So it's been a few days since my last build entry. Basically I took some time away from Natasha to do two things: 1) Sleep, and 2) Find and purchase Chevy Express Cargo Van. Both objectives were taken care of. I feel a whole lot better now that I've caught up on my sleep, and I'm now the proud owner of Christine; a 2002 Chevy Express 3/4 Ton Van. Why did I trade the lovely Toyota Tacoma in for this? Well there are a number of reasons: I need something to haul back both bikes and all my stuff to WA, when I take time off to build my house/studio/workshop next year. I looked at renting a U-Haul truck and trailer, but it was going to cost me close to $3000 to do that. Trading Ivan the Unterrible in for the Chevy cost nothing, as I've build up some equity in the Toyota, so no money actually changed hands. It's pretty nice to own a vehicle outright and have no car payments when I'm trying to save every penny right now. I also have always wanted to have a van. This desire probably stems from my childhood when my parents owned a fairly large grocery store, and for fifty pence you could have your groceries delivered to your home. I have vivid memories of riding around my home town delivering groceries when I was maybe eight or nine in a cargo type van. Good times. And the van will also be very handy when building the house next year. I'm going to weld up a nice rack for it, so hauling supplies from the mainland won't be a problem.
But it's white! And the last time I owned a white vehicle Ms. Cameron came along unexpectedly. :) So I did buy enough Rust-Oleum Flat Black to respray it this weekend, but I just couldn't do it. The bodywork on this van is in such good condition it would be foolish to put a less than perfect rattle-can spray job on top. So I am being smart, and will purchase some flat black vinyl and teach myself how to wrap the van this week. That way if I do have to sell the truck at some point, I can just peel off the vinyl and have a good looking white van for someone to purchase.
I have resprayed the front grill as that was looking rather shabby, replaced the turn signal lamps which were no longer orange, and will be upgrading the stereo so I can run Pandora and my XFM satellite radio. The interior is spotless, but it will need some D-rings and a wheel chock for transporting Natasha to her first shoot location. Oh, and the reason she is called Christine is becuase the first time I drove her the radio came on spontaneously and was tuned to a classic rock station. So, of course, she had to be named after the Stephen King novel/John Carpenter film.
The Motion Pro 08-0058 Chain Breaker and Riveting Tool arrived and using it was a total breeze. Basically it's a two stage process; you squeeze the new link and o-rings together, then spread the rivets open. Depending on the type of chain you have bought the size of the rivet spread varies from manufacturer to manufacturer; it can be anything from 0.006" to 0.025". In this case I spread the rivets to 0.015"
The exhaust has been sitting in the same spot in Misha for the last eight months, and today I finally moved them so that they could be put on the bike. Before that could happen I removed the heat shielding and chopped off the old muffler. I was going to chop the exhaust a little closer to the balance pipe but at the last moment decided to give myself some extra room and chopped the exhaust right at the muffler joint. This actually was a good idea, as it gives the new mufflers a little bit of angle and doesn't have them totally parallel with the ground.
From Dime City Cycles I had ordered some exhaust reducers as I knew the new slip-on mufflers had a much bigger opening that the diameter of the OEM exhaust. As it turns out they were still a little big and I had to shim the exhaust out using some 0.006" aluminum flat bar, left over from doing the same with the handlebar switch gear. I also had to cut two slots in the exhaust so that the pipe clamps could tighten down more effectively. Once everything was securely held in place, I cleaned up the exhausts of surface rust and resprayed them with the same high temperature paint I used on the engine. I knew I was going to wrap them in black exhaust wrap but I wanted to see how they would come up just being painted. If need be I could have stopped there, as they turned out pretty good, but I am really happy with how the exhaust wrap looks now that is on.
Wrapping definitely takes some practice; I think I did the first exhaust at least three times until I got the tension and spacing right of each wrap. Both ends are secured using some safety wire, and to cover both exhausts took exactly 50ft of wrap. I was really quite lucky there. After the first exhaust was done I was pretty sure I didn't have enough left for the second one, but as the diameter of the roll kept going down, I got closer and closer to the end and finished with nothing to spare.
Current hours on build: 168.0