RICK'S VOLKSWAGEN POWERED TRIKE


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JUNE 2015 - CUSTOM BUILT VW TRIKE PURCHASE

At the end of Feb 2015, I told Dennis Ryan I wanted to buy the trike he had built
The entire trike was new except the tranny and the motor was a factory rebuild
The forks are Harley Wide Glide, the tanks are lined 6 gal Harley tanks
The main gas tank is located behind the seat, 10 gallon aluminum
There is a gas shut off valve on main so can use the Harley tanks also
It took Dennis Ryan over 3 months to get a title for the trike
I was able to purchase & title the trike on July 2, 2015
Photo #1 was taken in Dennis Ryan's garage when I purchased the trike
All other photos below were taken at my home & in my driveway
The trike shares a garage with my 1993 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail
The photos below show what the trike looked like when purchased
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JULY 2015 - MODIFIYING THE TRIKE BEGINS

There were numerous things that I disliked about the trike
So I decided to modify the trike to my liking
The handlebars were drag handlebars, made it hard steering around corners
The mirrors were almost impossible to see with, 7" extensions and very small
Photo #1: Wide Drag handlebars with 7 inch riser & small mirrors
Photo #2: The small rear view mirrors were very hard to see with
Photo #3: The new 29" wide Buckhorn handlebars with new mirrors
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When the new handlebars were installed rewiring was required
New control buttons & switches were purchased and rewired
The wiring was a mess, 5 relays and wires everywhere
Such a conglomeration of wires - wiring will be redone in the future
Photo #4: The wiring mess with the dash removed
Photo #5: The wiring mess with one tank half removed
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The brake and clutch pedals are small metal pedals rather close to frame
I added larger rubber brake pads over the top of the pads - easier to use
The silver battery box was in the way for future changing of the shifter position
The battery was relocated in the engine compartment out of the way
The silver battery box was removed totally
Photo #6: Original metal pedals and battery box
Photo #7: New rubber pedal pads covering metal pedals
Photo #8: Battery now located in the engine compartment
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I disliked the Stinger vertical exhaust sticking up
It would also be in the way of the trike's body
New black glasspack exhaust system was installed
The glasspacks sound much better than the Stinger
Photo #9: All chrome Stinger exhaust system
Photo #10 & #11: New low mounted glasspack exhaust pipes
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The seat was very small, uncomfortable & hard to remain seated at times
I had a new seat I had purchased for my Harley, it replaced the small seat
Much better seat but would like to have one with more padding
Photo #12: Small seat can be seen in this photo
Photo #13: New seat which replaced the small one
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Shifting is difficult due to not being in straight line of tranny
The shifter is not in line with the transmission
It has 2 U-Joints in the connecting shaft making shifting hard
A Quick shifter kit was installed into the shifter box, it helped
The Quick kit reduced the shifting pattern about 40%
Photo #14: The shifter and connecting rod angling downward
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I needed a storage area for sunglasses and such, bought a leather tool pouch
The rear turning signals were too low, could not be seen from behind
We made some brackets and raised the signals about 4" higher

July 5th - purchased High Rise Buckhorn handlebars & risers
July 7th - purchased Handlebar switches and wiring kit
July 9th - purchased Quick shifter kit
July 16th - purchased new brake and clutch pedals
July 17th - purchased new left & right mirrors
July 21st - purchased leather tool pouch
July 25th - purchased Dual Exhaust black with chrome tips




AUGUST 11, 2015 - LEARNING TO RIDE THE TRIKE

Rusty Countryman and me took our trikes for a 2 hour joy ride
I am having a hard time finding the gears when shifing
It's a chore finding and shifting into gears left handed
At low speeds when shifting the front wheel wobbles
That wobble doesn't make shifting any easier
These are some photos of me backing out of the garage
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AUGUST 13, 2015 - MAJOR MODIFICATIONS WERE MADE

