Friday, April 17, 2020

Project Warthog: Camper Opened

In response to a request to see the side camper opened, here are a few shots 
I took before the rains arrived.

Though the Rocket 3 is a huge heavy motorcycle, with the camper opened up,  it doesn't look so big.

A perfect camping spot: planes, trains and trucks within ear shot.... 
next to mosquito infested standing water in a ditch...
on top of clay dirt waiting to mix with the rain water tonight...
What's not to like?

Am not camping here, just a set up for the photos, then we move on.

The camper door has a small swing up table attached, just big enough for my laptop,  
or to set my coffee cup on in the morning.

The camper looks small for my height, but if I sleep diagonally, I don't touch the canvas at night. 

A new addition to the rig, the mascot...
leading the chase...

Ride safe, stay safe and healthy, y'all


Sunday, April 12, 2020

Project Warthog: Springtime, First Test Ride

Spring has been in the air for the last several weeks in South Texas. People are working from their homes, still out jogging, buying groceries and picking up drive-thru food in spite of the virus threat.

The crepe myrtles in our backyard are putting out new growth, yes, life goes on...
For those who are not familiar with crepe myrtle's, one cuts back the previous year's growth on St. Valentine's Day.  That promotes new growth with bright flowers and greenery for late spring and summer. In the fall the leaves turn a soft scarlet before dropping.

You can barely see it, but a spider has already started a web on the budding leaves.

Flowers are blooming...  three sisters here are sticking together

With Spring in the air, the Warthog is calling out, wanting to escape the Man Cave,  
stretch its legs for the first time.

So we snuck out of town to give the Warthog a shake down ride.  Dropping over to Bellville for a quick stop at the SFA statue, That's Stephen F. Austin for those northerners... Bellville is the county seat for Austin County, thus the statue.  

SFA is considered the Father of Texas. With his blessings, we moved on...

Soon found an unpaved county road, not much dust with the rain we've had. 
Weeds are green and high. Oak trees are putting out more leaves with... lots of yellow pollen to color cars or patio furniture left out at night. 
Asthma sufferers can tell you when the pollen count skyrockets around here. 

So how does the Warthog handle?     IT IS A HAND FULL !

 If this had been my first sidecar experience, I never would have continued on with them. Very unnerving, not like motorcycles at all. It shakes your thinking that you can handle one of these machines. The Warthog would be too nerve racking for a novice. Lucky for me, I started with a URAL sidecar many years ago, have worked my way up to this monster. 

Yes, there is that low speed, both hands on the handle bars, wobble... settles down around 40 and above... until you hit 68 - 72, then it gets lightheaded up front. Squirrelly, some would say.

Smooth and steady, one handed steering around 55 mph in fourth gear, 2500 rpm. Up shift to fifth gear, rpm's drop to 2000 and a slight lugging is felt. Down shift back to fourth, smooth once more.

The faster you ride (50 - 70 mph), the more you have to push on the right handlebar and pull on the left.  We're pushing a lot of air with that nose. Yet overall, the Warthog meets my expectations. 

Good news, Warthog averaged 25 mpg on this 130 mile loop ride. Better than expected. 

Still needs a few more tweaks and twists before any long trip; a highway peg for the left foot, a taller windshield, cruise control, steering dampener...


With the Warthog back resting in the Cave, I edited a new photo, called "Fresh Face". 
Young, bright, full of life, just like the rig, 
only much prettier.

The Warthog project continues, as does life.

Ride safe, stay healthy, cover your face and wash your hands.


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?