Monthly Archives: June 2012

Installing A Buell Ulysses Headlight

March 03, 2010

Here is what a new set of Buell Ulyssess headlights look like.

This is what they look like in comparison to the OEM headlights. Tiny little buggers, aren’t they?

With the Suzuki headlights removed, I used some scrap steel that I had on hand, and fabricated a bracket that I welded to the factory fairing structure.

Here are two shots of the Buell headlights temporarily bolted to my motorcycle.

After the Buell headlights were “hung”, I needed to fabricate a way for me to adjust the unit “up”, or “down”. I discovered that a short piece of steel tubing slid nicely into the stock structure.

Out of more scrap steel, I welded up an “adjustment tang” that would attach to the bottom of the headlight assembly, and slide into the steel tube.

Now, I had to fabricate a way to “lock” the adjustment tang into position after I determined the proper height for the beam of the Buell headlights. My plan was to use a bolt as my locking mechanism.

I fit a short length of steel tubing to the longer “adjustment tube”…..

….and welded it to the adjustment tube.

I threaded a 1/4:20 bolt into a 1/4:20 hex nut and clamped the hex nut to the “bolt locking tube”, using my vise.

I welded the hex nut to the locking tube.

I slid the adjustment tube assembly back into the stock fairing bracket to check how it worked. It worked fine!

Next, I removed the stock steel from the motorcycle and welded my adjustment tube to it.

I did have a minor electrical problem with this modification. The Buell headlights were advertised as having H4 bulbs. That would mean that they would “plug-&-Play” with the Strom wiring. Unfortunately, the Buell headlights are for H7 bulbs; different wiring.

The OEM headlights have 3 wires to each bulb.

The Buell lights have two wires for each bulb.

Here is the connector off of the back of the Buell light.

Of interest is, there is a small light bulb between the two main bulbs of the Buell headlights. If you look at the above, “connector” photo, you can see the wiring for that right below my hand, in the back of the headlight assembly.

I had rewiring to do to make this all work!

The Strom headlight bulbs both illuminate on the “Low” setting, and they both illuminate on the “High” setting. The Buell headlights work with only one bulb illuminating on the “Low” setting, and both bulbs illuminating on the “high” setting.

So of course, the first thing I had to do was cut the Buell plug off of its harness, so that I could to begin to identify what wire did what.

I also had to open up the light switch housing on the left handlebar grip.

Using the Buell headlight assembly, laid out on top of a cardboard box, sitting right next my bike, and the stock switch and wiring from the bike, I was able to determine, “what wire did what”, when I flipped from “Low Beam” to “High Beam”.

With that information, I began cutting and soldering the stock wires into the positions that I needed them to be in to make the Buell headlights work. (Believe me, I haven’t a clue as to what I am doing here!!! I NOT an “electrical guy”!)

It was easy enough to identify which were the ground wires on the Buell lights. I soldered them together.

Here is “Low Beam”.

And, here is “High Beam”.

However, the above setup is wrong. I didn’t discover it until I rode the bike at night. The “Low Beam” light on the Buell assembly is the RIGHT headlight and bulb. “High Beam” is the LEFT headlight and bulb + the right headlight. There IS a difference!

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Since doing the above work over two years ago, I made some wiring adjustments when I built my front fairing.

Now, that was a lot of fun!

I will share the story of how I built my front fairing at a later date.

Categories: 2010 Modifications | 1 Comment

Making An Inexpensive Pair Of Prescription Sunglasses

February 13, 2011

Back in May of 2008, I set out to create an inexpensive pair of prescription sunglasses for myself. I didn’t want to spend the $500 that it was going to cost me to purchase “professionally made” prescription sunglasses. So, I worked with what I had, and created my own.

Since December of 2010, I began taking flying lessons, (On and off; when I can afford to.) The ultimate goal is to obtain my Private Pilot’s license, and to learn how to fly the experimental airplane that I am currently building, (www.sonex1504.com).

To legally fly the plane that I am training in, by myself, (the famous first “solo” flight), I have to have a medical examination. Part of that exam is to test my eyesight. My last eye exam was, October 31, 2007. I know that I am having a struggle seeing some things, and I attribute that fact to just more then the badly scratched lenses I have now! I scheduled an appointment for this past Friday to see just how much my eyes had changed. I also brought along my “homemade” sunglasses for the eye doctor to look at. I wanted to get the eye doctor’s “professional opinion” on the prescription sunglasses I had made for myself.

