Friday, March 31, 2023

Yagi is ready for more riding, Signs of Spring and a video from the Z's

Sunny and warm today, light breezes and high temperatures in the low 70s, basically ideal weather.

I took Yagi, my recently repaired TW200 motorcycle out for a test ride.  She sounded good, no loud tapping noises anymore and her usual peppy performance is back!

I really lucked out, finding that missing lock nut for the intake valve's tappet!

Part of the test ride was to wander about the area, through parts I'd not ridden through before:

The local flora is beginning to exhibit signs of Spring:

Meanwhile, to the north of my location, Chris and Lori are camping on their own, as we both plan to meet up again later in April.  Here's a drone video from Lori:

Here's a look at their Overlander, Stewie, sporting its new old stock (NOS) ties recently installed.  One of their two spare tires is mounted on the front rack for now:

Tonight's sunset was pretty good:

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Yagi's Nut is Found

After a lengthy chat session with what I shall now call the TW 200 repair brain trust; I said about once again fishing for the missing lock nut for the intake valve on my TW200.

I dropped her, intentionally, onto her right side in order to try and dislodge the nut from wherever it was hiding.  (I would drop her several times throughout this process).

At first, I didn't think anything happened, so I set about doing a video.  I wanted to show the brain trust the chamber containing the intake valve spring, and movement of part of the cam.

Instead, as I was positioning the camera to take the video, I saw the damn nut on the phone's screen!

If you don't see it easily in the video above, here says screenshot with an arrow pointing to it:

The nut prove to be lodged quite tightly in the crevice where it had fallen. I would end up trying multiple tools to try and dislodge it with no success.

I even tried, dropping her on her left side, thinking perhaps that would help dislodge the nut.  Nope, and for future reference one should put the cover back onto the crankshaft cover but before dropping a TW200 onto its left, since oil will spill out otherwise!  DAMHIK.  I had the cover off so I could put a 17mm socket on the nut that turns the crank.

3 and 1/2 Joy filled hours later, I hit upon the idea to use forceps. Eventually I got the right angle and then the nut came loose enough that the magnetic pickup tool was able to grab it!  Bonus: it also grabbed the tip of the forceps that had broken off and that I had not noticed!

And there was much rejoicing!  I informed the brain trust and thanked them for their help and patience.  I couldn't have done it without them.

Got everything put back together, and I use Loctite ( blue ) on the lock nut on the intake valve just to make sure. The test ride will be tomorrow after it has had a chance to cure overnight.

For record, exhaust clearance was spot on at 0.006 in and intake clearance is now 0.003 in where the spec is 0.002 through 0.004.

I also have to buy a new oil filter and more oil for Yagi since I am sure dust and dirt got into the engine while things were open.  I am in the middle of a desert after all!  :)

I basically rested away the rest of the day, though there was a short ride with Scarlett, my Ural Patrol Sidecar, just for some exercise.  It was mostly cloudy with a chill wind, a wind that had blown most of the day.

Tonight's sunset was "meh".

Supposed to be sunny and warmer tomorrow, I sure hope so.  I also hope that Yagi's test ride goes well, keep your fingers crossed!

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Yagi Loses a Nut and Stewie is getting New Tires

 So today, I decided to check the valve clearances on Yagi, my TW200 motorcycle.  This was part of the continuing diagnosis as to why she was suffering severe power loss when above 2d gear.

The Z's dropped off a new spark plug and a torque wrench for me at the junction of I-8 and Ogilby Road where I met up with them as they were headed to El Centro, CA to pick up tires for Stewie, their overlander.

The new spark plug didn't fix anything so it was time to check the valves.

It took me a while to get the valve covers off, the allen head bolts holding them in place were on very tight!   I'm pretty sure I'd only use the specified 10 nm the last time I had the covers off for a check but who knows.  It has been quite a while I admit, I've not been following the scheduled check every 4000 miles; and Yagi is approaching 19K miles on her odometer.

I had to grind down a 5mm Allen Wrench so that it was short enough but finally got all the bolts to break loose and removed the valve covers.

And that's when I finally found the cause of the power loss:

Yep, the locking nut is gone!
This is the intake valve spring and tappet

Exhaust valve spring and tappet
note the locking nut on top

So, where did the nut go after it obviously backed off?  It's got to be somewhere in the cylinder head; I can't see how it could get past the piston to get into the cylinder and the crankcase!

