Crivens... but its been a weird week at work. I won't even try to list all the odd calls, but here's a representative sample of two:
1. Responded to a Jewelry Store upstairs in a Mega-mall in the town where I work. This little guy was hanging by his back feet from a ceiling air conditioning vent:
That's a bat, if you can't tell by the crappy picture. Bats have a tendency to either sit like a lump when disturbed or flail about flapping unpredictably. He sat like a lump when I climbed a ladder in the store and plucked him off the ceiling register, but I wasn't going to take a chance that he would remain docile while I screwed with him to get a good picture.
I have a friend that was bitten in the face by a bat several years ago when he went to pluck it from the drapes in the house it had flown into.
2. Spent about two hours crawling around under a car dealing with this:
That's an enormous cat that jumped up into the running gear of an SUV that had stopped momentarily on the street. It gets weirder..... because there was not only one fat cat under there, he brought a friend. They had both jammed themselves up in almost inaccessible areas over and around the frame and differential. I didn't get a picture of the first cat when it was stuck, but you can see in the one picture above that he's jammed with his back against the floor pan of the SUV and his belly against the top of that frame tower. The silver colored tube is the exhaust pipe. What you can't see is that his butt is jammed up against something else and he is straddling a brake line with one rear leg on either side. The other cat was stuck even worse.
Whenever we tried to maneuver the cats they would squeeze into even more unworkable positions. To get the last cat out, we had to jack up one side of the car enough to let the axle drop down. My partner and I messed with them, our faces just inches from angry, scared cats for an eternity until we were able to drag them, spitting and hissing and biting, out from the predicament. I only got bitten once, when I finally pulled one of the cats out into the open. I was wearing heavy gloves, so the teeth didn't hit skin. Sure felt like someone had my thumb in a vise there for a couple of seconds, though.
There are rumors that I may, or may not, have used extremely colorful language during this procedure. I can neither confirm, nor deny, those rumors....
Here are the two giant pain in the asses after we had them safely in carriers for a ride to the shelter:
That sure doesn't look like the face of gratitude, does it?
Carburetors are similar to toilet tanks in a couple of ways. That big yellowish thing in the picture is the carb float:
You're looking at the bottom of the carburetor in this pic, because the carb is upside down. When gas comes out of the gas tank it flows into the bottom of the carb through an orifice occupied by the float valve, which is one of these tiny little thingies here:
When operating normally, the float rises in the bowl just like the float in your toilet rises in the toilet tank. As it rises it moves the float valve and turns off the inflow of gas when the gas reaches the correct level in the bowl. Again, just like the float in your toilet tank. Now if the valve in your toilet fails.... you got it - an overflow occurs. That's what happened recently when I tried to start the Valk. Gas didn't stop flowing when it should have - and flowed out the air lines and into the vent tubes where it spilled out onto the engine when the valve in the #2 carburetor stuck open.
Some of it also flowed down the intake risers and into the #2 cylinder. Its an event known as Hydrolock, and usually only happens when a petcock fails AND a float valve gets stuck open. I discovered this, thankfully, before I tried to crank the bike again. This is what I sucked out of the cylinder through the spark plug hole with a vacuum pump.
That's liquid gas. NOT GOOD in a cylinder. A piston compresses atomized fuel/air mixture in a cylinder which is ignited by the spark to cause the little explosion which makes your engine go. Liquid gas is much, much harder to compress than the gaseous air/fuel mixture. So hard in fact that trying to compress liquid gas in a Valkyrie cylinder can result in broken starter gears or a cracked block.
All the gas is out now. When I pull the carb rack out I'm replacing ALL the float valves along with new slow and fast jets. Full tear down this time. Should have done this the first time around, of course. Had my gamble paid off I would have been riding the roads a week ahead of schedule. As it turned out, I'm lucky I didn't seriously damage the bike. Lesson learned.
Despite the setback, I'm actually feeling pretty good about the prospect of success after "Round 2".
We checked out the Farmer's Market in Mckinney Saturday morning...
They advertise this as "Locally raised produce" to appeal to the yuppies who are currently preoccupied with the "benefits" of eating food that is naturally in season within a short distance of their front door. That's apparently all the rage now. There's some good looking produce available, but its really expensive - and I hate to break it to them but the tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn and 90% of the other vegetables available for sale weren't grown anywhere around here locally. About the only things that would "naturally" be available for harvest around here this time of year are lettuces, asparagus, and the like.
