Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Matter of Distribution

Spring is in the air and the OT has been cut off for a couple weeks so I've started some long awaited upgrades to Nixon. After my last long ride of fall, my tank started leaking gas near the fuel valves. These were at some weld seams that had gotten sanded down in the finishing process. Although I had already sealed the tank with Red Kote, I figured I must not have got enough on these spots. So I made some little funnels out of aluminum foil and poured some more sealer in the fuel valve holes about 8 times each, building up a good layer of sealer. This seems to have done the trick. No more leaks.

I went on a couple more rides after that. Then the other day when I was getting ready to go out on a ride, I noticed my license plate was flopping in the wind. The bracket had cracked where it was welded to the frame and was dangling by a small remaining piece. If I rode like that, my license plate would surely fall off, get sucked into my wheel and bad things would happen. So I ripped the bracket off, disconnected the plate lights and rode the bike over to the guy's house that did the welding for me.

While I had the bike there, I figured I would get my seat repaired as well. When I first "finished" Nixon, the seat had a single spacer block at the front where it bolts to the frame. In the back, the seat was supposed to sit on the side rails, but it actually hit the battery box on the new electronics tray under the seat. Since it was supported in this way, my weight caused the seat to crack right at the transition to the hump. To fix this, I asked the welder to add another spacer under by butt over another crossmember of the frame. This way, all of my weight would be supported directly under me. While we were discussing this, I found out that my weight pressing on the battery box had caused one edge of the electronics tray to completely break away from the frame. Now I am really glad I am getting this fixed.

He repaired all of the welds and made a new plate bracket and I rode it back to my house where I repainted the repairs and bracket and touched up some other spots.

I glued some pieces of rubber to the frame and under the edge of the seat the keep things from rattling. I got the seat reinstalled and everything feels nice and secure.

New license plate bracket

Supports under the seat

New spacer on the bottom of the seat

While I was working on the bike, I decided to do some of the electrical work I had been putting off. My bike has two small LED turn signals on the back. The way the bike is wired at the factory, incandescent bulbs are required because the two sides are connected by the turn signal indicator light on my speedo. To get them to work, I just took out the indicator bulb. This got the turn signals to work, but then I wouldn't know if I left them on or not until someone pulled up next to me and made crazy hand signals to me. This happened a lot. So, I rewired it. I got a couple diodes from radio shack and made a new connector for the indicator bulb that isolates the two sides. Works great now, and hopefully I won't be riding around like an idiot with my blinker on.

Finally, the big project. I installed the electronic ignition I got for Christmas. It is a Pamco unit made for the 450s. It uses the stock mechanical timing advance mechanism so it doesn't need a "computer".  That means all of the new components can fit inside the points housing, basically replacing the points plate.  It went in pretty easily once I figured out how to assembly it. I had to add a couple taps into the power and ground wires, but since I had already installed a relay to switch the power to the coils, this wasn't too hard. I haven't fired it up yet because I need some time during a warmer day to set the timing. Hopefully this weekend. I am hoping this cures some of my poor idling issues.

Next on the agenda is to install the clipons (handlebars) and add some front turn signals.

Mock up of new indicator bulb connector (kind of looks like a flux capacitor)

Pamco ignition installed

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