Saturday, April 19, 2014

Rat City Ruckus 2014 (The Best Part of the Viva Las Vegas Weekend)

I've been living in Las Vegas for just over five years now and the weekend of Viva Las Vegas has quickly become one of my favorite times of the year. It isn't just the Viva Las Vegas event itself that excites the city, but it is this spirit of Viva Las Vegas that spreads like a welcome outbreak, inciting car shows and rockabilly music throughout the downtown area and across the strip. With major headlining rockabilly and psychobilly acts taking the stage at such large and well-known venues as the House of Blues and the Hard Rock Cafe there is hardly any way to avoid coming into contact with the neon dyed pompadours and goth rock themed poodle skirts that such music attracts.

While the actual Viva Las Vegas event takes place at the Orleans, just a few miles off the strip, it is the downtown area that really seems to embrace this colorful counterculture. Last night, Las Vegas Country Saloon hosted a group of rockabilly bands headlined by The Chop Tops and I have to say it was an excellent show. The Chop Tops were outstanding as always, but one of the best surprises of the night was a band called Gambler’s Mark.  I had never heard this band before and they quickly soared to the high end of my list of favorites.  I'm hoping to see a lot more from these guys in the future.  Even after this Friday night show, it was great just walking around on Fremont Street surrounded by the super cool styles of rockabilly and psychobilly fanatics.  The aesthetics of modern tattooing, hair dye, and horror punk pop art combined with the classic looks of the post WWII rockabilly and rock n roll style of dress and hair is one of my favorites to see en masse, and there is no better time or place for it than downtown Las Vegas during the Viva weekend!
The big event of the weekend downtown however is the Rat City Ruckus, taking place just across the street from the Stratosphere. An off the beaten path car show that continues to increase in size with every year, the Rat City Ruckus hosts many of the highly modified hot rod vehicles that do not qualify for the all original status of the Viva Las Vegas car show. This year featured a list of local celebrities including the folks from Kount’s Kustoms.  There were some excellent food vendors present (you have to try Hawg Dawg's spicy sausage) as well as some great classic rockabilly bands taking the main stage.If the cars themselves weren't enough, the event was provided with a slew of beautiful models to pose next to your favorite cars.  The Junkyard Pirates have always played a crucial role in the Rat City Ruckus event and they did not disappoint this year, so hats off to those fellas!  Try not to miss event this next year, because as history has shown here, the Rat City Ruckus only continues to improve and is quickly staking its claim as a mainstay of the Viva Las Vegas weekend!
Bu the day didn't end with the car show!  Las Vegas had so much going on over this weekend that it became a struggle within the self to decide what events to catch and what ones would simply have to wait until next year.  As a huge fan of burlesque shows, I managed to catch two of them in one night on April 19th (sorry I didn't catch photos of any of them, so you'll just have to use your imaginations).  The Sci-Fi Center hosted a Nerd-lesque show, which featured 8 femme fatales using comic book heroes as inspiration for their acts.  Well mostly.  In order to show that they were honoring all of our heroes, not just the fictitious kind, the first act was a red headed fighter pilot and she was fantastic.  She was shortly followed by The Crow, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Electra and others.  As a comic book fan myself, I found this to be an absolute blast!  Anyway, if your looking for more information on Burlesque shows in the Las Vegas area, is just one of the many places where you can go to find a calendar of upcoming events.
After the Sci-Fi Center, we made a beeline straight for The Beauty Bar on Fremont Street and managed to show up just in time for THEIR burlesque show to start with a troupe called Dirty Little Secrets from California.  These girls were hot, hot, hot and the shows were well choreographed.  I will recommend this show anytime!  The night was finished in the back of The Beauty Bar with an extended performance from one of my favorite Rockabilly/Punk bands, The Rockets!  These guys always put on a fun show and they do it without needing the help of any gimmicks.  These are just down to it good guys who pay as much attention to their audience as they do to their instruments, so they know how to make sure that everyone is having a good time while they keep putting out the good tunes.  There were three other bands originally scheduled to play with The Rockets, but with the good spirits these fellas have, they made up for the lost time by playing every damned tune they knew and I was not the least bit sorry for it!  This has been one of the best Viva Las Vegas weekends I've experienced since moving here.  Maybe one day I'll even make it to the main event, but with so much going on in the heart of downtown, maybe I won't even need to!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Finishing the Goldwing

