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Thread: Marusho Steib ?

  1. #1
    bostonmish
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    Marusho Steib ?

    Quote Originally Posted by s09rwmb View Post
    So you went to California, purchased a sidecar outfit, jumped on it and took off for home without ever having ridden a hack or any - old - airhead BMW for that matter and on an outfit that was essentially unknown to you with questionable maintenance and probably old tires too. All the way across the US from California to Massachusetts in two weeks out there by yourself on your new sidecar. Dude ~ You Rock ~!
    Thank you. I try

    Your summary is spot on. I was warned NOT to try it, but I had only one chance to put the purchase and trip together and so I did it.

    All the warnings rang true when three minutes into my very first ride, I turned right and the rig went left. But I found a parking lot, practiced basic turns and within the next hour was climbing the impossibly steep and twisty hills around San Jose, CA - Rt 130. For me it was either the impossible hills or certain death on the highway. I took the hills.

    ...I made it home.

    Quote Originally Posted by s09rwmb View Post
    Your machine was put together with what I perceive to be a good deal of thought and skill. “Done Right”. It very likely evolved over several years as folks shared ideas. This style conversion was being done in 74 75 and 76. What sidecar do you have?
    At the risk of taking this thread seriously off original tracks... I just received an answer to some questions I had for the original builder. ...the bike has an R75 short block, with R90/6 barrels, new pistons, balanced rods, rebuilt valvetrain, etc. The transmission is from an unknown bike (5-sp with kickstart), but rebuilt by Ozzie's BMW.

    It would take some time to make the complete list of all the mods. It came across as one very serious conversion - which is one of the reasons I bought it sight unseen. It also appeared to have been under good care in the hands of the person who bought the bike from the builder. That assumption was largely a miss. The bike was not abused, but marginally maintained. ...my periodic posts will address all the things I am discovering.

    When I left CA, the rear tire only had 3mm of tread. By Nebraska it was a gonner. Fortunately the Anonymous book works and I got the bike serviced (tire change). The shop owner graciously allowed me to change all the fluids. This is where I discovered that the rebuilt trans was producing more chips and sludge than I like to see ...and that the trans oil had not been changed often enough.

    I’ll mention the leaking DS boot only in passing. The next serious repair came in Ohio, where the front brake pads became too thin for my comfort. Again the Annon book gave me a shop lead and the pads were replaced, along with a very dirty brake fluid.

    The third breakdown - only 160 miles from home was unfixable - one front wheel bearing disintegrated (Friday, 4:30 PM). I told the towtruck driver to let me off a few blocks from home and rode in under my own power.

    I keep thinking I will do a full writeup. ...and one day I will.

    Sidecar: Very interesting story, but as of yet just that. It was originally attached to a Marusho, on Guam, where a serviceman who saw it parked under a palm convinced the local chief (who's "limo ride" it had been) to sell it, shipped it to the States, where it eventually ended up in the props department of Paramount Studios (apparently used in some Pearl Harbor - themed movie), and eventually sold to a BMW collector. That's how it entered the /2 conversion stream.

    The hack itself is a RHD model (now sitting on a largely custom built frame …of extremely high quality); the passenger entry cutout is on the left side of the tub. More interestingly, though as yet unconfirmed: the sidecar is said to be a Steib TR500 copy, manufactured by Marusho. The only evidence to that is the footstep which has a large “M” embossed, where an “S” would be on a Steib (or so I am told). Also, the shape of the fender is a bit different (it is lacking the wonderful Art Deco backward sweep of the Steib).

    Furthermore, and stranger yet (if measurably true), the size of the tub is said to be smaller than the original …scaled down to fit a smaller adult. This is theoreticaly conceivable, considering it would have been originally made for the Asian market in the 1950s or 60s. I haven’t measured the hack, nor do I have a confirmed Steib TR500 to compare this to, but, when my 4 year old son gets in, he pretty much fills the seat (and he is a lean kid).

    And so, now you know one of the main reasons I went hack: I wanted to have a way to take my small children on rides with me. My son loves it; his sister will be able to join him in a few more years.

    I was promised more info on whatever history exists on this Marusho/Steib chair. I’ll post it as I receive it.

    --
    Michael Stoic
    1960 /2 +R90/6 Conversion Rig
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  2. #2
    bostonmish
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    Near Lake Tahoe
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  3. #3
    John D'oh
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    Michael‘«™I look forward to reading about your long sidecar ride home one of these days soon. Imagine all the fun we‘«÷d miss if we listened to the folks who told us NOT to try something like that. You were lucky in so many ways but you appear to be confident and self reliant which are essential to any adventure and you had a basically sound machine. Does your wife know what you did~? I‘«÷d guess you can tell her that your sidecar operational learning curve was the 49th parallel~!

    In the grand scheme of things, you had a great ride‘«™Even if you ran into a couple of problems, none were show stoppers. A day or so of rain is not a problem. Be glad it didn‘«÷t rain all the way home. I have helped a friend repair a wheel bearing failure like yours ‘«Ű on the road. A transmission failure simply means that you have to find another one somewhere quick. UPS for a fee will drive to a point at the edge of the known universe and toss the package over to you. A leaking drive shaft boot can be resolved by cleaning the oil off with gas and getting a couple good wraps of 100MPH tape on it (before it splits into two pieces). And, you can always lash a spare tire to a spot on the sidecar. Say, did you run out of gas on your trip at any point?

