Sunday, March 17, 2013



One company back in the United States who have been a tremendous help to me since I contacted them last October is WARN
Andy Lilienthal, WARN Industries Online Marketing Manager has really taken care of me when it comes to aftermarket service of WARN's products.

When I lived back in the U.S. I already had two sets of WARN lights that were operating on my 1976 FJ40 Toyota Landcruiser, and I transferred one set of them, the WARN SDB-160's, onto my bike when it was just a solo motorcycle before the start of my trip in Dec 2009. 

When building the sidecar at LBS Sidecars I used the WARN SDB-210's for the  front of the sidecar so now I had 2 sets of WARN lights. Well, the switches, after a number of years on the road, weren't made for being outside on a motorcycle so with all the rain and the corrosion that happened inside they quit working. Both of them.
So I emailed Ray Hyland of Overland Journal about who I should contact and he forwarded me Andy Lilienthal's contact info. I contacted Andy last October when I was in Sweden asking for his help and a few weeks later he had shipped me over a new pair of switches and wiring harnesses.

I needed some other items, a few extra relays, a pair of light covers, a few extra bulbs. I contacted Andy and again he shipped those items over to me in Norway where I was at that time. 

So now I'm in Finland and since I don't have a reverse gear on the outfit yet I had been thinking about getting some sort of small winch for quite a while now in case I got stuck out in the middle of nowhere and help was not available. WARN make a special lightweight portable winch especially designed for motorcycles in their WARN XT17 that weighs in at mere 8.5 lbs/3.85 kg and has a pulling capacity of 1700 lbs/771 kg. So again I gave Andy a call about the winch and last week I received a package from Andy at WARN containing my new WARN XT17. 

So it was off to Ari's garage to install the winch.

Ari was the fabricator for the bracketry to mount it up to the front of the sidecar so as it fits right in and looks like it belongs there. I'm telling you, I can't say enough about all the help that Ari has given me so far.
I wouldn't be able to do this kind of fabrication.

First the brackets had to be cut and shaped.

I did the easy job, wiring the WARN winch plug to the secondary car battery on the outfit.

 The WARN XT17 looks right at home under the WARN SDB-120's.

While I was in wiring mode I decided to swap out the first battery jumper switch that we installed for a Marine grade "keyless" switch.

This was the keyed switch with the on/off key inserted....

....and the red switch on the left is the keyless marine grade version.

The battery connector on/off switch on the right needed a plastic key inserted into the hole behind the cover to turn it from off to on to connect the smaller motorcycle battery to the full-size car battery I have on the outfit. The ease of use of the keyless switch makes all the difference in -15° and below. I just reach down with my right hand and turn the switch. It would be the equivalent of attaching jumper cables from the car battery to the small motorcycle battery that lives underneath the gas tank, without all the hassle of the cables. 

In -20° and below, wires and cables freeze and become very stiff and inflexible and prone to breaking. And everything becomes much more difficult in these conditions, so my whole purpose in making all these modifications to the outfit is to make things simpler and easier for me with long term winter travel in mind. 
Streamlining and ease of function never became an issue on my motorcycle or travels before, that is until I started to live full time on my outfit. Then all of the small little inconveniences that most motorcyclists, myself included, would only need to do every now and then started to become difficult and awkward since I was doing them on a weekly basis and in sub zero temperatures rather than once every two or three months in temperatures above freezing. 

Riding in extreme winter temperatures, apart from anything else, is very hard on batteries, especially a small motorcycle battery. So the installation of the large car battery to jump the smaller capacity motorcycle battery was without doubt, one of the better mods. I've used it to jump the smaller battery almost daily, every morning that it's below -20°. And thats just been about every morning so far, give or take a few days here and there where it's only -10° or so. 

These last few mornings it was even cooler, dropping to below -30°.
-34° was the reading at 6am.

The battery switch sits behind my right leg above the passenger footrest.

As I'm working at the bench beside Ari, Ronja, Ari's dog, seems to be lying faithfully and lovingly by her masters side.......

.....or was she?.

My sheepskin lined sub-zero Arctic handlebar muffs.

I've had a number of inquiries from motorcyclists about where they can order these handlebar wind protectors. The simple answer is you can't, you have to make these yourself or get them made.
Raimo, a member of KARU MC with an upholstery business here in Rovaniemi called Autovi, worked from the design of the old ones and made them better and warmer this time with the addition of windows on each side to see the controls. They were also sheepskin lined for extra insulation and warmth.

Raimo, owner of Autovi.

How much did they cost me?. Well, I traded Raimo my photography skills and took glamor shots of his '71 H-D Sportster motorcycle and his 60's Mercury Commuter station-wagon.

Raimo's 1962 Mercury Commuter.

                                          His 1971 H-D Sportster

I'll have more pictures of both the Mercury and Raimo's bikes in another article here on

Oh no !!. This weeks edition of the Sunday Post is finished. They go too fast, don't they?. 

Again, I hope you all enjoyed the read. The comments section is now open, please feel free to vent and leave me your thoughts.

If you enjoy reading my articles and photography, donations are always happily welcomed and shamelessly accepted. It helps to put gas in my tank so I can go get more pictures for the blog.

Just go to the DONATE link up on the right, or click here

All donations also go to help support my RideAwayCancer expenses and efforts too. I don't get paid from sponsors, they just give me product, so all of my expenses, gas, fuel, etc., come out of my own pocket. So as little as a Grande Latte every month helps me out a lot.


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Brian Many Wheels said...

