Monday, October 14, 2013

A reminder to "KISS"

(Warning: if you are not a "gear head" or remotely interested in mechanics, I would recommend skipping this post :) I promise more non-mechanical posts will be coming soon...)

As Chris put it “the way opened” for us to return to his shop in Hamilton and begin the process of figuring out what was wrong with my bike.

We started by taking everything off of my bike that we needed to in order to have a good look at the cylinders… for those of you unfamiliar with bikes… that would be: right and left pannier, right and left side faring, right and left front faring, the seat, the gas tank, the air box, the rear wheel, the air filter box and the carburetor. Whew.

After discussing the problems my bike was having with a few others, we had begun to hear a chorus of people saying it was probably the valve seals that needed to be replaced. OK. So we ordered 6 of them, in case this turned out to be the issue. Not terribly expensive, but 6 altogether totaled $30, and necessitated a trip over the border to pick them up, whereupon my return, a lady at Canadian Customs and Border Protection thoroughly questioned me like a criminal before turning me over to one of her colleagues to inspect the contents of my panniers, saddle bags and top box. Contrary to her wishes, he just said “cool bike” and sent me on my way.

Grease Monkey Extraordinaire

Well, when we opened the cylinders the valve seals were perfect. PERFECT! I’m talking, 24yo pieces of rubber looking BRAND NEW! So, back to the drawing board….

Working on the lathe to create a part for the compression test
The valve clearances were all OK, although we decided that while we were in the cylinders, we might as well make the slight adjustments to make them “perfect.” And all four spark plugs appeared to be in good condition. We were stuck and contemplating starting all over again.
Chris running the compression test on my bike
We ran a compression test first and got a good rating and then ran a leak down test. This yielded a strange result… there was air coming from the rear pressurized cylinder out the front manifold intake.

1-of-a-kind valve adjuster tool              by Procter Precision
Paul creating a special wrench to adjust my valves
Totally perplexed, we left the bike in that disassembled state and went home to log some hours on motorcycle forums to see if anyone online had the answers we were looking for.

We got a lot of helpful suggestions and moral support, but no absolute answers (it’s pretty hard to diagnose problems without having the bike in question in front of you).

So back we went the next day and had another look with fresh eyes.

Although we had laid out the parts in a pretty organized manner, one of us managed to kick the airbox over. When Roel later went to put it back on the bike, he noticed that there was a good amount of oil that had splattered all over the interior, thanks to it being kicked. This was very alarming but might be the answer to where all of my oil has been disappearing to… After several minutes of examining the tubes leading to and from the air box, and pouring over our two repair manuals for the umpteenth time, we discovered that a small cap, which seals the drain hose of the air filter air box, was missing. Well, without this cap, air was being sucked into the air filter air box freely, and creating a sort of vacuum effect, causing oil to be sucked into the air box, as well.

Possibly the solution to all of our problems

This may not be the answer to all of our problems, but the main reason we pulled the bike apart was the alarmingly high oil consumption. In fact, the reason for this high oil consumption was likely sitting right in plain sight… 4” off the ground.

A little piece of wisdom that Russ, the guy who sold me my bike, appropriately reminded me about:

Keep. It. Simple. Stupid.

Carb cleaning/reassembly
One of the tiny splits in the vacuum piston


Upon taking apart the carburetor, we also found that there were two small tears in one of the piston vacuums – which is likely the cause of the hiccupping. One of the guys on the ADV Rider forum happened to have one for sale and it will be waiting for us in Michigan J

No comments:

Post a Comment