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Escort Sidecar 2 year report
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Posted 11/11/2004 12:27 PM (#5299)
Subject: Escort Sidecar 2 year report

This is a report after two plus years with a Champion Escort on our ’01 GL-1800.

When the Escort came in at the local Dealer it looked great even on the pallet. Time would tell a slightly different story.

Well the first thing that came up was the brake line that was crushed into the pallet by a piece of steel support welded to the tubing of the frame. That wasn’t a good thing so it was replaced with a new line, no problem.

Part of the deal was to have the Dealer install the Escort because he had done quite a few of them over the years and he was able to do it much easier than I could with his M/C lift. The Dealer did a good job of fitting the brackets and doing the initial lineup. He even did some of the wiring before I was able to take over at that point. After getting the rig home I changed the lights to run off of the Trailer Isolation Relays that are on the bike to keep the load off of the rather skimpy Honda Wiring. I would recommend that anyone running extra lights for Hacks or Trailers run them through one of the Isolator units, one look at the lack of copper in that really skinny Honda Wire they use now will make you glad you did.

One change I made to the wire harness was to replace that rather Crude Tilt Switch with a pair of relays that are operated by a micro-toggle switch in the Honda switch housing above the CB PTT lever. That lets me keep my hand on the grip and use one finger to operate the tilt, that’s much better IMHO.

Another mod I made was to use a custom brake lever with master cylinder mounted to the front of the Escort frame to operate the brake without tapping into the front brake on the bike with the troublesome “Quick Connect”. The sidecar brake lever extends back from it’s mount to the side of the bikes rear lever. That allows me to roll my foot left or right to aid in steering control or hit both for maximum straight ahead braking.

To give me easier control over the Fog Light and future items on the Escort I added 4 wires through a new connector to allow switching control from the bike instead of the switch in the sidecar. In the process of going over the wiring etc I set out to make note of the bulbs in the front and rear. What a PITA to get the lamp housings out. The Manual doesn’t give any detail about how they are fastened in so through trial an error I was able to find the missing screws after ripping out some of the carpet covering them. After doing that I installed the screws through the carpet so that I could find them in the future.

A few months after getting the rig going we noticed that there was a large crack forming in the lip above the trunk lid. That crack is due to a Void in the ‘glass that is breaking inward slowly. That turned out to be indicative of the upcoming problems with cracks that would appear along the lips in the passenger compartment. The ‘glass along most of the lip area in the passenger area is much too thin which has allowed it to crack in various places that don’t have any load along with some that do like the latch attachments. Perhaps Champion needs to add either metal in the lips or much thicker ‘glass along with some QC.

Most of the body is great otherwise as is the paint, EXCEPT for the Trunk Lid. On our Pearl Yellow Escort all of the body has had the Pearl added to the paint EXCEPT that Trunk Lid which is simply Flat Yellow. Again some QC is called for.

Back to the Brakes again, they caused a lot of squeal and squawk for several months. I replaced the pads and did the normal things to stop it to no avail. After doing some detail analysis I found that the Caliper was NOT centered properly over the rotor and was allowing the top rear of the pads to miss it. To complicate that the Rotor was NOT centered radial on the Hub, which was letting the high point to scrape on the ridge that had formed on the pads. In an effort to center the Rotor I found that the boltholes are .070” larger than the bolts, not a good thing. Even with the oversized boltholes the Rotor can’t be centered due to mis-drilled holes in the hub however I did get i
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