Unless you count "local" as going to the big farmers market in Dallas and buying vegetables shipped in from Florida, far south Texas, and Mexico.
There were also booths selling home made stuff, which all looked really good. However, again very expensive. I looked longingly at a chocolate pie until some lady bought it - for $16. I would have explained that she could make that very same pie at home for about $2 worth of ingredients, but that would probably have confused her.
Wells Fargo bank had a stagecoach there giving rides... which was pretty cool looking. I thought the driver looked like he could be related to Nick Nolte.
While trying to diagnose my starting problems with the Valkyrie after reinstalling the carbs, I've been posting and reading a very good technical message board over at the Valkyrie Riders Cruisers Club website. One of the suggestions was that my battery, while fully charged, just didn't have enough Oomph to spin the starter, pull vacuum, and provide sufficient spark to get her going from her lifeless condition. The suggestion was made by several people that before pulling the carbs again I hook her up via jumper cables to my truck and use that larger battery to provide some extra zip when trying to start.
I did that briefly, and actually heard some encouraging sounds that gave me hope that this just might work and get fuel flowing through her heart again. It was raining off and on yesterday morning and a shower broke out shortly after I started the experiment. Being averse to electrocution and not wanting to get soaked I unhooked the cables and rolled the Valk back into my garage to wait out the rain before trying again.
I noticed shortly after doing so that gas was flowing out of the carb rack on the left side and flowing down onto the top of the engine, the exhaust, and the ground beneath the bike. I'm pretty sure at this point that one of my float valves was stuck open causing gas to "overflow" out one of the vent hoses. Won't know for sure until I pull the rack out again where I can actually see what's going on and test it.
If the bike had started up successfully on my first attempt while hooked to the truck, I would have let it idle a bit and then taken her for a spin around the block. Gasoline dripping onto a hot engine/exhaust system is a really scary proposition..... Had she caught fire while riding I would have had to initiate the emergency in-flight fire response plan.
Which is basically me falling off the bike in the street and rolling around on the ground screaming like a little girl.
Over the next couple of weeks I'm going to pull the carbs back out, diagnose where the gas was coming from and why, replace the jets that I cleaned with new ones, and perhaps new float valve or two if I determine that sticking valves are the problem.
This is becoming personal now. Its me against the Honda Carbs.
I have a couple of vague ideas as to what might be wrong. I'll eliminate those before pulling the carb rack again and completely replacing the jets, etc. Looks like it will be a bit longer before I'm back on the road.
Recent call dispatched to me over the radio via the Police Department:
Dispatcher: "RP (reporting party) states there is a large, 5 to 6 foot long snake underneath his truck. His Wife also called in and stated that its actually closer to 3 or 4 feet."
The 13 year old boy that occupies the majority of my brain was screaming inappropriate jokes inside my head so loudly, I thought I was going to pass out for a minute. I resisted the impulse to let my juvenile sense of humor have free reign and stayed strong until the impulse passed.
And just for the record, I have been assured on multiple occasions that size does not matter. I cling to that belief.
This post will probably be boring to anyone not interested in Motorcycles or engines. Sorry about that. Feel free to talk among yourselves :)
Finally got some time to devote to the Vakyrie Carb Overhaul. Things are going pretty well so far. Its been mostly disassembly so far, though. I rock at taking stuff apart. Putting it back together and having it work can be a bit more problematic. Broke down the carbs to get to the jets and here's an example of what I found in one of the carbs:
Dirty, Dirty, Dirty....
When I pulled the main and slow jets they were completely clogged in some of the carbs and partially clogged in others. Gave them all a good soak and made sure all the tiny holes are now open. The carb bowls were equally disgusting:
If you insist on driving drunk on a rural highway at 2am, smashing your car up, smashing someone elses car up, and generally being a douchebag - please resist the impulse to take your dog along for the sleighride from hell so I don't have to drag my ass out of bed in the dark and fish your scared shitless dog out of the backseat of the crumpled remains of your vehicle in a ditch in the dark.
Trying a new variety of Roses this year, in my unending quest to find roses that can survive my Rose Brown Thumb for more than a single year. The miniature rose we got last year is still with us and doing well. The new variety of rose we got are called Drift Roses.
