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Author Topic: Tinkering?  (Read 1742 times)

LJRead

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Tinkering?
« on: August 15, 2009, 06:25:54 AM »
I had a friend staying in one of the apartments for a couple of months, and he drooled over my Machismo, and even talked to his wife about buying one.  Thing is though, there are no real Enfield mechanics here and he really doesn't like to tinker.  So I said to him that perhaps he should think about something like a small Honda which wouldn't require so much.  He mentioned that he hadn't seen me doing much tinkering, and it is true, I do required maintenance and it just isn't that overwhelming at all.

Then  today I see that some UCE owners (G-5 and C-5) are saying how maintenance free these new bikes are and that they do little else but ride them and maybe kick the tires.

Let's see now, my tinkering involves mainly clearing the jets of the carburetor because I tend to get condensation in the gas tank which builds up over time even though I keep it topped up.   I have CDI ignition, I do tighten the occasional nut and am gradually putting lock nuts on most of them.  I haven't really had to adjust the tappets, but I did torque the head bolts recently though they didn't really seem to need it.  Other than that I follow Papa Juan's good advice and keep it coated with WD-40 as a sort of cleaning agent leaving a residue to keep any rust off. then I've lubed the cables (but don't you do that with all bikes?) and oiled the chain (no adjustment needed yet), keep an eye on the spark plug.  I now have close to 3,000 miles on my bike and it has pretty much been trouble free.  Oh and I did adjust the neutral finder once as mine has the older 4-speed tranny.

Mainly though, I just ride and after I'd told my friend that he would be better off maybe buying a bike not needing tinkering, I am forced to admit that not much has been required.

So with the UCE it goes a step further and fuel and lifter adjustment are pretty much gone, I suppose, and that leaves cable adjustment, checking the tires, keeping up with the shine, and that's about it.  With my AVL bike, all that is added is a bit of carb work and tappet adjustment, which isn't a big deal. And with older bikes still maybe some points adjustment from time to time.

So where is the need for tinkering we all hear about?  Is there really that much more to do than with a Japanese bike?  Is tinkering or the need for it over rated?
« Last Edit: August 15, 2009, 06:30:48 AM by LJRead »
Lawrence J. Read
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woodboats

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2009, 06:38:52 AM »
I know what you mean. :D
My wife and I have a cruiser each, both Japanese, which we never seem to do anything to.
Now, with the Enfield, I do carry out some tinkering.
Except for the usual chain adjustment, tightening things, oil change etc, there really is not much to do with the Enfield.
That doesn't mean I don't do anything, on the contrary, I always seem to be doing somthing with the bike. I think it is mostly just for the love of "fooling around" with the bike. There are many times where I have "sorted" things out and it all seems to be running better. But I think the reality is, it was running perfect before I started! ;D and anything I did was mostly for me, not the bike.
Kinda makes me feel like a real mechanic.
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PhilJ

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2009, 10:56:48 AM »
I go out and lay hands on the bike and say are you OK? , as I briefly glance around and say 'I'll take your silence as an affirmative', and ride. 8)

1Blackwolf1

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2009, 11:44:44 AM »
  A lot of it is keeping an eye on things with these bikes.  If you aren't thrashing on them they are quite reliable.  The sprague on my iron barrel was a fluke, if the coil connector wouldn't have fell apart at speed probably wouldn't have had an issue.  The ehad gasket was just the typical mis-casting of the engine.  Cleaned up the siphon tube and for 2500 miles no problems.

  Once you get things sorted out I believe they are about as reliable as a 70's Japanese bike.  My dad used to say it about his old H-D's from the 30-40's if you aren't trying to break it on purpose they last quite a while reliably.  I suppose that thought has been used on our 2 RE's here.  Will.
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Thumper

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2009, 02:09:07 PM »
Well you caught me at a relatively bad moment. Firstly, the friggin' 1684 mile maintenance routine is bad enough (that got old back on my Urals before I even had an RE so it's been old for a loooong time). Secondly I just finished what should have been a simple battery swap. It was not. The new (sealed) battery is larger and I eventually had to alter the battery holder (drilled two new mounting holes to lower it 1/4"). And the poles are reversed - so I had to re-route cables. Thirdly, I just got my new solenoid in the mail. Although I ordered a stock replacement for the one on my "2006 Electra X" it's not the same. Mine is a round one the slips snug into a rubber holder. This one is partly round - but on a rectangular base and apparently bolts on to the frame somewhere. Not a big deal as I'm confident I'll be able to adapt it...still.....

Some times I likes to tinkers but, gorsh, sometimes I don'ts likes to tinkers!

The key for me is that I only have to tinker when I want to - and right now that's not the case!

