Saturday, October 30, 2021

Saturday Sunset with Scarlett

 In case you were wondering where Scarlett has been....what with all the posts about the Sammy and's one of her with tonight's sunset's colors.

She's running just fine by the way.

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Adjusting the Sammy's Carburetor and a new leak presents itself

Not related, mind you, the two events mentioned in the title!

Today, under guidance from RichardM who once again explained the concepts involved with Carburetor Secondaries in a manner which led to my enlightenment, I "adjusted" the setting screw for these on the Sammy.

Background: I had, you see, in my early days of Samurai ownership, messed about with this particular screw, thinking it was the idle adjustment screw, which it was NOT.

I realized this a long time afterwards, while discussing things via messaging with Mike W.  Mike is the Samurai Guru I go to as he's rebuilt several and owns two!  In the below picture, Mike is using a spare carburetor of his to point to the screw in question.  

The above screw actually affects the opening of the Secondaries, aka secondary Venturi's or butterfly valves within the carburetor.  These are the ones used when underway, under load and at speeds higher than just idle or low speeds.  They enable bigger air volume for the carburetor as more fuel is required for higher loads/speeds.

View of bottom of Carburetor's top half
The two round disks are the butterfly valves
image courtesy again of Mike W.

Then, just for reference, here's a pic of the correct idle adjustment screw, again courtesy of Mike W.

OK, that's the background, I had turned that wrong screw thinking it was the idle adjustment screw way back when, while troubleshooting idle speed.  Of course, I lost track of how many turns and direction, and failed to note how many turns from soft seat it was at.  Stupid.

Anyways, back to today.  I had thought/felt that there was an acceleration "slowness" with the carburetor or as RichardM aptly put it: "it seemed to run out of breath" under load.  After a failed attempt to look up "initial configuration" settings for this screw; I decided to just try turning the thing and test it while driving.

Got the engine nice and warmed up, and using same route each time, noted performance first without any changes to that screw.

Then, driving the same route after I had turned the screw outwards/counter-clockwise two full turns, I noted that she seemed slower in terms of acceleration response.  I saw that the RPMs would climb very slowly as I shifted into higher and higher gears.

Backed out the changes by turning the screw inward or clockwise two full turns, then turning further inward by two more turns.

Same route but now I noticed better performance!  No more slow acceleration or climbing of RPMs!  The Sammy felt faster when accelerating from a standing stop, I was able to keep up with traffic easier and pull away from the guy behind me at the light much better than before.   Before, I would sometimes be so slow while shifting from 1st gear to 2nd gear that I feared the idiot behind me wouldn't notice and ram me.  Now, I don't think that'll be an issue, unless of course its an asshole driver but nothing I can do about that eh?

Feeling optimistic, I stopped and turned the screw a half turn more inwards/clockwise.  Ran the route again but noticed a return of slight "bogging" under acceleration.  I know, very subjective, with no real objective measurements involved, but that's what I got.

So, I returned the screw to the two turns position and will call it good for now.

A New Leak

So, later on today, I noticed a new small puddle of what turned out to be brake fluid under the Sammy.  Dammit.

It was easy to see where it was coming from, the P & B Valve or Proportioning and Bypass Valve for the rear brakes on the Sammy: 

This part, is also called a Pressure Metering Valve and has a manufacturer p/n of 51910-83110. After much searching of the net for the wrong p/n's; I fortunately stumbled on the right p/n and the picture at the website verified I was correct!

image source:

I've ordered the part, hopefully it'll be here in a couple of days and I'll be replacing it.

I suspect, the internal seal(s) in this valve had been steadily deteriorating over the years.  I'd been noticing air leaking into the rear brake circuits for no apparently reason since I replaced the rear brake cylinders over the summer trip.

So, though pricey, in a way I'm glad this valve finally leaked enough that I was able to notice it.  I am pretty sure it's the source of air in the brake system of late!

The way she's leaking now at the valve, the Sammy will have to sit until I get this part replaced.  Not worth taking a chance of the leak getting worse while driving the car and losing my rear brakes!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Exercising Brigitta and Scarlett Repair Notes

 Friday, October 22

Decided to give Brigitta, my '87 BMW R80 Airhead, a good exercise day.  We'd end up covering a bit over 160 miles of city/highway riding, including some miles of sandy dirt roads which she and I hated.  She's definitely a street motorcycle.

