Weekend of riding

June 27, 2010

My friends from elementary/high school visited from Houston this weekend towing a trailer full of bikes for a weekend of street and offroad riding. Had a really fun time, I’m loving my new gearing!
So much fun!

Jason's R6

Stephen's R1, Ian's CBR 600, My CBR 929 after running Lime Creek

Ian, Jason, Stephen taking a break from riding

Stephen and Ian out at Cross Creek on Sunday

Ian and Jason

Stephen catching some nice air in the background

Stephen does a wheelie on his dirt bike

Jason and Stephen tear it up on my quads



April 26, 2010

Now that the YFZ is running again (albeit with clutch issues) and the Honda’s oil reservoir tank was tig’d back together Ian and I have been out to the track every weekend we can get free. This last session I completely cleared the first jump and landed on the flat part, I love my quad! Ian is getting much better through the corners even though he has a power and cornering disadvantage on the smaller/narrower 400ex. The YFZ’s rear brake continues not to work, so I can’t use it to my advantage in the corners, although my quad is wider. With the new exhaust and clutch the YFZ hauls ass!

Here are some videos of Ian and I on the track.
Cross Creek with new exhaust and clutch

Ian drifts/does donuts around me on my quad

Houston’s Three Palms river track, with old clutch and stock exhaust

Me drifting around on the YFZ

Sexy with the new exhaust

Long road

April 1, 2010

The YFZ is running and has started on the break-in. Wanted to post a little timeline of what has happened to the engine since I started the rebuild 3 months ago.

After the first break in run Ian and I went on track for some fun, here is the video of last weekend’s track day on both quads.

Found the metal shavings

out of chassis before rebuild


Going together

Break in tome on track!

End of a good day

She’s Alive!

March 25, 2010

My YFZ450 started for the first time today after I rebuilt the engine! So exciting! Turned out what was causing the engine to backfire and not start was a mis-aligned shim under the cam buckets which was causing the valve to be held open. Fixed that and she started up like a charm. Need to put the chassis back together and get out to the track for breakin now.

Shim shifter off center

Properly timed

Video of it running


Track day!

March 24, 2010

After a rough Spring Break Ian and I decided we would try out one of Austin’s motocross tracks for the first time. Since the Honda 400ex was the only quad running we loaded it up and headed out toward Giddings where Cross Creek track was near.

The quads are only allowed on one track, but it was fun as hell! Excellent full body workout! We were the last ones to leave. Got too good helmet-cam videos of my runs.


March 23, 2010

Now that Spring Break is over my YFZ’s engine still is not running. Between having troubles with the piston’s second compression ring getting bent and electical problems its quite depressing. Had a nice member of the YFZ forums overnight me one for only the cost of shipping. Got the engine together the day the ring came in and installed the engine the following day. Unfortunately still having issues with the spark system and am down waiting for a multi-meter to figure out what is wrong.

Pressure washed the chassis

Transmission installed

Cases together with crank and tranny!

Clutch basket issues. Was recommended the wrong basket which didnt fit. Fortunately someone is trading me for the correct one.

Bent ring

New ring in the CD case

Piston in the cylinder

Head all cleaned up

All assembled

Closer view of the chassis


March 6, 2010

My YFZ450 engine rebuild saga continues. Over the last couple weeks I’ve been removing bearings, cleaning surfaces, and ordering parts. Should be a pretty awesome engine when its finished.

Decided to go with the best, a modified CP piston by Venom. 12.25:1 compression ratio.

Only some of the OEM parts


Removing one of the odd bearings from the case with a pilot bearing remover

Cases with removed bearings

Cometic gasket kit

J&T oil upgrade and oil pump

Whippin’ Ass

March 4, 2010

Had to do a project for a class in After Effects and decided it would be more fun to include some music and a video. Edited in some drifting, offroad jumps, helicopter, and RC footage from the hundreds of hours I’ve gotten over the years…its been a lot of fun! Edited to the tune of the Ray’s ‘Whipass’, remixed by Goose…my theme song : )


February 28, 2010

After all the doom and gloom lately of tearing down engines and bad tuning I finally put in a good day of riding! Spent a few hours fine tuning the carb Saturday morning, then went out and ripped on the Honda 400ex for the first time. Fantastic little quad, good power and torque. Starting to learn wheelies, pretty stable platform. Also took some video of our ride, came out pretty cool, love my GoPro HD helmet cam.

