Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ultimate Muscle Roller Legend

Deep in the forest lived Billy and his charming companions. They peacefully honed their bodies and listened to music there. But a wave of development came upon the forests. One who would turn all to road. Kagamine Rin had come. Billy must stop the construction before all is turned to road.

Subtle Subversive Facebook Applications

I just received a request from my uncle on Facebook. This request was interesting because it shows up just like any other friend or even request in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

At first, I thought wow, cool, Facebook has a feature to relate me to other family members. But then after clicking on the '1 add relative request' link, I quickly realized that this is not Facebook, but instead it is a third party application.

This gave me concern because I'm developing a Facebook application myself and I know exactly what sort of information an application gets about you (and all your friends) as soon as you allow access to this application. Even the ACLU has gotten into the action.

The thing is that there is currently over 19 MILLION people using this application, which has been declared a "Facebook Verified App" (which you have to pay $375/yr. for). However, if you look more closely, out of 5760 reviews, it only has a rating of 1.6 out of 5. By reading the discussion board for the application, it seems like quite a few people don't like it. It also seems to me that if only 5760 people have reviewed it out of 19 million people using it, it is clear that most people don't even understand (or care) that it is a third party application, not even written by Facebook. 19 million people also seem to ignore the fact that it only has 1.5 stars when they allow access to it.

Upon further investigation, there is some other interesting stuff going on. For instance, did you realize that is in private beta? What do you think they are doing with all the information they are gleaning from you? Their privacy policy basically says that they are going to do whatever they want with the information that you 'give' them and that they will even send you notifications about services offered by FamilyLink as well as... you guessed it... advertisements.

Digging further into FamilyLink, it is clear to me that this company is based around data mining. They are very much into selling the information they gleam from you and Facebook, with its user base of over 200 million members has become the perfect launching platform for this to happen. Then we can dig into who is behind the company... Paul Allen (the lesser), who is a mormon. You know, the religion that hates same sex marriage.

Just like you have been trained to be careful about which applications you download off the internets, I think people also need to be trained to be careful about which applications they agree to allow into their Facebook profiles. I also think that Facebook needs to be better about ensuring these applications aren't doing bad things.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Project: APTC Adler Power Torque Clutch Install and Review

I recently purchased this beautiful very low mileage 2008 Ducati Hypermotard off a guy on craigslist for a really great deal that I just couldn't pass up. I had been looking for this bike for about a year now because for me, this is the Ferrari of motorcycles and a dream come true.

Needless to say, about a month after I got it, I took it into the local Ducati shop and they told me that I needed a new clutch because the one I had was burned out. Definitely not my fault cause it was riding like that since I got it.

Anyway, this was a great excuse to upgrade to a slipper clutch (there is a good FAQ about slipper clutches by another company). There are a couple primary advantages to this clutch that I was looking forward to: it is easier to pull the clutch lever in (by about 50%) and most importantly, it prevents the rear wheel from locking up when downshifting and slowing down.

After a lot of my own research, I choose to get an APTC Adler Power Torque Clutch. I choose this clutch because it cost about the same as the official Ducati slipper clutch yet had a few features that I really liked: it is supposed (according to the above website) to be easy to install with no special tools needed (a semi-truth which I will cover below) and because it uses springs instead of ball bearings on ramps for a simpler design. The adjustability description is also incorrect, the clutch doesn't come with extra shims. Make sure you also order the right part. If you have a newer than 2002 bike, make sure to get the DU-109 part number.

I'm documenting this experience because frankly, the documentation that came with the clutch sucks. There is quite a few assumptions that you know what you are doing and the pictures are horrible. I've never done work like this on a motorcycle, so I felt it was a great learning experience that I'd like to share. I definitely made one big mistake, but luckily it won't cost me anything right away. Hopefully, I'll lead you past that without any mistakes yourself. I apologize in advance for the blurry pix, but I promise you that blurry big color pictures are better than tiny grey ones. Of course I also offer no liability if you screw up your bike in any way.

So, lets start the install. I'll give you some text and then show an image. You can click the image to see the Flickr page and I'll note places where you want to click through and read any annotations on the images.

Take everything out of the box and ensure you have all the parts.

Next, undo the 6 allen key bolts around the clutch case. If you pull any out, make sure you carefully note where they go as they are all different sizes.

Cover is off, note that I left two bolts in cause for some reason the clutch cover isn't held on by those two bolts. You will have to remove those bolts as part of the installation process so remember where they go when you take them out. Also remove the giant rubber ring.

Unscrewing the 6 bolts that hold the springs in place:

All 6 springs have been removed now. You won't need them again.

