First test drive
After mounting the Johnson bar to the running board of the rail truck I decided it was time for a little test drive. Phoebe was eager to join me as she has waited twelve long years to give it a whirl. I started the motor and we jumped in. I gingerly eased the Johnson bar foward and we were on our way. My plan was to do a couple of test laps up and down the driveway, then do a video pass which I would post here tonight. But, it turns out there still need to be some small adjustments. The chain drive jumped the sprockets twice as we made our way to the front of the yard. I knew the chain was a little loose but I thought it would still work. Now I know differently. As we approached the first curve it quickly became apparent that the truck's wheelbase with two rear axles was far too long for the tight radius of our pike. The second axle on the rear of the truck was binding badly as we went through the curve. When I tried to back the truck out of the curve it threw the chain once more which meant we had to push the truck back to the shop. Phoebe cheerfully took it all in stride for she knew I would come up with a fix.
After a little thinking I came up with a solution. One of the rear axles will have to be removed to allow the truck to properly navigate the corners. While I'm at it I'll center the remaining axle in the rear fender well and make everything look better too. I'll remove a link or two from the chain and put in a much stronger spring to create more tension on the throttle cables. A kill switch definitely needs to be wired into the cab of the truck as well. And Phoebe needs a proper seat in the sidecar. The whistle is still not mounted nor is the bell. It's back into the shop for some needed tweaks.