How-To: Kensun HID Conversion Kit Installation

Prelewd:

Flicker. Flicker. Pop. Crap! Let there be light, I think to myself as I flick the high-beam switch to shed some lumens on the situation. My turn-signals only work when they feel up to the task, my emergency flashers have given up the ghost a long time ago, and the high-beam switch needs three-fingered coercion to be pushed into the “on” position. In short, my left-hand combination switch is an embarrassment and needs replacing. However, I really am not up to spending $228 plus shipping and handling on a collection of space-age buttons. After all, that’s a third of the cash required for that Dainese leather jacket I’ve been lusting over, or a new rear tire, or almost the cash needed to procure a Power Commander on sale. I can think of a multitude of things to waste $228 on, a multifunction switch isn’t one of them.

I ride around in semi-darkness for about a week or so, before it finally gets on my nerves. The Beemer’s headlight throws what looks like the image of a ghost rider’s full-face helmet on the road before me. It’s starting to creep me out; never mind that I can’t see shit and had almost run over a steaming pile of fresh deer guts one evening. I wondered where the rest of it was…

It’s time to buy an H7, 12V, 55W bulb to replace the burnt out low-beam stocker. I look around online and am not happy to see that one of those bright, bluish-white HIDesque jobs costs around $30. Hell, that’s a pair of knee pucks, right there. How much are HID conversion kits anyway? I go look and find very good reviews on a company by the name of Kensun. Never heard of them, but for $55 + $9.95 S&H, I’m going to pull the trigger on a set of 8000K Xenon eyeballs with slim-fit aluminum ballasts.

Three days later, I almost trip over the box on my doorstep on the way out for a high-velocity pleasure cruise. Needless to say I didn’t go for a ride that day. It’s time to wrench. Yet, again. It’s really quite the tragedy. I now own two bikes (yes, I bought a dedicated race bike while I was on my hiatus), do twice the wrenching and ride half as much. Hand me a pit crew shirt. Hell!

Preppy:

It’s easier and less frustrating if you take the nose off the bike, although you could do this without bothering with the plastics. To remove the nose, you’ll have to take the following fasteners off of both sides and nothing more (unless you absolutely insist on it):

· Unplug headlight connectors

· Remove mirrors

· The two screws above the headlight assembly

· The two screws on the uppers, forward of the BMW roundel

· Top screw on tank trim panel

· Lower plastic rivet which secures the inner fairing cover to the tank trim panel

· The three top-most screws on the inner fairing panel

Carefully work all the interconnecting parts free, and then pull the nose forward until it comes free. Take the damned thing inside and get comfortable with a beer and some power tools. 😉

Mod:

The OEM protective screw-on caps have to be modded to allow for the additional wires and plugs of the HID bulb’s wiring harness that connects the bulb to its ballast and the bike’s factory power plug. The best tool to use for the job is a step drill bit. The HID kit is pretty much plug and play.

1. Unscrew one of the protective caps and stick the thing in a vise.

2. Drill a hole in the center of the cap, just big enough to allow you to shove the biggest of the three connectors through. If the hole is too big, the HID bulb’s rubber grommet will be too loose to allow for an adequate seal against the elements; if it’s too small – you guessed it — the connector won’t fit.

3. Once you have drilled the correct size hole, smooth out the rough edges. I used my Dremel tool and one of the orange grinding stone bits for this.

4. Rinse, repeat for the remaining cap.

Bulbous:

1. Unplug the power plug from the back of the bulb.

2. Gently push on the lower two retaining tabs and remove the stock bulb from its socket by lifting the bottom out first. Do NOT use a screwdriver to pry the tabs open, or you’ll spend 30 minutes bending them back into useful shape to get a tight fit later. Ask me how I know… This is important! The bulbs have to be fully seated and be tight. Any rattling around in there and you’ll burn one out in let’s say… two commutes. Again, I don’t wanna talk about it…

3. Unplug the spade connectors from their plug and set the bulb aside.

4. Take one of the HID bulbs out of its protective case by unscrewing the top and gently pulling the base off of the wiring harness. Be careful not to touch the bulb or its burn-out time later. For once, I didn’t learn that one the hard way. And no, it is not an old wives’ tale that fingerprints, debris and various other contaminants will create hot spots and shorten the lifespan of a bulb. It’s true. It’s true. HID bulbs have a very thin wire running along the outside from their tips to their bases. Don’t mess with that either.

5. Route the harness through the modded stock cap and seat the grommet into that (hopefully correctly sized) hole which you’ve drilled a little while ago.

