DC950 Goes Woods Racing Again

Discussion in 'Racing' started by DC950, Mar 19, 2008.

  1. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    well, here we are in 2008 and it's time to go racing again. You can read all about what happened when a 42 year old noob did it in 2007 (and cure your insomnia) here:

    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=201148

    When your Hero (:rofl) last left you the plan was:

    I plan to do a lot of riding and conditioning training this winter. What I really need is some seat time chasing better riders.

    Didn't happen.

    Some Scottish fellow said something about the best laid plans of mice and men getting plowed under after too much Scotch (or something like that). I wish I could say Scotch was the problem, but it was really wasn't. Work, cold weather, lot's of rain, funerals, work, Pinewood Derby, illness, snow, and work all got in the way.

    I missed 3 days of work in a row 3 times in February with first the flu, then salmonella, and then two ear infections and a sinus infection. I missed the first hare scrambles of the year, being in bed with a 102 degree fever. I've lost 10 pounds, which is a lot when you weigh 162 to begin with, and get out of breath walking across the parking lot. Not Good.

    So what better to do than sign up for my first enduro, to be run on 30 March?

    Seth from over in Arkansas invited me to ride with his crew and I took him up on the offer. They did it last year, finished, and had fun. Besides, it's only 45 miles and 3 hours so I should be able to handle that with not too much problem, right? Then the organizers tell us it's 56 miles and close to 5 hours. Not Good.

    Now ordinarily I would relish it being longer. I did better at the hardest two Hare Scrambles last year (2nd and 3rd in beginner class) than I did at the easy ones. But I was in shape to be proud of, at least compared to most everyone else. It's quite satisfying to pass tired twentysomethings near the end of a race.

    3 weeks from the White Rock Enduro I decided I had to get busy no matter how I felt. Might as well work on the bike first.
    #1
  2. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    One of the few flaws with the new Husqvarna 4 strokes is overheating. This seems to be primarily due to the boneheaded design of the fitting where the hose splits to carry the coolant to each radiator. It seems everyone eventually blows steam out of the radiator, with the 450s and 510s particularly prone to the problem. I only had it happen once, but since my 250 uses the exact same cooling system as the big bikes, it was sure to happen again.

    You don't have to be a genius to know that water really doesn't want to turn if it can go straight. This was apparently not taught to the otherwise brilliant Husky engineers. The problem is most of the water flow goes to one radiator. In the right conditions, one and a half radiators can't handle the heat load and the bike overheats. Guess which one of these fittings is the stock part?

    [​IMG]

    Yes, water flow is from the bottom of the picture. It baffles us Husqvarna guys why Italy would use a T instead of a Y. It's probably because there is no letter Y in the Italian alphabet*. But I suppose a T is better than the inevitable overpriced, overengineered part BMW will come up with now that they own Husqvarna**.

    Fortunately, even Husqvarna has an aftermarket. One nice cast aluminium Y later, and I should be set. Considering the hills and something called "rock gardens" over in AR, I hope so.

    I've been wondering just what these things called "rocks" are and what they are doing on a race course anyway? It must sort of be like Tbone wondering what a hill is and what one would be doing on a course in Florida. :dunno








    * See, this thread isn't just full of useless motorcycle trivia; it has other useless trivia too.
    * I've owned 4 BMWs so I can rag on them with some authority.
    #2
  3. Ceej

    Ceej Been here awhile

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    Glad to see you're back for a second year. I enjoyed following your thread last season. Good luck!
    #3
  4. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    thank you! I hope to have plenty of stuff to write about, hopefully it will be entertaining...
    #4
  5. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    for you guys that don't know (and if you bother reading my exploits you probably don't since you have to be a noob too) you really do need to periodically take a dirt bike apart and check it out. While street bike bearings can last the life of the engine and DS bearings can last a good while, dirt bike bearings don't seem too. I'm talking about stearing head, wheel, swingarm, and linkage bearings. They get a lot of abuse period but especially from mud and water. If you don't pull the swingarm and front end, you're going to end up with bearings that don't work. Gaspipe recently purchased a KTM450 that needed every bearing replaced. If you don't replace them soon enough, they will seize completely and only the proper mojo can get them removed.

    IMO, one of the worst things you can do to a bike is use a pressure washer on it. I don't care how careful you are, you're going to get water in past the seals. If water gets in from a creek, how can it not get in from a pressure washer? Or a hose as I learned.

    Due to my amazing mechanic skills, I kind of knew something was up when the front wheel wouldn't turn more than 2 inches in either direction. At first I thought this might be a Good Thing. It might make it a little hard to get the bike out of the garage and into the truck, but it seemed like I might have a free stearing damper. Besides, bikes turn by leaning anyway.

