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What I ride


  1. QUOTE(GarlicIndian @ Oct 23 2006, 08:50 PM) Not a problem, Dan. You had a long ride ahead of you and I would have only slowed you down. We'll have other opportunities to ride togther. It was good meeting you, John. I can give you the curves I have but they are specific to the S&S. The PP curves are posted around here somewhere. I think they're on Homer's site, as well. I'll send you a link if I track them down. Saw Ed at the gas station on Sunday just before I left. I reminded him to make sure he had 40 PSI in that rear tire you smoothed out for him. Hope it holds up for the ride back to KC.
  2. After 6 1/2 weeks on the road, the Squaw Magnet is, once again, back home. Rode to Laughlin, NV from Flagstaff, AZ with Greg D AZman. Good to finally get a chance to ride with you, Greg. Met some old friends in Laughlin and a few new ones, as well. The final leg of these rides is always bittersweet but it feels good to be back home. I'll post some pictures after I get a chance to rest up.
  3. QUOTE(firebird77clone @ Oct 18 2006, 10:10 PM) Nope, I went downtown tonight and was disappointed to find that the cigar store no longer exists. The Yellow Book shows another one in town that I'll try and check out tomorrow. Got some time to kill while I'm waiting for Greg and, possibly, Ed to show up. At least the Grand Canyon Cafe' is still there, right on Route 66 where it's been since 1941. Another place to check out next year, Greg.
  4. The sun was shining and the wind was slight so, even though it was on the cold side, I decided to head for Flagstaff. In contrast to yesterday's unbelievable headwind, there was actually a slight tailwind to start out today's ride. I also got lucky and quickly ducked behind a UPS truck and drafted for about 90 miles. After a lunch stop, I resumed the ride to Flagstaff. I could see the mountains in the distance and the clouds covering them but the clouds were white and I didn't see any rain. Even so, it started getting colder about 30 miles out. I could now see the fresh snow on the mountaintops behind Flagstaff. It got down to the mid-20's in town last night and the high today is in the high 40's. The forcast for both Flagstaff and Laughlin is clear and sunny all the way through the weekend. It looks to be gorgeous in Laughlin with high's getting into the mid-80's for the rest of the week. I can't wait. Greg, I called your cell but got your answering service. Let me know what your plans are. I can wait for you here tomorrow or head to Laughlin if you decide to take a warmer route. Now, where's that cigar store.
  5. QUOTE(Greg D AZman @ Oct 17 2006, 09:30 PM) It's a possibility. Right now, it's gorgeous outside. No wind or rain. If it's like this in the morning, I'll probably take a chance and head for Flagstaff. We'll see how it goes. QUOTE(firebird77clone @ Oct 17 2006, 09:38 PM) I'm down to my last 2. Fortunately, I know a good cigar shop in Flagstaff. If I could only get there.
  6. Well, I made it all the way from the east side of Gallup to the west side. It was like the twilight zone out there today. As soon as I opened the door to exit my motel, the wind blew me over. Granted, I was off balance and it took me by surprise but it actually blew me over. So, I take a look around to survey the situation and I notice a big rig pulled over on I-40. It's carrying about a half dozen of those giant spools that are used to transport long lengths of cable. These spools are empty but the wind has snapped one of the wire cables that is holding them on the truck bed. What a disaster that would have been if those spools were to fall off the truck at freeway speeds. Plan A, I decide to head over to the restaurant and have breakfast to see if things will improve over time. They don't. Plan B, stay off I-40 and head down Route 66 from the east side of town to the west side to see how bad things really are. They are bad. As I pass a pickup truck carrying panes of glass, one of the panes shatters from the wind. Luckily, I'm passing the truck on the upwind side so I don't get sprayed. Then, a passenger car nearly rams right into me in an attempt to avoid a massive tumbleweed that's in the driver's way. All this is happening on a city street at 45 mph. I can imagine what it must be like on I-40. Plan C, stop on the west side of town and have a couple of cups of coffee to see if things change. They do. The wind stays the same but the clouds change from white to black. Plan D, get a room. It starts raining just as I get to the motel. I think Plan D was the right choice. I'll try again to make it to Flagstaff tomorrow.
