KXF 250 Problems

Weeeeelll, I have not posted for a while as I have been busy with my photography. Over Easter weekend I rebuilt a KXF 250 and had a problem that puzzled me. Check this out, I posted the story on this forum



Yee Haa fixed!

Yee Haa fixed!


Moto Transporter Trailer stage 4

Roof panel in place

Roof panel in place

Trailer build stage 4003 Trailer build stage 4004Above 2 shots show the wheel guards cut out and ready to be glued in. I love this Composite panel it is so workable. like a cross between wood and metal.

Trailer build stage 4007 Wheel guard support angles ( I used some 20 x 20 x 1.2 aluminium angle). I used adhesive between all parts to reduce corrosion and vibration.Trailer build stage 4010Here is the adhesive sealant gunned on and ready for the guard fitment.

Trailer build stage 4013 Trailer build stage 4014Guards on. I used double sided tape to hold the panels whilst the polyurethane sealant goes off.

Trailer build stage 4015 One of the curved panels fitted up. See the Clicko pins I used to hold the panels in place while I marked out the notch outs etc. I was a bit anxious about curving the Composite panel around the front of the trailer, but it pulled around nicely, nice and snug to the frame work. Pleaser!! Trailer build stage 4016 Trailer build stage 4019Really starting to take shape now. The interior looks quite clinical

Trailer build stage 4021 Cant wait to get the tinted angry eye screens fitted. Definitely starting to see the vision I had from the original drawings. Trailer build stage 4023Nearly there just some wiring and trimming off edges. I will also need to fit some channels for the Moto X bike wheels to lock into I will use these hold down devices http://www.kyaracing.com.au/ Check them out they are a great invention.

The trailer has been a long project and has provided much joviality among my work colleagues, I suppose I did start it in October 2012 and now February 2013 and still not registered yet. I hope to get it registered this week and then finish off some of the trimming later. I will post finished photos. I want to get a sticker made for the rear door and intend using the white inner walls as a photo gallery. The sticker for the rear door will based on this photo.

Leg forward

Leg forward

Moto Transporter Trailer Fabrication Stage 3

A few more pictures of the construction. I have now painted the chassis and completed the roof section. I used a continuous plastic hinge for the roof which I discovered whilst purchasing the gas struts. This is hinge is great as it seals the joint as well and means I do not have to use a gutter type design and rubber molding to keep out the rain.  The hinge came in a 3.0 Meter length and is guaranteed for 50,000 openings.

First coat of Paint on Chassis

First coat of Paint on Chassis

View showing spring hanger fittings

View showing spring hanger fittings

Extra Floor supports. As I am using 3.0mm (1/8") Aluminium sheet for the floor as opposed to Chequer (Tread Plate) I needed more support. I decided on flat plate for the floor as it is easier to sweep out than Tread Plate.

Extra Floor supports. As I am using 3.0mm (1/8″) Aluminium sheet for the floor as opposed to Chequer (Tread Plate) I needed more support. I decided on flat plate for the floor as it is easier to sweep out than Tread Plate. I notched the 20 x 20 SHS supports into the Angle to give a flat face on the upper side so that I can use a Polyurethane adhesive to affix the flooring Sheets.

Third coat of paint applied. I wish I had sent it to get blasted and sprayed as hand painting took so long.

Third coat of paint applied. I wish I had sent it to get blasted and sprayed as hand painting took so long.

Tow hitch plate

Tow hitch plate

Spring hanger mount

Spring hanger mount

I purchased a Drop T handle for the rear door with linkage rods. I used the 20 x 20 SHS to make the handle mounting.

For the rear door I used 50x25 RHS for extra support as the rear door is also the loading ramp.

For the rear door I used 50×25 RHS for extra support as the rear door is also the loading ramp. I used the 20 x 20 SHS for cross members which I will affix 3.0mm aluminium on the Inside (Ramp upper side when door is lowered) and Composite board on the outside. I spaced the cross members to suit 1200 width Aluminum sheet and 1220 wide Composite board.

The Handle mount detail

The Handle mount detail

I sloped the leading edge as this will be the base of the ramp when door is lowered.

I sloped the leading edge as this will be the base of the ramp when door is lowered.

I will need to fold the smaller Aluminium sheet to follow the frame.

I will need to fold the smaller Aluminium sheet to follow the frame.

Frame for the lifting roof panel

Frame for the lifting roof panel

Roof Panel ready to be gluedRoof panel laid out ready to be glued.

Glued one section Sealant down ready for next panel.