Thats the color variety known as "Peach Drift". You can see the actual peach color better in this pic:
They are short, ground cover type roses that are related to the "Knock Out" line that has become popular. Many varieties of Drift Roses have double blooms though, which makes for a prettier flower than the Knock Outs. Each Drift Rose will grow about 18" tall and spread out about 2' when mature. They bloom all summer and are resistant to most diseases and pests - which is what will hopefully give it the strength to survive my Rose Curse.
I picked up three of the Peach Drift Roses and if they do well this year I'll look at picking up some Red ones next year.
This year for BAG (Buy A Gun) Day, I went old school.
That's a Ruger Security Six Revolver - .357 Magnum, 4 inch barrel, wearing service grips. Ruger made this model from 1972 until 1988. I picked it up off Gunbroker for what I felt was a good price ($300 + shipping).
I love a gun that shows honest wear. Gives it character. I didn't always feel that way. There was a time when I would have duracoated this baby almost before I had her out of the box. I'll still refinish guns that show heavy wear or misuse... but a gun that just shows a little holster/blueing wear or a nick/scratch here or there appeals to me alot now. Maybe it's because I'm showing wear and tear myself as I age :)
Took her along to the range this past weekend. She has a very smooth action and a really nice trigger break. I shot her mostly single action, because I shoot best that way. Not quite as accurate with it as I am my Thunderer... but pretty damned close considering this was the first time I shot her. I even tried my hand at double action for a couple of cylinders and didn't do half bad. I've virtually no experience shooting double action revolvers and generally suck at it. I think I may be able to conquer my double-action yip with the help of this gun.
Also shot the circuit for CHL qualifying as practice, using my .380 Beretta, and I'm pleased to report that I'm back to shooting better than I did when I originally qualified several years ago. Shot 250 out of 250 and shot the center X completely out of the target. If the range had been the State Fair Midway I would have won a stuffed animal :)
New sidebar link on the right hand side of the blog here. Please go and chip in if you have a moment and the means to do so.
I didn't know Patrick Leister myself, but from what I've read he was a stand up guy who loved his family and was true to his friends. Patrick was in the prime of life when he unexpectedly fell ill and left this earth unexpectedly, leaving a wife and three kids.
Life is so very short. We never know when the end will come. Only that it will for all of us eventually. Help out the Leisters if you can, and take a moment and make very sure that everyone you love KNOWS that you love them.
Managed to get the carb rack out of the Valkyrie this weekend. Took me several hours, but it was pretty straight forward. I took my time and tried to photograph/label everything so that reassembly in a couple of weeks (I hope) will be easier.
Here's a view of the carburetors where they sit on my workbench.
For anyone doing this, here's my first tip: Buy yourself a Cap Light. There's lots of different brands (mine is a Brinkman), but they all basically work the same. Its a battery flashlight that clips to the brim of your cap. My workshop lighting sucks, and while I use a sort of red-neck spotlight it always seems like I'm in the way of any available light when I'm digging around inside a bike, engine, carb set, whatever. The cap light puts light right where you're working. Really helped a lot.
I'm planning to start on the carbs next weekend, if time allows. I have all the important stuff lined up and I'll be all ready to go....
If you're not familiar with Tumblr, you really should check it out. A tumbler site is usually a photo-blog. They can either be pictures that the "owner" has taken themselves, or pictures they've gathered across the internet that feature subject matter that interests them.
You can find everything from steampunk art to antique tractors. There's something for everyone. This Week's Girl Friday is a collection of random, anonymous (to me), redheads that I've come across recently via Tumblr. If you have names to go with any of the faces, let me know in the comments section...
To be more precise, I'm equal parts Shop Pig and Packrat. I keep a neat house. Clutter in my home is annoying and I keep the inside of my house and kitchen pretty squared away. My workshop, on the other hand, is constantly a cluttered mess.
Before I can bring the Valk into the workshop and get started on it I'm having to do some cleaning and rearranging. This is a major chore in and of itself. Just to give you and idea - when I stand in one typical spot and stretch out my arms, I can put my hands on:
Several cast iron gears and hand cranks. A flatbed bench sander. A 1 inch strip sander. 4 partially complete brass blowtorches. 3 screw drivers. 1 rubber mallet. My hydraulic motorcycle lift. A Hamilton Beach milkshake mixer c. 1920 that is awaiting restoration. A humpback steamer trunk.