  7. Got my kicks on Route 66 tonight. Ate at Earl's on the east side of Gallup right on Route 66. Been there since 1947. Keep in mind for next year's ride, Greg.
  8. Made it as far as Gallup today. It was sunny but cool and very windy. I'll be in Flagstaff tomorrow. I'll give you a call Greg, after I get set up.
  9. QUOTE(Vintage62 @ Oct 14 2006, 03:47 PM) Nope, they were number two. Hunt, Werner, Schneider and Swift had all about the same number of trucks pass by me duriing the 5 hours I was stuck there. Far and away, the outfit with the largest number of rigs go by, three to four times that of anybody else, was FedEx.
  10. Just got through having the new tire put on. It looks like the inner tube ruptured right where the stem connects to the tube, at least according to the guy that replaced the tire. What would cause that, I have no idea. I was going up a steep grade and facing a very stiff headwind at the time. I had had to downshift to 3rd gear just to make it up the hill. Maybe the load was just too much. Who knows? Anyway, it started raining lightly while they were working on the bike and a local, who had heard that I was headed up to Chama to take the train ride, told me that it might not be such a good idea to take the bike up there right now. Chama is at 9000 feet elevation. It's already cold enough in Santa Fe as it is. I called the train station and they said there was a 70% chance of snow up there tonight so I decided to cancel my train ride. I'm back at the Super 8 accross the street from the Harley dealership. They're supposed to have more rain tonight and scattered thunderstorms here tomorrow but back to sunny on Monday. I think I may just stay here until then and then head to Flagstaff. Here's a trivia question for you. Which outfit had the most semi's rolling down I-40 yesterday afternoon? It suprised the hell out of me.
  11. A first for the Squaw Magnet. No, not riding through New Mexico. I've done that before. What happened to me today was something that, until now, I have not experienced in 6 round trip cross-country rides. I got a flat tire. It happened on I-40, about halfway between Tucumcari and Albuquerque. In other words, 80 miles from anywhere. I was fighting a really stiff headwind when a semi passed on my left and I heard a really loud explosion. But, the bike kept riding just fine so I thought, maybe, it was a backfire from the semi. 10 miles later, I discovered that it had been the inner tube on my rear tire and the tread had carried me another 10 miles before coming apart. I had just checked the rear tire for tread and air pressure this morning so I know it was OK. Sometimes, these things just happen. So, there I am on the side of I-40 and, of course, my cell phone is not picking up a signal. Tons of traffic, though, on the interstate so I'm sure somebody will stop and give me a hand. An hour and a half later, somebody does. Luckily, his cell phone is working so I call the towing service which puts me on hold for another 45 minutes. Took them that long because nobody they called wanted to go that far out for a motorcycle. They finally found one that said he'd be out in an hour and a half. Two and a half hours later, he shows up. I was starting to sweat it as there was only about a half hour of sun left, no way to contact the tower, and no desire to spend the night on the side of the interstate. Anyway, we get the bike loaded up and head for Albuquerque. The tower starts calling bike shops and finds a Harley dealership with the tire and a custom shop willing to put it on. Then, it occurs to me that it's just as far to Santa Fe, which is where I was headed, as it is to Albuquerque so the tower calls the Harley dealership there and, not only do they have the tire, they say they'll put it on the bike as well. Of course, they don't know I have a sidecar but that's their problem. Anyway, we make a last minute decision to head for Santa Fe and it turns out that it was a good thing we did. After we drop the bike off in the parking lot of the closed Harley dealership, I go to get a motel room. The first two places I try are full up. Turns out that the hot air balloon festival is going on in Albuquerque and there isn't a single motel room available in the entire city. They're actually filling up the motels in Santa Fe, over 50 miles away. Got one of the last rooms at the Super 8 down the street from the Harley dealership. They open at 9 so I'll be there bright and early to say hi. What a crazy day!
