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Discussion Starter #1
These motorcycles are simple enough that we should not be hesitant or fearful to make our own repairs. Give it a try.
Case in point:
Short story Mr.Gizmo died a month ago at dusk on a remote singletrack. Deduced it could be one of the interlocks so put in a jumper as a test. Worked & I made it home by midnight. Fast forward to today... figured time to follow up. I could have ordered a new side stand switch or lived with the jury rigged jumper wire. Instead I took side stand switch apart and put it thought the ultrasonic cleaner. Works fine now, plus I got to understand how the very simple switch works.
So why not try analyzing and fixing things yourself whenever possible? Even if you entrust your repairs to others it makes sense to understand what went wrong when possible.

Side stand interlock switch: switch.jpg

Also had to do something about this trail side repair: brake1.jpg

Much better after a mild mauling over an anvil. EDIT: Ooops, this is brake lever off other bike however my repair looks almost as good;) brake2.jpg
Being on a roll I also fixed Betty Boop, the other bike, which limped home from a holiday ride with I assumed was a clogged pilot jet. Took two carb removal & disassemblies, one to clean, another to replace pilot jet.

Tomorrow maybe I'll install nylon shims on handlever pivots to kill annoying rattles. SAE rather than metric were available at Lowes but work fine. shims.jpg

So why not get brave & break out the wrenches now and then?
 

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Fred, you are so right about this!

It is normal to feel intimidated to tackle something that you've never done before. But, if you can just screw up the courage to just do it, you'll usually find out that it is really not that difficult after all. Then, once you've done it, you can help someone else to do it. This is how and why I started hosting Wrench & Rides over 5 years ago. Since then we have tackled a good number of maintenance tasks, repairs, and mods including:

-Oil and filter changes
-Chain replacements and adjustments
-Valve adjustments
-Installing kickstarters
-Installing oil coolers
-Replacing leaking base gaskets
-Installing hand guards
-Replacing fork seals and boots
-Replacing fork oil and adjusting oil levels
-Replacing rear springs
-Installing extended swingarms
-Welding broken subframes
-Replacing tires, tubes and balancing wheels
-Completely dismantling a Rainbow Warrior
-Etc., etc., etc.

These have been a lot of fun and are a great way to meet some fellow forum members. Just this evening, I accidentally butt-dialed BillMichaels, who has been to almost every one of these get-togethers. During our conversation he asked me when the next one would be. I said that there seems to be a lot of new forum members here in the SF Bay area and that if there was enough interest, I would try to organize one this fall.

Who's interested?

Brian
 

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I do all my own work. On all my vehicles. From the simple oil changes to opening the engines. With the availability of information and instruction on the internet it has become much easier to tackle something new. On these bikes this forum is an invaluable resource. You guys are the best!
 

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Sadly in today's world their are fewer ACTUAL MECHANICS that can actually fix anything, even at dealers and independent shops. Due to most "pay plans" they are only parts replacers.
When I started out as a tech years ago, we had to fix "everything". We had to disassemble starters etc. and repair the problem. In today's world they throw parts at it and hope they get it right.
Most are commission on labor and a percentage of the parts that make up their paycheck.
MOST things can be fixed if you put a little thought and effort into it. The more you can do your self the better off you are. I always buy the factory manual [the aftermarket manuals are very generic and often lack detail] on all bikes, cars, trucks etc. that I own.
 

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You are so right Fred. My main fear is not being able to ride it and winter (which turns into how often I can ride it). :)

 

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Still...you have to know your limitations.
Case in point; my DR650 and the piece of circlip I found in the oil. Most say it's the 3rd gear clip, but I am so apprehensive about splitting the cases that I've just decided to sell it at a loss and let someone else deal with it.
I'd hate to go in there....not knowing what I'm doing and then end up with a gearbox full of NEUTRALS...or set the valve timing wrong and bend both valves upon startup!

Most "small" repairs...no problem. Splitting the cases....NOPE!
 

