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Finding Bloody Knuckle Happiness


EffBee

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For the most part, I've always done the maintenance on both of my 1100RT's. But over the past five years, between a high-demand job, then retirement and relocation back to SoCal, and starting up a couple of new internet businesses, I have let the dealer, or an indie mechanic handle things. And the further away I got from the last time I tore the bike down, the less comfortable I was with the thought of doing it again. But I knew I would have to, or I would have lost much of what I've gained by being on this board for 15 years.

 

A couple of weeks ago, prepping lightly for Spring Torrey, I made a list of all the things I needed to do to ensure the bike was road worthy for my much longer ride this summer to this year's UnRally in WI. And it looked almost overwhelming. Full service. Valve Adjust. New throttle cables and TB Sync. New alternator belt. Brake system flush. New fuel filter. New fuel lines with the metal QD's. A rewire of my tankbag to accept my Nuvi, and feed the output back into my Autocom. New tires. And more, more, more.

 

I hesitated, but eventually decided when I got back from Torrey I'd better just jump in and brave it. Even with our new businesses, I'm retired now so I do have a bit more time. But would I remember how to do it all? Would I embarrassingly have to ask for help? What if I screwed something up? It's all stuff I've done before, but years ago. Nevertheless, I bit the bullet.

 

It's all still in progress. And to say it's been easy would be a lie. I've got skinned knuckles that gasoline fell on (DANG that burns) and one cut that I had to Super Glue so I could continue. I've broken/torn two fingernails (and I keep them short!). The backs of my hands looks like I lost a fight with a cat. There's grunge down in my fingernails that even Lava and a toothbrush won't get out. I've lost, then found, three tools. Then I lost the 10mm open end again (not yet found). I almost burned myself with the soldering iron while rewiring the tankbag. There's a big bruise on the underside of my left wrist that I have no idea how it got there. And I'm waking up each day reaching for the Ibuprofen before I even take care of my morning business.

 

But I'm smiling heckuva lot, too. And it feels good. I'm once again finding that incredible satisfaction that comes from having learned something and being able to execute it to my advantage, of detailed work done well, of mechanical competence, if assuredly not excellence. There's a fullness of accomplishment at the end of each day spent in the garage that I haven't felt in quite a while. And even if a few of my fingers are talking back to me as I type this, it's been worth it. And I owe it all to you, the members.

 

You see, people come on this board as noobs, not just to the social setting here and to the individual personalities we've all come to know, but often they're also new to working on their own bikes. They ask. They learn. They try. And growingly, they succeed until eventually they make the transition from learner to mentor, and then THEY become the ones who answer, rather than ask the questions. I was a noob here once. I asked and I learned from Cary, Dick Frantz, Gleno and others. And I transitioned to being someone who could answer more than he asked. Now, fate finds me as the proprietor here, but also as one who had abandoned the mantra of self service and is once again climbing that mountain. I thought of how many others have walked this same path, of how many had learned on these "pages," and of how many have shared with others. And I knew that I could not fail. You wouldn't let me. Everyone here had my back.

 

The tires are on. The throttle cables are installed and awaiting a TB sync. The brake lines and ABS pump carry fresh, unsullied fluid. The fuel filter is in place as are the new fuel lines. But I found the screen at the bottom of the fuel pump to have a small defect, along with a cracking/crumbling vibration damper for the fuel pump, so both of these are being expedited in from Beemer Boneyard. I'm going to have to go back into the fuel tank to install those, and I'm going to get some larger fuel line so I can siphon the bits of crap and crud the screen's been blocking and depositing at the bottom of the tank all these years. The tankbag mods are done and I've got GPS feeding into my Autocom (along with XM radio and V-1), and up into my Arizona Al's Custom Earplugs. The valve adjustment will take place today, as will the engine oil, tranny and final drive replenishing. New spark plugs are waiting. And the alternator belt sits atop my workbench, expecting to be tightened to within an inch of its life (but not too tight). I've got a couple more days of working on the bike between other honey-do's, personal appointments and family stuff (the grandkids are home from college --- yay!). And I'm going to enjoy it all, take a few days off at the end in order to let an old body recover a bit, then check off all the mechanicals on my prep list and start pre-packing clothes and other traveling essentials.

 

I love this place, the people, the way we support each other, and how we treat each other. WE ARE a family. It's given me the confidence I needed to get back in there and make use of what I'd learned and feared I'd forgotten. Thanks, all.

