ATVing

Selective hearing protection? Alpine MotoSafe ear plugs, part 1.

One more new item, that came in yesterday, arrived all the way from the Netherlands. (Couldn’t find a stateside dealer that had the model I wanted, so I ordered direct from the manufacturer. Could actually only find two dealers in the USA anyway! )
As part of my healthy hearing concept, along with adding the face shield onto my motorcycle helmet, I started looking for better, more active hearing protection.
The problem with foam ear plugs is the constant outward pressure they use to seal, it’s uncomfortable and makes my ears sore after a days commute both always.
But I didn’t want to jump in and invest in the full custom molded ear plugs.
And both styles tend to be full sound suppression, so you end up sealed off from your surroundings, with all sound deadened. There are rubber plugs that only filter out harmful sound, leaving conversation or traffic hearable, but I’ve never found rubber plugs that seal worth a damn, or that aren’t like the foam, and too tight. (For instance ear buds tend to drive me nuts and make my ears sore).
Anything that has custom molding and also let’s through lower conversation type sound frequencies are really spendy.
Then I found a half way product;

https://www.alpinehearingprotection.com/product-category/motorcycle/

They are a sound filter, supposedly they cut the frequency of wind noise, but allow traffic and conversation sounds through. Also, the rubber tips are semi-custom forming, in a thermo form rubber; Every time you insert them, your body heat softens them and they custom fit to your ear canal, sealing without outward pressure.

I figured why not, if they work then great, if not, then I’m only out around $20… A risk that I thought was worth it.
They have several variations for different activities, and two specifically for motorcycle riding. A “Tour” version, and a “Race” version that is a little stronger/higher decibel rated. I opted for the race version. At only a few decibels difference, I figured if they work as advertised to cut only wind noise, and leave other sounds, I still wanted as much protection as possible.
So far, in limited fit tests I find them a LOT more comfortable than foam plugs, and more than a lot of rubber plugs and ear buds I’ve had too. I won’t say they “disappear” to where I don’t know I’m wearing them, but I’ve only had them I for 5 to 10 minutes so far.
Have not gad a chance to ride with them yet.
Bug I can say that they let in conversation level sounds really well, and actually without loud sounds, seem like they do very little. But they did cut out the sound of my truck exhaust more than they cut out talking.. Not a lot more, but more.
I’m reserving and conclusions for after I test them with the noise they’re made for; wind.
They come with a little zipper pouch for carrying, and I sprung the few dollars for a hard key chain style carry case, and a safety cord that keeps them tethered together.

My only complaint so far is that the insertion tool they come with, a little plastic thing that’s supposed to grip the plug, and you use it as a handle to insert them, then turn them slightly in your ear to help them seal; It doesn’t snap onto the plugs, it’s far too big, and thus can’t be used… So I can’t really grip them to rotate them upon insertion.
Not sure how much, or if this effects how they seal/work. Will find out either way how they work though, as soon as I can.
Will let y’all know how it goes. 🙂
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Categories: Adventures, ATV, ATVing, Field gear, Motorcycles, New Gear, Preparedness, Riding, Vehicles | Leave a comment

Chest holster re-strapping V1.0. 

Thought I’d post an update. Been wearing the new holster I got a couple months ago off and on for some work, and short hikes.


Have some setup issues.

They have it, as set for left hand draw,
Holster sits basically horizontal, grip left, muzzle right.

Shoulder strap run from top of holster (by hammer) up over RIGHT shoulder, down across back, under Left arm to bottom of holster(behind grip/by trigger).

The the chest strap runs around you, through a loop on the back of the holster.

Holster free floats on the chest strap, held up by shoulder strap.

When you go to draw, to keep holster from sliding left, you have to grip with the off side hand. 

Also while walking/working, it naturally drifts left, rotating the shoulder stap on your torso, sliding on chest strap, till under the left arm. (To where you cant grip the gun to draw without sliding it back to center chest with the off side hand.)

Because of shoulder strap placement/tension it can’t slide to the right.

Basically, the tension is backwards.

