My build(s) - a scratch built frame and chair etc

Discussion in 'Hacks' started by guzzirelic, Feb 16, 2019.

  1. JohnRcbr

    JohnRcbr underpowered

    Joined:
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    You are certainly more ambitious then me. Is that Convert from the Alban area? The owner also had a CB750 Automatic I think. I missed my chance with that Guzzi but I am sure you will give it a better home.
    #21
  2. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    No John, this one came from St. Chatherines. The owner had it since 2010. It was on Kijiji for a while before I called and made the deal.
    Ken
    #22
  3. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    The Moto Guzzi Convert has a completely different frame from my previous sidecar hauler Guzzi, (the Eldorado) so unfortunately I couldn't use the sub frame I had. However I was able to reuse the upper frame clamps and the upper struts on this new tug.
    The "Tonti" frame is lower than the "Loop" frame and separates to facilitate engine removal.
    To come up with a design for the front lower mount I started with some cardboard.

    [​IMG]
    The bolt in the upper left of the cardboard is one of the fasteners that joins the sections of the frame together.
    The bolt in the lower right of the cardboard is the front engine mount and carries across to the left frame rail.
    The "X" marked on the cardboard is a rough location for the ball mount.

    Missing in the photo above is the right exhaust header pipe. Below is a pic that gives you an idea of how busy this area is.
    [​IMG]

    The mount is stepped to line up with the two bolts and you can see I started with drilling the engine mount bolt hole. It was a bit of a guessing game to line up the frame bolt hole but it worked out.
    [​IMG]

    Here's the mount in place. You'll note the ball is welded on the plate. The original "balls" came with the claws and were 30mm in diameter. I don't remember where I purchased them, (possibly DMC?) but at the time the seller had gotten bins of these from Russia and I was able to buy a few sets. Over the years I gave my spares away to folks who were building rigs...I honestly don't think any ever got used but being a nice guy, I left myself without any.
    Cutting them off my Eldo sub frame wouldn't work so I was on the hunt for new ones. Searching turned up little available; I did find that some company in Britain had some that clamped onto the frame but they were costly and wouldn't work for my application.
    So where did I get these? If you've seen folks towing larger trailers, (campers, boats etc) you may have seen anti-sway and load compensating systems used with the hitch system. Some have a mini trailer ball that just happens to measure 31mm. And comes with a 5/8" stud for attachment. I cut the stud off to be flush with the inside edge of the mount plate and had it welded from the front and the back.
    [​IMG]

    And one more with the exhaust on showing just how crowded things are.
    [​IMG]

    I made another bracket for the left side and will weld a piece across the bottom to further tie into the left frame. I didn't want to add this crosser until everything was bolted in place, that way it will be welded accurately and there will be no chance of a slight error forcing things out of alignment.
    [​IMG]

    And next up is my lower rear mount.

    Ken
    #23
    WILL_S, Hi-De-Ho and rg sw wa. like this.
  4. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    Lower rear --- Again out comes the cardboard. I wanted to tie into as many points as possible. And again I had to make this mount stepped.

    Here is the swing arm area. You'll see two very nice holes right close to the swing arm axle that I'll use. The center bolt you see is another that ties the frame sections together. And if you look just above the exhaust pipe; the hole to the right is the gear box mount so it carries across to the left frame rail. And the hole on the left, (just part of the hole is visible in the pic) is a center stand mount which of course is now vacant.
    [​IMG]

    To begin with I have a piece of angle steel that will bolt to the two lower holes and extend outward to just proud of the frame rail.
    [​IMG]
    Yes, its a chunk from something else that I am recycling. I like it when I can visit my scrap bin and find a use for something.

    After cardboard I made this out of sheet metal.
    [​IMG]

    And once I had something I thought would work I had a buddy with a plasma cutter slice a piece of 3/8" thick steel for me.
    [​IMG]

    Test fitting the mount. The two bolts at the rear support the saddle bag mount.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Above is the finished mount in place. Again, the ball stud was cut off flush with the inside of the mount and welded on.
    Determining the location of this ball proved to be tricky. I don't have a lot of fore and aft adjustability in my side car chassis. I can rotate the claw mounts to move things a couple of inches only. With the front ball having no leeway in locating (due to the tight quarters) the rear placement had to be pretty darn close to exactly where I wanted it.
    Of course wheel lead also factored into this decision. But in the end it all worked out.