Rusty Countryman drove my trike to Larry Piercy's home in Rochester
I drove my Ford Explorer as we left the trike at Larry's home
Larry is going to remove the center post beneath the seat
The shifter & connecting rod will be lowered to a straight line with the transmission This will make shifting very much easier than it is now
Modifications will also be made on the gas tank straps behind the seat
Large bolts that are protruding will be removed & replaced with small hinges
The bolts would be in the way of the body when it is constructed
I had removed the big, ugly silver battery box totally and moved the battery to the engine compartment
The battery being located directly behind the driver was a bad idea
While it was at Piercy's, I purchased a much smaller battery
Larry made a new battery stand, placed it in a lower position within the engine compartment where it belongs
The center support frame section was removed, 2 smaller ones were welded onto the frame. This allowed the shifter box to be lowered and put in a straight line with the tranny
Larry bent the shifter rod allowing more room for my left hand
The springs were found to be in the way of the proposed body
Another trip to Larry's to have the springs & shocks angled inward
I purchased a steering shock absorber to aid in front wheel stability
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SEPTEMBER 2015 - WOBBLE PROBLEM SOLVED

I never checked the air in the front tire - there was none!!!
I had assumed it had air in it, lucky the tire was not damaged
I put 35 lbs of air in the tire and the wobble disappeared



OCTOBER & NOVEMBER 2015 - TOTAL REWIRING

I absolutely hated the dash, the wiring was a massive amount of wiring
In October I began a month long project of total rewiring the trike
I stripped most of the wiring and rewired with a more simple method
I purchased a Harley Davidson style dash for 5 gallon gas tanks
I returned the dash after learning I have 6 gallon gas tanks
I then purchased the correct dash from Amazon
The 20 fuse fuse box was located beneath the seat making in hard to access
It was removed and a new 6 fuse fuse box was placed in the engine compartment
The new dash looks so much better than what was on it
I purchased an automobile ignition switch to simplify wiring
I purchased a set of large diameter metal saw for a drill
A 2 inch large hole was cut in the dash base for the new ignition
I was unable to get the horn button in the handlebars to work
I purchased an add on button and installed it on the left handlebar
Everything electrical works except the flashers
They will not remain flashing when button is released
A new flasher installed did not solve the problem
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NOVEMBER 19, 2015 - BODY CREATION

Rusty Countryman had helped on Sept 20th designing a basic body
I purchased 2 sheets of 1/2" styrofoam to use for patterns
A styrofoam mock up was designed and created
The basic body parts were cut and taped together
The project was then put on hold until the rewiring was finished
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Having finished with all hardware & electrical, the body construction begins
On November 19, I re-assembled the parts and began redesigning the body
I cut the legs off a leather chair and designed the body around it
I have purchased 2 sheets of 3/4" Oak Plywood
The body will be built using the Oak plywood
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DECEMBER 2015 - THE C-CAB

I have decided to add a removable C-Cab style top to the trike
This will enable me to have a plain or C-Cab trike at will
C-Cab vehicles have a top that is patterned after a Ford Model T pickup truck
Here is a few examples of a C-cab vehicle
I am designing a C-Cab for my trike very similar to photo #1
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DECEMBER 2015 - TRIKE BODY, C-CAB, PASSENGER SEAT & BACKREST CONSTRUCTION BEGINS

CONSTRUCTION OF THE BODY
Construction of the body began in December 2015
Rodney Keyes & I cut 3/4" oak plywood panels from the foam patterns
The using the Kreg screw system, the panels were assembled
With some slight deviations, Rodney and I built the body
A storage area at the rear above the motor was also created
The lid of the storage area is attached using a piano hinge
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CONSTRUCTION OF THE PASSENGER SEAT & BACKREST
The passenger seat and back rest was then built
The passenger seat is easily removed
It is the only access to the gas tank, fuse box and battery
without having to remove the entire body
Black steel guard rails were installed on each side of the seat
The rear turning signal lights were mounted onto the plywood sides
An aluminum channel, see photo #6, is located on each side for the C-Cab
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ADDING FINISHING TRIM TO THE BODY
1-1/8" x 1-1/8" Oak outside corner trim was then applied to the body
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CONSTRUCTION OF THE C-CAB
The C-Cab's design was taken from a Ford Model T Pickup Truck cab
The C-Cab when finished will be a removable top for the body
The aluminum channel on each side prevents side slippage
My main problem is finding a method to secure the C-Cab to the body
yet enable quick and easy removal of the C-Cab from the body
This will make the trike a hard top convertible
The C-Cab is currently being covered in black vinyl
The coffin shaped window openings with be trimmed with oak trim
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JANUARY 2, 2015 - Leathering the C-Cab

