August 2008 7
Once the camper was ready to go I switched directions and turned my focus to my Jeep. The Jeep Cheerokee is a good all around utilitarian vehicle, but it is by no means an ideal choice for pulling a 4,000 pound camper full of motorcycles around the continent. There were a few pressing issues that needed to be addressed.
Jeeps are notorious for weak suspended rear ends. They sag over time and mine was particularly sagged low due to me being a bit brutish to it over the years. After weighing options about buying different rear spring packs or scrounging used parts I ended up taking my measuring tape down to the junk yard. Mixing and matching Chevy S-10 leaf packs is a common way for off-roaders to lift their rear end a few inches. I measured up packs from a number of different vehicles and ended up snagging some from a GMC truck (blanking on the model).
This is the piston from the 1988 KTM 500mx I picked up (see the previous post).
You can see the giant gouge that was created as coolant flooded into the cylinder from the blown head gasket. When metal changes temperatures that quickly there’s really no predicting how severe the damage is going to be.
The cylinder has a matching scare on it but is otherwise in good condition.
Unfortunately these pistons are a bit hard to come by these days. Some custom piston houses do limited runs from time to time. There are also a few remaining NOS pistons on dealer shelves and the guys over at KTMTalk.com bump into them from time to time while fishing through bins like old vinyl.
This is a KTM 500mx bike I picked up as a project off of Craigslist. I have a bit of an obsession with KTM 2-stroke motorcycles.
These bikes were known to be absolute beasts. In terms of power they put the competing big bore bikes of the time to shame. The KX500 and the CR500 just did not produce as much peak power as these KTM’s.
This bike had been torn down when the head gasket blew – a fairly common problem with these bikes due to their insane compression. I got it from the previous owner almost exactly as shown. He had already resprayed the frame and polished up a few bits here and there. Still lots of work to do though.
My posts on that ADV thread below kind of died out. It turns out that moving into a camper and preparing to travel the world is a very time intensive endeavor. The time I had available to write about the launch was minimal. So here is the rundown . . . .
The camper I ultimately ended up with is a 1980 Puritan 16 foot dual axle model. The picture below is the location I got it from in exchange for a days worth of yard work.
Moving Out and Onto the Road: From Boston to Everywhere
I have spent way too much time reading this site over the years and not enough time participating. Here is where it starts.
First a quick introduction. My name is Evan, I live just North or Boston, MA USA. I’m 25, I rent, and I work from home as a freelance web developer. Here’s a not-so-close-up photo.
Iâ€™ve been out riding off-road a lot lately. This week Iâ€™ve been riding up over 8,000 feet and wow is it exhausting. The terrain is rough and the oxygen content is low.
If you want to ride up this high and have a carbureted bike youâ€™ll need to rejet. Some bike are more picky about oxygen levels than others, but for my KTM I had to drop 2 sizes on the main jet, 1 size on the pilot jet, and I lowered the needle 1 clip. Iâ€™ll put together a good guide for altitude jetting across different motor types shortly.