Glued one section Sealant down ready for next panel.

The composite panels are 0.4mm aluminium sandwiching 3.0mm polypropylene sheet and painted with two pack white one side and orange the other. For the roof section I decided to put the white side to the top to help reflect heat a bit.

I have a few more brackets to weld in to fix the small fill in floor panels and then I will be cladding the main body. Hopefully next week I should be ready to get it registered.

Moto Transporter Trailer Fabrication Stage 2 – Body work Frame

At last I am back to working on the Trailer project. I took these photo’s back in November  so it is high time I sorted out the next stage of construction post.         The body work frame here is getting welded to the main chassis of the trailer as I go, using a MiG welding machine with 0.9mm solid wire and Argon/Co2 Gas mix. I worked out my design using DraftSight which is a very good free program  for 2D drafting (Just type draftsight into Google).

I had a stack of 20mm x 20mm Square Hollow Section (SHS), which I scrounged from a clean up at a mates and set about cutting all the lengths as per the Drawing I produced on Draftsight. I started by tacking together the rear part of the bodywork frame.

 Pleas feel free to comment or ask any questions re the design and construction.
I had a stack of 20 x 20 Box Section or Square Hollow Section to use for the frame work

I had a stack of 20 x 20 Box Section or Square Hollow Section to use for the frame work



MY design of the body work using Draftsight a free program.

My design of the body work using Draftsight a free program. Here I have switched off parts of the drawing such as axle and wheels to only show the body work framing.

Body Frame Construction3 11-11-12I decided to make the guards by constructing a SHS frame which I will sheet with Aluminium at a later stage.
Body Frame Construction4 11-11-12

Body work Frame now taking shape

Body work Frame now taking shape. My son came and helped with wiring the lights I have used PVC conduit which will tuck away nicely along the Channel section out of harms way. I will seal all ends with silicon to stop the dreaded ants making home inside the conduit.

I added some diagonals to stiffen up the whole trailer. This made a big  difference to the overall stiffness.

I added some diagonals to stiffen up the whole trailer. This made a big difference to the overall stiffness. I have not yet added these to my drawings, but it is fairly easy to see how I have created some triangles which provide extra rigidity. 

I used some 50 x 5 Galvanised Flat Bar which pulled around nicely without having to roll it.

I used some 50 x 5 galvanised Flat Bar which pulled around to form the bull-nosed front nicely without having to roll it.                                                                                                                                                            I designed the trailer to be fairly aerodynamic using a bull-nosed front like a horse float, this is coupled with a sloping roof section which will lift up on gas struts to allow access for loading and unloading bikes.


I used the measurement I got from the Drawing I did up. When I laid a piece of SHS along the top it looks like the uprights will match up pretty well around the top.

I used the measurements for the uprights around the bull-nosing I got from the Drawing I  created. When I laid a piece of SHS along the top it looks like the uprights will match up pretty well around the top when I add the rolled sections of the frame.                                                               NOTE: I spaced the uprights to match the cladding sheet widths so that seams will fall directly on the upright member. I intend to us Polyurethane adhesive/sealer to affix the composite cladding panels to the frame work with minimal rivets. 

I needed to roll some 20 x 20 SHS to suit the radius of the sloping top. I managed to gain access to a set of section rollers at previous employers workshop for this. the next post will show these rolled sections installed. The top rail around the Bull Nosing could be  constructed from Flat bar which would have to be cut and fitted as you go around the top edge as this actual profile will not be a straight line. Typically me, my design has not made construction easy, but the challenge of working it out is fun.

Stage 3 will be uploaded shortly.

Skills Shortage-SkillsTraining

I am not “big noting myself” or spouting the “back in the good old days” soap box stomp, but I have been involved in Trade Training for a number of years and feel fairly qualified to comment on this topic of “skills shortage”. The prompt for this impulsion was an article I read yesterday in a discarded copy of “Engineers Australia, October 2012”. This article titled “Reflections of a trainer on education and skills shortages” authored by Jim Haggart FIEAust, CPEng (Ref), prompted me to expel a blurted, loud “YES”. This guy, Jim Haggart has delivered a course “on the welded repair of dynamically loaded mobile equipment”. His Students encompassed engineers, drafts persons and tradespeople. He was surprised to discover that, even though these participants had gained qualification in technical professions, they actually knew very little about structures and had not heard of terms like “Stress Raisers” or “Neutral Axis”. Even  basic knowledge of these factors is vital for good safe engineering at design and fabrication/repair levels within industry.

