My Barn Twins

Discussion in 'Airheads' started by fxray, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    As always, Bob, you are very perceptive. I'm sure I fired all six rounds, but there were only five holes in the freezer. The freezer sits against the wall to the garage, and beyond that sits the Havana Gold R90/6. If I ever get back to work on it, I guess I better check for an unexplained bullet hole somewhere. Actually, I bet I have heard Jimmy sing that song a couple thousand times, where did I get the five holes? All I can say is I had yet another birthday this past week!
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  2. bpeckm

    bpeckm Grin! Supporter

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    Ahhh! ...birthdays.... they DO add up...even if the bullet holes do not.....! :-)


    And, in the immortal words of said Jimmy... if we couldn't laugh we'd all go insane!
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  3. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    I haven't posted to this thread for a while, mainly because the Havana Gold R90/6 has been languishing on the lift without much getting done.

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    Another little project reared its ugly head the first time I mowed grass this year, and got in the way of the BMW. I'll get around to some airheads in a minute, but this first part is just a rant. Feel free to skip down past the yellow paint.

    As I was stowing the lawn tractor, a bearing started screeching at me. Applying my super diagnostic skills, I figured it might be the drive belt pulley that I had intended to replace back in 2016. The new part has been getting shifted around on my work bench for a couple of years now. So, with every ounce of willpower, I set out to repair the mower I love to hate.

    I unhooked the deck and slid it out from under the belly of the mower and found two bad pulleys -- not on the deck, but on the mower drive system. I had the one new pulley, with its "permanently" sealed and lubricated non-grease-zerk bearing, and got the other from a guy on eBay. What's up with brick and mortar dealers who say, "No, I don't have that in stock, but I can order it for you?" My reply is that I can ORDER it myself, for less money, but I thought I'd try to buy locally.

    While the deck was out, it was looking really ratty underneath -- caked with green and rust. I really don't want to have to buy another one any time soon, so I set about cleaning it up. I got carried away and took it all to clean, bright metal, using wire wheels and other implements of destruction. Then I decided to get rid of the extra holes in the deck. Their only purpose is to let clippings blow up through and make a mess every time I use this POS. That has bothered me for eight years now. My neighbor has a welder, and we filled up 29 holes that never should have been punched or drilled at the factory.

    Then I gave it a coat of Rustoleum Rusty Metal Primer and two finish coats of their School Bus Yellow, a very close match (wait a full 24 hours between coats). As I was painting, I found we had missed one hole. It was threaded, so I just plugged it with a bolt. That made an even 30 holes!

    Considering that I brush painted, it actually turned out looking fairly good under there with the blades cleaned up and sharpened:

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    I even washed and serviced the rest of this machine while I was at it:

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    I cleaned and painted all the rust spots and welds on top of the deck, and bought some new wheels for it:

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    When it was all finished, I was feeling pretty good about it. I fired it up and took a little test ride in the driveway . . . and heard the same #*%$!!! bearing still screeching at me. I am so very proud of my diagnostic capabilities!

    The only bearings left to screech were the ones in the electric PTO clutch. I dropped the old clutch and took another test drive. No more screech -- Great!

    Now all I had to do was buy a clutch. Numerous dealers said, "No, I don't have that in stock. It costs about $250 plus tax. Shall I order you one?"

    I got one from eBay for $110, including shipping. I don't think I will ever ask those dealers for anything ever again. Anyhow, it's back together with no more screech, and will work till the next thing breaks.

    **** Rant Over -- back to wrenching, riding, and an Airhead Tech Day ****

    So, with that out of the way, I had to hurry up and get the '74 R90/6 operable. There was an Airhead Tech Day looming in Lexington IL!

    I'd ridden the black R90 several times this spring, but the last time out, I barely made it home. The Noris points had closed up again. This was not unexpected, because I had done the temporary fix of file and reset last September.

    I had an Enduralast points and condenser kit to put in there, but had put it off to the last minute. These points look for all the world like the Noris ones, except Enduralast has a yellow sleeve on the wire. Noris has a whitish sleeve, and the ones from Motorrad Elektrik have no sleeve on the wire at all.

