Old Friendships Chapter 3
I am having a particularly hard time writing this section of my relationship progress with a motorcycle. About all I have been truly happy with is the title “Old Friendships”. I know this is what I am feeling in my gut, but like so many things, its hard to get that out onto paper. I want to be honest, the first draft of this looked like a post on a message board. To combat this, I have been talking a lot with my friends about Cindy and what I would like to do or should do to get where I want to be. I am discovering how a small project of “I'd like to try this” turns into a full on passion and compulsion.
As a recap, I need to say it twice like the man said after my last ride; “stator, carburetor, stator, carburetor”. I have done the research on the internet about what I need to do to accomplish the stator replacement. I have also talked to my friends who have assured me that it is a piece of cake. So, with their advice and some knowledge of mechanics, I decide to go ahead and do this myself. I ordered a Rick's Electrical kit. This is a replacement stator and a regulator/rectifier that replaces the separate ones that came on Cindy. I also am proud of myself for realizing that I might need some new gaskets along the way. Seems pretty straight forward.
First thing to do is remove the forty year old covers to get to the stator. First 3 bolts on the stator cover ARE a piece of cake. All of the oil that is behind this cover has obviously kept everything from seizing up. A lot more oil than I expected actually. Thankfully. I have a flower pot without a hole in my garage to catch the dripping. Man, I think this is a little too much oil coming out.
Next, I am looking straight at what I guess is a stator. Also, very easy to remove the next three bolts attaching the old stator to the bike. The stator then has a wiring harness that runs through a rubber grommet sandwiched between the engine and a cover. So, then comes the task of removing a cover that has been in place for forty years.
This is when I remember why I have been avoiding this. Three bolts of the dozen or so I need to remove are completely frozen. Again, to be honest and fair, one bolt is completely frozen with a stripped head, one is just frozen, and the third I managed to strip out on my own in about ten seconds.
I do not remember anyone mentioning this to me before I started the project, but I remember now. In the past, I have run into this same deal with cars, bicycles, and such. No job ever goes completely smoothly, no one ever reminds you of this either. It's amazing how the mind works, how it can discard the unpleasant frustration. As I am thinking about how I can still man my way out of this, I am gradually becoming more frustrated by these three little pieces of metal and dripping oil. I did manage to finally realize I am missing the most important tool I have, beer.
The beer doesn't help remove the remaining three bolts, but at least I don't care as much. It has gotten fairly late at this point anyways. I have gone through another beer (serious lightweight), gotten a tire off a car that has been sitting in my garage for two years and completed at least two other small projects around the garage between the beating, cussing, spraying, hammering, and stripping of three little stubborn reminders. I did get lucky with one other thing that makes me laugh. I managed get the one frozen bolt to tighten another quarter of a turn before freezing again completely. Also, I looked up the oil dripping situation. The bike needs to be on the center stand to close the oiler. At least this works. I am done for tonight.
Friends back to the rescue, time to ask what they do in this case. Lot's of opinions, friends are great for this. Drill, tap, spray, hammer, and/or burn, oh and “put the bike on the center stand, duh”. Burning is out, cases are coated and sealed. I have tapped and sprayed, at least I think I did anyways during the Miller time. Drilling is next. This is two weeks later mind you, I haven't smartened up. I didn't have a beer added as part of my tool box and flower pots don't make good oil pans. They just tend to delay the time it takes for the oil to seep to the floor.
Small drill bit, manages to drill three quarters through a bolt, nothing. At least I was straight, didn't screw up the cases. Then friends start showing up, the familiar sound of a Ducati rumbling in the driveway helps a bunch. I explain my progress, cussing friendships and optimism a bit. “Try a bigger bit” so I get a bit just a size smaller than the shaft of the screw and still nothing. “Try two sizes up” , so I get a bit just a bit smaller than the bolt head and twenty seconds later after a bunch of smoke and metal shards, job is done. “Go big or go home”, lesson learned. With the bolt heads gone, the cover slips straight off and the screws can be turned out with my fingers. At this point, I'm happy, then friend number two comes rumbling up the driveway. Great timing on his part by the way.