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I was exactly who Fred was speaking to... 6 months ago. I had worked on a 1980 KZ550 a majority of last year, but only basic stuff, (aside from wiring... what a mess). If it was anything complicated (in my mind) like removing the 4 port exhaust and started having trouble getting the copper rings to stay in place and the pipes to line up... off to a mechanic!

Between this forum and my good friend giving me a rash of crap, I definitely got over it. It might feel a little scary the first time you start taking apart a perfectly good motorcycle, but just do your research and remember... riders before you have been able to fix much worse with less, and the more you do it, the less intimidated you'll feel about doing repairs and modifications.

Thanks for posting this Fred. It was having a few little successes using info from this forum that had made me less scared to make repairs and change things on my bike, and I'm sure there's others out there just like me.
 

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Still...you have to know your limitations.
Case in point; my DR650 and the piece of circlip I found in the oil. Most say it's the 3rd gear clip, but I am so apprehensive about splitting the cases that I've just decided to sell it at a loss and let someone else deal with it.
I'd hate to go in there....not knowing what I'm doing and then end up with a gearbox full of NEUTRALS...or set the valve timing wrong and bend both valves upon startup!

Most "small" repairs...no problem. Splitting the cases....NOPE!
I once split the case on an old Honda CM400. No proper tools. No experience. It was an adventure. I had just bought it cheap. Figured on cleaning it up and selling it to make a couple hundred. But hell, gotta ride it around the yard a couple of times! Well it slid out from under me on the wet grass. Instead of fighting it I set it down as gentle as I could and it stalled. And was locked up tight. Had sucked a mixture of oil and water that had built up in the airbox. Bent rod. Dad and I plopped the engine on his picnic table on his deck. Mom was none too happy. We improvised to get it apart and I got the parts from a motorcycle salvage yard that used to be in the area.

Sorry for the ramble. But you reminded me of a really good time I had with my dad. I miss him. Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Those memories of picnic table engine rebuilding with your father and a none too happy mom are priceless.
Those first tentative dips into understanding and manipulating the mechanical world around us can really build self confidence.
Early wrenching or al least understanding mechanical systems should be encouraged in today's youth. I sure like when I see pictures of forum member's kids helping with maintenance.
Certainly the proven wealth formula is to become a specialist in one thing so as to make enough money to pay others to do the myriad of other tasks life has for us. I'm just not sure this makes us better people.
 

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Those memories of picnic table engine rebuilding with your father and a none too happy mom are priceless.
Those first tentative dips into understanding and manipulating the mechanical world around us can really build self confidence.
Early wrenching or al least understanding mechanical systems should be encouraged in today's youth. I sure like when I see pictures of forum member's kids helping with maintenance.
Certainly the proven wealth formula is to become a specialist in one thing so as to make enough money to pay others to do the myriad of other tasks life has for us. I'm just not sure this makes us better people.
Sorry if I lead you to believe I was a kid. I was in my 20s and had my own place. But dad was up to tackle the challenge with me.
I remember the first real mechanical thing he had me help with. I was 12 years old and we replaced the clutch in a Jeep. Good times!
 

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Yep Fred,
Been a self taught "DIY" wrencher, welder, cabinet builder, wood worker, plumber, roofer, and a whole lot for oh, maybe 55 years or more. There's been a zillion times I've wished I'd have taken whatever I was working on to someone who knows better but, in the end, it's all worked out. Not only have I learned literally tons of stuff and gained light years of experience in all this, but, I've also tried to calculate the money I've saved over that length of time. It's almost impossible but, as close as I can come, in the 55+ years I've done all listed above type work myself, I figure not a dime less than a minimum of $150K!!!! Motorcycles, boats, motorhomes, trucks, cars etc., anything that we've owned in the last few decades, has all been serviced on, worked on, repaired, altered, changed and modified by ME.
Scott
 

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Kris; is that why you now have six or seven bikes in the garage (so one will always be ready)! And hammer; Hammer; I'm looking for the HAMMER !!!
Haha, it’s not the reason I have 6 or 7 other bikes but it doesn’t hurt to have an extra or two when one is in maintenance. Busted on the no hammer. Fewer like yourself know what the legend of the hammer is anymore. ��
 
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