June 9, 2013

In the past few weeks, I have started on the finishing stages, which include adding cosmetic touches, positioning all of the necessary bits and finding new bits that need repair.  The first item on the list was a leaking fuel pump.  I knew that the diaphragm was giving out and considered cracking it open to do an internal repair, until I read about the popularity of replacing the stock pump with one from a 1985 Honda Prelude.  The fit is perfect on the thing even though the new pump is a bit larger.    So far, so good, but I’ll know for sure after I spend some time riding on it. 

Cosmetically, I was able to add a few touches by grinding down the raised text from the master cylinder lid and the hydraulic clutch’s lid and painted both these as well as the top of the throttle housing copper.  I added in a small gear for looks where the kill switch used to be which I think looks really cool next to the thumb while riding.  This really helped to clean up the look of the bike, getting away from the Mad Max look a little bit and leaning more towards a proper steampunk look.

I tossed around a few ideas about slimming down the front and passenger seats before finally settling on making this bike a single seater by replacing the back seat with a glove box mounted on the rear fender.  I cut off the back seat entirely and shaved ¾ inch of padding from the front seat to help me sit more into the bike rather than on top.  
I also followed my buddy Tom’s suggestion and used garage wall spring clips to fasten the single seat to the frame, which actually does give a little spring to the seat.  These two adjustments have made a big difference in the feel of the ride.

Using an old ammo can, I created this steampunk themed glove box.  I sprayed it with a textured copper furniture paint on the can body and a few coats of black for the lid and the clasp followed by rough sanded heavy clear coats to give an aged appearance.  After screwing the timing chain and its associated gears onto the rear, I was able to bolt this can directly into the frame.  This allowed me to cut away the rear seat base entirely, really cleaning up the appearance of the bike from the rear. 

I drilled holes in the rear fender to prep for the turn signals I've ordered from Dime City Cycles and I still need to find mounts for the front turn signals.  I also managed to clean up the interior portion of the false tank assembly by adding the storage tray and the fuel spill catch basin.  I’m hunting down a 6V regulator to connect the finger swipe switch to the Lumindisc, which I think will make for a great effect.  My next mission is to attach the fuel and temperature gauges that I just ordered from a seller on Etsy.  

December 29, 2013
Well, after a lot of time away and working on other projects, I've finally gotten back to the Goldwing.  All turn signals have been attached; I used pipe clamps and rubber gaskets for the front ones.  I sewed the leather onto the seat, using a thick lace to give it more of a raw look and added a few steampunk buttons for flare as well as to cover the start/stop stitch area.  

Additionally, I had to replace the 12V rectifier/regulator after the original went out.  This was a little tricky to diagnose at first, because my symptoms included: bike not starting, turn signals intermittently blowing fuses and I boiled my battery.  After checking my fuel pump and finding that it was taking fuel in but not pushing it out, I found that the rectifier was the common bond between the fuel pump relay and the turn signal relay.  That’s when it hit me that the rectifier was blown, which explained why the turn signal fuses would only blow after I tried starting the bike and it made sense why my battery was boiling.

Now that the bike is running again, I have been able to focus on a few other needed repairs, such as the speedometer and high beam assembly (which I hope to finish in the next few days). The only work that is really left after that is cosmetics (pin-striping and decorative gear placement) and to fix the rear/integrated braking system.  I've also decided to make a few changes to my original plans for the fuel and temp gauges, but I’ll wait until those are done to post about them.  Here are a few photos of how the bike is looking right now and I should be posting more soon after the cosmetic work and the high beam assembly are finished.