    Ken
    #24
  5. toolittletime

    toolittletime Adventurer

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    Nice work!!! IMG_20170923_114739887_HDR (Large) (Medium).jpg
    Just had to post a pic of my 74 Eldorado that I restored. Currently have a sidecar on the 02 EV 1100.
    #25
  6. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    Thanks! And nice Eldo! What does the lettering below the "Eldorado" on the side covers say?
    #26
  7. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    As I mentioned in an earlier post, the upper frame clamps from my Eldorado rig were reused on this one. They are a nifty design that many of you are probably familiar with.
    [​IMG]
    They tighten to the frame tube in two ways and have the clevis end for the strut.

    Locating the rear upper was easy.
    [​IMG]
    Although it runs through the right side cover which is off in this photo hence you're able to see the fuse box and rear master cylinder. And will interfere with the seat latch mechanism, (the seat hinges at the rear to lift up for battery access). I will deal with these two minor issues in a future post.

    Locating the front upper was a bit more tricky because like the lower, there isn't a lot of open real estate here. The strut needed to fit between the right cylinder, the crash bar and the exhaust header. As well, where the frame clamp attaches there is a transmission oil cooler, (remember this is an automatic) as well as the factory steering damper mounting tab.
    [​IMG]

    With the side car chassis being 3" narrower than before I also had to shorten both of the struts. I did this by cutting and welding the sleeves which removed the larger joiner section from before. This slimmed them down and although they aren't very elegant, they look better than before. And I found a better way to clamp them, replacing the ugly truck tie rod sleeve clamps with some "2 pc collet clamps".
    [​IMG]
    Don't worry, the gear clamp is a temporary thing, just there for set up rides.

    [​IMG]
    The struts bolt right through both plates, (3/4" diameter). You can see the original holes that will be hidden by the body due to the new slimmer width.

    [​IMG]
    I think the triangulation is good. And I'm happy with the solidness of the whole set up.

    Next will be some alignment and test ride discussion.

    Ken
    #27
  8. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    Location:
    near Espanola Ontario Canada
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My set up using some long steel pipes with elastic cords to keep them tight against the wheels to measure the toe.
    A magnetic base angle finder is used on the front and then the rear brake disc for lean out. Unfortunately I no longer have the plywood platform I built to set up the other rigs years back. But my garage floor is close to level.

    My initial specs worked out at --- Track 50 3/8" (center of rear tire to center of side car tire)
    Side car chassis height 10.5"
    Wheel lead 11 3/4"
    Toe in 1/2"
    Lean out 3 degrees.
    All my test rides were on my rural road. Little traffic, hard packed chip and tar surface, fairly crowned. There are several turns and one straight stretch with room enough to reach 50 mph for a few seconds.

    [​IMG]
    You'll note that I'm not using bags of loose material for ballast this time? And take notice of the trailer wheel and tire on the rig.

    It felt strange to be honest. But then it was over a year since I last drove my Eldorado rig. This rig was pulling right but not too bad. It was hard to steer; about what I expected. Probably on par with my previous outfit but again memory fades.
    The worst issue was head shake. On acceleration it was tolerable but slowing down over a rough surface put it into a wobble that I couldn't control. It shook right until I got it stopped.
    The Convert has a factory steering damper but its quite weak. So my first change was swapping this for a stronger damper I had used on my Eldo.
    There was some improvement. Next I fitted a second damper to the left side. This is the same arrangement I had on the Eldorado rig; two dampers, one on each side. One is adjustable, the other not but it's a very strong unit. This helped. Another thing that helped was I changed my braking technique.
    You may recall that this bike has integrated brakes? I was doing my usual practice of slowing with a good firm pull on the front lever and adding rear pedal as needed. I think this may have added to the head shake because with the linked brakes I was mainly applying only the front.
    Realizing this I tried it using just the rear pedal, (which applies the rear and one front disc) and found more improvement --- less tendency to wobble as I slowed down.
    [​IMG]
    The two dampers show in this photo. I made a plate for the bottom of the lower triple tree to mount them to. They need to be solid or they won't work.

