Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Motorcycle Maintenance - Removing Frozen Bolts

I spent last weekend getting my Concours ready for summer trips. I ordered new brake pads from Murphs, but after taking the old ones off and inspecting them/cleaning up the brake calipers I decided to hold off changing them since there's still plenty of pad left. One tool that was indispensable for removing the frozen bolts on the rear caliper was an impact driver.

This is a 3/8 inch drive Lisle impact driver. It's a very well made tool and simple to use. You put it on the fastener you want to remover, twist it counter-clockwise (unless you have a reverse thread...which is rare) and then start whacking it with a hammer. I sprayed some penetrating oil on the bolts first and would have tried some heat if necessary.

I changed the rear drive oil, engine oil and filter, air filter and spark plugs; so that bike is ready to roll.

The crimp-on connector on the ground wire to the left coil broke when I was tightening it so I replaced that. The engine seems to be running smoother - not sure if it's the placebo effect, the new plugs or if that ground wire wasn't making a good connection for some time.

The Connie really likes being out on the road. It's a great interstate bike. It's not the best for driving around parking lots with the top heavy 7 1/2 gallon gas tank full or weaving through traffic with it's slow response to turning inputs. I have the wider Dunlop Elite 3 tires on it so that may have something to do with the sluggish turning. The Elite 3's work fine for what I use that bike for - I've ridden it in the rain a lot with no traction issues and I can scrape the pegs in the twisties.

I'm looking forward to better weather and some time off from work so I can go check out some new roads and old familiar roads that I like. I'm still planning on taking the trip to Juneau and a trip to Minnesota this year. When I have more time off I'd really like to head south into Mexico and Central America. I'll have to research the best time of year for that trip - I'm thinking late fall or winter might be better than mid summer. I'd like to go up to New England and upstate New York in the fall too...ride across the U.S. on highway 20, around the world - etc. etc. etc..