Garden time

Its spring (finally), time to get things in order for planting!

This year in my quest to gather all the implements I can for my old John Deere 110, I managed to get a decent model 30 tiller off from a guy with the rear lift bracket. I never really seen how these mounted on the tractor, and after getting it home realized that I was missing a few bits.

First was the belt. I always thought that you needed an extra mule drive or something up front to run the tiller, which you don’t on the round fender 110, its only needed on the square fenders. The round fender 110’s do however need a special auxiliary drive pully thing that goes on their existing mule drive.

Not the best picture of this, but its a pulley that hangs off the outside of your normal mule/deck drive pulley. Its a bit wider than what the mower deck pulley is. Also since it hangs off the outside, its going to make turning to the right suck even more than it already did. I had an easier time on ebay searching for 110/112 mule drive assemblies and just getting the whole unit with the extra pulley than finding the single pulley. Also I replaced all my pto clutch parts and got a new belt, since its always been jankety and I was sick of it.

My 110 never had a rear lift kit installed on it, so I had to make one. I was going to copy the original exactly but then realized that was a dumb idea and just simplified it to make things easier. So above is what I came up with for the lift cable/bracket.

Under the tractor I made a bracket and used some washers and a bearing for the pulley.

Here it is hooked to the tiller. It works pretty darn well, I’m quite happy with it so far. Since the rear tiller frame/mount is now on the tractor, and I have a working rear lift setup, I guess the next thing to do is to just make a rear integral/sleeve hitch. More than half the parts are on the tractor already, so might as well finish it up. After this I’ll be able to get a plow mounted on the back which should be fun.


Fun with a broken Canon EF 28–70mm f/2.8L, or how I learned to love/hate USM.

Before I got back into photography with the amazingness that came with the digital camera revolution, I had always looked from afar at the older Canon L lenses and their fancy red rings. These pro lenses have always been out of reach for me financially, since it doesn’t make much sense for a hobby photographer to go and blow $1,400 on a lens.

But, I’ve finally caved in and bought one. Not a new nice lens, heck, not even gently or heavily used but working lens. I decided to get a clapped out, bottom of the Ebay barrel, broken and non functioning used lens. Hooray! This older 28-70mm came from a fellow in New York who trained parrots, so I’m not sure what it may have experienced in its life span. Its zoom function was very stiff as if it was binding on something, mostly it did not like to reach the stop at the 28mm side, also the auto focus was not working and would go “clack clack clack clack” when trying to focus jumping all around never reaching its target.

The lens in good physical condition for something that has not been made in at least 13 years (production ran from 1993 to 2002), and has no fungus or glue separation issues on the glass, just mechanical problems. So I figured, what the heck, lets try to fix it.

First thing I did was try to read up on what type of USM drives Canon used in their lenses, and also what the heck a USM drive actually is. What I found out is Ultra Sonic Motors operate on vibration, hence them being ultra sonic. This means that the focus motor runs the camera lens like one of those old vibrating football table games. From this ultra high frequency it can run the motor forward and backwards depending on what wave it generates. I’m not going to go into this to much further here, but if you interested in finding more Wikipedia has a bunch of info on it that is really interesting, or hit up my original thread over at FredMiranda.com, some users over there had some good info.

I then started trying to source some parts to fix my lens. But since the 28-70mm has not been made in so long, all the parts are out of production and Canon no longer services it. This got me thinking, since the USM focus drive motors seemed like a very expensive thing to have placed into production, it would not make since for Canon to redesign them for every lens. The research and development on that would be crazy, plus why make new focus motors for your other lenses if you have a perfectly good working one in production? From what I’ve found this is about what Canon thought too, they only have two motor sizes of USM drives they make. A 62mm and a 77mm, the 77mm motor being the one I assume is used in all larger L based lenses (don’t quote me on that, its just a guess). Also the other lenses USM drives appear to only have different shaped or length ribbon connecting to the motor.

So, I took a chance and ordered a USM drive/motor for a newer lens, the Canon EF 24-70mm F/2.8 L USM -Part# YG2-2064-000

As luck would have it, the motor and ribbon cable on the newer lens are exactly the same as its older 28-70mm brother. So, here’s how to replace it.

(NOTE, if you decided to tear your expensive lens apart and manage to mangle it somehow, its not my fault. Also replacing the USM drive will not fix all focus problems, lenses are complicated, lots of things can break).

1. Here is the 28-70mm next to the 24-70mm’s focus motor assembly. Gives you a rough idea how the part fits within the lens.