After my exam, (My eyes have NOT changed since 2007!), I showed the doctor my sunglasses and asked him what kind of damage I could be doing to my eyes by using them. He laughed, took a close look at them and said, “You are doing no harm to your eyes. If there is no eye strain while using them, keep using them. It’s a great idea.”

I have made three pairs of these homemade, prescription sunglasses since 2008. The lenses are relatively inexpensive plastic, cut to a bifocal prescription for my eyes. Although I wear a progressive “tri-focal” prescription in my “daily” glasses, the bifocal prescription works fine while riding my motorcycle. I can look ahead and side to side without any issues. I can also flick my eyes down to view a road map, situated in a map case on top of my tankbag. No eye adjustments are necessary!

I removed the lenses from my old, worn out, cheap safety glasses.

I peeled off the old silicone adhesive sealant that I use to “bed” the lenses to the glass frames.

I cleaned up the lenses.

I opened up a new pair of safety-sunglasses. I purchase these at Lowe’s for about $10.

I positioned the lenses into the new glasses.

At the boatyard I work at, we have many open tubes of this silicone adhesive kicking around. I grabbed one of the old tubes and brought it home.

I jammed a West System epoxy syringe into the gap between the glass and the metal framework to my coffee table. Then I squirted the silicone into the body of the syringe. (My Black Lab, “Reuben” is supervising!).

Using the syringe as a “caulking gun”, I laid a bead of silicone around each lens to bond it to the glasses, and also to seal off any water or dirt from getting between the lenses and the glasses.

“Caulking job” completed. Now I set the glasses aside for an overnight cure.

Below is a photo of what the glasses look like. However, it is a photo taken back in 2008, and is of a different set of sunglasses that I used back then. You get the idea, though. They cost about $90 for me to make.

Categories: Modifications | 6 Comments

Plugging A Tire

February 23, 2009

I believe I purchased my tire plug kit from Adventure Motostuff last year or the year before. I have used it 4 times with excellent results. Some riders like “mushroom” style plugs, and some riders like using the “worm” or “corded” style plug. Whichever style a rider leans towards, I encourage purchasing a kit and carrying it with you! I carry a package of both types of plugs; “mushroom”, and “worm” style.

Last Fall, while walking through my garage, I noticed something funny about my front tire.

My guess is, this was what was left of a furniture leg “bumper”. It’s just that all of the rubber had worn off and what was left was, the nail and its backing plate.

After removing the culprit, I reamed out the hole with the kit supplied reaming tool.

Then, (as per kit included instructions), I used the Tool Tip to insert a mushroom plug into the Tool Handle.

Using the kit supplied awl, I inserted the awl through the Tool Tip.

Then I installed the Tool Tip into the tire; the awl acting as a guide to push the Tool Tip into the tire.

Then I removed the awl and left the tip “embedded” in the tire.

Next, I threaded the Tool Handle, (that has a mushroom plug loaded into it), into the Tool Tip.

Once the handle and tip were screwed tight, I used the kit supplied Allen wrench to tighten the hex head screw on the back end of the Tool Handle. I tightened the screw until I couldn’t twist the screw anymore. The mushroom plug was now forced, “cap end” first, into the tire.

Next, I backed the Allen screw out and slowly pulled the Tool Handle and Tool Tip out of the tire.

Here, you can see the plug shaft. I believe this is where individuals who have tried this system, (or type of plug), and have had it fail, have made a mistake. It’s at this point that they cut the excess plug off. DON’T!!!!

For the mushroom head to seal the leak properly, the underside of its head needs to be up against the inside surface of the tire carcass. That is accomplished by pulling on the “shaft” end of the plug. And I mean PULL! As I do this, I can feel and see, the plug shaft stretch and also slide. I can also feel the head of the plug pull up against the inside of the tire. An increased resistance will occurs.

This is what a properly seated mushroom plug looks like from the inside of the tire.

Now, I let the plug “relax” a little. Do to the elasticity of the rubber compound, that the plug is made out of, the shaft will want to pull back into the tire some. It’s at this point that the plug should be cut, (Using the kit supplied razor knife.). I intentionally leave the plug cut long because, I know that there will be some more “pull back” to the plug shaft as I ride.

After the tire was “patched”, I reinflated it to the desired pressure.

I have ridden thousands and thousands of miles on these types of plugs. I have not had any problems, with only one exception. The very first tire that I plugged, I did not pull the shaft of the plug, so that the head seated against the inside of the tire carcass. That plug leaked. I learned that lesson!

Categories: Tires | 3 Comments

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