While hiking with it like this, every time I repositioned it (about every 150 yards!) I thought about strap direction and buckle placement, being pretty sure I could reverse it to the left shoulder, but still be left hand draw.

It actually was as simple as I thought. (Amazing)

I now have the shoulder strap run from top of holster(by hammer) over my LEFT shoulder, across back, under Right arm.

Now it gets different.. that bottom right end of the shoulder strap I connect to the end of the CHEST strap.

Chest strap goes Left, and Down through the loop on the back of the holster, then BACK to the Right, and around my back, to the Left bottom of the holster. 

So the pull to the left is now resisted by the tail of the shoulder strap, and the chest tension. If it slides, it will be down to the right. So even if it does move, it could go a ways before I couldn’t draw.

Muzzle end is also held by the chest strap. And because the chest strap and shoulder straps tension each other, once set, it can’t really drift very far either way.

So far as I can tell anyway. Will walk a couple miles with it and see.

Still needs work, but it’s better!


It even ended up with the tension right so the lower end of the shoulder strap is lower away from my arm and arm pit, more comfortable and crowds my arm less when moving. On the other side it tended to pinch and pull at my underarm. 

The only problems I see, are if it does move around, the gun/holster is semi fixed in line with it all, and it tensions through one end of it… As it moves one strap will tighten as the other loosens. So it’s going to chinch/tighten around me in one place or the other, and be crushing… 

And there is the other problem. With this set so it works, the chest strap is pretty tight… and rather crushingly uncomfortable already. 

I know I should be able to set this up so the weight and tension is all on the shoulder strap, and the chest strap can just center/position the gun on me and hold it semi loosesly..

What I’d like to try is;
The chest strap run from muzzle end of the holster, or the loop on the back, but a fixed atachment, not slidding, and around to the lower left corner of the holster as I gave it now. And the shoulder strap as I have it now for top of holster run over my left shoulder. 

But then attached to the center back of the chest strap.

Either floating or fixed at that joint. I think fixed would get the effect I want.

Will have to play with it some more, and see… need to find the 2 or 3 Big safety pins I have so I can pin this up how I want it before I cut/sew/ add/modify anything.

But as it is, it’s a lot better!

Pics to follow in another post if I can find someone to take them while I’m wearing it..

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATVing, Backcountry, Customized, EDC, Field gear, Fishing, GetOutdoors, Guns, Holsters, Modifications, New Gear, Outdoors, Theory/Thoughts

ATV plow, first use. 

Got 4″ of powder last Thursday night, finally enough to try out the ATV plow! 

I built the mount, and had it all ready in early October of 2016. But the night I finished it, and went to test ride with it mounted, is the night the clutch went out. I didn’t know what to do with the clutch until spring of 2017, so the wheeler and plow sat unused all winter. I never got to try the plow until this weekend!

SO, Anyway, I used the Prairie to plow my yard and driveway Friday. Works great!

One small section of drive plowed;

Took about the same amount of time as it does with my truck… Truck moves more in one pass, but takes more time to maneuver…

The wheeler is smaller, easier to turn and has better visibility. But not as much power or blade size to move a lot at once. 50/50-90 kinda thing.  I’ll break it up from now on, truck for large bulk areas, wheeler for the tight spaces, trimming up. 

Did have one problem. The plow doesn’t have an upward stop for lifting the blade… Just where you stop the winch. So if you go too far, it just keeps pulling. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if you have it all the way up or not. 

Broke some welds on the mount pulling it up too far.  Will need to re-weld that, and make some sort of positive stop that hits the bumper or something, so I can tell for sure when to stop the winch.. 

I’m thinking just a upward angled bar braced off the plow, that would hit the bumper, and be a solid stop I’d feel. Maybe have it high enough that I could see it… Something like that. 

Got the main mount piece with the breaks inside melting/drying out now, will get it done and back on in the morning,  so I can plow the new 2″ or 3″ tomorrow afternoon. 