6. Install the HID bulb in the headlight socket. The little tab goes into the upper retention tab first, then push the bottom into the lower two retention tabs. The bulb should seat properly and should be in there tightly and flush against the socket.

7. Plug the spade connectors into the power plug. I don’t think polarity matters, but to be on the safe side, I plugged the blue wire into the slot which was previously occupied by the yellow wire marked with a white line.

The rule of thumb with same colored wires is that the one with the markings is usually hot (+) and the other ground (-). But what do I know? I’m a girl who’s scared of lightning.

8. Find a suitable place for the power plug inside the headlight housing. Pull any excess wiring through the rubber grommet, you should have the excess on the OUTSIDE of the socket, with just enough slack to avoid chafing or stress on the wires.

9. Screw the modded cap back on.

10. Rinse, repeat. You’ve got one more to do.

Ballast:

1. Get your hands on some industrial strength Velcro and stick some to the back of each of the aluminum ballasts. I prefer the loop side on the bike, in this case. Do as you wish, but please clean both surfaces first with some 50/50 alcohol-water mix or any other suitable chemistry. The Velcro won’t stick for long if you don’t. If your shit falls off at a buck-fitty-plus, you have nobody but yourself to blame.

2. Decide how you are going to route the wires and determine the placement of the ballasts. Clean the spot, peel the backing off of the Velcro and stick it to it.

3. Plug in all three connectors. They are all keyed, so no worries about which end goes with what.

4. Rinse, repeat. One more side to hook up.

Fused:

· Take the nose back outside and reinstall on bike. If you have fasteners left over, and followed the optional step above to booze it up while you work, you’ll have to stop here and continue after you sleep it off. Otherwise, read on.

· If you have fasteners left over and you didn’t follow the optional step above to booze it up, I dunno what to tell you other than I hope it doesn’t fall off at an inopportune moment. Please continue…

I should have told you this earlier, but if you had read the installation instructions that came with the kit, you would not be in this predicament right now. I know, I know. It’s downright un-American to read instructions, manuals, traffic signs, or indicate a lane change by using proper signaling via actuation of the blinkers.

· Replace the 7.5A fuses in positions 4 and 5 with 20A fuses.

Yes, I had to run to the auto parts store to hook myself up. Half-blind and 15 minutes before closing time, Miss Busa could be found squidding it up the road with her Hello Kitty Pirate wallet shoved down the back of her pants, an iPhone snug as a bug in her bra and not a stitch of gear on her other than the legally required lid. ATGATT no more! As luck would have it, I had one 20A fuse, so I just unplugged the stock headlight connector on the high-beam side and went to the store. Glad I did, too. The two dudes working there followed me out the store and drooled all over my baby while I was putting in the newly acquired 20A fuse and reconnected the high-beam connector.

· Wipe drool from bike once you get home.

I would say, go for a test ride, but if you’re like me, you already did. Only one thing left to do:

· Adjust the headlights according to the instructions in the owner’s manual (or the ripped off BMW service manual I know y’all have downloaded) and be prepared to be illuminated!

Tying Up Loose Ends:

After you’ve made sure everything is working properly, route the wires to your liking, secure with cable ties and seal the rubber grommets with a suitable substance. I used Clear RTV Silicone Adhesive & Sealant. I should have used the black stuff.

Review to follow… after I’ve put some miles on these puppies.

Picture Menu:


-1+3=Weeee!

Excuse the unusual rambled writing and the lack of pictures. I just didn’t have time to take any. I suppose there’s always time to do a proper write-up with some decent pictures when I put the bike back into street trim, when I’m not so pressed for time. With that said, here we go…

I almost didn’t do it, but then I made myself. I had a plan, I needed to stick to it, even though I’m currently a day behind schedule in race prep. It took me six hours to do the gearing change. SIX stinkin’ HOURS! I’m really getting tired of this mechanic’s gig. My mileage has dropped off significantly since I came up with this crackpot idea to go motorcycle road racing. I’m working more on my bike than I actually ride the thing. I should just slap a Harley sticker on my tail…

Work. Wrench. Sleep. Repeat.

That is not how it’s supposed to be…

Wrench. Race. Fight in the pits.

Not quite…

Ride. Eat. Sleep. Repeat.

