08 Oct 2015 08:09 pm

Posted by under Dave's Thoughts,Mr. FixIt

Forgetmenot Pond


w20150920_140911Forgetmenot Pond is at the far end of highway 66 into the Elbow River valley past Bragg Creek and today was a fine fall day – warm and sunny. Brenda’s motorbike had been in need of some serious care and attention this summer. Although I had it running in the Spring, it didn’t see any use until after our vacation to Europe. The battery died first and it took a while trying to get it to take a charge, and failing, before getting a replacement. Then it wouldn’t run properly, idle was all wrong and it would stall at the slightest provocation. I figured it was a fueling problem, so I siphoned out the old gas and coaxed it to the gas station for a tank of premium.

25 km of laps about the neighbourhood later, it was really no better. Must be gummed up carburetors. Unless it is a fouled plug or other ignition problem – best to check that first… Must be gummed up carburetors.

Messing around with carbs – particularly when there are two and they will need to be synchronized if I touch them – is a bit daunting. And, which carb is the problem one? The bike does run, although poorly. After some procrastination I finally raised the fuel tank and took off the airbox to have a look. So, which one is the culprit? I don’t want to mess up the one carb that is working. So, I start the bike and seal off the throat of the front carb with my hand. The engine slows a fraction but keeps turning over. When I seal off the rear carb throat the engine stalls immediately. Definitely the front carb is just not working.

w20151008_202017Fortunately, at that moment two things happen to save me from what was sure to be hours of work and heartache disassembling the carb. First, I found a very old can of STP Carb and Choke cleaner and second, Brenda calls out to me in the garage to say that lunch is on the table. So, I figure, “what could go wrong?” and spray a quarter of the can of carb cleaner into the front carb, in all the openings and nooks and crannies. Then I head into the house, wash up and enjoy lunch with Brenda.

Once lunch is over it is time to face the music – back to the garage. But, before I grab any tools, I start the motorbike, without much hope. But, a miracle has occurred thanks to the magical powers of acetone and xylene. The engine starts and idles normally! Except for the cloud of smoke from the exhaust. Sealing off the front carb with my hand, the engine goes back to the same lumpy idle as before – and the same thing happens when I seal off the back carb. Woohoo!

I gave the bike a good run that day and all seemed well, but there is nothing like a ride to somewhere with no cell coverage to really see if things are ok. So today it was off to Forgetmenot Pond – about 165km for the trip and the motorbike worked perfectly.

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