Category Archives: Maintenance

ASR Store Temporarily Closed

The ASR store will be temporarily closed. If you need to order anything please contact me through my e-mail laureen.theodore@azusastreetriders.com, cell phone 330-720-4382 or private message. Thank you for your patience while we update our products and payment system. We will be up and running again as soon as possible. I am looking forward to riding with you all and excited to see what the Lord is going to do for us and through us as we join together for fellowship and outreach. Love and blessings to all of you! Sis Laureen Theodore (International Treasure)

Top 10 Motorcycle Maintenance Fails

 

1. Not Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure

Motorcycles, cars, trucks, you name it—there are millions of vehicles out on the road with under-inflated tires, which reduces gas mileage and makes the tires run hot, shortening their life span. (You can also over-inflate tires, but it’s less common.) Some people check their tire pressure before every ride—not a bad idea, especially if you’re on a multi-day tour—but do it at least once a week or at every fill-up. Check your tires when cold, use your own tire gauge (keep one in your toolkit or saddlebag) and follow inflation guidelines printed on the VIN plate on your bike or in the owner’s manual. When checking tire pressure, also inspect for foreign objects that may be stuck in your tires and for signs of wear or other damage.

2. Wasting Money on Premium Fuel When Your Bike Doesn’t Need It

Your bike’s owner’s manual  or a sticker on the fuel tank will tell you the minimum octane fuel (PON, or pump octane number) that your motorcycle requires. Many of today’s motorcycles require premium fuel (typically 90 PON or higher), but some modern motorcycles and many older ones require only regular fuel (usually 86 or 87 PON). Running lower-than-recommended octane fuel is very bad; it can cause detonation (knocking) and potentially damage the engine. Running higher-than-recommended octane fuel wastes money at the pump (don’t fall for the gasoline companies’ marketing about high-octane fuel being “better”; it won’t boost performance and the EPA requires all fuel grades to have engine-cleaning detergent additives), and it can reduce gas mileage.

3. Not Regularly Checking and Changing the Oil

All internal combustion engines have reciprocating metal parts that require proper lubrication to reduce friction and heat. Some engines, especially older ones with worn seals, gaskets and piston rings, will consume oil, either by burning it up in the combustion chamber or simply leaking out. Get in the habit of checking your oil level—some motorcycles have sight glasses, others have dipsticks—every time you fill up the gas tank. And refer to your owner’s manual for the recommended oil change interval (in miles and/or months). Oil filters collect dirt, debris and metal particles, so make sure to install a new oil filter when you change the oil

4. Forgetting to Clean, Lube and Adjust the Chain

If your motorcycle has chain final drive, neglecting to clean, lubricate and adjust the chain is asking for trouble. (Drive belts don’t need to be lubricated, but they should be regularly inspected for wear and proper adjustment.) If you have an older bike it may have a non-sealed chain (which requires more care and maintenance), but most contemporary motorcycles have O-ring chains, which have small rubber O-rings between the link plates and rollers that help keep lube in and dirt out. Most owner’s manuals recommend lubricating the drive chain every 400-500 miles, but if you ride in wet or dirty conditions, you should lube the chain more often, perhaps every day. If possible, before adding lube, clean the chain with a non-wire brush and mild soap. Lubricate the chain after a ride, when the chain is warm, to help the lube penetrate the small spaces between the O-rings, plates and rollers, and use a dedicated motorcycle chain lube, such as Spectro Oils Z-Clean Chain Lube. With the bike in neutral and up on its centerstand or a rear-wheel paddock stand, spin the rear wheel forward and spray the lube on the top of the lower chain, just before it comes in contact with the rear sprocket. Wipe off any excess and spin the rear wheel a few more times to help the lube work its way in. Once the chain has been cleaned and lubed, check for proper chain tension, make any necessary adjustments and check the chain and sprockets for wear.

5. Not Using Fuel Stabilizer or Draining the Carbs During Short-Term Storage

Those of you with fuel-injected bikes, count yourselves lucky and move on. But if your motorcycle has carburetors and it sits for more than a couple of weeks between rides (hello, winter!), it’s teeny-tiny jets and other parts can become clogged or gummed-up by old fuel that breaks down over time and creates sticky varnish. Regularly using a fuel stabilizer such as StarTron and draining the carburetor’s float bowl after a ride when the bike will be parked for a while (the easiest way is to turn the fuel off and let the bike run in neutral until it conks out) are the best ways to protect your carbureted fuel system against the scourge of today’s ethanol-blended gasoline.