There. That’s all I ever wanted to do. With a (huge) emphasis on RIDE. But it was the natural progression of things… it had to end up where it did. Eventually. The street isn’t my playground anymore. The street is boring. The street doesn’t challenge my will to learn and to improve. I need to move forward. I need to progress. I need to improve my riding skill. I need to get faster, smoother, better. But I digress, as I so often do…

I took the lowers off, then the sprocket cover. There was so much gunk under there, the chain was actually touching it; a redneck version of an automatic chain oiler. It took me two hours to get all the mess out of there and make it look like new again. What can I say? I’m a woman and women have to clean while we’re “in there”. I really can’t help myself either. I’m too anal to skip it. I suppose that’s why it always takes me forever to do stuff on my bike. I either get sidetracked or I need to clean something. Speaking of which, I also cleaned all the other parts that I had disassembled and made liberal use of anti-seize when I put all the stuff back together. Then I cleaned yet again. *sigh*

There is no way I could go up one tooth from stock in the front. There is no room, unless one gets rid of the internal chain guard, but then there’s a huge risk of ending up with a hole in the engine case should the chain ever break. No thanks, I think I’ll pass. I definitely could go down one more tooth though, to 15T.

Pinion Nut

The 125Nm bastard of a sprocket nut in a size 32mm with a nuisance of a safety washer. And look at all that gunk! That will need some soaking in Kerosene and a thorough application of elbow grease.

The safety washer that keeps the pinion nut from backing out is a pain in the arse to remove! First you have to somehow bend the thing down, away from the nut without scratching or bending or breaking something else, so that you may spin the nut off and remove the annoying washer and the sprocket; and when you’re all done, you have to bend the silly thing back against two of the six flat sides of the pinion nut. I’ll have to add this thing to my regular shopping list of consumable items, which already contains such things as oil drain gaskets, fairing screws and washers, lock nuts, spring clips, and rubber grommets. Once I finally bent the dreaded safety washer flat, I put the bike in gear, sat on it, and used the rear brake to hold the wheel in place while I loosened the nut enough with my breaker bar enough so I could spin it off the rest of the way with my regular ratchet.

The rear wheel is familiar territory to me, not that I ever took the actual sprocket off its carrier, but taking the wheel off doesn’t take me all that long anymore, I’ve done it so many times. Same with adjusting chain tension and alignment. I’m even starting to remember the fastener sizes and the torque values. The new 47T aluminum sprocket fit just fine. It looks like there could be clearance for running a sprocket all the way up to maybe a size 49T, maybe even bigger if I ditch the plastic chain guard. But this assumption can be easily verified with a few measurements, now that I have seen the final drive in its entirety and how the different parts relate to each other.

Today was definitely a day of firsts. I broke my first chain with the chain breaker kit I had gotten from Cycle Gear on Black Friday.

I also riveted my first chain, which was a little more difficult, since the instructions were a bit unclear and I had extra parts that they didn’t mention. But I figured it out by thinking my way through it. I verified that I actually made the pins spread once they were through the link, by measuring them with my digital calipers. They are comparable in size to the other pins in the chain, so I think I might be able to trust my handy work. The master link is stiffer than the others, but it does not kink, I checked that, too.

But it does have me a little worried. Same worry I went through with my first tire change. Same worry I had with my first stem valve removal and install. Riding and checking the new part(s) often has proven that I did the job properly; well, that the result of my work was proper anyway. If the tire hasn’t fallen off its rim in 3,000 miles, I think it’s safe to assume that “I used enough rim glue”. If the tire pressure hasn’t dropped in over a week after switching to angled aluminum racing valves, it’s definitely got the air of a proper install about it.

I also calculated my own gearing and decided on the final drive ratio I am going to run at the Nashville Superspeedway. I relied solely on what I had learned from Ed Bargy at his racing school and used a gearing calculator to see how the change would affect things, at least in theory.

I better get a pair of angled pliers so I can get that blasted pinion nut safety washer off and back on in less than 30 minutes. Further, whereas the rear axle nut has a tightening torque of 100Nm, the pinion nut has a tightening torque of 125Nm. Which means, I’m in the market for yet another tool: A slightly more robust torque wrench, since mine only goes up to 102.8Nm. So, for now the proper torquing procedure is as follows: Tighten the fastener until you hear a click and then give it a little extra after. I also noticed I have lost my 18mm hex socket or never had one. I have a 17mm and a 19mm, but no 18? Have to score one of those bad boys before I leave for Nashville on Friday, so I can properly torque down my rear sprocket nuts before the race.

I geared up for a test ride. I was a somewhat anxious. I didn’t know what to expect. Well, I did know what to expect in theory. Real world application is usually a little different, however; and the interpretation thereof is highly subjective. I knew that I would be seeing higher RPMs for any given speed than I was used to. I assumed that my speedo would be even more inaccurate than it already was due to running a 190/50 rear tire instead of the stock size of 190/55.