January 5, 2014
A bit more work done this weekend.  I was able to finish all of the decorative gear placement for the cosmetic portion of the project.  On the rear fender, I also added a small lion head piece that really pulls everything together for me.  I also did wax pencil sketch of the pinstriping work that I should be accomplishing next weekend.  Seeing the bike in these final stages is getting to be a really good feeling.  All that is left after the pinstriping will be to fix the rear brake issue, attach the finger swipe switch to the Lumindisc (which I realized will not require a regulator as I was guessing) and to attach some sort of a fuel readout. 

The big part that I’ve been working on has been the high beam assembly and headlight switch.  I built the box from sheet aluminum and put it together using JB Weld so that I wouldn’t disturb any of the electronics in the copper high beam tubes.  However, once I finally got everything put together, I’m getting a very weak signal, not enough to power the LEDs.  So, aside from the pinstriping, I will be doing a bit of electronics investigation.  I’m hoping that the problem takes place in wiring within the bike and not in the high beam box assembly.  Fingers crossed. 

January 13, 2014
Over the course of this past weekend, I managed to completely finish the cosmetics of the Goldwing, something I am very happy about.  Included are a couple of pictures of the pinstriping job that I did.  When I initially finished the striping, it looked like the old time machine/steampunk machine I was hoping for, but with a brand new stripe job, which I was not happy about.  So, I took some mineral spirits and scrubbed at various parts of the pinstriping job that would eventually see a lot of wear, and then speckled it over with flat black spray paint.  This properly aged the stripe job (in my mind at least) so that it looked like it was painted upon its build date, in 1896 or thereabouts.

After I finally got the high beams I built working properly, it dawned on me that I didn't think it was doing the bike any favors in terms of aesthetics.  I decided to remove them entirely and hook up the headlights built in high beam; I’ll be saving the copper tube high beams for another project.  So, I finally got the bike looking right, and all I need to do now is fix the integrated brake (rear and right front), possibly add a sight glass for the fuel and hook up the finger swipe switch to the Lumindisc.  Or so I thought.  Right as I was pulling the bike back into the garage, the sight glass on my hand brake’s master cylinder decided it had a good long life and gave out.  So, now I have no brakes at all, giving items to order on eBay and a little more time working in the garage.

November 24, 2014
Well, I haven’t written in quite some time, but I also haven’t been doing much work on the Goldwing, so there’s been very little to write about.  I did replace both the front and rear master cylinders replaced all the brake lines with braided steel.  I also managed to take the bike around for a few days over the summer, but it was short lived.  One fine day on the way home from work, the fuel pump sprung a savage leak and started spitting gas all over my leg.  I've just finally replaced the fuel pump after finally finding one for under $40 on eBay.  I also started having problems with the secondhand rear master cylinder that I used as a replacement.  It also doesn't want to hold its respective fluid, but that is a repair I have yet to tackle.

In the meantime, I bought a Biltwell Gringo helmet and found plans for building a really cool face shield at this site here, and I got to work right away on what it simply a first draft attempt.  I purchased a sheet of lexan and everything else at Lowe’s for under $30.  The lexan was surprisingly easy to work with.  I was able to cut out the face shield with a score and crack method followed a decent amount of vigorous sanding.  Strapping the face shield into place, I used a heat gun to shape it to the helmet.  Overall, I don’t think it turned out too bad, but I know that I make it a bit cleaner the second time around.  That’s my plan for this weekend, hopefully I’ll be in touch soon.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rebuilding the Goldwing

January 2, 2012
First step into the New Year and we are finally rolling along.  I was finally able to get the 30mm and 48mm adjusting nut tools to remove the steering stem.  I received the 48mm in the mail after ordering it from eBay some weeks ago.  It was just a week ago that I finally found someone with a 30mm tool.  Dan from Redwood Custom Cycles happened to have a piece that he fashioned from a regular socket for a job on his Valkyrie awhile back.  The tabs were a bit too large for what I needed, but with a handheld grinder I was able to remedy that issue.  Finally, after all this waiting, I had access to my steering bearings.  Getting through 27 years of neglect was not easy, but I finally have a steering stem that doesn’t feel like swimming in molasses just to move through its designated range of motion.

