More mods to the van

I’ve not done any fishing for a few months, not because I don’t want to, but because my right arm is stuffed and I cannot cast the rod…
What we thought was tennis elbow, (see the post below) turned out to be a torn tendon.
So after lots of painful physio and not much improvement it was suggested that I get a scan done. This revealed the cause of my discomfort, and I was immediately given a cortisone injection, which has helped a lot.
In the meantime, I’ve been tinkering with the van, (code for spending more money on it).
New bigger tyres, caused a problem in that the sliding door wouldn’t open fully because it hit the tyre. This issue was solved with an extended door hinge arm imported from Australia.
Front brakes were improved with new disks and pads.
While I was in there I also fitted a set of manual front hubs so I can now disengage the front axles when touring. This should help both fuel economy and wear and tear on front cv’s and boots.
You can read all about the mods here

Same shit, different day..

Random thoughts, gripes and observances from my day job in mail/parcel delivery.
I won’t state the name of the company I work for because they disapprove of their employees discussing work online. I’m writing this with great difficulty, not because of any emotional/ethical issue but because I’m home off-work due to a recurring physical problem generated by the work I do.
RSI (repetitive strain injury) of the elbow, resulting in bursitis making it very painful to do anything with my right arm. It’s happened before and as such I could feel this one coming on a few weeks ago. It has now got to a stage where I cannot do my job and a doctor’s appointment and subsequent time of rest is required.
Typing this is a slow and laborious task using only my left hand..
Sorting mail is the culprit in my case. In my job you are required to sort anything up to 1000 letters, 300 magazines, and 100 parcels per day into delivery order before taking them out and delivering them. I do this delivery on a motorcycle.

The delivery side of my job is pretty good as a general rule. There are of course a few infuriating exceptions, as I assume there would be with most jobs.
So with that in mind, here’s a gripe list of sorts, and some reasoning as to why it is so..

Mail boxes:
First of all, NO MAILBOX, NO DELIVERY. Don’t expect the delivery person to take your mail to your door. Ain’t gonna happen. Your neighbours have all got mailboxes, You get a mailbox!
And while you’re at it, GET A DECENT SIZE ONE. Tiny little mailboxes are useless. It needs to be big enough to take an A4 size envelope without having to fold it. It needs to be big enough that we can get shoebox size parcel into it.
The mailbox on the left is too small, its crap. The one on the right as cavernous and good..

Also a mailbox is NOT a garden ornament! It needs to serve a purpose. No point on having an arty-farty mailbox with an entry slot that you cant fit any mail into…. Have a think before you buy!
DO NOT put your new mailbox in the middle of the lawn or surround it with gardens/flowers/roses/cacti… If you do, you can expect me to ride the motorcycle across said lawn/garden to get to it.. I’m not getting off the bike every day to deliver your mail..

Please clear your mailbox every day, Its bloody hard to get your mail into your crappy small mailbox when its full of papers and shit!

So you have a dog, that’s great, so do I.
If you have a dog on your property I WILL NOT ENTER THE PROPERTY to deliver any parcels or mail that don’t fit into your mailbox. You will get a card in your mailbox stating that you can come and get your parcel. I’m sure your dog as lovely and placid when you’re in control of it, but when you’re not home, rest assured it is a rabid snarly beast that hates everyone…
If your dog can get to the mailbox, I will go straight past and no mail will be delivered to you.
“But my dog won’t hurt you” – I’ve lost count of how many people have said that to me. I also have the bite scars to prove it..

If a parcel requires your signature I will come to the nearest door from the road or driveway and knock, or ring the bell if you have one. You have 30 seconds or so to answer the door or alert me that you are home. I haven’t got all day to wait while you finish your phone call/lunch/porn video etc. If I get no response to the knock/bell I will head back to the bike and start writing out a card. Writing out a collection card is a pain in the ass, I would much rather deliver the parcel so I don’t have to carry the damn thing around for the rest of the day.
If your doors/windows are open, I can hear the tv going, and I know someone is home, I’m still going to write out a card if you don’t come to the door.
I’m not going to walk around your house looking for you.
Answer the friggin door!