Great timing for a couple of reasons. He got out of problem solving and he brought some much needed support in the form of beer and halloween candy. I need to keep a better stock of beer at home for sure. After some drinking and googling what's next; wires get pulled, regulator and rectifier get removed. I ask “What this wire connected to that pin do?” I don't know, so I cut it off. The new regulator/rectifier gets screwed into where one of the things that came off were. I do finally know what these other things are, since I looked them up and I was told what they do. Time to fire this thing up, I think. Beer says “yes”, friends say “yes”. Okay let's go. Last voice of moral support also has to go home at this point, it is Sunday after all. Thanks for the loaning of the beer.
Key in, key on, double check, yes key is on. No neutral light, hmmm. Must have been that weird wire that I cut no one knew what it was for. I guess that must have been it. No big deal, we will fix it later. Rock the bike, it is in neutral. Hit the starter, nothing. I am guessing this has to do with the same wire I cut that tells everybody and the bike it is okay to do what I am trying to do. Kickstarting is my last option. Remember, I have never successfully kickstarted a bike before. Everything else yes, push start, jump start, hoping and cussing, just not this one.
After a small lean on the kickstarter, bike starts right up. Check that life box. Put it in gear and go, then a small lurch and a dead bike. Not good, but not surprised either. We kinda laugh. Second time, same thing. Hmmm, I wonder what's up. I am sure it would not be anything I did or did not do. I take the cover off of the shifter side. I do not see anything, but I really do not know exactly what I am looking at either. After some screwing around, frustration, and trying to quit for the evening I get the idea from my friend that this is a “going to get done tonight” deal so “quit dicking around”. I will go look where the bike was sitting, maybe I will see something.
Sure enough, in my oil soaked flower pot, I see it. It is just a small little round plate with three bearings in it. It looks too important to be randomly laying in a flower pot. Turns out this is what disengages the clutch to put the bike into gear. Awesome, once put into place and the cover is reinstalled, success. Now, at least if I kill myself, it won't be because of lack of effort.
Time for another test ride. I get to the end of the block and back, bothering different golfers this time, no problem. All is well. Wow this actually is working. Friends turn to ride Cindy now. He does a few blocks, I can hear the exhaust and some backfiring about 2 blocks away. I love this bike and that noise, as obnoxious as it can be. Again everything is good, now Cindy's ready for the November Steer Inn Bike night.
Thursday night comes around, I hear the familiar rumblings of the Ducati again, time to go to the Steer Inn. This is my first bike night this year, unfortunately, but I'm seriously stoked about getting Cindy out really for the first time. I am all geared up, which feels weird on this bike, since it is so small, and I am only riding a few blocks. I know better, so back to being all geared up. Cindy is ready.
Riding down tenth street is interesting, it is starting to rain and I have not put the mirrors back on yet. I am also carrying the license plate in my pocket, since I did not get the bolts from my last trip (I really need those stupid bolts). We get there and it is still fairly early. I need to go home since I forgot a couple of things at the house. There are a couple of things with the new Stator installed also: all of the lights are considerably brighter than before and the turn signals don't actually flash anymore. They just get as bright as the sun when you try to use them.
Back down tenth street to home. Idle is starting to stick at around five thousand again. Cindy and I also make it to Arlington and then she dies at the stop light. I am greatful no one behind is throwing a hissy fit or trying to kill me for blocking the street. I think this is because of the bike, if I was in a car I am sure people would be threatening my life at this point.
After carefully pushing us over to the sidewalk, I notice I never turned the gas back on. Oops, at least I know I can do a mile or so without the gas on. It is raining pretty good at this point, I do not want to wait for another green light, so I turn right and go the next two blocks on the sidewalk. This somehow works and I feel like the rebel I was in highschool wearing my trench, spiked hair, and torn jeans. Needless to say, at this point, I am not going with Cindy back to the Steer, she has let me know again that we are at different points in our relationship.
Ducati and BMW did manage to make it to bike night though. I am using the rain as the reason. I know where my boundaries are with this one.
As I go through this journey of learning and doing, I am certainly becoming more comfortable with where my limits aren't anymore. I have a lot of work in front of me that I am not afraid of. I like the sense of accomplishment, I like knowing that my friendships have helped me get there. I know who we are is a reflection of our friends, so I know that Cindy is going to be flawed, but still amazing.
Again, I have been thinking about the title of this chapter again, “old friendships” doesn't really seem to fit.