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This is a collection of experience and incidents such as I can remember some of my misspent youth and thrash through my later years.

Machines. Mostly motorcycles, but other things will rear their heads.

Mechanics, where nothing fits exactly as advertised and the things that should never break, do. This series will be a collection of one man’s struggle to transform problems to solutions, rather than sweating and swearing over a pile or now worthless rubbish. Panting and gripping a two pound sledge hammer in anger. Where I will strive to overcome the urge to beat to fit with intellectual vigor rather than cussing the designers.

Maybe, just maybe I’ll stumble across a small piece of wisdom or two.

Episode 1, So, you thought you were going for a ride?

Aging motorcycles are machines. Sometimes they are used and maintained. Sometimes used then ignored. Sometimes even maintained machines have issues crop up in spite of maintenance and care, simply from age. Hindsight, is as they say is twenty-twenty. In the moment that backward looking vision isn’t there because I’m stuck in time, working my way through whatever problem has cropped up. Once I’ve solved the problem, looking backwards I can see how I could have got the solution quicker. But, that only helps if I remember that stuff next time something similar pops up to derail my plans. After fifty years of this I have a lot of scenarios to forget and occasionally remember. If all that experience and hindsight were coded into an app that I could access from my phone or tablet whenever I had a problem with my motorcycle or car or garage door opener or the router or any number of other machines that I use each day as I work my way from waking up and making coffee each morning then to finding my pillow again each night. For this series I’m going to focus on my motorcycle.

Me as a machinist back in the early 70’s, seen here in a work center of EDM machines.

Some of us have had this experience. We gather up our gear, push the bike out of the shed, suit up then with confidence push the starter button only to be greeted by silence or endless and powerless cranking. If we’re in a hurry to leave home for a morning commute to work or a Saturday morning run to coffee with other motorcycle friends, or worse, out in the weeds on a long trip, this is never a good feeling. Since I was home I cranked and cranked, knowing I really should stop before the battery was depleted, but didn’t.

What began as hard starting, grew over a few weeks into last Friday’s not starting.

The engine cranked over without firing until it didn’t. The battery was discharged. Not to worry I have a fancy charger to match the fancy battery. Too fancy of charger it turned out as I failed to properly interpret the very small font used to print the instructions for operating the various modes of the charger, wasting the opportunity of overnight charging.

Yes, it was all plugged in and the tiny indicator lights that can only be seen at the perfect angle in the perfect lack of direct sun light, were indeed lit. But, they were not lit in the way they should have been lit in order to actually charge the battery.

I discovered this fact the following morning while sipping my second cup of coffee. Nothing to be done, but follow the instructions and go find something else to occupy my time.

A few hours later I hooked up my tablet to check the bikes settings and run some tests. My guess was there was some fault with the zeroing of the throttle cables or the TPS voltage setting.

I was of course wrong. While those things were verified and in the case of the TPS voltage eventually set to as near perfect as I could get, they were not the primary cause of the problem.

The problem lay in as one would imagine, an old repair.

Insert foreboding, dramatic music here.

Above is he OEM quick disconnect for the fuel line. This set developed a hairline crack I couldn’t find, but definitely leaked. At the time I only knew of replacing it with the same or a larger CPC chrome plated brass model from Beemer Boneyard. The larger connector is much easier to release by accident if the connector is oriented just in the wrong way. And that is precisely what happened. Though the bike is still slow to start. It takes a few cranks-wait cycles to fire, but it does now.

I’ll be replacing the connector with a slimmer machined and anodized aluminum version from Powercell Performance.

Next installment will be more fun with an aging motorcycle and aftermarket parts.

Nothing is ever easy.

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