Thunder Roads LA Magazine June 2017 - Page 28

Under Pressure By: Nate T. Brace yourselves…This month, I have designs on talking about a terribly controversial subject. In fact, all said and done, some of you may get the red ass with me. Some of you might even, heaven forbid, unfriend me. A particular segment of you might even throw up your hands and run around in circles screaming. Just the same, here it is. This month, I’m going to talk a bit about oil pressure in Milwaukee iron. I know what you’re thinking. You’ve heard it all before. Just hear me out though…and y’all that have other makes stick around. Last I checked, any bike that has a four-stroke engine must have oil pumping to keep you from running over your own flywheels…or crankshaft if you swing that way. Just to put it right out there, this isn’t going to be a big long discussion on physics and engineering with flow this and pressure that (insert gibberish and other such nonsense here). I’m not even going to really get into a technical discussion MoCo oiling systems either. Instead, I thought I would take a stab at is from a little different direction. I think that we can all agree that the MoCo at least has produced or is producing something worth buying. With that being said, I can attest that my paint shaker is doing pretty well considering its thirty-eight years. Take that a step further and I believe I could make the argument whoever designed my sickle most likely had at least a little insight into air-cooled v-twins. So, I think when it comes to the oil pressure debate, we may want to consider listening to what they have to say. In your service manual (there’s that dead horse again) that I’m sure you’ve purchased for just such an occasion, there are oil pressure specifications. Ah, but what if your bike doesn’t have a pressure gauge? What if it only came with that confounded oil pressure light that always seems to come on hot days at a stop light? Well, my friend, you need an oil pressure gauge. The only thing for sure that light tells you when it’s on…is that the light is on. I assure you this not a good situation. Ignoring it will not make it go away either. Don’t despair. There is a solution Over the years, I have plumb destroyed oil pressure gauges like it was a part time job. They’ve melted, leaked, seized, and even just sort of disintegrated. This was annoying so I went to researching. What I came up with was a company called ERT products ( I called up the company to see if they had a cure for what ailed me. I got a hold of WJ Emmitt there very easily by phone and email. He got right back to me every single time. As it turns out, they have a pressure gauge that was developed to put up with all of the heat and vibration that Harley owners have come to love. At $30.95, it’s easy to read, glycerin-filled, and has a stainless case. I was sold…but that’s not where it ended. As we got further into our discussion, he asked about what kind of oil pressure I was making. At the time, I was idling at around 5-8psi hot and cruising at around 10-15psi. Based on what I’ve been told over the years, that was pretty darn good oil pressure for a shovel. WJ informed me that I should be making more like 10psi consistently at hot idle and 30-36psi when cruising at around 55mph. He told me that he had another product that could dial it right into factory specs without having to go through the crap shoot or hassle of buying another oil pump. I checked my service manual to make sure I wasn’t looking to buy snake oil and sure enough those numbers WJ gave me were spot on. I was a bit skeptical at first, but what he had to say about the issue made perfect sense, so I decided to give his fix a try. Basically, ERT Products’ solution is a spring kit for your oil pump pressure regulator. You see, part of what directs oil to the right places at the right time and helps to build the right pressure is a little plunger that’s held shut by a spring. The trouble is that these springs get tired or maybe were low quality to begin with so they just don’t hold that plunger hard enough anymore. Those of you that are into firearms know just how important good springs can be to a mechanical system. For $20.00, ERT has a spring kit that comes with three different pressure springs. The idea is that one of these high- quality springs can be dropped in to bring your oil pressure back up to what it’s supposed to be. It really is a simple bolt-in type of operation, but there are great instructions that come with the kit and instructional slide shows on the website. I’ve never been completely happy with accepting the old views on Harley’s running well under 10psi at idle. I’ve just kind of lived with it until the heat in the Deep South had me worrying about it again. I plan on following up with this article in the coming months, but I really think ERT Products has something here. If you’re skeptical too, take a look in your manual for