    When winter ends and I can get back out and do some more test rides I may find I need to switch to a VW damper. I'm not opposed to this but they are a bit harder to mount up and my set up now is almost hidden.

    In my next post - some changes to the numbers and an attempt to reduce drag.

    Ken
    #28
  9. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    As you can see in one of the previous photos, my use of a trailer torsion axle means that the wheel hub is a 5 bolt, 4.5" standard trailer pattern. The corresponding tire puts a lot of rubber on the road. I'm not a physics guy but I thought that less contact patch should mean less drag. And therefore less pull to the right and an easier time of steering to the left.
    The spindle is standard trailer size of 1" diameter so I considered trying to adapt a Harley Davidson wheel. Some HD models used a 1" axle. But doing some checking I found that despite the fact that many owners swap out their stock wheels for something fancier, used HD wheels are still quite expensive. This coupled with the need to adapt the bearings, make spacers etc to fit the motorcycle wheel to the trailer spindle changed my mind.
    One of my coworkers suggest trying a compact spare from a car. He said that many popular late model cars are running the same stud pattern as my trailer hub and he was right. It didn't take me long to turn up a used compact spare for free. (good price!) I figured I'd try it out with nothing to loose.

    [​IMG]

    Yes, its ugly but no worse than the trailer wheel I was running. I will paint it and will replace the compact spare tire with a 130/90-16 motorcycle tire.
    Did it help? YES! I was very surprised how much of a change this made. And happy that it didn't cost anything to try and will just cost me a tire to complete. (the 130/90-16 is a very popular cruiser size so they are easy to get with a wide variety of brands = good pricing)

    At the same time I was posting some questions on a FB sidecar page and a couple of the guru's (Claude and John) suggested that a reduction in wheel lead would be advisable. Closer to 9" was the goal. This wasn't a case of just loosening some fittings and moving the chassis back as I didn't design/build it with much for/aft adjustment capability. I was able to rotate the lower mount tubes and gain about 1.5" resulting in a lead of 10.25".
    I then was able to remount my torsion axle assembly by drilling new mounting holes and I gained another 1". In the end I was able to reduce the lead from 11.75 to 9.25" I also increased the toe in from 1/2" to 3/4".

    [​IMG]

    These changes have made a difference for the better. I won't say I'm finished with the set up but it's come a long way. About this time, (mid November 2018), our winter started and my test rides were over. Its been a brutal winter here in northern Ontario as we have set records for low temps and snowfall amounts. As I write this on March 9th there is no hope in sight for riding anytime soon. My bikes are trapped in my garage and my sheds by a few feet of snow that will take some time to melt, if the temps ever get above freezing.


    Over the winter I've done a lot of work on my Eldorado, engine rebuild etc and I'm now going through the Convert so it will be ready to pull the rig this season. I changed the handle bars for some wider ones from a Moto Guzzi 850T3FB along with adding some 2" risers. This meant a change in brake line to the front master and fitting a longer clutch cable as well.

    [​IMG]

    I've also fabbed up a right side cover. The rear upper strut attaches to the bike frame right where the side cover sits. I didn't want to hack up a good, original stock side cover so I made another reasonable facsimile and hacked that to make room for the strut. Its far from perfect but will cover the fuse box, rear master cylinder etc and won't be too noticeable.

    [​IMG]



    Once the weather breaks I'll continue with test rides and set up. The body needs paint and I need to sort out a fender for it. I'm not going to reuse the big old heavy steel thing I had on it before. I've been looking at plastic fenders from both motorcycles and trailers, hoping to find something that won't look like it came off a dirt bike or a boat trailer...Ya I know what you're thinking; good luck with that. But I want something light enough that I can mount it to the body and not have to make a lot of brackets, (weight) or tie it into the chassis.
    I'm also doing some serious thinking about building a leading link front end. I'll do my research and aim for this to be next winter's project. I have a good friend who has built two, one for a GL1000 and this winter he's made another for his CTX1300/Hannigan rig. So he will be a big help when the time comes.