I’m really not surprised it broke… I’m only semi professionally trained at welding, still not real good at it, and this was done with a rather light welder for steal this heavy… 

 And it was being torqued at this area by a 2000# winch, with about 3′ of leverage added… It simply tried to hinge on the welds and sheared them, and is now hinging/flexing others.

 Looks like I missed welding straight across the back edges too, which would be a lot of loss of strength against pull in this direction.. Whoops.  

I’m actually happy it broke where it did. This piece is a 2″ receiver hitch mount, that goes into a 2″ receiver tube mounted on the wheeler. Breaking at the female side on the wheeler would have been a Lot bigger of a pain to fix! 

And the plow itself hinges onto this piece. Breaking the plow side would have been worse too, mainly for being able to get it into my heated shop where the bigger welder is set up, and I’d probably have gad to do a lot more re-engineering if part of that broke.

All in all, if it was going to break, it’s the best area for it.

This time I’ll full box all 4 edges where the two pieces stack,  maybe drill a couple holes in one and plug weld it down to the 2″ square tube… Maybe add a cross plate above the tube. And use a much bigger welder for more penetrating heat.

Yeah, apparently forgot to paint it against rusting before I parked it last year too… 

Anyway, onward to custom plow mounting 2.0!

Categories: Adventure Metal Works, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Automotive Work, Custom, custom-made-tools, Damages, Fabrication, GetOutdoors, Modifications, Outdoors, Scrounging, Vehicles, Welding, Winter

Field Holster; chest carry. 

I’d decided that I need a new holster for my .357. (Vintage Ruger Security Six, 4″). Field holster I guess you’d say… I don’t concealed carry often anymore, just open carry for hunting/hiking. 


Until recently I’ve done belt carry, have a great pancake holster from Simply Rugged that works phenominally. 

But I can’t do belt carry anymore;
Problem #1, it kills my screwed up hips, and #2 at current weight loss level/clothing sizing, keeping my pants up is impossible with the weight of a gun…Hell, it’s hard enough without the gun. Lol. (belt tight enough to hold it all up, cuts into back/hips too much, back to problem #1)

I’ve tried regular shoulder holsters. No go. Got a leather Galco “miami classic” style for a full size auto, have had it a decade, worn it a total of maybe ten times. 

Borrowed a buddies Uncle Mikes vertical nylon job for hunting last month. Wore it once. Rode ok once adjusted, but where it was secure and somewhat comfortable, I couldn’t reach the gun to draw it! 

I’ve had nylon ones twice in the past before. Got a great vintage Bianchi leather job that a good friend gave me, but it’s too big for this gun(actually hoping to convert it to chest or bandoleer carry for my .41 mag Blackhawk ). 

Anyway, I can Never get any slight semblance of comfortable, or secure, at the same time, and never an easy draw either way… 

Add to that the layers of straps you get with the holster, a backpack, and a rifle sling while out and about in the woods… Just no. There’s too much of the world sitting on my shoulders anyway, don’t need to add more! ;)

I’ve thought about a bandoleer setup, but that ends up on the hip cross draw… hard to reach (yes, I still have a bit of a spare tire to reach around, and add a heavy jacket, forget it!) and in a place that would interfere with backpacks, pack frames, and I think a slung rifle.. 

So, my last ditch idea is to attempt to try a chest rig… 

They’re actually extremely popular up here in AK for bear country fishing, and some hunting. 

Yes it hangs on shoulder straps, at least one..but the weight sits on the chest, not under the armpits. And it should pull on the back more than straight down on the shoulders.. I think. I’m thinking it will be more secure feeling and more accessible. And probably more comfortable, leave me some range of arm movement without under arm binding. (Hopefully!)  

So, a couple weeks digging around, and some fantastic suggestions from friends on a forum, and I made a choice. 

I ordered a holster last week. I’d seen these before, and looked at them off and on, but wasn’t sure.

But I decided for the cost –About $40– I couldn’t really go wrong.. If nothing else I could modify the snot out of it. ;)

But really, I decided I needed something low cost to try, to see if chest carry was even the answer, without dropping $70 to $150 depending. Expensive risk, if it turned out chest carry wasn’t my thing.