Matt

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2009, 02:36:05 PM »
One of the main detractions I find with the RE is fear of breakdown. If the wife is not around, I fear taking a long ride on the Parkway in case I need to call for the trailer. I haven't had a breakdown yet, but all the talk on here worries me.
When i got my Ural, I bought a 6x10 trailer because of all the talk, and never had to use it. i wouldn't hesitate to travel cross country on the Ural, and if it wasn't for the RE, i would sell the trailer.
I guess I should't worry. if I break down I could call Uncle Ernie to fix it. he has replaced just about everything on his bike already. ;D
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1Blackwolf1

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2009, 03:30:00 PM »
  I guess I'm not that worried about a long trip, did many on my other Brits and have rode my RE 250 miles in a day.  Would be more worried if I still had the POS Lucas coil on it.  Will.
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LJRead

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2009, 07:32:12 PM »
As Thumper Matt mentions, a lot of the 'tinkering' reputation of these bikes seems to stem from the addition of electric start some seven or so years ago.  The solenoid, sprag clutch etc. seem to have added a lot to the tinkering end of things.  Yet some seem to have no problem at all with the ES.

I push down on my starter lever and am surprised by how easy it starts, not even requiring a full swing, and so feel I'm fine without the ES.  I guess the new UCE, with the EFI cures most of the problems of ES and was probably an integrated addition instead of just an add on.

Too bad there has been this ES problem as without it the tinkering scene seems a lot less, especially less expensive.

In a way, tinkering is good because it seems to bring some sanity or reason to the maintenance of these bikes.  Without a small problem of water in my carb, I wouldn't have had to tinker with it and wouldn't have learned more about it, how simple it really is, and how easy it is to keep functioning.  In that way, making mechanics of a sort out of us, tinkering is a big plus.  I want to get into my Albion 4-speed transmission to replace the bearing so I can use ordinary gear oil in it.  I'm looking forward to it, to actually seeing the innards.  It was that way with primary chain adjustment.  I was pleased by how tidy the primary case components are put together in these bikes.
Lawrence J. Read
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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2009, 10:22:24 PM »
 :D  ha.. think I'l go out and tinker on the RE.. since I bought the tool box here, nothing is the same..  have some soldering to do since I shortened some wires.. would have done it earlier this week but couldn't find the shrink tubing I bought earlier.. found it yesterday about 1 foot away from my foot, upside down with tools on it.. ::)  well actually an empty beer can :P
really got to take pictures.. maybe tomorrow.. ;)

1Blackwolf1

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2009, 12:10:43 AM »
  Sounds like me mid-repair.  But I'm usually trying to fid the silver solder.  Must have four rolls of it now..but still search for it at times.  Will.
Will Morrison
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clamp

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2009, 01:04:47 AM »
It depends on your personal requirements.

     I rode a friends Honda a month back,he always tells me he does'nt do anything to it and it is perfect .

     So I get on it.  First the clutch cable was about 1 inch slack on it. The front hydraulic break was crunchy as the lever was sticking on the piston.  The idle was way too high and the rear chain was kinked and rusty.

       Hes not a mechanic so he just did'nt know any better.
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1Blackwolf1

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #11 on: August 16, 2009, 02:04:25 AM »
  He did that and went to tip a pint, knew it would be right when he returned from the pub.  Will.
Will Morrison
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clamp

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #12 on: August 16, 2009, 02:42:39 AM »
Ha you made me laugh, yes he probably did,--

   You buy silver solder in a roll??? silver solder??electrical solder is in a roll!!

    I buy it in a 1 meter stick or rod. it looks like welding rod but it is square.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2009, 02:49:26 AM by clamp »
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Cabo Cruz

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2009, 03:06:08 AM »
"... I fear taking a long ride on the Parkway in case I need to call for the trailer."  BRW

Well, Br. Blue, you just might be worrying too much about the ability of your Bullet.  Case in point: Last Saturday Perla and I were up against 6 multiple-cylindered, large capacity, 600 lbs., at minimum, bikes, as we left Roswell, GA for the twisty mountains north of us.  The Captain ran a Screaming Eagled-out-the-wazoo HD Duece; he was followed by a Victory, a Yamaha sport tourer, a 1500cc Kawi Nomad, an 1800cc Honda VTX, a 1300cc Yamaha Star and, running Sweep a proud 500cc RE Sixty-5 -- Miss Perla.  Although we took nothing but two-laners, there were plenty of straight aways where those other 6 boys ran up their big girls to 75 mph.  Perla and I stayed up with them with my knees tucked in very close to -- it seemed, at times, inside -- the tank and my chest on -- it seemed, at times, in -- the tank and my butt off the solo seat and on the rear fender!  The other 6 compadres marveled at that little bike that stuck to them like glue!  Our fun came in the up-the-mounains and down-the-mountains curves and comebacks, of which were more, more than plenty!  Perla and I laughed at the 6 big ladies ahead of us whose pace suddenly became very moderate, as they were forced to parade in what seemed the red light district (for all those brake lights that stayed on more than off).  As it turned out, little Perla was pushing her front K71 Dunlop up the wide rear ends of these 6 big ladies.  ::)

With all the appropriate stops -- coffee, sight seeing, stretching, eating and gassing up -- we ran from approximately 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM for about 230 miles (R/T).  Perla, thanks to God, ran like the trooper she is without a single complaint.  She did give me a terrific wink and a smile, as we pulled back into the garage, and said: Papa, that was one HELLUVA run... WOWZAA!!!  8)

In closing, Br. Blue, it is entirely up to you to run your Bullet for 20 or 200 miles.  Nonetheless, I encourage you to trust your lady and your star a bit more and to have fun while doing it!!!  :)
Long live the Bullets and those who ride them!