    I'll keep the posts coming once the progress starts up again.

    Ken
    #29
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  10. brstar

    brstar Long timer

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    I concur (hey it was a great movie) with your thinking on size/weight of the sidecar wheel.
    Swapped the wheels and tires on my 4wd wagon from the oversized fashionable ones to the skinnier ones from a comercial ute with the same basic suspension and running gear.
    Straight away I gained an extra 45klm per tank of fuel, very handy at a $1-30 per liter. No downside I could see.
    Looking forward to seeing more of you build etc.
    #30
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  11. old scoot

    old scoot Been here awhile

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    I'm impressed, really enjoyed your post. Have thought about a hack for the Harley in a few years.
    #31
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  12. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    Thanks. More to come if this winter from hell ever lets up.
    My advice? Hack your HD. I don't think you'll regret it. And if it turns out you're not happy you can always remove the sidecar and sell it without losing too much I think. Or sell the complete rig and buy another Harley.
    Many riders think they'll wait until they are too old to balance a "regular" motorcycle and then they will consider a sidecar. I'm glad I didn't wait and miss out on many years and miles of enjoyment. I added my first rig to the stable about 16 years ago. You could say that I'm attracted to odd ball, not run of the mill things; that plus the fact that my wife won't ride pillion was enough to get me to at least try a sidecar. Now I wouldn't be without one. I tell other riders that its just as much fun as a solo motorcycle, just in a different way.

    Like the tee shirt says, "Everybody pokes fun at the sidecarist until he arrives at the rally with a keg of beer and a bushel of firewood."

    Ken
    #32
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  13. toolittletime

    toolittletime Adventurer

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    Eastport Idaho (almost Canada)
    Sorry taking so long to reply......have been shoveling snow in Arizona1!!
    The names on the side covers are the previous 2 owners....Harold on one side.....Joe on the other. Harold bought the bike new in Dothan AL in 74........my
    friend Joe bought it from Harold in the late 80's......Joe left it to me when he died with the understanding I would restore it....I did!!!

    Tim
    #33
  14. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    Just a tiny update for now...today I was finally able to get my Eldorado out for her first "break in" ride of only ten miles but at least it's a start to the season.
    I rebuilt the top end of my Guzzi Eldo this winter and the small rural road I live on is fairly clean as they don't use salt, only sand.
    There is still lots of snow on the ground and areas not too far from me got some more over the weekend. The highway is still sandy and covered in road salt residue so the real riding will not be happening anytime soon.
    As for my Convert sidecar project, have a look at the photo and perhaps you can guess what's up. The leading link front end that I mentioned as being next winter's project is getting a start now.
    [​IMG]
    I'm not certain whether it will be completed this spring but at least it will be well under way. I'll try to update as things happen but the work will be done at a friend's place about an hour from me. He's built two leading link front ends from scratch and both look and work very well. But he's had the bikes in his shop while he's designed and done the building, hence my bike's missing parts.
    We did some measuring and then removed the forks and triple trees, (and related parts) and resassembled it all at his shop. He will make up something to support the front end at the triple trees and lock it in at the same angle as if it were still on the bike. This is the next best thing to having my bike in his shop.
    Of course there will be lots of back and forth between my garage and his during the build.
    He is equipped with a tube bender, mig welder and lathe; all tools that sadly I don't have, nor the expertise to use them. So I'm relying on him and at his mercy as far as timing and recording of the progress.
    For interest's sake, here's a pic of his work for his Honda CTX1300/Hannigan rig.
    [​IMG]

    I will update the thread when something more happens.

    Ken
    #34
  15. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    I visited Tony's on Friday evening and here is where the build is at.

    [​IMG]

    This is the Convert's original front end mocked up for measuring purposes. He is going to make a support for the head stock so that the wheel and forks etc can be removed, leaving the triple trees in place at the correct height and angle. This is a close as we can get to having the bike in his garage which is not a practical option for us, due to distance, weather and the fact that his space is limited.