So, the make is Skyball Mountain Holsters. Amazingly, made in USA. Only places I can find them are Facebook and Ebay, apparently it’s a small business, no dedicated website.

I dug around and found out that the current Ruger GP100 is super close in size to a Security Six, so I ordered the one for a 4″ barrel GP100.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/262234099076

It fits the gun perfectly! 
(Being a open non formed holster, it actually fits All of my mid frame ~4″ hand guns almost perfectly!)

These are built a little different than the average chest harness. The average seems to be an around the body horizontal strap, then the holster sits on that or straps down to it. Then the shoulder strap goes over and attaches to the horizontal strap on your back.

This one is the horizontal strap, and then the shoulder strap goes around from the holster, and BACK TO the holster…

It works. But it adds another strap crossing under your arm, and for me it’s a bit uncomfortable crossing that high under my arm. (I’ve a bit of fat there and it presses in anoyingly)

But even having said that, this thing is SUPER comfortable!! 

I threw it on with the 357 over a light hoodie a few nights ago, and went out and split a days worth of firewood. 45 minutes swinging a splitting maul, lifting, moving logs, etc. and I only had to reposition it a few times. That’s pretty upper body active, more so than any average time I’d normally be wearing a gun.


My only little problem is the way it sits, all the tension is pulling to the left side… The straps don’t hold it to the right if it’s pulled left. But it’s a left hand draw. So it drifts left during draw. Grabbing it with the right hand durring draw fixes it obviously. But I might not always have that hand free, so it needs a hold down strap on the right.

There is a loop on the barrel end of the holster (probably for a hold down), so adding a short cord, I’m thinking shock cord for a little movement, should be easy, run down to my belt.

One other thing, not really a problem, is the chest strap, on me, is extended almost all the way out. Not a design flaw, I’m just a big guy. So I’ll have to get an extension strap for wearing it over a heavy coat. It’s all 1″ strap, and all ends are held with SRBs, so it’ll be easy/cheap to add/remove as needed. The shoulder strap on the other hand, oddly has like another 10″ of outward adjustment, it’ll be fine.

Overall, I really like it. It works, and is verry comfortable. 


As to mods, I’m trying to find the site I saw a T shaped side release buckle on recently… 

It was simple the male or female side of the buckle, but the strap side had the slots on it at a 90 to the buckle… So you can slide it to any place on a strap and have the buckle T off. It was for camping/hiking packs, like to add a sternum strap or similar. Just can’t find it again! 

Anyway, was thinking one of those or similar on the around the chest strap, put it in the back, and clip the shoulder strap into it, doing away with the under arm strap. 

I’ll wear it/use it a while as is and if I don’t get used to that strap there, I’ll look into moddling it. But for now it’s fine!

Fat guy in a holster;

[​IMG]

My view;

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And the bonus, I can pick and chose what I want to carry;

4-5/8″ Blackhawk;

[​IMG]

Ruger MK2;

[​IMG]

Beretta Stamped SAA;
(3.5″ barrel us a little short in there, but I think it’ll balance ok/hang ok)

[​IMG]

Browning BDM 9mm;
(Which is great for now since this is my usual winter woods carry gun. No bears then so I don’t need the .357 etc.)

[​IMG]

:)

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATV Accessories, ATVing, Backcountry, Clothes, GetOutdoors, Guns, Hunting, Life-Philosophy, New Gear, Outdoors, Woods tools

Got a new wheeler!

Did some “horse trading” as its called around here, got me a new toy! 2012 Polaris Sportsman 400 H.O. 😎

It was stolen last spring, then recently recovered by the Alaska statet roopers a few weeks ago. I’ve had to fix a few things the thieving jerks broke, but overall it’s in great shape!