Dropped in a 42 pilot jet, replacing the 38. Changed the original 178 main jet to a 170 (the largest the local dealership had). That jet was too lean, ended up getting it running good on the last clip on the needle, so I now I’m going to see what jets are between 170 and 178 and order two more sizes to fine tune the needle settings back to the center.
Looking forward to future rides…

Trade much?

February 1, 2010

In trying to thin down our fleet of unused vehicles, planes, and other stuff we’ve been selling and or trading. Went in to Houston this last Friday to trade Kandi, the 1983 FB RX7 for a ‘supposedly’ Honda 1999 XR 450 dirt bike.

Getting it ready for the towbar

Once we got there we found out it was a XR 650, yeah, big bike. The previous owner had also stripped the spark plug threads so it needed the head pulled.

barely fit

When I got the bike I put it up on craigslist just for the hell of it since it turned out to be a larger bike than we were expecting. Yesterday I spent the whole day removing the head to start fixing the bikes issues. Last night I got a call from an interested guy who wanted to trade a modded quad for a dual sport bike like the 650. He came over with the quad today to look at the bike and after some negotiations we rode the quad into our garage and loaded up the 650 into his truck.

The quad I picked up is a 2001 Honda 400EX with 11.1 Weisco piston, 2nd over, stage two hot cam, ported head, new heavy duty clutch plates and springs, cam chain, new valves, rocker arms, 3 angle valve job, new brakes, seat cover, white brothers pipe, high output light bulbs. My mainly stock YFZ 450 still could kick its ass, but its a Honda and hopefully it will be reliable and fun. Looking forward to riding it and then having a riding buddy once I finish my YFZ.

Engine rebuild begins

January 13, 2010

Started disassembling my YFZ 450’s engine today after finding metal shavings in my oil. So far I have not found the source of the steel shavings. Beautiful engine though

Cute little cams!


Bottom of head and valves


Pisonn, rod, and crank assembly


Today's work

Some bad news

January 5, 2010

About a week ago I went to change my YFZ 450’s oil for the first time since I bought it used. First issue was the previous owner had stripped out the oil tank drain bolt, and after removing the tank (to re-tap the drain hole) I discovered a lot of steel metal flakes in the crud on the bottom of the tank. Great, metal flakes in my oil!

After taking some advice from people on the Yamaha quad forums and a shop I decided metal shavings were a bad sign and it was time to brake the engine/transmission open to see what the problem is before there was a catastrophic failure. the shop guy said stel shavings could be a number of things, including the transmission. The previous owner was an idiot, so I’m wondering what all I’m going to find in there.

Assuming there isn’t horrible permanent damage I’m planning on rebuilding the engine for more reliability and a bit more power. Right now the idea is:

-Yamaha WR450 dirt bike OEM crank and rod, and piston. Fits in the YFZ motor and has a smaller wrist pin that allows the piston to have more metal around it (18mm vs the 20mm on the yfz). Is also lighter.

-CP 12.5:1 piston, or Venom 12.25:1 piston – very nice 3-ringed pistons, add a bit of compression, but still allows for pump gas. Possibly just go with OEM piston if I cannot find the right compression ratios in the aftermarket pistons.

-J&T oil upgrade – on the ’04-’06 models Yamaha used a ‘splash design’ to lubricate the wrist pin and piston rod bearing which obviously has cause many people problems (possibly me). The upgrade updates the engines to the ’07+ models with a better pump and oil squirters.

