Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mechanically Challenged

One of the things I have learned in my journey on this soil is that I am not very handy. I admire those people who can build and fix things; my Dad was one of those guys - he built things with wood that have stood the test of time. Both of my brothers have this ability too; unfortunately, I have none of their patience nor the ability.

This makes having an older scooter a bit of a problem, as they do require some attention. The Honda is super reliable, but it does require some maintenance. Regardless of my lack of skills, she has let me work on her. I started out just cleaning her plastic and engine. It did require removing her body parts, and with a little patience I was able to find out all of her contact points and removed (and replaced) the pieces. She needed a new battery, so I got to learn about battery types, and charging and maintaining a battery. Then, I needed to give her a new seat cover. OK, I can handle a staple gun, so I did a pretty good job of replacing the seat cover.

I purchased a shop manual, and learned how to change oil, adjust brakes, and do other simple procedures. I haven't tackled any of the engine adjustments, such as idle and carb cleaning, leaving that for the present to the professionals.

Some of the things I have learned so far (these are obvious for many, but for me they are sage tips):

1. Good quality tools are a must
2. A pen-size magnetized probe is a must (I don't know how many times I have dropped a screw into one of the many crevices of the Honda)
3. A bunched up piece of aluminum foil with some WD40 can clean rust off chrome
4. Patience is not only a virtue, it is a requirement


Kano said...

I didn't know about the aluminum foil and WD40 trick. I'll give that a try. -If you haven't read "Zen & the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance", you should take a look at it. The author is a complete believer in doing one's own maintenance and his friend and travelling partner is of the opposite opinion.

Joe said...

I love the picture of the empty, perfectly clean tool box. It's so simple, but speaks volumes, especially to me because the most I'll do on my scooter by way of maintenance is tighten the mirror nuts.


Lance said...

Kano - thanks for the book tip - I'll have to pick that book up. The foil and WD trick works pretty well on older chrome where it matters less that the chrome be scratch free - if you've got really nice, new chrome I have heard simichrome is a great product.

Joe - yes, the empty tool box pretty much describes me.

Stephen said...

I learned a long time ago to leave the tricky stuff to my trusted mechanic. Oil Changes, that's about it for me.

Experience has taught me that it's a lot more expensive to take my goof up's in to fix than it is if I would've let my mechanic do the correct job in the first place. "Butch" my mechanic, would agree.

Ride Well