    Once you are familiar with your outfit and I mean familiar with the modifications that the original builder made as well as the Old and New style components and how they fit together, you‘«÷ll be ready to head back to California for the Griffith Park Sidecar Rally‘«™

    Here is a photo of my (92 Chevy pickup-truck red) 1968 R90/7 with 72 Velorex chair shortly after I did a ground up restoration on it in 98. Also, it appears elsewhere in ‘«ˇsidecars‘«÷ with a 1962 Avon fairing. I want to hear more about your sidecar and the bike too. The chair looks well made but I was reluctant to call it a Steib even though the frame looks like Steib. It is narrow like the LS250.
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  4. #4
    John D'oh
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    My hack...

    Another shot near my garage :-)
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  5. #5
    bostonmish
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    I love the red color on your rig! Very brave of you to go with a non-traditional paint scheme, especially considering the conservative world of vintage BMWs. The late gastank gives the rig a very modern look, but I am very taken with that fairing in the second photo. Very nice!

    That Velorex chair was originally on a Java, some of which are spectacularly interesting bikes in their own right. I see a Velorex car paired with a BMW here and there. How is it sprung? How does it handle?

    Now that you've revealed your /2 conversion predilection, you'll need to tell me about all of the conversion components (and how the edges meet ‘«™

    I have to agree with you 100% in that if we were to listen to all the people who say "that can't /shouldn't be done" we'd miss out on a lot. In my case, I'd miss out on all of my business decisions, I wouldn't have married the woman I married, I wouldn't have become a rider, and I wouldn't have bought the /2 rig. Fortunately I went my own way.

    --
    Michael Stoic

  6. #6
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    I must say Michael... your last name fits you to a "T". Different Drummer, Damn the Torpedoes, the Courage of Ones Convictions, and all that!

    Two very clean looking rigs guys!

    Right Fkg On!
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden
    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner
    1963 Dnepr

  7. #7
    John D'oh
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    It is really red isn't it. It was black and white when I first built it.

    I wanted to paint it 57 Chevy red which is like almost ‘«£Safety Orange‘«ō. It was a visibility color choice actually. Most of my solo BMW‘«÷s are some version of silver.

    I began my conversion back in 1974 with a 68 R50/2 I had owned and ridden for several years. It was a motorcycle that in original stock configuration had barely enough power to get out of its own way. I found an R69S US which was complete but had no side car lugs - and a 74 R60/6 "lightly wrecked". With three bikes sitting in front of me one day I made a decision to go with the late style /6 engine. I did so because I knew that eventually parts for the pre- 70's 'old style' bikes were only going to get more expensive and scarce. That left me with a second decision...to make my conversion look like an original /2 or, to do something else.

    Much of the impetus for the use of late /6 and /7 components came from a fellow I had known for years who was a long time BMW mechanic and was at the time the service manager and BMW master mechanic for a major dealership in the southwest‘«™Jim Fauci. He had built and ridden BMW outfits for years and in another life was a Vincent owner and mechanic as well. Jim is the kind of person you meet who has forgotten more than you‘«÷ll ever know about in this case, BMW‘«÷s.

    Originally my idea was to build a sidecar only bike. To convert a /2 SC frame to use it with a 69 on airhead engine, the frame must be spread uniformly from the front down tube to the first rear vertical brace (which holds the swing arm pivot bolts in a welded in casting). This facilitates the installation of an engine which has a wider block but a half inch or less as I recall‘«™but enough to require jacking the frame open just a bit. Take a look at the front oil filter housing cover on your bike. On mine, there is so little clearance at that cover I had to cut a notch in the pointed side to just slide it into place between the block and frame‘«™but it works.

    My sidecar came from Czechoslovakia in 1973 brought to Albuquerque by a family of missionaries returning from 26 years in that part of the world. The government there would not let them take local cash out of the country so they spent all of it there and bought and brought with them among other things the sidecar I have been using since 1974. Then, it was attached to a Jawa motorcycle (see photo) which was sitting detached beside it at a garage sale in the South valley one Saturday. Brand new.

    The photo is courtesy of Wolfram in Germany who keeps me supplied with interesting pictures like this. His Gespann is built around an xt500 Yamaha.
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  8. #8
    bostonmish
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    Your sidecar has quite a bit of history with it! Those missionaries would have arrived in the country right after the War and stayed beyond the Spring of ‘«÷68! They must have seen a lot and you got a brand new Velorex car out of the package. Well done all around!

    On the /2 frame, I did note the tight oil cover clearance. I‘«÷ve only done a simple oil change so far and have yet to see how the cover comes out. It looks like a ball end allen wrench will be necessary for one of the bolts.

    I didn‘«÷t know about the frame spread required. How is it achieved? More importantly, how is the accuracy maintained so that each side spreads an equal distance from center?