 

Now if you'll excuse me, I think I might remember where I left that 10mm open-end.

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greiffster

I have a few things to do before the bike is deemed "UNready" or not "UNready"? Whatever?

 

Spline check, TB check, valve check, new tranny fluid (I'm experimenting), probably change the spark plugs. Oh, and some new tires which I don't really need...yet.

 

And after a few hours in the garage, I'll come inside and Nicol will say, "There wasn't a damn thing wrong with that bike, was there?"... to which I'll grin and respond "No, not really".

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Okay FB, so what I get from all this is that when I arrive and ask nicely, you'll do some wrenching on my bike all in the spirit of the forum and, you know, learning me some stuff, right? (I'll watch and supply the adult beverages) :P

 

Seriously, I've been here 13+ years and still consider myself a noob in some ways and in other ways not so much. I cannot believe that so much time has passed so quickly since the first Un and also cannot imagine myself not being part of this family.

 

I look forward to seeing some familiar faces and some new ones in a few weeks for a very much needed respite from my world. :thumbsup:

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Sure, I'll wrench on your bike. But once those Adult Beverages of yours begin flowing, all bets on accuracy go out the window.

 

Just spent another day wrenching a fiddlyfarting around with this and that. I'm doing it in a 90-degree SoCal garage, with a good-size fan blowing, but I'm still sweating like a nun looking at a firemen's calendar. And I'm loving it.

 

Valve adjustment: Done. All fluids and filters: Done. The list is getting shorter.

 

 

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Patallaire

An interesting aside, I used to do all my wrenching, right down to doing the Spline Lube. One day, while traveling back from Nova Scotia the bike's rear end let go, and there I was in the middle of nowhere, a town called Quipe, a long story short, rented a truck, took the bike to a dealer just outside of Toronto, a 5 hour drive. As the head mechanic, a guy with racing mechanic experience examined it, he asked who did all the work, proudly I said, I did. He said he thought so, and asked what I do for a living, after I explained what I did, he asked how many hours I work at my profession, I told him, he asked me how I knew how to fix it, I told him our board as well as a Haynes manual, he asked if that was current with all the BMW tech updates, I didn't know. He then told me that he works 12 hours a day on bikes, 6 days a week, and asked in one year how many hours I work on my bike, the logic hit me between the eyes as I meekly answered 3 or 4, he just smiled as the light bulb went on. While I enjoyed working on my bike, I have never wrenched it again! Logic won that day! While I know it is not rocket science, and there was some satisfaction form doing it, changing the oil and filter and a light bulb is as far as I travel for wrenching.

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szurszewski
An interesting aside, I used to do all my wrenching, right down to doing the Spline Lube. One day, while traveling back from Nova Scotia the bike's rear end let go, and there I was in the middle of nowhere, a town called Quipe, a long story short, rented a truck, took the bike to a dealer just outside of Toronto, a 5 hour drive. As the head mechanic, a guy with racing mechanic experience examined it, he asked who did all the work, proudly I said, I did. He said he thought so, and asked what I do for a living, after I explained what I did, he asked how many hours I work at my profession, I told him, he asked me how I knew how to fix it, I told him our board as well as a Haynes manual, he asked if that was current with all the BMW tech updates, I didn't know. He then told me that he works 12 hours a day on bikes, 6 days a week, and asked in one year how many hours I work on my bike, the logic hit me between the eyes as I meekly answered 3 or 4, he just smiled as the light bulb went on. While I enjoyed working on my bike, I have never wrenched it again! Logic won that day! While I know it is not rocket science, and there was some satisfaction form doing it, changing the oil and filter and a light bulb is as far as I travel for wrenching.

 

I have a cousin who is (was! just retired!) a career diesel mechanic in the Coast Guard, but also used to build custom "American" motorcycles and has always had/worked on bikes. His nickname, in his moto club down in San Diego, is Wrench. A few years ago, while still in the Coast Guard, he was also going to school to get a degree in ... I don't know actually ... before it came time for retirement. During that same period, he was up in town and I was having trouble with my '78 R60.

 

He and I spent a long afternoon and a bit of time the next day trying to diagnose the problem. We didn't. He wrote a humorous paper about it titled something like "Everyone Thinks They're a Mechanic" for a class he was taking. The gist of the paper was the same as your mechanic. It was actually a pretty funny paper (though it took me WEEKS to goad him into sharing it with me as he'd played some aspects up to make it funnier, and it didn't paint me in the most flattering light).

