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Author Topic: An alarming knocking  (Read 2269 times)

WillW

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An alarming knocking
« on: August 20, 2011, 11:20:54 AM »
I collected my bike this morning from the local bike mechanic's workshop. It's been there for a week, having been booked in two weeks earlier. It hasn't been touched, and I was told it wouldn't be done next week either. So I took it home. That wanker wont be seeing me again.
Back to square one!
But when I rode it over there last week, and again today, I noticed a new noise, more sinister than the racket from the valve train. It's a knocking and it occurs under load, ie when the throttle is opened from low speed. I'm hoping it's not the first sign of a bearing on the way out, but I'm suspecting it might be!
At the local bike night last week I met a bloke with a nice old Bullet 500, and asked him if I could have a listen to it. It ran as sweet as a nut - and no taps clicks or rattles. It turned out he's been in business as a motorcycle mechanic for 40 years, specialises in Enfields, and is based just 15 miles away, so that's where I'm taking the bike next week.

My feelings about this bike have now swung round past 180 degrees, from full love, to ambivalence & forgiveness, and now to dissapointment and dismay. Like all of us, I love the ride. But unlike many of us, I can no longer sustain the level of denial required to keep on insisting these bikes are ok if you just tend them a bit. Whether or not you have a Royal Enfield which is "OK" depends solely on the luck of the draw. I seem to have got the friday bike, assembled by the pissed off apprentice!

If I hadn't bought the W650 at Easter, I'd have had virtually no motorbiking since March.  Watsonian had the bike for weeks, and it came back just the same as it went in, apart from yet another new sprag! Since then, they have ignored every email I've written them.
If I hadn't spent 4000 on this machine less than 18 months ago, it would be at the local breakers yard. As it is, I shall have to pay whatever it costs to fix it, minus parts I suppose, after which I will sell it for whatever I can get and cut my losses.
I apologise here publicly to anyone I may have helped persuade to buy one of these bikes, but I spoke in good faith. I was wrong. Royal Enfield are nowhere near competent to produce motorbikes of consistent quality. And as more and more of these bikes begin to fail after a few thousand miles, the facts will be harder and harder to cover up. I for one will bullshit no more when asked about these bikes. And I often am asked.
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

BRADEY

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2011, 11:52:15 AM »
Extreemly disappointed to read your reviews, but i hope this helps perspetive buyers to take an informed decision, and not one that people often take by listening to their heart.

Maturin

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2011, 12:46:31 PM »
Very sorry to hear from your misfortune, Will. I hope the Bullet will not become even more money and time swallowing.
I had similar experiences with the German importer, too. Its dissapointing to be left out in the rain if there is trouble. Vehicles do go kaputt, as anybody knows, and must be repaired then. If the importer acts deaf in such cases its a major bummer. Hard enough to get a surprising bill, you also keep on struggeling to get a diagnosis anyway.
To me it was clear from the beginning that an RE may cause trouble. But its anoying to see that there seems to be very little support.
Good luck with the Kawa! At least this one works fine!
2010 G5
A Garage without a Bullet is a empty, barren hole.

When acellerating the tears of emotion must flow off horizontally to the ears.
Walter Rhrl

Paul_N

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2011, 06:07:25 PM »

Thanks for the update, Will.

I absolutely love the looks of the C5 Military & B5, but I really question the amount of upkeep and overall quality.  I *really* want to pickup a military at a local shop, but am very very hesitant.  I keep reading about part upgrades and what not and it seems like the longer you wait the less problems that you'll have.  I can buy now and hope that the problems present themselves within the first 2 years so that the parts can be replaced/upgraded under warrantee.  It doesn't seem logical though - let me drop $7k on a _new_ bike and hope that it has problems so that I can get the better parts.

Or I spend $3k on a W650 that just went up for sale and I learn to ride on that...  It seems appealing. It isn't as "vintage" as the RE, nor does it have the looks of the Military, but I won't walk into it thinking that I have dropped $7k on a "problem".

I *really* want RE to succeed and I hope that RE/USA can get the factories to improve the quality.  If the bike was priced like it is in India, I'd be able to overlook the issues.  $7k is a lot to gamble, especially because we don't have RE mechanics in every city like they do in India.  Based on some threads on ADVrider, it seems like an entire industry popped up to support REs and it is OK that they are problematic as they are cheap and help is always around the corner.   In the US they are not cheap and knowledgeable help is potentially hundreds of miles away.

I really want one though... But I feel like I'll be kicking myself in a month or two. 

