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Salt Torpedo Chapter 27

We're Close to Heading Out

By Bandit with photos from Wrench and Dr. Hamster so far...
8/12/2023


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A Salt torpedo progress report reached a high-point on my to-do list, but the 83rd Sturgis rally hit today, yikes. We have less than three weeks to prepare and roll to the Bonneville Motorcycle Speed Trials is Wendover, Utah on the 25th.

Scrutineering has been the major obstacle to our progress. Or should that be reworded? We’ve missed a couple of items or misread the rules, or… Anyway, we are scrambling to fix the fixes.



We also installed a jumper system for the battery that we could reach from the outside of the Torpedo.
We also installed a jumper system for the battery that we could reach from the outside of the Torpedo.



All the electrical adjustments were handled with the help of a new sponsor, Jared, the new owner of Terry Components.
All the electrical adjustments were handled with the help of a new sponsor, Jared, the new owner of Terry Components.



First, we discovered we needed a battery shut-off that could be accessed from the outside of the body. How the hell did we miss that? We also needed the same for the ignition. We decided to combine the two with a monster switch from a major auto-racing site.



The rules from the FIM, the AMA and another book called for making a window so a finger could shut off our petcock from the outside and another one so someone can reach the fire extinguisher pull cable. We were beginning to get the picture.

Cabana Dan on the left.
Cabana Dan on the left.



Then someone said we needed to be able to launch the parachute from outside the body. Cabana Dan spoke up, “What the hell? Run alongside the torpedo and pull the parachute so it can stop. Bullshit.”



That caused our team to take another hard look in the rule book, or books… That requirement didn’t exist, but we discovered another one. We were supposed to have a tilt switch. If the Salt Torpedo leans over 40 degrees, the parachute is supposed to automatically deploy.

Luke texting his wife for help...
Luke texting his wife for help...



At our recent team meeting we started to assign tasks to various team members. Luke drew the short straw and became the officially, almost certified parachute technician. He looked at us cross-eyed.



Luke and I dug in and started to research the components and how this system would work. With the assistance of Drew Gatewood, he made some calls and I received a link to RiekerInc. They build sailboat leaning meters and a tilt switches with various options, like 15 degrees, 10 degrees, electronic variables, you name it. They said call if you have any questions, but no number was available. That’s another story, which I finally overcame and ordered a tilt switch.



Dennis is working hard to be on the salt with his streamliner, Number 7. It's reaching close to 400 mph.
Dennis is working hard to be on the salt with his streamliner, Number 7. It's reaching close to 400 mph.



But then, what was going to pull the cable? I spoke to Dennis Manning and his systems are all pneumatic, but in the old days they used solenoids. I recently dealt with a solenoid system for popping open the door on the shaved doors ’58 Chevy. I knew the drill and we ordered one with 1.25-inch throw.




While waiting for the components to arrive, Luke and I deployed the parachute. We needed to practice re-attaching or reloading the chute. The spring system surprised Luke, and then we discovered the damaged chute canvas sack. Tucked inside the chute case for almost two years, moisture and rust got to it. We tried to clean it, but it was shot. I called Shrouds. They immediately sent me a new bag and warned me about careful installation instructions for replacing it.

The pilot parachute button. The rules call for the pilot to be able to reach the button without removing his hands from the steering wheel or handlebars.
The pilot parachute button. The rules call for the pilot to be able to reach the button without removing his hands from the steering wheel or handlebars.



The connecting straps have two loops and 50 feet of strap. The Shroud rep, her voice cautious told me not to remove, or attempt to remove the old bag until the new one arrived. We did as instructed and all stumbled along as planned.



Of course, weather predictions and water on the salt reports are flying at us, and we won’t know until a week before the event. In addition, there’s the threat of the BLM changing their mantra from Land Management for human use to managing land against human use.



Of course, that’s causing lawsuits and other issues with folks who like to hike, ride bikes and motorcycles in the wilderness controlled by the BLM.



We are so fortunate to have Tim Peterson from Flat Earth Art nearby, actually behind Dakota V-Twin in Spearfish. He volunteered to make a house-call and pinstripe or letter the Torpedo and our recent SUV acquisition-- had to give it some class.










Hopefully the tilt meter will arrive by Wednesday and as the rally dwindles, we can get back to work on final tilt wiring issues and preparations for Bonneville.

We had Micah get in and out of the Salt Torpedo. He must be able to depart in 30 seconds. He could do it in 19.
We had Micah get in and out of the Salt Torpedo. He must be able to depart in 30 seconds. He could do it in 19.



A rally Torpedo meeting took place on Wednesday afternoon, after the HOF Breakfast, while Micah, our pilot was in town. We attended the Ugly MC dinner for the best food during the rally Tuesday evening, and then the brothers came to the Bikernet shop in Boulder Canyon for the meeting Wednesday around noon. Micah is a member of the Ugly’s and so is Carlo Lujan, from Auburn, California near Micah’s new home. Carlo and Emma own an Indian Dealership and Carlo drag-raced forever. He made a couple of suggestions including additional head venting. I received them in the mail on Saturday as the rally slowed. I’m on it.



Micah’s son Eddie, a very sharp young man, pointed out cracks in our front tires. They’ve traveled less than ten miles, but waited almost 3 years including one year in the snow for a chance on the salt. I ordered a spare, but now I needed another one, and I reached out to Randy Cramer at Dakota V-Twin for installation. I’m on it. The other tire arrived Saturday.



This was the to-do list from the previous chapter on the Salt Torpedo:

We had all of our logos swapped out with the new South Dakota home replacing So Cal.
We had all of our logos swapped out with the new South Dakota home replacing So Cal.



Scrutineering
Shifting Adjustment
Battery
Bolt down seat
Trailer



Tools
Check Motel Accommodations
Team
Install speedo
Sprockets, check and bring extras
Jets





I bought a new trailer from Goldies Trailers in Whitewood and had it set up for hauling the Torpedo to Bonneville, including logos. I also ordered a tool chest for the van, which I will start to fill on the last week. I bolted down the seat and checked the motel accommodations.



We ordered and received a speedo for a bicycle. It straps to the frame and works picking up a GPS signal anywhere. I ordered and received another transmission sprocket.



Carlo also suggested that I go around the bike covering electrical connections with silicone or perhaps the special non-conducting dielectric grease. And we discovered an issue with salt blasting the driveline from the rear tire. It should have a fender, but they can often slow the beast down. I’m going to make a cover to protect the battery and maybe more.






While studying the rule books, I stumble across another dilemma. Under Cyclecar in the FIM book it calls for all cyclecars to have handlebars. I immediately reached out to Drew who said, “No streamliner has ever had handlebars. Let me check.”

We were okay…

 
The rally slipped past. I rode my funky '68 Panhead over 100 miles and it needed to be serviced. We had two events or parties to hit everyday, but I tried to stay on top of a package from Rieker's. It never arrived.
 
 
The funky Pan, made its first test run successfully. Well sorta. My aluminum headlight bracket couldn't handle the pressure and broke. It's already got a new mounting tab and is good to go.
The funky Pan, made its first test run successfully. Well sorta. My aluminum headlight bracket couldn't handle the pressure and broke. It's already got a new mounting tab and is good to go.

 
We finally called on Friday, but it was after hours on the east coast. I left a message and sent an email. They called bright and early Monday morning. No sign of the order, but they had my address... It's supposed to be shipped overnight on Wednesday. Hang on!  


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