Great post Murph....I love the quality of the work with the winch as well as the hand warmers..I am a bit puzzled as to why you are spending so much time or planning to spend so much time in the frozen north lands in the winter??? I may have missed where you talked about it, but wassup with that...?

Dale said...

I always thought an ATV winch would be helpful for you, glad WARN hooked you up. As far as the hand warmers Hippo Hands is a brand of warmers people can check into, or go to a snowmobile dealer - they won't have the nice clear inserts though. I have a 63 Mercury Colony Park like that wagon. If you watch "The Worlds Fastest Indian" you can see the same car as Burt's chase vehicle on the salts. Cheers!

Charlie6 said...

Murph, great photos of the bracket fabrication/mounting process...I also liked to see the grip covers being made as well.

No idea why, but I assumed your mobec drive also had a reverse gear....I find the one on my URAL quite nice. Question, are there plans to be able to mount the winch to the rear of your rig, for those occasions when having in the front won't work? I settled on using a Maasdam Rope Puller setup, more handling/work, but am not riding in the temperatures you're riding either!

Your battery switch setup I found rather cool. Have you considered just primarily running off the car battery or are there charging issues involved?


Redleg's Rides

Jim BTW said...

Hi Murph,

Many thanks again for the travelogue and awesome pictures. We occasionally see the Northern Lights here in Calgary, Canada but that is a rare occurrence and they pale in comparison to those shown in your pictures.

WARN winches have always been at the top of the winch pile. I have had a few WARN 8274 and had them save my bacon on a number of occasions. Hopefully you won't need it in anger anytime soon but the peace of mind it will provide is priceless.

Wishing you safe onward travels and a happy St. Patrick's Day.


Anonymous said...

Hi Murph. Nice pictures, as always. Living in northern Finland myself, it´s been interesting to follow your journey thru the frozen lapland. Seems like you are coping ok, so my hat is off to you.

Anyway, I assume you´ll be heading to south soon, so have you already decided which road you´re gonna choose thru the country ? If you are planning on riding via west cost or central finland, may I suggest you take the road number 86, which start a bit south from Oulu and goes thru small places like Ylivieska, Kaustinen, Kauhava and ends up to Seinäjoki. Nothing special on that road, but those main roads (road number 4 and 8) are quite boring to be honest. Just straight lines through the landscape and I assume you might enjoy that smaller road more. It´s in a good driving condition.

Being a bit of a photographer myself, I´ve always thought I should take pics of some of the old houses on the roadside of that route, but being such a lazy ass, I´ve never managed to do that. Maybe that´s what separates real photographers from sore losers like myself. Laziness, or lack of it...?


From Oulu

Wadeeb said...

Murph I am loving this entire blog. Incredible journey you are on in so many ways. Quite an outift you have at this point. I just read the posts on the sidecar install and have a couple of questions. One is just how much fuel can you carry now ? 44L + 33L aux under the sidecar to start plus I noticed some jerry cans in various places. Second is how does the bike handle all that weight and how much does it weigh at this point ?

happy trails
Inuvik, NWT Canada

IRISH Murph said...

Hi Brian.

Yep, you did miss me talk about it. Winter. My favorite season. The outfit with the 2 WD was built specifically for extreme winter travel. I must of been a Viking in a past life, but I just love snowy Winters. Your body gets used to the colder temps after a month or so, really.

Thanks for stopping by,


IRISH Murph said...

Hello Dale and thanks for commenting.

I tried Hippo Hands and and even the ones at the snowmobile centers, nothing came close to the ones that Raimo made, none of them had sheepskin liners in them.


IRISH Murph said...


No, the Mobec Duo-Drive is only a chain driven cassette box with a viscous clutch attached for the drive. No reverse. The URAL has it in the tranny. I can get a reverse in my tranny, but I will lose one gear, so it will become a 5 speed, not a six speed.

The XT17 winch is portable Dom, the location on the front is not a useable winch point. You remove the winch and, use a strap on a solid point on the bike, winch in the middle and the other point goes around a tree, other car bumper etc.

Running off the car battery was a consideration, there's no charging issues really.
I'm thinking of putting a small car battery under the tank instead of the Odyssey bike battery.

Cheers Dom.

IRISH Murph said...

Hey Jim,

Thank you for the kind words.

Yea, the WARN winch does give me a much better peace of mind for sure. It is a great addition to the outfit.

Thanks for following along on my little trip.



IRISH Murph said...

Terve Tomi,

Thanks for the suggestions on the way south. I think I will do what you suggest. And if I take photo's of the old houses I will think of you :-)


IRISH Murph said...

Greetings Paul,

Glad t hear you're into my little journey.

I can carry 100 litres+, I have a few small 2 ltr cans too.

The outfit handles the weight fine, no problems. I need the extra weight for the sidecar so as the sidecar driven wheel digs in, as the bike is heavier then the sidecar.



IRISH Murph said...

Paul forgot to address your "How much it weighs" question. I honestly have no clue. I'm never fully loaded and by a weigh scale at the same time, so I've never found out.


Mike said...

Hi Murph, my son sent me here and I've just finished reading the whole of your blog from end to end. This has to be one of the best things I've read for months. I particularly enjoy the details of how you get almost into trouble but manage to recover through skill and the generosity the people you meet.

I hope your reputation continues to proceed you and facilitate more extra ordinary stories. I hope your hardware lives up to your expectations and in the words of Bob Dylan "may you stay forever young".

Thanks for the inspiration.

IRISH Murph said...

Hey Mike, great to hear that you read through the whole journey so far.

Quite interesting, isn't it?. And I do attribute it to keeping me young at heart, best thing I ever did.

Glad to have you along as a regular Mike,

best to you and your son,