June 22, 2003

Clutch Time

Time speeds up the older you get. Kitty Carlisle says that by the time you reach 70, it seems like you are having breakfast every fifteen minutes. The clutch on the Morini had always slipped a bit, or at least it had as long as I have had the thing (since 1986). While it might have been possible to find a mechanic with the proper tools, willingness, and experience in 1986, it is no longer.

Two or three years ago, I got new oil seals for the bike from Herdan. I was then thwarted in my conscientiousness by a lack of a special tool with which to remove the clutch basket springs. On one of my many trips as a homeowner to Home Depot, I bought a vise with which I was to fashion such a tool from an auto body trim tool.

But this week past, I got the garage into shape. In order to replace the cam belt (the old self-destructed a block or two from the Mississippi), I had to order a special tool from Germany. While waiting for the tool and replacement belt to arrive, I bought one of those large rolling toolchests. Once I replaced the timing belt, I realized that I finally had all that I needed to get on with the project I had started and aborted earlier. I mounted the vise to the workbench and hacksawed and filed the auto body trim tool into a clutch spring removal tool.

So I dug into the clutch. Getting the basket off was no great challenge, once I ran all over town chasing down a large enough socket to get the nut off. After first giving up on the larger project of getting behind the clutch to the primary case, I tore it into it once I realized that I could do so with the engine in the frame.

Removing the primary drive case presented some new challenges. First, I necessarily destroyed the old gasket in the process. Next the I heard a fateful "click" as the kickstart shaft unsprung itself. I made the gasket with the technique taught to me by Walter Alter back when I was puppy in San Francisco. It took a few tries to get the gasket, shaft, and cover aligned properly.

But I got the new seals in and within the first half a dozen attempts, the case, gasket, and kickstart shaft all played together nicely. Once I rotated the rotor magnet 180 degrees, the thing ran beautifully all the way to Dunn Bros. and back.

In one of the deleted scenes from Comedian Jerry Seinfeld says that everyone has to have an interest in something really stupid -- in his case Porsches. For me, it's the Morini (and -- I admit -- the rest of the fleet). But it was cool seeing Jerry Seinfeld fixing a oil sender on his old VW; VW fixin was a sideline interest at the Batcave.

Maybe fixing the clutch after a decade and a half of neglect will show me that I can accomplish some of the goals I have been recently complaining about having committed myself too. I only hope that I don't have to wait as long to achieve them.

Can you spot the blogger in "Scooter Pix 2" at the bottom of this page? Hint: you likely wouldn't recognize him today.

Posted by webs0080 at 1:42 PM

June 13, 2003

Baker's Square

So we go to Baker's Square -- a place that I have a hard time imagining that we would go unless we had a coupon for free food. Not merely a 2 for 1, but an honest to goodness free pie. The help was straight out of Fast Times At Ridgemont High.

"Are you here for a pie tonight?" cracked the voice of the apron-wearing, pimple-faced juvenile helper.

After the senior assistant shows the juvenile how to ring up a gift coupon, he goes to select us a pie.

"We reserved an apple."

"I think we have plenty of apple pies, so I'll just pick one."

He approaches the baker's rack with a red box. He spies an apple pie with a disgustingly burnt crust. He looks back at me, who have been silent throughout the transaction. He sees me see him eyeing the burnt pie. He reaches instead for a blond and perfect pie behind it. Let the other asshole customer -- the one he doesn't help or the one who doesn't watch him select the pies -- get the burnt pie.

Damn. "This kid is going into management."

Posted by webs0080 at 10:42 PM