January 9, 2012
Some progress has been made as both Dan and Uli from Redwood Custom Cycles came by to help with my forks.  This might have been a one person job if it hadn't been for the nearly 2 foot springs with the addition of another 6 inch spring creating more tension then I could manage safely on my own.  We ended up reseating the forks into the triple tree as a way of bracing the fork tubes while I manually compressed the springs to the replace the caps.  The old fluid looked as though it could have predated my lifetime, much less the bike itself.  Replaced the oil and dust seals as well.  Finally, we removed the back wheel so that I could begin the cleaning process on the rear of the bike. 
I brought the wheels down to Motorcycle Tire Center on E. Charleston in the heart of Las Vegas, which was the best place in town for both service and prices on new tires.  Nothing fancy here, I just went with standard Dunlops for the bike. 

January 10, 2012
This was pretty much nothing but a shopping day, but I believe it was the last shopping day.  For now.  I picked up my tires from Motorcycle Tire Center and then made a visit to Lowe's to pick up the copper piping that I'll be using for my gauges, as well as the high gloss paints and finish coat that I will be using in the next few weeks.  I also began sanding down the disc covers and tearing apart the original fairing's instrument panel.  I pulled the speedometer, tach, neutral indicator, and turn signal indicators that I will be using in the final design. 

January 22, 2012
After the last week or so sanding down the storage box, side panels, and disc covers to get them ready for their paint job, and doing even more general cleaning and detailing (no joke, an old bike like this requires more time cleaning, scrubbing, and detailing than anything else), and regreasing every needed component,  I was finally able to get to the exhaust pipes.  I wrapped six inches of copper sheeting around the ends of the exhaust that I had chopped down last month, then I used steel pop rivets to pin them down.  I folded over the edges with a large screwdriver and then used a rubber mallet to pound the copper, trying to enhance the rugged, industrial appearance that I am aiming for in the finished product.  Here are the before and afters.

February 12, 2012
Over the last few weeks, I have made a tremendous amount of success with this project.  I am already on the second of coat of paint for the disc covers, side covers, and storage box.  I used a very coarse sanding paper before the first coat and used a 600 grit paper between the first and second coats.  Everything is being painted a gloss black.  I just received the rear fender from an 84 Standard that I ordered from eBay as well a replacement coolant reservoir that I needed after finding out that the original was leaking through the frame mount hole. 
With the exhaust pipes on and everything else seemingly prepared, I filled the bike with oil and coolant and changed out the gear oil and then made the first attempt at turning the engine over.  Despite my crossed fingers, the engine wouldn’t start.  Tom and Dan came over to give me a hand and we found that the choke cable is too long, so using the choke switch was useless.  Pulling the choke cable further down the line, we also the choke levers on the right side of the engine were sticking.  A bit of lubrication and we were finally able to make some magic happen.  We spent an hour or so playing with the choke and a few of the vacuum hoses and we finally got the engine running.  We had quite an interesting time filling the garage with smoke as the engine burned out impurities and rid itself of all the surface WD-40 that was used to clean the exterior of the engine. 
Now I am down to changing out the brake pads and fluid and making some adjustments to stop coolant from leaking at the hose connections.   There is also evidence that the starter may need to be replaced and I do feel that now is a better time than later.   