 -Paul

WillW

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2011, 06:17:55 PM »
I don't know what to tell you Paul. This forum is a good place to get all sides of opinion - although posts such as this one tend to be deleted.....
Beautiful bike. Wonderful ride. No doubt about it. But build quality is variable. Quality control is a joke. Long term reliability   -  it's a gamble I'm afraid.   :-\

(f you can get a good W650 for $3000  --  no wonder you're tempted......)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2011, 06:24:50 PM by WillW »
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

Maturin

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2011, 07:00:16 PM »
Wills exitement for RE and their Bullet probably was worth much more than a rebuild of his engine could ever cost Watsonian. At the end its only stupid to loose customers that actually are satified with the product, if only it works.
Actually its an insolence.

The good news is, that the US-importer seems to be a lot more caring than the ones in Europe. The replacement of Dans engine prooves that good service is possible.
2010 G5
A Garage without a Bullet is a empty, barren hole.

When acellerating the tears of emotion must flow off horizontally to the ears.
Walter Rhrl

WillW

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2011, 07:52:58 PM »
Quite so. I don't know what to make of Watsonian. It was good of them to collect my bike -  it was just into the second year of warranty, so they weren't obliged to. On the other hand, having replaced the sprag (again) they failed to investigate the racket from the engine. I didn't feel I had any real leverage, so I thanked them, and asked if they'd be willing to take another look if I got the bike to them and payed all labour costs.
I only asked them because the mechanic at the dealer where I got the bike dismissed the racket as "normal". The same racket which had prompted the dealer, and Watsonian, to say "don't ride it!"
I sent a second email when the first was ignored - both polite, simply enquiring whether they would mend my bike at my expense, but again I got no reply.
So fuck em. I'll deal with it locally and let them know the outcome.
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

clubman

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2011, 08:55:19 PM »
Thanks for the update, Will.

I absolutely love the looks of the C5 Military & B5, but I really question the amount of upkeep and overall quality. 
 -Paul


Looks only get you so far and don't count for much for you're stuck at the side of the road with, (for example), an electrical failure. That's happened twice to me and on both occasions people passing have said "oh what a lovely bike" to which I could only say "not to me right now." I bought a Guzzi V7 earlier this year in exasperation just wanting something with reliability as well as character and amazingly enough it gets even more attention than the RE, not that that's why I bought it. At that time I decided I would keep the RE as a winter hack purely because I'm an honest person and I wasn't going to tell a pack of lies when prospective purchasers asked if I'd had any issues with it. As it's turned out I'm enjoying riding it again now but I still agree with Will in that, in my experience like his, it is not a reliable bike. Don't get me wrong, I still like riding it, I like the people involved in it, this forum, my dealer and I don't want to piss off Kevin M or get banned from here but I have to agree with Will. My advice to any prospective buyer would be buy only as a second bike and be prepared to potentially lose a lot of money. Don't kid yourself the EFI is a great leap forward in build quality. I bought mine before there was a lot of info to go on. I told myself RE had upped their game and that the two year warranty was security anyway. I wouldn't buy it knowing what I do now. Maybe RE have such a large captive Indian market that they don't care about our opinion but since they have a separate production line for exports - God knows what the domestic product must be like!! - presumably they do care. In which case they need to get the message loud and clear that charging western market prices for the quality they offer is not going to win them many fans abroad. The best way to be taken seriously would be to build decent bikes.

prof_stack

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2011, 09:39:05 PM »
Will, the good news is that once your new mechanic sets it correct, you will likely have a good stead for quite a while.  I hope the saga turns good again.

Clubman, for similar reasons I got a 750 Guzzi as well, the Breva.  I was finding that I didn't trust the C5 part of the time.  However, with one year left in the warranty I am going to ride it and let the chips (and fastenings, heh) fall where they may. 

If I were in the market for a new UCE today, it would be the B5, the only sensibly priced RE in America.
A Royal Enfield owner's cup is always half full.

Arizoni

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2011, 09:53:32 PM »
WillW
As you seem to have made up your mind, anything I say will likely fall on deaf ears but, you say you've found a mechanic who specializes in Royal Enfields.
One who somehow has managed to even get an old RE to purr like a kitten without any "taps clicks or rattles" ! (Not an easy task on an exposed  air cooled engine.  Even the Japanese have never really done this in my opinion.)

Perhaps this new mechanic will know exactly what the source of your bikes engines noises and with a few tweaks it will be totally fixed?  It is possible.

Something there is about human nature that causes our minds to overemphasize the negatives we perceive and to always assume the worst.