    Common sense got the better of me so I pulled the stem down. You can see from this pic I was trying to avoid the extra work of pulling the fork tubes. I was hoping all I had to do was add some grease like the last time I did this. I don't recommend you do it like this unless you have radiator guards on.

    [​IMG]

    (if you don't use a magnetic bowl or tray for your nuts and bolts, get one and make a toast to me)




    [​IMG]

    This is a pretty bad picture, but if you can make it out you'll see where the upper stearing head bearing rusted to the race. This normally happens with the lower bearing, mostly due to washing the bike. But I don't do a good job of washing the bike nor does it happen often enough to be the problem.

    The likely reason is on one of the few days I rode this winter, I was riding at Toxic Beach on the sand bars, playing Dakar. I decided to jump over a little temporary branch that cut through the bar and didn't quite make it. I submerged the bike on it's side. That might have had something to do with the water getting in there. I'm not kidding when I say we call it Toxic Beach. That water is nasty :deal

    But hey, I made it across the next couple of times. .

    The bottom bearing seemed pretty decent but I couldn't figure out what the bearing cage was made of. It didn't look right to me so I poked it with a screwdriver (a lot actually) and all of the rollers fell out. The cage was made of plastic. I'm glad they saved 5 cents doing that.

    I've never taken off a lower bearing and had no idea how to do it. The race stays on the stearing stem. Screwdriver and hammer won't work. Fortunately, I had to go see Fletcher and he told me to use a press. I had picked up a $100 ten or 15 ton press off Craig's List recently and was quite glad to show Mrs DC950 there was a good reason to own one.

    You have to press the steel stem off the lower clamp without bending the aluminum clamp. I put a large socket under the stem and had no problems.

    I froze the stem overnight in the freezer to get it to shrink. The plastic cage prevented me from heating the bearing itself (obtainable only from Husqvarna :cry for $24 each) but it went on OK with some persuasion.

    Just because there is a grease shortage in Europe and Nippon doesn't mean we have one here. Use plenty of grease (I actually used much more than this before it was all said and done).

    [​IMG]

    Lunch is over. More later. Don't worry, these guys are guarding the bike.

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. Tbone

    Tbone off-ramp slayer

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    Come on DC...you know it's more fun to blame something breaking on the bike during the race..:D

    I know some of those things need to be done to my bike, so I'll let you be the guinea pig and see what happens. As far as rocks and hills, I saw a poor guy practicing with his trials bike on the rocks next to the causeway the other day...:lol3

    I'm entering the "eagles nest" Enduro next month...so I look forward to your report so I can get some tips....:bow
    #6
  7. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    Now Tbone has a point about letting the bike break because you then have an excuse for your performance. But I really don't want to marry some three tooth hillbilly if I was to get stranded over in the Ozark hills. You can end up being your own cousin that way. As far as racing tips go, I'm basically counting on prayer. Good thing Easter is coming up.


    One of the smartest things I've ever done is buy a motorcycle lift. While I wouldn't want to make my living off of my Chinese lift, it's perfect for me and is somehow fitting when your garage looks like it belongs to Fred G. Sanford. I can't tell you how nice having a lift is, but Peter Egan can in the April 2008 Cycle World.

    [​IMG]

    It's hydraulic, which is why I just stand on it instead of lowering and raising it all the time. It's rather slow compared to hopping up on it.

    The removeable plate isn't just for tire changes:

    [​IMG]

    Truth be told I never did get the entire swing arm off or apart; it stayed connected to the linkage which stayed connected to the frame. But since the linkage has a grease fitting and gets greased after every wet ride, I wasn't worried about those bearings.

    [​IMG]

    There was a little corrosion on one race, but a kiss from the grinder brush wheel made it fine. I wiped out the swingarm bearings as best as I could; the grease was definitely thin and needed replacing. To get it ready to go back together, just pretend you're a proctologist:

    [​IMG]


    grease up your gloved finger, stick it right in the bearing, squish it all around, and you're done.

    I also took the time to actually get almost all of this dirt and grime off. I almost hate to ride it again since it looks as good as someone else's bike now.
    #7
  8. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    Cycle Gear is a Bad Place. I try to stay out of it and give my business to Fletcher's and Al's Honda, but sometimes I go there. And usually buy things I don't need.

    [​IMG]

    I've never had any issues with leaking fork seals on this bike. I don't know what possessed me to buy these seal savers. I think the only reason I put them on is because they're blue. I don't know if they work. I had something like them on the KTM and learned that if you don't clean out the crap that eventually gets under them, the now trapped crap causes a leak. We'll see what happens.

    Last year I found some car door bumpers and used them to keep my skid plate off the frame. I seem to have lost them over a log (just enough hung from the bottom of the plate to get snagged). I had no idea that had happened nor that the frame was rubbing on the plate. It probably explains the vibrating noise I thought I heard :D.