  12. I'm at the Amarillo KOA. It's expected to get into the mid-30's tonight so I upgraded from a tentsite to a heated cabin. Never saw the sun today. It was in the mid-40's when I left Oklahoma City and it never got above the low 50's all day. Very windy, too. The only saving grace was that it was, for the most part, a tailwind. I take that back. There was one more saving grace. The cold was mind numbing. In my experience, I-40, between Oklahoma City and Albuquerque is the most boring stretch of road in the US. I was too numb to notice. Such a marked difference between today's ride and yesterday's. Sunny, warm and beautiful scenery. The ride through the Ouachita mountain tops with Vintage62 was thoroughly enjoyable. Thank you again, Vintage62, for showing me some places in the lovely state of Arkansas that I would not have seen if left to my own devices. Wednesday was the longest day of riding on this year's tour for me, clocking in at over 375 miles. I try to keep my daily rides under 300 per day as, over the course of a six week ride, the miles will take their toll. As it was, I made it into Oklahoma City just before sunset. All I had time to do was head over to the Cattleman's Steakhouse for dinner. Sorry, Major Jim, I didn't read your post until I made it to Texas. Hopefully, next time. Tomorrow, it's supposed to get back into the 60's. I hope so. I'm headed for Santa Fe, then Taos and then an all day train ride on the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad is slated for Sunday. If I don't make that ride then I'm SOL as Sunday is the last day of this year's season for the Cumbres and Toltec. Keeping my fingers crossed. After Sunday, it's on to Flagstaff. Greg, I'll give you a call when I get there. That's all for now. Talk to you later.
  13. Just had a weird experience. I'd taken the waters at the Buckstaff, smoked my daily cigar and was taking a tour of the Fordyce bath house when I ran into my dentist's receptionist! She was one of the last people I saw before starting the 2006 Iron Butt Tour as I had needed some dental work done. I had no idea she was planning a vacation to this area. Her husband is my dentist and he was out somewhere hunting. I know it's a small world but damn!
  14. I'm in Hot Springs, AK for another day before heading to Oklahoma City tomorrow. Spent last night in Memphis. Finally got to visit Graceland. Did some Saturday night Honky-Tonking in Nashville the night before. OCC had the most famous saloon rented out for an afterparty. I spent two hours there but they never showed. Didn't matter. I had two ladies from Birmingham, AB in town for a convention to keep me company. I plan to take the waters at the Buckstaff bath house this afternoon. It's the only 1920's bath house still operating in Hot Springs. It clouded over last night and may rain tomorrow. Hopefully, I can make it out of town before it does. That's all for now. Talk to you later.
  15. I'm at the Opryland KOA, just down the street from the Grand Ole Opry which I will be attending tonight. Got lucky and got the last ticket available when I checked into the KOA this afternoon. Tomorrow morning I'll take a Grayline bus tour of the city before deciding how to spend Saturday afternoon and evening. Yesterday was a surprise as I woke up to rain. The forcast had been for PM showers which also occurred. Took a tour of the Maker's Mark distillery and was quite impressed. Damn near everything is done right there on site. They even still hand dip the bottles in their signature red wax. I bought a bottle which they let you dip in wax but I doubt I'll ever drink it. It's a memento of the experience. But, I will be buying a bottle for drinking sometime very soon. It was wet and very windy on Green River Lake where I camped out last night but the rain finally stopped and the wind dried everything up by the time I took off this morning. It's sunny now but considerably cooler than it has been. I will take off for Memphis on Sunday by way of the Natchez Trace. Then two days of soaking at Hot Springs, AK before hitting the road for home. I've been on the road a month now but I still felt somber when I took a right turn in Columbia, KY this morning and, for the first time, started heading west on this ride. I've got about two more weeks to go and I'm sure I'll be ready for my own bed by then but, for the moment, I'm feeling good and wish that I could just keep on riding until I run out of road. That's all for now. Talk to you later.
