Thursday, May 31, 2012

International moto maintenance

Mike took advantage of a trip back to the states (Feb/Mar 2012) to grab a few maintenance items and spares for the TA.  Routine maintenance was due, but it was also a perfect time to try to straighten out the front end again (thanks to that mutt in Guatemala and low side in Venezuela).  I couldn’t easily track down used bars in good shape, so I sprung for some Renthal aluminum bars to replace the badly bent originals.

Pulling the entire front end apart and reassembling still left a bit of a twist to the handlebars, probably less than 1/4 - 1/2" difference in height of the grips.  It seems like the top triple clamp is somehow twisted, but only affecting the right handlebar clamp – I can easily lift off/slide on the top triple clamp with both forks in place.  That suggests that the forks, bottom clamp and steering stem are all in good alignment.  So I bridged the rubber mounts on the handlebar clamps with big ol' metric washers, and shimmed the right side handlebar clamp a touch to bring the bars into alignment.  It feels right on the road, and seems a helluva lot easier than trying to flex that top clamp straight.  More to follow if the situation changes…

New steering head bearings were installed!!!  This was much needed.  The old races were badly worn and had a bad dent just off center line.  Ahhhh, steering is sooo smooth now! 

(And a quick poll:  how many of you have used a machete while changing out steering head bearings?  In this case, making a drift out of a screwdriver.)

(cheap tool - all thread and washers - to push the outer races into place)

It was already time for a new air filter, this one was installed with a sexy new feature:  pantyhose.  Some friends of ours, Daan and Mirjam, told us about their successful use of the pantyhose prefilter on their Africa Twins which they are riding around the world.  If it’s good enough for the AT, why not for the TA?  And by simply replacing the pantyhose prefilter regularly, the air filter life should be extended substantially.

The forks got fresh fluid.  I brought back new oil/dust seals, but the old ones aren’t seeping, so the new ones will be spares until needed.  New wheel bearings.  And some other wiring updates (manual radiator fan switch installed) and inspections.

After a 30km test ride, the TA is up and ready to roll!  Now we just have some gear to sort through… After a 6 month hiatus, it's almost like we're starting all over again. Almost.

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