Thursday, September 09, 2004

Parts Is Parts

A friend of mine who has been trying to get up here for some time was finally able to get here on Saturday on his Honda Goldwing. The plan was to head out on Sunday for a good, long ride on what promised to be a beautiful riding day. My wife got him a hotel room at the hotel she works at and on Sunday morning we head over there to meet up with him.

That's when the trouble started... He goes to push his bike backward out of the parking space and it won't budge. A little working back and forth and it broke free, and after a mile or two down the road it seemed to be working okay, so we rode on to breakfast, where the rear got stiff again, but not as bad... So we went on a little ride and halfway through the brakes started to get mushy, then later completely crapped out. Luckily the Goldwing has an "assist brake" on the front wheel, so he didn't go careening into anything, but now we had a problem. So we get the thing back to my place and take a look. Turns out the rear brake had worn almost to the caliper piston and the caliper piston overextended and jammed against the rotor, effectively destroying the rotor and, for all intents and purposes, the caliper.

Anyone who knows anything about the Goldwing knows how much fun it is to do work on the rear wheel. The Goldwing is a full dress touring bike. It also weighs about as much as a VW Beetle. Anyway to replace the rotor we needed to remove the rear wheel of the bike. Sounds easy, right?

Took us 3 days. Maintenence on this bike is not easy when you have a crappy shop manual, no bike lift and you have to stop every 45 minutes to go get a tool at the store.

Oh, but it gets better. We are now on a parts crawl. We need a caliper, brake pads and a rotor. Oh, yeah. By the way. It's Labor Day weekend. So we can't even BEGIN to look for parts until Tuesday.

Tuesday comes around and, sure enough, finding parts proves difficult, for lack of a better word. No one has a rotor. Further, no one will turn the rotor we have (which wouldn't have worked anyway... This rotor was cashed). Add to that, we still don't have the rear wheel off the bike. We did manage to get a caliper from a local bone yard, but it's quality was questionable. After about 3 hours of searching we find a place that says they can get a rotor for us tomorow...

...In Kenosha. 2+ hours away from here. Whatever, we found a part, and it was cheaper then everyone else. We figure we can head out around 9:00 or so to get there by 11:00, when UPS shows up with the part. So we get the wheel the rest of the way off and throw it all in the trunk and start putting miles behind us for Kenosha about 9:30 or so. Halfway there the shop calls and says our part is there and we're thrilled.

We arrive at the shop and have them mount and balance a new tire, but to make sure it's all balanced, we ask that they put the rotor on the wheel. So our wheel disappears behind the wall along with the rotor in the box and the guy who I had been dealing with and who ordered the part, Lou, goes off to pick up lunch for the guys. About 15 minutes later one of the shop guys pops his head around the corner and asks who I assume is the shop owner to come in back with him... Mike and I think nothing of it, and a few minutes later the shop owner comes back and goes back to work on whatever he was working on. Few minutes later Lou returns and the shop owner asks him "where did you get that part number for the rotor?"

Mike about loses it. I'm ready to head over the counter myself but it looks like Lou is already shitting himself as he realizes just how badly he fucked up. Finally after a minute he turns around, looks at mike and mutters "I fucked up" and disappears around the back, supposedly to see how badly he fucked up. I go to work trying to keep Mike from just grabbing the next heavy thing he can find and destroying things and after a few minutes Lou comes back and says that he can order the part and have it drop shipped to us. We let him know that Mike here is stranded in Appleton and he turns even more sheets of white. Finally it gets worked out where we find the right part at the warehouse and we can go pick it up... In Janesville, WI. Another hour and a half away and not any closer at all to Appleton. We're now driving the bottom part of a triangle. We go, get the part and 7 and a half hours of driving and 10 hours after we left, we return to Appleton with the parts in hand. The actual reassembly of the bike actually went very well, and we had the bike on the road by around 1:00am.

So, instead of a nice enjoyable couple of days visiting with my buddy, we spent the whole damn holiday weekend elbow deep in 25 years of accumulated dirt and oil.

Oh yeah. I also topped it off by getting my ass handed to me in a short session of poker.



At 1:22 PM, Blogger BoNzo said...

I think his name was actually Leo.. I dunno why you keep thinking Lou.. heh..

Taking that bike apart sucked more than anything has sucked before.. I've never been so glad to be finished with a project in my life..

At 2:39 PM, Blogger The ICP said...

On a positive note, it makes changing the rear tire on the Virago look like a cake walk!

At 2:49 PM, Blogger BoNzo said...

heh.. I think we could just about change the rear tire on your Virago during a short lunch break.. Without benefit of tools.. Not that I am inclined to touch a wrench for the next.. oh.. six or seven.. millenium..

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