Saturday, 5 April 2008

Bike DIY

Motorcycle Storehouse, the mail order supplier of all things custom and performance for Harleys has a slogan: 'A biker's work is never done'. It certainly isn't when you are a complusive tinkereer like me.

I've experienced what is euphemistically known as the oil blow-by phenomenon. This is a peverse peculiarity of Harley Evolution engines that vent the oil breather into the air filter. The idea is that oil is sucked into the carb and burnt off. Only it doesn't work - there's more oil mist than the carb can handle so it just collects in the oil filter and then drops onto the engine casing or your boot and scares the shit out of you that you have an oil leak. It gets worse if you have a performance air filter. And worse again if you have the 1200cc re-bore. I've got both - so I thought I'd better do something about it.

So I picked up an oil breather kit from Ebay. This weekend I'd thought I would fit it.Last night I took the air filter off. Or tried to, but I stopped as I realised that I was fast rounding off the original recessed breather bolts that held it on. A quick trip to Halfords before it shut to see if I could get a better socket was a non-starter. Asking for an imperial rather than a metric tool is guaranteed to get a blank stare. Trying to explain that I wanted a six point rather than a twelve point socket (that's what had done the damage) was even more so. Next morning I took the tube to Buck & Ryan the mecca of obscure tools in Holborn, and got the 9/16" deep walled six point socket I wanted. Except it still couldn't get a grip on the fucking bolts.

I took a deep breath and phoned the nice man at the local bike shop. He took one of his own sockets and put it onto a lathe to get rid of the lip at the end so as to get better purchase on the damaged bolts. Happily this worked. I returned home expecting to now finish the job in about half an hour. But instead I found that the breather kit wouldn't actually fit with the air filter. The plastic backing plate required drilling new mounting holes, sealing up old mounting holes, and recutting away some of the moulding. Thankfully my other half's jewellery making Dremell came to the rescue for that. The coast should have been clear to now fit the bloody thing - except the bolts supplied were too big and wouldn't fit the new mounting arrangement. So back to Halfords for some smaller (metric but sod it) bolts to hold it all together. Finally I got the fucking thing on - the best part of 24 hours after starting an half hour job.

The oil breather kit was only about £35. The new socket was £5 (plus as I'm a tool fetishist I also brought several other sockets also at £5 just in case). I gave the nice man at the bike shop £20 for his trouble and ruining one of his sockets. The new bolts from Halfords came in some ridiculous multi-part blister that cost £10. And the tube fare was another £5 or so. In total about £50 worth of buggering about in addition to the cost of the original part.

From long experinece that's a fairly typical bit of bike DIY.

1 comment:

Elata said...

Thanks for writing this.