Slowly, slowly ……

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid frame / chassis in Solidworks 3DWith the weather hitting an unseasonaly warm 20c (but high winds!) it’s been a fine opportunity for running around on the Capo, but when she’s all tucked up nice and cosy in the barn, it’s been time to work on the stable-mate, NK03 …… or more specifically the chassis! Slowly but surely it’s being measured and drawn up in CAD and some other parts drawn up last year added into the mix. One day a complete digital Capo will exist! 😀

Refering back to the weather …….. here’s a couple of pics taken on the mobile at the end of the day when walking the dog. As the sun sets behind the Gran Sasso mountains it seems to save the best lighting until last.

Gran Sasso sunset January 2016Gran Sasso sunset January 2016

 

Accuracy is everything …..

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid calibrated voltmeterWay back when I started playing with the idea of using the dashboard tachometer as a voltmeter, I was aware I had one stumbling block …. I didn’t have a decent workbench power supply to calibrate the software/voltmeter against. In the end just using a battery and resistors the ball-park calibration wasn’t too bad, reading within a needles width of the correct voltage from 13 – 14v but it drifted terribly above and below this range.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid Thurlby 30v-2A dual power supplyThen in summer along came a gift from ABSL via Andy (Beasthonda) …. A very nice Thurlby 30V-2A dual power supply, which unfortunately had to languish in Oxford as it was too heavy to transport back by Capo! But patience is rewarded and it finally sits on the workbench, performing brilliantly and its first job has just been to calibrate the dashboard voltmeter once and for all. In the end it required a little code revision to get it just so, but it was worth it – now the voltmeter is accurate to a needles width over the full range of 9 – 16V. Happy Days! One more job to tick off the must-finish list. 😀

I really can’t say how much I appreciate Andy for thinking of me and ABSL for letting this power supply go to a complete stranger, I look forward to putting it to good use and hope that some of the tinkering on the workbench can make its way into other Caponords.

Busy, busy and busier still!

Calais docks ...... a bit quiter than the war-zone approach roads!3,000 miles, six days, one exam and enough fog to last a lifetime ….. Yes, the last run of 2015 to the UK and back is over! The return bought with it oodles of goodies and an unwanted guest, the dreaded UK winter cold that then turns into bronchitis, oh what fun.
After getting back and between snuffling, shivering and coughing up gunk thick enough to glue shelves up with I managed to give the new Capo Rally-Raid frame a damn good de-grease and inspection. It all looks good and other than the usual wear and tear befitting a 12 year old part (in UK weather!) it’ll be a fine starting point for the bikes rebuild. It also gave me the opportunity to look at the differences between the standard and Rally-Raid frames. Does it really justify a new part number just because of a fresh run of serial numbers? Or is the difference more involved?

In fact it turns out the Raid frame is quite different. All the modifications are around the swing-arm pivot points and cross brace/suspension mount. Five reinforcement plates in all …. Making the difference in frame prices work out at roughly £50 per modification! Mind you, that’s chicken feed when compared to the list price – £3,193 (Std) / £3,440 (R-Raid)! 😯
Advanced! The RSGB Full Licence Manual

Oh and the exam ….. Well I took the Advanced (full) Amateur Radio Licence – the last of the three levels in the UK. Thankfully the head-cold wasn’t an issue, it would be a further 12hrs before that little puppy made itself known. So six months of preparation and study boiled down to two hours of pen-pushing on a Monday evening. FACT – did you know tummy-rumbling is catching, just like yawning … I know, I was there!  😳 Anyway, did I do all that studying  justice? Is it an early Christmas present or a can of Gold Label and a cry behind the bike sheds ……..

