Thursday, February 25, 2010

Adventures in motorcycle mechanics

I'm a motorcycle guy, not a biker per se but I've had motorcycles and scooters since I was a teenager. I've worked on them on my own most of the time with welcome advice from friends and family in the know. It's admittedly become part of my identity over the years and I feel sort of awkward and out of sorts if there isn't a bike with my name on it near by.

Like my cars I prefer my bikes to be of the older sort. I do like newer bikes but the fun ones within my budget constraints are more often than not vintage bikes. Not too long ago I bought a great old Yamaha DT 250 enduro with my father in law. It was a great find, a for real Arizona "barn" bike that had been sitting around for ages. Everyone hopes those sorts of things will be stories that involve some fresh gas and a new battery and off you go. Not so much this time but far from as much of a project as it could be.

The main difference for me this time is that I have to call people or email for advice and I'm pretty much on my own fixing it. That's been a good thing and had provided some welcome "therapy" time. So far it's gotten a battery, oil seals, tires, seat cover, cafe bars and a new tail light. Some of that wasn't necessary but I like the look of cafe racers and flat track bikes and since it was nice but not minty concourse original I went ahead and made some changes. It was running great but when I tried to move it I noticed the clutch had gone a bit wonky.

After quite a bit of trouble shooting I figured out it just needed a new one. I got a new clutch assembly and the gasket for the cover but decided to try to limp it down to the DMV to confirm the VIN and get the plates on it. No, I have no idea why I would do something that addle brained. In any event, the old girl thought it would be wiser to just stay home and refused to start.

So, now I have a "real" project on my hands. I'm invested now and at that "Oh, yes. I will do this." stage. Determined my problem to be soggy points this time. Going after gasket material to be a real DIY sort of guy and just fab up my own gasket. It's just the gasket for the ignition cover so I'm hoping it won't be that big a deal. We'll find out!

Wrench in hand I'm wading in to new territory with the clutch and I've never needed to work on my ignition before other than adjusting timing or swapping out electric ignition parts. Either way I'm determined to be on the road soon. I'll try to snap a few images of my mechanical exploration as it proceeds.   

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