    All this just makes me appreciate the ‘«£conversion‘«ō machines all the more. They are very well thought through devices ‘«™especially if done right!

  9. #9
    John D'oh
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    I am not sure when the Velorex sidecars were first imported into the US but there are seemingly good numbers of this design around. I have added bracing to the sidecar frame and made a new suspension as the original sidecar shock was cleverly made to be disassembled for repair and to be re-filled with oil...daily. It is a light weight car body made of fiberglass and the entire outfit - bike and chair together weighs just over 645 lbs w/gas.

    As for spreading the frame, remember I said that the sidecar bike I have made is built just for sidecar duty. Although it could be ridden solo the steering is modified as is the frame and suspension and low final drive (3:36) which makes it a good sidecar puller (or plow) but not much of a solo machine any more. Way to complicated to ever want to put back to solo really. Spreading the frame, moving the forward swing arm to front position and having an offset in rear swing arm geometry of the original solo bike all means consigning these bikes to the three wheeled world. Any further adjustments affecting the rig handling are done at the time of attaching the chair with the attaching fixtures which are positioned to provide lean out/in, tow in/out, chair wheel position and so on.

    By the way‘«™don‘«÷t take your sidecar off without making a detailed study of its present mounting arrangement. Especially if you find you like the way your outfit handles.

    I would expect that your bike was built in much the same way as mine - as an integrated mechanical unit. The critical alignment is no longer getting the front and rear wheels to track true but rather in the drive line which must be re-designed so that the drive shaft runs true in the swing arm. Getting it to do that means spreading the frame to accommodate a larger engine block while also getting the engine as far to the right as possible. To have a correct mental picture, think of the line through the center of the transmission output shaft matching the line through the center of the pinion gear shaft on the final drive...without binding against the inside of the swing arm.

    So then, the end effect of all that is when you put a /6 or /7 engine in the ‘«ˇbent‘«÷ /2 frame, and move it all the way to the right to align the drive components, the oil filter housing cover access gets very tight. When you prepare to change the oil filter for the first time and get ready to remove that filter cover take the two easy bolts out and just loosen the bolt that is tight to the frame. You may discover that the hole in the filter cover has been ‘«£opened‘«ō to the cover edge and it will rotate off the hard to reach bolt. If it does not, then there is the first thing you can do yourself. Need a picture?

    Paul
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  10. #10
    bostonmish
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    Quote Originally Posted by s09rwmb View Post
    ...these bikes to the three wheeled world. Any further adjustments affecting the rig handling are done at the time of attaching the chair with the attaching fixtures which are positioned to provide lean out/in, tow in/out, chair wheel position and so on.

    By the way‘«™don‘«÷t take your sidecar off without making a detailed study of its present mounting arrangement. Especially if you find you like the way your outfit handles.
    I plan to follow your advice on that. Especially considering the frame is a custom.

    Quote Originally Posted by s09rwmb View Post
    ...get ready to remove that filter cover take the two easy bolts out and just loosen the bolt that is tight to the frame. You may discover that the hole in the filter cover has been ‘«£opened‘«ō to the cover edge and it will rotate off the hard to reach bolt. If it does not, then there is the first thing you can do yourself. Need a picture?

    Paul
    I would love to see the photo for reference. Many thanks, Paul, for sharing the knowledge!!

    --
    Michael Stoic

  11. #11
    John D'oh
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    Here is a close up of my oil filter housing cover and the upper forward cover bolt tight against frame. In MY particular application the access to this bolt is limited. Note the cut out in the cover itself behind the washer and bolt head. This allows the cover to be set in place against the block and rotated into position behind the bolt head that is hard to get to. The other two cover bolts are out in the open by comparison. I dont need to remove "the bolt" to take the cover off which is why I have meant to replace the regular bolts with socket head style and have not. Better is the enemy of good enough.
    Last edited by Na Cl K9; 08-08-2012 at 04:06 PM.

  12. #12
    bostonmish
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    Thank you. ...Now I understand!!

    You must have thrown yourself right under the bike to get that photo

  13. #13
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    You must have thrown yourself right under the bike to get that photo
    And macro too. What camera/lens combination are you using?
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden
    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner
    1963 Dnepr

  14. #14
    John D'oh
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lmo1131 View Post
    And macro too. What camera/lens combination are you using?
    I did have to get down and roll around a bit to get that picture but I used a Cannon G5 with the moveable viewer so it was not necessary to stand on my head~! Great cameras the G series.. 200m lens 7.2-28.9mm 1:2.0-3.0 with 16X optical / digital zoom. It is an older camera and the newer G series has higher resolution but no more actual functionality. My favorite feature is the articulated viewing screen which was left off the next 6 iterations of this camera but is available again in the G13.

  15. #15
    Registered User lmo1131's Avatar
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    Momentary thread jack...

    I'll be switched ... we just got a Cannon SX20is ... nice camera, also has the articulated viewing screen, but it's "macro-abilities" don't seem to be up to your G5's.

    Maybe it's a learning curve thing.

    End momentary thread jack...
    "It is what you discover, after you know it all, that counts." _ John Wooden
    Lew Morris
    1973 R75/5 - original owner
    1963 Dnepr

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