Tech Tips

Tech Tips

Powder Coating 101

January 31, 2006
We have all been exposed to the art of painting through the television shows that cover motorcycles being painted; the Discovery Channel has opened this process up to the custom chopper builders to the point where they now compete against one another in stiff competitions that truly are spectacular. When the time comes to have the original painted items on your motorcycle repainted, have you considered powder coating? Powder coating is not a new process that has been recently introduced. This process has been around since the late 70’s and more widely used in the 80’s up to this present…

Testing Salvage Components Using a Multi-Meter

December 31, 2005
When it comes to the junkyard wars of buying used motorcycle parts, do you really know if these are as good as the counterman tells you? Electrical components from the dealer arena most assuredly will leave you speechless when you have the price given to you. Your best bet is going salvage. If you have ever been to a motorcycle salvage yard, you know that each and every bike there has a story. Some have serviced their original owners quite well, and others may not have been so fortunate. I believe that saving money today is on everyone’s New Year’s…

Winterization Tips

October 31, 2005
Now that the weather is a constant 40 degrees in the mornings, at least here in the Midwest, it's a great time to perform maintenance that we have been putting on hold. Winterizing your motorcycle can be done in a short amount of time, and it is relatively easy to do. In this process you must consider that our bikes are expensive and they need to be treated with respect. We must not neglect the fuel system, oiling system and electrical system.If you choose to have a qualified tech perform this procedure, that’s OK! Most of the riders who I…

Installing Aftermarket Clutch Plates

September 30, 2005
When we pull on the clutch lever, do most of us riders and even passengers really understand what is happening? We are blessed by having either a hydraulic or cable type clutch system, which usually disengages the clutching system with ease. So what do we do when the lever is pulled and the clutch still grabs and pulls the bike forward? It’s time to address the friction and the metal (drive) or simply the clutch plates. There are several different types of clutches on many different models of bikes today.I will cover the metric line this time due to the…

How to Lube the Cables on Your Bike

August 31, 2005
Through the year we have talked about many different maintenance items. Some of these have been hard, and some are preventative and can be performed quite easily. Cables have a nasty habit of getting sticky, and when this happens they perform very poorly. So what’s a person to do! You lube them! Most cables do tend to rust because they are exposed to the environment and are usually covered and will hold water. When this happens, movement will be decreased, and the throttle, clutch or choke will not properly come back under tension. Control cables are made of these two…

How to Fix Broken Wiring

July 31, 2005
We are faced every day with all kinds of hazards, either the 90-year-old white- haired grandma in the car or debris in the road that we don’t see until we hit it with our bikes. But what about the loose, chafed or plain broken wiring that is causing shorts or blown fuses? I think it is safe to say that we must fix these ourselves or have it done by the local shop. If you choose to have this done in the shop, great! Otherwise you can attempt to tackle this job and get the results that you need to…

Tire Pressure 101

June 30, 2005
There is a regular schedule that we should keep when it comes to our motorcycle tires. Keeping the air at a specific pressure is a challenging task that may get overlooked. The average do-it-yourselfer has so many other areas that he or she might want to focus more attention on than the tires, and many riders tend to ignore this important maintenance task—you know who you are—you just check your tires when you stop at a gas station when filling up (or maybe not)! Motorcycle tires are far more advanced than you might think these days. They have many different…

Changing the Top End Gaskets on Your Harley

May 31, 2005
After measuring up the tech tips that I have written, I was looking for a non-scheduled maintenance item that most Harley owners can handle. If you own a Harley with an Evolution engine, at some point you might notice that the top end is seeping oil. When this happens, you can either fix it or simply wipe the seepage away until a later date, preferably during the winter. To make this repair, you must first locate the point of the actual leak. Washing the motor and applying baby powder to the area around the top end will help you accomplish…

Inspecting Your Brake Pads

March 31, 2005
In last month’s article I walked you step-by-step through changing your brake fluid, so it seems only natural that this month we discuss how to inspect your brake pads. Whether you’re enjoying a long cruise or just putting over to your favorite bike night hangout, you should always make sure your brakes are in top working condition. If you start feeling excessive play in your front brake lever or rear brake pedal, first check your brake fluid. If that is not the culprit, you should inspect your brake pads immediately. The procedure for inspecting your front and rear brake pads…

How to Bleed Hydraulic Brakes

February 28, 2005
In my last article, we conquered fork seal replacement, and now it is time to address that dirty old brake fluid you see in the window of your brake master cylinder window or hydraulic clutch reservoir. For many, this task is one of those items, like the saying goes, “if it is not broken, don’t mess with it.” I on the other hand prefer to replace contaminated fluid as part of my regularly scheduled maintenance. I have asked my friends and colleagues how often they think they need to change their brake or clutch fluid. The answer I usually get…