Still, managed to get to, wander around, and return from the Paint Mines Interpretive Park near Calhan, CO without dropping her (came close a couple of times due to deeper than expected sand piles) so I ended up calling it a good day.

Temperatures would "soar" into the high 60s and feel quite warm while hiking about the park but would feel quite cool while riding due to the wind chill factor of course.

Instead of parking in the main parking lot, I ended up parking at the Overlook parking lot which is seemingly closer to the main rock formations.  

The picture below shows the main section of colorful rock formation, the overlook parking lot is located above it, but you really have to hike in to view the rocks up close.

The paint mines were where Native Americans traveled to in order to get the colors shown for their use.  Here's a link to the park's website for more info:  LINK

There were more people there than I expected, apparently Friday is included in "the weekend" crowding as mentioned to me by the sole Park Ranger doing his rounds.  Sadly, the imbeciles who I saw disregarding the rules about "NO Dogs" or "Don't climb on the rocks" were quite in evidence but apparently the ranger didn't see them.

Sorry about the watermarks, didn't want to re-process the pics to remove the watermark.  I'd been experimenting with watermarks for a previous project and forgot to disable it within the Export Process of Adobe Lightroom.

Saturday, October 23 - Fixing some stuff on Scarlett, my 2014 Ural Patrol Sidecar Rig

First was the adjustment of the tug's rear shocks to be fully preloaded on the port side and fully unloaded on the right side.  I also set the shock absorbers on the front wheel to softest or least preload setting.  This to seemingly soften the harsh ride of late, we'll see how that goes.  

Second, changing the shocks of course affected slightly the lean-out of the tug so I adjusted the tug inward by one full turn of both upper support bolts.  Now it's under 2 degrees leaned out.  The test ride let me feel like I was leaning less to the left and no increased pulling to the right by the sidecar.

Third, ever since my last camping trip near Poncha Pass, I'd been experiencing the engine cutting out momentarily when hitting big bumps on the road.  I felt it again today while test riding the rig after modifying the shock absorber preloads and resolved to find the issue once and for all.  I had to do some field repairs to the ignition wiring during a ride to Gross Dam near Boulder, CO since then and suspected my work.

Scarlett cut out on me as I rolled her off the driveway so that was motivation to dig into the wiring behind the headlamp immediately!  A lot of shaking/probing of wiring finally led to me finding a bad connection to the bottom fuse in the fuse box!  This fuse is for the fuel pump you see, and its corroded wire connection was causing the loss of power (momentary) when hitting bumps on the road.

I replaced the spade connector and inserted a washer to create a small gap between the connector and the outside fork tube housing which the previous connected had been wedged against.  Again, we'll see how things go, but the test drive afterwards went well.

Monday, October 18, 2021

Learning about the VRRV's House Battery's capacity.

 How little did I really know about batteries and determining their capacities!

Thanks to RichardM, I think I understand the concepts involved much better now, in order to make better decisions as to power usage, power planning and so on.

It all started with the installation of a new battery monitor, 

Image source: Amazon
QWORK Battery Monitor Voltmeter Ammeter
Voltage Range 8V-80V and up to 500A, 
Voltage Current Meter with 13 ft Custom Cable

The installation was straightforward and 13 feet of cabling was plenty to be able to mount the display above the VRRV's door.

Subsequent testing revealed that what I thought was the house battery's capacity was way too high/optimistic!

After extensive tests, guided by RichardM, we believe the actual battery capacity of the three year old battery has gone from 114 amp hours when new, to roughly 60 amp hours.

The "load" was the high beam setting on a headlight,
which ranged from a high of 4.9 amps to a low of 4.1 amps

60 amp hours sounds pretty good right? Well, not quite.  You can only discharge a Flooded Lead Acid Battery down to 50% to avoid damaging the battery and shortening its lifespan.  So really, 30 amp hours is the usable capacity.

