Road Trip Oil Change, again…

Another day of mostly relaxing and helping out the family we were staying with.

I had just changed the oil in Montana but the bike was having all kinds of problems with the new oil so it was time to dump it and put in something better.  I put in Shell Rotella T synthetic then.

At first it ran great, butter smooth shifting and ran much quieter etc.  But over a few long hard days shifting had gotten rougher and rougher to where I was having to double clutch a lot of the time to get it into gear, and the oil level stayed fine.   After prolonged high speeds the bike would develop this god awful whine, using a screwdriver to my ear I tracked it down to the cam chains.  It was bad enough that on the highways I couldnt even hear the pipes over the screeching of the engine. It literally sounded like I was running a turbo in there somewhere, it was bad.  But then after it cooled off overnight, everything would go back to normal and it’d be quiet and smooth as can be untill the bike warmed up several hours later.

As many of you know my bike’s probably had the most leaks of anyone here due to my stupidity er.. stubbornness to ride when its below 0.  I’ve had leaks from all of the common areas in addition to the bottoms of both jugs, the stator grommets, both sides of the crankcase and more I should probably just change my nickname from lynx to leaks heh.  Well afer much work (years) I was able to fix all my leaks and with no riding in cold temps this winter they have stayed fixed,  that was until I ran that damn Shell Rotella T 5w-40 synthetic.   I started getting seeps from everywhere all over again.  I felt bad for leaving lots of oil drips all over the nice concrete driveway I was parking in,  even when it was leaking before it never left quarter to silver dollar sized spots.  All my leaks came back with a vengeance all at once.   @#$%!!

Time to get rid of that shit.   How to change the oil on the road:  Lasanga pan and a big flat rock from the neighbors yard.

With the bike a little more level you can put the 17mm wrench on a few inches above the ground and it will hang there.

Then just step down on the wrench to loosen it and do the rest by hand.  Piece of cake, no lift needed.

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By the time we got to Spokane the bike was running more and more like crap the further down we went.  It kept hickupping and backfiring through the carbs at idle once and while and now it was starting to do that while at speed on the highway causing a big jerk when it did and also starting to run a bit warm on my gauge again.

Next morning at the motel with the engine cold, time to rejet!  Threw in jets 2 sizes larger and good as new, lots more power too.

About an hr later though…    Went to pass an RV on the highway and suddenly the bike bogged down and one cyl cut out..  &@#% !    When I found a place to get off the road it idled fine but give it gas and it turned into a thumper.  That should have been a clue, but I thought it had to be the fuel filter or something as I had just filled up 10 miles down the road.  Tore the whole thing down trying to figure this out, eliminating one thing after another till finally it had to be in the carbs…

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Valvoline Care?

Oil Change the next morning before leaving Kalispell…   You’d think this would be easy but we went through 3 parts stores looking for oil to use and there was very little selection in any of them, the ones that did have something usable only had 1 or 2 quarts of it.  So I ended up having to take notes of what was in which store and combine them all to figure out what to get.  None of them had any of my preferred oil brands so I ended up going with plain Shell Rotella T synthetic, 2 quarts from one place 1 from another (more on this later).

Went to a Valvoline Express Care carwash/oil change place and asked if they would take my oil, one of the attendants said yes but we dont do motorcycles.  I told him I’d do it myself in the parkinglot and hand them the oil afterwards.  I was getting ready to start and the manager comes over and tells me to leave the premises. WTF?  He says we do not allow any motorcycles at all on the lot, you need to go.  We’ll take the oil but you cant park here.  What an ass.  I motioned to the Kawi parked in the shade on the side of the building and he gets defensive, thats an employees bike we dont allow the public to park motorcycles on the premises and storms off.  Jeez!  I can tell you one thing, if we had any Valvoline places in NM I sure as hell wouldnt go to one after being treated that way.

Rode around the block and parked at Taco Bell next door and just did the oil change there, walked my lasagna pan of oil across the parkinglot and handed it to someone and left.  The first guy tried to apologize.

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Give me fuel give me fire

What a rough way to start the morning!  Dead bike, drenched with cold freezing rain, and exhausted from pushing the bike up and down hills.

Only dedicated motorcycle parking in one of the countries biggest National Parks

So far on our trip we have used our Coleman single burner lantern and our little Coleman stove almost daily, usually several times a day at morning and at night for cooking and to keep warm.  We had taken a small spare can of Coleman fuel for them and with all of the heavy usage we’d already burned through it so last night I unhooked the gas line from the bike and refilled everything.  I can already hear the bikers in the audience snickering at what happened next who’ve all experienced it themselves.  I FORGOT TO HOOK UP THE GAS!

I love these old metrics a trio was riding cross country, both guys were bike mechanics.

Arg! so embarrassing!  Sure I’ve left the gas off before and when the bike sputtered and died a few mins later after starting it up I always realized it right away.  What made it so bad this time was how hard it was raining, and how miserable we were back at camp, we wanted to get out of there right away and the bike would not fire up. What the heck?   Full choke, nothing.  The bike would just crank and crank.  I thought it had to do with being parked in a rain forest for hours of steady drizzle all night just above freezing and kept trying to start it and fussing with the choke.

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Hot and Cold

$#%&!!  Roadside teardown..     The whole trip till now the bike had been running a touch hot, playing with jettings didnt seem to help any.  Hours of Super Slabbing it with huge winds got the temp gauge up to 120C and it was starting to have that crunchy shifting and other overheating symptoms.   Complete teardown on the side of the road to figure out WTF is going on..