 

In the end though, I got the last laugh - the next weekend I took the carbs apart and finally figured out what was going on. He was sure, I should note, that it wasn't a carb problem. :)

 

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Stan Walker

Professional mechanic.....

 

That would be the mechanic that did the last service on my '92 F150 truck.

 

He failed to lube the zerk fittings in the steering linkage....

He failed to install new wipers even though he charged me....

He failed to fill the windshield washer fluid....

He did such a sloppy fill of the power steering fluid that I now have a drip spot on my driveway....

He told me my rotors were below min spec (they weren't, he quoted wrong spec)....

He wanted to replace my brake pads with 4.5 mm of remaining material....

 

Thanks, I'll stick to a wrench I trust for my bike. Me. I may not be as fast as a pro. I may not know every change BMW has approved. BUT I care, I'm careful, and I do excellent work.

 

Stan

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Professional mechanic.....

 

That would be the mechanic that did the last service on my '92 F150 truck.

 

Sounds like the guys at the Infiniti dealer who changed my car's oil last year. I normally change my own, but when a coupon for a $20 oil change by the dealer (not Jiffy-Lube) showed up in the mail, how I could I resist? I mean you can trust the dealer to do a good job, right?

 

So this spring I changed my own oil. I noticed that the plastic splashguard below the engine (has to be removed for access) was missing four of its twelve attachment bolts and one plastic clip. Not only that, but holy cow the old oil filter sure came off easy. I wonder how close it was to leaking?

 

I called the dealer and when I brought the car in they replaced the missing fasteners and offered a rather casual apology. I don't think they realize the damage they've done to their reputation. Afterall, what kind of mechanic doesn't notice that four screws and a plastic clip are still sitting in his workspace when the car has gone? Or maybe he did notice, but assumed the owner (me) would never be looking under the car again, so there was nothing to worry about? Either way, it doesn't inspire confidence on my part. The coupon may show up again, but I sure won't.

 

Bottom line? Nobody is as careful with your possessions as you are; I value the certainty of knowing everything's done right because I witnessed it with my own eyes and hands.

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Stan Walker

Bottom line? Nobody is as careful with your possessions as you are; I value the certainty of knowing everything's done right because I witnessed it with my own eyes and hands.

 

Exactly!!!!! I pretty much don't work on my cars anymore. Service mistakes / cheats, etc. don't usually risk my life. Bikes on the other hand......

 

Stan

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Guest Kakugo

Damn EffBee, it sounds like you look like me when I cut thorny bushes and walls of wild blackberries as thick as a finger while refusing to wear anything heavier than an old and much ragged cotton shirt and a pair of military surplus trousers that saw much better days. :dopeslap:

 

And I know very well what you mean by "again climbing that mountain".

I have no problems with tinkering (worst thing, local BMW dealer is five miles away ;) ) but could use the help of people such as those on this board on other things. :clap:

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szurszewski
Professional mechanic.....

 

That would be the mechanic that did the last service on my '92 F150 truck.

 

Sounds like the guys at the Infiniti dealer who changed my car's oil last year. I normally change my own, but when a coupon for a $20 oil change by the dealer (not Jiffy-Lube) showed up in the mail, how I could I resist? I mean you can trust the dealer to do a good job, right?

 

So this spring I changed my own oil. I noticed that the plastic splashguard below the engine (has to be removed for access) was missing four of its twelve attachment bolts and one plastic clip. Not only that, but holy cow the old oil filter sure came off easy. I wonder how close it was to leaking?

 

I called the dealer and when I brought the car in they replaced the missing fasteners and offered a rather casual apology. I don't think they realize the damage they've done to their reputation. Afterall, what kind of mechanic doesn't notice that four screws and a plastic clip are still sitting in his workspace when the car has gone? Or maybe he did notice, but assumed the owner (me) would never be looking under the car again, so there was nothing to worry about? Either way, it doesn't inspire confidence on my part. The coupon may show up again, but I sure won't.

 

Bottom line? Nobody is as careful with your possessions as you are; I value the certainty of knowing everything's done right because I witnessed it with my own eyes and hands.

 

 

Now, now - he was clearly trying to expedite your NEXT oil change - I mean, the filter didn't fall off or even leak and the splashguard was still there, right? Clearly those other fasteners were superfluous and you're so ham-fisted you probalby over tighten your oil filters to near the breaking point (you're lucky you haven't stripped the threads!). If you were a professional you'd realize all of this :thumbsup:

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