy in, under and between the inside fittings also.

Once the epoxy cured, added a length of fuel line with a quick disconnect fitting that extends past the edge of the main tank. Here it sticks out from under the tank.

Starting at the auxiliary fuel cell, first is a quick disconnect screwed into the tank,
 then the fuel line leading to...

...the inline fuel filter secured between the rear upper sidecar mount and the shock mount. Is not touching anything that might crack it. Wrapped the line clamps with electrical tape to cover sharp edges. Zip ties hold the line in place.

After experiencing getting bad gas on another ride, having an inline filter is very important. Plus having an easy way to clean or replace that filter without losing all of the fuel in the tank is critical.

Coming after the inline filter is the valve for turning the fuel flow on or off. This is a simple gravity feed flow, no need for a fuel pump. The Aux fuel cell sits higher than the main tank. Simplicity is best, easy to fix, can source replacement parts anywhere on the road. 

Oops, seems to be a gap between the shut off valve and the male quick disconnect fitting coming from the main tank.

Actually the gap is too small, as I need to fit a check valve and the female end of the quick disconnect in there.  Trimming back each of those two hoses should solve that.

The check valve allows fuel to flow to the main tank but does not allow fuel to flow the other way. 

That's where we are today. The Warthog project inches along each day, not all progress is dramatic or even visible. As long as I have the parts to work with, all is good. But the waiting for parts can get ugly, even produce elephant ears and all.

Oh, I can hear clearly now, the ra.........

The ear idea is to divert more air flow toward the exhaust headers on the right side of the engine. Have read of complaints from Rocket owners about the excess header heat burning holes in their rain gear. 

Next up is to mount the camper tub.

Stay tuned, riding weather is here. Am getting anxious to get the Warthog on the road.

Ride safe and far friends, cough in your elbow and wash your hands. 

Now... where can I mount a gallon bottle of sanitizer on the rig?


Thursday, March 12, 2020

Project Warthog: Two steps forward, one back

After competing all the welding work for the racks, we moved the Warthog off the trailer and started working under roof in the garage.

With the auxiliary fuel cell mounted, now to decide where to tap into the main tank for the fuel 
to gravity feed from the aux to the main tank. 

Why the aux fuel cell?  
All sidecar rigs are known to drink gasoline faster than two wheel motorcycles. Once this rig is loaded, I still have no idea how many miles per gallon to expect.

If you remember, the stretch of roadway from Coldfoot, Alaska to Prudhoe Bay is 245 miles with no services. Plus there is the strong possibility of headwinds causing even poorer gas mileage. I want to be carrying enough fuel for a 300 mile range. The main tank carries 6.3 gallons, the aux cell holds 5 gallons. If the Warthog can average better than 27 miles per gallon,  I will feel secure. 
Won't know mpg for sure until we get it built out and road tested. 

Look at those stout twin support tubes the engine hangs off of. 
Triumph knew what they were doing when they designed the Rocket III for strength and rigidity.

Draining fuel from the main tank was messy, even dangerous but neither I nor my friend Gary smoke... anymore. 

Finally opened the main tank only to find rust and metal flakes. Further investigation showed, thankfully, it was not the main tank at fault, but the mounts used to hold the fuel pump and filter in place.

Exactly where I had planned to drill a hole on the main plate for the aux fuel inlet was corroded. That would not give us a secure drip free fuel connection. So ordered the OEM plate and arm for the fuel pump and filter. To arrive in a couple of weeks.

Next had John Klien my welder/friend fabricate a mount for the left side pannier. Good solid steel. One thing we do not have to worry about with this build is weight. The Rocket has so much hauling capacity, we can go stout, weight be damned. 

Starting to look cluttered, messy, thus the name... WARTHOG.

The side pannier sticks out too far when working on the rig in the tight confines of the garage, 
so will wait until later to bolt on the pannier box.

Recycled the left heavy duty pannier from the Vstrom1000, kept the old stickers.

Stand by for a slight lull in the build, while we wait on several replacement parts to arrive.

Ride safe and far my friends,


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Project Warthog: The Rocket comes home...

The Texas Sidecar Company wrapped up their end of the project, time to bring the Warthog home to continue the work building my three wheeled adventure RV sidecamper.

The left side of the Rocket shows where the sub-frame is mounted in three spots: top, middle and lower. The latter two are bolted through the engine giving a very solid mount.

On the opposite side, the vertical upright is connected to the top cross over pipe, the middle engine bolt and to the lower subframe. Two upper struts branch off of the upright.

The two upper struts

The two lower struts are adjustable both horizontally and vertically.  The lower bolt was left long until we make the finally adjustments with the rig fully loaded. 

All of the upper and lower strut ends are double shear for strength. 
Texas Sidecar did a great job making this rig solid and stout. 
All in preparation for another ride from Key West, Florida to Prudhoe Bay, Alaska.

Mounted the auto battery box, then wired in the Odyssey car battery to the Rocket.

Kept the weight of the car battery low and inline with the rear axle.

Next was to modify the rack for the top box and aux fuel cell. 
Cut and weld till everything fits.

The five gallon spun aluminum fuel cell has baffles inside to prevent fuel sloshing. The previous tank have an anti-slosh foam, which disintegrated in Canada by the fuel additives... ethanol?

The tank in mounted off center but inline with the center of the rear fender. 
Thinking is this might make a good spot to attach a backrest. 

The Warthog project will continue...

Ride safe my friends, 


Sunday, March 1, 2020

2020 Houston Rodeo Trail Riders

Went with several members of the photography club to see what we could find in the trail riders staging area before the start of the 2020 Houston Rodeo parade. There are so many photos posted of the parade itself, I wanted to meet the riders who have spent the last ten days or so on the road, riding horseback from all over Texas to the annual rodeo gathering. 

