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Real-World Repair Guide

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  • Real-World Repair Guide

    Real-world Repair Guide

    Plan ahead!

    Well in advance of the mechanical job, be sure to check the tools you'll be likely to need to complete the job properly. Lend out or misplace at least 50% of these tools in advance.

    Just in case you're caught somewhere (bonus!), be sure to never carry anything resembling a complete toolset. Mix standard and metric, carry only flat or philips head drivers (never both!), and store commonly-utilized sockets safely in the attic, behind the... whatever's up there.

    This step is crucial to completing a repair job correctly; with a complete tool set, you'll be less likely to build character and wisdom.

    Check the weather!

    This is also crucial. No repair jobs should be attempted before December. If it absolutely must be done, November will do as a substitute, but only if it's unseasonably cold, windy, wet, or any combination thereof. The more the merrier. Inclement weather is an added bonus that must be carefully considered when planning a date to attempt repairs.


    The best location for character-developing mechanical repair is just off a busy road- preferably an interstate- with plenty of gravel to kneel/lie/squat/sob uncontrollably in. Moist coarse sand or mud will do.


    Time is important to your repairs, obviously. You must calculate the amount of time required to complete the job at hand, and subtract about 20%. This instills a sense of urgency, which leads to dropped bolts, miscellaneous small parts being misplaced, etc. A real opportunity to build more character!

    Time of day affects the repair procedure greatly. The job should be saved until just after twilight, in order to better take advantage of the rapidly dropping temperatures that should ideally prevail at this time of year. If repairs are conducted in a driveway or residential street, a feeble droplight may be used, otherwise, opt for a cheap flashlight. Learning to do three hands worth of work and hold a light source is an invaluable life lesson.


    Now that the planning steps have been properly reviewed and followed, here's in-depth information for any job:

    Step 1: Get the mechanical system in question thoroughly hot. Push the limits of operating temps; you should be well into the upper range.

    Step 2: Turn off the device (if it hasn't died already- this IS a repair job!).

    Step 3: Touch the device.

    Step 4: Once you've finished hopping around holding your burnt fingers, looking much like an angry turkey on hot tarmac, begin removing parts from the machine to reach what is wrong.

    Step 5: After removing the hottest parts, start searching for your gloves.

    Step 6: Scratch finding the gloves; start pulling more parts to reach the problem.

    Step 7: Find your Clymer service manual and find out what the problem is. Skip all the parts that refer to proper tools. We'll probably wing it anyway.

    Step 8: Follow the directions in the manual the best you can, despite poor lighting conditions, chattering teeth, missing pages, gravel in your boots (you are wearing shoes, aren't you?), access to only a flathead screwdriver and (if you're lucky) rushing traffic 1.5 feet to your right.

    Step 9: Retrieve all the nuts and bolts belonging to the random parts pulled in Step 4 from their organized state in the bottom of the discarded Hardee's cup you found in your floorboard, and attempt to match them to the tiny, grainy black-and-white photos in the manual.

    Step 10: Now that you've pretty much deduced that you've been pulling all the wrong parts, and not nearly enough of them, see if the machine can be started in its current state (to heat everything back up to scalding). If it can't, great, you're committed, regardless. If it can, you probably haven't pulled enough parts, and the rest of them aren't nearly hot enough.

    Step 11: Pull more parts from the machine. If you were really lucky, none of them appear remotely like those in Step 4. Eventually, you'll pull the problem component.

    Step 12: Visually inspect the broken/failed/malfunctioning component. It'll probably be greasy, slightly sandy, possessing stripped threads or wires (if it has any), a little bent, and will always be considerably more expensive than it looks.

    Step 13: Buy a replacement part. If it's in stock, it'll usually look a lot like the last one, but with threads or wires (if it was supposed to have any), and may have cleaner grease on it. It'll also appear way too insignificant of a component to have cost as much as it did. If it's not in stock, all the same applies, but it'll take a few days before it's in hand (you may have to retrieve your car from wherever it was towed to, pay parking fines, fix the damage from interstate traffic, etc. At the least, you'll have to hear the nosy neighbor whine about the parts strewn masterfully in front of their house).

    Step 14: Reverse all the steps you've done so far. You can skip the manual this time through. You've done it once already. How hard can it be?

    Step 15: Once everything is back in place, attempt to start up the machine.

    Step 16: When it doesn't start, undo everything you did in Step 14.

    Step 17: Check the manual, put everything back in place a few times. You'll have a handful of spare parts in your Hardee's organizer.

    Step 18: Pray.

    Step 19: Start the machine. If it works, awesome. If it doesn't, rinse, repeat.

    Step 20: Revel in the sheer amount of character you've built. Begin planning your next repair job. You probably broke something with this one.

    --Brandon M

  • #2
    SOOOOO true.. on SOOOO many levels!

    '95 Kat 600 (Sold)
    '10 BMW S1000RR (aka Black Betty)(Totaled)
    '11 BMW S1000RR (aka Bumblebee) Shine Yellow

    In ur thinky box, steeelin ur dumz

    If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, you probably high sided.


    • #3
      According to this and my parents I have enough character to rival Disney and Warner Bros.


      • #4
        Don't forget to use cheap Chinese tools too! The kind that shatter when you put 1 ft-lb to them 100 miles from civilization.

        Originally posted by jetmerritt
        Save up for great gear and dress for the fall before you ride. If you can't afford good quality gear, don't ride. It's like saying you can't afford seat belts for your car. There are just no laws to make gear mandatory.


        • #5
          And don't forget to have either the wife/girlfriend/other around to tell you how to fix it and that you are doing it all wrong and of course you need the kids there also to ask every 2 minutes "Is it fixed yet, can we go home now, or I'm hungry"

          No repair job, especially those done on the roadside, is complete without these value added necessities.
          If you enjoy the freedom to ride, if you enjoy the freedom to ride anywhere you want, Thank a US Military Vet. THANKS FOR SERVING!!!!


          • #6

            Cheap tools and helpful advice from the significant other/offspring are awesome additions! I learned ages ago that cheaper is rarely better when it comes to sockets and wrenches. Thankfully, none of my significant others have (yet) ventured into my wrenching territory, so I've personally avoided that one. Black, greasy arms from fingers to elbows are a great deterrent to interference, 'specially if there's chasing involved *grin*

            The most hilarious thing about the Repair Guide is that it's drawn from either personal or closely observed experiences. I owe my dad much! *grin*

            The second humorous thing is that I dreamt it up while changing sparkplugs and syncing my carbs (first time doing them for this bike) at about 8PM, in mid-November, 34*F, just a few minutes before I wiped out and jacked up my shoulder *laugh*

            In all, it's certainly material most can relate to!

            Life's good =)



            • #7
              Originally posted by Maxxrox View Post
              Check the weather!

              This is also crucial. No repair jobs should be attempted before December. If it absolutely must be done, November will do as a substitute, but only if it's unseasonably cold, windy, wet, or any combination thereof. The more the merrier. Inclement weather is an added bonus that must be carefully considered when planning a date to attempt repairs.

              Working on my bike outdoors is all I can do since I don't have a garage. Just last year I bought a propane heater for doing just this.

              But since I have a Suzuki it doesn't happen to often.
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              • #8
                If you put it back together and have spare parts it just means you're a better mechanic than the last guy that put it together.