Easy Rider and Chopperguy

Thoughts on Easy Rider, biker cinema, and riding and working on a vintage chopper.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


Stupid Happy

"DOOM! Chaka-laka! All your base are belong to us Mutha-Fucka!" Those were the first words out of my mouth when the 73 finally lit up and roared.

A guy at work who was trained at MMI for sport bike mechanics gave me a few hints and a couple of his specialty tools for tracking down ignition trouble. He used to be called Sport Bike Mike, he prefers to be called Michael, but when I learned his initials were M.D. I started calling him Mad Dog of course. And while his tools weren't key to my success, they got me pokin' around in the right area to discover the real problem.

TAZ worked when I parked him this winter, didn't when I rolled him out this spring. Under that scenario, Mad Dog suggested that it was either corrosion of the points or a shorted condenser since I wasn't getting any spark. I had supposed lack of spark when I could kick and kick without so much as a sputter. The FAB (Fucking Anarchist Bitch) helped me out by holding the plug out of the cylinder and against the head as I kicked TAZ over, looking for a spark. Just to double check that, Mad Dog gave me a couple of nifty spark testers. I might have to pick one up since the FAB isn't always around to help. It confirmed that I had no spark.

So it was time to poke around the points. To do this, the ignition needs to be on. Unfortunately my voltmeter only has the spikes on the ends, no alligator clips. That's something else I should pick up for working alone. It made testing the points a challenge, especially since I'm not overly fond of electrical shock so tend to be cautious. At first the voltage read 11.5 volts (battery charge and normal for points open). I was afraid the points were shorted. Then while poking around, the voltage kept fluctuating between 11.5 volts and .7 volts (points closed normal). Interesting. So I took my screwdriver and manually opened the points. A spark leapt across the gap and a cylinder fired, causing a small chug to come out a pipe. Hot DAMN! First sign of spark. I got a piece of fine sand paper and cleaned the contacts on the points. Five kicks later came the magic words printed above.

It was supposed to be sunny and warmish today. Instead it's drizzling. Who cares! I'm ridin' to work!

He may be a sport bike rider who doesn't drink alcohol and continually misquotes Monty Python lines in a horrid British accent. He may be a real half-assed machine maintenance man at work with a short fuse for the elusive problems. For today, Mad Dog is the man.

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