The testing showed the battery down to 12.4 volts after "resting" with no load for 90 minutes.  When I hooked up the battery to the battery charger, the charger reported 12.4 volts and the meter reported about a 60% charge remaining.

Note: There were five "load" evolutions, resulting in the 22 amps used.

Basing state of charge or SOC using just voltage is an approximate at best method per RichardM and I believe him.  So once I get the battery charged up again, I'll the set capacity amp hours at 60 ah on the new monitor and see how that works during further testing/usage.

Concepts learned/re-learned:

You have to wait till a battery has "rested" or had no load/charge for at least one hour before measuring voltage to get the "true" voltage reading.

Reconditioning batteries is something that should be done every other month or so, I'd not done this at all so the battery paid the price in terms of diminishing capacity.  

I had to move the negative cable for the inverter to the new shunt, it had been separate before and thereby its energy draw wasn't monitored!

Recurring discharging of the battery down to or close to 50% also hurt the battery's capacity/performance.  

Battery monitoring requires very good and tight connections throughout!  I discovered loose connections as I installed the new monitor, which probably caused the sporadic abnormal readings with the old battery meter.  

Due to the design of the new shunt, had to change the connectors on existing battery cables to fit.  I learned that such connectors come with two different hole sizes!  Something to be aware of!

The battery fill system I bought back in January of 2017 works great.  I found the battery cells all topped off during testing.

Using a Battery Hydrometer Tester is a good thing to do.  All six cells on the house battery were in the blue range shown below.

My regular power requirements center mainly on running the Dometic Propane Fridge in the VRRV overnight when of course there's no power coming in from the solar panel.  Tests determined it uses about .76 amps/hour to run.  So, 14 hours of no sun-generated power would be roughly 10.6 amp hours.

That would theoretically leave 20 amps or so to power the LED lights in the VRRV and power the fans and water pump during the sunless hours.  So, existing capacity remains satisfactory even though its down by more than half from new.

Note re instructions that came with the Qwork battery monitor.  The translation from Chinese to English was "lacking precision and clarity" and the font used was ridiculously small!  These factors led me to misunderstand the setting of the "discharge voltage".  RichardM clued me in after several "mysterious to me" events where the battery monitor reported zero ah and zero battery gauge when the voltage clearly showed the battery had plenty of charge left!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Boondocking for a couple of days near Penrose, CO

 Felt the need to "escape the cesspool" this past weekend so I drove away from the metro area Monday morning and after a couple of "check out" drives to Red Canyon Park and Oil Well Flats BLM (both north of Cañon City, CO that were unsuccessful, ended up at the usual spot within the Penrose Common Use BLM area.

Note:  No cell signal within Red Canyon Park and the roads have gone to shit in several spots leading to the more remote campsites within Oil Well Flats BLM!  Not RV friendly at all!

Been here before, many times.  It's not a bad site for short rides to Skyline Drive, the Royal Gorge and other venues near Cañon City but it's beginning to lose its "charm" due to over-familiarity I think.

Monday, Oct 11:

After setting up camp, I drove the Sammy to check out the rest of the camping areas, finding only three other campers, two of them looking a bit sketchy but distant from my site so all good.

For instance, there was this abandoned looking wreck of a Class A unit near the entrance to the BLM are:

I thought someone had abandoned it after trying to repair it!  However, I would see a small car the next day, parked next to it with some guy moving about the rig.  Yikes.

Leaving the BLM area, I checked out nearby Brush Hollow Reservoir and also the area beyond it which borders the reservoir.  

The temperatures got down into the low to mid 40s overnight, not too bad but then the winds came.

Tuesday, Oct 12

Windy and overcast most of the day!  No fun outdoors so instead I went to a local auto parts salvage yard seeking perhaps parts for the Sammy.

No luck on the Samurai parts but I was surprised by a small "showroom" displaying all sorts of interesting vehicles, automobile-themed toys and motorcycles.  It wasn't a museum, no info plaques anywhere, I think its stuff that someone ended up in the hands of the salvage yard owner over the years.  No price tags either so not for sale perhaps.

A precusor of the three-wheeled rigs one sees on the roads these days, pretty sure its basically a motorcycle with a shell mounted onto it.