No, I don’t know what I need two 4 wheelers for… Just couldn’t pass on a cool deal. ☺

I’m planning to keep it for the winter,

1 to avoid having to sell it now,

2 it’d be harder to sell now that hunting season has started anyway, and

3 I get something else to play with… 🙂

IF 😉 I can’t find a way to justify having a second wheeler next spring, I’ll swap the better tires off it for my worn set, and still easily sell it for $2K or more. 😎

Categories: Alaska-Life, ATV, ATVing, GetOutdoors, Horse Trading, Hunting, Outdoors, Riding, Vehicles, Woods tools

First time for everything…

First time I’ve ever UN hot wired a vehicle! 😉 

Back story is as follows; A buddy had his ATV stolen out of his yard in May. Insurance payed off and he got a new one… 3 weeks later, the troopers said “hey, we got your wheeler back”.

He’s run out of time for projects this summer, but would like to sell it to cover the difference between the cost of the new one and the insurance paid. 

So, I’m putting it back together and selling it for him.

If it was a horse I’d say rode hard, put up wet… They didn’t baby it, but I wouldn’t say they thrashed it. 

 Needs a few things cleaned up, and put back together since they had started to strip it.  

First up was fixing the hacked hot wire job. Then test ridding to make sure they didn’t screw the driveline etc.. It all works great!  

Wiring like this isn’t too hard when you have a full wiring diagram to start with (free download of full factory service manual!) 

And, your supplied with a new switch, and the proper plug for it.  Got wire extension colors close on a couple… 

Scrounged and shortened the harness wires for an aftermarket switch pod I’d bought for mine. 

The harness wires to the switch had been cut so short I had to add something, but having them all one color would be a pain. 

The next guy is going to wonder what the heck, but at least he won’t be fighting to track a wire in a bundle of all red or all black wires..  

Voila;

😆

Couple days work on a few little cosmetic details and rewiring a winch, and then you should see it on Craigslist Fairbanks.  ðŸ™‚

Categories: ATV, ATVing, Automotive Work, Damages, EDC/MT use, Improviser, Modifications, Outdoors, Vehicles, Wiring, Wrenching

ATV Clutch repair! (Part 4) 

The previous parts of this saga, were;

1.

The clutch going out.

 A weight bushing and shaft worn, and a broken weight roller on the spider, jamming between weight and roller, late last fall. 

Parked it for the winter.

2.

Then this spring, I decided that if I took out the pivot shafycfir the weight, and that the weight couldn’t come out without disassembly of the clutch, it wouldn’t bind and jam,  and should work on 3 weights. 

Which it did, flawlessly.

For about 3 months. 

3.

Then it managed to get the magic amount of rpm, clearance,  and weight orientation to throw the weight. About 3.5 weeks ago. 

Turned out at that point, that when still “floating” in the clutch, even though the weight wasn’t helping engage the clutch, that it’s trapped weight/mass was balancing the clutch! 

Horrendous vibration ensued, causing engine over heating, a high pitched hum, and increasing belt slipage. And eventually would no doubt eat engine bearings… 

I rode it some for work around the homestead,  but I’m the clutch slippage was getting worse every time I ran it. 

So… part 4.

I decided to replace the weight shaft, and bushing, making both myself to save cost. 

To add back the weight, but held in this time as intended to be, and eliminate the play that allowed it to bind up. The broken roller on the spider could wait a little while. 

Being lazy won out over being broke. Twice. First time about 3 weeks ago, I was going to lathe turn a new pivot shaft. 
Was easier to buy a new one. 

This time I was going to make the bushing for the weight … Never had the time or drive to do it for over a week. 

Found a atv/cycle parts place with amazingly reasonable shipping rates to Alaska (bikebandit.com). 

Few days later I have shiny little parts! 

Got 4 since everything online says you’ll crush a couple learning to press them in.

 Uhuh. 

I used a new bushing over the old shaft, slid through the old bushing/weight, nut on top to act as a stop, and drove the old one out while seating the new one…  

Slight bur created on end of new one trimmed out with a drill bit by hand. Took 5 min total, if that. And I have 3 bushings left! 

If nothing else I have the bushings to later do the other 3 weights. 
Then came instalation in the clutch.

