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Thread: Refreshing Glenlivet's ride

  1. #1
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Refreshing Glenlivet's ride

    Between the late great Barley, the recently retired Tulliver, and Glenlivet's rookie year the sidecar has nearly 90,000 miles on it. The windshield was badly pitted and had a couple of small cracks, the hardware was starting to fail, the paint bore the scars of many rock hits (and the impact of a large turkey and a bansai raccoon). Besides, there were a few things about the rig I wanted to change. The OEM halogen headlight had failed repeatedly and the fiberglassed recess was beginning to crack, the fender-mounted taillight was not visible from certain angles as it sat so far forward of the trunk, and the body lift which had raised the tub had done nothing to increase my ground clearance so I wanted to lower it back down to improve cornering and make it easier for my dog to mount and dismount as he aged.

    TullyHot.jpg
    Photo of Tulliver in the summer of 2017 somewhere in Utah on our way to the Salt Lake City rally.

    Stay tuned as I add shots of the ongoing rebuild.

    Pete and Glenlivet
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  2. #2
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    First step was to document everything very carefully. I have a history of being very good at taking things apart, but suck pond water when it comes to the reassembly thing. I'm lucky enough to have a friend who retired after thirty years of owning an auto body shop. He sold the property, but kept all the tools of the trade in storage for the day when he could build his dream hobby shop. That happened last year, and I dug his foundation with my mini-excavator partly to help a friend..and partly to gain experience if I someday had to do the same on my land. With his shop up and running, he offered to let me use it and his experience to rebuild the hack. It was a deal I couldn't turn down!

    Start1.jpg

    Removing the large parts and hardware (trunk, lid, windshield, lights, etc) wasn't so bad. It still looked like my rig at that point and my confidence level was high.

    Start2.jpg

    Even separating the tub from the subframe was no big deal. Backing out at that point would have been a simple task. But there was a foot and a half of snow outside with morning temps in the minus 6F range. Not exactly good riding weather. Not even good weather for playing fetch with the dogs. What else was there to do but press on..?

    Start3.jpg

    At this point I had no intention of doing anything to the subframe other than touching up a few spots of surface rust and better protecting the wiring. That would soon change.

    Start4.jpg

    My focus was on the tub. Stripping the paint, making a few functional changes, repainting, and reassembly.

    Start5.jpg

    As layers of paint came off (Hannigan did an excellent job on the paint!) I noticed a few niggling details. The halves of the sidecar were slightly misaligned, and filler had been used in the gap. Much of that filler had fallen off leaving a gap that had been hidden behind a trim piece. I wanted to fiberglass over that gap and sand it so smooth that the trim piece wouldn't be needed. Miyagi-San, my mentor, told me that was easy, that he would teach me the art of fiberglass repair.

    Start6.jpg

    The outer layers of paint came right off, but the stripper had little effect on the base coat. Not sure what Hannigan used, but it was bombproof! Miyagi-San, ever helpful, said, "Let me show you Sand The Floor."
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  3. #3
    Registered User Rinty's Avatar
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    Thanks for writing this up, Pete.

    Your friend has some interesting stuff in his shop.
    Rinty

  4. #4
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    Great thread, love watching your project.

  5. #5
    Registered User powwow's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking the time to document and share your experience. Much appreciated...and enjoyed!
    Larry Gregerson; Bend, OR
    MOA #93031

  6. #6
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    With the paint off and the trim piece removed, I was able to see how the two halves of the tub really didn't mate up very well. Like popcorn ceilings, trim can hide a multitude of sins. The side facing the bike was actually pretty well aligned with just a small gap between the top and bottom. The side facing away from the bike, the side most people see, had the top overlapping the bottom by an eighth of an inch in places, and in others a large gap that had chunks of filler falling out. Miyagi-San said the way to fix this was to grind down the overlap...and create a shallow channel along the seam that would later be filled and reinforced with fiberglass matting. So I started grinding away.

    Share8.jpg

    And since I had the tools at hand - and expert backup in case I got in over my head - I used a cutoff wheel to remove the recess for the troublesome headlight.

    Share9.jpg

    Share10.jpg

    Share11.jpg
    This is a good view of the sizeable gap between the halves of the tub. Hannigan chose to cover it with a trim piece and that worked well for years. It also kept labor costs in line and as I get into this project I can see how doing it my way could have added a couple thousand in labor to the cost of the sidecar.