My apprenticeship in the mid 70’s involved a full first year at Technical College (Engineering Industry Training Board), where we covered aspects of many trades including:- Plumbing, Machining, Fitting, Milling, Turning, Domestic Electrical, Electronics, Welding and Sheet Metal. This also entailed one day and one night a week concentrated on our particular stream as employed and included theory on design, materials, engineering drawing, pattern development and costing. This one day and night per week continued for 4 years and culminated in exams which covered the entire curriculum (No pass no Trade Certificate). During this time many of us also had excellent “on the job training” to accompany the structured Skills Training.

When I began my lecturing role as a Trade Trainer, I was almost horrified to find that training here in Australia for Traditional Trades is for a mere 24 weeks over 3 years and the entry level of most apprentices is year 9 or 10, mostly consisting of poor academic school achievers. Not that poor academic achievement at School necessarily reflects adversely on skills learning, manual ability and dexterity but it does not provide young Trades-Persons with the correct tools to learn a “Technical Trade”. At best they become good “Production Workers”. Sadly, only a very small percentage do pick up the gauntlet for further education to eventually become Skilled Artisans of their trade, most of which typically start their own businesses.

In another capacity, I have also been responsible for employing Trades-People and have found it quite frustrating that very few “Skilled Trades-People” can actually operate as “Skilled Trades-Persons” i.e. Take responsibility, in part, for the project, perform a concise plan of the work, foresee possible problems in design or ease/accessibility of assembly, calculate materials and layouts, read engineering drawings and work as a vital team member. Instead we have a large workforce made up of “Production Workers” who must have all the problems sorted and planning performed for them. They then have to be watched every minute of the way during fabrication to control errors in measurement and drawing reading incompetence. For the small employer this takes up so much time that is often better to not employ “Trades-People” and do it all themselves, this stifles growth and curtails the handing down of skills and knowledge, hence the term skills shortage.

Jim Haggart wrote, “I believe the term “skills shortage’ is loose. Those who have completed an apprenticeship or have technical or tertiary qualification are skilled but to what degree for their actual tasks is the question. It is not a person’s fault he/she doesn’t know. The education system in any particular area could be lacking and every endeavor to correct it must be worthwhile.”

The main problem I found as an educator was that the trade training system is driven by big corporations who actually want “Production Workers”, this is to the detriment of Traditional Trades which require real “Skilled” personnel. This is the reason we have a Skills Shortage and this is why growth and innovation will be stifling for future generations unless we invest properly in preparing our young people for a working life where attention to detail and responsibility to complete a task accurately is paramount, then trade trainers, funded properly, will have something to work with to help them perform their part in the Skills Training of Australians. Education is the key to assist in many social-economic issues, providing a means to diffuse the skills shortage is another of these issues which must be addressed. Everything is cyclic and once-great-Nations will cycle round to great again but how long it takes is another matter.


Moto Transporter Trailer Fabrication Stage 1


20-10-12. Off to start fabrication of trailer.

Material has arrived from merchants, after a bit of messing around!

After cutting the lengths, I laid them out out to check the actual design sizes compared to drawing. Looking good!

The cold saw cuts produced a great mitre joint. I will grind a bevel on the edges for welding.

Marked out with chalk, so that it is easy to see when Oxy-Acetylene cutting.

Not too bad for a free hand cut!

I set the perimeter frame up square and positioned the spring hangers and tacked them in place.

Notice how I have welded around the toe of the vertical flange of the steel angle. The toe is the biggest stress raiser and a poor weld here will allow a crack to propagate as the trailer will be subjected to dynamic/cyclic loading.

Spring hangers welded completely around with approximately 6.0mm fillet weld

Do not weld across the draw bars where they transition the main frame a weld in this position will create a significant stress riser and could propagate cracking of the weld which could carry through the material.

I cut the Channel connections in for a flush finish. After welding I ground the weld flat so that the floor will sit nicely in the frame.

Axle in, so I can wheel it about.

Base frame together.

I set the floor into the Channel frame in order to keep the floor height lower to make loading the bikes easier.I can also place tie down points on the top flange of the channel. I saved 3 inches (75mm) doing this.

Next stage will be to start on the frame work for the body.

Suspension Matters Review

I recently sent my Suspension to Dave @ Suspension Matters in Queensland (See my Links). This is the first time I have invested cash in such a caper and was anxious to check out the result. Despite the longer than anticipated time for the package to return within grasp of my sticky little fingers, I am thoroughly impressed with the product.