2. Time to tear into it. Using a set of JIS micro screwdrivers (don’t use standard phillips screw drivers, they will just strip the heads), take out all arrowed screws.

3. Pop the center ring out by pulling straight up on it, make sure to keep some pressure down on the lenses rear mount flange so you don’t damage lenses contact connector.

4. Lifting the rear mount off.

5. Next section comes straight off now exposing the lenses PCB.

6. The lenses PCB. Red arrow is the USM motors pulse setting screw. The USM stator is divided in two halfs, and ran by pulses, which are supposed to be sent in equal spacing, such as:  –  –  –  –  –  –  -. If the pulse are out of adjustment it may appear staggered or off balance such as: —– — —– — —– — —–   This is bad, Turning this screw will change the pulse spacing, but without an oscilloscope this is just kind of trial and error. Its supposed to be adjusted after changing out the focus motor or PCB, but on my lens at least it seemed to be about right even after the motor change. The blue arrow is the frequency adjustment screw which you can use to change the frequency the motor runs at. I don’t have the service manual in front of me at the moment for its intended value, but its best not to mess with this one, or if you do mark where it was set at (actually do that on both if your playing with them).

Back to tearing things apart. Lightly tug on most of the ribbons to unplug them. Release the locks on the two ribbons that use them, then just pull the PCB up and out once all is disconnected.

7. Remove the marked screws.

8. After removing the screws, just pull up on the barrel section feeding the ribbons through it as you go, make sure to fish it around the metal zoom stop, it will fight you a bit. Pull up the zoom ring next and slide it off in the same manner.

9. And here is the USM motor. Notice that the motors on the both are exactly the same, same ribbon shapes even. The top ring of the motor is glued on, so just spin it until it twists over to the release points. (I did not use glue on re-assembly, it seemed to act fine).

On my lens I ended up having to use the old rotor (bottom thick ring), new stator (notched teethy ring), new felt washer, and old spring/lock. The rotor may have been slightly taller on the newer 24-70mm motor, but I’m not sure. I will say I had to put the lens back together and tear it down around 4 times before it was happy with the combination new/old USM motor parts I picked and was working correctly. I would have to guess that USM drives are not meant to be replaced in this manner, but rather as whole assemblies which are pre adjusted and working from the factory.


Old USM motor from the 28-70mm on the left, newer 24-70mm Mark 1 motor on the right. Pretty much identical.


28-70mm all together on my T2i working like a champ.


So now that its back together, what do the pictures look like? Well…. odd. The lens seems to be out of collimation, especially when used at 70mm. So I took a few shots on the wide end of 28mm and they turned out okay-ish:

So the 70mm end is out of wack, its not the end of the world. Heck this way it turns things into a blurry mess that sort of look like an impressionist painting. Its not broken, its a specialty lens!


Sometime soon I’ll send it off to a repair shop for a cleaning and lens calibration, but for now its on abstract duty.




I finally picked up a Bower/Rokinon/Samyang/etc 14mm 2.8 UMC lens for my old Canon 5D. This is a fun lens! The 5D with the 14mm on it has a crazy wide field of view. So with new lens in tow I decided to go give it a shot, in -14 degree weather. Batteries didn’t last long and I burned my fingers on the cold aluminum legs of my tripod but I managed to get this shot of Orion and Pleiades over Vermontville (composite of 14 some images).


Snowy Morning

Took Oly out for her maiden this morning, first time any actual miles where racked up on the new motor. Other then the muffler clamps popping off everything went with out a hitch. Despite the cold it was an amazing morning to be out and about.



Oly get’s a new motor

Meet Oly, my 1970 Skidoo Olympic 12/3, you may remember her from “Oly get’s a new coat of paint”.

Well, even though the old sled had a full going through times have been rough on old Oly. The first motor decided that enough was enough and started rod hammering like crazy after the first winter. So much so that it was parked for a year in the corner of shame. Then once I was able to track down a new motor, new problems popped up. The new engine was an electric start 320cc Rotax. This meant that it had a larger wattage charging coil/stator under the flywheel, which once started spinning decided to burn out all the bulbs. The taillight I didn’t mind so much but those headlight bulbs are kind of a pain to track down.

Anyways, I had always thought about throwing a nice big fat Kohler 8hp motor in it to get rid of that paint shaker of a Rotax. After fighting back and forth I have now finally bit the bullet and will be putting a 4 stroke in the sled. Its not going to be the Kohler, but a tiny cheap Honda GX200 clone I picked up from Harbor Freight.

So first things first, time to gut the motor out.


Hmm, noticed something broke here that you will see shortly, also 3 of the nuts that old the 8 motor mount bolts in have decided they had better things to do and apparently rattled away.