Anyway, I feel you owe it to whoever buys your RE to have whatever is wrong with it repaired before selling it.  They will be buying it in good faith.
Who knows?  After it has been repaired you might even get to thinking........
Jim
2011 G5 Deluxe
1999 Miata 10th Anniversary

drbvac

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2011, 11:04:42 PM »
Well now aint this an alarming set of comments. I wish there were some sort of reports  on the long term ownership of these bikes other than form the  forums. Even the porsche forum would scare the shit out of many chevy drivers and I really dont want to be so afraid the c-5 will up and stop and leave me stuck that it takes the fun out of riding.

How many miles on the bike Will when all the trouble started and is it a daily driver ??
Dr B

Kevin Mahoney

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2011, 11:42:48 PM »
Actually Will posts like this rarely get deleted. I try to be quite tolerant about these things even though it is my board and under my sponsorship and my full control. I do however remove posts that complain about dealers etc. for the very reasons mentioned in the TOS. Complaining on the board does nothing to resolve your problems nor anyone else's.
We have banned a couple of people from the forum in the past ten years or so (other than spammers) due to TOS violations. I always give at least one polite warning before we ban anyone. The things I tolerate the least are flaming others, being disrespectful of others and complaining about things that cannot be solved by anyone except your dealer or importer. It is really surprising how infrequently this happens. When it does I am alerted by those members who want a respectful place to congregate almost before the electrons dry.

I cannot speak about any other country but I feel strongly that the support offered to customers in the US may be quite different than what is offered in other countries. An example is the fact that our warranty is for two years unlimited mileage parts and labor period.  What happens elsewhere is of no relevance to customers of RE in the US. We sell more of these bikes by a long shot than anyone else in the world beside India (actually more than the rest of the world besides India put together) and the vast majority of our customers are happy with their bikes. Do some have issues?...of course but I think the support here is darn good. Better and more personal than most any major brand. You have had trouble with your bike from day one and more than your fair share it would seem. I would pick up the phone and call Mike or Ben at Watsonian. Speak to them first hand, email is not a good way to contact someone about a problem if you get no reply. None of our customers mind actually talking to the owner of the company nor do they hesitate to call. Trust me I know I take those calls.

With any modicum of accuracy or fairness a blanket statement about RE bikes as a whole cannot be made. Things have been vastly improved since the advent of the UCE bikes. Prior to that the bikes took a heck of a lot more maintenance and setup than they do now. Most (not all) serious problems with those bikes could be traced to a poorly trained dealer or mechanic or the bike being ridden for something it was not.

 I have access to the actual facts and have read every warranty claim ever made in the US since the bike was first imported to the US in 1995.The claims I see now are a small fraction of what we used to see and they are RARELY for anything serious. For example I no longer need anyone to administer the claims and deal with service issues except on a very part time basis.  We do have  issues but interestingly enough the people that sell aftermarket warranties rate us as a normal risk.

I rarely intrude in these conversations but I felt like a word (actually many words) were called for.


Vince

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2011, 12:27:49 AM »
     I have been a dealer since 1999. The first couple of years I had some significant warranty issues, enough that I seriously reconsidered having the product. However,by 2005, tremendous advances in Enfield quality coupled with tremendous advances in my marketing and SERVICING reduced issues to a par with Japanese brands. The advent of the EFI engine reduced issues further.
     I am often left aghast at the issues that crop up on this forum. My guys don't have these problems. To be sure, there are some warranty issues, but they are few and far between. I've had only 2 notable engine issues:  A 2009 model that the head gasket was left out of. The customer commented on some oil seepage. I popped the head and there was NO gasket. It didn't seep much. And a 2011 that knocked. It had a chipped tooth on the clutch housing primary chain sprocket.
     The point of all this is that I do not believe a blanket statement of unreliability or poor quality is warranted. This has not been  my, or my customer's experience. The very few of my customers who  would disagree with me already know that I am an idiot that knows absolutely nothing about motorcycles. These customers make sure to teach me the RIGHT way. Funny that they have issues, but what do I know?
     For what it is worth, I have had EXACTLY the same experiences when I was with Yamaha, Kawasaki, and Honda. Some bikes had real warranty issues, some were minor, some were from customer perception, some were blown out of proportion, some were ignored until they became big problems. Motorcycles are such personal vehicles that we often let emotion color our perceptions and responses. This applies to every one on both sides of the counter. This affects how we inter-react with other riders, dealers, and distributors. I have yet to have a problem that can not be resolved if everyone involved keeps the focus on the problem.
      I am truly sorry to see folks have issues with a product that I love and believe in. My hope is that cooler heads can find a good resolution.
     Will, when you do talk (not email) to the folks at Watsonian, I encourage you to remain calm, but direct. Detailed, but concise. I'm sure that direct and courteous discourse will take you where you need to go. Good luck. Let us know how it turns out.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2011, 12:30:12 AM by Vince »

drbvac

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2011, 12:40:15 AM »
Good responses - good advice - thanks gents @ :)
Dr B

olhogrider

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2011, 02:12:21 AM »
I love this bike. I consider the problems to be minor and handled quickly and to my satisfaction by the company (Kevin) and the dealers. Speaking of which, something came up today so I emailed the dealer (Big Al in Fresno). I feel sorry for Will. He doesn't have the support that we do here.