    Share12.jpg
    View of the same seam from the inside shows that Hannigan glassed it well. There were no structural issues, I simply didn't like the aesthetics of having the trim where I felt a flawless painted surface would look better.

    Share13.jpg
    So I happily ground the channel, then backfilled it with glass matt. It was a sticky mess at first and my biggest challenge was not fiberglassing myself to the sidecar. But as time went on I figured out a few tricks like using the back of my fingers to tap the matting into the resin so my fingertips wouldn't become tacky. I learned how to shift matting into position, how to work air bubbles out from under it, and eventually how to avoid bubbles in the first place. By the time I finished the entire seam I was pretty good at it!

    Share14.jpg

    Here's what the reinforced seam looks like now. Of course some filler and tons of sanding are in my future, but already I can tell it's going to be uniquely mine...and Glenlivet's
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  7. #7
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Share16.jpg

    A mighty CRASH from outside sent us running to the door to see what happened. It was just a reminder that we live in Vermont...the snow on the metal roof had slid off and fallen thirty feet to the ground. We shoveled our way to freedom and spent a couple hours with shovels, snowplow, and a small but determined bulldozer.

    Share17.jpg

    Back in the shop, I took stock of where I was. The seam had hardened well and was rock solid. The hole in the nose was demanding attention.

    Share18.jpg

    A piece of cardboard was bent into shape, covered with lightly greased foil, and wedged into place from inside.

    Share19.jpg

    The area was given a good coating of resin, then the now-familiar process of laying glass matt began. Layer after layer, using short and stiff bristles to work it into voids, and in about 45 minutes I had the contour of the opposite side pretty well matched.

    Share20.jpg
    Share21.jpg
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  8. #8
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    One of my concerns in traveling with a service dog so dedicated to my needs is his comfort and safety. I employ several techniques learned in the Marine Corps to keep us safe in hot weather, but my dog's inability to sweat put him at greater risk. I can partly make up for that by using a water bottle to soak him now and then, but evaporative cooling works best with airflow. My Hannigan has a vent, but it's located in a recess and partially blocked by the nose of the tub. I mentioned this shortcoming to my mentor, Miyagi-San. After studying the sidecar from several angles he handed me a cup and said, "Hold my tea and watch this!"

    Share22.jpg

    He took a piece of insulating foam cut to size, then notched to fit into the recess. With a safety knife, hacksaw blade, and grinder he started sculpting.

    Share23.jpg
    Share24.jpg
    Share26.jpg
    Share27.jpg

    That last view shows a mold of how far the shallow air scoop will protrude...just enough to catch some air as it sweeps past the nose.

    The next step will be to tape or glue the mold into place and cover it with fiberglass. We'll let it harden overnight, then using regular paint thinner the foam will be dissolved leaving behind the hardened scoop. I can then use glass matting to blend it into the curves of the sidecar! Pretty cool, huh?
    Last edited by glenfiddich; 11-25-2018 at 12:06 PM.
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  9. #9
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Share28.jpg

    I hadn't intended to do any major work on the subframe, just some touchup and better protection for the wiring harness. But there were a few things that bothered me the closer I looked. Firstly, the tub had had a body lift. Looked nice, but didn't give me any more ground clearance and since none of my dogs are fans of being shaken like the ball in a paint can over long distances I find my riding largely limited to pavement or gravel roads in good repair. Also, on a sidecar rig having the weight up high can have an adverse effect on handling in the twisties. On top of that, as my dog ages getting in and out of a high rig might become an issue. So I decided to lower it as much as the position of the swaybar would allow. Looks like I can safely drop it an inch and a half. The blocks on the back and the strip of wood up front were from me trying various heights.

    Share29.jpg

    There were two unsightly stubs on the swaybar left over from a rear bumper that never really did its job and - being off-center - was fugly as well. Removing them was one of those "You've come this far..." decisions. Of course this meant even more grinding. Ugh!

    Share30.jpg

    And while I had the grinder in my hands I started noticing the quality of some of the welds. Some were excellent, but others looked like beads from middle school shop class. Big globs of material, pitting, and some cracks that looked like they might just be in the paint but I couldn't be sure. Bad weld jobs are very hard to visually inspect. The bottom line is my dog will ride in this contraption, and it had to be solid for his safety. I ground them down and rewelded. It wasn't the best looking job but it was a heck of a lot easier to inspect than what was there before!