Being busy at work held me up from getting it set up properly, but initial feel of the bike, after a brief ride, was that in felt way smoother and more controllable, especially entering a turn. The front did feel a bit too stiff at first but when I bled the air a lot came out, it must have been the fact that it was shipped from a cooler climate to Darwin’s oppressive heat and the temperature increase had built up quite a pressure in the front forks.

Anyway, I played with the clickers some more, and I think I have it fairly well “dialed in”, but the terrain on my own track is fairly smooth so I am hoping to get to the local race track next weekend and set it up there.

My old steed is now a completely different bike to ride, firstly I noticed how the rear glues to the ground on acceleration and just drives forward leaving a fat groove as a calling card.

Also, as the bike no longer ducks and dives under braking into a rough corner entry, it is so much easier to point and shoot. The bike turns in so well, as now the balance is correct, therefore improving the steering geometry.

Now, I am an old sloth of a rider who has a fear of jumps. I can now put it down to having ridden a bike incorrectly set up for so long. With this re-valved and re-sprung suspension, I felt confident (after a couple of jumps to the side) to hit our home track double for the first time. No kicking out side ways, no wallowing unruly landing, just straight positive drive and a landing with a “Pad” sound and no real noticeable landing just a flow back into the terrain and drive away.

I am very happy with the bike now and so look forward to giving it a proper go on some more cut up terrain. For now I am quite excited about how my old bike feels so fun inspiring. I would highly recommend Dave at “Suspension Matters” although I have never payed to have this type of set up before and don’t have others to compare with, I do have good friend who put me onto this business, and I trust his more experienced recommendation.

A leaving thought.

I remember unpacking a KTM 125 SX, the first brand new bike I had ever bought. I jumped on it and rode around for about 3 minutes, I then suddenly had the impulse to line up a 1 meter high ant hill and I just “bunnied” over it. That bike just made you feel like doing it, well now my old YZ250F feels just like that.

Fatigue Fracture Fix

My suspension arrived from Queensland this weekend (I will review soon), and as I went to fit it I remembered that during dis-assembly I managed to shear the long bolt that passes through the top of the frame and secures the rear sub-frame. I had intended to order a new bolt whilst the bike lay forlornly dormant, but the ol’ “out of play”, “out of mind” rule obviously reared it’s head. So here I am, it’s late Saturday arvo and I’m miles from town and anxious to check out that suspension, I hunted in the nuts n’ bolts tubs and turned toolboxes upside down, it’s amazing what long lost friends you come across doing that, like the cable-tied together clutch perch that gets you to the finish flag of an enduro,  or the old BSA fork top-nut I once fashioned a puller out of because it happened to match the thread of the magneto on an Ossa trials bike I once owned. Well you never know, I may buy another old 1974 Ossa one day!

Anyway no luck with a long bolt so the next option was to fix the broken one.

Classic example

Now here is a classic example of a Fatigue fracture. Looking at the surface of the break at around 6:00-7:00 pm (clock wise as you look at it), it appears as if a large load has, most likely, propagated the initial crack which started right in the groove of the last thread where it transitions to the bolt shoulder (a common stress riser). The bolt, now weakened, has continued to crack in increments whenever a larger than average load was placed on it (my fat ass on the seat). This is evident by the succession of parallel lines in area “A” which have worn smooth as the two semi attached parts would have been continually rubbing together. As the crack increased over time or number of load and unload events (Dynamic/Cyclic Load), it progressed to a point whereupon, as I went to undo the bolt, which had the threaded part corroded and well fixed into the sub-frame, it sheared. This is evident by the rough fractured surface seen in area “B”. This is the sort of clues relating to failure that air crash investigators examine.

broken bolt from a wheel of a lorry / gebroche...

broken bolt from a wheel of a lorry / gebrochener Radmutternbolzen von einem LKW (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: image of fatigue of material (crankshaft)

English: image of fatigue of material (crankshaft) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I had soaked the sheared part in penetrating fluid when it broke off and then promptly forgot all about it. I expected the extraction of the threaded part from the sub-frame would be a tricky operation. I decided to drill it out and fit a Heli-coil, as I started drilling the threaded slug simply unscrewed itself with the twisting action of the drill. It was obviously the four week soaking in penetration fluid that did the trick!

I delved into the nuts n’ bolts tub and found a Stainless steel countersunk screw with the same thread diameter and pitch.

I then cut the original bolt down a bit, so that if it were to shear again, at least I would have a stub left sticking out to get hold of to assist in removing the threaded part.