So the stupid motor mount bar broke in half again. This would be the second one I have replaced on the sled, the Rotax’s vibrate so hard that they just keep snapping them. At this point I realized that only the right side motor mounts actually were holding the motor on. Also the mufflers tip broke off before the tunnel exit, which would explain why it was getting so loud and smokey/sooty under the hood.


Coil wire was in a fight with the belt.


So out with the old and in with the new,

Here is the tiny little Lifan 6.5 motor. With just a intake spacer, new filter, and longer exhaust header these things supposedly put out around 8-9HP with about 13ft/lb of torque. That’s about on par for the Kohler 8hp that they put in early sleds at about half the weight. I’m not looking to have a quick sled here, but something that is rock solid reliable, doesn’t shake or foul plugs, and can just put put around the field and woods all day with no worries on straight gas. So this should fit the bill.


So, things parts that are in the mail:

Comet 94 Duster weighted for 4 strokes at a 1800 RPM engagement speed. 1″ straight bore shaft.

1″ to 3/4″ Shaft adapter with step key.

Governor parts, clone motors have a nasty habit of exploding flywheels at high RPMs

An 88watt lighting coil set and matching flywheel to run the electrics.


So after the above shows up its time to get to it and put this thing together. It should be pretty fun, and I’m exited to have Oly back into a state where it will be reliable enough to just hop on and go anywhere. Slow and steady wins the race, or doesn’t shake and rattle its self to death like a big single Rotax.


Alright, most parts have arrived now with the exception of a few of the governor parts. I also took Oly on a trip into town and de-greased it the best I could while it was in the back of my truck. This however also ended up greasing the trucks cab and windows from all the overspray. But on the plus side it sure beads water well now.

Here is the fancy new 94c Duster along with the shaft adapter and stepped key. Pretty fancy stuff. I did get time to test fit the parts between cutting firewood today and found that the back of the clutch sets to deep on the shaft so it rubs against the block. Now the hunt is on for a shaft bushing/back stop that fits as well as a fairly deep 10mm fine thread bolt to hold this whole mess on the shaft.


Was a busier then normal day, but I did manage to squeeze in a bit of time to work on getting the clutch mounted.

So this is what the shaft end up looking like. I did have to cut a few inches off the 3/4″ to 1″ adapter as well as shorten the key since the keyway on the clutch is not as long as the key was originally and was preventing it from sliding back on the shaft correctly. Also note the 3/4″ shaft stopper/bushing on the back to keep the clutch from running up against the motor. I picked that up at TSC for around three dollars or so.

You can get a better idea of the back spacing and the stopper working together here, seemed to work out about just right.

And here is the assembled motor/clutch. I couldn’t use the bolt that came with the Comet since it was larger and intended for a one inch shaft. The Lifan GX200 clone has a 10mm threaded shaft with a required bolt length with the clutch on at around 5-6 inches. Since I couldn’t find a bolt that length, I ended up getting a very long standard thread bolt (5/16?) and cut the 10mm x 1.5 pitch threads into it using a die. Then I cut it off at the correct length and ran the die back over the end on the way out. This ended up working out pretty well and we are now ready to move on to making some type of motor mount next.


Another day another bunch of stuff stuck together.

Popped the Lifan’s flywheel off and found that it was ready for the charge coils, yay!

Here is the Baja mini bike flywheel and coil set of dubious quality. The Lifan flywheel looks and feels much safer and better built then this thing, but oh well.

My amazing hacked together motor mount. Needs a few tweaks yet to keep the studs from popping out the top but its close to being finished.

Motor in place on a test fit. This may actually work!


Spent some time today cleaning up and finishing the motor mount, its not the prettiest thing but it should do the job. As an added bonus its also rattle canned “Not rusty anymore black”.

Started fiddling around with the  governor linkage trying to get that mess sorted out, but its going to take a bit more tinkering I think. Also its about time for another order of parts to be placed, going to need some muffler/header bits, fuel pump, pulse adapter, and an airfilter assembly. That should help get it fully integrated into the sled instead of leaving it looking like a rototiller motor stuck on top of a snowmobile.


I think that its almost ready to be fired up now. The order I placed for exhaust parts and the air filter showed up, plus I got the governor back on and the oil changed. Still need to find some time to get the exhaust plumed up. Slightly concerned about how loose the belt is, but worse come to worse I may slot the motor mounts and pull it back about a half inch. Going to put the Rotax back in it for a test fit/measure before doing that though.