April 14, 2012
Well, over the last two months, I’ve had my attention diverted from the Goldwing quite a bit while I’ve been working on other projects, but my time is starting to get back to the garage.  Now is the time to really dive into the cosmetics of the bike.  All of the black coating and clear coating paint has been completed.  Today I start designing the overall look of the bike as well as building brackets and reassigning the placement of all the controls that I have removed from the handlebars.  I’ve been looking at a lot designs that people have done for steampunk motorcycles, cars, guitars, computers and a plethora of random household objects.  The idea is to make this bike look like something Nikola Tesla might have wanted to build, if he were a tattooed motorcycle fanatic instead of the overly neat and tidy personality I’ve read about.  I don’t want this bike to look nice and shiny and new, but rather as if it was built 100 years ago and has been weathered and rode ever since.  Here is a picture of where the bike stands right now.  You can see that the exhaust worked out pretty well.  The seat still needs to be recovered and all the lights need to be added.  There are a few parts that need powdercoating before they are added back on, but all of the mechanical end has been taken care of.

May 29, 2012
I’ve been making slow progress for the last month or so, but it is progress nonetheless.  I’ve been applying the base leather to the seat, before any of the fancy stuff happens.  For this I’ve been using Performance High Temp Trim Adhesive and a staple gun, which I’ve used on motorcycle seats before and have been pleased with the results.  The speedometer has been coming along well.  I took the original speedo from the fairing and sanded down the face’s edge until it fit the old mechanical pressure gauge body that I bought on eBay awhile back.  Then I created a new face with Adobe Illustrator, patterned to look like it was made 100 years ago.  I roughed and aged the surface until I got the look that you see here.
My good friend and favorite tattoo artist, Dark Mark, gave me a hand with the headlight assembly that I’m creating.  I found a great idea for a pair of copper LED headlight here: and based the design from this, since I thought it fit perfectly with the theme of the bike.  Mark helped me out tremendously with putting the LED bodies together and suggested bridging the two of them with smaller piping rather than leaving the connecting wire exposed.  We also decided to use the same piping to create the supports, which produced a great look.  The high center stem will house the small gear you see to the side and will be illuminated with a smaller LED.

July 2, 2012
The progress has been scattered across the length of the bike for the last month.  The headlight assembly had to be resoldered to strengthen up all of the joints, which just got done tonight by Dark Mark while I finished up my speedometer, which you can see here.  I reprinted the face and this time smeared it with a mix of copper and yellow paints to get the right aged appearance.  I added a small LED from a Harley license plate light to give it some illumination.  I purchased an old clock from the Not Just Antiques Mart in downtown Las Vegas (Western Ave.) and used the longer minutes hand for the needle.  I cut a square from the back of the mechanical gauge body so that the speedometer’s mechanics could pass through.  Lastly, I used a Copper Bond Epoxy and some 5/16 nuts and bolts to add the copper piping feeds.  To put this into the storage tank, I drilled holes for the bolts and cut a square for the speedometer assembly to give a perfect fit along the top left portion of the tank.  I used a small amount of pipe foam padding behind the gauge body to eliminate any road vibration. 
I have most of the storage tank prepped as can be seen here.  Along the top left are the box and holes just mentioned for the speedometer assembly.  Along the right side are holes for the indicator lights and a few manual switches that will be added soon.   I’ve hashed it back and forth in my mind, what to do with this storage tank and how best I can utilize the uniqueness of its construction on a motorcycle body.  Some great ideas were thrown around, but what I’ve decided is that my coolant reservoir will be in the form of copping piping mounted to the sides of the tank and my turn signals will be knee operated, also on the sides of the tank.  More to come on that.

The other exciting piece for me was getting the disc covers finished and having the front tire assembled.  I used the buegler striping tool for the first time and made a simple copped stripe on each disc cover.  I am very happy with the simplicity of this tool and even happier with the metallic copper One Shot paint that I ordered from  This will soon be making its way to the storage tank and to the rear fender.  Speaking of the rear fender, I just received my Model A taillight in the mail from and I’ve got to say that those guys have some really cool parts.  The light and plate bracket make a beautiful addition to this bike.  Pictures will come once I get the wiring harness finished.  Yes, I am redoing the wiring harness.  I’ve decided not to take any risks and just replace all of the wiring entirely. 

