Wrenching and fixer-upping

Since I shouldn’t be all doom and gloom and remember all the work I’ve put into getting my bikes running, here’s a somewhat positive post about all the fixing and maintenance I managed to do over the past month or two (with major thanks to Mark Price without whom I might have dragged this out by another month or so). :P

My initial sentiments about not bringing the bikes to the shop to get all the work done and being stubborn enough to want to do it all myself – the good part is that I learned a *lot* about how my bikes work, the kind of knowledge that you cannot get from books alone. The bad is of course that I lost out on so much riding time. Ideally I’d have had one bike running and been working on the other, but things didn’t turn out that way. I think I’ll be relieved when I can finally stop futzing with them and just ride.

I prioritized doing just enough to get it roadworthy. Keep in mind that this bike hasn’t run since that little incident at the Canadian border last July.

– Replaced hosed regulator rectifier with one from a Honda CBR – saw the idea here, bought replacement regrec cheap on eBay, swapped out connectors, hooked it up and it just worked. I had a daft idea of mounting it somewhere in the front of the bike so that it wasn’t restricted under the tail section with limited airflow, so we hooked up four feet long cables for it, only to find that there weren’t many convenient locations up front, and mounting it near the engine to prevent it from running hot was ummm… not very smart. So I now have four feet of cable wound up in my tail section. LOL… it works though, which is the important thing.
– Replaced battery
– Oil change, replaced oil filter
– Cleaned K&N air filter
– Replaced handlebar
– Replaced bar end mirrors
– Replaced cracked headlamp glass
– Mounted Givi windshield correctly (one side was missing a rubber grommet so that there was a gap between the windshield and the headlamp, which I suspect had a lot to do with the rattling sound I kept hearing)

The only thing we didn’t manage to do was to put the handguards back, leading the to the inevitable quips of “How many engineers does it take to figure out how to mount a pair of handguards to a sportbike?”

Things remaining to do:
– Fix ignition key problem – it takes on average three tries and bucketloads of patience to get the key to turn in the ignition. I will either need to re-key everything or bypass the starter circuit with a switch or something.
– Lube cables
– Replace coolant and oil
– Replace front end with Gixxer front end if I can find it cheap
– Replace exhaust

Things I’d love to do:
– Fix dented tank
– Get Sharkskinz fairings, paint and mount them. I am tempted by the thought of getting my bike to look totally new on the outside instead of actually coughing up the $$$$s to buy a new one.
– Replace seat covers or seats if I can find some cheap and used from a crashed SV

– Took out carb and inspected it to figure out starting issue
– Straightened out bent brackets on both turn signal indicators
– Charged battery (I hate taking out the XT’s battery and fiddling with those tiny screws)
– Oil change
– Cleaned oil filter

Things remaining to do:
– Fix fuel issue so the damn thing actually runs
– Replace starter cable (the hack from last fall works fine, but I’d rather just have a new cable)
– Put Acerbis handguards back on after I find the elusive long bolt that I lost from off of one of them
– Install new Clark tank
– Sell tail rack and order tail plate and SU rack from here, giving me the option to add either hard or soft luggage

Things I’d love to do:
– Add kickstart
– Add centerstand

XT225 fuel problems…

Today was supposed to be the “first day I rode to work” this year (I wish I was kidding – first major gap in riding in the past 5 years). I had fixed up both bikes last weekend and got them running, so I was pretty confident. All geared up, I decided to ride the XT. My excitement died about halfway down the block along with the bike. Same problem as the last time – it starts up fine and idles okay, twist the throttle and it dies. This time I was able to get it started enough number of times to ride it back to my parking spot, rather than push it. For logistical reasons, I wasn’t able to ride the other bike, so it was back to taking the bus for me.

It’s definitely a fuel issue, but I did take the carb out two weekends ago and didn’t find anything amiss, so I’m not sure what else to look at. From trolling online forums, I guess my next bet is to check the float bowl to see if there is any water or debris in there. I might also try draining the gas completely and putting in fresh gas (although I added fresh gad two weeks ago too). This is aggravating.

Bike fix/maintenance checklist

Checklist of the things I need to do on the bikes somewhat in order of priority:

– Fix suspension problems ($150)
– Replace front tire ($150)

– Check brake fluids (replace stripped out screw on reservoir)
– Find nuts and bolts for Givi windscreen ($10?)
– Fix Garmin mount
– Fix ignition key issue (takes several tries to turn the key)
– Do inventory of rusting/stripped bolts and replace :(
– Fix right mirror
– Get new slip-on exhaust ($200-?)
– Fix dent in gas tank or get custom painted tank ($200-?)
– Replace rear seat with cowl ($306!)
– Fix tear in front seat (new Corbin?)
– Remove handguards and see how that feels
– Replace brake/clutch levers with ASV shorties  ($250)
– Add knee grip pads to tank ($35)
– Replace headlamp glass ($100)

– Fix vibrate-y handebar with lead shot
– Fix tweaked rear left turn indicator
– Figure out side luggage options – soft/hard panniers?
– Add heated grips?
– Get centerstand?
– Find bigger tank?

I’m beginning to see why I’ve been putting this off all winter.

Motorcycle Maintenance class

I registered for this class at Lake Washington Technical College yesterday:

Motorcycle Maintenance

COVM 048 Non-credit $189

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to get your hands dirty. This basic course for enthusiasts includes engine theory, electrical and fuel systems, lubrication, brakes, tires, and tools. This course is not manufacturer specific. (7 Weeks)

Item 9375 4/24-6/12 M 6:00pm-9:00pm Rookaird D E158

It’s taught by the service manager over at Eastside Motosports, so that should be interesting. I’ve never actually spoken to the guy, only just nodded at him whenever I’m down there, but he has a good reputation among bikers on the Eastside. I’m hoping this course with finally get me started toward doing all my own maintenance.