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Thread: DIY Maintenance

  1. #31
    Registered User mpmarty's Avatar
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    Since I'm retired (my time seems worthless) I do my own work. Yes we have a good dealer only 125 miles away but I enjoy doing it myself. I keep a spreadsheet of all maintenance and repair work by date and mileage. I'm now due for a brake flush, oil change, valve adjust and tb sync. I need to ride a bit to lower the level of fuel in the tank so it's easier to r&r but I'll get to it soon. I have purchased a GS911 and electronic tb sync tool as well as the necessary funny funnel for brake flush. I made my own dummy brake pads from a nice piece of oak.
    Marty - in the western Oregon mountains.'06RT, (gone '04RT, '86 Venture Royal, '81 Yamaha Virago920, '82Suzuki GS1100GK, '76 Suzuki GT750, Triumph 750 Bonneville, BSA Road Rocket 650, 61" Harley knucklehead)

  2. #32
    Lucky motorradmike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post
    I almost always recommend joining your local BMW club and/or having a friend that's an engineer.

    And, there's the paradox that all of us when we buy a used bike would love to have documented service records and if they are DIY we discount them. Some DIY savings may be lost when it comes time to sell the bike.

    Finally, it's nothing but an inappropriate (and boring) ego trip to attempt to in any way categorize who does and who doesn't DIY. Owning a motorcycle, owning a BMW, owning a particular model BMW, doing DIY, being young, being old, being afraid, being brave ... none of this makes you a superior or inferior individual. Unfortunate premise for this thread.
    Kent, you were doing so well playing nice for a while.
    I can't figure out why you post.
    Engineering is a design function, never necessary for maintenance and rarely for repair.
    And how did you decide that superiority was a premise for this thread?
    Mike Marr
    1978 Yamaha XS750 (Needs rings), 1996 BMW R1100RS, 2004 Honda CRF230F

  3. #33
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lkchris View Post

    And, there's the paradox that all of us when we buy a used bike would love to have documented service records and if they are DIY we discount them. Some DIY savings may be lost when it comes time to sell the bike.
    I think having dealer service records might, MIGHT, help you sell a bike faster, but in my experience, does not do anything for the price. I've sold a couple of bikes in the last 5 years. I think that my DIY shop HELPS me sell the bikes. They see the lift, the tools, the books, etc. And, I walk them through the bike. See that tank? No rust. See that chain and sprocket? Not worn and dry. Etc. I even teach them how to do the maintenance on a bike if they want to learn as an incentive.

    So at least for me, not having anything more than an excel spreadsheet and receipts for the parts, has not hurt my resale value.

    Here's one amusing story. I was selling my wife's 250cc Night Hawk. A young college girl looked at it. I taught her how to work on it and told her if she needed help or advice, call me. I had it listed for $2100. She offered me the $2100. I told her, "Come on, you have to barter, try $1600 as an offer!" I ended up giving it to her for what I paid, $1800. So I talked myself out of $300. But she was a good kid ("kid" = about 22), it was her first bike, she needed gear, etc.

    I am well paid and well off. Not everything is about money.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  4. #34
    Benchwrenching PGlaves's Avatar
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    I do all or almost all of our maintenance. I say "almost all" because there are certain, uncommon tasks that I refuse to do any more. For example, I sent an R1100RS transmission off to Tom Cutter and a K75 final drive off to Bruno because they have skills and tools I don't have. The last transmission I did, I was only 98% sure I had everything right and 98% isn't sure enough for me for critical work.

    I think you will find that many of us started on pre-'69 models, worked on Airheads, then K bikes, then Oilheads, etc. I have never tackled an S100RR or K1600 and probably never will. I tend to work on bikes we own. Actually, before I ever touched a BMW with a wrench I maintained several Yamahas and lots of cars.

    I also suspect that if one were to tally up percentages a higher proportion of Airhead owners do their own maintenance than later models. It is part personality and part the manner in which Airhead bikes lend themselves to owner maintenance. This is for two reasons: maintenance is straightforward if not simple; and, the bikes need frequent maintenance. Points and carburetors need much more frequent twiddling than good fuel injection and electronic ignition systems. Airhead valves need much more frequent attention to adjustment than do classic K bikes or F bikes, or even Oilheads.