6. Forgetting to Lube and Adjust the Throttle, Clutch and Brake Cables

The control cables that actuate the throttle, clutch and brakes are absolutely critical components that are often overlooked, a simple matter of “out of sight, out of mind.” A sticky cable that doesn’t move back and forth properly can be dangerous, and a broken cable can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere. According to Motion Pro, which makes a wide variety of motorcycle tools, cables and controls, motorcycle control cables should be lubricated and adjusted at least once per riding season and more frequently for dual-sport and off-road bikes that see much more wear and tear.

7. Not Using a Battery Maintenance Charger

Even if your bike is parked safely in the garage, over time its battery will self-discharge. Allowing the battery to discharge can lead to sulfation—the build-up of lead sulfate crystals—which can result in a loss of cranking power (your bike won’t start), longer charging times and, ultimately, shorter battery life. The best way to keep your motorcycle’s battery healthy is to use a smart maintenance charger such as a Deltran Battery Tender. It has “microprocessor controlled power electronic circuitry” which enables it to perform and control various charging functions, including battery testing, bulk charging and float/maintenance charging to keep the battery in optimal condition.

8. Not Checking and Changing the Final Drive Oil

Many touring riders love motorcycles with shaft final drive because of their cleanliness and low maintenance. Although heavier than chain final drive, shafties don’t fling chain lube onto the swingarm or rear fender and they don’t need to be adjusted or replaced like chains and sprockets. But the gears inside shaft drives are lubricated with oil that needs to be checked regularly (in case there are leaks or it has become contaminated) and changed according to the recommended service interval in the owner’s manual. Most riders go a long  interval to easily forget about or ignore Checking the final drive oil. The consequences can be very costly—replacing a damaged final drive is much more expensive than replacing a chain and sprockets.

9. Not Changing the Brake Fluid

This is another one that’s easy to overlook. Hydraulic brakes work extremely well, especially modern triple-disc systems with ABS, but for brakes to work properly the hydraulic fluid must be changed regularly. Glycol-ether (DOT 3, 4, and 5.1) brake fluids are hygroscopic, which means they absorb moisture, which contaminates the fluid over time. Most motorcycle owner’s manuals  recommend changing brake fluid every two years and replacing the brake hoses every four years. Sticking to these service intervals, as well as checking and replacing your brake pads as needed, are critical for the safe and optimal operation of your motorcycle.

10. Not Reading the Owner’s Manual

There are a lot of references to this list because your motorcycle owner’s manual is an important source of maintenance information. Very few people read their owner’s manual cover-to-cover, but it’s a good idea to at least flip through it and become familiar with its contents. Most owner’s manuals have sections on safety, general information, specifications, routine maintenance/adjustment, troubleshooting, warranty information and a maintenance/service log. Your owner’s manual contains information about proper tire pressure, fuel type, checking and changing oil, load capacity, suspension settings and much more. If possible, keep your owner’s manual on your bike (under the seat or in a saddlebag), sealed in a durable plastic bag. Buying the service manual for your particular model is also a good idea; keep it in your garage with your tools for handy reference.
Michael Theodore
National Road Captain

Ten Steps to Winterize your Motorcycle

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Ten Steps to Winterize your Motorcycle

 

If your idea of storing your bike for winter is just throwing a cover over it, you may be in for some nasty surprises come spring time. The last thing you want to find out when riding season starts is that your bike won’t, so use these tips to make sure your bike is as ready as you are when it’s time to ride!

We may not want to admit it, but winter is just around the corner. And as the air cools off and the snow starts falling, most of us riders store our bikes and impatiently wait for spring to ride again.

But storing your bike in the winter isn’t as simple as just throwing a cover over it and hopping in the car. In order to keep your motorcycle in top running condition, there is some work that needs to be done before storing it for several months (talk about adding insult to the injury of not being able to ride!)

However, if you properly get your bike ready for winter storage, it’ll make getting it  running again when the riding season begins a whole lot easier, and prevent any unwanted surprises such as dead batteries, corrosion, and rust spots (or worse.)

Depending on what kind of motorcycle you ride there may be different things that will need to  addressed. But there is some general wisdom on how to get it ready to be stored for the winter. Your main enemy during winter storage is damage from moisture, so most of our winterizing efforts will be aimed at keeping that away from your bike. In addition, well give some love to your fuel system, battery, tires, and all your moving parts as well.

With just a little prep work using these ten simple steps, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and hassle come spring time, and your bike will be ready to hit the road as soon as you are!

1) Surface Prep

Washing your bike when nobody will see it for a few months  can be a drag, but giving your bike a thorough cleaning before storage is important; letting bug guts or water spots sit on your paint can corrode the finish permanently. Wash your bike and dry it completely to get all the moisture off the surfaces (an electric leaf blower is a great way to get all the nooks and crannies really dry.)

