Chapter 25


Well, It is now spring here in Minnesota. We had a rather harsh, snowy, cold winter here, and even though my garage is a “tuck-under” with supplemental heat, it was very often just too difficult to work in any degree of comfort on the 3-wheeler. I did manage to build up a BMW cafe bike and start resurrecting my Ariel Square 4 deeper in the warmth of my basement. When it did get up to about 35 degrees F, I was able to set to work again. I needed to re-engineer the water pump block-off plate and the radiator bottom hose  routing, along with appropriate temp sensors. Once this was done, and the water leaks had slowed down, I was able to notice the brake line leaks still present. Repaired those and found that the hydraulic clutch set-up was not designed right! Their was a disparity between the sizes of the master and slave cylinders which made pushing in the clutch very difficult. I had a 1.125″ master and 0.75″ slave. Also, the slave setup was a “puller” and larger slaves of that type are not made. I finally designed a slave setup as a “pusher” using the type of slave originally used with the 60’s C-10 Chev Truck master I had installed.


Now it worked great….until I tried to get the column shifter to cooperate! That idea also had to be revised. I reinstalled the floor shifter that I had fashioned about 4 years ago, and I think my shifting problems are resolved.


  Ok, now how about actually starting a motor that had not run in 9 years and was now running on PROPANE.  After consultation with my LP gurus in Shakopee, I installed a second propane line to service the overflow valve which needs to be open when filling the tank. Then, I needed to fill the system with propane and check for leaks…. Good there. Tried to start… which it did in fits and stops using ether in the mixer. Then the hunt for vacuum leaks. Spraying ether around joints detected two major leaks, one at the large gas hose inlet to the mixer, and another at the mixer base. These remedied and the engine will start fine, though, there is certainly a “starting drill” which must be followed. 

(this is a closeup of the engine running for the first time….Loud!)

Now to try moving! Well it turns out that the sprockets were out of alignment when the full weight of the vehicle rested on the rear wheels, and so it threw the chain . Whenever power was applied, it sounded as though the chain was slipping a cog or two.

Here’s the FIRST rear sprocket after a few trips up and down the driveway….


So….. I added more bracing to the swing arms to minimize differences in height from side to side. CAM00766CAM00767


Still making the loud slipping noise, so I tried adding a sprocket based chain tensioner. This, I think, is a work of art, and may go some way to acting as a driveline shock absorber, but still the slipping -banging sound persisted.  CAM00763CAM00764CAM00762

Getting the tensioner perfectly aligned required more brackets, and then an ingenious trick! I added a “trapped” bolt to the upright bracket which I could move around in an oversized hole drilled in the lower run of the swingarm. This allowed me to approximate the position I wanted without the encumbrance of all sorts of external clamps. I simply moved the bolt around and tightened it up with a fender washer and nut from above when satisfied. Welding could then easily proceed! CAM00769CAM00768I


noticed that the only place where any slack or movement could still occur was where I rubber mounted the differential. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATheoretically, when the front sprocket torques the top chain in an effort to go forward, the action acts to pull the chain side of the differential backward. This movement is allowed by the rubber mounting, setting up a sort of standing wave. 

Snapshot 1 (5-20-2014 10-16 AM)

Looking at the rear sprocket, you can see it in the video grab….

Yesterday morning I slid underneath and removed both rubber bushings, replacing them with solid steel tubes.


Wanted to test my theory out, but it was raining like snot outside. The weather has not been on my side!

 ( run-down on the car)

Today, I took it down the drive and determined that when I made the steel spacers to replace the rubber ones, it changed the chain tension and the slipping was still there. A lot of slack needed to be dealt with, so once again I unbolted and adjusted the rear axle until the chain was quite taut.  I brought the tire pressure up to 44# thinking that perhaps all the traction from that 10″ wide tire might be counter-productive.

My last 2 gingerly driven trips up the drive resulted in no slipping, though I am not pushing the issue for the moment. I want to “drive” in to the Memorial day car show!

Ahem…..Bob called me and asked about doing more “road hardening” tonight…..

So, with Bob driving chase truck and using the video, we took a little ride on flat roads. It handled ok and shifted fine. Really no slipping either. I really need to go to our favorite huge parking lot early Sunday morning and analyze the performance much more, but this was really a shot in the arm! 27 vehicles lended parts of themselves to build this thing!

Here is start-up and backing out!

Here is the road-test video!


  1. Lauri says:

    Wow what can you say about this?

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