DSC_3170Decided it was ’bout time to put the ‘lil ‘hack (Motorvation Spyder) back on the GS, given that it’s my newest and lowest mileage airhead. This was my first ‘hack “romance”, the Spyder first being mounted in late february of ’94 right at the Motorvation mother ship in northwest Iowa. The GS had only covered 28k miles then, now the odo reads 67k while the Spyder has covered well over 100k… No, I haven’t been riding with the tug wheel in the air, though the ‘hack wheel has been occasionally aloft! The GS had a whole bunch of the typical GS maladies: tranny X2, pulled cylinder studs X2, alternator, starter, and of course the dreaded paralever. Thus the Spyder got hitched to my R65LS for a while, and when the GS studs failed a 2nd time, an R80ST was seduced to handle the tug duties with a bit more torque than the R65LS had.

DSC_3173And given it’s unreachable “auto-retract” side stand, the GS cries out for a hack to hold it up. Throw in the GS’ couple more inches of ground clearance and enough power to buck our “normal” 30 MPH headwinds at faster than 50 MPH, and the GS is the better tug for my Buffalo Ridge wanderings. I’ve kept the GS close to home since I put HPD inserts in all eight stud holes, but 6k miles later the repair has held up. This summer I finally found and installed the little known 1 millimeter tighter fitting gearbox rear seal, so now the driveshaft is running dry as BMW but not god intended. After the 2nd transmission failure I subbed a pre-missing circlip tranny, so other than the paralever driveshaft, this GS’s demons have pretty much been excised. And with only about 10k on the current paralever, I can put off getting it rebuilt with greasable & replaceable U-jounts for a while.

And what of the now lonely ST?

DSC_3181It’s still got my spare set of mounts and subframe, so I’m in the market for another ‘hack… Heck, my plan is to have every ‘hackable bike I’ve got ‘hack’d by the time I turn 70! Roger, the final drive is holding up fine, though the rear main or something is still leaking, though that was my own “work”. Maybe I should haul the engine to Florida for tech daze? Naw, already got the R65LS pollutin’ the place with it’s leaky rear main seal!

Winter has at least made it’s appearance, with a couple inches of snow recirculated by our usual 30+ MPH winds, but thankfully none of last winters nightmarish visions of snow canyons leading to the garage. Been cool though, in fact hasn’t been above freezing for a week. So with a couple inches of the aforementioned snow forecast for the weekend followed by a couple days of said near blizzard winds… Clearly it was time to retire to the garage and officially kick off the winter rebuild season!

Debated whether I should start with assessing the “scope of work” the ’66 Cooper S will require and swapping the small hack from the ST to the GS. Not having done any serious work on the Cooper S in a while, it won out… Time to steel myself to survey the tinworm’s carnage and put together a brief bill of materials…

DSC_3146This is one of the better views, fading paint revealing bodywork repairs from a pervious owner, or maybe another one that required a lot of “rectification’ at the Longbridge factory?

DSC_3148Right rear quarter, complete with rust through on both the quarter panel AND the drip rail.

DSC_3156Don’t forget to add a rear subframe to the bill of materials too. Funny, the front ones never seem to rust out on Brit cars…

DSC_3160Looks like my 70s vintage bondo patch is holding up fairly well… Unfortunately everything around it has rusted out!

DSC_3162Interior is kinda rough too… And did you notice that most all the glass is missing? Both the result of rats, the glass breakage the work of a two legged one… A landlord from the 70s who got even in the 90s for the lawsuit he lost against his tenants. Even left a note, parts of which are unprintable, but Minneapolis police were uninterested. I’d done the usual rocker panel etc. replacement back in the 70s, but now it pretty much needs a hole new floor, as well as fenders, quarter panels, front bulkhead, trunk floor, and there’s even a rust hole or three in the roof!

Fortunately most all the parts are available from an outfit called M-Machine in Britain, added up just the major body parts and the total came to near three thousand pounds, or around $5000. Essentially, I’d be building a new body shell from parts, not an easy job without a jig. The other option is a whole new body shell, and thanks to British Motor Heritage, Ltd., they’re still available, for going on $10,000. Not that bad a deal, given that the 60s Mustang and Camaro body shells are around $15k, and they don’t even include the hood and fenders! So I abandoned the garage to drown my sorrows, which was tough ’cause I quit drinking and I didn’t have any chocolate in the house… I had to muddle through with instant hot cocoa.