Add a coat of wax, which will act as a barrier against moisture and rust. Finally, spray exposed metal surface with WD-40 to displace all moisture (fun fact: the WD in “WD-40” stands for water displacement) and to give them a protective coating against corrosion.

2) Change Oil and Filter

Change your oil and filter. It’s better for your lubrication system to have fresh oil sitting in it for several months than to have used, broken down oil in it, not to mention the last thing you’ll want to do when riding season begins is change the oil before you can go ride. Using a winter weight oil like 5W30 can help it start up easier come spring time as well.

If you’re going to be storing your bike for a long time (4-6 months or more) you will want to protect your engine’s internals against moisture by coating them lightly with oil. You may not be able to see it with your naked eye, but the cold winter air is perfect for moisture to gather in your engine and cause rust to form on your pistons and cylinder walls.

In order to do this, remove the spark plugs and put a little squirt (about a tablespoon) of engine oil into the holes, then turn your engine over a few times to coat the cylinder walls by spinning the rear wheel with the bike in gear. Once everything is coated, replace the spark plugs.

3) Lube Moving Parts

Keeping moving parts lubed during the winter will help keep moisture from building up on them and causing any rusting or binding. Any part of your motorcycle that needs to be lubed at any point should be lubed again before storage. Some parts to check are: chain drive, cables, controls, fork surfaces, and any other pivot points.

4) Prep Fuel System

Gas tanks have a tendency to rust when not in use, and untreated pump gas breaks down and becomes gummy over time. To prevent rusting and make sure your fuel is ready to run after a few months in storage, you’ll want to fill your tank completely with fuel treated with a product like Sta-Bil Fuel Stabilizer  Star brite Star Tron – Enzyme Fuel Treatment

On your last ride of the season, stop in at the gas station nearest to where you will be storing your bike and add the proper amount of fuel stabilizer, then top off the tank. A full tank will keep moisture from building up on the tank walls, and adding the stabilizer before the short ride home will help mix the gas and stabilizer together and run it through your fuel system before storage.

Note: Another method that some some do is to drain the tank and fuel system completely. This is more troublesome to do, and requires that you treat the inside of the tank with fogging oil to prevent rusting. This method may be preferred for very long-term storage (6 months or more), but for winter storage, a full tank of treated fuel is easier and completely safe to do for both carbureted and fuel-injected bikes.

5) Safeguard Battery

Batteries have a tendency to self-discharge when sitting over time, especially when they remain hooked up to the bike. The easiest way to combat this is to hook up a battery tender like the Battery Tender Super Smart Junior which uses smart technology to monitor the charge and keep the battery topped off without overcharging. Normally you should pull the battery from the bike for storage, but with a smart tender you can also connect the tender with the battery left in the bike. Before doing this, make sure the electrodes are clean and corrosion free; if necessary, clean them off and give them a light coating of grease.

6) Protect Tires

If your tires are left to sit in the same position all winter long, they could develop flat spots. Keeping the tires off of the ground will prevent this, so if you have motorcycle stands, put the bike up on them for storage. If you don’t have stands, try to get at least the rear tire off the ground, or you can rotate your tires by rolling your motorcycle slightly every few weeks. If you need to leave your tires down on concrete, put a piece of carpet or plywood under them to keep any moisture from seeping into them.

7) Check Coolant/Anti-freeze

If you’ll be storing your bike somewhere that gets below freezing, make sure you have adequate levels of anti-freeze in your coolant system. This is very important; if you run straight water in your coolant system and it freezes, you could come back to a cracked head in the spring!

8) Plug Out Pests

Mice and other rodents are notorious for hiding from the cold inside exhaust pipes and making homes out of air filters. In order to avoid any furry surprises when it’s time to ride again, plug up your pipes with an exhaust plug like the Muffler Plug. You can also simply stuff your air intake and the ends of your exhaust with some plastic bags – but do use bright colored bags or tie something to them so you don’t forget take them out when you fire up the bike!

9) Keep it Covered

With your motorcycle fully prepped for winter, invest in a proper motorcycle cover. A quality motorcycle cover will not only keep dust off the bike, but will keep the moisture out so it doesn’t get trapped underneath it, and create corrosion or rust. If you’re storing it outside, be sure to get a cover with tie downs to prevent it from blowing loose in wind. If you’re storing it inside you’re in much better shape, but you should still use a cover to prevent dust from building up on it.

10) Theft Protection

If you’re storing your bike outside, bear in mind that being parked unattended for months at a time makes it an easy target for theft. In addition to protecting your bike from weather, using a cover will conceal it from view, and securing it with a heavy lock and chain can give you some peace of mind. Make sure to add some sort of lock or alarm on your bike there are many different aftermarket alarms for bikes out there.