…….. well say helloooo to the new full licence callsign:

M0ZRX

Unfortunately ‘ETV’ had gone, but to stick with the bike theme I chose my old Kawasaki ZRX1200 Eddie Lawson rep instead! Next stop – let’s see if the Italians will give me a reciprocal licence as well, it would be very kind of them! 😀

Review – Motrag Garmin 590LM GPS mount

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with Motrag.com base & micro mount for Garmin GPSFor the past six months the eight year old Garmin 2820 has steadily slid its digital cheese off its cracker, forgetting the date and time and generally making a meal of locating satellites. Add to that an annoying habit of swapping screens at random and it’s easy to see why it’s not my best-buddy it once was! Nope …. time for a change.

Which ties in very nicely with Manuel at Motrag.com loaning me a Capo-specific mount for the Garmin 590LM to try out. Unlike the Mad-Maxesque contraptions that Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with Motrag.com base & micro mount for Garmin GPSTouratech supply, the Motrag unit is clean and simple …. and pretty uncomplicated. The mount consists of two parts, the ‘Base Mount‘ that bolts to the handlebar clamp (all bolts and spacers supplied) and the ‘Micro Mount’ of choice based on the GPS unit to be fitted. This is attached to the Base Mount via four rubber anti-vibration mounts, again with stainless steel screws supplied.

The 590LM comes with its own bracket for powering the unit and locking it in place, this simply bolts to the Micro Mount which provides the extra support for use in rougher terrain. When the GPS is tucked away in a bag and the ‘Zumo’ cover fitted, the mount is much less in-your-face unlike the Touratech one ……. plus a lot less angular, aggressive and sharp-edged, which is no bad thing.

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid with Motrag.com base & micro mount for Garmin GPSFirst impressions are excellent, it holds the GPS perfectly and vibration is virtually none existent, the whole thing is unobtrusive and the powder coating looks like it’ll outlive the Capo. The laser cut ‘Rally-Raid’ is a nice touch and just so no-one feels left out – the mount is available with ‘Caponord’ as well! As always, where possible Manuel supplies stainless steel fasteners that match the look of the OEM Aprilia fasteners – a nice touch. Currently Motrag have Micro Mounts for the Garmin 340/350/390 and 590LM with one in development for the TomTom Rider. Base Mounts are also available for the Multistrada (2012-14) and Hypermotard (2014 on). The cost is €38.95 for the Base Mount and €63.95 for the Micro Mount. The Micro mount in supplied with a plate and clamp so it can also be fitted to a cross-bar or a Ram Mount, in which case you don’t need to buy the Base Mount.GPS-bar-clampAt the time of writing, I’ve done about 450 miles with the mount fitted, some on VERY poor mountain roads and everything is fine. The dashboard is still clearly visible (rider 182cm / 5ft 11inch) and the mount angle goes a long way to limiting screen-glare. I look forward to reviewing the mount along with the Motrag fog-lamp brackets in six months time when the Capo has a good few more miles and a winter under its belt.

Another bike ….. It was inevitable I guess

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid frame number 075Say hello to Rally-Raid number 075! Yes a little lightweight I grant you …. one or two parts do appear to be missing, but a fully registered bona-fide ETV1000 Rally-Raid none the less. So in anticipation of building up a second Raid, I’ve decided to start a dedicated website …. www.etv1000.eu …. But it’ll be a slow-burner for sure while the bits are sourced! 😕

Fuse box panel

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8178418 fuse box covering panelOn the Mark 1 Capo there’s a screw-on cover, on the Mark 2 a panel held on by 4 screws but on the Raid it’s just waving in the wind …. staring at you with those half-inch high letters screaming “FUSE”. Quite why Aprilia felt the Raid needed an uncovered fuse box below the dashboard is anyones guess …….. it’s not like I need millisecond fuse changes!

Besides it’s always niggled me that one sunny Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8168770 panelday some light-fingered arse would think it a jolly wheeze to pull all the fuses out when it’s parked up. To remove the temptation I’d been keeping an eye open for a replacement panel for a while. Recently when a panel from an 05 came up on Ebay I was in-like-Flynn and the Capo got a nice little upgrade. I think it looks much better now. 😀

Check Valve AP8104251 – symptoms

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8104251vacuum check-valve exploded viewA couple of folks have asked what the symptoms where that prompted the replacement of the check valves (AP8104251). Well, for a while I’d had an intermittent ‘cough’ or momentary stumble when lifting the throttle off idle …. maybe once every twenty times or so. More than enough to make your heart skip a beat when you think she’s about to stall just as everyone’s powering away from the traffic lights! Other than this annoying habit, everything in the garden was Rosie. Or so it seemed.