An early version of the Ural Sidecar Rig, it was 1WD but otherwise looked pretty good.  No leading link on the front wheel and of course the mandatory oil pan to catch oil leaks!

I'm guessing this is a vintage model from the Jeep folks?

Lots of automobile-related memorabilia on the walls, a sprinkling of vintage motorcycles and several other cars.

This was one of two pegboards displaying different spark plugs.  I'd not realized how diverse and varied spark plugs had come in!

Leaving the auto salvage yard, I headed on to the Vietnam War Memorial Park nearby, it's located near the intersection of US50 and CO 67 Highway.

F-4 Phantom, a former pilot joked that the Phantom was
proof that with enough thrust, even a brick could fly!

AH-1 Cobra Attack Helicoper

M113 Armored Personnel Carrier

The Sammy facing the Bell UH-1 Iroquois Helicopter
better known as the Huey

Returned to camp as the weather and winds worsened, ended up hunkering down through another cold night.

Wednesday, Oct 13.  

Woke to windy conditions which made the temperatures in the low 50s seem to be colder!  Decided to break camp and came home.  I guess the time for camping in tolerably cool weather in Colorado has come to an end for this year!

Wednesday, October 06, 2021

Fall Colors are peaking in the foothills!

 Today, I drove my '87 Suzuki Samurai to check out the campsites at the Kelly Dahl Forest Service Campground near Nederland, CO on CO Highway 119; also known as the Peak to Peak Highway.

The Peak to Peak Highway serves as  a link from the I-70 Super Slab to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park.  It would take me almost 2.5 hours (left home too early and got caught in the morning rush hours traffic), but made it to the campground with no issues.

The sites are small and would be a tight fit for the VRRV.  Note: Sites 1-20 are marked as First Come, First Serve.  After the 10th of the month, the campsites are no longer reservable online via but the camp host was unsure when they'd close the campsite for the winter.

I wasn't that impressed with the size of the sites so will really have to really think about using this campsite in the future.

Continuing north on CO 119, I soon came to Magnolia Road which I turned off onto and eventually reached the Winiger Ridge Campground area.  The roads remain pretty tough for low-clearance vehicles and 4WD is definitely required for some of the more technical spots!  Heck, I had to put the Sammy in Low Range for most of the rough portions!

Still, I made it all the way to the end of the FR 529 trail.  Only saw two campsites occupied, tent sites of course as no RV I know off would make it to the designated campsites.

Here's some of the Fall Color I posed the Sammy by on the way back to Magnolia Road:

Here's the Fall Color at someone's driveway along Magnolia Road:

Getting back on CO 119, now heading south, I turned at Rollinsville and headed for Tolland and Rollins Pass.  Here's some of the Fall Colors along the way to the vicinity of the East Portal for the Moffat Railroad tunnel.

Near the tunnel entrance, I elected to instead head up Rollins Pass Road and about a mile of bumpy rocks and boulders, stopped at the second pull out to see the view:

Continuing back down now, I stopped for pictures as shown below and at the first turnout parking spot:

You can see the railroad tracks heading towards the East Portal of the Moffat Railroad Tunnel:

I made it back down with no issues and checked out the tunnel entrance.  No pics, it was obscured by construction equipment and supplies.  Apparently, they're doing concrete repairs within the tunnel until sometime this coming December.

I spotted a trail off the main road to the tunnel portal area and turned the Sammy onto it.  It was quite nice and scenic in terms of Fall Colors, all the way to where the trail ended:

Returning to Rollinsville, I got back onto CO 119 and continued heading south, here's a couple of pics of the great Fall Colors currently peaking along the Peak to Peak Highway.  Too bad the skies had become solidly overcast and blocked the sun's rays from highlighting the leaves on the Aspen.

Still, as I hope you agree, the Fall Colors did show up nicely in spite of the lighting conditions.  I wasn't the only one stopping on the side of the highway to take pictures either!

Made it home around 5:30 PM, having gotten caught in the maddening rush hours traffic.  I made a bad decision to use a different route than usual for getting home and paid the price!  Arrgghh.  Still, no issues encountered though I do have to see about further adjustments of the rear brakes on the Sammy.  They could be better I think.