Larry Archer has been helping me fit the C-Cab with black leather
We placed the C-cab upside down on my table saw for easy access
We are applied Elmer's carpenter glue to the plywood
Then the leather was stapled to the edges of the plywood
We were covering the sides with leather and I ran out of leather
I have 3 more yards of leather coming in any day now
One side has leather on both sides so I decided to trim one window
I spent many hours trying to cut trim angles correctly
I finally gave up trying to use outside corner trim
I cut thin oak strips, glued the oak strips to the inside edges of the window. Then I installed some Old Fashioned upholstery nails into the oak strips to set the window off a bit
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JANUARY 14, 2016 THE C-CAB's TRIM

I installed some of the C-cab trim today. Rusty came over today and we decided it would be best to keep all the trim similar to the window trim
This afternoon I cut, glued and upholstery nailed all the trim in these 4 photos
More upholstery nails are needed so I had to spred what I had out
(Except for 1 piece along the bottom which is taped on)
I cannot do any more trim until the top has has been covered with vinyl
The top vinyl will be installed tomorrow
I then can finish the trim up 100% and I will be done with the C-cab's construction
Staining and waterproofing all of the wood will be the next project in line
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JANUARY 17, 2016 - READY TO MOUNT ON THE TRIKE

I have finished all of the C-cab trim
Two of the wrought iron carry handles that I purchased from England are now installed on each side of the C-cab
(As seen in photos #5 & #6)
These wrought iron handles make carrying the C-cab much easier
I have 2 more of these handles, they will be installed on the main body in order to make removing the body easier
As soon as the snow in the driveway is gone, I will bring the trike in the big garage and mount the C-cab and the 2 body handles
Staining and waterproofing all of the wood will be the next project in line
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JANUARY 22, 2016 - C-CAB TRIM STAINED

These photos were taken January 21st and 22nd
There are some photos showing some trim that had not been stained
As of January 22nd, all of the trim has now been stained
All outside trim has 2 coats of clear applied
Some inside trim still needs 2 coats of clear applied
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JANUARY 24, 2016 - C-CAB FITTED ONTO THE BODY

I removed the trike's body today in the main garage
Rusty came over and we fitted the C-Cab onto the body
The C-cab is a bit nose heavy so we had to stick a length of plywood under the nose to hold it level while working on it
The latches I had purchased to hold the C-cab onto the body would not work as planned, we found this out after working on it for 4 hours
So I ordered 2 Jeep Wrangler hood hold downs, that is what I should have ordered originally
The hold downs will be here Feb 1st or sooner
In the meantime I will be staining the body

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FEBRUARY 1, 2016 - THE BODY STAINING IS DONE

I am just about finished with the trike body
I still need to make some turning signals for it
I should be ready to put all the parts together sometime this week
(C-cab, body, seats and trike)
The Jeep hood latches came have arrived and am hoping they will secure the c-cab to the body securely

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FEBRUARY 2, 2016 - CREATING CUSTOM TURNING SIGNAL LIGHTS

I have created 2 new signal lights out using the original lights
After they are stained, I still need to drill a large hole for the taillight bulb's light to show through
Some kind of gasket will be placed between the lids to help keep water out
A clear plastic lens will be placed over the lid tops along with small bolts to hold it all together
This is sort of a hit and miss subject and hope it all works out

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FEBRUARY 3, 2016 - TURNING SIGNAL LIGHTS PART 2

They are now stained and the large hole has been drilled in each lid
Had to wait at least 8 hours before I could apply the clear coat
Then wait another 6 to 8 hours before applying the 2nd clear coat