    You can see the rub marks.

    [​IMG]

    A few seconds cutting up one of the many mouse pads I keep around the garage - they have a 101 uses - and a little bit of silicone to hold
    it in place and I should be set.

    [​IMG]

    Simple is usually best.



    I got a big box from UPS at work today. Tomorrow we'll see what it is :D.
    #8
  9. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    you may recall I've broken or lost every piece of bodywork on my bike except the fenders. Some of the most noticeable ones are the tank shrouds. Replacing them and the decals is about $100. The only other guy around here who races a TC250 suggested just getting a Clarke tank: more fuel and built in shrouds.

    [​IMG]
    I decided to finally do it, just in time for the March price increase :baldy. I ordered it last week and it came yesterday. It actually seems lighter than the stock tank and holds about a gallon and a half more. That should easily be good for over a hundred race miles at my speed. I don't need the range really and the most likely use of the tank is to smash my 'nads since it sits so high.

    I should have just ignored the installation instructions because I ended up with some vine catching gaps between the radiator deflectors and the tank. Oh well, when they get ripped off (again) I'll have another chance at it. The only problem with the tank was the petcock fuel tube/screen was too small but that's no big deal. 3 seconds on the drill press (something else that's good to let Mrs DC950 know there's a reason for).

    The overall tank fit is quite good, maybe a 8.5 of 10. I detected some rattling and saw it could hit the radiator guards if I tried hard enough. That would not do so I filed down the guard edges, cut up some more foam, and stuck it on. It really won't do to have a hole rubbed in my $234 tank :eek1

    [​IMG]

    There was a thread a while back in Thumpers about someone complaining his newly installed radiator guards prevented the handlebars from going to full lock. This was not discovered until he was ready to ride because he did not check fit. He was all steamed up about it and railed against the manufacturer. Sorry, but you are way too trustful if you expect everything to fit every bike perfectly. Only a fool wouldn't check for things like the tank rubbing on radiators and hose clamps and the like.

    My mom has repeatedly reminded me not to be a fool.
    #9
  10. nobrakes

    nobrakes Long timer

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    Good luck on your race, DC. I'm enjoying your prep work and can't wait to read your report.

    I did my first race on 3/9 this year and had a load of fun. I can't do every one in the series due to other obligations, but the next one I think I can make is 4/6 which will be #2 for me. I don't think I'll do much differently from race #1 except hopefully finish better.
    #10
  11. nfranco

    nfranco over macho grande?

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    Keep it up DC, were pulling for ya!
    #11
  12. shelden

    shelden Been here awhile

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    you are in another league, pal.
    I have been prepping for the race. but that means scrubbing/brushing things i dont usually brush. playing with the fuel screw to try and fix the bog when i snap the throttle off idle. drilling holes in my rear fender for my tool pack. new tires--i did the front but gave up on doing the back as the beer count was increasing. put a velcro watch on my bars. cleaning the air filter. changing the oil/filter. oh, i did put on a MSR shark fin as i have already warped one rear disc at White Rock.
    but you have really gotten down to business! did you do that much stuff before the bike stand, or does the bike stand lend you to trying more projects? ill have to get me one of those someday.

    Less than a week DC!!!
    look forward to seeing you. I will send you a map to my brothers house this week.
    seth
    #12
  13. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    thank you nfranco and no brakes. After finally riding today, I'm going to need all the help I can get!
    #13
  14. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    that's a great question but I don't have an answer. I got the lift about the same time as I bought the dirt bike. I would have done all this stuff anyway, but it would have taken even longer (and hurt a lot more). There isn't any maintenance I did that it didn't need. I can't believe how long it took for everything - close to 15 hours with the tank and one more little thing.
    #14
  15. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    I finally got the tank on and everything back together. I really wasn't impressed with how the tank looked. See through makes a lot of sense but it ain't pretty. Oh well.

    Clarke will tell you there may be plastic residue in the tank: there were plenty of shavings so I washed it out with some old fuel. But I didn't feel like I wanted to chance a sliver getting stuck in my pilot jet so I decided to add a fuel filter. Unfortunately, Al's was already closed and Fletcher's is closed on Saturday. No choice but Cycle Gear. All I needed was a $3 filter.

    $45 dollars later I now own a K&N style breather filter and a Renthal cross bar pad in addition to what I came for. I hate myself in that place. I was pretty glad they did not have a Leatt brace in stock, or I would have gotten one of them too. I will get one of those and pray I won't need it till I get it.

    Anway, I carefully filled up my gas can with 4 gallons of gas and got Mrs DC950's fat Sharpie out so I could mark the tank for each gallon. I poured the fuel in and saw it was streaming right out. Crap!