Metal and other fragments on the oil sump pickup

magnetic metal bits found in the oil tank

My work area

Getting stripped

Engine out of the quad

Is something missing?

Ugh, the shop is a mess. Went over there earlier this week to do brake jobs on Ian’s father’s Tacoma and a friend of mine, Ian B’s, Scion xA. Haven’t been to the shop to work in months and the place is a wreck. In the process of doing the xA’s brakes Ian (my Ian) had to fab two tools, one required some grinding to take off the wheels and one required welding to get the wheels back on. Brake swap itself went fine!

And a big congratulations to Ian for buying a new (used) car! He recently graduated from college and was in need of a new reliable car. After a full day of searching and driving cars we decided on a silver 2005 Honda Accord 4d, automatic, V6, black leather. Oh so comfy!

And because Ian no longer needed his S14 I ended up with it through a previous deal on my RB25. yay, now I have a car too!

Front wheel drive cars have really come a long way. Ian's new Accord

My car - 1995 S14, 5 spd, lowered, welded diff

I was able to get out today and clean my quad for the first time since my surgery. Weather was nice and sunny so I pressure washed off all the sand and grime, took me over an hour to scour it clean. Still have more to do, but that will happen another day.

serious engine grime

After hours of cleaning

Big difference

Just a short 11 second video of the quad before the wash taken with my HD GoPro:

Went out the the outlaw flying field today and played around with the HD GoPro’s settings a bit. Got some shots of Shyla in there too. Love it!

Gone Mudding

December 16, 2009

Ian and I went out to Spring Creek Offroad Park (http://www.springcreekoffroad.com) Sunday December 13th and had a blast on my YFZ 450 out on the trails. It was the day after it rained so it was a bit too wet for a two wheel drive sport quad, but with the new ITP Holeshot GNCC tires it performed admirably through water, mud, rocks, sand and dirt. There were a couple places I thought we were going to get stuck and it just plowed on through. What an incredible machine.

After a trip though the bad part of the parking lot

Taking a break

The GoPro HD camera mounted on the side of my helmet caught some awesome footage!

Ian riding through some curves

About ready to load up

Ian forgot extra pants to change into so he had to wear my extra pants

The HD Hero got a workout!

Here are some of the videos the HD Hero captured. The first two are my best trail rides from the helmet cam perspective and the third is of Ian riding around various places.

HD Hero screenshots

If the amount of mud on the quad = the amount of fun had I'd say we had a great time!

Just workin’

December 11, 2009

Ian had some work to do in Houston so I took the chance to work on my quad and haul it back to Austin. While I’ve been in Houston I put the yfz on jack stands, removed the wheels for tire replacement, removed most of the plastics and went over it with a sponge. Didn’t look much different after I cleaned it, but I still got a chance to look over it for any visible issues.

The rear brake caliper I ordered came in, but silly me forgot to order the banjo bolt for the hydraulics and the two bolts that attach the caliper to the quad. Tried a few auto parts stores and the only had 10X1.5 banjos and not the 10X1.25 one I needed. Fail. I ended up ordering all the nuts and bolts I needed from a Yamaha parts website.

And the last cool thing is the new GoPro HD Hero camera Ian bought me for my birthday. Super awesome! Tried it out in a few places and it really has potential. Can’t wait until I can get out and do some good riding with it. Plus its the motorsports version with a suction cup that attaches to a car.

22nd Birthday

December 8, 2009

Today started out as a crappy birthday. Went to campus first thing to finish an ASL project and halfway across campus I forgot my signed paper from the event I volunteered at. Plus the weather was cold and rainy so that made walking and driving back and forth even worse. Got two calls from my mom and dad wishing me a happy b-day, thanks guys! After I turned in my project I headed over to the North Austin Medical Center for my surgery registration and blood work. That took around 45 minutes.

Hospital arm band..and yes, that is a restaurant-style pager they use.

