Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tire Stores and Mechanics

Saturday started much earlier than I would prefer, especially after several nights at work, but sometimes it has to be done. I was at the tire store promptly at 8am to have new tires installed on my pickup and to have the alignment checked. I got out of there two hours and several hundred dollars later.

Since installing the new true duals on Rosie, I had noticed it was trying to burn the chrome off the heat shield coming out of the back head. This indicated a lean condition to me and meant only one thing, ground the bike until I had a chance to take it to the mechanic to re-tune the EFI and a trip on the dyno.

So, when I returned home with breakfast after the tire store, I told my wife that I thought today was a good opportunity to drop Rosie off for the re-tune work. So, after eating our biscuits and drinking coffee, I backed the truck to the driveway and set up the ramps. But when I flipped the ignition on Rosie and pressed the starter button, it was suddenly apparent that the freezing temperatures of winter had finally zapped the six year old battery. The starter spun over slowly and then the selonoid made the "death click" sound. As I put the sidestand back down, I recalled the battery episode with the UPS system at work.

On the bright side, it gave up its last breath at the house when I was already headed to the bike shop as opposed to 42 miles away from home after work someday.

My wife and a neighbor offered to help load the bike on the pickup. I dug a come-a-long out of the garage and a chain. I used the chain to make an anchor point in the bed of the pickup and then hooked the come-a-long to it. I then used a web strap around the engine guard on Rosie and began to manually winch her up the ramp. All was going well until Rosie's front tire broke over the top of the ramp onto the tailgate and everything stopped. The web strap on the engine guard was to high a point and as we were winching, it was pulling slightly down and forward. Once the front tire reached the tailgate, the frame wedged on the ramp. Trying to winch further wedged it down more.

Unfortunately, I could not let go of the bike in this position as it would simply topple over. So while I kept Rosie sitting upright, my wife set off to the neighbor's house who has a Harley who I have helped a few times, but alas he was not home. But on her way back she talked with a couple and their teenage daughter who were about to crawl in the minivan and convinced them to lend a hand.

I pointed out another come-a-long in the garage to the neighbor, and we got it hooked on the other side of Rosie on a mount under the footboard. Winching this one took pressure off the first come-a-long which we then unhooked and cast aside. With four women pushing up and forward and the new anchor point for the come-a-long, Rosie rose up off the edge of the ramp where she had been wedged and walked into the pickup bet perfectly.

I heaped praise and gratitude on all the neighbors for their help, and they headed off to soccer practice. I put up all the chains and come-a-longs and retrieved the web straps and secured Rosie in the bed of the pickup. I looped to ratcheting straps on the neck of the frame and anchored them in the front corner bed loops in the pickup. I then snugged up two adjustable web straps at the back anchored off rear frame and the rear pickup bed loops and then tightened down the front straps.

After a 45 minute ride to the service shop, I met with a service writer to discuss what I needed. I was surprised when there was some reservation at whether or not they could tune with the Screaming Eagle system on the bike as it was sold to me with it already installed and was an authentic HD piece. They explained that HD had since replaced that unit with a newer one and the new computer that they had only worked with the new system. I quickly explained I was not interested in spending $489 for a new tuning system, just an adjustment to the one already on the bike. Some discussion was done in the back shop for several minutes. When the service writer returned, he had better news. One of the mechanics has the old system installed on a laptop and could tune my 6 year old tuning system. So we were back to having the EFI tuned for the new headers and the previous slip-on Screaming Eagle mufflers and installing a new battery.

While we were at it, I asked them to install the Clutch Assist upgrade kit offered two years after my bike was manufactured. If you get a chance, squeeze the clutch on a 2005 FLH and then squeeze one on a 2007 or newer. The difference is huge. And, if you commute in insane traffic where there is stop and go and lots of clutch squeezing, you will appreciate this upgrade. I had said back when I bought Rosie that I was going to have this installed one day and since they did not try to make me buy the new tuner pack, today seemed like a good day.

To reward my wife for her laborous efforts getting the bike loaded with a dead battery, I took her to the dealerships soft goods and bought her a warm shirt of her chosing. Now I just need to get a small gift for the neighbors.

2 comments:

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Allen Madding:

I was delighted to read this blog tonight as it finally put a face to the editorial content. I am openly envious of your career as race car/bike journalist. As a travel writer/publicist, my colleagues are a cynical lot, who cast a jaundiced eye on our failing industry.

The joys of loading a top-heavy motorcycle onto a truck, led me to purchasing a Kendon, two-rail motorcycle trailer. At 5 inches off the ground, this unit makes transporting motorcycles up to 1,000 pounds a one-man operation. (It will haul two 1,000 pound bikes at the same time.)

I thought for sure you were going to tell me you dropped the bike. (I should have known better.) By the way, I would have been pissed as hell if the dealer told me they no longer had the equipment to tune a 6-year-old system that was factory installed. I find it hard to believe you have the only 6-year-old rig that comes in for an adjustment in that area.

Great read tonight.

Fondest regards,
Jack • reep • Toad
Twisted Roads

Allen Madding said...

reep,

Thanks for your kind words. I am quite envious of my riding cohorts who own a trailer. Our tiny garage barely fits the wife's cage and the Harley. It wasn't deep enough for the shortbed truck and the backyard isn't big enough to hold a small trailer either. So, for the present time, I am somewhat stuck. Fortunately, this is the first time I have needed to load the bike in the truck. I seriously believe if I am faced with this challenge again, I might find alternatives (like calling the dealership and utilizing my free get out of jail card).

I was about to loose my composure at the thought of them not supporting a 6 yr old system. Fortunately, they changed their tune before I had to resort to speaking litigiously or going medieval.

I am anxiously awaiting the return of my ride from the wizard and the return of sunny days when the mercury rests above freezing.

Thanks for reading and writing!

-Peace