  16. QUOTE(Vintage62 @ Oct 4 2006, 02:03 PM) At the moment, I'm right on schedule so, you are correct, I would be leaving Hot Springs next Wednesday. I usually leave somewhere around 10AM. My mapping software shows Y City to be about 70 miles from Hot Springs. It looks like a fairly slow road so I'm guessing maybe an hour and a half to get to Y City which would put it around 11:30AM. How's that work for you? I'm assuming there's a gas station at the intersection of 270 and 71 where we can meet. Hope you can make it. I doubt my cell phone will work there but I can PM you if you want it.
  17. I'm at the Duck's Creek RV Park just outside of Paducah, KY. Temperature is in the low 90's which feels just fine as long as I'm riding. Another day of stiff headwinds to contend with but I can't complain as I'm now in a high pressure area and the weather where this high is colliding with the low pressure area I was stuck in for over a week is looking really ugly right now. Guess I got out of there just in time. Two weeks ago, areas of Paducah were under water due to flooding but the unseasonably warm weather they're having now has dried everything out. Had lunch today at one of my favorite places in the entire country, Lambert's Cafe'. Home of the throwed rolls. I had catfish, turnip greens, throwed rolls with sorghum, corbread, fried okra, fried potatoes with onions, black-eyed peas and applesauce. I will not be having dinner tonight as I am meeting Injun Pete tomorrow for lunch at another one of my favorite places in the country, the Moonlite BBQ in Owensboro, KY. The bike is running fine except for the missing under load between 3000 and 4000 rpm in first, second and third gear. It was worse yesterday trying to accelerate into a stiff headwind. I believe that it is a misfire due to an overly lean condition. There's no pinging just a misfire that I can overcome by opening up the throttle to let the main jet kick in. I first noticed this last year after I installed the heavier flywheel but it only happened under heavy load. It's happening more now that the ignition problem has been fixed. I think the bike is accelerating more quickly than it used to and, thus, need more gas. I really don't want to install a bigger intermediate jet as the bike is running great at cruise rpm. Maybe I'll try fattening up the accelerator pump to see what effect that has. The only other problem the bike is having is that the makeshift job I did on the speedo drive gear tab that fits in the front rotor finally gave up the ghost. I don't miss the speedometer as it's never worked well anyway but I do miss the odometer telling me when to stop for gas. I let it run down to reserve in Minnesota the other day and discovered that I has less than 5 miles on reserve before I was completely out of gas. Luckily, I was able to coast downhill on fumes into a gas station. After the Moonlite tomorrow, I'll continue on to Frankfort, KY which will mark the eastmost point on this year's ride. Thursday will be a ride down the Bourbon Trail with stops at all the major distilleries. After I sober up, I'll then head to Nashville for the weekend. Herm from Fargo Custom Choppers told me to give him a call when I get to Nashville as he's got good friends that are playing in a blues bar down there. That's all for now. Talk to you later.
  18. QUOTE(rulrich1 @ Oct 1 2006, 09:22 PM) Yes, I stayed at Ledges State Park. One of the guilty little pleasures I get on a ride like this is making a reservation for a popular place like Ledges a month or so in advance and then come cruising in late enough to see the campground full sign posted so I can ride into the best spot in the campground while everybody's watching. Such was the case at Ledges on Saturday. Pretty little park. Very secluded walk-in tent sites. Sorry I missed you.