Replacing Fork Seals

January 31, 2005
Now that there’s snow on the ground here in the Midwest, have you been looking at your bike sitting there in the garage and can’t wait to get busy fixing things? If so, have you considered tackling those leaking fork seals?Here in the great state of Missouri, we have yearly Motorcycle Vehicle Inspections that must be completed in order to renew our state issued sticker. Many riders dread inspections, and quite frankly, I think it is quite a hassle for the shop staff and the customer. This is also the time when we, as customers, have to open our wallets…

Turbocharging Your Motorcycle

November 30, 2004
After my recent article and defining the available superchargers that are on the market today, I was asked to follow up with an article on turbochargers. I have loved these systems since I saw them on the racetrack, and decided to sneak this in before winter is in its full fury. If you have decided to increase the horsepower of your motorcycle, have you considered a turbo? Using a turbocharger can increase the output of an engine by 30 percent or more, without a significant increase in the weight of the vehicle. And rest assured that your face will never…

Supercharging your Motorcycle

October 31, 2004
I have debated on getting into this subject so close to winter, but it is an area that must be translated into a language that everyone can understand. My first exposure to Supercharging has always been around the Top fuel dragster arena, until I was at F.O.G. Cycles in Kansas City, Missouri, during one of their renowned street party/bike shows. This is where I met Thomas Eddy of Kansas City North. He had the most interesting Harley at the bike show. His custom Harley was equipped with a Magna Charger supercharger. I spent some time discussing what this performance upgrade…

Motorcycle Tire Dry Rot

July 31, 2004
Motorcycle Tires are subjected to the harshest environments there could possibly be (Planet Earth). In addition to being stretched millions of times as they roll through their life, tires are exposed to acid rain, brake dust, harsh chemicals, direct sunlight, as well as summer's heat and abuse. And while a tire's compounds have anti-aging chemicals in their DNA, exposure to the elements will eventually cause rubber to lose some of its strength and allow cracks to appear. The surface cracks that occasionally appear have been called many things; weather checking, weather cracking and ozone cracking, to name a few. These…

Valve Adjustments 101

May 31, 2004
After doing the last article on Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS), I decided to come back to Earth and get down and dirty on tech advice. Most people wonder why the valve adjustment procedure must be done.Engines that are new will break-in; this causes part clearances to change. After metal gets warm due to heat and friction, the tolerances will change as well. When the engine breaks in, the Valve Seat area will wear, this will cause the valve clearance to be out of specified value. All 4-cycle motorcycle manufacturers recommend this service be performed by their standards. There are several…

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Nitrous Oxide But Were Afraid to Ask

April 30, 2004
After doing my last article on jetting, I thought I would take things a step further by talking about Nitrous Oxide Systems (NOS). This article is to define what this application can do to a normally aspirated engine, and to introduce you to Larry James of Larry James Racing. Larry is an expert on this subject and one of the silent legends in the Kansas City Metro area. This story goes back 14 years ago when I moved to Kansas City, Missouri. I had a job offered to me in the motorcycle industry from an independent shop, which has since…

To Jet or not to Jet?

March 31, 2004
For years now, I have been asked the question, why do we re-jet engines? The answer I usually respond with is, did you change the exhaust or modify the engine in any way? Or, do you simply just want better performance?Today’s patient is a 1999 Harley-Davidson Heritage Softail. This is my neighbor, J.O.’s bike that was featured in our March Readers and their Rides section. He purchased his bike from a gal that was going through an ugly divorce, so she did not have any documentation of the upgrades or maintenance records. I completed a visual inspection and determined that…

Want More Horsepower and Torque?

February 29, 2004
Now that the snow and ice has melted away and the temperature is above freezing, my thoughts and glances are more focused on my motorcycle. This year I’m considering increasing my horsepower and rear torque. Just the thought of spring brings out the need for speed in me, so I decided to do a little research on the subject.My journey led me to Gail’s Harley-Davidson Performance Center . Now all you non-Harley riders don’t leave this article yet. The Performance Center may be located at a Harley-Davidson dealership, but they will Dynometer all makes and models! They will do perfromance…

Lost Love and Sparks

November 30, 2003
Tires and HeightQ: I have a 2000 ZX-XR that came stock with Dunlop D207 Sportmax tires, size 120/65-17. When the time came to replace the tires, I went with D207 120/60-17’s to quicken up the steering and because they were on sale about a third off the OE rubber. Once again it is time to replace my tires, and I wish to try Michelin Pilot Sports in the correct size (120/65-17). I know that there is a slight difference between the two brands, which leads to my question. Is there a way or place I can find the actual, true…

Two EFI Brain-teasers

October 31, 2003
Q: Last month I bought a used fuel-injected 2001 Harley Davidson Road King. This is the first bike I have ever owned that is fuel-injected and I have a question on how it works. The main reason for this question is that to check the mileage on my bike, I have to turn on the ignition, thus priming the cylinders. Does this affect the engine in any way if I do not actually start it afterward? J.D., Overland Park, KSA: Well J.D., great selection on your bike, as I too have the same bike! It’s not red is it? Anyway,…
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