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FEBRUARY 4, 2016 - IT'S ALL COMING TOGETHER

Rusty and Gary Stroud came over and we put the C-Cab onto the Body
We installed the Jeep hood latches
I finished the casket styled signals and installed them on the body
The front needs to be secured
I screwed hooks into the front trim and attached turnbuckles to each as seen in photo #12 and it was holding down the front very well

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FEBRUARY 7, 2016 - C-CAB MOUNTING SOLVED

The Jeep latches did not work, the rear can still move up and down
I purchased 3 black hinges to hold down the rear of the c-cab
I thought about putting them across the inside back
I would have installed them as I have them placed in photo #1
They hinges are 1/4 inch too wide if I put them on the inside
I would have to trim 1/4" off the back seat trim
So we mounted the hinges between the trunk and the C-cab back
They fit perfectly as seen in photos #2 and #3 and hold the C-cab back securely
Now the C-cab's front needs to be secured better than seen in photo #4
Rusty shook the front of the c-cab violently twice
With the 2nd shaking, the one piece of trim split and one of the eyelets was already working it's way out
Rusty figured out a much better way to securely use the turnbuckles
We bent a 1" x 1/8" steel bar into a U shape
We planned on securing 4 of these near the carry handles
It was ugly so I am using small stainless steel U bolts instead
I purchased 8 so we could have 2 steel plates on each U bolt
Lock nuts will be used and the threads will need to be shortened (photo #5)
Turn buckeles will then be attached to the 2 U bolts on each side

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FEBRUARY 10, 2016 - THE BODY IS MOUNTED ON TRIKE

The U-bolts didn't work so I custom made my own
I bought 2 4-40 threaded steel rods, bent 2 into long U-bolts and fastened them where the C-cab and body meet
I covered the rods with black tape, Rusty later covered them with modified handle bar grips with leather tassels
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Upon attempting to mount the body on the trike, the new black mesh vents were striking the gas tank's hinges and we were not able to mount the body
We removed the mesh and wood supports and the body then was able to be mounted onto the trike
This mesh will have to be mounted on the outside of the body
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The C-cab was then able to be mounted onto the body
Here's the trike with the body & c-cab mounted
I got into the back seat and tested it. I am a bit tall for it but managed to sit in it
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When we tried inserting the mounting bolts onto the rear bumper, the bolts could not be used
The 1/4" bolts had bent from the body weight so the holes were re-drilled and heavier 5/16" bolts were installed
The tail lights and signal lights were hooked up and tested
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FEBRUARY 13, 2016 - C-cab & Body modifications

I managed to hit my forehead on the sharp C-Cab corners 2 times today
I cut up a leather handle grip tassel and securely covered the sharp corners
#1 - I now can detect the corners if I get anywhere near them
#2 - The front C-cab corners are now padded with soft leather
#3 - I think they add a bit more character to the C-Cab
#4 - they don't match the black leather but they are close
While digging through one of my Harley parts boxes, I ran across some brand new small orange lights that I never put on my Harley so I put one on each side of my back bumper and wired them in as turning signal lights
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FEBRUARY 18, 2016 - C-cab & Body modifications

Rusty and I went trike riding in the wind for almost 3 hours today to see how it handles with the body & C-cab on it
After filling the gas tank on St Joseph Avenue I came straight back home and took off the C-cab
The C-cab will be okay for shows but that is about it
I don't care for how it handles when going around the parkway curves
I changed out the wooden casket signals with standard motorcycle signals
The body is bottoming out on the fender bolts
Very loud bangs are heard when hitting a chuckhole
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FEBRUARY 19, 2016 - C-cab & Body modifications

Rusty and I cut some of the body away that is hitting the fender bolts
The body was rubbing the tail light wiring and had severed some of the wiring
The tail lights should have never been put on the fenders in the first place
The current tail lights will be removed and mounted to the trunk
Two Maltese tail lights will be mounted on the back side of the truck
I have ordered them from JP Cycles and should be in next week
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FEBRUARY 20, 2016 - Moving the tail lights