  19. I'm typing this from my campsite at the Rock Island KOA where I have both an electrical hookup and WiFi in my tent. It's fun to see how many more places every year are going wireless. In fact, I saw something yesterday that I haven't seen before. A roadside rest area with WiFi. Good for you Iowa. Iowa is, in fact, where I spent last night. No internet access in the little town of Boone, IA or the state park south of there so I had to wait until I got here to post. Rode out to Boone from Fountain City, WI so I could take a ride on the Boone and Scenic Valley Railroad. Place was packed. I tried a month ago to get a reservation on their dinner train and couldn't so I had to settle for there 4PM ride. These guys wanted a steam engine so bad that, about 15 years ago, they bought one from the last remaining manufacturer of steam engines on earth somewhere in China. Cute little engine but the Chinese writing on the coal car looks weird. Anyway, I had more rain to contend with in Minnesota but as soon as I crossed the border into Iowa, the skies cleared. It was sunny and 80 there yesterday so I got to camp out for the first time in over two weeks. Today was sunny and 87 all the way across central Iowa. Damn, it felt good. It's supposed to get up to 88 here tomorrow but the forcast calls for scatttered thunderstorms. My destination for tomorrow is Elsberry, MO where it's supposed to be sunny and 91. Tuesday's destination is Paducah, KY so Wednesday I'll be stopping at the Moonlite BBQ for lunch. Heads up to all you guys that said you wanted to meet up there. The bike's running well and, knock on wood, I'm right on schedule. Injun Pete, I got your PM and will give you a call when I get to Paducah. Looking forward to meeting up with you. That's it for now. Talk to you later.
  20. Left Minneapolis this morning definitely feeling the effects of the previous evening's excesses. Still, there's nothing better than a ride in the brisk, fresh air to clear the cobwebs. Even so, I was feeling fortunate that the ride I had scheduled was only about 100 miles. Took a pretty fair chunk of time, as it was, as I had put together a route on lots of rural back roads with 40 mph speed limits. Bike started and, with the exception of that annoying stumble at 3200 rpm in first gear, ran fine once again. Also, once again, I got app. 15% better gas mileage than I had been getting before the ignition problems in Fargo. In contrast to what I've been experiencing the last couple of weeks, the temperature today reached a balmy 61 degrees in Red Wing, MN where I stopped for lunch. I didn't notice when I parked the bike that I had done so in front of a photography studio. Good thing I wasn't in any hurry today as, when I returned from lunch, the photographer was waiting for me with his camera. Took awhile to get the shots he wanted as the angle he was looking for positioned him in the middle of US-61 which was pretty busy with lunch time traffic. Another 40 or so miles from Red Wing took me to Alma, WI on the other side of the mighty Mississippi. Really quaint and quiet little town with loads of charm. Unfortunately, the reason I was stopping in Alma, to visit the bar at the Burlington Inn, would not be possible as I was informed that it had shut down about a year ago. I was also unable to find a motel with internet access in Alma but I was told that the motel in Fountain City, about 15 miles south, had WiFi. It didn't. The proprietress did not know of any place in town that did. But, the clouds were getting darker so I took a room. I had resigned myself to not being able to post tonight but, as luck would have it, the Irish pub/restaurant where I stopped for dinner had internet access. It's not raining now but it did earlier and the forcast is for more tonight and tomorrow morning. I head for Boone, IA tomorrow where there is steam driven train on which one can take passenger rides. Boone also has an electric trolley that runs on weekends so I'm looking forward to spending a little time there. Especially if the temperature gets up to 80 as predicted. Talk to you later.
  21. QUOTE(harleynot @ Sep 29 2006, 03:12 PM) 1. I felt better at 2:30 AM than I did today at 2:30 PM. 2. Tara blew me off for a homeless guy (ask zit). 3. I seriously thought about paying for another day at the motel just so I could get a few more hours sleep. 4. Got a few pictures myself but they'll probably have to wait until I get back home to post them. How's Ms. Harleynot feeling? Thanks again for everything you guys did for me while I was in your stomping grounds. Hope I can return the favor someday.
  22. Just got back from partying with the Northwinds chapter of the IIRA. Damn, I had a great time. But those double Jaeger bombs are truly nasty. Thanks to all you guys for showing me the twin cities. I'm proud to consider myself an honorary member of your chapter. That's it for Minnesota this time around. I head for Alma, WI tomorow. The weather forcast says that I should have one more day of rain but that it should be sunny and back to 80 degrees when I get to Iowa on Saturday. I can't wait. Talk to you later.