    In the interest of saving time, I lightly filed the existing Noris points that were still in the bike. I reset the gap and did the static timing -- barely. The slots in the plate were at the very extreme end of their travel. After all that fooling around, I decided this was a fool's game. I ripped them out and put in the Enduralast set. They adjusted nicely and static timed right in the middle of the slots. I also re-torqued all the head bolts and checked the valve lash. All good!

    To avoid borrowing my buddy's Snap-on timing light yet again, I went and bought a cheapie at Autozone. I got this one from Innova. All I wanted it for was to verify what I had set statically and to verify the advance curve. It all worked fine, so a quick wipe down and test ride, and the bike was ready to go to Lexington the next day. I finished this up late on Friday night -- never mind that I'd had all winter to git 'er done.

    Saturday morning, she fired right up and ran great. I blasted about 70 miles to Jack's Cafe in Le Roy to meet six other guys for a great breakfast. We were then going to ride to the Tech Day. I kept noticing that I had a hanging idle on the rare occasions that I stopped. Hmm . . . I just checked the timing?!?

    Here was my Avus Black 1974 R90/6 parked at the restaurant, next to lit67's Monza Blue 1976 R75/6. He has recently finished this project bike, doing yet another beautiful job, with no details overlooked.

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    After breakfast, I fixed the hanging idle problem out in the parking lot. You guessed it -- the repair involved shutting off the choke that had been halfway on for 70 miles. The old airhead ran even better after that.

    After a great springtime ride through the back roads of the Illinois prairie, we got to the home of inmate dmftoy1, where James.A, Illinois Airmarshal, had the flag flying at the lane entrance:

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    A variety of bikes were parked along the lane leading to where all the action was going on in the shop. lit67 had been out there earlier in the morning, and he had reported that both lifts were occupied, with work already underway. While we were still at the restaurant, we saw a yellow Corvette towing a trailer with an airhead on it. That was among the vehicles parked along the lane when we arrived:

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    The unloaded airhead turned out to be a beautiful R69S {Correction noted by Pokie, R69 -- but not an S}. Also note the trailer, wherein the frame tilts and the deck lowers to ground level via a hand-cranked winch:

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    Also parked along the lane:

    Inmate 3DogNate's very mellow sounding 2017 Road Glide which he had ridden with us from the restaurant:

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    Another, but more conventional, trailer rig:

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    Inmate junkcollector rode his Ural in with us too:

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    There were other side hacks as well, this one powered by Suzuki:

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    And Moto Guzzi:

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    Walking further along the lane:

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    The congregation:

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    Along the outside wall of the shop:

    Another beautiful /2, carrying the mother of all tank bags:

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    A new-last-year K1600GT that rode in with us:

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    An R100S that rode in with us:

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    More of dmftoy1's excellent bikes, one of which is his newly redone 1976 R90/6 in Havana Gold. It's the same year and model as mine. Remember the top of this post where my Havana Gold bike is on the slow track? Apparently, if you actually work on your bikes, they do get done. He has this one listed on IBMWR:

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    And we mustn't forget Darth Vader:

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    I know that lots of work got done in the shop. Somehow, I neglected to get pictures. It was constantly busy in there. Inmates James.A and Beamer Bum worked all day long, helping other people with their bikes. Outside, in the shade of the canopies, Dave and his wife put on an excellent feed, along with plenty of beer, soda, and ice cold water (my drink these days). I neglected to get pictures of the food table too -- my bad!

    Even Riley, the host dog, had gone to the beauty shop before the big day. She looked great as she wandered amongst the airheads, keeping everybody in line, getting petted, and looking for dropped food. Here she was smiling for the camera:

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    And here, she was showing off her ribbons and bows:

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    Dave and his wife went all out to make this a perfect day for everybody who was there. Words cannot express our appreciation. They put in a ton of planning and preparation, even down to picking a day with perfect, sunny, 81°F weather.

    The ride to and from the Tech Day was great. My '74 is running quite well. I caught a drop or two of rain as I was coming up the street to my house, but that was all. Once the bike was stowed inside, the sky opened up. Remember the Credence Clearwater line, "Have you ever seen the rain, comin' down, a sunny day?"