Anyway, as I said in the beginning: progress has literally been scattered across the length of the bike for the last month; from finishing the headlight assembly frame all the way to the new taillight.  I’m hoping to have a few more things finished in the next week and I’ll be posting the next bits then.

Nov.11, 2012
I decided to change from the design of the headlights.  Instead of using the copper tube assembly as the main headlight assembly, I've dismantled the three light assembly and am using a two light assembly as high beams only.  A separate 7 inch headlight is going to be used for standard illumination, while the high beam will include this LED and copper tubing assembly.  All electronics have been built and safely stowed away within the copper tubing assemblies and the lenses have been tested to a blinding effect, just one part of what helped me to decide that these lights would serve better as high beams than as standards.  The assembly consists of two LED pads connected in series, powered through a Buck Block in line with the high beams portion of the headlight assembly.  This will allow these two LED lights to illuminate the hell out of the dark roads of the Nevada desert at night.  They do not replace the headlight’s original high beam; they will all work together for maximum illumination. 
Most of the assembly has been soldered together, except the very end caps, which are applied with an epoxy to allow access for repairs if needed.  The next step in the process is going to be building a headlight assembly that will mount a 7 inch headlight, the front turn signals, the high beams shown here and the temperature and fuel gauges at the top, facing the rider.

Dec.31, 2012
Over the last week and a half of being on vacation, I was finally able to get a significant bit of work done.  My buddy Tom came by and helped me to set up the wiring harness on the bike itself, making sure the wires were properly routed and loomed.  We added connectors to all electronics going into the false tank housing and everything leading to the front end.  Every component was put into the housing as well, including the knee operated turn signals, starter button, speedometer, kill switch, high beam pull switch, 3 indicators (high beams, neutral and oil pressure) as well as the LuminDisk that I am using as the center piece on the bike.  An additional switch has been installed since this photograph, but I’ll have more on that once the circuit is hooked up.

I've also started some of  the necessary welding elements of this project which include moving the tabs that will hold the false tank housing in place (since this housing came from an 84 Standard while the frame is expecting the housing for an 84 Interstate) and creating what is going to be the front fender.  Unfortunately, I don’t expect any more work to be accomplished now until March.

April 6, 2013
Throughout the month of March, I was able to get quite a bit work accomplished, now that I’m done with school and have some actual free time to be in the garage.  I ordered my headlight assembly and mounting brackets from Dime City Cycles and I really couldn't be happier.  Once I was able to get this mounted on the bike, I quickly realized that my plan for the copper high beam LED lights just isn't going to do the overall look of the bike any favors.  So, I've decided to nix those altogether and save them away for a future project.  As you can see here, the 7” headlight gives this a great look on its own.
I finally got the speedometer mounted into the storage tank as well as the starter button and the swipe switch that is now going to be used for the LuminDisc.  The old Harley license plate LED that I was planning to use didn't survive the assembly process, so I wound up having to order and install another.  The size was off and the style was different but it actually came out to give it a much cooler look. 
Once I was able to get most of the wiring done, I had the opportunity to trace through and find certain problem areas.  The first of which was a flasher relay for the brake light that was bad.  Since this setup is so different than the Interstate’s original, I simply pulled the relay and wired the brake lights direct and now everything works great.  I need to rewire the headlight configuration and possibly find a new switch for my high beams (since I've changed plans on that setup), but other than that, things are going quite well.
As of this date, the Goldwing is just a $7 fuel pump relay away from running.  I've still got to add the turn signals and the horns before it’ll actually be street legal and there’s quite a bit of cosmetics that I’ll be doing over the next few months, but I’m excited to have it this far.