  23. The deutsch plug is what we replaced the TH plug with in Fargo. That's what I'm saying. A hundred dollar plus component should have the best possible plug that the market has to offer.
  24. QUOTE(maninbox @ Sep 28 2006, 03:10 PM) The TH module on a PP uses a different plug than on an S&S Indian. I have, so far, never had a Thunderheart component fail me but this is the second year in a row that I've had to be towed due to a failure in the connectors that Thunderheart used. This year it was the ignition module plug. Last year, an EHC plug. Seems wrong that a hundred dollar component should fail because of a one cent pin.
  25. Finally made it to not so sunny Minneapolis this afternoon. Sunday was supposed to be my get away day from Fargo but that plan got shot to hell quickly. As mentioned in another thread, the intermittant ignition cutout problem that I'd been experiencing most of the way across the country on this ride, finally decided to become a permanent problem. The end result was that the bike died as soon as I got on the interstate, about a half mile from my motel. This was actually fortuitous for a number of reasons. First, I had cell service which, quite often, I do not on my rides. Second, I was very close to a towing company. Third, I was close to a town with motorcycle shops. But most importantly, the problem occured while I was still ahead of schedule for this ride. Cancelling my canoe trip in the Boundary Waters freed up a big block of time. If the bike had to die, it was best that it die now while I still had time to fix the problem without falling behind schedule. Anyway, there I was on the interstate. The bike would not come close to starting and the interstate did not seem like the best place to start diagnosing the problem so I called for a tow. This was the second time I've used the IIRA towing service and things went off almost without a hitch. I say almost because, even after specifying that I was riding with a sidecar, the tower showed up, after an hour's wait, in a pickup truck towing a dinky little trailer. I will accept the lion's share of the blame for that as I did not make a big issue out of insisting that they send a flatbed. I'm used to using MTS, a motorcycle only towing service, that is well aware of my situation and it didn't occur to me that I would have to make a big issue of my sidecar with the IIRA towing service. As it was, I was happy just to see somebody show up, even though it took another hour for the tower to go back and get his flatbed. During this two hour wait, I counted approximately eight Harley riders go by without so much as a look in my direction. Who did stop? An elderly couple in a van that own a Goldwing. Gotta love it. When the tower showed up with the flatbed, I told him to take me to the motel closest to the Fargo Harley dealership. Being Sunday, the dealership was closed so I would have to work on the bike myself and wanted to be close to a source of parts should I need any. I was dropped off at a motel about two blocks from Fargo Harley where I proceeded to investigate the cause of my bike's problem. A cursory exmaination revealed nothing of interest. On general principle, I put all new connectors on the wires to the coil. I tried disconnecting the tach wire at the coil lest it be grounding out due to a short. I tried running a jumper wire from the battery directly to the coil, both with the normal power wire connected and with it disconnected. Nothing I tried made the slightest difference. So, I decided to take off the nosecone and remove the cam trigger. A visual inspection revealed a couple of sizeable cracks in the potting material. That can't be good. I had a spare cam trigger in the sidecar but it's one of the bad ones with the soft potting material. It works but I use it only for testing purposes. Even if those cracks were not the source of my problem, I decided that I would replace the cam trigger anyway. To do that, however, I would have to wait until Monday for the Harley dealership to open. So, bright and early the next morning, I walked over to Fargo Harley and asked for a cam trigger for a 95 softail. I was informed that they did not have one in stock but that they had one for an older model bagger. It looked like it should work so I decided to give it a shot. There was only one problem. The cam trigger came without a plug for the three wires, which is fine, but the pins on those wires were not compatible with the Thunderheart plug. The parts guy did a search and came up with what looked like the right pins and a mechanic in the service department removed the old pins and crimped the new ones on the wires. I put the wires in the plug but was dismayed to find that the new pins could be pulled out of the plug with a moderate application of force. Still, this was what I was given to work with so I went back