As I was motoring sedately down a country road this afternoon I was passed by a very fast Triumph Thruxton. For a moment I wondered if I wouldn't have been happier with one of those. Then I realized that I would have been blasting along at high velocity and burning much more gas. I just sat back and smiled. In over 40 years of riding this is the first bike that I actually enjoy riding at a leisurely pace. No, not Harley parade pace, just not fast.

WillW

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #15 on: August 21, 2011, 08:38:15 AM »
Kevin, I appreciate your response. Vince too.

Never my intention to upset or disrespect anyone here. I knew I was a bit close to the wire with this thread - not to provoke but to inform. It's a forum after all.
That said, I probably should have let matters lie for a day or two and come at it from a more positive angle. Or perhaps just not posted at all - God knows this saga is boring the backside off me, and probably others are sick of hearing about it too.  Others I know are curious to know the final outcome.
Even so, I held back and edited significantly - right up until I said "f***k em".
 
You will find on this forum mostly very positive reports about my bike. It got me back into motorbiking after a very long absence and I took to it like an addict. I love the look of it, I love the sound of it, and now that I've tried a few other bikes, and even bought another, I am more than ever aware of the unique pleasure of the Bullet ride.  I know I''m going to miss it a lot. To tell the truth, when the bike is repaired I'm half hoping my heart is going to override my brain again and give it another chance, if just as a not-quite-to-be-trusted Sunday & evening hacker.

Currently the brain has the upper hand. Currently I have a beautifully made & reliable 650 twin in the garage. At least as beautiful to the eye as the Enfield, and rides like a true Brit! There simply isnt any sensible contest any more about which would be the one to keep if it comes to it.

Im not going to list again the issues Ive had with my G5, right from very soon after I got it, from nuisance "quirks" to downright dangerous. I couldn't have known back then that I'd bought the friday bike. Thankfully I was piling on the miles and all these problems were arising within the first year of warranty. I had nothing but praise for the dealership, who were new to motorbikes and keen to make the effort for one of their first customers. I stopped having any faith in their mechanic more recently for the reason already described.
I had enormous respect for Watsonian Squire, who provided new parts under warranty, and who went beyond the call of duty by collecting my bike two weeks into the second year of warranty, as alarmed as I was by the racket it was making and the metal falling out of the sump.

But now Im all too aware that I have become the problem customer, the pain in the arse whos apparently imagining things wrong with his bike. Its an uncomfortable feeling of course they did me a huge favour - except that they didnt!  So Ill deal with the problem myself and hope that theyll provide any necessary parts under warranty.

I hear what Kevin & Vince say about their experience of RE. Im sure great improvements have been made in manufacture.   My experience has been as reported on this forum delight and satisfaction constantly chipped away at by unreliable components and slapdash manufacturing standards. Sad but true.

There is no excuse whatsoever for my emails being ignored by WS. I run a business, albeit small, and if I dealt with difficult questions, however they arrive, by just ignoring them Id be out of business, and rightly so.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2011, 02:20:21 PM by WillW »
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2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

gashousegorilla

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #16 on: August 21, 2011, 03:12:59 PM »
  Will, I don't think anyone could blame you for your present decision. For the past year or more, you have been nothing but patient, positive and enthusiastic about your bike. Certainly beyond what the average person would bear. It does show your dedication to a resolution on your part.
 I agree, emails in this day and age are as important as phone calls.Not to be ignored.They may be another PIA for a Business to deal with, where time has to be set aside, but the fact is, that is how people communicate now. I think it also shows how you were courteous enough to send an email, so they could contact you back at their convenience. Where a mutually convenient phone conversation could be agreed upon. To discuss in detail the complex problems you have been having. Your time is as important as theirs. I think you have gone above and beyond.

Good Luck Will, I hope you stick with it, your a good Egg ;)
An thaibhs at rattling ag an doras agus t s an diabhal sa chathaoir.