On a side note: The stock 2010 BMW S1000RR does not have the high inaccuracy percentages in speedometer readings that plague all the Japanese bikes; for example my 2009 Suzuki Hayabusa was reading fast by over 9%. The difference between the Pirate in stock form and my GPS was about 1%.

I also knew that I had traded top end speed for some low end grunt and that the midrange would probably be torquier, too.

I decided to go ahead and do some preliminary road testing of my new throat mic and the universal Finger Grip RAM mount for my Droid X, since I needed a GPS to verify my actual road speed anyway. But that is for another post at another time. As it turned out, the speedo reading wasn’t affected at all, at least not where I could tell the difference. This observation leads me to venture a guess and assume that the ABS’s rear wheel speed sensor is used to calculate road speed and mileage. That the only reason why my speedo is off by about 5 miles or so at cruising speeds is that by using a differently sized tire I changed a constant in the formula and that this constant can be reprogrammed to actually match a differently sized tire. I had thought about asking my BMW dealer about this before. But why bother? I only have one Hayabusa-sized rear tire left, and I’ll burn that one up in one race weekend. Then the problem will take care of itself. =D

As I dropped down the curb and turned out of my driveway into the street, I realized when I came to the stop sign, that I had already forgotten the main reason I was going for a ride: the gearing change. Oops… I just peeled out of there like I usually do. Controllable, then; I’d say. Looks like I won’t have any worries after all.

After I turn onto the main road I verify that the DTC is in ‘Race’ mode, as it should be, and then I lay into the throttle a little. She’s definitely more ferocious sounding! Of course, that’s to be expected, the poor girl is now screaming along at higher RPMs than what she’s been asked to do before. I know I’m going to pay for this shift toward badassery in the Pirate’s attitude with plenty o’ Rum. I have a feeling she’s going to be a lot thirstier than she used to be. She’s a loudmouth now, too. Also a definite side effect of the higher RPMs required.

I like the way the new race chain transfers power. The feedback transmitted through the frame seems slightly different. Smoother. Less pronounced, maybe? Seems that shifting is even a little easier. But maybe I’m just in my groove tonight.

I had also decided in favor of the 520 conversion. From the factory, the S1000RR sports a size 525 118-link o-ring chain that runs on a 17-tooth countershaft sprocket and a 44-tooth rear sprocket. My bike’s stock chain was made by Regina. I don’t know if this is true for all 2010 S bikes, but if it is like the OEM tires, then there might be different brand chains, too.

Another superfluous side note: There are at least two different pairs of shoes that an S1000RR could be wearing on the showroom floor, at least to my personal knowledge. I lucked out and mine came with a set of Metzelers RaceTec Interact K3. I liked those tires, but I just can’t afford them. The other option that I spotted were Conti Attacks, but I can’t remember the exact model nor the compound.

I never liked the stock chain. The first time it rained, it rusted and after trying a few things to polish the oxidation back out, I finally gave up. It also stretched way too much, way too soon. I constantly had to adjust the tension. This behavior eventually dropped off to infrequent, though. The chain also feels jerky and loose in the upper adjustment range (around 40mm), it definitely seems to perform better on the tight end of the scale (around 30mm). I still don’t like it. I already like the RK chain tons better, and I adjusted it to about 39mm, which is looser than I would normally prefer.

Maybe the 520 conversion has something to do with the different feedback I’m getting from “down below”? The 520’s links are not as wide and the rear sprocket is aluminum, so I know the entire setup is lighter than the stock components, but I couldn’t tell you how significant the weight reduction is. I’ll weigh the stuff when I revert back to my street setup, just for curiosity’s sake.

My persistent worry of changing my bike into an uncontrollable rear-tire-smoking wheelie-machine was also grossly unfounded. I managed to ride her just fine, it looks as though I have learned a little throttle control along the way after all. I couldn’t bring myself to do a full-throttle run, though. It was dark and, although pretty late for a Monday, there was still too much traffic on the road for me. I do know that acceleration is much more aggressive with the new setup. Whereas before she blew your socks off, now you better hang the fugg on!