to the bike and installed the new cam trigger making sure that the new pins did not pop out of the plug. I was now ready to test the new cam trigger except for one thing. I'd run down the battery with all my testing the previous day and the starter wouldn't spin. I went back to Harley dealership and asked them if they'd give me a jump if I pushed my bike onto their lot and was told that they would. Pushing the Squaw Magnet, even just two blocks, is not the easiest thing in the world but I eventually managed to get the bike onto their lot without passing out. The owner of the dealership hooked up a charger and told me to wait for a couple of hours to let it charge which was fine by me as the service deparment had a couch and I was exhausted from pushing the bike. Two hours and one nice nap later, I tried starting the bike. At first, it didn't want to but, eventually, it started. I let it idle for a few minutes and then tried goosing the throttle. The bike died. It easily started up again and, this time, I let it idle for maybe 15 minutes which it did without incident. This time, when I goosed the throttle, the bike didn't die so I decided to take it for a test ride. Right out of the gate, the bike stumbled. It recovered but, every time I pushed it a little, it would balk. The problem would require more diagnosing. At this point, I decided that I didn't want to start tearing the bike any further apart than I already had in the parking lot of my motel lest it should rain. I also knew that I had gotten as much out of the Harley dealership as I was going to get so I asked them to recommend a custom shop. I was told that Fargo Custom Choppers was about 4 miles down the road so that's where I headed. I got about 2 miles before the bike started bucking and spitting. I pushed the bike onto the sidewalk where I tried to coax it into taking me the final 2 miles but to no avail. The bike didn't die but it wouldn't take any throttle above idle. Time for another stroke of luck. While I'm sitting there getting nowhere fast, a diminutive woman walks up to me and asks me if I'd like a ride to the custom shop! Turns out it's the owner's wife who just happened to be passing by. Of course, I take her up on her offer and get in the car. I told her that that was where I was headed when the bike died and that I was just about to break out the cell phone and call them. She informs that that wouldn't have done any good as the shop is closed on Mondays and, even though there is somebody there, they do not answer the phone. I was already feeling lucky but damn. She dropped me off at the custom shop where I was introduced to her husband. He said we could put the bike in his trailer and bring it back to the shop but I was a little leary that his trailer would be wide enough. Still, it was worth a shot so we took the trailer down to the bike and started loading it up. Incredibly, it fit with about a half inch to spare but not before I jacked up the sidecar fender with my leanout adjuster. We took the bike back to the shop and the owner started working on it. At this point, the problem was very easy to reproduce so we were able to get immediate feedback from the things we tried. I told them that the cam trigger was new so the first thing they tried was a new coil. No luck. Then they inspected the work I'd done on the cam trigger and could not find a problem there either. Next, they wanted to try a new ignition module but did not have a new Thunderheart in stock. All they had were Crane's and I wasn't yet ready to give up on the Thunderheart so I decided to post a thread on this forum asking if anybody had a spare TH module that they could overnight to me. Believe it or not, I got 5 offers. God, I love this forum. Thanks to all of you that responded to my plea. The owner was now ready to go home for the night and offered me a ride to my motel which I accepted. On the way, I remembered that, because I was having ignition problems while getting ready for this ride, I had brought a spare TH module with me. It was in my parts box which, fortuitously, was at the motel. When we got there, I gave him the spare module and told him to install it in the morning. I took a cab down to the custom shop on Tuesday morning and, when I arrived, the owner, Herm, was already in the process of doing a temporary installation. He finished it in short order and we fired up the bike to test the new module. Again, no luck. The red light on the module would just not stay on solid. At this point, having replaced every ignition component on the bike, Herm was out of things to suggest other than that maybe this new module was also bad and that we should install the Crane. This felt like grasping at straws to me. Turns out that this would have actually solved my problem but, I get ahead of myself. I had a couple of things I wanted to try before I