WillW

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #17 on: August 21, 2011, 03:32:36 PM »
You're very kind GHG, thank you.
Hopefully the resolution is not too far off. I'm hoping to get the bike over to the RE mechanic this week at least for him to have a listen to, and hopefully he'll be willing to have a ride on it to determine what this new knock may be.....
I'm not wanting to fall out with Watsonian - I may be needing warranty parts - so I'm keeping quiet until I know something definite.
It's all a bloody shame after such an enthusiastic return to motorbiking last year. But it was the Bullet which got me back into it, and I'll always be grateful for that whether it goes or stays......

meanwhile, the sun's out and there's that hooligan 650 waiting for me  8) ;)
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

Chiefharlock

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #18 on: August 21, 2011, 05:41:12 PM »
WillW,

Have you called Watsonian?  You've mentioned them not responding to your emails, but have you followed up an email with a phone call?  Sometimes the timeliness of an email response is based a lot on number of people working for them how those people are allocated through the shop.  Also, keep in mind human error in the fact that maybe when they built their website or got their cards with their phone number and email address on it the email address was fat fingered at the company that made them and no one caught it.  Could be that your emails are going into so dude's spam folder without anyone seeing it because of that.

Another option is to start wrenching on your bike yourself.  Get the manuals and get the parts and proper tools do all your own maintenance and repair.  I pull all my own maintenance and repair and services on my two vintage Volkswagens.  And once my warranty is up on the bike I will be pulling all of the services/maintenance and repairs will be done by me unless it requires machining etc.  Just something to think about.

I hope that you can get things sorted out with the new mechanic you found while at that rally.  I hope you can get back to being happy with your Enfield!!

~JP
Ton Up!

WillW

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #19 on: August 21, 2011, 06:11:58 PM »
I hear what you say Chief, but Watsonian's email system is fine - we've had several back & forth communications in the past. I emailed them the photo of the metal bits, and the link to the YouTube clip of the engine noise. There were no problems then. Several previous enquiries re exhausts & such too were answered by email.

I considered doing the work myself, and still haven't dismissed the idea. I have most of the tools but would have to buy or borrow some of the special tools required for that level of dismantling. But while the bike's under warranty, I'd rather have the work done by a competent pro, this hopefully will avoid any possible dispute over whatever new parts might be needed under warranty. Unfortunately it'll cost me the labour and probably VAT on top unless I can do a cash deal. I've got a pile of stuff to put on ebay which I hope will help.....

Long long time since I had an engine apart. I used to do a lot of it, mostly cars - simple stuff, basic 4 cylinder MG engines mostly. These days, now I'm acclimatised back to the bikes, I do get tempted to take on a winter project - some old Brit horror machine needing resurrection perhaps. I have the great good fortune to live alone, apart from Mr Benson the murderous cat, and if I want to have bits of motorbike all over the house, I can have bits of motorbike all over the house..... ;)
But I'm old and I ache. Can I really be arsed...? That's why I bought a UCE after all....... ::)
« Last Edit: August 21, 2011, 06:18:13 PM by WillW »
2010 Royal Enfield Electra (G5) DL

2004 Kawasaki W650
~ the best british bike they never made ~

Maturin

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2011, 06:12:44 PM »
Will, in your case Id print your 1175 posts and send them to Watsonian - if this doesnt help... ;D
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When acellerating the tears of emotion must flow off horizontally to the ears.
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WillW

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #21 on: August 21, 2011, 06:16:07 PM »
 :D :D  Dammit  -  you may be on to something.....   :D
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Chiefharlock

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #22 on: August 21, 2011, 10:33:01 PM »
Maybe there needs to be a section in the forum for all the foreign guys who are having issues so there can be a detailed history of problems that is documented so we can then pass these on to Royal Enfield and maybe they can address these issues with those distributors/importers that seem to be giving their customers a hassle.  Just a thought...
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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #23 on: August 22, 2011, 06:25:33 PM »
You are in a tough spot when it comes to deciding whether to work on it or not. I do not understand why the UK wararnty does not include labor for the second year. I pay so few claims (especially after the first 30 days of ownership) I can 't imagine that it is a big deal.

Nonetheless I guess that is what it is. I would NOT work on it myself while it is under warranty. You paid for a two year warranty and should use it. You may be a problem customer (only using your words I don't know you), but that doesn't make your problem any less real. I would still suggest picking up the phone.

Ducati Scotty

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #24 on: August 22, 2011, 06:44:18 PM »
I'd second Kevin't suggestion.  Call up and be both super polite and persistent.  Worst case, they refuse and you're where you are now with just some time on the phone wasted.  Best case, they hear your sincere plea and agree to help.

