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Cycle Shanty

Q’s, A’s and Tech Tips – Page One

Q’s & A’s – Tech Tips – Page One

A page for timeless questions and answers of a technical nature.

Do you have a Whitworth part for an old, old motorcycle?

                 If you can find an original Whitworth part for an old, old motorcycle, buy it quick. The part in itself could be worth more than a new Harley. Okay, yes, I can do something for you. There are many possibilities depending on the purpose of the part. Stop in and see me.

Bum, how come you help people get the best retail price instead of selling it yourself?

                   Sometimes the cost of the part at retail is less than the cost of wholesale after you add in federal tax, incompetency of others, very little profit and if the supplier doesn’t pay shipping, a loss of money. Traditional wholesale prices yield no profit for the retailer. Another problem is that some so called “distributors” also operate online retail stores and a little guy cannot compete with them.

               The Shanty goal is to reduce the chances of you being ripped off or being subjected to an incompetent (you know who they are when you ask for a tire valve wrench and they ask you what the make, model and year the bike is).

                  Yes, I do want to sell parts, however, too much hassle just doesn’t make it worth it. If you need something just ask. I can usually have manufactured, a better part at a lower price.

                By manufacturing our own parts we maintain a much higher quality of product and have it for a much lower price. True, we do buy after market parts when nothing else is available. We’ve been here for over a century and we still survive, growing slightly every year. Hey, we are not recreational, biker craze or corporate types who will eventually be gone as the last biker craze of the mid and late 70′s disappeared. The snow ball, small as a golf ball at this time, is slowly rolling down hill and when it reaches the bottom of the hill will end the biker craze then we will have very inexpensive aftermarket parts flooding the market, although, we won’t have to pay more than what they’re worth.

               Remember folks, the people who are part of our network are the tool and die makers, machinists, welders, foundry pros, mechanical and chemical engineers, chemists, lawyers, and yes, believe it, doctors who all lost their livelihood as a result of computer directed robotics or their personal lack of interest. The lathes, drill presses, milling machines, etc of the past became affordable and the people who operated them bought them. Some have their full time/part time wage jobs and manufacture parts for us as a hobby now. When we have a need for a part we manufacture it to standards so high we can warrant most of them for 20-100 years.

What can we do about tires?

              Tires are another issue entirely. I know where your coming from. A few manufacturers are no longer establishing monopolies at the distribution level. Virtually all motorcycle tires are made to last +-15K with normal care. Who ever has the better tire and price wins. At this point this is about all I can say.

               We have found a way. Not all major players are allowing greed to infect their capitalization of need or want. At this point it really is premature to make any statement of fact. We do have a way to go.

The chain thing.

                   I saw an forum post about chains and the direction the clip needs to be placed to minimize the potential for the clip popping off. Yes, definitely, the open end must go to the rear to be reasonably sure it will stay put.

                  Chain maint? Well, its all about adjustment and lube. Too many people put spray “crap” on their chains without first finding out if it’ll work well with their chain. Some chains are “O” or “X” ring chains and what will work with a standard chain could be a problem for “O” or “X” ring chains. There are some great lubes out there, however, the type of riding and chain you have will determine the right lube to use.

                  Contact me and I’ll see what you need and we’ll go it from there.

Which motorcycle oil is best for my bike?

               The traditional buyer seeks a salesman to tell him what is best for his bike and ultimately buys what is best for the salesman. OEM’s spec an oil based on SAE and or API standards and as long as the oil meets these specs it works. Yes, there are oils that exceed OEM requirements and they should be a consideration for those who do some serious riding, ride hard or race most of the time. The “recreational” rider, will always buy what the salesman tells him in order to know “its alright” and everyone else needs a knowledgeable source of information.