    Many DIY owners have a lot of trepidation about newer models. Some folks are absolutely superb with a wrench and a disaster waiting to happen with a multi-meter or occiloscope. But much of the maintenance is essentially the same model to model. Oil and fluid changes (iABS excepted) are about the same. Replacing brake pads - ditto. Changing shocks - ditto. Wheels, tires, and wheel bearings - ditto.

    I think the dividing line comes between folks who have been doing it a long time compared to newcomers to the sport. And except for Airhead newcomers, I think the old wife's tales about the difficulty of maintaining newer machines puts them off.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://www.bigbend.net/users/glaves

  5. #35
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    I would add one additional reason to Paul's comment about why airhead owners are more likely to do their own work- too many shops no longer employ mechanics with experience on them, and they get nervous about diving into a 30yo machine.
    Ride Safe, Ride Lots

  6. #36
    God? What god? roborider's Avatar
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    I take it one step further. I don't see younger kids today WILLING and INTERESTED in doing maintenance. We live in a throw it away world. As a guy who works on R Airheads, R oil heads, R Hex Heads, R Cam Heads and Japanese inline 4's, as well as cars and a whole lot of stuff, I say that the modern bikes are EASIER than older bikes. I certainly prefer my R12RT to my R90. Not even close. But older guys tend to stick with what they know, and younger guys tend to not want to work on anything. Bike, lawnmower, etc.

    My neighbor hit a nail with his chainsaw and said he was done for the day because he didn't have another chain and there was not a store open yet on Sunday to buy one. What??? Just Sharpen it here I told him. Whoooooa, sharpen it? That's HARD. I whipped out my 12v electric sharpener and we had him back in bushiness in ten minutes, with a sharper chain than what he started with.

    So, does he sharpen his own chains now? Hell no, he takes them in or buys a new one!

    Younger guys (I'm 50) don't want to do crap with their hands. They just want to watch TV.

    I'm really excited that there is a 14 year old kid across the street who just got a Honda 100cc dirt bike, used, needing work. He's interested and we just rebuilt his carburetor. Finally, a kid who wants to learn and loves to see the results of his work.
    Rob C. , Raleigh, NC
    '10 R12RT, R90/6
    2007 CBR600RR & 09 V-Star
    Suzuki DR 350

  7. #37
    jeepinbanditrider
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    Younger guys (I'm 50) don't want to do crap with their hands. They just want to watch TV.
    Pretty broad generalization there

  8. #38
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    I take it one step further. I don't see younger kids today WILLING and INTERESTED in doing maintenance. We live in a throw it away world. As a guy who works on R Airheads, R oil heads, R Hex Heads, R Cam Heads and Japanese inline 4's, as well as cars and a whole lot of stuff, I say that the modern bikes are EASIER than older bikes. I certainly prefer my R12RT to my R90. Not even close. But older guys tend to stick with what they know, and younger guys tend to not want to work on anything. Bike, lawnmower, etc.

    My neighbor hit a nail with his chainsaw and said he was done for the day because he didn't have another chain and there was not a store open yet on Sunday to buy one. What??? Just Sharpen it here I told him. Whoooooa, sharpen it? That's HARD. I whipped out my 12v electric sharpener and we had him back in bushiness in ten minutes, with a sharper chain than what he started with.

    So, does he sharpen his own chains now? Hell no, he takes them in or buys a new one!

    Younger guys (I'm 50) don't want to do crap with their hands. They just want to watch TV.

    I'm really excited that there is a 14 year old kid across the street who just got a Honda 100cc dirt bike, used, needing work. He's interested and we just rebuilt his carburetor. Finally, a kid who wants to learn and loves to see the results of his work.
    I disagree to a point. I don't think its entirely a lack of wanting to fix things, its a lack of being taught that you can and how to do it. Good for you for passing your knowledge to your nieghborhood youth. That's very much the same as helping other owners to understand their motorcycles through our virtual community. Yes, there are those who will always prefer to let someone else do it for them and that's fine too. Neither they nor us DIYers are right or wrong, we're just different.

