What to do?

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Maybe it’s because this is my first build and I haven’t figured out a sweet spot, but this project is in a constant state of stop and go. At least it’s not as irritating as sitting in rush-hour traffic while running late for work. But a pattern has developed.

The reason for the stops could be any number of things, really—weather, illness, parts, postal delays, family matters, whatever. This time however it started with tools or, more precisely, the lack of a tool.

Chopped-up exhaust

I’m at the point where the exhaust can go from the drawing board to the work table. Provided that I can repair and mount the OEM headers and collectors, they’ll stay on the ZN. The baffled sections will be fabricated using a length of exhaust pipe from the local NAPA store and other assorted pieces and parts.

The design is to slip the new section of exhaust pipe over the collectors’ outlet. And, it almost slips over as it sits in the shop. But almost doesn’t count even if it’s only 1/16 of an inch.

No problem. I have two tail pipe expanders so I’ll stretch the new pipe a bit and get a nice tight fit. The large expander is definitely too large. The medium expander is…1/16 of an inch too large. Really!

No matter how long I stare at it, I can’t make the new exhaust pipe expand on its own. And the tool won’t shrink either. So, off I go to find a small tail pipe expander and that means shopping. I hate shopping, unless it’s for a bike (and I have money).

The best I could do was to find one on Amazon. The downside is that it’s not eligible for Amazon Prime Free Two-Day shipping. (My wife’s son and daughter-in-law gave us Amazon Prime for Christmas and it’s been awesome.) In other words, it’ll take a while to get here.

In the meantime, what to do? Yep, get to that header pipe repair. I have all the necessary tools including a TS4000 torch with MAPP gas.

Correction…I had all the tools. The torch decided to stop igniting. Since this is something new, as usual I needed time to figure it out. The internet wasn’t much help and it really didn’t help that Bernzomatic does not sell replacement parts.

Eventually I found and ordered a replacement piezo element. The torch also needed a good cleaning. Until this gets resolved, it’s another couple days.

In the meantime, what to do? I don’t know, but visiting my wife’s family is on the schedule, so figure another day into the mix. While visiting, my mother-in-law opened up the tool shed to me (again) and said “take whatever you need” (again). Being handed tools, especially from a shop outfitted like my father-in-law’s (who passed away in late 2013), is like Christmas in May!

It’s also sad in a way, but…if I don’t help myself to the tools, then who knows where they’ll land. It feels better knowing that I’ll use and take care of them.

Back to the original question, what to do? Here’s a bright idea. Re-organize. There’s a big box of tools from my father-in-law’s shop that need to find a home in my shop. Plus, the drawer of pliers has been bugging me since forever. They need a bigger drawer. It’s a good time re-organize…let’s start in the basement with the shelved parts being sold on eBay.

I was selling everything, even big parts that came off a parts bike—gas tanks, front forks, wheels, seats. Shipping can be a pain. Finding a box and packing it can be a hassle. Plus, I often under-charge for shipping and lose money. Why is it that every big item needs to ship across the entire country? Don’t people on the west coast like California or Oregon have old parts bikes??

The last straw was a recent sale of a front wheel from a 1982 Honda CB750SC Night Hawk. The buyer gave me Neutral feedback because, according to him, the packaging was “crappy.” I’ve shipped many wheels the same way, never a problem. I’m sure the Post Office’s handling of the package had nothing to do with anything. The kicker is that my listings tell buyers to contact me if there’s a problem. This guy didn’t bother. It’s like clockwork—about once every six months with certain (blocked) buyers—I can pretty much tell who’ll be a problem before there is a problem. So, the executive business decision I make is to stop selling large heavy items, like wheels.

This means a trip to the metal recycler with all the big items from the shelves. There were two wheels with old rock hard tires on them and, being a conscientious person, I removed the tires from the wheels. It’s not a fun job when the tires are dried out with zero flexibility. But, I did it and drove the new scrap iron to the recycler where I noticed a pile of wheels…with tires on them. Alright, good to know for next time. I’ll just take the tires to the township recycling center like a good citizen.

Off I go and…it’s closed. Come back tomorrow, Tuesday. Alright, I’ll go home and start on the garage. It should only take me a couple hours at the most. Right. By the end of the day Monday, I was barely half-way finished.

Tuesday morning arrives with me and my tires en route to the township recycling center. The good thing is that I know it’s open. I can drop the tires off fast and get back to reorganizing the garage. Not so fast, though. As I’m walking the tires over to the bin, I hear, “Are those motorcycle tires?” Oh brother, now what? Well, they take car tires, truck tires and SUV tires, but not motorcycle tires. Those need to be cut up and put out for garbage. Is this some kind of sick joke? No, no joke. It’s for real.

With tires somewhat cut up and put in garbage bags for tomorrow morning’s garbage pick-up, it’s Wednesday morning. The garage still needs more re-organizing, and that’s how I spent most of the day.

On the upside, now that it’s done, I can get back to working on the exhaust because the small tail pipe expander arrived last night.

That should keep me busy until the next ‘interruption’ pops up.

Tail pipe expander
Tail pipe expander


Next: Assembling an exhaust system (1 of 3)

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