I’d cleaned and rebalanced the throttle bodies and all the vacuum hoses and inlet rubbers were perfect as they’d been replaced – but it kept happening. In the end with nothing much else to go on, I’d pulled the check valves and found them both to have failed.

Since replacing them, I realise there were other symptoms – very subtle –  and the sort of thing you adapt to without realising it.

  • Reduced engine braking. This was really noticeable within a couple of miles after the valves were replaced – Engine braking  is certainly  stronger now
  • ‘Burble’ from the exhausts on overrun. This is greatly reduced, especially at low RPM
  • Eratic idle during warm-up. The idle became lumpy at 65°C then smoothed out again by 70°C – now stable throughout.

With a few hundred extra miles under the belt, it’s fair to say that the intermittent off-idle stumble has well and truly gone which is great of course …. but I do miss that bit of ‘Burble’ on the overrun! So if you have idle issues and any of these symptoms ring a bell, then take a moment to check the valves as well as the usual old favourites – IACV, vacuum lines and inlet rubbers. You might be surprised.

MCCruise control revisited

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid MCCruise CIU throttle servo cablesWhile the Caponord was stripped for the vacuum check-valve replacement, I decided to get my act in gear and finally, once and for all, unequivocally ….. Sort out the MCCruise control/throttle cables. Last year I relocated the CIU (Cable Interface Unit) to the left hand side of the throttle body. This had pros and cons ……….. The upside was a lighter feel on the throttle grip, the downside, the Servo/CIU and CIU/Throttle body cables were overly long and the Servo cable fed into the CIU from the wrong side. However, the cruise was working perfectly and so it became one of those ‘mañana’ jobs!

Well today is that tomorrow! First I jotted down a list of what had to be done:

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid MCCruise CIU cable interface unit1. Make a spacer to fit onto the side of the CIU. This is to move the throttle cable adjuster further out and make the inner cable a better fit on the spool.
2. Drill new cable holes in the CIU so it can be rotated 180° so the Servo cable enters from the rear not the front as is the current arrangement.
3. Shorten the CIU/Throttle cable while allowing for the new spacer at the CIU – 350mm down to 190mm.
4. Shorten the 1,150mm Servo cable to a more reasonable 750mm!

I have to say here and now that I do like learning new skills or adapting old ones to suit a new task. I also have to admit that in a good few years on this Earth, I’ve never made up or adjusted Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid throttle cablethe length of clutch/choke/throttle cables before! So time to adapt the electronics soldering skills and brush up on required technique courtesy of the Internet. Now I’m not going to bore you to tears telling you how to do it – there is tons of advice on various websites/YouTube. Suffice to say, sort out the duff advice from the good, have the right equipment to hand and practice, practice, practice  …… do the job once and do it right! All the cable bits and pieces I needed came from Venhill in the UK.

By late afternoon everything was buttoned up and the cruise control recalibrated after the throttle bodies were rebalanced, fault codes cleared and TPS reset via TuneECU. As the sun faded behind the hills I cracked open a cold beer happy with how the day played out …. Time then to put the tools away and get back to revising for the next Amateur Radio Exam!

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid MCCruise controlThe MCCruise has been installed for approx. 25,000 miles and worked perfectly throughout. The CIU was relocated because the initial location proved to be problematic – causing slight binding of the throttle cable. This meant that the cables supplied in the kit (as specified by me) were now the wrong length and the orientation of cable entry into the CIU was wrong.This is not the fault of MCCruise, what they sent is what I asked for! Should anyone else wish to go down this route I will of course be glad to provide notes/measurements etc so a kit will be a simple bolt-on job.