Scott

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #25 on: August 22, 2011, 08:18:27 PM »
AND --- as I discovered when I got the e-mail and address/phone number of the CEO of General Motors in the US - persistance will pay off. I had a warranty problem with a corvette and then they couldnt find a part ANYWHERE in  North America.

I wrote a very restrained e-mail and called his executive assistant saying it was coming.  After they fixed the problem one of the Vice presidents from CAnada called and offered me a 3 year , General motors extended warranty worth $1600

Not bad for  a message to the highest ranking individual you can contact,

Dont send to the "reply to" email - find out the president of the companys personal internal address and send it to him. Often they are posted on the website somewhere but IF NOT - they are all in the same format - First name.last name @ whatever dot com.
Dr B

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2011, 08:44:28 PM »
Will:

I certainly hope that the noise of your bike is carefully looked at by the dealer because from the video it is clear that this noise was not there earlier. I can understand your frustration that it is not getting resolved.

Are you going to take it to the local mechanic (second local) who has worked with RE / Triumphs for many years ? Did you open the tappet door and fidgeted the parts to get a feeling for what may be happening ?

The hydraulic lifters cannot be removed until the engine is taken apart and you would rather have a professional do that. Best wishes finding a good mechanic. And when it is all done and fixed, I want you to turn 180 degrees again and keep a silly RE grin on your face  ;).
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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2011, 09:10:05 PM »
Drbvac  -  it's a good trick. I've used it myself with good results.

Singh  -  Sooner or later and one way or another I'll have this resolved. I almost got the grin back today briefly, by using earplugs and a good dose of denial  ;)

However, what this situation boils down to is that Watsonian apparently don't consider the racket from my engine to be a problem. If my bike was a thirty year old banger I probably wouldn't be quite so picky about it either, but it isn't. I went out today on a fifty mile ride and tried again to just learn to live with it. The bike runs as well as it ever did, and I told myself it's me that's obsessional. I know it's a fairly primitive style of motor, big single - they're all a bit noisy. It's done 8000 miles so there's going to be a bit of wear & tear. Keep wearing the earplugs and forget it.
This ploy will work to a certain extent of course, and an enjoyable ride can be had.
It may go on and on - we've all heard stories of clapped out old scrappers which ran for 20,000 miles held together with glue and faith.
But it all misses the point. Something is wrong inside an engine, any engine, which  suddenly starts making this much racket. It needs fixing. I will get it fixed.
Far too much said about this already. Let's end this thread here. :-X
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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #28 on: August 22, 2011, 10:47:45 PM »
Didn't the late Scooterbob mention one time about piston slap in the UCE after the motor gets a bunch of miles on it?  Could this be what you might be hearing?
A Royal Enfield owner's cup is always half full.

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #29 on: August 22, 2011, 10:55:09 PM »
+1 to the advice to go as high as possible.

Unfortunately when you are low in the chain of command its far safer in terms of your job security to say NO when in doubt and stick strictly to the book even when its obvious the rules should be bent in the interests of fairness and good customer relationships.

The higher you go the more leeway people have to make exceptions.

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #30 on: August 22, 2011, 11:15:24 PM »
Will, if I were you I'd push a little longer on getting a phone call or an e-mail to a higher up at Watsonian, get your gripe heard.  If that fails, check with the local mechanic and then dig in!  Truth be told, it's a shame to waste the warranty but if it's that frustrating to get it honored I'm sure you'd be fine spending some time and maybe a few quid on parts to get her running right again.  Good bikes are like that, you don't mind putting in the time because they reward you when they're healthy again.  And it sounds like taking it apart and fixing it might just be the cathatrsis you need to put this bad juju behind you.

And you've got another bike to ride in the meantime, so you can ride you Kawi while you and your RE seek the satisfaction that only comes from grease firmly embedded under your fingernails and the thump-thump of a well sorted engine.

Show as much patience as you can with the warranty, then do what you need to do.  We're here to support you either way, we share the passion.

Scott

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #31 on: August 23, 2011, 03:03:30 PM »
Thanks Scott. I appreciate it.
I'll update as & when there's progress. Other work to do in the meantime...
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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #32 on: August 23, 2011, 07:39:58 PM »
Especially if another mechanic actually finds the problem and fixes it - make sure he takes lots of pictures if you go that route.
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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #33 on: September 02, 2011, 06:47:06 PM »
@Will- My opinion on your engine noise from my experience, it may help.