Keep the shiny side up, the boots on the pegs and best REgards,

Papa Juan

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1Blackwolf1

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #14 on: August 16, 2009, 11:26:00 AM »
Ha you made me laugh, yes he probably did,--

   You buy silver solder in a roll??? silver solder??electrical solder is in a roll!!

    I buy it in a 1 meter stick or rod. it looks like welding rod but it is square.

  Just depends on the store you buy it from.  The straight lengths (rods) are usually harder to find.  Most of our solder comes in rolls from the auto stores.
Will Morrison
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clamp

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #15 on: August 16, 2009, 02:05:10 PM »
Nope --I still think we are talking at cross purposes here, solder is the soft stuff in a roll that you use to solder wires, it melts at 800.with a soldering iron.

   Silver solder is in a rod is stiff and looks like brazing rod but square you will need acetylene or LPG to use it.   This is great for stronger bonds such as cable nipple ends.
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1Blackwolf1

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #16 on: August 16, 2009, 05:23:47 PM »
  Could be..I don't use the tin/lead solder.  I still use the stuff you have to use flux paste with.  I know it has a different make-up than than the acid core stuff.  Okay I went and looked I'm using 95/5 tin/lead.  My mistake.  We use the stuff on the stick for brazing.  Will.
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LJRead

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #17 on: August 16, 2009, 05:42:14 PM »
I once bought a roll of silver solder that came in a kit in a plastic tube with a bottle of flux in the center, this was bought in Fiji.  Useful stuff, but you couldn't tell it from ordinary tin solder, except when you tried to substitute for one or the other.
Lawrence J. Read
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1Blackwolf1

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #18 on: August 16, 2009, 05:53:34 PM »
  I have some like that also, but can't find the contents listed on the tube since the insert card is missing.  Know I had to use a propane torch to melt it.  Will.
Will Morrison
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LJRead

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #19 on: August 16, 2009, 07:08:58 PM »
My kit was put out by a torch company that also made a camping stove with the small propane cylinders.  I think the name was 'Bluette".  I have a few rods of bronze, very thin, put out by Benzomatic.  The Bluette company, as I recall, was French.  Believe it or not, I put together a Heath kit depth sounder for my boat in the heat and humidity of Vanuatu (then New Hebrides) with my Bluette torch which had a little copper bar as an attachment, which was held by a bracket over the torch's flame.  I had an electrical engineer come by the boat and tell me "it'll never work, using a torch like that" which made me mad enough to get the damn thing going.  Only problem was my depth sounder kit came missing a page from the instructions and I put one of the transistors in backwards, spending days trying to figure it out, still pissed off, until I happened to look closely at the transistor pictured on another page and figured it was backwards - bingo - it worked and never quit working as long as I had the boat.  You can do a lot when you have no other choice!
Lawrence J. Read
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2002 Machismo, 2003 RE rickshaw with Thunderbird base

1Blackwolf1

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #20 on: August 16, 2009, 07:44:39 PM »
  My dad never trruly had repair manuals for a most of the farm equipment we had, he would make drawings of how came apart and use those for reassembly.  We once had an old tractor and the thing would go backwards faster than forwards (turbohydrostatic) and he pulled all the valves out of it and just looked at them for a long while, then test fit them.  Once he was done he buttoned everything up started the tractor and voila..all was good.
 
  The guy he got the trasctor from said he had taken it to at least three repairmen and no one could figure it out what was wrong with it.  Took dad maybe an hour to figure it out.  He never finished high school but I would see him figure out the hardest of mechanical problems.  If he got mad he was better, almost demon like.  My BSA in a box dad peiced together on the bench w/o a book.  I wish I knew what he's forgotten.  Will.
Will Morrison
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r80rt

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #21 on: August 16, 2009, 08:50:37 PM »
She did give me a terrific wink and a smile, as we pulled back into the garage, and said: Papa, that was one HELLUVA run... WOWZAA!!! 

Cabo it sounds like you had a good run, Nothing like an agile dark eyed girl is there?
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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #22 on: August 16, 2009, 11:11:00 PM »
"Cabo it sounds like you had a good run, Nothing like an agile dark eyed girl is there?" r80rt

Br. Dannie, it is an absolute yes on the "good run"; and, a very much indeed on the "agile dark eyed girl" ...  ;)
Long live the Bullets and those who ride them!

Keep the shiny side up, the boots on the pegs and best REgards,

Papa Juan

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #23 on: August 17, 2009, 03:10:27 PM »
I used silver solder intended for electronics on some shortened wiring, .040 thickness..

oh, BTW,,  after all summer I got it running.. quite a bit of tinkering to get there ;D

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Re: Tinkering?
« Reply #24 on: August 17, 2009, 10:37:52 PM »
  So are you much happier?
Will Morrison
2007 500 Military
2000 Kawasaki Drifter 1500
2000 Victory V92SC
1976 Suzuki GT185 Rebuilder Special..AKA (Junkyard Dog)
Many, many other toys.
The garage is full.