    I tried to take a picture but couldn't quite get it right. The sun was setting off to the west, and slanting in through a steady downpour. If you look closely, the white streaks are raindrops:

    [​IMG]

    We needed the rain. It was the perfect ending to a perfect day.
  4. OdyBandit

    OdyBandit Long timer

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    Thanks for the write up Ray. I was planning on getting over there Saturday but I got called at the last minute to help a friend out. Hopefully next time. Coming back from the big city today and seen a nice looking CL ridden by a guy with a white helmet. Wonder who that was?
  5. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ^^^Ha! Yep, that was me, Ody. I ran the R90 another 75 miles this morning, and then had the CL350 out for a while this afternoon. That little bike is due for a "day of caring", but it just keeps on keeping on. It has a magical exhaust note, and I just plain love riding it.

    Speaking of 350 Hondas, take a sneak peak at this:

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    And this:

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    Appearances to the contrary, this is not a basket case. It is a complete, low-miles, 1970 SL350K0 that has been pre-disassembled by skilled hands. All the little bits and pieces are neatly bagged and tagged. A little powder, a little paint, a little chrome, a little zinc -- just imagine the possibilities!
  6. Pokie

    Pokie Just plain Pokie.

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    "The unloaded airhead turned out to be a beautiful R69S."

    Just to be picky, that's not an R69S, it's an R69. It also has an Avon handlebar fairing.
    fxray likes this.
  7. globalt38

    globalt38 "A Fist Full of Throttle" Super Supporter

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    Days like that can make up for a whole lot of crappy ones!
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  8. OdyBandit

    OdyBandit Long timer

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    Complete your collection of 350’s. On Craigslist today. He’s asking quite a bit though. 08617842-9C70-4F5C-8681-25853BCA3FCF.jpeg

    Attached Files:

  9. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ^^^Yes, $2500 is too much for that bike. Rusty spokes, aftermarket exhaust, air boxes, filters and side covers gone, handlebars upside down, engine looking nasty -- if there's a title, it may be worth $500. The ad doesn't mention if it runs, or which decade it was when the tires were made. I guess my CB450 will have to cover that niche in the collection.
  10. JimGregory

    JimGregory Long timer

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    Hey I have that lawn mower! Have your valve seats fallen out yet? How about that valve cover gasket? And that machine is the filthiest mower ever made. It just spews dust and clippings all over itself! Oh and eats bearings as well. And the deck belt loves to fall off. Very exciting putting it back on with the engine running. I do want the bagger setup though.
    I had an OLD cub cadet hydrostatic machine that I loved. Wish I had it back.
  11. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ^^^Jim, I've had no valve seat issues yet, but thanks for the warning. The valve cover gasket is worthy of a class action lawsuit and punitive action by the EPA. I agree with the filthiest ever description. That was why we welded up those thirty extraneous holes in the top of the deck. Laughably, this mower was sold as a mulching mower. It came with a plug for the discharge chute and wavy blades to cut/recut the clippings. With the plug installed, all the grass blows up through all the extra holes in the top of the deck, but especially through the huge openings where the spindles bolt in. I know a farmer who was mowing the ditch along his corn field, with the discharge chute wide open. Enough chaff collected on top of the deck that the mower caught on fire!

    Like you, I also had an old Cub Cadet hydrostatic machine. It had Briggs & Stratton power as I recall, and it was great. The hydro unit eventually went bad on it, and I was told it was impossible to repair it. There were "no serviceable parts" inside, and the mower wasn't worth the price of a new transmission. I figured there was nothing to lose by having a look inside, so in I went.

    I remember that I needed a special spring and called all around trying to find one. A hydraulic repair shop in Peoria said they thought they had what I needed, if I could bring the old one to match it up. About that time, my boss for my part-time trucking job called and wanted me to deliver a lift truck to Galesburg, about 50 miles away. I was desperate to get my yard mowed, and I told him he'd just have to find another driver.

    So, I got over to Peoria and we looked through their parts. The guy said, "Well, I guess I was wrong. We don't have that in stock here -- it shows wrong on the computer. It's actually in our Galesburg store. If you hurry, you can get there before they close."

    I beat feet over there. As I was getting out of my pickup truck, there went my buddy with the roll-back truck I was supposed to be driving, hauling the lift truck -- literally right past the parking lot where I was standing. Next day, the boss told me, "That'll teach you to gyp out on work. You could have gotten paid for going to Galesburg!" Oh . . . they didn't have the right part either.