I spent some time fishing about the intake valve spring and tappet housing area, hoping to find the missing nut.  No luck.  Dammit.

Obviously, it was someplace inside, but apparently in some location where it's not interfering with the operation of that portion of the cylinder head mechanisms!  After all, I'd ridden it home at least five miles, slowly of course but still.

I've also taken her out at least three times for real short rides as I did one diagnosis step or other.  She seemed to move fine in first and second gear but would not accelerate when shifting to third gear.

I plan to try some more fishing with the magnetic pickup tool tomorrow while I debate next steps.

The options as I see them are:

a.  Locate the missing nut, put into place with some blue Loctite and carry on.  Obviously, this is best case scenario.

b.  Not locate the missing nut, get replacement nut, adjust valves and carry on.  I would of course have to rename the motorcycle from Yagi to Time Bomb.

c.  Remove the cylinder head (dicey given my skills and experience), locate the nut and put it all back together.  

d.  Find a dealer who can work on Yagi and fix things.  Pricey I am sure.

Much research and thinking ahead.  On the positive side, Scarlett, my Ural Patrol sidecar rig started fine this morning and seems to be holding a charge.  

So, as the "heir and a spare" saying goes, it's good that I had both Yagi and Scarlett together again!  Can you imagine the travail it would have cause for Yagi to malfunction while in Baja California, Mexico!  Yikes.

There was quite a dust storm this evening so no sunset pics from here.  Lori Z. sent me this one of their overnight lotdocking location.  The tires they got for Stewie, shown below, will be installed tomorrow I think.

Sunset, El Centro, CA

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

T'Dubing at the Imperial Sand Dunes

This morning's sunrise was pretty good:

The morning was spent charging up Scarlett's battery.  She wouldn't start on her own this morning, but started just fine when I jump started her using the VRRV's house battery.

I think the battery is toast, as it's almost 5 years old, having been installed November of 2018.  I also noticed, while it was charging, that the charger went down to 3.4 Amps but then started climbing?  I stopped charging it when the amps reported were at 5.5 as that isn't normal charging behavior.

I would end up, at the end of the day, starting her with her own battery (which read 12.9V) and parking her up on the trailer.  I'll see if she holds a charge and starts tomorrow morning.

I rode Yagi, my TW200, towards I-8 along Ogilby Road, and spent some time wandering the near dunes, never did find an established trail to the big dunes this time.  Lots of loose sand and the fact I was riding solo led me to be conservative in my explorations.  

Yagi did great, negotiating the dunes at low speed, never going above second gear.

Trying to get to the big dunes I could see off in the distance, I got on I-8 and the TW200 made it to 60 mph as I rode the couple miles or so to the next exit: Grays Well Road.

Got off at the exit, and cruised along the highway and got these shots using the telephoto lens to crop in.

I got back on I-8 heading back towards Ogilby Road.  The TW was doing fine until perhaps a mile out and she started slowing down.  Hmmmm.   I switched to reserve thinking perhaps I was running low on fuel, no change.

I got off at the Ogilby Road exit and promptly forgot about the seeming loss of top end power as I tried the dunes once again. 

Again, I didn't get very far, so I gave it up for today.  I noticed now, as I rode along Ogilby Road towards camp that I couldn't get above 30 mph, even with the throttle wide open!  Dammit.

I got back to camp, cleaned the air filter, which was filthy.  While the filter dried, I tried a test run with no filter...nope, still no top end power.  Checked fuel flow, at Chris Z's suggestion, but there was good flow.

I checked the spark plug, which seemed a little loose, reinstalled it and tried another test run, no luck, still not able to attain speeds above 30 mph!  

I'll check the carburetor bowl tomorrow since it was by now getting dark.  If Scarlett starts ok tomorrow morning, I might take her the 15 miles or so into Yuma and get a new spark plug for Yagi.  If that doesn't do it, not sure what the next step will be.  Sigh.

Tonight's sunset was OK:

Monday, March 27, 2023

Back in the USA, Boondocking Again Near Winterhaven, CA

We left at 8AM this morning, leaving the campsite north of San Felipe, Baja California behind and a couple of hours later were at the border.

We chose to cross at the same border crossing station in San Luis Rio Colorado.  We got in line, using the general access/RV line to slowly make our way to the inspection station.

Some sights, along the way, pics taken by Lori Z.