oil pressure specs and call up WJ like I did. Just don’t ignore the issue though. Remember, those pressure specs weren’t just made up to pass the time. We all work too hard to leave the fate of our pride and joy up to chance. Until next time, keep it between the lines and shiny side up. Shovel on. 26 Thunder Roads Magazine Louisiana | June 2017 | GLENN MCGOVERN MOTORCYCLE DANGER IN CONSTRUCTION ZONES IN LOUISIANA: YOU MAY NOT GET A WARNING DUE TO PROFITS OVER SAFETY By: Glenn C. McGovern, Motorcycle Attorney and MSF Basic Instructor Email: There is considerable danger for any motorcyclists in Louisiana when traversing through road construction zones. The motorcyclist is often traveling on a highway where there is construction going on. Motorcyclest are more adversely affected by poor road conditions than vehicle with four large tires compared to a motorcycle with only two small contact patches on a road surface from its two smaller tires. To make matters worse, the dangerous conditions of uneven pavement, drop- offs, grooved roadway, bumps and loose gravel affect motorcycles more than other four-wheel vehicles. PROFITS OVER SAFETY IN ROAD CONSTRUTION ZONES Often these hazards are not marked properly with the proper signs. This can lead to a crash for any motorcyclists. There are several reasons for this to happen. When a road construction project is contracted out, the road construction contractor assumes control for the section of highway under construction. The road construction contractor is responsible for the signage to warn of road hazards. The road construction contractor’s goal is to make as much profit as possible. Any costs that can be cut will increase its profit. Barriers, signs, pylons, barrels and other traffic devices are usually rented at costs to the road construction contractor. There is a natural tendency to cut costs by reducing the size, number and placement of signs before and inside the road construction area. Subsequently, often a road construction contractor will not give proper warnings by posting all the signs that are required by the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (i.e. MUTCD) which sets out in detail what signs are recommended and what signs are required. THERE ARE SIGN S TANDARDS BUT THEY ARE NOT ALWAYS FOLLOWED The MUTCD provides guidelines for motorcycles and provides: “Section 2C.33 Warning Signs and Plaques for Motorcyclists (W8-15, W8-15P, and W8-16) Support: The signs and plaques described in this Section are intended to give motorcyclists notice of surface conditions that might adversely affect their ability to maintain control of their motorcycle under wet or dry conditions. The use of some of the advance surface condition warning signs described in Section 2C.32, such as Slippery When Wet, LOOSE GRAVEL, or ROUGH ROAD, can also be helpful to motorcyclists if those conditions exist.” However, a motorcyclist needs to be aware that many of the warning signs a motorcyclist would expect to be required that may be required for safety are listed in the MUTCD as optional as follows: “Option: If a portion of a street or highway features a roadway pavement surface that is grooved or textured instead of smooth, such as a grooved skid resistance treatment for a horizontal curve or a brick pavement surface, a GROOVED PAVEMENT (W8-15) sign (see Figure 2C-6) may be used to provide warning of this condition to motorcyclists, bicyclists, and other road users. Alternate legends such as TEXTURED PAVEMENT or BRICK PAVEMENT may also be used on the W8-15 sign. If a bridge or a portion of a bridge includes a metal or grated surface, a METAL BRIDGE DECK (W8-16) sign (see Figure 2C-6) may be used to provide warning of this condition to motorcyclists, bicyclists, and other road users. A Motorcycle (W8-15P) plaque (see Figure 2C-6) may be mounted below or above a W8-15 or W8-16 sign if the warning is intended to be directed primarily to motorcyclists. “ SAFETY IS OPTIONAL FOR MOTORCYCLISTS The MUTCD provides the standards for proper warnings for motorcyclists and discusses them at length. However, many warning signs like the Motorcycle W8-16 plaque is often not used. If it is not required and costs the contractor money to rent the additional signs, they contractor will not use those signs. The results can be disastrous for even the most careful, skilled motorcyclists. A road construction contractor is tempted to pursue profits over safety. The road construction contractor may not put in any signs before the hazards in the construction zone that contains many hazards for motorcyclists. Additional signs cost additional monies. Unfortunately, the number of motorcycle crashes in construction zones is extremely high according to accident data of L.S.U. who keeps statistics on crashes on roads in Louisiana for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and other state agencies. | June 2017 | Thunder Roads Magazine Louisiana 27