I think I’m going to like the setup I chose for the Nashville Superspeedway. It will make the track easier to run, that’s for sure. It may even help with my lap times. I did a few corner-entry exercises while I was out there on my 12-mile test ride from about a ton or so down to 50. This will work in my favor, definitely. I think this will also help me to stay in the proper RPM range, it feels better “up there” now. For whatever reason, I’m also not as nervous about downshifting… sometimes, for fear I won’t be able to complete my downshift before I have to turn-in, I just say screw it and don’t and then end up lugging through my silly ass through the turn, because now I definitely don’t want to downshift. LOL I know that this is related to my tendency of starting my corner-entry way too early and then taking my sweet time to slow down, so that I can shift and throw it over. Maybe it’s because I want to do one thing at a time. Maybe it is a holdover kink I had acquired when momentarily losing the rear on that blasted CBR600RR during a badly executed downshift with no slipper-clutch to save me from myself. Up until that point I didn’t even know what a slipper clutch was supposed to prevent. *moan*

I don’t know. I’m working on it, am slowly getting better at it. I will get this under control, but it’ll take a few more baby steps before I’m happy with my corner entry. I practiced doing all of it a little quicker and a little less sequential, if you will, because for some odd reason the new gearing makes me more confident… I really don’t get it. Oh well, why question it? It’s good. So it shall be until the next kink has to be worked out. This has got to be worth a second or two at least. 🙂 We’ll see later this year at JenningsGP. I want to get below 1:30. That’s five seconds. Can I do it???


Evoluzione Cyclesports Quick Release Pins

At last! No more twisting two T25 screws until the wrist aches and their heads are stripped, no more jiggling to get them seated right before tightening them up again, either; and a lot less risk of scratching the paint when removing the seat.

At $25 plus S&H they are overpriced, but so are the OEM screws of which I already had to replace one due to stripped threads. These puppies turn what used to be a three-minute job into mere seconds.

After shopping around, the only place I could find them, that I trust to place an online order with was Sierra BMW. I couldn’t find them cheaper anywhere else either.

The install is simple. Just put some blue thread lock on the pins and screw them in. I used mechanics gloves and just tightened them up with my fingers. Some have suggested to cut a slot into the tip with a rotary tool to make installing and removal easier.

So far, I am happy with the purchase. The pins haven’t worked loose; and the seat doesn’t feel any different to me. The ability to get under there with just a quick “push ‘n’ yank” is well worth the cash I dropped on these.

Let’s see how they hold up on the track next weekend.

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Miss Busa Stamp of Approval

Miss Busa Tested & Approved: 4/5

I’m giving this product one heart less for its price point. Also, Evoluzione should update their pins to a slotted design, to make removal easier without risk of damage to the product and make those of us happy who like to torque stuff to proper values.

UPDATE:

I will have to amend my review after crash-testing the quick-release pins during racing. They performed up to expectation during a low-speed lowside at about 50 mph; however, when I tucked the front end at about 120+ mph, the seat came off during the bike’s slide into the gravel trap and the battery was ejected. The battery was found hanging off its heavy-gauge ground wire, which kept it from becoming a projectile missile. All other connections had been severed. Fortunately, no damage was done to any electrical and electronic components, and I was able to bend the battery terminals back into serviceable shape. However, it did damage the seat, which is still serviceable though.

I would only recommend these for racing if you have your battery properly secured or are running one of those 2-ounce high-performance cells. I will not change my four-hearts rating, since this failure may have been due to the battery forcing the seat off the pins rather than the seat coming loose and enabling the battery to dislodge. I will, however, properly secure the electrolyte cannon ball before the next race. Securing the battery is a tech requirement for ECTA, but not for WERA. I should have had this done already, regardless. I have the hardware for the project lying around at home. So much for just doing the bare minimum.


Wired The Wireless

Mr. Slow wants us to communicate when we are riding together. I want my tunes when we’re cruising. The two don’t intermix well. Helmet speakers make your tunes sound like they are being broadcast from the local bar’s urinal; BT helmets are expensive and the ChatterBoxes have proprietary plugs, which could be modified with the pinout I have acquired, but the whole mess just seemed to be not worth it. I have a GPS mounted to my bike, because I do get lost more often than not and I like to ride with it, since my speedo is off and it tells me my actual speed. I am also a curious kitten. I like statistics and modal averages. And my GPS fulfills that need for numbers, when I feel the urge.

My Droid X can do all of these things, with the right adapters and software. It also takes care of the switching between incoming phone calls (which in my case will be sent straight to VM). The Droid X does this very well, by pausing your playback and crossfading the volume (as you have it set for the individual sources) to the call.

Droid X Cradle-Case Setup

The Case: Trident Kraken in red for Droid X; The Cradle: RAM Adjustable Finger Grip Holder

My chosen setup consists of the Trident Kraken, a ruggedized two-part case (hard shell split case with a soft silicone skin/bumper) which is weather resistant and keeps dust and grime out of my phone; and the RAM Mount Adjustable Rugged Universal Finger Grip Holder Cradle (part number: RAM-HOL-UN4U).

