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 All Forums
 Motorcycle Safety
 Technical/Maintenance
 Doing your own maintenance
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BadaBing
Male Advanced Member
1196 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Harley-Davidson

Heritage Classic 04
Peer Review:

Posted - 02/04/2005 :  10:11 PM                       Like
I just wanted to gather a consensus as to how many posters do their own maintenance. If you do, is it because you enjoy it, want to save money, or think it is the right thing to do?

Ciao,

BadaBing

Edited by - BadaBing on 02/04/2005 10:11 PM

DoubleDip
Senior Member
262 Posts


Erlanger, Kentucky
USA

Yamaha

650 V-Star Silverado

Posted - 02/05/2005 :  12:10 AM
I have mostly done my own wrenching at least to the extent my knowledge and equipment let's me. But with this caveat, I won't sacrifice my safety and/or that of others just to save a buck. Those guys who make their living turning tools generally know much more than I do, so you get a real firm, "kinda depends"!
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Indiana Randy
Moderator
2118 Posts
[Mentor]


Fort Wayne, Indiana
USA

Honda

2000 Magna V4 750

Posted - 02/05/2005 :  8:25 AM
I do my own maintainance, troubleshooting and repairs when needed. There isn't much you can't do with a good manual, a good board for help and the right tools... provided you have the time and enjoy it.

I do it for a few reasons; 1- I know it will be done right, 2- I usually learn something every time, 3- It gets me in places I wouldn't normally go to inspect and detect any other or coming issues, 4- I enjoy it!

I've also learned there are SOME jobs that when needed again, will go directly to the dealer! (like replacing tires and cleaning/syncing a rack of 4 carbs)
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BadaBing
Male Advanced Member
1196 Posts
[Mentor]


Houston, TX
USA

Harley-Davidson

Heritage Classic 04

Posted - 02/05/2005 :  10:25 PM
Hey Double Dip and Indiana Randy,

Have you had any problems with a dealership honoring your warranty when they learn that you have done all the maintenance yourself? Just curious.

Also how did you learn to work on your bike? Did you purchase the service manual? Byuy a videotape? Watch a competent friend?

Ciao,

BadaBing
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Sox Fan
Male Senior Member
419 Posts
[Mentor]


Kerhonkson, NY
USA

Suzuki

DL 650

Posted - 02/11/2005 :  11:55 AM
BadaBing:

I try to do as much of my own maintenance as possible, because I enjoy it, because it saves some money, and I learn more about my bike that way. However, I agree with DoubleDip; if there's a chance that screwing the job up will impair my safety, I'll usually take it to the shop. I bought the bike used, so there are no warranty issues with doing my own maintenance. I've learned some basic mechanical principles by servicing my trucks over the years, and I bought the Haynes manual for my bike. I learn as I go. Each new job is an adventure!!

Edited by - Sox Fan on 02/11/2005 11:57 AM
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nomad dan
Advanced Member
1276 Posts


Denver, Colorado
USA

Kawasaki

06 Vulcan Nomad 1600

Posted - 02/11/2005 :  10:23 PM
Badabing wrote “Have you had any problems with a dealership honoring your warranty when they learn that you have done all the maintenance yourself? Just curious.”

I had a problem that was along those lines, but from a different angle. I do my own oil changes, but when I had my bike in getting some warranty work done I had them change the oil for me at the same time.

The next time that I needed to add oil, I couldn’t get the oil cap off because it was put on so tight. An unfortunate quirk about vulcans is that the oil cap takes a special slotted tool to get the cap off. The cap was on so tight that it bent the thick steel tool with out getting the cap off. I eventually used vise grips and called the dealer letting them know what they did and to ask them to get me a new tool for taking off the cap.

Later when I changed the oil, the drain plug was way tight also, when I took it off a lot of threads came off with it. I went to the dealer and told them about the cap being on so tight that it ruined the tool, and the pug pulling threads out. The mechanic said that the threads were already ruined and he had to put the pug in carefully. That was a lie and they couldn’t explain why they would put the cap on so over-tightened, but couldn’t have over-tightened the plug?

In this case they used the fact that previously I had done my own oil changes to waffle out of taking responsibility for stripping my drain plug and I had to eat the repair
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DoubleDip
Senior Member
262 Posts


Erlanger, Kentucky
USA

Yamaha

650 V-Star Silverado

Posted - 02/12/2005 :  2:13 AM
As far as warranty, mine was a used bike when I bought it so no warranty. This is my first bike and I haven't done much maintenance and don't plan on doing a whole lot. I like things done right and the best odds of that are with a trained wrench. But I do small things I know how to do.

DD
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md2lgyk
Male Standard Member
228 Posts


Harpers Ferry, WV
USA

Honda

Shadow VLX

Posted - 02/12/2005 :  8:52 AM
Riding since 1974. I've pretty much always done my own maintenance, even a couple of rebuilds over the years. Same for my 4-wheeled vehicles. Besides saving money, I enjoyed doing it and learned a lot.