Drove home and immediately got to work on my animation project and worked on that for a few hours. Scrounged for any kind of food I could find, luckily there happened to be some old Lean Pockets wedged in the back of the freezer. Ian left to do some errands in the afternoon and I grew tired of working on my project and took a nap. Ironically the nap kept being interrupted by people wishing me a happy birthday and the hospital people calling me about how much my surgery was going to cost me.

About an hour and a half later Ian came back and I decided I’d get out of bed. He suggested we go eat some steak dinner after we went over to Woods Fun Center for me to buy myself a birthday gift. Hell yeah! Fought through the traffic and arrived at Woods to look at helmets and MX boots. Decided to go with a helmet and some nice MX boots for a bday gift to myself, but when we went up to the counter Ian insisted he buy me the helmet (he found a helmet for himself as well) for a birthday gift if I paid for the dinner (which was less expensive). Aww, how sweet!

Headed out to Saltgrass for some 16oz prime rib. Oh so good. While at dinner we were talking over how my birthday had been going and Ian said he had yet another surprise for me. He handed me his phone and I read the words on the screen: it was a shipping notice for the new Hero HD motorsports camera. OMG!!! YES! I’ve wanted one of these ever since I saw the pre-production videos! It is supposed to arrive this coming Wednesday from back-order. Schweet!

Now I think I will settle down for a nice game of Halo 2 before bed. I’d say my 22nd birthday turned out to be pretty awesome.

Thanksgiving 2009

December 4, 2009

One word: awesome!

4 pies, 2 hams, 20lb turkey, pasta salad, 4 cans of cranberry sauce, 2 loaves of bread, mashed potatoes, yams, fruit salad, 2 types of stuffing, 2 gravy types, and green bean casserole. Big thanks to my mother for cooking yet another kick ass meal!

After the eating festivities we headed out to the farm and dealt with things there. This trip was the first one to start hauling in all of our stuff from our shop here in Austin since we will be letting the lease go in February. The loud and obnoxious RX7 was the first to come. Got it to start out there, spitting some mean blue flame too!

Battery was dead and the only way to start it was to tow it around for a while behind a truck. We figured it would be easier to tow it to its new home.

New home

Interior shot

The pets had a fun time on holiday as well!

Nikki resting her head

Izzy does what she does best

Shyla and Lucy duke it out

Izzy loves the radar detector, literally rode there most of the trip to and from Houston. It gets warm when its plugged in.

And of course can’t forget some fun quad riding. Too bad the cows were in the one pasture, ended up covered in cow crap a few times.

out riding some trails

Night riding is always fun

Cool bird Ian spotted on our ride

Fast things

December 4, 2009

As this blog demonstrates, I enjoy pretty much anything automotive. Planning on moving back to Houston in the future and things are going to change. Not getting out of cars/drifting by any means, just won’t have a chance to work on or drive at drift events for a while and have been selling some cars.

So what does that mean for my current automotive interests?? I’m just focusing on a different aspect that I will be able to take advantage of with the amount of land out there and nearby trails and tracks – quads. When I was eight (1995) my father bought a Honda Fourtrax 300cc utility quad (that is still chugging away out there) and I used to ride that thing non-stop as a kid. I always wanted one of my own so I took advantage of the current cheap used market prices.

Bought a 2006 Yamaha YFZ 450 the day before Thanksgiving. Guy who owned it managed to break the rear dual piston caliper in half (?) so its missing its rear brake. The tires are bald, the radiator’s fan doesn’t work, and it generally needs some love. He had a bike shop install a high comp piston in the engine about a year ago so its faster than stock. Hell, its just plain fast.

Got to play with it a bit over the Thanksgiving holidays and had a blast. Looking forward to getting some proper riding gear and hitting the tracks and trails around Texas.

Proper riding gear
New front and rear ITP Holeshot GNCC tires
Nerf bars
Replace rear brake caliper (on order)
Repaint muffler with high temp paint
Check condition of spark plug, replace if needed
Oil change
Possible radiator flush
Thorough cleaning
Replace blue plastics with black ones
Powedercoat frame pearl white and the rest purple candy