You put your recycling out every week. Good on you.
Put it somewhere away from your mailbox. How am i supposed to deliver your mail if I cannot get anywhere near your mailbox?
That hairy thing on top of your shoulders.. Use it…

Basically, spare a thought for those trying to deliver your stuff. If you have a decent sized mailbox, that we can get to, without being attacked, your stuff will be delivered as soon as we get it. We won’t have to roll or fold it to get it into your mailbox.
Life will be simple and pleasant… 🙂

Fishing stuff

As the last gasps of summer zoom by I realise I’ve had reasonable success with the rods this season..
Mohaka is now my new favourite beach.
I took a mate who’d never been there to see the beach. I warned him beforehand that it was purely an exploratory mission and not to expect anything spectacular. You see I’ve been going there for years, and while at times it has produced a few fish, there have also been many blank trips. The first trip was nothing special with both of us landing small Smoothhounds and not a lot else. Jase liked the look of the place so a return trip was planned for a few weeks later.
So we duly arrived again and set up camp, intending to do an over-nighter. The sea was ok, a bit murky with some chop on the surface. Sporadic rain. Not rough by any means, quite fishable but not flat calm and gin clear.
At this time of year (late autumn) the summer species like Snapper are normally starting to disappear. However if you do get a snapper in autumn, its likely to be a big one as the big fish tend to come close to shore in Spring and Autumn. During the mid summer they are usually smaller “shoalies” in the 30-40cm range.
As it turned out we got both. The small fish were still there and we landed a few but we also got couple of big ones as well.
The holy-grail of Snapper fishing is the 20lb fish. Thats about 9kg for you youngsters. Some go for a lifetime without catching a fish of that size. I’ve been fishing for over 50 years and I’m still waiting.
So it was an epic scene to see my mate jason catch his first 20 pounder and even better to get it on video. We’d got a couple of decent fish hours before that, with Jase landing a 3.5kg fish and me nabbing a 5.1kg model a short time later. We were already stoked to have those fish in the bin and considered anything else caught that trip would just be a bonus. But towards the end of the day Jase’s rod bent over nicely and the weight foretold of something special.
Watch the video!

Jason’s first 20lb Snapper

Other trips have gone better than expected as well. Earlier in the season I landed a couple of nice Moki. Another local trip yielded an 18lb Smoothhound. Numerous smaller Snapper and just last weekend a nice 4.6kg Snapper. So all in all its been a very successful season at Mohaka and other local beaches, long may it continue.
Check out this assortment of images.

Solar Power for the van

I’ve been experimenting to see what would be required in the way of power needs, to run my Vantage 82 litre fridge/freezer on solar power. The specs suggest that a 200w panel and a 20amp MPPT controller coupled with a 150ah deep cycle battery should do.
So now I have a 260w panel mounted on the roof tray. Its hinged on one side so that I can tilt it, or just lift it up to get underneath it for whatever reason.

This panel is feeding a Tracer AN Series 20amp MPPT Controller which feeds a pair of 85ah deep cycle batteries wired in parallel.

The setup seems to be holding its own against the 6amp consumption of the fridge-freezer at 14.1v. I’ve yet to try it on a cloudy day. Its hot and sunny this week.

