Squash and Virago

Oct 30, 2020

I made this stuffed squash about 10 years ago from a recipe in a Hugh Furnley Whittingstall book. See here It was tricky to judge the cooking time. The recipe said cook for about an hour and the squash were small. I put one back in the oven for 15 minutes to ensure the squash was soft. A success, I think – and seasonally right for a late autumn meal.

Maybe heavy on the leek stuffing?

The XJ6 motorbike is overdue an MOT. Since the unfortunate event and subsequent debate about the car rear brakes, I can only get an MOT in two weeks. So the XJ6 is off the road with a SORN. However, the Virago seems to be fixed!!!! There seems to be little appreciable battery drain with the battery connected, the battery tester comes up with good results for battery condition and charging. I think the problem with the Virago battery not recharging was due to a poor connection on one of the DC leads from the regulator rectifier to the battery. The voltmeter shows 13.5V DC to the battery when the engine is turning over – which is enough to keep the battery charged. I have reattached the small, digital, bike voltmeter to the battery so I can keep an eye on the recharging voltage. Attached to the voltmeter I get a USB 3A socket outlet – necessary for the bike GPS.

The bracket on the voltmeter/ USB outlet had cracked – bike plastics always go brittle. So I have tried to glue the bracket together with “fast” adhesive, backed up by epoxy resin. Amazingly I found another bracket by “rummaging” – which I have also reinforced using epoxy at the weak point- to try and prevent future breaking. There is so much epoxy on both brackets, I can’t now tell which was the one that broke!

The turn signal indicator had become very erratic so I opened up the switch and cleaned the contacts.

The switch is a clever mechanical device that can be repaired. Probably on modern bikes there is a non repairable electronic switch that costs £50 to replace.

This was all cleaned up with cotton buds and alcohol, particularly the sliding plastic contact. Then a little dab of grease was placed on the sliding part and it was all re-assembled.

The rectifier tests fine

The stator tests fine, minimal resistance around the coils and no continuity between the coils and ground. Stator generates 20V AC across all pairs of coils when engine running in idle.

So there has got to be a break between the red line from reg / rectifier to main fuse.

I will test the main fuse but it must be fine since the bike starts and runs.

Wind speed is 20mph, light gusts. The bike is stable, but I get buffeted about a bit by the wind. Would not want to ride at higher wind speed.

The cable to the horn kept on “dropping” from the bike horn. Except it wasn’t dropping, it was being pulled off because the cable was too short. I have extended the cable with a lashed up patch using “doubled up” 10A cable (so it has plenty current capacity). This was also an exercise in using the new ratchet crimping tool – which made a good job of connecting the wire to the spade connectors. For the past few days the horn has sounded loud and clear and the connector hasn’t fallen off once. I didn’t realise how important a bike horn is until I didn’t have one for a days. I am going to replace the wiring from the relay to the horn with the 10A multi strand cable. This cable will be flexible but hopefully won’t overheat when I attach the new dual horns – the whole reason for installing this horn relay in the first place!

Yaris passed the MOT!

Aug 20, 2018

Hooray! Maybe cleaning it swayed the jury. I have discovered a new filter for the Yaris – it is the cabin filter behind the glove box. This filters the air coming into the cabin and of course it is filthy. A new one costs about £10.

I need to get to a car breaker to get a new glove box cover. The existing one is “slightly” broken and this has always irritated me.

The Virago starts up fairly reliably now without a push. Hopefully the new rectifier will keep the battery charged without over-charging. I will run the bike every day around the block a couple of times just to keep the battery charged until John returns to replace the chain and rear sprocket.

More bike stuff

Aug 17, 2018

I tightened the chain on the Virago but I think I overtightened the bolts holding the back axle to the swing arms (?). The bike was difficult to push and there was a squeaking sound as I moved the bike. The cotter pin (split pin) on one of the bolts got stuck and sheared. Anyway, the chain is now a bit tighter and the bike is starting without a push. So I will run the bike around the block each morning to make sure it turns over. I have the Virago booked in with John, when he returns from holiday, for a new chain, rear sprocket and rear tyre. He will adjust everything properly. The main thing is to keep the bike turning over until then so I feel confident the battery will have some life left in it.

The Yaris will be MOTd on Monday so I will do an oil change before then and check lamp bulbs, wiper blades etc .

The plan today was to replace the rectifier on the Virago.

Virago temporary rectifier wire connectors

However, I needed to use the electrical multimeter to check each wire change and the multimeter probe wire had broken.

Also, the Virago battery was completely flat. I think I damaged it when I ran the bike with the faulty rectifier that boiled the battery dry. The battery can no longer hold a charge as long as it used to. I can bump start the bike but I may be in for a new battery. I put the battery on charge for a few hours

but I still needed to bump start the bike. the Virago ran round the block a few times with no problem once it had turned over.

I couldn’t find the solder to fix the probe so I decided to do a different task. The oil change on the XJ6 was overdue.

The chain on the Virago is very loose and was filthy.

Virago dirty chain

Some of the chain links connections appear to have seized and I think a rubber O-ring came out when I cleaned the chain. So the  Virago chain looks pretty knackered.

The chain, rear sprocket and rear tyre need to be replaced on the Virago. The Virago exhaust looks a bit ropey. So some expense to get this road worthy.

The horn on the XJ6 isn’t working so I need to diagnose that – but of course I need the multimeter for that!

Bike uplift

Aug 1, 2018

The Virago has been running reliably since the new ignition unit and spark plugs were fitted (and the battery terminals secured!) I have decided to spend a bit more money on it and run it as a commuter since it is so cheap to run.

I have sent the seat off to Bradford to be recovered.

I bought a couple of handle bar end mirrors from an EBay seller. I had to cannibalise the old mirror fittings but they look fairly atttactive, if a little vulnerable if the bike falls over.

< pic here>

The regulations for UK vehicles driving/riding in Europe require (?) a Country-of-origin sticker on the number plate and masking of the head light throw to the left to prevent dazzling drivers of oncoming traffic when driving on the right. I had to cut down the number plate sticker and bought an old-school GB sticker on the back box. Various fiddling, cutting and fixing was required as the box curves a fair bit. Should do the job.