Since I've gotten older (57) I've mostly lost interest in doing anything other than oil/filter changes chain adjustment, and simple stuff. Also, vehicles are so much more complicated now. Back in the '70s and '80s, you could point to any item under the hood and I could tell you what it was, what it did, and how to remove/replace it. Not any more, even on bikes.
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marsam
Male Advanced Member
510 Posts
[Mentor]


Birkirkara
Malta

Yamaha

Dragstar & Vmax

Posted - 03/05/2005 :  5:17 AM   Join poster on Facebook as Friend  
My bike is new so the first service which is due at 1000km is on the dealer. I am also a fairly competent car mechanic and have an interest in also doing most of my own bike work provided I gain the required experience and that the job can be done by the average DIY mechanic. While I agree that certain jobs are best left to competent and professional bike technicians, it is also a fact that no one will ever work on your bike as if it were their own. My motto is that if I want something done properly my best bet is to do it myself. However as most of you have stated, is not always possible.

If you decide to do your own work, invest in a workshop manual for your bike, a good bike lift and a set of high quality tools that will be required for most of the jobs. The manual will surely tell you what tools will be required to carry out the jobs explained within.
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sunny
Starting Member
7 Posts


USA

Posted - 03/08/2005 :  12:44 PM
i do most of my own maintenance. i bought my suzuki savage used so no warranty to worry about.
my boss, who helped me pick out the bike and got it running after i purchased it, does stuff i cannot do, like fork seals.
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patman
Starting Member
1 Posts


OKC
USA

Posted - 03/08/2005 :  5:39 PM
Im working on a 81' 750 virago. just got it! I can't seem to get the clutch to work. i tried to tighten it up alittle bit and now it wont stop spinning! ANY SUGGESTIONS OR A QUICK FIXER UPPER WOULD GREATLY BE APPRECIATED! THANKS
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BDRONAGOLDWING
Starting Member
5 Posts


PINE BLUFF, AR
USA

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  2:09 PM
I usually do my own maintanance for several reasons: 1. I don't have the money to pay someone else to work for me. 2.I know a couple of factory trained mechanics and the only thing that framed piece of paper on the wall means is that someone paid and attended a school. 3.Being a parts replacer is not the same as being a mechanic 4.You can always get help on this or other forums. 5. If you are going to ride you will need to be familiar with your machine. As far as the warranty issues be sure and document every thing that you do. Put the date the milage and the maintance preformed and who did it in writing somewhere handy, this will also be a selling point should you decide to sell it later.
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Axeman1958
Male Senior Member
276 Posts


Hempstead, NY
USA

Harley-Davidson

Electra Glide U.C.

Posted - 05/14/2005 :  8:49 PM
I'll do very small things that don't really affect how the bike runs. When I had sports cars I'd do tune-ups and oil changes but, never brakes. With the bike, I have all the service manuals but, just use them to learn how the bike works and identify problems. Too chicken to work on it myself. Luckily, I bought the extended warranty.
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firefly
Junior Member
72 Posts


Santa Monica, California
USA

Yamaha

vmax

Posted - 05/15/2005 :  1:29 AM
I also enjoy working on and inspecting the bike, but I'll leave big jobs like valve adjustment or transmission problems to the dealer, I managed to synchronize the carbs and adjust A/F mixture easily very accurately with a kit from carbtune.com, this enables me to keep it running perfectly , reading the plugs gives a good idea on the engine's condition.oil and filter I do them very easily with a plastic container from pep boys that has a lid and you take it for recycling in your car, neat and clean! My bike has a center stand :))
I also keep an extra set of brake pads so I don't get caught with out them,
As was said before a good service manual for your bike and a bike specific chat group really help .
I also developed a good relation with the service manager and master tech at the dealer for bigger jobs .
But getting to know your bike and where to look for potential trouble is a very good skill to acquire, the other day I took the bike for tire change, took the bike for a ride and discovered many loose bolts the guy forgot to tighten up ! ( brake calipers).
The dealer once left one of the rear shocks bolts loose.
So I throughly inspect the bike after any work done by anyone just to be safe.
firefly


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jollyroger
Advanced Member
2157 Posts
[Mentor]


St. Charles, MO
USA

Harley-Davidson

Springer Classic

Posted - 05/16/2005 :  7:25 AM
quote:
Originally posted by BadaBing

I just wanted to gather a consensus as to how many posters do their own maintenance. If you do, is it because you enjoy it, want to save money, or think it is the right thing to do?

Ciao,

BadaBing


Well, from one Harley rider to another, here's what I'll do: fluid changes...period. Maybe light bulb changes, but haven't crossed that bridge--seems pretty straightforward, though.
I will do dress-up stuff--I put new grips, derby cover, air filter cover, windshield bag on already...solo rack comes next month.
If you don't absolutely know what you're doing, don't mess with tires, brakes, clutch, adjusting anything, etc.
I did, however rotate my clutch lever around for comfort.
If you change your own fluids, document when you did it, and save your receipts for the oils and filter...it'll keep your warranty intact.
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