The middle area between two lanes of traffic was populated by vendors selling drinks, snacks and crap such as the stuff below.

Interspersed with the vendors, others acted as panhandlers, often times presenting themselves as invalid or handicapped in some way.

The shops along the street we inched our way on, sold all kinds of souvenirs, or auto insurance for US-bound mexicans.  

It was a mystery to us why anyone would want to buy or own a damn "Chucky" doll but here you go.  Note the cute bathroom sign:

The one ugly incident we experienced was an asshole with Arizona tags darting in front of Chris and Lori's Ovelander and jumping the line!  Goddamn him or her.

Line Jumping Asshole!

We would end up spending 80 minutes in line.  Stewie, Chris & Lori's Overlander was briefly searched by US Customs but no issues.  I was asked a few questions and let through, back into the USA!  

It's good to be back, I must say.  I also can confidently say that Mexico is no longer on the possible place to retire to list!  I know, eastern Baja California isn't all of Mexico, but I think I got enough of a "taste".

We then drove to Yuma and retrieved our possessions from storage.  Scarlett and trailer are back behind Uma.

We went our separate ways at this point, planning to rejoin in about ten days or so further north near Meadview, AZ.  I need some solo camping time you see, and the Z's were very understanding, such true friends and great camping companions.

I dumped tanks and got clean water (I dumped all the Mexican water on the way to the border) at the Speedway that provides the facilities for free.  Of course, as they probably hoped, I also got a gas for the VRRV and refilled my spare gas can.

While the Z's did some chores in Yuma, I headed back to the vicinity of Winterhaven, CA and the dispersed camping areas off of Ogilby Road.  The Z's went to stay at the VFW BLM Site as they've got other stuff to do in Yuma.

I lucked out and the spot we'd stayed at before was free so I snagged it and set up camp in a warm afternoon/evening with temperatures in the low 70s!

I found Scarlett's battery low on power, 12.1 volts, and she wouldn't crank over.  So I recharged the battery using my Predator 2000 generator for about an hour or so.  Once at 90% charge according to the battery charger, Scarlett cranked right up and I unloaded her from the trailer.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

Baja California with the Z's - Days 32 & 33: Last Weekend in Mexico

 Saturday, March 25

Bought a traction system for light trucks, cars and RVs to hopefully enable me to self-recover from sand/mud conditions in the future.

It's made by Truckclaws and the videos/reviews I saw on youtube made it looked quite promising.  I should get it by mid-April while in the vicinity of Meadview, AZ.

The extender bar, it to provide added
footprint for the claw.

Not much worth reporting about today, just mounting frustration with growing crowded conditions down here.  I think also I need to do some solo camping for a bit so that's what I'll do once we cross the border back into the USA on Monday.

Sunday, March 26

I went for a long ride to exorcise some demons that had popped up due to other matters.  

I revisited the unfinished house with the dome for some more pics, but the only ones I ended up using were of possibly flowering Ocotillo and a view of distant hills through the holes in the chimney.

Then, I meandered over to the shoreline, and cruised out on the tidal flats for a bit since the tide was out.  Again, no pics obtained that were usable.

Then, I decided to keep riding south along the shoreline, moving slowly and keeping on the still-moist sand left by the receding tide.  It's firmer you see, and much easier to ride on than the dry deep sand a bit further up the beach.

I came to an area with nice looking erosion on the cliffsides bordering the beach:

It sort of reminded me of Utah's rock formations

The erosion paths had carved out interesting "trails"
that should be explored.

I liked this erosion formation best, looks like
a line of people ...

At the furthest point that I went, which was almost parallel to a campground called Playa Hawaii; I spotted a slightly sketchy looking trail heading up the cliffs to the top.

I found this at the top:

Views from the rock outcropping just past the table above:

I retraced my way back to the beach and started heading back towards camp:

Later, we were buzzed by this guy on an ultralight.  I managed to get the below pics on his third flyover.  Apparently, he was taking off from the beach nearby and would turn around to head south almost directly over our heads.

Things are getting crowded down here so we decided to leave Baja California tomorrow and return to the Land of the Big PX, as we used to call it back when I was stationed with the Army in Europe.  It'll be good to be back in one's home country.

The trip was enjoyable, interesting, sometimes a bit unnerving in terms of road conditions but in general a good month or so in Mexico's Baja California.  I'll probably have more thoughts on traveling in Baja California...