Sunday, May 28, 2017

Project SideCamper: Part Three

Project: SideCamper is now in the man cave, on the lift, ready for work. 

My starting list of items to address:

1). Replace fuse block and organize the wiring
2). Wire in winch direct to battery with removable plugs
3). Install LED driving lights on SideCamper nose
4). Add USB port on handlebars for GPS/cellphone
5). Install new horn
6). Repair turn signals
7). Remove and repair or replace instrument cluster, fuel gauge not working, check float inside gas tank.
8). Remove top steering yoke, refinish rusting collars then relocate all cables and wiring to back side of yoke.
9). Install handlebar risers
10). Install foot peg lowering adapters
11). Remove fuel tank to install bulkhead fitting for aux fuel inlet, check float inside tank
12). Order parts and install plumbing fixtures to gravity feed fuel from aux tank to main tank
13).  Remove front wheel to mount new front tire and replace wheel bearings
14). Replace frozen front brake calipers
15). Install new rear brake line 
16). Put Ride-On in all three tires
17). Remove 8 gal fuel cell. Powder coat larger fuel cell and mount on swing out table
18). Re-work dual pannier mount for solo left side pannier
19). Rework seat for height and seating position
20). Mount top case and wire in USB port for charging batteries while riding
21). Bleed both front and rear brakes
22). Change the motor oil and oil filter
23). Check & clean air filter
24). Grease fittings, lubricate chain
25). Install chain oiler
26). Add reflective stickers for night and day safety
27). Decide how and where to store table leg extension 
28). Replace old windshield 
29). Organize interior space for clothes, bedding and cooking items
30). Install interior camper outlet for LED reading light and charging station
31). ...

And the list grows as more items needing attention or replacement are found. As it sits right now, it cannot pass state inspection to be licensed in Texas. 

And the work begins by removing seat, body panels, fuel tank...

With the instrument cluster out and the top yoke off, the testing and de-rusting can happen.

The steering compartment is being reworked 

The two steering collars were rusting badly.  In the photo below they are being treated against rust and painted.  

The eight gallon aux fuel cell was removed. A larger cell will be installed.  Am estimating a 25 mpg average fuel consumption when pushing that flat front into the wind.  The five gallon main tank and the eight gallon black aux cell only give me a 325 mile range. That is not enough. I want a minimum 400 mile range in case I have trouble finding gas in remote areas.  Carrying an even larger fuel cell will most likely reduce my 25 mpg estimate even further. Peace of mind knowing one has enough fuel to explore a side road and still return safely is more important than the extra weight. 

 The Suzuki Vstrom 1000 fuel system does not have the normal fuel return line though it is a fuel injected engine. Where to tap into the main fuel tank in order to refill from the aux cell was a major decision. After many questions were posted on Vstrom web sites, seems not many people have plumbed in an aux fuel cell on this bike.  One man stated that tying into the fuel vapor line was a mistake. Said he ended up with a lap full of gas when he tried that. 

The only solution then is to drill a hole and install a bulkhead fitting. BUT... where to drill the hole? In the $1600 steel main tank, OR in the $850 steel fuel pump mounting plate?

The mounting plate won. 

Carefully drilled a 3/8's inch hole in the only spot on the mounting plate a new hole would fit. Then threaded in a 1/4" hose barbed fitting. JB welded it in place.  Here is the outside view of hose barb.

Here is the inside view of the fitting on the mounting plate. Will give it 36 hours to completely cure before installing. 

The aux fuel will be gravity fed into the main tank which is why the aux fuel cell is mounted so high. Not having to deal with and worry about a fuel transfer pump and it's associated wiring failing is in keeping with the theme of this build. Keep it simple and reliable. 

This SideCamper was not designed or built for speed, but for reliability and endurance. 

The work continues, new parts being ordered, visits to the hardware store, waiting on packages and working until midnight.  Right now it seems more pieces are coming off than going on. That should change soon.

To be continued... in Project SideCamper:  Part Four

Later, CCjon


  1. Wow! That's quite the list…

    Are all of the wheels/tires interchangeable? I gotta admit that I like having the Ural spare. I've needed to swap it for the pusher a couple of times.

    1. Thanks Richard, good question. All of the tires are 15", but the wheels are not interchangeable. Claude and I discussed carrying a mounted spare rear tire but have not pulled the trigger on that yet. Where, how and weight are all issues.

      I swear by Ride-On tire sealant /balancer. I picked up a nail in the rear auto tire on the Goldwing when doing the 48 state run. Rode over to a convenience store, aired up the tire and rode that way for another week with no leak. Back home I removed the nail, plugged the tire and rode. That tire was still on it when I sold the Wing.

      These are all tubeless tires, easier to fix a flat than with tubes. Now the KLR rig has a fully mounted spare rear wheel ready to go.

  2. Ride-On sounds like a good decision, must see if they've an option for tires using tubes, I wouldn't mind it much if Ural tires were tubeless.

    Like RichardM said, that's a heck of a to do list to get this rig on the road! Wow. Interchangeable wheels used to be a hallmark of Ural rigs, now with the newer rigs, it's not as straightforward but yea, having a spare beats replacing an inner tube by the side of the road.

    I've not had much luck with JB-Weld and gasoline exposure, am sure it was user-error on my part as my application exposed the JB-Weld directly to gas and that doesn't work. Your comment about peace of mind re range vs the extra weight reminded me of my Alaska trip preparations. The one thing I'd do different in my particular situation would be to not carry fuel in the spare gas tank in areas where fuel stations are plentiful; ended up carrying the extra weight for no real reason in all but 1 of the states but when I needed it, it proved nice to have. I'm assuming you'll still carry a small, luggable, gas can for extreme situations?

    1. Thanks Dom, there are Ural riders who swear by Ride-On too. Though if your tire is showing threads, it might not help much....LOL.

      The JB Weld will be inside the tank submerged in gasoline 24/7. Their FAQ's say gasoline will not be a problem if fully cured. Will keep my fingers crossed.

      Thanks for the tip about not carrying a full aux tank when not needed. Good point. Will soon post a photo of the larger aux tank. Had not planned on carrying a small gas can, no place to put it.

    2. Sometimes, CCjon, I think I'm here to be an example of what not to do... :)

      If the folks at JB Weld says it'll hold up to gasoline exposure once fully cured, great. I am sure in my case it was user error.

  3. I've been really happy with the PDM60 for accessory wiring. Being able to not power circuits for a short time allows the starter and ignition to get full battery voltage is a nice feature. Plus no fuses.

    1. Richard, Have not tried a PDM60, where do you find them?

  4. The aux fuel line has the following: at aux tank a quick disconnect, then a on/off valve under my right leg, then a back flow preventer, finally a quick disconnect under the main tank. What do you think about putting an in-line filter near the aux tank???

    1. An inline filter would be a good thing especially if it had a water separator.

      The PDM60 was ordered from Aerostitch a few years back.

  5. Thanks Richard, will check out their site.


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