Small things to note at this point:

The stock gas tank does not fit under the handle bars with the square stock motor mount I made, it may be tight even with just a flat bar mount.

The aftermarket airfilter looks like it may clunk into your knee and get annoying due to how far it hangs out the side. If this becomes an issue I may cut the filter off near its base so that I have a short rubber tube. Then get some wire screen and overlay it, and sandwhich some foam between it. This will make a nice stumpy air filter. Snowmobiles don’t need big dust blocking filters anyways, just something to keep dead grass out mostly.


You want another crappy cell phone pic!? Good news! Here’s a new one! So any ways, throttles hooked up, headers made, and I re-purposed an old muffler I had kicking around forever. Still need to get the muffler attached solidly, but that’s what hose clamps are for. Fuel pump should be in tomorrow and hopefully I can finally start this thing up.


Another edit, another update. Was able to get Oly out in the snow after finishing up the fuel pump and playing with the throttle linkages, and all in all it was pretty fun! Its not all that fast, but its very smooth and quiet. The little motor seems to have more then enough gumpf to pull its self around the yard. There was lots of lowend torque and it puttered about around 10mph or so. I did find out that I had horribly screwed up the belt alignment and tension with the motors position. I was thinking about salvaging the mount but then decided it would st be easier to build something newer, lighter, and more adjustable.

So here’s the new mount which is all aluminum. I used an old Skidoo service manual this time to set the proper sheave alignment on the clutches, and made sure this time to build some adjustment into the motor mount. In the above picture you can see that I bored the back a little larger then the fronts, this way I could have some side to side adjustment on the clutch faces for alignment. Also, which the picture does not show, I ended up slotting the motor mount holes where it bolts to the frame, giving about an inch and a half of front to back adjustment for belt deflection adjustment. So now the belt is properly aligned and tight.

There’s no snow on the ground due to a thaw that rolled through, but the clutch seems to be working much better when tested on the stand. Its grabbing early, seems to be shifting better, and is not skewed a few inches to the side.

Now once some snow comes back, I can get back to adjusting the carb and governor which then just leaves the electrical left to tackle. Have been toying around with the idea of using LED’s this time but will more then likely end up using the stock bulbs for now.


Well, it took almost a month and a half but we finally got some decent snow on the ground for another test run. Before that though, let me backup a bit and cover the electrical system update.

So, I was going back and forth on LED or no LED bulbs, and ended up sticking with the sleds normal lights. I did however pick up a small 35watt halogen that I may or may not put on at a later date. It was a couple bucks so I figured what the heck. For a battery I snagged off amazon a small 12v sealed backup battery for a Chamberlain garage door. I think it was around 19.99 or so. Also in the mix was a used rectifier I dug up on ebay for 5 bucks that was off a 2004 Honda CRF 230F.

And here is everything installed. I tried to keep it as neat as I could, although if you started with a clone engine that had electric start on it already you would be better off I imagine. Anyways the battery is not resting on the tunnel, but is clamped to the motor mount by a bar and two bolts. On the front if this is the rectifier, which then runs up to the light switch on the dash. Beyond that its just the stock wiring to the head light tail lights. I still need to get some tail light bulbs.

So here is the final product:


So how does a full size snowmobile run with a 6.5HP motor in it? The best way I think to describe it would be like riding a rototiller through the snow. Its fun, very fun, and very slow, if any of that makes sense.

Flats: On hard pack it will do about 15-20mph depending. In snow over 3-4 inches it slows down to around 10mph or so. Deep snow, like a 5 foot drift I was playing in makes it drop to about 5-7mph. It does not get stuck, since there’s not enough power to spin the track. Its also light enough that it floats on top without sinking, chugging through the snow like a pokey donkey.

Hills: On hard pack downhill it will hit about 20-25mph, up hill slows to about 7mph or so. Off in deeper snow it stays at around 5-7mph. The motor never really changes tone or sounds like its being worked hard, the clutch seems to just take up the slack as it shifts way down. (Note that I left the governor on it on purpose, if you reach down and yank it wide open there is a lot more to gain.)

Its kind of hard to add all this up and convey how it rides with any sort of justice. Its just fun, and it makes you smile, its pretty much all the best parts of riding a vintage snowmobile with none of the worries of riding a vintage snowmobile. The motor sips gas, its quiet, there is no mix to worry about, it can idle all day without fouling a plug, you cant go fast enough to get into trouble or hit something, and those thoughts in the back of your head about how far out from the house can you go before something breaks seems to be pretty much gone. I think I may have to convert my old Foxtrac with the 13hp Honda clone next, this is a hoot.