Having thus confined my depression to sub clinical levels, I started off this morning verifying that the engine would still turn over. Haven’t had a Mini radiator out since the 70s, and found that my much upgraded tools more than made up for what I’ve lost in dexterity since then. Yup, their is a flicker of hope if not fire yet… The 1275 cc. lump still turns over! So now come the tough decisions- Do I spend over $10k and probably twice that doing a proper restoration, purists be damned by the hidden hinges and wind up windows on the 70s pattern repop body shells? Or then again, other than that big hole, the bondo patches I put on in the 70s held up pretty well, and none of my pop riveted on rocker panels came loose…

Social media Facebook response to GM’s “new” minivan, a badge engineered Nissan that’s also sold by Nissan’s partner Renault:
Sponsored ·
The Chevrolet City Express has the space you need to grow your business. With 122.7 cu. ft. of cargo volume, there’s room to fit what you need to start and finish the job.

2015 Chevy City Express
When business calls, City Express answers. You’ll be prepared, even on the go.
Learn More
Dyna Sluyter
LikeLike · · Share · 1063713
Top Comments
106 people like this.
Dyna Sluyter

Write a comment…
Dyna Sluyter Also available at Nissan and Renault dealers…
Like · Reply · 6 hrs

Colin Crowel Oh hey look a Nissan…oh wait
Like · Reply · 5 · November 10 at 8:34pm

Larry Keniley You should buy a Ford.
Like · Reply · 1 · 9 hrs

Duane Tamura Not sure who in their right mind would buy a Chevrolet now days. Tax Payers give them a bailout of $62 billion to save Union thugery and the industry’s worst senior management team in 20 years and then G.M. thanks the tax payer with killing their loyal customers with faulty ignition switches that turn the car off while on the road resulting in the biggest recall in automotive history. And covering it up for over 10 years. Obama said while he handed over the check that G.M. is the future of automotive industry. Obama has a knack for picking winners.
Like · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 3:38pm

Roger Sedell WOW a updated astro van!!!
Like · Reply · 1 · November 11 at 3:07am

Philip Millward its a nissan euro spec!
Like · 1 · 11 hrs
Dyna Sluyter

Write a reply…
John Junnie Gumbs I was just about to say… but the expectation of any chevy product lack luster all around. #imitation #notoriginal well at least it isn’t as bad as the Ford line up. with extreme cheap plastics and abundance of recalls. Oh way they do as well #smh
Like · Reply · 6 hrs

ODy Mic Kc Marszalek
Like · Reply · 7 hrs

Joe Sackett Get ready for another Obama Motors Recall! Businesses on welfare are stupid!
Like · Reply · 8 hrs

Carl Davis aa rabbit shows
Like · Reply · 10 hrs

Gerardo Credes Maybe they paid the designers with People’s money of 2008
Like · Reply · 11 hrs

Gary Macguyver how is the ignition switch?
Like · Reply · 12 hrs

Bishop Bethany 2012 Chevy Express for sale excellent condition bbishoptkb@aol.com
Like · Reply · 1 · 16 hrs

George Smith Be sure to pack an extra fire extinguisher!!
Like · Reply · 19 hrs

Jerry Fountain Good looking van.
Like · Reply · 21 hrs

Larry Browning does it come with all the normal G. M. defects that the standard models come with.
Like · Reply · 21 hrs

Wendell Adams Anything Chevrolet is the best!!
Like · Reply · November 11 at 9:29pm

William James Burliss Gonna trade in the TAHOE?
Like · Reply · November 11 at 8:48pm

Marilyn Challender Webert Love my 2014 Equinox
Like · Reply · November 11 at 5:30pm

Dave Camisa Only 131 hp. ?? Not enough for the hills and mountains in central PA. Guess it’s alright for city only use.
Like · Reply · November 11 at 2:54pm

Chuck Evans Will the paint totally peal off the hood of this van. I bought a Chevy express van. poor quality . the paint on the hood is totally pealing off and if you notice thousands of other Chevy vans hoods are doing the same thing. It took a week in the shoe to get a it to pass smog because electronics, the interior door handle are are broken just from normal use. I am very disappointed, this was my first Chevy.
Like · Reply · November 11 at 2:20am