REALLY wanted to do this without pulling the clutch off the engine. I bought a puller last winter, but there are a lot of horror stories about broken clutch pullers, and having to then cut the clutch up to get it off. If you got a cheap puller.  I did get a cheap, but not the cheapest puller… 

Yeah. 

 Couldn’t compress the clutch into the belt loop (as it does when the clutch is working, to open the area around the weight) as I had hoped I could, with clamps.  

Suddenly realized I could enlarge that belt loop, and clearance in it, by letting the belt tighten on the secondary clutch!

 Pry open secondary clutch, pull belt foreward, press primary clutch half inward, hold in place with clamp, insert weight, drive in new shaft(light press fit in clutch), install nuts, tighten. 

Voila! That was amazingly easy. Not sure why, but God sure does like me!

 plugged in the belt safety switch in the cover, wired the cover to the rack as high as possible,  kept my leg out of the clutches for a short test ride in the yard (don’t try this at home kids).

 NO MORE VIBRATION! Works like a DREAM!!  Took less than an hour total! $50 max total spent, used a whopping $11 in parts! 

If I’d known that could go that easy, I’d have gotten the parts and done it months ago!  

Bolted cover on and rode it 10 miles; perfect! No vibration, no high pitch buzz, no belt slip, no motor over heating, good clutch engagement!! 

Back to the way it was last year(yikes, hard to believe its been 10 months it first messed up!) before any of the clutch issues!!  
Now, technically I still need to replace the clutch center spider, that houses the (broken)roller that the weight runs on. 

But given how little wear there is on the weight compared to the rest of the worn parts, I think it is causing very little damage, very slowly.   

I’m pretty sure it can wait a month or two of reasonable riding, for me to save the funds to get the spider,  and build the tools needed to disassemble the clutch to change it. 

I will also be periodically checking on the play in that weight on the shaft–

(and, as a side point it’s now the tightest of all four… the other 4 bushings could use done within a couple years m, I’m sure.)

–because,  there is a section where the wear had eaten into the weight, that the new bushing is unsupported. 

Probably be fine for a long time, but I’ll check it from time to time just to be sure.  

Might just weld up that spot when I have it apart to do the spider. Or spring for a new weight.   But unless it starts to bind again,  I can’t see this causing any wear being a problem, for a while anyway. 

I’ve also decided that even though it still looks great, this couldn’t have been good for the belt, and I gave no idea how old it is anyway. I’ll put a new belt on it as soon as I can afford it. Hopefully when I replace the clutch spider; Since the clutch has to come off to change the belt (what idiot thought that up??!?), and I’d like to minimize times I have to do that… 

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATVing, Automotive Work, Damages, GetOutdoors, Improviser, MacGyver, Modifications, Outdoors, Riding, Vehicles, Wrenching

Small day trip.

Although, small is relative. This was long for me. 17.25 miles. 

In 3h18m. About 2 hours moving, 1 stopped(accumulatively).

 About 6.5 miles of back country high country trails, 5 miles of log roads,  and around 6 miles along the highway, some on a trail, some on the road itself. 

The rock cairn is along the log road, about halfway. It’s really cool, and new, wasn’t there this spring. 
One stop soon after the log roads was the local K-6 school, got to walk around on the grass and rest my back.
— much needed after the 3 miles of trail before the road, The roughest trails you can get, over tree roots and stumps in dense black spruce, and old growth white spruce (some big trees up there are a good 3.5′ or 4′ dia at the bottom!). Wish I’d taken pics while up there….

After that rough section I found a turn signal hanging loose. Thankfully the wire traps the nut!

Next stop was at the local dump transfer site, scrounge some bed rail steel, that I ran up the trail a mile to a buddies. Lucky the trail is wite through there,  it stuck out a foot on both sides! 😉
 Overall a really nice day out! Getting moving was welcome after some work I did early. It was 80Fs in the shade, an I saw 98

Categories: Adventures, Alaska-Life, ATV, ATVing, Backcountry, GetOutdoors, Riding, Summertime

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