Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Maintenance Day

Day 16, July 9, 2008-15 miles. Well, today we spent a good part of the day taking it easy and doing maintenance on the bikes. Oil and filter changes for Gary and me; putting his brother's Honda Pacific Coast (PC) back together and trying it out.

We went to the BMW dealer to buy oil filters. They had them in stock, but at a premium; about 50% higher than they are in my part of the world. I guess transportation costs add up. We then went by Wal-Mart to get oil (Mobil 1) and a holster for my telephone . I lost mine somewhere along the way and needed to replace it to keep from scratching the screen so badly.

Got back to our base and promptly changed oil and filters. No problem; they are relatively easy to service. Gary's bike's oil level had been showing as overfull since the last oil change at the BMW dealership nearest his home. He said his normally used some oil, but the oil was above the sight glass all the way.

When he drained his, I could tell by looking at the waste oil container that he had a lot more waste oil than I d id. I was about ½ quart low after a little more than 5K miles, so it drained about 3.75 quarts into the waste oil container. We measured his after it drained out, and it had at least 5.2 quarts when drained. Since they hold 4.2 quarts on a change, it had at least 1.0 quart more than it should, and, since it usually uses more than a quart in an oil change, it must have been filled at least 2.0 quarts overfull. No wonder why his fuel mileage was always about 10% lower than mine. Last year, his got about the same fuel mileage as mine gets. So, the mystery of low fuel mileage is solved. There doesn't seem to be any ill effects from being overfilled.

His brother, who had not ridden his PC in several years, has been getting his bike ready to ride for a few days. New battery. New tags and insurance. Oil and filter change. We all had worked on his a couple of days ago to get the carburetors de-gunked and ready to go. So, today's work was to get it put back together and take a test ride.

It took a couple of hours, but all the pieces went back together pretty well with only a few bolts left over. Seems that bikes with a lot of plastic like my RT and his PC usually end up with extra bolts when they are put back together. Not a problem. We just save the extra bolts for the next time they are dismantled.

Got all of the bikes ready to ride and took off. Unfortunately, the PC didn't run right, so the ride was cut short. We turned around and returned to our base to try to diagnose the problem.

After a while of working on it, the symptom was discovered; a very weak spark in the front cylinder of the 800cc motor. Not sure why the spark was weak, but it was running on one cylinder! More work is necessary to find the cause (plugs, wires, or coil are suspect items). Probably not tomorrow, but soon.

Tomorrow--exploring the area.

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