May 4, 2013
Ladies and gentlemen, we have liftoff!  I managed to get everything in order last week and can proudly say that I took this Goldwing to Laughlin and back (190 miles round trip) without a single hiccup.  This bike rode so smoothly, I wasn't even aware of the 90 mph speeds we managed from time to time.  This is of course due in part to the fact that my speedometer is currently locked in at 25 mph.  So that is one item on the list of issues that still need to be dealt with.
 I was able to get the coolant reservoir finished, if only lashed on with a belt (a custom made belt, emblazoned with my nickname).  The seat wasn't finished either so simply stapled the leather in place on the front and sides and used a canvas belt to lash the rest of it on.  Having some problems with the rear brake, which in this case also means problems with the right front caliper as this Goldwing uses the Integrated Braking System.  No turn signals as of yet, but they are coming soon, no gas gauge and no fuel gauge.  I have a boat load of cosmetic work to do and I still need to attach the LED high beams that I built, which will take a lower mounting position than I had originally planned (thanks to a co-worker’s suggestion).  Oh, and I still need a louder horn.
On the plus side, the fuel pump relay issue turned out to be a loose wire, so no problems there.  The LuminDisc works perfect to make this bike look like a time machine.  The front fender that I welded together does a lot to add the Mad Max feel to the bike while all of the little blue lighting effects give it the proper Nikola Tesla feeling, just as I wanted.  Anyway, the pictures here show the bike just after its return from Laughlin.  Stay tuned for the continuing saga in “Finishing the Goldwing”.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Tearing down the Goldwing

November 5, 2011
I initially purchased this 1984 Honda Goldwing Interstate GL1200 for $900 after answering an ad on craigslist. I decided to take my friend Tom with me, who has a lot more experience with Honda engines than I do, and with his help I was able to decide that this shabby fixer upper would be just the thing to begin my creative endeavors. Immediately after driving the bike home in the back of my girlfriend’s truck, my friend Dan from Redwood Custom Cycles helped me to strip the bike of all the larger items such as the faring, trunk, saddlebags, storage box, and side panels.  Once I had most of the bike’s painted features sitting in a pile in my garage, I found myself smiling and satisfied, for good times were about to begin.

November 6, 2011
On the second day, Tom came by again and helped me to remove the front fender and wheel.  We also removed a multitude of small brackets as well as the tailpipe extensions and a smattering of plastic cosmetic pieces. After removing the battery, we scrubbed down the entire bike with engine degreaser.  It was immediately obvious that this would only be the first of many baths that this bike would be in need of along the way.

November 8, 2011
Having an entire week to myself, I stripped the wiring harness from the bike, along with the coolant tank, rectifier, air filter and housing, horn and light control assembly, front brake assembly, and the battery housing.  I then began the meticulous process of labeling all the electrical connections and taking photos of every bracket and connection before removal.  The wiring harness became my entire focus over the next few days, removing unwanted circuits such as various lights and indicators that I would no longer need without the faring or the trunk and saddlebag assemblies. Following along with the original schematics, I had to plot out and design a new set of schematics to go with the new wiring harness.

November 14, 2011
I added a new workbench to my garage,which I received from the generous folks at Hogs and Heifers Saloon on 3rd Street in downtown Las Vegas. This bench helped out tremendously with keeping my garage organized and my tools quick at hand. Tom showed up to help me unload the workbench from the truck and put it into my garage, as well as the new double oven that I found on craigslist for $100 to take care of my powder coating needs.

November 15, 2011
The next day, Tom came over and gave me some additional help with the wiring harness, mostly helping to identify other unneeded circuits. I made my way down to the Honda dealership and picked up a few necessities such as filters and spark plugs; otherwise I simply finished organizing my garage.

