Saturday 30 September 2017

The XS Triple Sidecar - removing the sidecar brake

Some might say, to remove a brake on a bike just for comfort-reasons is questionable at the very least... and judging by some of my past sidecars, I am willing to whole-heartedly agree. But with this one it is (of course) different. The fact that this bike already runs three disk brakes means that at pretty much any imaginable speed I can brake hard enough to make both wheels lock up. Add that to the fact that the sidecar slows down the whole outfit by at least 50 kph and you may start to see things the way I do.

Uninstalling the brake followed pretty much the basic principle of any repair-manual. First step: Take the wheel off and remove the brake caliper.

Second step, make a new spacer on the lathe and install it.

Enjoy the extra room for the left foot. The connecting link between both brake pedals used to be exactly where my boot is right now.

And the removed brake assembly.

Much more comfortable. Yet something unexected happened. Now that brake caliper may at least be worth two or three kilograms and with it being positioned on the axle it sat pretty far outward. Believe me, that when I say I was mildly surprised to see the sidecar like it did, just because that weight has been removed. As the bike is also easier to push around it should have a beneficial effect on the mileage I can get from it.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

The XS Triple Sidecar - ignition maintenance

Now after having lived with the "new" XS Triple Sidecar it's still mostly about slowly, yet steadily ironing out all the little quirks and nuisances .

First thing to do: Tighten up that front mudguard as it came loose after some preeeeeetty quick corners I've done.

And then it was on to tackling the ignition, which in all fairness was done quicker than typing all of this.

Remove the cover.

The amount of rust wasn't too comforting, but not unexpected.

An impact bit driver was absolutely necessary.

Ignition baseplate is held on with three M6x12 bolts, which I am going to replace with standard hex hardware as they were well seized up. (And mind you the engine was warm as were the cases!)

Checked the timing with a strobe and as expected: It was off by a bit. (At idle the cylinder's corresponding "F"-mark should align.)

Plenty of penetrating oil to lube the mechanical advancer.

... and the cover is held on with three M6x30 bolts, which are also due for replacement. 

Next was removing the sidecar brake and tightening up some fasteners, but that's another post.

Saturday 23 September 2017

Everyday TR1 - The Tractor gets softer carb return springs and an outlook

As you might have guessed...
... this is a rather short post. 😏

The long version: The three VM36es on the XS Triple sidecar are WAY easier on the throttle than the twin VM38s. So I gave the local Mikuni a call and asked for softer springs and here they are: VM34/55 springs (from a VM34) are only a 1.3mm instead of 1.6mm wire-gauge and thus are notably softer. Do you feel the difference? Absolutely.

What's in store for the Tractor over the Winter I hear you ask? Well thanks for asking, I'll build (more re-house) the engine in a new set of cases plus a new set of cylinders and pistons. I still haven't gotten around checking up those XV700 heads, but I'd love to use those instead of the old 750ies and some minor suspension work and a bit of cosmetics, mainly a new tail-light (thinking about going down the route of a Lucas-style tail-light) and repainting the fuel tank as good TR1 fuel tanks are a bit hard to find. If I happen to have a lot of time on my hands, I may end up copying the old Faust-mid-controls for long-range touring.

Sunday 17 September 2017

The other XS Triple Sidecar - final cosmetic touches and Hitachi carb install [FOR SALE]

Well, I'll start with a bit of disappointment for you straight away: There are no pics on how to install the Hitachi carbs, because it is pretty straight forward. Only thing to remember: All the rubbers on the airbox are at least 35 years old and are pretty stiff. A bit of the classic heatgun/hairdryer and lube treatment will help you there. Except from that, the job might be easier if you undo the battery box and slide it back, but it's doable with it in place as well.

That being said, huge thanks to my dad for doing all the polishing on the exhaust and mudguards, because as you might have noticed with my own bikes: I ain't one much for polishing unless engine internals are involved.

And yes, this bike is for sale, as hinted by the youtube-clip AND the label underneath. If you fancy it, it has got full German paper work, no TÜV, but as you can confirm with the various blog posts, all consumables are new, so new TÜV should be absolutely no problem. Pretty much the same goes for registering it in Austria as it is also completely set up for that as well. Drop me an email (see address on the right) or a comment, if you want to buy it and I'll get back to you.

Wednesday 13 September 2017

The XS Triple Sidecar - overhauling a starter

As usual once you have a bike on the road, the actual work starts. All the little or not so little things come up. One of which was that the starter drew massive amps, when starting and still didn't spin over the engine quite very fast or powerful.

So as I had to re-jet the carbs anyway after removing all those extra baffles in the exhaust, the way was clear to get to that starter.

Getting the starter out is really just a matter of undoing the two bolts holding it down in the back and then pulling it to the right and wiggling it upwards ever so gently, without breaking the cases. But it's pretty clear to see, the bike this engine came out of, was parked outside for ages. So a bit of extra cleanup (and paint) was due.