Pressure plate is off now. Note that I briefly stopped after this picture because I broke off one of the spring posts while trying to undo the center nut (not in this picture, but there is a note on Flickr over the part I broke). I realized that I really need to order the special ducati part (the seller is extremely responsive via email) which keeps the clutch from spinning when taking off the big center nut. There is several different versions of this tool by other manufactures, but the one I ordered seemed the most sane. I also hear that if you have an impact wrench you can take the bolt off quite easily. I don't need anymore tools right now, I'm going to be using a big torque wrench I got from Sears and the special ducati part to keep things from spinning.

Here is a picture of the special ducati tool:

Picture of my costly mistake of breaking off one of the spring posts. Since this part is replaced by the new clutch, I'll maybe consider worrying about replacing it later. In this picture, you can also see the special ducati tool installed. It is the plastic bit with teeth on the lower right. It takes a bit of gentle twisting the outer clutch box and inner gear bits to get it all to line up. Also note that I carefully removed a few of the clutch plates in order to get the tool on. I was careful to note the direction and order of the plates so that I could put them back together the same way once I got the clutch out.

Use the 32mm socket. Lefty (counter clockwise) loosy.

The nut is off! It was fairly easy to remove using my torque wrench and a bit of elbow grease. Do this step carefully! You don't want the wrench to slip off the nut and break anything.

Pull slowly on the spring posts to remove the entire clutch assembly. It should slip right out. Be careful to hold it all together cause the clutch plates and the center bits will fall all over the place if you don't. Put the clutch plates back on that you removed in order to use the special tool.

This is a picture of everything out of the clutch box.

Pull the pressure plate pusher off the end of the axel. It is a bit of a pain, but just tug on it a bit and it will eventually come off.

I used some flat expandable pliers to pull the spacer off. You just have to kind of grip really hard on it and pull straight off. I didn't rotate it at all.

Now that the spacer is off, put the spacer that comes with the APTC on. You have to kind of push it hard to get it to seat in there, but it will. Don't over do it.

Take the APTC clutch and slip it into the clutch box. Do not remove the 4 pre-installation screws! It may take some work to get it to line up with the splines. It is easiest if you put the bike in first gear and then roll the entire bike forward while putting some light pressure on the clutch to get it to line up and slip on.

Install the spacer washer:

Now, assemble the special APTC tool that comes with the kit as shown in the picture. Use the two long bolts that come with the kit. Carefully screw them into the threads so as to not strip them. Don't forget to put the top screw through the small metal plate first. It can be a bit of a pain to get everything to line up. The instructions suggested that you loosen up the 4 bolts holding the clutch together just a little, but I was able to get things to line up by just pushing the bike around a bit and forcing the clutch to move into place. Probably puts a tiny bit of wear on the clutch, but I only needed to move things about half an inch.

Screw the center nut that comes with the kit on. I used red locktite on the threads as suggested by the manual. I had to pull out the really long pressure plate opening rod and place it carefully on a clean surface in order to tighten the nut with a 30mm socket and my torque wrench set at 190Nm. After the nut was tightened, I carefully put the rod back.

Put the pressure plate pusher onto the pressure plate opening rod and put the Belleville washer on the pressure plate pusher with the convex side facing on the outside of the APTC.

You can see that the pressure plate is now on and one of the springs is in place. I'll cover the install of the spring screws next.

Screw the 4 spring screws in. Align the silver washer so that the bevelled edge faces the spring. Push the washer over the spring post on the clutch, insert the spring and then top it off with the grey washer and hex screw. Carefully align the screw with the spring posts and push in while slowly making sure the threads line up. Takes a bit of coordination. Tighten these by hand to 7/10Nm.

You can see the silver washer on the bottom facing spring post.

Finally, remove the 4 pre-installation screws. Try engaging the clutch and notice its movement in the clutch box. Put the rubber seal and clutch cover back on and try starting the bike in neutral. Then, let out the clutch a bit and see how well it sticks. Go take your bike for a ride.

My first impressions with the clutch were that the hard braking feeling that I got by downshifting no longer exists. It is a much smoother operation no matter how quickly I let out the clutch. At one point I thought something was wrong with the bike cause I let out the clutch and expected some braking, but nothing happened. I just wasn't used to it. While I got used to more braking by downshifting, it just means now that I'll need to apply the brakes a bit more in order to quickly slow down (also noted in the FAQ reference above). I'm sure there is a penalty with that somehow, but the knowledge that my rear tire isn't going to lock up makes me feel like this is the anti-lock brakes of clutches. Engaging the clutch is also a lot simpler and requires less effort. The clutch also engages quickly when being let out which is easier for me to control.

Next up, I plan on purchasing an open clutch cover so that I can show off my APTC as well as keep the clutch cooler.

Overall, I give this clutch two thumbs up. Let's see how long it lasts. =)