This video explains the process I use to change oil in my 2015 F6B Honda Goldwing. Currently, this includes us 4 quarts of Honda brand 10W-40 oil. This is not a requirement as any quality motorcycle 10W-40 oil is sufficient.
I ride motorcycles because I enjoy them and it’s easy to excuse their expensive as coming back in the way of saving gas. They do save gas, but not really enough to cover the repairs, maintenance, and insurance. It’s hard to give you an exact calculation but tires, high labor costs, and insurance eat into those gas savings. With that in mind, they’re not much more than a toy – unless you do the work yourself.
Here is a photo of a tire tube that came out of my motorcycle that changed everything.
This tire had a nagging leak for a long time. It confounded me because I told the shop to put in a new tube. The slow leak started soon after the new tire was put on, so the shop probably installed the old tube.
I took the bike back and asked them to check it and I was informed that they would not mount and dismount a new tire. Not only had they ripped me off a $10 tube, they wanted another $250 sale for a new tire! Outrageous.
A knee-jerk reaction to this would be to write a scathing review about the motorcycle shop and hope to get them back with a loss of customers. Fact is though, they have a long line of customers waiting every time I go there. It wouldn’t work and even if it did, revenge doesn’t get my money back or right anything. I decided to do myself a favor and avoid them in the future. I decided to fix the tire myself. It’s led me down a different path of thinking.
The Tire Breakdown
For whatever reason, I had it in my head that a tire change on a motorcycle was probably hard. Maybe it’s something I read that said to “leave it to the professionals”. Maybe it’s the long, long list of services charged for on the receipt when you get the bill for a tire change. Maybe watching the mechanic use a tire changing machine made me think I needed special equipment. I don’t know, but I do know it’s bullshit now. It’s not much harder than changing a bicycle tire. A 14 year old could do this with a little instruction.
I bought a manual tire changing machine, a hydraulic motorcycle lift, some tire spoons, a wrench for the axle nut(supposed to be in the tool kit, but the dealer didn’t include one with the bike. Said they don’t come with them), and a new tube. It turned out I didn’t need the manual tire changer, but the lift was a game changer.
It took me a couple of hours to figure it all out, but with the tools, it was easy. Once I seen the problem with the corrorded valve stem, the gears in my mind started churning. What else had they ripped me off on over the years? Did really adjust the valves? Did they really use synthetic oil when I paid for it? All sorts of things come to mind. My trust in them or any other shop was broken because you really have no way of knowing.
Applying This To Everything Else
For me, the Internet tends to cause us to gravitate towards the useless. There’s gossip, impotent political banter, gadget pandering, and all sorts of distractions that takes us away from what the Internet was intended for, useful communication. I bring this up because I found answers to all of my motorcycle repair questions on forums and YouTube. Expertise that I would have no access to was a click away.
Not only was the information there, but access to every part I needed at a lower price than what retailers sell them for was there. I don’t even have to run and pick them up as they’ll come right to my door. All-in-all, changing a tire is actually less of a hassle to do myself than it is to run the bike to dealer and wait, then wait some more, for it to actually be repaired.
I’ll be looking up everything that needs repaired from now on, especially on vehicles.
If there’s one thing that I’m very slowly learning about motorcycle repair, it’s that there are torque specifications for every bolt on the motorcycle and if you don’t follow them, it’s expensive. I’m starting to lose track of all of the bolts I’ve broke on my shadow, but my last stunt was the valve cover bolts. They were pricey and I had to work like a surgeon to remove the broken bolts.
This time, I round the final drive plug and the damage was $21 for this little plug and O-ring with shipping and that was from a place called “Cheap Cycle Parts”. Nothing cheap about it.
The manual states 12 Newton meters of torque, but it was leaking a little at that torque. I new O-ring probably stops that, but I thought that making it just a little tighter would help. The plug has the consistency of cold butter and it rounded right off. Lesson learned.
I’ve written about my old Honda Shadow before. The bike has been around and has yet to leave me stranded, so I like the bike a lot despite it’s faults. Last night it went on the lift for repair and it was a happy moment.
This repair is different from all of the others because it doesn’t need to be done. There was just a small leak in the tire that only required attention about once a month. I had taken it back to the shop that installed it and they claimed that I needed a new tire even thought it was just the tube leaking as it wasn’t safe to mount and remount a motorcycle tire. Bullshit!!!
I hated to hear that bullshit from a place I’d liked and patronized since I was 18 years old. They used to be just a small parts shop on the corner and they had treated me well over the years. They’ve grown into a massive motorcycle superstore and as they’ve grown, their level of service and honesty has declined. To make matters worse, the other dealers and shops in my area aren’t much better. As the old saying goes, “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”. Turns out that if I want my motorcycle worked on at all, I’d better do it myself.
The bright side to all of this is that I’ve always wanted a vehicle that I could just work on without the stress of a deadline. I’ve worked on the family cars and the Semi-trucks I drove out of necessity at times when the situation didn’t allow for a leisurely repair or hired help. It takes the fun right out of it.
I’ve only done one major job on a motorcycle and that was a valve adjustment to this Shadow. The second time will be a walk in the park, but the first was horrific. I broke bolts, lost parts, etc. I swore if I ever did that job again, I’d have my garage set up right for it and a lift so I didn’t have to crawl around to work on it.
After a bunch of research into the topic of motorcycle repair, I have a good minimal setup, even a tire changer. Never again will I pay some lame shop $80+ dollars for a 15 minute job that they can’t even get done right. No more leaving the bike for days and days for minor repairs. I’ve got the shop manual and tools so I can do it myself.
Not only can I just fix the bikes myself, but the Shadow is my spare. It’s going to get some modifications. It’s going to be fun.
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