    [​IMG]

    So far he has bent the swing arm that will be cut to length soon, the down tube brace and started machining the axle clamps. We're having a bit of a delay in getting the material for the down tubes but hope to have that sorted next week. Once he has that material I hope that progress picks up.

    In the meantime Tony had his first chance to try his CTX1300/Hannigan rig with his latest leading link build and reports that it works great. Below is a pic of the finished front end. In my opinion it looks pretty darn good and I'm glad that it's working for him.

    [​IMG]

    Ken
    #35
  16. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    A change in venue and some progress to report. As you know, my rig has been in my garage while the work on the LL fork has been taking place at my friend Tony's garage about an hour's drive from me.
    Last week he called and said he finally freed up some space in his shop and asked if he could pick up my rig and bring it there to make the project easier.
    Of course I was in total agreement with this! Saturday he trailered my Convert to his house and Sunday I went over and helped him position it on his lift.

    [​IMG]

    We took a long time getting everything in place, making sure the bike itself is level and then with the stock forks in place we marked the center line of the axle on the lift table. We then drew a line 2" ahead of this representing where the leading link axle should be. That's Tony in the photo.

    [​IMG]
    In this photo we have the new down tubes in place. These are made from DOM 1.5" OD/1" ID tubing and Tony turned the top 9" down to the same size as the original fork tubes to fit in the triple trees. There is also a second piece of smaller diameter tubing slid inside to reinforce the area that has been turned down.

    [​IMG]
    Here you can see the swing arm and axle clamps. He made the clamps from a solid piece of steel and they will be welded into the swing once it is cut to length. Also note the marks and notes on the table. Some of these pertain to the other LL front ends Tony built for his Gold Wing and more recently his Honda CTX rig pictured in my previous post.

    [​IMG]
    The first down tube is bent to shape. The swing arm is mocked up in position at the correct axle height. This is how we decided how much to bend the down tube. It needs to meet the swing arm allowing enough room for good shock triangulation. As well, taking into account the swing arm needs to clear the alternator cover and the axle needs to be where we want it --- 2" ahead of the stock position.
    We've talked about having two or even three positions so that the trail can be adjusted to the best handling set up. Some LL front ends like the BMW Earles have "solo" and sidecar positions but I don't see the need for us to allow for non sidecar use with this front end. If I remove the sidecar I'll just install the original forks. Due to this all being a bit of guess we may build in two positions of reduced trail, possibly 2 and 3".

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    I forgot to take a picture of Tony's bender. But here it is. Available in Canada from Princess Auto, sort of our version of Harbor Freight.

    [​IMG]
    And happy with our first down tube the next trick was to bend the second one to exactly match. Three squares show us that we did a pretty good job of this.

    Next? A cross brace will be welded to the front of the down tubes just above the bend. The axle clamps will be finished to fit the axle properly, the swing arm cut to length and then the clamps welded in place. Shock mounts need to be fabbed up and welded to the down tubes (in the area of the bend) and to the swing arm (on the top of the axle clamps). And then the mounts with hole(s) for swing arm to attach to the down tubes via heim joints with grease fittings. There will be an arced brace on the back of the down tubes above the swing arm. And of course caliper mounting to sort out.

    Ken
    #36
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  17. mthure

    mthure Adventurer

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    On those benders, it is easy to measure how far the ram is extended. Makes it easy to duplicate bends.
    #37
  18. guzzirelic

    guzzirelic Been here awhile

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    Now there's a good idea that we hadn't though of. We just kept bending, counting pumps and lining them up together until they matched.
    I'll mention this to my friend as I think he has another LL lined up for next winter.
    Thanks!

    Ken
    #38
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  19. Pokie

    Pokie Just plain Pokie.

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    Yes, those benders are kind of crude but after I made some new shoes for the stable portions, I was able to bend legs as close as .003" of each other. The stops that come stock with those benders put a nasty dent in the tubing, so making them into shoes makes all the difference.
    #39
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  20. brstar

    brstar Long timer

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    Pics?

    Oh right!

    It's pics please?

    I have a 16 ton version and it can certainly crimp the style.
    #40