Tom Frank what do,s it cost
Like · Reply · November 11 at 2:15am

Nick Wilcox poor badge engineering….
Like · Reply · November 11 at 12:47am

Anthony Richards NO THANKS!
Like · Reply · November 11 at 12:11am

William Dziekanowski Very communist looking, Like a LADA van.
Like · Reply · November 11 at 12:02am

Gary Shreve too small @—@
Like · Reply · November 10 at 11:48pm

David Stone GM too many electrical problems!
Like · Reply · November 10 at 8:03pm

Frances Zvonek Looks like our first Van, except it was Blue.
Like · Reply · November 10 at 8:02pm

Art Sullivan so ??
Like · Reply · 11 hrs

Chris Hammer Don Martinez IV
Like · Reply · November 11 at 1:56pm

Gerald Yowell Wow…Chevrolet invents the Panel Truck!
Like · Reply · November 10 at 11:47pm

Dennis Burk FORD came out with almost the exact one Last Year. Chevy is playing catch up.
Like · Reply · November 11 at 4:38pm

Brad Martin they suck buy TOYOTA
Like · Reply · November 10 at 10:06pm

Harold J Renninger SPAM!
Like · Reply · 11 hrs

Berdina Luyken Burns like
Like · Reply · 22 hrs
Write a comment… “

Seems like half the respondents still believe that this rebadged Nissan was the spawn of the GM bailout that wasn’t even Obama’s doing, the bankruptcy having been filed before he took office. The other half clearly gets their news from sources besides Faux News, and can spot a rebadged Nissan a mile away.

Here in the grain belt, it’s the talk of every coffee shop: The grain elevators are full, they’re even dumping the bumper crop on the ground, with little rail relief in sight. Massive elevators that are required by contract to load a hundred plus car grain train in 24 hours wait weeks for said grain train to arrive. So some coffee fueled creative thinking has been happening in those coffee shops. Last spring some Farmers Union members I know were talking about trucking their grain 250 miles northeast to the Port of Duluth on the St.Lawrence Seaway. This summer I heard Farm Bureau members hinting that as a potential state legislator I should support allowing them to use double trailers to haul their grain across the state to barge ports like Winona on the Mississippi… I said “maybe”. And today, South Dakota blogger Cory Heidelberger ( http://www.madvilletimes.com ) discussed the potential of shipping grain via the Missouri. Makes sense… isn’t the Missouri, at least theoretically, a navigable waterway as far upriver as Sioux City, a good hundred miles closer to my local mega-elevator than Duluth or Winona?

A bit of research revealed that the last barge tow left Sioux Falls over a decade ago… The “navigable river” status has mostly been a tool to get more favorable rates out of the railroads serving the Missouri River ports, so there’s been little need to actually run a barge “tow” on the river. And given the lack of traffic, floods, and fluctuating water levels that fed a running battle between downstream shipping interests and upstream tourism interests whose reservoirs were drained to flood the downriver channel to the nine foot minimum, there was little motivation to test the viability of barge tows all the way up to Sioux Falls…

Until this summer, when a plant just downriver from Sioux City needed new equipment too big and heavy to move by road or rail, and a barge and towboat came to the rescue. As I write, a closed “riverboat casino” is being towed downriver to be scrapped… So the Missouri is still relatively navigable from Sioux City downriver to the Mississippi and the Port of New Orleans. The river will be freezing soon, but if someone’s really desperate next spring they can probably get their grain out via New Orleans. But given that most of the grain we export is headed west to Asia, a water route the long way round rather than a rail haul to west coast ports is a more attractive shipping route. Until the new Panama Canal locks open…

Canal and lock dimensions tend to determine the size of ships, to the point where a whole class of “Panamax” ships exists- ships built as big as the canal’s century old locks can handle. With the new locks soon to be completed, a whole new class of “New Panamax” ships with over twice the capacity of the old “Panamax” ships will be able to take the Panama Canal shortcut to Asia. And ready they are, with several Gulf ports already upgraded to handle the bigger ships, and the bigger ships now comprising over half the available capacity… Heck, I don’t think they built a single “(old) Panamax” ship last year!