All I need now is a USB-to-Powerlet coiled cable in just the right length (so it won’t touch the bike’s painted tank cover or put unnecessary pressure on the plug) or maybe I’ll just go with a battery harness instead and leave the Powerlet outlet free for charging, tire inflation or powering/charging the occasionally carried gadget.

Powerlet Plug

My panel-mounted low-profile Powerlet 12V outlet with the flexible and rugged Stubby Powerlet-To-Cigarette Socket Adapter and a standard micro USB car charger. This obviously isn't going to work long term.

The whisper-capable, sniper-grade throat mic has shipped on Monday and I am waiting impatiently for it to come in. Mr. Slow wants to see how well my chosen option works and if it turns out to be satisfactory to his picky standards, he will want one, too.

I already have the signal splitter to use separate devices for audio and microphone, which work great, according to Mr. Slow’s recent test. This will take care of three major issues I’ve been having with bike-to-bike communication setups: The speakers are crap for anything other than voice or gadget announcements (think GPS routing or radar detector warning beeps); I can’t wear hearing protection; and the microphones are practically useless over anything but the most relaxed of cruising speeds.

Fortunately, I talked Mr. Slow out of buying another set of communicators or two Bluetooth enabled helmets, which leaves me with the same problem of crappy sound, unless the setup lets me use my Big Ears stereo plugs, which most of them don’t. The ones that do (think StarCom, for example) are hideously expensive (but I know, eventually the hubby will want the StarCom unit, for a more technophile-esque integration of all of our must-have gadget needs and I am cool with that, but not at this time, where so much other stuff has priority).


A Pirate’s Dress Rehearsal

Just a quick update on the Pirate’s new skirts: The S1000RR’s Armour Bodies race bodywork. The five-piece fairings are supposed to be fitted before applying paint, but I had to work with the weather and my schedule, hence I’m fitting them after the color-keyed base coat. Of course, I scratched the paint and chipped it in places, but I had no hopes of this turning out like a professional looking paint job to begin with, given that I have neither the right equipment nor a good place to paint. I have not the patience required either. All I can hope for is that nobody gets too close. =D

AB (Left)

A few tweaks are needed. I have to cut out a little section on the belly pan, since it is touching the pipes underneath, which I am assuming isn’t really a good thing. The cutout for the windshield on the right needs to be made a little larger, so the mounting hole on that side will line up correctly. I’m also still trying to figure out why the lowers and the uppers don’t line up any closer. They are aligned perfectly on the horizontal plane, but not vertically. There seems to be too large a gap, and since the DZUS fasteners are the clip-on style, I really don’t want to have too much tension on them, for fear they may work loose eventually.

I also forgot to order mirror block-offs to secure the one-piece uppers to the bike’s fairing stay. Doh! And I’m debating as to wether or not to get a dark smoke windscreen. I’m thinking about it. It would look awesome on the Pirate when she’s wearing her “street clothes”. I’m sticking with OEM though, I really am not going to mess with the aerodynamics of the bike. I like the way it is performing and I’m not taking any chances with aftermarket parts, even if they say they are identical to the OEM windscreen. Besides, I’m still not over the way the Zero Gravity windscreen shattered when I crashed my ‘Busa. Zero Gravity does not hide that fact. They tell you that their screens are neither DOT approved, nor for street use; but knowing and seeing are two different things. I’ll stick to OEM this time and pay the premium BMW demands.

Since pictures are worth a thousand or so of my distracted words, here are a few for your viewing pleasure…

This is a slow moving process. My allergies are making me comatose shortly after I step outside, I am starting to have difficulty breathing, my chest feels so tight, I can’t seem to get enough oxygen; and I am really starting to get worried that I might not get everything done in time for my first race weekend in Nashville.

Mr. Slow also has informed me that he may not get the day off he had requested, so I’m again looking at going by myself. I am desperately hoping that I’ll luck out again, as I did with the weekend at JenningsGP. I don’t know if I have the testicular fortitude to go it alone. I’m ok once I’m on the track doing my thing. Everything before the green flag, however, is scary; and if that isn’t backwards, I don’t know what is. I’m a freak. A freak, I tell ya!