Vacuum check-valve …….. part2

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid check valve AP8104251The new vacuum check-valve (AP8104251) arrived yesterday and today, while the rain poured endlessly from a depressingly black sky I set about swapping out the bad one on the front cylinder. Just to be Boy-Scout ready, I’d also made sure to have some new hose and stainless steel click-clamps to hand – just in case! Getting the old one Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8104251 failed check valveout is a real trial of patience and dexterity believe me! Here is a pic of the old valve cut in half and you can see that the valve has broken up completely.

 With the valve cycling anywhere between an estimated 11-73 times a second depending on RPM, it looks like the 0.5mm thick valve flaps suffer from fatigue and  rips develop where the material flexes most. The valve doesn’t completely fail until the flap is ripped away as my other (rear cylinder) valve is testimony too. That valve flows in one direction but also a very small amount in the other and when Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8104251 valve stress testviewed end on, light can be seen through the valve flaps leading me to think that rips have already begun. So now another new valve is on order and I guess I’ll make a note to check these again in 15K miles or so, it’s easy and quick to do – simply pucker up and suck or blow! 😳

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid AP8104251 one way valve sectionOh and I’ve been asked a couple of times …. why not use a cheap Ebay ball-valve replacement? Well it seems to me they’re just not designed to cycle rapidly, a ball/spring valve may well be susceptible to the same phenomena as an engine valve train at high rpm – valve bounce/float. Of course in the real world it may make no damn difference what so ever and I’m just a sucker for buying genuine Aprilia parts! 🙂

UPDATE

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid check valve AP8104251Second (rear cylinder) valve replaced and all now in perfect condition. In this case the valve was leaky as it had a tear down one side – so a partial rather than total failure. It also seems that these parts were upgraded some time ago, this looks like it’s a modification to the plastic body …. on the old one the case is simply presses together, on the new one it is welded. Maybe they had instances of the cases coming apart in service, who knows.

5 years on ….

Aprilia Caponord Rally-Raid ETV1000 2010 Icelandic ash flights cancelled2010 ……. A year we made a mad-dash to the UK by Capo when an Icelandic volcano rather unsportingly blew its top. A year we gained a Kitten (Sam-Sam) and lost a cat – my venerable old friend Joe. A year when Kelly the English setter lost a foot but found a strange kind of companionship with a chicken! A year when the Capo went MoSFET and sported a nice new headlight switch ……. But most of all, it’s the year when the moto-abruzzo WordPress website/blog went live. 5 years to the day to be exact!

Way back then, Jan told me that something like an estimated 75% of blogs are abandoned after the first three months, so I’m glad to have dodged that particular statistic …… also that the ‘in’ joke websiteamongst the blogging glitterati is that most blogs have a readership of 1. Looks like I nailed that one then!

The reality is of course, that a site mainly dedicated to one particular bike is never going to have much traffic. In truth I suppose I have written it more as an aid-memoir for the Capo in the  years to come, a diary of one particular bikes journey and it’s issues along the way.

The intention was always to keep it clear of advertising and not ask for funding to maintain it, other than that, it just goes where time and content takes it. Maybe when the Aprilia Caponord Rally-Raid ETV1000Caponord (touch-wood!) hits 100,000 miles next year I’ll look at winding down the site and porting the content over to a self-publish book to put on the shelf, that way the content won’t disappear if the server/host decides to pull the plug one day.

Until then of course, the increasing miles on the Capo will generate a proportional increase in site content as a consequence of needing more restoration work. There’s also the question of a possible stable-mate ……. Do I plough on with the Capo regardless, or wind-down the mileage after 100k and look for something to take over the long-distance Euro trips. If so what? Inevitably I seem to go full circle and come back to square-one – another Capo, a Rally-Raid of course. I suppose it makes sense – reasonable price, ample spares to hand and a working knowledge of the model, and it does exactly what I want from a bike, period.

Either way, 2016 will be a landmark year with (I hope) plenty of posts and new pages.