    Share31.jpg
    Share32.jpg
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  10. #10
    Debbie's Servant Lee's Avatar
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    Interesting thread
    Lee
    2016 R1200RS
    MOA # 30878
    Past BMW Bikes: 2011 K1300S, 2003 K1200RS, 1991 K75S, 1987 K75T, 1984 R100RT

  11. #11
    skibum69 skibum69's Avatar
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    Thanks for taking us along, your welding skills are waaay better than the first guy to have a go at that rig.
    http://beerthief.ca
    ITSteve: ride in peace my friend
    save $5 on a new SmugMug account, use this coupon7frrnSRiTt9Fk

  12. #12
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Monday1.jpg

    Glenlivet started the day with his "Oh gawd, what are you doing to my ride?" look.

    Monday2.jpg

    Before revisiting the Bolt From Hell, I decided to focus on something I knew would work: Glenlivet's air scoop. First step, use 3M adhesive to get the mold to stick to the sidecar. It worked very well, and stuck so well it actually let me put some curve into it.

    Monday3.jpg

    Because of the ridge where the mold met the tub, I started with fiberglass matting. It can be worked to fill potential voids better than cloth, and I was concerned about air bubbles in the first layer.

    Monday4.jpg

    I carefully added layer after layer till I had a graceful curve, then added a few layers of fiberglass cloth to add rigidity.

    Monday5.jpg
    Monday6.jpg

    Satisfied with how the transition from scoop to tub was coming along, I decided to let it cure a bit before continuing. I put a heat lamp on the fresh glass to accelerate the cure. Within an hour it was hard, but I'll let it cure overnight before rough sanding to highlight the low spots which can then be filled with more matting. The foam mold will then be removed with paint thinner so I can glass the inside of the scoop. Satistfied, I drove home to turn my attention to the Bolt From Hell, the one bolt that had been keeping me from removing the rest of the subframe from the bike.

    Monday7.jpg

    It turned out to have surrendered to the overnight onslaught of PB Blaster. I put a bit of heat on the nut, then gave the torx head two thwacks with an impact driver and it came free. My dogs were unimpressed. Clearly they had been expecting more drama.
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  13. #13
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glenfiddich View Post
    The dogs look like they are lobbying for a snack break and a romp in the snow.
    Kevin Huddy
    The Outpost, Silver City, Montana

  14. #14
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Wednesday was a day off. From Monday evening till Wednesday afternoon we received a foot and a half of wet, heavy snow that sent branches falling across power lines. With multiple power failures making work difficult I just gave up and declared a snow day. The dogs were very happy with that decision.

    Weds1.jpg

    Weds2.jpg
    The dogs love snow. Glenlivet spent so much time playing that the bell on his collar grew to the size of a softball!

    Weds3.jpg
    While the old dogs still try, it is usually Glenlivet who comes up with the ball...or steals it from them.
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

  15. #15
    TravelsWithBarley.com
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    Back to work on Thursday. Close inspection revealed that my fiberglass job on the inside of the air scoop contained a few air pockets. Those had to be cut out or ground down. And just like the dental portion of my military medical training, I had a hard time doing detailed work in confined spaces. On the plus side, the sidecar has no pesky tongue to get in the way!

    Thurs1.jpg

    The "decay" was carefully removed with a rotary air tool which was like a Dremel on steroids. Thankfully, the outside of my fiberglassing attempt was solid, so I had a good foundation to work with.

    Thurs3.jpg

    With the sidecar propped up at an angle that made the work area easier to see, I carefully filled the void with matting, then worked more matting over the edges

    Thurs5.jpg

    This view from the front shows the rough form of the unobtrusive scoop and how it extends beyond the nose of the tub that blocked air flow in stock form. Now back to the fender.

    Thurs6.jpg

    Work on the fender had been interrupted by a power failure, so I roughed it up and continued adding layers of fiberglass matting to fill in the shallow recess where the troublesome taillight had been.

    Thurs7.jpg

    It might need a couple of low spots filled in a bit more, but the glass was pretty thick and I wanted it to cure before adding anything more. So the tub and fender relaxed on the work table under the warmth of a quartz heater.

    Thurs8.jpg
    '18 R1200GSA for solo rides
    '12 R1200GSA with Hannigan sidecar for rides with Glenlivet
    '15 Honda CRF250L for exploring places I'm afraid to take the big GSA!
    http://travelswithbarley.com/

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