The leader of this group had to ask directions... so horses waited.

Riders were young and old. When the seat gets sore, give it a rest

Carlos, eight years old, rode from San Antonio to Houston, camping with his family every night.  Best education a child could have, learning responsibility, caring for his horse, enduring the elements and sharing the work load.

Dave was a bronco buster in his youth, trying to retire but still a working cowboy.

Curtis makes the trail ride every year, now to remember a departed friend, 
the memories they shared.

The details of the rodeo riders captured my attention. The designs in the chaps...

... the turquoise belt and worn jeans.

 ... the leather stirrup strap details.

Of course, the scale of the Houston Rodeo is immense, with daily attendance in the thousands.
This annual show will continue on for the next week. The arrival of the trail riders signals the start of it all. 

From my point of view, the riders who have come here, riding in rain or shine,  
are the most interesting and least commercialized part of it all. 
They keep the old west tradition of riding to a rodeo, alive. 
Their gear is worn, the horses are tired, the riders are real. 
No drugstore cowboys here.

Ride safe my friends, see you on down the road.


Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Iceland Photo Teaser #2

 Just a few shots from Days 5 and 6 in Iceland.  
Will make a full edit of the best photos once I return to Texas next week.

For now... the landscape is vast, cold and empty. 

Icebergs floating out to sea

Stood in a frigid river making waves for this photo.

Iceland is known for its hardy breed of wild horses.

On everybody's bucket list is the opportunity to take a photo of the northern lights. Finally on our last night here, the lights made a faint appearance. Not spectacular and not visible to the naked eye, but the camera captured the green dancing lights using a long exposure.

Thanks my friends for following along on this fantastic opportunity to see and photograph Iceland. It is a spectacular place. Will be posting more edited photos from the trip in the future.

I heard the Triumph Rocket with sidecar frame will be ready for me when I arrive back in Houston. Am looking forward to making the Warthog adventure ready over the next few months.

Ride safe and long.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Icelandic Photo Teasers

The days are going by fast, have taken so many photos with no time to process them.  However wanted to post a few so you know what is happening in Iceland on the expedition.

Will post more photos once I have the chance to select the best for the blog. 
Wrapped up the third day here, two more days of photography coming.

So here we go.

Icelandic lanscape near Reykjavík.

Start with waterfalls, there so many here. Even in winter, the glaciers are flowing water.

The brave return wet from a walk behind the falls, very wet. No place for camera gear.

Rain was our off & on companion most of the first day.

But further east, rain turned to crunchy grainy snow.

Late afternoon we reached Vik and the famous Black Beach with the three sea stacks.

Out on the beach

A brave... or foolhardy soul ventures too close to the water. 

The drop off here is steep, the waves are very powerful. There is swimming or surfing here.
 Every year several people are pulls out into the ocean when they get caught up in a receding wave. 

 The waves at Black Beach. 

Looks like night, but is only 5 pm, on our way to the motel.

Nest morning we are back on a frozen road to take distant shots of Black Beach. 
Every vehicle in Iceland has tires with steel studs in them. 

Black Beach waves...

A very windy panorama shot...

We are on the southwest side of the island. There are numerous one lane bridges on the Ring Road. 
The only road that circumnavigates the island of Iceland. 

The next morning, out the door by 7 am to visit a glacier to try and find an ice cave.

The off road vehicle can only take us so close to the glacier, then we have to hike two miles over rocky terrain wearing steel clamp-ons spikes on our boots, carrying our camera gear. 
Is early dawn and cold, steel spike crunch in the ice and clang on the rocks.

There are rivers flowing from underneath the glaciers. 
The all the rain of the last several days, the rivers are deeper than normal.

Was the hike in worth it?
Well, here is one of the photos I took from inside the cave as the sun came up. 

Weather here changes dramatically hour by hour., or can be the same dull over cast all day long. 

We have two more days here, learning, practicing, enjoying it all.

Hope you enjoyed the teaser photos More to come, my friends.


Friday, February 7, 2020

Iceland Day Two- Downtown Reykjavík

Today the wind was blowing rain sideways. Finally after lunch the rain lightened up, but the wind was still blowing. Took my chances and wandered along the main shopping street in Reykjavík. 

Rather than risk getting the SONY camera wet, decided to use the iPhone camera instead. All of todays images were taken with the iPhone 11Pro Max. Am using a selfies stick and a remote shutter button. People will not know when I am taking a photo or of what. Many times I act like I am taking a selfie but am actually focusing on the people in front of the lens. 

Many shots were taken with the selfie stick pointing down, hoping to get low angles with faces in the shot. How the camera knows which way is up and which is down, I do not know. I do know that I did not have to rotate any of the photos as they came out of the camera. 

The downtown shopping district of Reykjavík. 

Everyone is bundled up against the cold wind. 
Too cold to smile.

Riding with the wind as it pushes you along...

Struggling to walk into the wind. 

Wearing a rain poncho is not a good idea on days like today. It acts like a sail.

No comment, her posture says it all.

For older folks, just crossing the street to visit a neighbor can be as challenge.

Found her refuge from the cold wind.

No matter how cold it is, dogs need to be walked. 

Could not resist taking this final shot of the day. The irony grabbed my attention. 
Used Luminar to make the quick edit.

Tomorrow the group heads out on two large truck type 4x4 buses. We'll return to Reykjavík next Wednesday. But for now, off to the ice caves, icebergs, glaciers and black sand.

More photos as the week progresses