    It had to be where I added the new fuel filter but it wasn't. It was coming fromn the petcock to tank seal. Long, smelly story short, I distorted the (poorly designed IMHO) seal by overtightening it. Backing off the screws too much for comfort seems to have done the trick - no more leaks. Now I didn't have enough fuel to fill up the tank and mark it. Oh well.

    Like most dirt bikes I suppose, the engine breather hose goes to the airbox. Since the airbox is lower than the hose hook up to the engine, this seems like a fine way to suck water into said engine. I know I will probably get water in through the carb first, but I never liked the idea of the breather hose being plumbed into the bottom of the airbox. So I gave Cycle Gear $15 for a $8 filter, plugged the airbox, and ran a new hose up under the seat. I used a clear vinyl hose so I could see what's really going on. I actually did the same thing with the crossover hose between the radiators, just used reinforced hose. I seem to like to see inside things. Hmmm, never thought about that before.

    I promised my 9 year old we'd ride today and we did. Toxic Beach was a mud hole and there was no beach, as the water was so high. I got some great practice going over logs and he did too. I wish I had a video of him going through the mud under the power lines where some trucks went through so I could post it in that ride report where some farkled GS's fell down in the Scrub driveway at Daytona. He's never ridden anything like that before, just picked a line and did it. Mrs DC950 and my youngest son - who refuses to ride anymore (long story :cry) - came too. She's never seen her son ride.

    Here I am in all my glory.

    [​IMG]

    I hope I get in better shape in the next 5 days :puke1. To say my timing is off is like saying my sundial won't work at night for some reason.

    Oh, and I read on TT that Shout is a great bike cleaner so I decided to try it. It works, and as my little son says "it makes the motorcycle smell like my blanket after Mama washes it".
    #15
  16. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    Love this stuff, DC! :thumb


    That tank does look like a nutbuster. :uhoh


    What do you think of the Klim pants?
    #16
  17. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    The Klim pants are great. I wish I had gotten the longer ones but they do stay in place as they are. My boots would just stay cleaner; it's a lot easier to clean pants than boots. These are the Mojave (or whatever the cheaper mesh ones are, which is definitely a relative term with KLIM). I've got one tear in them, on the inside of one leg in the added on protective fabric. Considering they have about 50 crashes on them, I'd say they are plenty tough. I'll buy another pair. If it's cold, I just wear a very thin pair of sweatpants underneath, kind of like the ones marketed as sleepware.

    Oh, and I didn't fall down yesterday :clap despite 16psi in the tires and softening up the compression in the shock. I'm trying to get used to how they feel because I'll have 14-16 in them for the AR rocks Sunday. Concerning suspension settings, Fast Jack says hard for mud, soft for rocks. Makes sense to me.
    #17
  18. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    I don't know what kind of rocks you'll be in, but I found my bike worked best with a lower oil level (more air) -- that took the hard edge off of quick rock/root hits, but still allowed the suspension to work over other stuff normally. YMMV.


    Thanks for the Klim review.
    #18
  19. DC950

    DC950 Microadventurer

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    Notice the title of this post? I'm trying to learn the enduro lingo. Key time is the scheduled start and arrival time at a checkpoint for someone starting on row zero. Got it? Me neither. Fast Jack tried to explain it to me but I don't think it matters much for the first one.

    I sold the forks from my Guzzi roadracer yesterday so I'm officially done with roadracing. It's kind of hard to close that chapter on my life, but $300 helps. One of the big reasons to quit was the long solo drives to the tracks. Kind of ironic I have a 4.5 hour drive to this race. But at least I will meet up with some nice guys and fellow ADVriders there.



    I always try to have goals for each race. Considering this is my first enduro and my 6th woods race ever, my goals aren't too lofty. They are:

    1. don't hour out. If you get an hour behind the key time for your row, you're done for the day. In my condition, finishing will be great. My left ear is still messed up but I can't get to the ENT doctor till April. Oh well, it doesn't hurt that much, just damn annoying.

    2. don't crash. This has always been and will continue to be a goal. Nothing saps your energy like crashing. Actually, nothing saps your physical energy like picking the bike up. Crashing itself takes a lot of mental energy out of me but the fear of crashing takes even more out of me. I'm really going to try not to ride over my head and stay on two wheels, but I'm not going to get paranoid about it. My plan is to follow Seth all day if I can keep up. Besides, I might be a C rider but I'm at least a B level crasher :D.



    I changed the the brake fluid last night and will change the oil tomorow night, hopefully after a quick ride at Toxic Beach. I've decided not to put on the harder tires; they've had so much rain over in AR that I might need the mud tires. Yeah, I admit I really don't feel like it either but after I whip out the Visa to replace a pair of destroyed tires I'll probably wish I had.

    See you Sunday. Maybe :rofl
    #19
  20. PackMule

    PackMule love what you do

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    :lurk
    #20