This afternoon, Rusty and I removed the LED Tail lights from the fenders
Their 4 small mounting bolts were put back into the fenders to cover the holes
The 2 large center holes where the wiring exited the fenders was covered inserting 2 short bolts with chrome acorns & washers
Before going home, Rusty helped me once again put the body on so I could install & wire the LED tail lights on the body
I installed the 2 LED tail lights on the back side of the trunk
I wired them up and tested them, the brake and tail lights work great
I noticed the 2 seat braces would strike the gas tank beneath the back seat and make a sound so I put double sided velco tape where it was hitting between the braces and the tank
4 small Chrome skulls with red jewel eyes were bolted into the unused holes in the body I made to hold the C-cab on
A voltmeter was installed the other day so I can check the battery condition
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FEBRUARY 23, 2016 - New Trike Seat Construction

Rusty Countryman came over this afternoon, he constructed the seat base out of a 1" x 16" plank of white pine
Rusty made a mounting bracket using a steel bar, it fit perfectly on the trike
We then glued foam on it but when it came time to cover it with leather it was a no-show
We decided it was a job for a professional upholsterer
We took it to Elrod Upholstery at 41st & Pacific and he is going to use a better grade of foam and then cover it with black leather Naugahyde as it should be upholstered

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FEBRUARY 26, 2016 - Trike Seat finished

Elrod Upholstery finished the trike seat today
Rusty and I had dropped it off at his shop Wednesday afternoon
I am quite pleased with his work
I had told David Elrod that he didn't need to cover the back of the seat as it would not be seen but unfortunately when I put it on the trike the bare wood on the backside was quite visible
I removed his staples on the backside and covered the back myself
Boy, is it ever comfy now, it's about 6 inches deep, the foam is firmer than what I had given him
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MARCH 23, 2016 - REAR BRAKE MASTER CYLINDER

The rear brakes: I am dead serious when I say that I have to actually stand on the back brakes to get them to stop. The current brake reservoir is designed for a dune buggy & for 4 wheel braking
It takes quite a distance to stop just using the back brakes which is not safe.
Glad I had a front brake also.
Today, I ordered a high performance brake reservoir for the back brakes, it should be here Thursday. It was suggested by a trike pro as a fix for my back brake problem. I have an appointment next Tuesday at 1 pm at Krause Auto Repair to have it installed and the rear brakes checked, bled and adjusted if needed.



MAY 10, 2016 - Spindle Rail purchased

I just purchased another addition for my trike
It will be attached to the trunk so I can bungee things down if needed - it is used but appears to be in excellent condition



MAY 15, 2016

I have just replaced my front trike tire & rim with a thinner, taller and lighter tire & rim. It turns much sharper, easier and better now.
Here are a couple before and after photos
Photo #1 - When I first brought the trike home on July 2, 2015
Photo #2 & 3 - As it looks today, lots of changes were made in the past year
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MAY 20, 2016 - MORE TAIL LIGHTS ADDED

I did not care for the iron cross tail lights so they were removed
I located a St Louis company that carries the same tail lights that came with the trike so I order 2
I now have 4 identical tail lights on the rear
I purchased 2 new motorcycle rear signals and installed them on the body
The coffin lights did not work out
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MAY 20, 2016 - SPINDLES ADDED TO TRUNK

The small Oak spindle rail was too small so I ordered an 8 Ft Oak Spindle Rail, chopped it up, drilled holes through some spindles, bought some brass hooks, threaded rods and nuts then mounted the rails onto my trunk. I stained them and clear vanished them to match the trike body. Now I will be able to bungee things onto my trunk if need be
I put a scrap piece in between my black arm rests and got an idea to put spindles between them - so, that is my next project!!!
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MAY 22, 2016 - MORE SPINDLES ADDED

I added the small sets of spindles to the black metal handrails this morning
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MAY 24, 2016 - TOWING DOLLY

I purchased a towing dolly for the trike. I also purchased a set of portable lights which plug into my Ford Explorer and several nylon tie downs
This is what I used to tow my trike to Eureka Springs for the Arkansas trike rally

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