I’d already redone the carb, replaced the air filters and everything I could think of prior to leaving.  Might as well replace that grungy crankcase filter too and see if that does anything..   350+ miles to go and no time to wait for a cool down, we hopped back on and an hr down the road at 80mph it had cooled down to 90C, MUCH better!   REPLACE YOUR GRUNGY CLOGGED CRANKCASE FILTERS!!

The wind was just horrible.  At one of the rest areas we stopped at to redo our Visine and take a breather the plate glass door shattered and cracked the surrounding glass in the wall when the wind slammed it shut. Later at dinner (Subway) the radio playing kept having warnings for all of the roads we had just been on, stating 75mph and up wind gusts.

We had reservations for a camping spot at Dead Horse Point State Park and we never made it there.  300 miles of fighting the worst winds we’d been through this trips and constantly having to expect and be ready for a a 75 mph gust from the side at any second that’ll knock you off the road is tiring.  Luckily the sections of Interstate we were on were closed to truck traffic from the wind and there was virtually no other traffic, or towns, or gas for 150 miles and we could ride right straight down the center of both lanes.  3 or 4 times we were blown all the way past the rumble strip onto the shoulder by a big gust out of nowhere. It felt like an unexpected tackle from the side.  One of those times we very nearly crashed, we were scraping floorboards trying to swerve back onto the road.

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Run Turn Brake Module

A Run Turn Brake module or RTB module is an easy addition for greater visibility and allows your motorcycle’s turn signals to operate like the tail lights in some older sports cars. They’ll stay on constantly at 1/2 or 3/4 power (running lights) and go to full brightness when you hit the brakes or use the turn signals. Many chopper guys with the super wide rear tires don’t have space for a traditional dedicated brake light and only have turn signals. Together with the addition of the RTB module the two turn signals work together as the brake lights.

NOTE: By law any rear running lights have to be red. If your turn signals are amber, you’ll need to fix that with red bulbs or red lenses. Mine were already red so I didn’t have to change anything.

Hopefully the additional lighting from the rear will make me a little more visible, especially when loaded down with a tour pack and all the luggage we’ll have during our up coming trip.

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V Star 650 Spline Lube

One of the drawbacks to owning a shaft driven bike is that if your final drive fails it is EXPENSIVE! Unlike a chain, the only way to fix a final drive failure is with a new one or replacement parts which usually need to be ordered. That is one bad way to end a road trip. However, properly maintained they should last the life of your motorcycle.

One reason I like shaft driven bikes is that the drive train doesn’t need a whole lot of maintenance, much less than chains. That does not mean they need 0 maintenance, however. On a V Star 650 there are several sets of splines that need to be lubed with a high moly content grease.

With an 8000ish mile trip coming up I decided it would be best to check and lube all the splines so I wouldn’t have any surprises and have a catastrophic breakdown 1000’s of miles from home.

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Poor Man’s Bike Lift

Needed to get the final drive out this weekend and unfortunately like most crusers the V Star doesnt have a center stand and I dont have $100 for a bike jack.

Whats a guy to do?  Make his own lift MacGyver style out of stuff lying around the house of course!

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V Star 650 AIS Removal

The AIS or Air Induction System on the Yamaha V Star 650 is designed to dilute the exhaust stream with fresh air to help burn unburned or incompletely burned fuel so the bike can pass emissions tests. Many cars have similar systems to get oxygen to the catalytic converters so the breakdown can happen. As far as I know the AIS has been on these bikes from the beginning and predate the later years where catalytic converters were put in the pipes and indeed other types of motorcycles had AIS or Pulse Air systems as BMW called it back into the late 70’s.

It seems to be the first thing people do with these systems when customizing their motorcycle is ripping them off and throwing them in the trash. Some of the reasons for this are simply to clean up the looks, and get rid of excess parts that could potentially fail and introduce air leaks. More importantly for people who install aftermarket pipes removing the AIS helps stop that annoying backfiring on deceleration, however, if it was tuned properly it wouldnt do that. If it was optimally tuned for your riding conditions from the factory it also wouldn’t need it, but bikes get shipped all over the world to many climates and altitudes so they have to use general settings that will work anywhere.

UPDATE: I have been reading some of the forum threads that have linked to this page and it appears to be possible to get better than stock emissions tests after the AIS is removed as long as the idle mix screws are adjusted and fine tuned.   Like I said, If the bikes were better tuned it wouldnt need AIS to begin with.

There is also the theory that removing the AIS causes the bike to run cooler because it is burning extra unburnt fuel and generating more heat that it otherwise wouldn’t have. I can confirm by closely monitoring my crankcase temperature gauge that my motorcycle does seem to run about 5-7C cooler with the AIS gone, on the other hand, I also had been doing lots of carb tweaks that week and cant entirely attribute it to only the AIS.

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Dyna Beads

Dyna Beads

I had heard about these Dynabeads on the CC&D and ADV forums and supposedly they were very good with no real complaints against them. I understand the physics behind them. If your tire is out of balance and say the weight moves it up then the beads will stay in place causing them to move down and counteract it, Newtons laws of motion. The videos are convincing also. I decided to try them with my new set of tires and got some more for my dad’s Father’s Day present.

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