I then prepared the ends for welding by grinding a bevel to each part. this gives somewhere for the weld metal to sit.

I Prefer to TIG weld this type of repair. TIG welding resembles Oxy-Acetylene welding in principle, it just uses an electrode to create an arc to melt the part as opposed to a flame. I used a steel welding rod, a lot of people will say you must use a Stainless Steel filler rod if you are welding Steel to Stainless Steel.  But, I say why waste money when the weaker material will mostly be the steel part anyway?

Glowing Red Hot. Just how welders like it.

Light grind

I gave the weld a light grind to remove excess weld metal taking care not damage the thread.

After I cut the old screw head off I then feathered in the start of the thread, I always prefer to use a file for this as it has more control and feel. If you perform this operation with a grinder one false move can stuff up your work thus far!

File rather than grind a chamfer

Wallah ready to install

Now to get that bike together and haul’n.

Moto Bike transporter trailer

I have decided to build a trailer to carry my bike to the track instead of using the Ute(Utility). That way I can keep some gear in it permanently and make it easier to be able to get a ride in, after work during the week. Now that’s got to be good!

So far it is still in design mode. I made a rough sketch and went out and purchased axle., springs, shackles, U bolts, Trailer hitch, electrical plug, compliance plate, reflectors, hubs and bearings. I pinched my son’s spare alloy wheels! So now I need construction materials and lights which I will probably go with LED units.

scribbled ideas

I then measured the spring set up and produced some drawings using draftsight  http://www.draftsight.com

I am ordering the chassis frame materials tomorrow. At the moment I still deciding on which material to clad the framework with. There is a great aluminium composite board made from thin sheets of aluminium adhered to a plastic core. it comes coloured with a different colour on each side. Sign writers use this material, it is light and flexible. Anyway, that material is high on my choice list at the moment, I just need to work out the best way to fix it to the frame. Initially my idea was to clad the trailer in Clear Anodized Aluminium sheet and fix this to the frame with a good quality polyurethane sealant adhesive using a minimal amount of rivets.

I will continue to post news on this project as construction begins.

Aluminium Fuel Tank Construction

Last year I developed a split in my fuel tank. This was during a Darwin Motorcycle Club race meet, I ended up riding my son’s Kawasaki for the last race. Wow, what a Rolls Royce of a bike compared to my old machine. I remember hitting a series of square edged holes leading into a fast sweeper and tensing for the hammering but I was pleasantly surprised to find his bike just floated over it, as smooth as! Anyway, I just could not afford a new tank at the time, but I had access to a welder and some sheet-metal equipment and I thought, “well I could afford some time to build a new tank”.

I started off fabricating the base of the tank and had to hand shape the section over the main frame member as it curved in two directions. I welded in a plate to fix the fuel tap to with two blind holes threaded M5.

Underneath, showing seams I used to construct the shape

Shaping the base panel involved a bit of stretching and shrinking plus occasional annealing as aluminium will quickly work harden. Once I was happy that this part sat in place over the frame I looked at starting on the side sections. I made some cardboard templates by wrapping the cardboard around the sides of the plastic tank and trimming this down until it was pretty close. I then used these templates to cut out the aluminium sides. The material I used was 5000 series 1.2 mm thick Aluminium.

Base with sides after initial shaping.

I welded in some aluminium round bar that I drilled and tapped blind holes into for the various mounts. I had to use the radiator cowls to position these accurately.

Shaping the sides took a while and the right hand panel had to have a relief cut and shaped in for the radiator cap.

RH side curved in for Rad cap

I continued to work the sides until I was satisfied with the fit for the cowls and mounts. I then fabricated a top panel using a cardboard template to get the basic cut out shape.

Top Panel taking shape


Taking shape

I purchased a fuel filler neck with a suitable cap from a camping and caravan supply store and welded this into the top plate.

Nearly completed

It was a time consuming project and I would hate to charge someone for the commercial hourly rate. But I enjoyed this sheet metal project. I actually completed an apprenticeship as a Sheet Metal Worker in the early 70’s so the skills were there. But as with any project enthusiasm is the main ingredient. Projects such as this should be tackled one part at a time, this avoids being daunted by the complexity of the task, plus each part completed give satisfaction and inspiration to continue.

I welded the tank with a Fronius AC/DC TIG welder in pulsed arc mode and used 5356 filler rods. When my day job takes up less of my time I would like to hand build an AC Cobra replica. Now that would be a photo story!

Shelby AC Cobra

Shelby AC Cobra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pretty Retro Hey!