Yeah..... like that all over :)
I pick up odd stuff whenever I see it for cheap, because I know I'll eventually use it on some project. I also get insanely focused when I'm working on something and keeping an orderly shop falls by the wayside despite my best intentions. Moving stuff around enough to clear space for a 660 lb motorcycle becomes problematic, to say the least.
Three weeks stranded on a mass of debris in the ocean. That is the will to survive, in case you don't recognize it. I try to avoid giving human qualities to animals under most circumstances. I don't think its necessary to do that in order explain most behaviors in animals. Almost every living thing has the will to fight to survive to the utmost.
I say "almost" every living thing, because there are more than a few Humans who seem to lack that same drive.
I've been struggling with a problem with the Valkyrie that I'm finally going to have to address.
She's been becoming more sluggish over time and now does not run.
That is bad.
Its a fuel problem brought about by my own dereliction of duty in performing proper storage maintenance as well as a former owner's even worse neglect. I took the gas tank off and disassembled the petcock a couple of days ago to discover it clogged with gunk. That's bad enough, but I also discovered that the screen set - which is the only fuel filter that a Valkyrie has - was completely missing.
Former owner probably trashed it when it got dirty. That means all the gunk from the tank that made it out before the petcock clogged is now clogging my carbs.
A Valkyrie does not have A Carburetor. It doesn't even have twocarburetors. It has Six, count 'em SIX carbs.
So... for the foreseeable future I'll be dealing with the joyful (not) task of pulling the carb rack from the Valkyrie and overhauling all six carbs. I'll be rebuilding the petcock and replacing all the fuel lines while I've got the tank and carb rack out.
Not looking forward to it. Carb work is similar enough to plumbing that the Plumbing Gods mete out their vengence upon me. At some point I apparently angered the Plumbing Gods and they punish me at every opportunity. Don't get me wrong.... I can do plumbing. It just takes me 4 times the amount of effort and time that it should. The last plumbing project that I undertook was to replace the toilet tank mechanicals in our hall bathroom because of a slow leak. I accomplished the task, but broke the toilet tank lid in the process.
See what I mean?
But, there's nothing to do but knuckle down and do it. Each individual carb isn't that complicated a job. It's just a pain to get them out of the bike and laborious to work through all six of them and get them back in. I'll advise of the progress as I can. Probably only have time to pull the carb rack next weekend (I hope). If all goes well I should be done with the overhaul and have the rack reinstalled in maybe a month just working on it in my spare time (again - I hope).
Remember me in your prayers. Carburetors don't generally like me :)
Found a couple of interesting items at the big Flea Market over in Canton yesterday.
I love old tools. I have quite a few. I heard once that if you have two of something, you just have a couple of things. For example, if I have two old antique adjustable wrenches - its nothing more than that. Just a couple of old adjustable wrenches.
On the other hand, if you have THREE of something you have a "collection". Apparently, I now have a collection of antique adjustable wrenches. I picked up this old Trimo adjustable pipe wrench, patented in 1917:
I like the small versions of the adjustable wrenches for some reason. I have two others, which are machinist wrenches. Here they are all together:
Behold my massive wrench collection :) . My weirdness knows no bounds.
The other item I bought was this:
That's a scissor arm for old candlestick telephones. In the early days of phones, you didn't want a phone cluttering up your desk along with the giant typewriter and other office equipment. This gizmo mounted to the wall and clamped to the candlestick phone so that the phone could be pulled close when you used it and pushed out of the way when you didn't need it. It also had the added benefit of holding the phone for you so you only had to hang on to the earpiece.
These aren't impossible to find, thanks to ebay, but they are pretty rare to find in person around my neck of the woods. When you do find them they generally go for upwards of $50-$75. I got this one for $18, because the seller had no idea what it was. It's missing the clamp to hold the phone, but I can rig something suitable that will work.
I have an old Western Electric candlestick phone and ringer box that I restored a long time ago.
Of course, when fully retracted the scissors that I just bought still hold the phone too far out from the base on this set. They means I have an excuse to buy another candlestick phone to restore and use with the scissor arm.
I don't normally "Go Blue" here on Girl Friday. I've taken pains thus far to avoid nudity, as much out of respect for readers who might browse here from the workplace as anything else.
Couldn't help it this week, and undoubtedly I will cross the "line" in the future. I've marked it "NSFW" in the title, and placed the "NS" content below the fold, so hopefully that will suffice to avoid anyone getting in trouble for surfin' the pron on the boss-man's dime.
For those that simply can't abide seeing a nipple - Get over it.