Sunday, June 24, 2012

And We Worked on the Bikes

Colin and Jacob, replacing the clutch
Way back when, a couple of posts ago, I mentioned that Colin's clutch was preparing to expire, and that he had contacted someone in Taiwan to get a new one. That was on a Monday, and he received a package (yay! It's like Christmas!) on the following Friday. Over the weekend, we removed the old clutch and put in the new one with the help of a local man named, Jacob. 

After draining the oil and removing the leg shield, I removed the oil screen cover and oil screen and then the eight bolts that secure the engine side cover. When I pulled off the cover, a fair bit of oil drained out, and a couple of parts fell into the tub. Once I had the side cover off, I removed the clutch lever and cam plate. After that, I removed the clutch outer cover and discovered that there was a gasket between the outer cover and the clutch assembly itself. Since I didn't have a replacement gasket, Re carefully used a thin knife blade to separate it from both pieces. Fortunately, we were able to keep it intact, because we will need to reuse it. With the outer cover removed, I could see our big problem of the day. The clutch unit itself is secured to the output shaft by a special “anti-loosen locknut.” The anti-loosen locknut requires a special tool which we don't have. Basically, the tool is a socket with four prongs that project from it that engage the notches in the locknut. The locknut sits down in a well in the center of the clutch unit, so getting to it with any other tool is difficult. I unsuccessfully tried to loosen it using a hammer and screwdriver but couldn't get a good enough angle. I knew from viewing a Youtube video on replacing the clutch on a Honda Passport, that the Hondas use a similar nut. So while I worked on removing the gasket from the engine case and case cover, Re walked over to one of the repair shops we'd seen while out walking to see if they had the needed tool. I figured if we couldn't borrow the tool, maybe we could push the bike the five blocks or so to the shop and have them remove the nut. 

While she was gone, Robert from reception asked what the problem was. I explained that we needed a special tool to remove the clutch. Fortuitously, Robert's friend, Jacob, happened to be visiting this morning. He came over to look at the problem and said that he had the tool at his house. About this time, Re returned with news that the shop was closed. Jacob said that since it was Sunday, every shop would be closed. I guess I am used to the schedule of motorcycle shops in the US, which are usually open on Sunday and closed on Monday. Jacob said if we could wait for about an hour, he would ride home and get the tools. While he was gone, we finished cleaning up the gasket surfaces and wiped up the oil from inside the cases. Jacob returned with the special wrench and an assortment of other tools and gasket sealants. With his help, we were able to remove the locknut and get the new clutch unit installed. Since we still needed to get a replacement clutch adjustment bolt, this was as much reassembly as we could do now. We reinstalled the side cover temporarily and cleaned up our workspace. We rolled the bike back across the street and then got cleaned up. Since it was now about 2:00 pm, we decided it was time for lunch. We took our adjuster bolt with us and walked over to our favorite chicken and rice place. After lunch, we headed up another street that had several motorcycle repair shops on it, but they were all closed. Since it didn't look like we'd get a replacement bolt today, we hit the grocery store for a watermelon.
We were able to get a new adjuster bolt the next day. Apparently, it is the same as one for a Honda, so the bike shop we wandered into in the morning was able to get one by early afternoon. Later that afternoon, we installed the new adjuster bolt in the side cover, and it was a perfect fit. I then used some gasket shellac that Jacob thoughtfully brought by, on both surfaces, and then carefully installed the gasket. After I installed the last couple parts, on the inside of the side cover, Re carefully helped me slide it over the kick start shaft and dowel pins. With the cover in place, it was just a matter of installing all the bolts, the oil screen and cover, and the kick start lever. After that, we reinstalled the exhaust and leg shields. We refilled the engine with oil, adjusted the clutch, and then, nervously, thumbed the starter button. It started up fine – the clutch seemed to engage and disengage normally, and best of all, there were no oil leaks. I wanted to take it for a quick test ride, so while Re picked up the tools, I ran inside to grab my helmet. I jumped on the bike and began rolling it backwards and noticed that it wasn't rolling very easily. I looked back to see that I had a flat rear tire. So we got the tools back out and grabbed one of the spare tubes and got to work. Twenty minutes later, we had it all put back together and then I went for my test ride. Since it was getting late, I only went around a few blocks, but the bike was shifting normally, and even hitting it hard in second gear didn't produce any slippage.

Ooh, shiny!
In addition to the above, we also did an oil change on both bikes, finally changed Colin's front tire after over 20,000 miles (who knew it would just keep on going?!?), replaced his chain, and gave them a good scrubbing with the "super sunday sponge" to remove the scuffs and stains the bikes amassed.  Because the culture in this part of the world is much more small bike-oriented, parts are widely available and cheap.  The prices we were given at the bike shop nearby were typically a quarter to a third of what we would pay in the US.  Since we plan to keep riding the Symbas once we get to wherever we're going, we went ahead and bought two spare Dunlop tires (real rubber harvested in Malaysia, not the synthetic crap of our original tires), an extra chain, sparkplugs, tubes, and two batteries (we abused ours riding in the high temps everywhere, they boiled nearly dry more than once, and we refilled them with whatever tap water was available. we promise to take better care of these).  


  1. If you guys need a job back in the USA...

  2. You say that you'll take better care of them everytime!