Because this girl won’t know if she can go the distance…

Reluctantly crouched at the starting line,
Engines pumping and thumping in time.
The green light flashes, the flags go up.
Churning and burning, they yearn for the cup.
They deftly maneuver and muscle for rank,
Fuel burning fast on an empty tank. (<~ @MsXXFastRR =D)
Reckless and wild, they pour through the turns.
Their prowess is potent and secretly stern.
As they speed through the finish, the flags go down.
The fans get up and they get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
All alone in her time of need.
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse,
He’s going the distance.

No trophy, no flowers, no flashbulbs, no wine,
He’s haunted by something he cannot define.
Bowel-shaking earthquakes of doubt and remorse,
Assail him, impale him with monster-truck force.
In his mind, he’s still driving, still making the grade.
She’s hoping in time that her memories will fade.
‘Cause he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s striving and driving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

‘Cause he’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
All alone in her time of need.
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
He’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse.
He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
He’s going the distance.

The Distance by Cake


All Ye Who Enter Here…

…be covered in a mysterious dust. I have learned that when you hold the sprayer too far away from the substrate to be pain(t)fully adorned and the stuff dries on the way from the nozzle to said substrate, it creates a nuisance called “finishing dust”, and it settles as a fine powder EVERYWHERE. I have been fairy dusted sans sparkles. I went from having the paint run and sag (yes, another term I picked up along the way) to drying prematurely. Damned be the Venturi principle and evaporation. But I am getting better at this, I think.

There may be hope for me yet.

As you can tell from the picture in the previous post concerning Project Six-Foot-Paint-Job, you can see that the grey primer made the semi-translucent white paint appear silver. After numerous more coats, the result is yet a lighter shade of the same. I already scraped on the amount of paint I bought and cannot afford to continue layering until I have the desired result. Off to Advance Auto to buy some rattle cans to take care of the problem. I come home with one can of Duplicolor Perfect Match in Oxford White for Ford (because it was on clearance) and two cans of the stuff in red. I had the foresight (for once) to expect the same problem with the uppers, which are to be Kandy Apple Red, in addition to worrying about not having enough of the good, expensive paint to finish the job. The loot came with a price adjustment (for the clearance item, which wasn’t on clearance after all) and a 10% store discount. I suppose the young kid behind the counter was fairly impressed with Momma Busa (ugh!) laying down some paint on a set of race glass on her “race bike”.

I come home and apply the first coat. Awesome. This stuff is actually easier to control than those blasted Preval sprayers. And it’s dry to the touch in 15 minutes. Awesome. I apply another coat and promptly run out of paint before the desired coverage is achieved. Argh! Now what?

Back to the store. One more can acquired; I walk out, shove the thing down the front of my riding jacket and hop back on the bike. Back at home, I manage to run out again. WTH?!? Didn’t it say 12 square feet of coverage per can somewhere?!? Crapola! This stuff is almost $7 per can, and it’s not even a full-sized rattler. Now I’m up $25 in the project budget. This puts me over the $200 mark. I need a new game plan.

I get back into my gear and scoot on down I-20 to the Home Depot to score some better priced rattle cans in bigger sizes. I grab four 11-ounce cans of glossy Apple Red, one can of semi-gloss white, and four cans of Black Night Metallic for the bellypan, which originally I was going to paint the same color as the uppers. Another $33 gone. I actually had to show ID for the metallic paint. I guess that’s the Huffer’s Delight Special. The girl probably thought that’s what I was going to do with it, since I came strolling up with an armful of spray paint and when I tried to pay, my card was declined. Ooops… I pulled the wrong one. No money in that account. She was getting noticeably uncomfortable when she told me what was going on and asked if I had another form of payment. Sure I do! I whipped out an identical looking piece of plastic, flashed it, then swiped it through the machine. Bingo! The girl with the Hello Kitty hooded backpack, the dirty pink motorcycle jacket wearing skinny jeans and combat boots who dropped four credit cards when she tried to pull the correct one to pay for her aerosol arsenal is going home with some Huffer’s Choice in red, white, and (ID required, please) metallic black.

Dumb & Dumber: The Mutt Cutts VanBack at home, in my makeshift paint booth, wearing my anti-huffing organic vapor respirator, blowing the evil stink out of the screened window via a floor fan faced outwards to suck instead of blow, I notice that I have all manner of little hairs sticking out of my paint job. Freaking cats… their fur gets everywhere. I also notice what looks to be carpet fibers, larger dust particles and some of my own hair stuck to my fairing pieces. Muthafff…..!!! If I don’t do something about this, and soon, my race fairings are going to look like the motorcycle version of the Mutt Cutts van in Dumb & Dumber.