The bike is complete

Well I got the new valves and reassembled the bike. All as well while running in the shed but after a quick test ride around the block I noticed an oil leak.
How can this be? Its got new gaskets and the dowels are all in place..
A squirt with degreaser and a hose down revealed the oil was running down from further up somewhere.
A mate suggested maybe the o-rings on the spark plug tube were leaking, but there was no visible oil inside that cavity.
I finally found it was leaking from the oil pipe fitting and seeping around the outside of the head gasket, to drip off at the lowest point.
No problem, I’ll get some new copper washers for the banjo fitting….
Did that and tightened it up as much as I dared.
Another test ride and still the leak is there. Must be the oil pipe says me!
I removed the pipe completely and it looked fine, no kinks or frays in the webbing.
Sealed the ends with rubber blocks and vice grips, put it in a bucket of water and applied compressed air to the open end.. No leaks..
So the pipe is fine and its got new copper washers and its done up tight but leaks..
At this stage I’m thinking the situation is impossible but then it is an Italian motorcycle and there will be some ridiculous reason for this to occur.
So i screwed the banjo bolt into the head as far as it would go without the hose on it.
Then measured the gap between the head mating surface and the bolt mating surface,
I then measured the banjo end of the pipe plus two copper washers only to find that there was less than 1mm of crush being applied to the washers before the bolt bottomed out in the hole..
So when I thought the bolt was done up tight it was just out of thread (or bottomed in the head) and not actually clamping the copper washers..
Two copper washers on each side – oil leak fixed..


If its got tits or wheels it’l cost you money…

So having finally got my van semi-finished and reliable I decided to do the long overdue upgrades and maintenance on my bike.
Before I dive into this – a little background on the bike:
Back in December 17 I bought a brand new (but 10 years old) MotoGuzzi Griso 1200.
You see the first owner had purchased it in 2008 and never rode or registered it.
It sat in his house as an ornament…

I saw it appear on Trademe and had to have it.
After much money for shipping and insurance etc it arrived here and I dived into the red tape required to get a brand new unregistered (but 10 years old) bike legally on the road.
That done, I was happily scooting around for a month or two when things went somewhat downhill…
in- bits
While I was riding it she dropped onto one cylinder.
It had spark, fuel, compression, and for a while I was stumped..
But then I found that the cam timing had slipped 180 degrees on the left cylinder. (which meant that spark and injection were occurring on the wrong stroke)
The cam-wheel lock pin had worked its way out through the hole in the oil flinger plate and allowed the sprocket to slip.

There is a long and sorry saga documented here on the Guzzi forums.

I corrected the valve timing and it ran sweet as again. I’ve done about 2500km on it since.
I was told by the wizards on the forums that the flat tappets WOULD fail at some stage and I should fit the rollerisation kit, which I duly purchased and its been sitting in a box on the bench until last week

I had to remove the heads to do the kit so I thought I’d check the valves. Two are very slightly bent.

I’ve ordered two new valves the bike now sits sadly in pieces in the shed..
During the conversations I had while trying to diagnose the cylinder issues I was told I should also dismantle and re-grease all of the rear suspension bearings because the factory, in its infinite wisdom failed to lubricate them at assembly.
I’ve just done all that today.
Now just waiting on my new valves..

On a slightly more positive note.

Over the last two months I’ve been working flat out on my new van to get it ready for the fishing/camping expeditions I hope to do.
The engine is finally dyno tuned, the wiring sorted, its been panel beaten and painted.
One thing that did show up on the dyno (and to a certain extent on a recent trip to Taupo) is the fact that the engine runs a little hot under high load.
Discussing this with the tuner (who also runs the same 1UZvvti engine in a competition truck) we decided it was just an airflow issue. It has a larger than standard radiator and two 12inch SPAL fans sucking through it but the problem appears to be that the air is obstructed from actually getting into the radiator due to the bullbar/winch etc.
I have since fitted a 16inch Davies-Craig ‘pusher’ fan to the front of the radiator. This is currently on a manual switch so that I can have it still running after shutting down.
This required a lot of surgery to make room for the fan between the grille and radiator

Other than that, she’s going well enough. I’m still having issues with the tiptronic unit digital display freezing which causes it to eventually lose TCL requiring a stop/restart.

Went for a fish locally this weekend. Conditions weren’t ideal with a stiff southerly blowing, making life uncomfortable on the beach. No fish were caught (by me at least) but some others did well.
Those who ventured north a few hundred kilometres did very well indeed with plentiful Snapper filling their bins etc.

You can follow the progress of this van build on its own dedicated page here