    There is also the fact that much of what is built today is not really designed with repair in mind. I learned from my dad, who in his era of auto mechanics learned a lot more repair skills than even I did when I did my training (I'm grateful for the knowledge he shared with me as it's something many of my peers lacked when I apprenticed which is 30 years past). Today, there is much less of that since the components and parts do not lend themselves to overhaul. The cost of labour is one factor driving that, Its become less costly to just toss and replace than to overhaul/repair many items. It has also become much less costly to manufacture a component in a fashion that makes it impossible to dissassemble for repair. Yes the ingenuitive among us can sometimes overcome that, but often its simply a matter of diagnostics and part replacement. Unfortunately, the cost of those parts for us who could invest our own "free" labour is higher since rather than buying just a small bushing to repair a starter for example, we have to buy the entire unit. If one could get the starter apart in the first place, finding the new bushing would be a challenge.

    Actual repair work is become a lost art, but I don't entirely blame lack of interest from the more recent generations.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2009 F800GS
    I can't wait to retire and have a fixed income. The one I have now is always broke.

  9. #39
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    Agree with Robo, youth is a large factor to throw away or fix'er up. My son is now in his thirties and occasionally asks the most disturbingly simple questions about his car. The older guys/gals usually took shop class, mechanical drawing, woods shop, automobile maintenence/repair and the like, which today have been largely eliminated from secondary education because of litigation problems and high tech/cheaper curriculum alternatives. "Dad" also pushed us under the car to point out the oil drain plug etc., combined with a buddies old flathead V8 cruising antics, today's "old" guys/gals grew up hands on.

    It's second nature for a boomer to take the snowblower apart when it starts smoking, check it over, maybe a ring job with new piston, and yer good to go. With a motorcycle, a device that propels you down a road in visceral delight, the return in taking it apart beforehand is even greater. 2 sense.

  10. #40
    Registered User dmftoy1's Avatar
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    DIY Maintenance

    All three of my kids can do a brake job on a car or a bike. (And basic service). They've got no real interest and only do it with me because its cheaper and higher quality than they'd get at the shop.

    I'm 46 and happy to work on my 74 R90/6 or my 12 K1600. I will most likely pay the shop to do the 18k service as the bikes under warranty (be first time the dealer has touched it)

  11. #41
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    I mostly agree with you guys...the younger generations aren't taught any 'mechanical arts' in school unless they go into vocational programs. When I was a kid (early 60's) everyone took shop class (well, the girls took home ec but that's another issue). We learned the rudiments of wood & metal working, drawing, electricity, which end of the screwdriver is the handle, etc. No time for that stuff these days. And you rarely see anyone on TV getting dirty & greasy working on cars or motorcycles.

    Yeah, it's just like when we were young...the younger generation is going to hell in a hand basket.
    1983 R100RS (Sold)
    2004 R1150RT
    BMW MOA 181289
    ABC 13558

  12. #42
    One big Oaff brewmeister's Avatar
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    81 R100RT

  13. #43
    look out!!! Visian's Avatar
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    not exactly the same, at 70 there will be arguments about oil.

  14. #44
    Registered User chewbacca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Visian View Post


    not exactly the same, at 70 there will be arguments about oil.
    If they start riding MC's before 70, there has to be arguments about oil
    Old But Not Dead
    Semper Fi

  15. #45
    advrider.com
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    Quote Originally Posted by RoboRider View Post
    I take it one step further. I don't see younger kids today WILLING and INTERESTED in doing maintenance. We live in a throw it away world.
    I don't see anyone 50 or older interested in doing maintenance. "I'm too old for that." "My time is worth more than that." "I don't feel like spending all my time tinkering." The list of excuses is endless, but the situation is based on someone having more money than patience. Raising children in that environment is what has created and perpetuates the "entitlement generation."

    Does that sweeping generalization boil your blood enough?

    Younger guys (I'm 50) don't want to do crap with their hands. They just want to watch TV.
    I'm 27, perform virtually all the maintenance on everything I own from my computer to my motorcycles. I don't own a TV, but have to sit through mind-numbing conversations at work where my 50-year old coworkers tell me how great Duck Dynasty and Pawn Stars are. If they're not at work, they're on their couch.

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