                Most unknowing people think the heavier the oil the better. Not so. Oils must be able to squeeze between the metal parts it is intending to protect and with out that oil the metal parts wear out. One fellow was running 70W in his mid 90′s Harley and profoundly believed it was better for his bike in that he thinks tougher is better. Very wrong. The heaviest oil I could recommend for his bike would have been a 50W motorcycle or racing oil, for summer use, in that the average temp he rode in never exceeded 95′. If he was riding in my part of the country (Texas) I would suggest, for summer use, a good 60W oil. To go heavier serves no purpose and could possibly cause excessive wear in your engine.

           Some people, start thinking, additives, etc. are going to be the best for their motorcycle in that the manufacturer of the additive claims it’s the greatest thing available. Indeed, some do work, however, some will rot out your “O” rings and seals real quick. Many fuel additives can cause serious head damage. If your thinking in terms of blending your oil, beware, what was developed for automobile use, is not necessarily good for motorcycles.

              Oil and filter changes are the most critical maintenance need you have. Oil doesn’t go bad, it gets dirty and dirty oil wears out your engine. There is no reason why you can’t change your oil and filter on a regular interval that will ensure a 100K or more, much more, out of your engine. Indeed, the “recreational” rider, will trade in their machine so as not to have expensive repair and or maintenance costs.

               Those who just want to ride their machine for eternity contact Cycle Shanty and just do what’s needed. The bottom line is this: OEM’s do not build machines to last forever in that they are in the business of selling new machines and they will advise you as the required maintenance needed to keep your bike going until they need to sell you another machine.

My bike just won’t start and it runs hot too!?

             It runs hot, too? Well, now, don’t give up the ship. You also mentioned that your high temp light has been coming on and when your bike finally stopped running the light was on. You have two different problems.

              First, lets look at the high temp light. You have 76K miles on it and it sounds to me like you may have one or more cooling system problems. Check the radiator first. Run a stream of water from a garden hose through it top to bottom and if there is no obstruction then check the coolant level and mix. You need 50/50 in it and you may have less coolant than that. Check your hoses and O rings for leaks. Next, check your thermo switch and fan motor, disconnect the clip from the switch, ground it out, turn on the ignition switch and your fan motor should start running. If that happens then you need another thermo switch. My advice is to replace the thermo fan motor switch, the thermo switch to the speedo head and the thermostat now before you have to do it later at a much higher price.

             What is left are only the water pump and a defective speedo head. Better to get most of it replaced now and worry about the speedo and pump later unless one or both is defective. you’ll go another 75K with no trouble. You should go 95K – 105K on the system so I’m under the impression it’s your thermo fan motor switch, thermo sensor or thermostat. Replace them all. Be advised, this is on your bike with it’s current mileage, usually you do this at 100K, however, it won’t hurt you as bad to do it now rather than later. Yes, you can check each component although time needs to be considered. My advise? Just replace these parts and then check the old parts, if they are good then you will have good used replacement parts if you ever need them.

            Won’t start, huh? Since your bike does turn over don’t worry about the starting system although you do want to check your battery. How old is it? Is your bike outdoors all year in extreme heat or cold? Do you remove the battery while it sits and keep a maintainer charge on it? Okay, charge up your battery, turn on the lights for ten seconds, if it doesn’t start, turn off the ignition switch, hook up a jumper from your car battery, turn on the switch and fire it up. If it starts quickly then replace your battery. If you have a new battery then you shouldn’t need to replace it unless its defective.

                Next, you said your bike just conked out as you were riding it and you towed it home. Okay, check for spark at the plugs, if you have spark your problem is most likely not ignition. Check your air cleaner, is it plugged up? Check your air passages. If your getting air then your problem is fuel. Did you have problems starting the bike every now and then when it was very hot out? Did it start after the bike cooled off? The most likely culprit is your fuel pump, although, it could also be your fuel cutoff switch. Check the pump first its easier to do. Most fuel pumps have a two wire clip. Do not attempt to put voltage to the pump in that your pump may not run on 12 volts and putting 12 volts to it will burn out your pump. Simply, ohm it out, polarity is good to consider, although with resistance, you should be alright regardless of how you check it. No resistance? Replace your pump.

               Get back with me for more info if this doesn’t do the trick.

Need more help?  Contact The Shanty 

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