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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