November 16, 2011
Another fruitful day saw the removal of the crash guards, radiator grill, exhaust pipes and front fender guard.  I borrowed a bike lift from Tom which has helped significantly. I was able to drain the oil and coolant as well as remove the exhaust pipes with much less difficulty than I would have had with the bike on its center stand. Draining the oil was an informative process and gave me some expectations regarding the carburetors. As soon as I removed the oil drain plug, the oil came gushing out with a consistency and color like watery mud. The oil stank of gasoline, making me realize that I would likely have my work cut out for me. Moving on for the moment, I drained the coolant and attempted to remove the radiator, but one little devil of a stripped nut stopped me.  Now I'm just waiting for a dremel tool with a saw attachment so that I can remove it.

November 18, 2011
It was a couple of days later that, with some help from Tom, Dan, and my buddy Rich, we were able to get the last major elements of the removal process taken care of.  We managed to remove the radiator without a dremel tool after all, thanks to Tom, who managed to take the radiator off around the nut.  It turned out to be the actual stud that was stripped, allowing the nut to spin freely.  Then we removed the carburetors and spent some more time cleaning the bike, now that so much more of it was exposed.

November 21, 2011
After taking a few days off from the bike to focus on the rest of life, I was able to come back with a vengeance.  I busted out Tom’s saw’s all and chopped down the exhaust pipes to a length more suitable to my desires.  Tom and I removed the front forks and steering assembly, as well as completely removing the angle sensor and its related circuitry.  Of course, in so doing, we also had to remove the handle bars and got time to do a little bit of brainstorming about where to reroute some of the wiring and cabling.  My plans for finding braided cable came to a stop when I called Russell to ask about pricing.  The good people at Russell tried to help me, but they had no remaining stock of anything for an ’84 Goldwing.  It was time to start rethinking the cosmetics design for the bike, or to find other ways to accomplish the look I wanted.

November 26, 2011
So, I spent a few days picking up gaskets, seals, fluids and odd whatnots, allowing me to really attack this bike and start the process of putting things back together.  Dan came over again and walked me through the process of cleaning out my carburetors, which were in miserable shape.  They were covered in years of solidified gasoline crust and I went through a good deal of carb cleaner trying to get these to a state that wouldn’t leave me fearing for the bike’s future.  Once I was satisfied with the cleanliness, we replaced the carbs into the frame and had almost complete success getting things hooked back up and realigned.  The only snag was when a small vacuum hose snapped (a wee bit stiff, it twas).  That joined a very small list of hoses that I need to replace before I’ll get this bike running. 
After Dan left, I replaced the radiator and dove ever deeper into the cleansing process.  Using WD-40, a wire brush and an old t-shirt, I spent a few hours scrubbing grime from the underside of the bike, not to mention every little nook and cranny that had obviously never been cleaned in the bike’s 27 years.  The beautiful thing is that I am finally putting this bike back together.  Most of the system work complete, I should be able to start working on the cosmetics and what not pretty soon.

December 3, 2011
Small little bits of work took place here and there over the next week, such as grinding down and smoothing out the cuts that I made on the tail pipes, more cleaning and scrubbing, replacing some of the brackets and relays and ordering the last of the seals and tools that I will need to finish this bike off.  I had a hard time finding the socket tool used for removing the steering column nut, but it’s now on order and should be here before too long.

December 13, 2011
I started my work today by finishing the casement of the wiring harness.  The greater part of my time today was spent cutting out the patterns and then the pieces of leather for my saddlebags.  I stripped the old seat cover and cleaned down the entire seat base.  I also stripped away the top layer of foam as it was in miserable shape.  I sized out the leather for replacing the seat cover, but the actual replacement will have to wait until I decide on what type of cushioning I’m going to use on the seat.  Cutting the leather for the saddlebags was a fun and interesting process.  I cut everything just a little bit larger than the pattern suggested to allow myself some room for error in the cutting process.  I ruined a small size screwdriver that I starting using as a hole punch , but I quickly decided to wait on punching the holes until I get my hands on some actual leather tooling supplies.