I amuse myself for a while with a set of Mr. Slow’s tweezers, because I can’t find my stash of old ones. I thought I had them in my trusty tool box, but no deal. This doesn’t really work… I take one gloved finger and lightly rub the spot the hair has landed, and it promptly falls apart and turns into little tiny fragments which I can just brush off. Yeah, baby! It is as Joe has told me from his experience acquired during a short, but intense brush with automotive painting, your hand is a very finely gritted sanding tool. Works wonders when wet-sanding as a final smoothing of primer, before the first coat of color. It takes me a few minutes to give all three pieces their depilatory treatment, so I can continue painting.

I guess now I know why paint booths have huge exhaust fans and air filtration systems: To avoid paint jobs ending up looking something like this:
Furry Crotch Rocket

Now I wait about 24 hours to lightly sand the pieces with 1000-grit sandpaper to smooth them out and then spray a few coats of the Pearlized White AutoAir color and hope that this time I’ll get the desired result. I suppose, through the act of cheating with rattlers, this has now turned into a four-stage paint job. Primer, color-keyed basecoat, midcoat pearlized effect, clearcoat.

Stay tuned for more updates live from Casa Busa, proudly hosting the House of Huff.

Fender and Tail Pieces

The fender and tail section pieces are ready for their real color: Pearlized White. A little light sanding with 1000 grit may just make this shit look good. Keep your fingers crossed.

Later the same night…

Here are some progress piccies:

A little past the witching hour…

…the deed is done. Sealed in red. The basecoat for the candy color is drying. The pieces will be fit tomorrow and I’ll drill the holes for the windscreen and for the six DZUS fasteners that hold the bellypan to the uppers. A little touchup on both pieces and a clear coat later, the bellypan will be finished. One down. Four to go.

Yes, you are supposed to fit the pieces first, then drill the holes and after making sure everything fits just so with clearance all the way around, only then are you supposed to paint the stuff. However, I have to work around this crap weather we are currently enjoying in the fine state of Georgia and my work schedule, so we will just have to see how bad it really fouls things up to go not quite by the book.

One-Piece Race Uppers

The one-piece race uppers painted in yet another Ford color by the name of Duplicolor Perfect Match Cardinal Red. It took both of my cans. I don't think I'll be needing the other four that I got at the hardware store. That'll put $16 back into my pocket.

I’m beginning to think that this might just turn out to be a three foot job, but with my luck something’s going to go south at some point in the near future and ruin my day. But it’s best not to think of it, lest I jinx the whole affair.


The Paint Peeled Off

Paint Booth

I don't think Mr. Slow is going to like what I've done with the home theater: Blackout curtain is gone, speakers disconnected, furniture moved and there's plastic everywhere, with the faint smell of automotive paint reducer in the air. OK, so my plastic job isn't as good as Dexter's, but it works.


…the fender. Literally. It’s cold and raining. Winter is back. The rain is normal for spring time in Georgia, but the cold? Brrrrr…. it’s not supposed to rain when it’s cold! And that’s final. I moved the paint operations into the theater room. Made myself a homemade “paint booth” and used half a roll of painters tape to keep the plastic stuck to the ceiling, for how long I do not know.

Of course I got the runs on my first round. Damn! Had to wait ’til the paint snot dried so I could sand the crap back flat. As I was finishing the paint started peeling off like dead skin on a beach bum’s three-day old sunburn. Curses! I have a feeling I might have to order some more paint, if my patience nor technique improve. I have half a mind to call around to get a quickie at a local auto body shop, but my tenacious tendency to not be beat by some silly setback prevents me to do that (just yet).

Plan B: Run the stock fender and lay down the line in primer grey on race weekend!

Fender Job

We are not going to talk about this any more. No. This is NOT ART... but this is ridiculous!

Now, while the paint is drying between coats I get to go play around in the cold and wet, putting my bike back into “no, I’m not racing this thing” shape, so there will be no silly questions asked tomorrow when she goes in for her 12K service 2,400 miles late. Probably should put the antifreeze back in, too. I’ve been running around with Water Wetter enhanced distilled water in the radiator since JenningsGP.

“What do you mean I have holes in a bunch of my fasteners?!?”
“Safety wiring? Racing? What?”
“No, sir. I don’t know how they got there. They were already there when I got it. I thought this funny, since I don’t remember ordering the pre-drilled model.”
“You mean you stick wires through those holes and your stuff doesn’t fall off? Genius! Leave it to the Germans…”

Pearlized White

Pearlized White: This is what it is SUPPOSED to look like when it's done. Yeah, good luck with that.