There are very few things in UCE which can make noise as per your bike at present condition. I'll try to explain so you can go step by step to find it yourself the source of the noise.

1. Lets start with Hydraulic lifters- If there is any problem with the lifters, usually you will loose compression or you will have starting/running problem. In your case you have none. To simply check if you have any problem with them, take off the rocker cover and try to rotate the push rods. If you find any play then you have a lead.

2. You can also loosen up the rockers and remove the push rods to inspect their ends. Highly unlikely  that you will find anything wrong with the push rods or hydraulic lifters.

Anyways I know your noise is in the bottom half so I wont clarify above two more then required.

3. Big end/ con rod bearing- If that had gone bad then you will hear piston slap of abnormal proportions and you will easily identify it as it increases with load and even on idle, you will find it hard to cover your face at traffic lights. You will get undivided attention.  I rode more then 1K miles with a blown big end and it could have done more so don't worry if you think you might get stranded in middle of the road. But i'll still say it's over built and one in a 100 chance of failure rate.

4. OIl pump- When you remove the rocker cover, crank the engine with plug leads off for more then 5 seconds and if you see the oil spewing out of the rocker dowel then eliminate that too.

My suspicion is on the crank RHS NRB or the cams.

5. Cams- Usually on a UCE if the sleeve of the cam gets worn out and the cam develops more then required lash then it produces a howling knock/grinding kind of noise. I don't think you have that either. But you would know more as my ability to hear your source of noise is as good as your recording equipment.

6. If cams develops marks on it's lobe from the hydraulic lifter roller then again you would know after having a look at it.

You do not need any special tools to remove the cam on a UCE. All you need to do is remove the rotor on the crank shaft and the plate with three 5 size allen key bolts to access the cams for removal. Although you can make your life easy if you loosen up the rockers so you won't need to panic when lifters will jam on the cam shaft after you remove the cams.

If I can remove the cams without any proper tools. I am sure you can do better.

7. Before you are done with probing the cams for any wear/ issues, just do one simple test to eliminate the crank shaft NRB as this is one thing which will require a strip down of the engine.

After you have removed the cams, hold the RHS crank shaft tip and move it up/down with a bit of pressure. Feel for any play, I mean literally any jitter and if you sense any play in the shaft then you have found your source of noise. If you are unfortunate enough to find the play then all you can do is strip down and replace the NRB and it will go again in near future unless you can source a German NRB bearing for the replacement which RE is trying so hard to source but the Germans(INA make) are not interested to supply them with only few k's per month. I tried sourcing from FAG but they wont sell me just one piece. Don't even go near a SKF thats what we have now.

8. If the crank shaft has no play then you can still try one more thing. Remove the head/barrel, hold the con rod and push/pull  up/down to feel any play in the big end. There is a wee bit of play of con rod sideways and thats totally company specs so dont bother with that but if you feel any up/down play then you would need a new crank. It wont take more then 1 hr to remove the head/barrel and replace it back so you can DIY.

So to sum up there are only three main areas you should look for the noise issue.

1. Start with cams
2. Crank shaft NRB
3. BIg end

For all these you dont need to strip you engine just for the diagnostic. Trust me with the simple methods I have explained to find the culprit, specially with the crank shaft NRB. When I had the same issue twice, I had challenged the UCE R&D head along with the two RE engineers to trace the issue within 24hrs and after spending the whole day playing with the engine they were silent. Only to hear from me that I know what was the issue and I will only tell them after they replace the crank/barrel/piston. Eventually I told them and after one whole year they want to replace the NRB on production bikes.

If you need any more clarification then let me know.

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #34 on: September 02, 2011, 07:36:44 PM »
I think I'll hire you as my personal mechanic when you move here ssr.  :)
میں نہیں چاہتا کہ ایک اچار
میں صرف اپنی موٹر سائیکل پر سوار کرنا چاہتے ہیں

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #35 on: September 02, 2011, 08:02:48 PM »
+1.

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #36 on: September 02, 2011, 08:23:18 PM »
SSR - how can I thank you. You've gone to extraordinary trouble. I've printed your post so I can keep it in the garage when I get busy with the spanners.
You've provided a lot of detailed diagnostic information which really gives me something to work with. I very much appreciate it.
I spoke to someone at Watsonian Squire today, who asked me to send a photo of the latest lot of metal filings on the magnets. I'm also putting some miles on the bike before checking the oil again for metal filings.
The general feeling among those who've heard the engine is that the noise is to do with the tappets. I agree, but of course I'm alert now for any change or increase in the racket, and starting to think I'm hearing all sorts of more sinister underlying noises as well. I hope not, but there's been a lot of metal dust circulating round this engine, goodness knows how much premature wear & tear has been caused.
So I'll send the photos to WS, and I'll speak to them on the phone next week to see what they say. I'm holding out on any major dismantling until then, although I have already checked for oil squirting as it should under the rocker covers and everything was ok there.
I was told this morning by WS to ride the bike as normal, so I'm doing so. Performance is unaffected, and with earplugs in the grin is as large as ever it was.
Thanks so much for your post, it's really helpful. Of course I'll keep you updated.
Will
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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #37 on: September 06, 2011, 04:28:16 PM »
I think I'll hire you as my personal mechanic when you move here ssr.  :)