    I found a spring in a junk drawer at an old hardware store that had about the right spring rate, judging with my finger and thumb test. I cut it to length and put that old tractor back together. I mowed with it for another two years. When it quit again, I gave it away and bought this current POS with the Kohler Courage 19 hp engine -- possibly the worst engine ever built anywhere.

    That bagger is the setup I had bought for the old mower. When I bought the new one, they told me I'd have to buy a new bagger, since there had been a total redesign. There was no way to fit the old onto the new. I drilled some holes and rearranged some existing brackets, and did it anyway. It has been on there for ten years now.

    There's way more to this story, but this isn't a mower forum -- it's for motorcycles. To get back on subject, I will say that the only machine that has ever given me more trouble due to poor quality was the 2000 Harley Davidson Ultra Classic Twin Cam that I used to have.
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  12. JimGregory

    JimGregory Long timer

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    Just a tad more on the ADV mower forum.
    Yes the Kohler Courage engine. If it ever looses ALL compression just pop the head off and stake the valve seat with a center punch. 1/2 hour soup to nuts. No new parts needed.
    Good luck!
    PS..I use the mulcher feature. I need the bagger stuff.
  13. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    O.K., thanks for the info. I'm going to have another try at mulching, now that all the holes are plugged.

    My brother had a Cub that he liked. He even used to have a tee shirt with a picture of a Cub Cadet carrying a Deere lawn tractor strapped across the hood. Under the picture, it said "Home from the hunt", which I thought was pretty cool. He eventually wound up buying a Deere though. He kept the old Cub for rough work. His barn cats liked the seat and the heat from the engine when he parked it, so I guess it wasn't all bad.

    [​IMG]
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  14. JimGregory

    JimGregory Long timer

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    I think they are ALL made in the same factory in China or somewhere. Change the paint and change the brand. Oh well.
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  15. Disston

    Disston ShadeTreeExpert

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    Bet you could make Krauser bags fit on that.
  16. Jim K in PA

    Jim K in PA Long timer

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    All I have to say on this mower sidebar is . . . Kubota. FTW. :nod
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  17. guywithchickens

    guywithchickens Been here awhile

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    High schooler that lives down the street...FTW.

    (I've learned I get no pleasure from mowing my lawn. I do enjoy coming home to a mowed lawn, however. Only downside is that my staff keeps graduating and going to college.)
  18. Geezerrv

    Geezerrv Been here awhile

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    Had a 1978 Cub hydrostatic with 3 cylinder diesel rear PTO and hydraulic lines to the front for attachments. The biggest problem I had was getting my wife to not plant anything closer than 5' to each other for 60" deck. I loved that machine for mowing. I bought mine well used but a fella moved in up the road (from IL) that bought his new with all the attachments blade, tiller, plow, rotating brush and maybe something else. If I recall correctly he said he spent $12k when new for it all.
  19. fxray

    fxray Long timer

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    ^^^Geezerrv, 1978 was a whole different era for Cub quality. That said, I used my POS mower yesterday and it worked great. I actually do enjoy using it, I just hate working on it. That guy from Illinois who spent 12 large on his tractor with all the attachments could afford it because he had escaped to Missouri, and got away from his Illinois property taxes.

    guywithchickens, I don't have any high school laborers nearby, but am cultivating some for the future. The new neighbors across the street have four boys under age 10, and one on the way. I fixed a bicycle tire for the oldest one yesterday, since their Dad was off on a business trip. They really got into it -- learning all about tires, tubes, leak testing in water, patching, wrenches, tire pumps, etc. The next-to-youngest is three years old and had a million questions, like "My mom puts that powder on my little brother's butt, why do you put it on that inner tube?" I carried all the tools over there on the mower, and they all wanted to take turns sitting on the seat. And so it begins.

    I promise to get some work done soon on my Havana Gold bike, and get this thread back on track. :lol3
  20. Geezerrv

    Geezerrv Been here awhile

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    He moved to MO around 1990 or so, said everyone in IL mowed the frontage of their property to road which is why he bought his. I think that looks great when I see it but around here there's too many rocks. We sold our 80 acres and moved to town dozen years ago and I got what I paid for that tractor at the auction. The little Diesel engine was made by Kubota. This thread is one of the best here, sorry to take off the rails. Thanks again Ray for all the documentation. JT