As they say, “This changes everything”… There’s a reason the proposed Keystone XL pipeline from the oil sands of western Canada ends at the “New Panamax” ready Port of Houston! And while much of the container freight from Asia to the midwest will still follow the faster rail routes inland, grain is in no such hurry. Given that barge transport is usually a bit cheaper than rail (towboats use one locomotive sized engine to move a 15 barge “tow” that would require two trains and six locomotives to move by rail), the slightly longer river route to Port of New Orleans is in no way a deal killer… Especially if the railroads routes out of the grain belt continue to be congested.

Anybody wanna bet on when the first barge “tow” leaves Sioux City?

Just a regular irregular Public Service Announcement from Gearhead Grrrl:

DSC_3143Ahhhh, this is the way to do it… Engine hoist used to lazily lift and roll the offending pickup bed out of the anticipated snow and to the back of the shop. Bought it at Northern Tool a few months back, $160 plus local sales tax with a 20% off coupon. This is the smaller of the two models they sell, rated capacity is around a quarter ton/meter, more than enough to handle any engine I own. The pickup bed wasn’t even a challenge, picked it off the truck, rolled it aside, put a hobby horse under the back, let it down, then picked up the front so it was vertical and rolled it into place.

So invest in the right tools for the job… This one probably cost me less than the co-pay on an office visit with a back specialist!


DSC_3135The election is over, Governor Dayton and Senator Franken won, I lost (by a landslide) and life returns to “normal”… Or as close as it gets to normal at Gearhead Grrrl’s garage!



DSC_3140The clutch on the ST quit slipping, though thankfully it’s still leaking oil, so all is well… Sorta like a 2 stroke Detroit Diesel. The white blob in the background is currently in the “no start” cycle of the intermittent no start routine it’s been performing for the last year. Replaced the fuel pump, still does it… At this point I should probably just add up what it would cost to replace the whole fuel system and decide if it’s worth it. The red F800S soldiers on, although thanks to electoral distraction I’ve barely ridden it 10k miles this year. Same with the TDIs, and the GS still leaks not a drop of oil, so I may put the ‘hack back on it and drag the ST’s engine to Florida for the winter rebuild season. The Quota’s plug fouling has become too much to ignore though, so time to learn the ins and outs of Guzzidiag software.

Speaking of learning, with politics permanently put in it’s place (talk to me in 2016, and I’m not even running for dinner), I’m tempted to get even with the vocational counselor who talked me outa majoring in engineering back in the 70s. To tempt me further, Minnesota lets anyone over 60 “sit in” on public college and tech school classes for free… They didn’t know what they were letting themselves in for! Thanks to the internet, I can relax in Florida while studying engineering and science and all that other fun STEM stuff, and I’m going to take maximum advantage of Minnesota’s treating us geezers to free higher education before I go senile!

And with more time on my hands, I’ll be doing more gear head blogging- with everything from wheelchairs to post-panamax ships fair game, I’ve got enough material for even daily blogs for decades. And with 3 airheads in my fleet, there’s never a lack of drama… On a good day they’re all running, though not necessarily continent. But politics? I’m trying to “stay on the wagon”. but this morning my blog on how we lost the Minnesota House made the front page at http://www.dailykos.com . And I hear the Airheads Beemer Club is in need of a coup, and aren’t BMWMOA’s elections coming up in 2016?

I swore off politics, but when you can make your campaign appearances on a motorcycle and campaign at rallies, why not?



The campaign finance reports came out today, and I was amazed… Here I am running a hilarious low key campaign for a lowly legislative seat, and my republican opponent went whole hog and spent over $17k on his campaign to defeat me! Meanwhile, seeing this as a long shot race, I ran a thrifty campaign and spent only a bit over $3000 of the $10,000 in my campaign treasury. Sorry, I can’t spend that leftover $7k on motorcycles…

So one political party and candidate has spent $17,000 to keep me out of a job I don’t really want all that bad anyway- I mean, the legislature meets in Minnesota in the winter. The democrats and a state campaign subsidy have coughed up $10,000 to help me run in a district that democrats seldom win. OK politicos, I’ll offer you a deal: Republicans, just give me a new bike every election and I won’t run for anything, not even dinner. Democrats, give me a credit card for gas and I’ll creatively waste only half what was wasted on this long shot race.

Dang, I think that’s probably illegal… Can’t accept a payment to persuade a candidate not to run. But then again, if a new bike with a prepaid gas card were to magically appear in my driveway, I’d probably be ridin’ so much I’d forget all about politics…

Until 2016!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 186 other followers