was out of ideas so I asked herm to jump the kill switch in case it was bad which he did and it wasn't. I was now down to investigating the plugs that connect to the EHC for recessed pins so Herm took off one of the gas tanks and we removed the EHC. A visual inspection yielded nothing obvious. Jiggling the plugs with the bike running also did nothing to pinpoint one of the plugs as containing a problem pin. Maybe the EHC itself is bad. Wish I had another one of those to test with. Well, guess what? In the corner of the shop was a 2001 Centennial Chief which we proceeded to cannibalize. Suprisingly, with the new EHC in place, the bike wouldn't even turn the starter. This EHC unlike my EHC, was indicating a short in the kill switch circuit. Very curious. Why would one EHC show a short when another does not? All I can think is that the 2001 EHC is a later version and contains different logic. Maybe Kevind can shed some light on this. I tried calling Thunderheart to see what they had to say but was told that both their tech support guys were away at a training class. We tried jumping the kill switch pins on the EHC to bypass the short, which worked, but the original problem still persisted so we went back to using my EHC. At this point, Herm, his assistant and myself were out of ideas so they went back to work on other bikes leaving me to ponder my plight. While I was staring at the bike, I got a phone call which I thought was TH tech support returning my call. Turns out it was Scottdog. We ran over what I'd done and he made a couple of suggestions. Based on these suggestions, it occured to me that, even though I had installed a new cam trigger and wire pins and a new ignition module, that the ignition module had been spliced into place and was still using the original plug. This plug was the only thing in the ignition circuit that had not been replaced at some point so it was definitely in order to take a look at it. Before I forget, thanks for calling Scottdog. Your suggestions helped lead me to the solution. Anyway, after cutting through all the zip ties holding the TH module plug to the frame, I was able to get enough slack in the wire to visually inspect the plug. Unfortunately, I could see nothing wrong with it so I connected it back to the cam trigger plug. This time, when I tried to start the bike, it wouldn't start. Putting the two plugs back together had backed out a couple of those loose pins in the cam trigger plug. Rather than pushing them back in, we decided to replace the cam trigger and ignition module plugs entirely. It was during this process that the cause of my bike's problem was finally discovered. In removing the pins from the TH module plug, we found that one of the pins, specifically the one on the power wire, was split. This split could not be seen by a visual inspection of the pin while in the plug as the split was widest at the rear of the pin and tapered down to the front of the pin where it disappeared. When the plug, which is located close to the rear cylinder, heated up, the split would expand until contact with the corresponding cam trigger pin was no longer adequate. This is what had caused my intermittant ignition cutout until the split got bad enough that the problem was no longer intermittant. This is also why installing the Crane ignition would have solved my problem as it would have eliminated the module plug entirely as the Crane fits completely within the nosecone. With the new plug in place, the bike was started and I was very relieved to see a solid red light on the TH module. The bike idled cleanly and responded well to goosing the throttle. Needless to say, I was greatly relieved. I offered to take Herm to dinner and he accepted. It would give me a chance to road test the bike. He followed in his truck and we took off. I was a little concerned as, under load, the bike stumbled in first gear between 3000 and 4000 rpm but it was different from the cutout, backfire problem. It felt more like the plug not firing. I figured it was due to partially fouled plugs from all the testing that we'd been doing so I wasn't too concerned. Other than that, the bike felt fine. After dinner with Herm, we said our goodbyes and I went back to the motel. A great big thank you to Herm and the guys at Fargo Custom Choppers for all the help they gave me. I really appreciate it. Other than the occasional first gear miss, the bike ran well all the way to Minneapolis today. In fact, for whatever reason, I got about 15% better gas mileage than I've been getting on this trip. Go figure. I plan to spend one more day in Minneapolis which will finally put me back on track with my schedule and then head down the Mississippi to Alma, Wisconsin on Friday. Sure feels good to have the Squaw Magnet back in action. Talk to you later.
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