With the starter clamped into the vice, it was time to undo the two long bolts holding the complete assembly together. Stock starters usually sport philipps-head, whereas aftermarket ones generally have hex-head-bolts holding them together (which makes disassembly a lot easier).

The first find was a completely dry set of planetary gears.

And already the first sighting of a lot of carbon dust, which had found its way past the shaft (no grease of any sorts as well) and into the gear housing.

And wow: Never seen that much carbon dust in a starter and it still working.

The picture doesn't do it even remotely justice on just how much dust had come out when cleaning.

With all parts cleaned and greased (incl. the terminal for corrosion prevention), assembly was a matter of minutes. 

It admittedly doesn't sound much different, but now the bike can be started more than three times in a row without the battery breaking down, which I do consider a vast improvement.

Saturday 9 September 2017

The XS Triple Sidecar - post registration mods

... to make the old girl all illegal again. I mean we all know how this goes: We do quite a bunch of mods to pass inspection and then we revert them, to make the bike rideable again.

Step one: Make the engine breath again. So the inserts for actually running the bike are "just" two washers with 20mm holes in them. It's only moderately louder at idle (around the 81db mark that is in the papers), but admittedly from 4000rpm onwards it does get noisier.

Now with TIG HF-pulsing it is possible to create welds with very little burn in, which in this case means, that once I ground the weld flat, there's not much left to hold it in there. The heat affected zone of the weld (aka. bluing) was only 3mm deep, just to give you an idea. Now on a structural weld this would have been terrible, but in this case we have a weld which looks solid, can be ground back quickly and then gives access to the damper insert.

Additionally the welds look very, very pretty, if I may say so. (That's around 15 amps at 200Hz with 80% on time.)

Now the steering damper is definitely quite useful, but I have to do a lot of reversing, when I park my bike in front of my house and it limits the steering angle substantially. So off it went.

And lastly, as I didn't have the right bolt, that reflector on the rear had to go as well, but is stored in the special-for-registration-only-doodads-box.

With a few kilometres under it's wheels it became quite apparent, that the jetting had left some room for improvement at the very least.

Another thing that became quite apparent was electrical consumption. Now the bike would charge fine, but with headlight, position lights and the various gauges, I had to rev her up to 3000 rpm to make her charge. With some proper LED bulbs this was changed to charging at 13.8V at idle, which meant even riding around town, where you're not running that high rpm would get the battery charged sufficiently.

Unfortunately the whole story doesn't end on a high note. The part with the highest electrical consumption was quite in need of a cleanup and left me draining the battery, resulting in a very healthy push of around 2.5 km to the shop, but that's a story for the next time...

Thursday 7 September 2017

The XS Triple Sidecar - give me the g*d-d*mn papers already!

... or in other words a little writeup on how everything went up to the registration.

First things first: I had a call from my engineer that we had a little mixup with the numbers on the noise levels and as such my bike was too loud. So I sort of knew, that I had to do something about it. Luckily my muffler-insert-design already planned for such events, which meant the inserts are stackable and although the devil's in the details, i.e. how do you have this whole thing end up somewhat straight, it was a mere hour of fabricating to end up with a two-stage version. (The one originally in the TR1's exhaust ended up bent, when I took it out, so I couldn't simply cut that up as I had planned.)

Ground the old weld off and the tip can be driven out with (relative) ease. A quick measurement returned between 77 and 77.3 db of noise, which was way below the 81db mandated. And it sounded like a squirrel with diarrhea. 

To please the eye of the official I quickly polished the mufflers and have to admit they came out rather decent. 

The next problem was one of those tasks, that I had on my list, but forgot about: The rear brake lever on XS-Triples only makes very little way (maybe 15 to 20 degrees) as they have a rather beefy master cylinder. As such the lever mount in the frame tends to seize up, with the brake lever not coming back up anymore. Unfortunately, as I found out, if I want to fit a grease nipple, I have to take the sidecar off, as I can't get to it properly. (Luckily I had exactly the same issue on my first XS, but it took me bl**dy ages to find.) Pushing it back a bit and soaking it in WD40 cured it for now, but it's definitely one of the higher priority mods that needs to be addressed.

One of the other challenges I had to face: As I didn't register the bike in my name BEFORE I started the conversion, I couldn't simply drive it to the department of motor vehicles, but had to borrow a trailer.

Already loaded up on the trailer, I realized that I had forgotten to install a reflector and this is exactly the kind of sh*te that might have gotten me into re-visiting them...

But I didn't and this is probably one of the most expensive eight page books I have ever bought.

Coming up next: removing all sorts of things from the sidecar that have only been fitted for registration and running into the first problems during the first few kilometres!