With your bike fully prepared for a few months of hibernation, you’ll find that the winter is the perfect time to get done any maintenance or upgrade projects that you’ve had on your mind. You may not be able to ride in the snow, but nothing is stopping you from getting your hands a little greasy and actually starting one of those projects that you’ve been thinking about all season!

Michael Theodore

National Road Captain

 

Get Your Bike Ready For Summer

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After sitting for months motorcycles need attention before returning to service, which can also help avoid breakdowns and ensure safety. Refer to the owner’s and service manuals for inspection lists before giving your bike a thorough going over.

Look for any signs of leakage, such as stains underneath that indicate problems. Check steering head bearings for looseness or binding. To get the best performance out of a hydraulic fork change the fluid every year or two.

Clean the battery terminals. Check the electrolyte level (if caps are removable) and add distilled water as needed. (Warning: Electrolyte contains acid so avoid contact and wear eye protection. Baking soda and water will neutralize the acid.) If the battery wasn’t on a maintenance charger it’ll probably be weak or dead. Turn on the ignition briefly and note how bright the lights are. If the lights are dim or don’t work, charge the battery. If the battery was fully discharged it’s likely sulfated and needs replacement.

Unless you put in fuel-stabilizer additives before storage, after several months the gasoline may begin to form deposits in carburetor jets and passages, and may also clog injectors and electric fuel pumps. Remove the gas cap and peer into the tank with a small flashlight (switch it on first to avoid sparks), look for rust in steel tanks, and note if the fuel has sediment or other contamination. Give the gas a quick sniff. If it smells like old varnish the fuel system may need to be drained, flushed, and the fuel filter replaced. Carburetor float bowls (if equipped) must also be drained before new gas is added. If a motorcycle won’t start because the fuel system is gummed up it may require disassembly and a thorough cleaning.

Check the oil level and note the color of the oil, as old, dirty oil leaves sludge and deposits in the engine. If it is dark or the level is low change the oil and filter before starting the engine. If the oil isn’t too bad it’s better to start the engine and allow it to warm up to allow contaminants to be suspended in the oil, and then drain it. If your motorcycle has a separate transmission or primary-chain case oil supply, service that, too. Always recycle used oil and dispose of filters properly.

Inspect tires for cracks, wear, and damage. Tires more than about five or six years old should be replaced even if they aren’t worn out. After a thorough inspection inflate the tires to the recommended pressure in the owner’s manual.

Check your maintenance records and schedule to determine if the motorcycle is due for a major service, including a tune-up and valve adjustment. If not it’s still a good idea to check the spark plugs for condition and measure the gap. Put a little anti-seize compound on the threads and torque properly – do not over-tighten them. Inspect the plug wires and boots and clean or replace them if they look worn or cracked. Also check the air filter and replace as needed.

Liquid-cooled engines should have the antifreeze/coolant checked, flushed, and replaced every two years, as old coolant causes corrosion. Also replace the hoses, thermostat, and radiator cap every five years. After starting the engine test the operation of the electric cooling fan. It should come on during extended idling.

Inspect the brake linings and rotors or drums for wear. Check the brake fluid, which should be changed every two years, and if it looks dark replace it. Refer to the shop manual for the bleeding procedure, especially on ABS systems.

Control cables should be serviced every year. Check the throttle cables and clutch cable (if equipped) for free travel and lube with special cable lubricant.

Inspect the sprockets and chain (if equipped) and make sure they are properly lubed and adjusted. Belt drives and sprockets should be inspected and adjustment checked. Shaft-drive machines should have the gear lube level checked and changed if it has been several years since this was done.

Start the engine and allow it to warm up gently without revving. After the engine is up to normal operating temperature, check the idle speed and adjust if needed. Test all controls, lights, and accessories to ensure they’re working properly. Addressing these items before you ride can save a lot trouble down the road.

Michael Theodore
Azusa StreetRiders National Road Captain

 

Motorcycle Prep for Winter Storage | Motorcycle Maintenance – Consumer Reports News

Cooler weather means another riding season is drawing to a close in northern regions, for all but the most hardcore motorcycle riders. And unless you count yourself as part of that hearty group, now is the time to think about proper winter storage for your bike. Read full article here: Motorcycle Prep for Winter Storage | Motorcycle Maintenance – Consumer Reports News.

Motorcycle Storage: 7 Ways to Keep Winter from Trashing Your Ride

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Few things beat cruising down the highway on a warm summer day, but during winter your motorcycle isn’t exactly the most convenient way of dashing through the snow. While your bike is in storage for the season, it’s important not to give it the cold shoulder. Maintaining your motorcycle while you’re not riding it is just as important as when you are. Read more details here: Motorcycle Storage: 7 Ways to Keep Winter from Trashing Your Ride.