Cheeky lad hey! :D


@Will- not every thing inside is made up of iron so think a bit to what can be which is getting stuck to the magnet!! I highly doubt the dealer can make out from the pictures. Can you check the compression and let us know?
Procedure;
Warm up the engine just for couple of minutes
Take off the plug leads
Take off the fatty plug and screw in the compression meter
Hold the throttle at WOT and crank 3-5 times until the needle on comp meter stops climbing
Repeat three times and take the average

Anything above 100 to 145 Psi is good sign. Although RE says to de- carbonize if above 110Psi and mine is always 140Psi

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #38 on: September 06, 2011, 05:24:45 PM »
Mine was around 140 too.  I wonder if it's supposed to be 110 with the auto-decompressor but maybe the starter is spinning fast enough that it disengages?  The manual also says that the charging voltage running the engine at speed should be 12.4-13.2V.  Every other vehicle I've known expects around 14-14.5V, which is also where the RE falls on a good day.

Scott

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #39 on: September 06, 2011, 05:49:15 PM »
A compression tester is yet another thing I haven't got. Had one once, but there was a lot of moving about before I anchored in Devon and very little of what I once had made it here with me ......
I'm guessing the compression would be ok, since the bike's performance doesn't seem diminished (apart from having the stock silencer refitted!)

I did speak to the head man at Watsonian today, told him the story and emailed him the pics. Hopefully we'll speak again by the end of the week. He's been away so this has been delayed from last week. It'll be interesting to have an opinion from WS.

Busy spell at work is keeping me from much else until after the weekend, and foul weather is keeping me off the road. The stethoscope arrived today so I'll have another go at locating the racket with a bit more precision.
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SSR

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #40 on: September 06, 2011, 06:42:05 PM »
Mine was around 140 too.  I wonder if it's supposed to be 110 with the auto-decompressor but maybe the starter is spinning fast enough that it disengages?  The manual also says that the charging voltage running the engine at speed should be 12.4-13.2V.  Every other vehicle I've known expects around 14-14.5V, which is also where the RE falls on a good day.

Scott

You can try with the kick too and still get the same result. On a cold engine you will get less for sure. Without the de-comp it will touch around 170. Hey come on Scot do you really think a 500 with 90 stroke can really run well with just 100Psi :D

Don't worry about the electrical it does puts 14,2 but only when really needed(high beam)and not all the time. This way it puts less load on the engine as magneto drains out wee bit of power when under full load.

@Will- The reason I asked about the compression test was due to the fact that if you had any big end problem then you are bound of have a damaged block/piston and any sign compression loss will give a indication.  just keep us posted
« Last Edit: September 06, 2011, 06:45:34 PM by SSR »

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #41 on: September 06, 2011, 07:48:50 PM »
You can try with the kick too and still get the same result.

"Kick?!?  What's that?", says the 2010 C5 owner.  ;)

Yeah, 100 seemed low to me too.  Thanks for confirming that 140 is 'normal' even with a kicker.  They also say 11.5V on the battery unloaded is ok.  In my book, that's a battery in need of charging or on its way out.

Scott

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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #42 on: September 07, 2011, 01:56:12 AM »
They also say 11.5V on the battery unloaded is ok.  In my book, that's a battery in need of charging or on its way out.

@Scott - My G5 does not start by button if battery is below 12.4V and needs a kick ! So for me a battery below 12.4 is as good as 'dead'.

Now, go back to thread.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 02:17:28 AM by singhg5 »
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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #43 on: September 07, 2011, 06:09:08 PM »
Big thanks, SSR, for this detailed trouble shooting. I printed it and now it adorns my service manual, whose descriptions are not half as clear. Cheers!
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Re: An alarming knocking
« Reply #44 on: September 08, 2011, 11:56:51 AM »
Big thanks, SSR, for this detailed trouble shooting. I printed it and now it adorns my service manual, whose descriptions are not half as clear. Cheers!

No problemo..