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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When I was a kid, my older brother got to work on the lawn mower with my dad’s help. Those two had this THING together and I was treated like a stinking step child. :( LOL!

If you had seen my garage yesterday during my attempt to flush out the old antifreeze and put in the new stuff, you would probably say my bro and dad had good reason to exclude me from mechanical things. It was a disaster! :eek:

I followed the sticky for changing 900 coolant which looked so easy and probably was/is for many of you but I was all thumbs. I had tools and rags everywhere. I knocked over the open container of coolant twice and barely had enough to put in the overflow and radiator. I do not have a stand to level off the bike and haphazardly put the kickstand on two boards while I attempted to add coolant and of course stupid bike fell to the right, caught on the peg and pipes but no damage. So here I am slipping around in spilled coolant and water trying to lift a 500+ pound bike. I was scared my wife was going to come out and see me or that I was going to have to ask her to help me pick it up but managed to manhandle it without hurting my back. Whew!

The biggest problem is after taking bolts out of the tank, I couldn't slide it far enough away from radiator cap. I couldn't figure out how to unplug everything to get tank off or maybe was just to frustrated or impatient. This made flushing and adding coolant very cumbersome.

Fast forward... got everything back together and all cleaned up and then went for a ride. First thing I noticed was that shifting up was very hard. Each gear took more effort.

I stopped and checked it out and figured that it may loosen up as it warmed up more. It did!

Right here I confess that I hate painting the house and wrenching on the bike with a passion. I had to do both this weekend. Next scheduled wrenching is changing spark plugs so I've got to research getting the tank off.

The funny thing is all of this stuff should only take a few minutes and I always seem to stretch it out for hours. I know you guys who love doing the work yourself feel better that it has been done right and have a bit of satisfaction... Well! I can’t get no satisfaction! The back brake pads I changed out recently are rubbing/scrubbing but they work just fine. I know it must be something I didn't do right.

I used to enjoy watching OCC and dreamed of being able to build my own bike some day but...
 

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lol, we all have had those experiences. But if doing your own stuff is something you really want to do, its gonna take sometime and learning. The only way to get that learning is to do it. But on the other hand if it is not worth it to you then there is nothing wrong with letting a good mechanic do it for ya. But I bet next time you try to change your coolant, you will remember all the problems you had this time and will not repeat.

First rear tire I changed on a motorcycle took me almost all day to get everything back right, now I can do it in an hour or so and I do not have a changer or nice garage, but a carport with a gravel floor.
 

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Perhaps you can find someone near by who would be willing to help you through some maintenance items for a beer or 2, or maybe a sandwich. Sometimes just an extea pair of hands and eyes can make a world of difference. I started on tuneups on a 56 buick when I was 8 years old, kinda like your big brother. Love doing my own maintenace, when I dont have to to keep it running.


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Discussion Starter #4
But I bet next time you try to change your coolant, you will remember all the problems you had this time and will not repeat.
This is a 2007 bike. The coolant in it looked surprisingly good as did brake fluid I recently changed. I'm not doing either of these for a while but I will remember both experiences. While I do learn from experience, my dislike for these chores seems to sometimes impede my expertise and I still manage to create a fiasco just like with the vast amount of house painting experience that I have, I still get paint on me from head to foot. LOL!

Sometimes just an extea pair of hands and eyes can make a world of difference.
I don't know anyone around who can help besides, I want a little more experience so I won't look like a complete dufus. Ha! I've still got a screw from this fiasco that did not get screwed back in because I forgot where it goes. Nothing fell off when I went riding so it must be okay.
 

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Dude!!, just take your time and go easy. I have had my tank off 4 times, the first took over and hour for me to look at the book read and then take out a bolt. Then back to the book and repeat. Now I can have the tank off in less than 20 minutes even with gas in it.
...
Ride it to Texas and I will help you anytime!!!!!!!!!!!!! :) :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Dude!!, just take your time and go easy.
Really! I already mentioned everything I do takes forever. LOL!

I just remembered this. I bought my son a fast pc for his gaming and he was complaining about the wireless connection not being reliable so I decided I'd hard wire cat 5 cable thru the attic from cable modem. I got the wire down the side of his room and busted a big hole in sheet rock but could never find the end of cable. His bed is hiding the hole and he has given up on ole dad fixing him with fast and reliable connection. :(:p
 

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LOL!
Let me tell you something. I got my 2006 Vulcan 500 a bit over a year ago. It was in a pretty good shape but needed few things like brake pads and tires. I figured I can manage it and do it myself, granted that I had a repair manual. How hard could it be? Man, was I wrong.

Screw up #1. When changing pads installed one incorrectly. Thankfully I caught it when I could not get caliper back on and the pad kept falling down.

Screw up #2. Tire change. Decided to pace myself and do a front one first to see how it goes. I finally got it on after several attempts spread over few days. Total score. Two pinched tubes and slightly bent rim (just a lip). And yes almost ruined speedo cable gear assembly while torquing axle nut. Don't even want to go into details on that one.
Rear tire change went a bit better with only one pinched tube.:)

Screw up #3: almost set my bike on fire while installing accessory charger adapter.

I could go on, but...
I had couple of "successes" along the way like front sprocket mode, oil change, new spark plugs and few other maintenance items.

Coolant change, carb cleaning and valve adjustment (when time comes) are on my TO DO list. Chances are I will mess something up again cause I've never done it before. But I guess this is the only way to learn.

Ride safe.





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See that is proof we all learn from mistakes, first go you pinched 2 tubes, the last time only 1. Maybe next time you will get it first shot. lol. What ever you done the first time, you did not do the second.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
See that is proof we all learn from mistakes, first go you pinched 2 tubes, the last time only 1. Maybe next time you will get it first shot. lol. What ever you done the first time, you did not do the second.
:D And see, I also learn stuff from this website and that is... I don't want gart helping me. LOL! No!I won't help him either.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
gart, I do admire you attempting the work on your wheel. I know better! A few years ago we had tile put in our bathroom and the tile guys said I'd need to put the toilet back in. Seemed simple enough after purchasing the wax seal. Most toilets have a right and left bolt that hold them in place. I tightened them down real good and it shattered the toilet bowl. :eek: :cool:
 

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The first time I changed the oil in a car I poured 3 qts right through the engine before I saw the drain plug sitting on the fender. Boy was my dad pissed! You're not alone, we learn best by making mistakes. Those lessons last a long time. That said, figure out where that bolt came from and replace it. Extra bolts are funny on sitcoms, but not in real life. Especially when you're on 2 wheels in high speed traffic. In the future, use your digital camera to take notes as you go. When I changed out my stator and realized I had 2 different length screws, I took photographic reminders and then had my laptop handy when I did the reassembly.
 

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+1 on finding out where the extra screw goes. If you post a pic of it next to a ruler I would bet someone on here can tell you where it goes.

If you are going to do any of your own maintenance the most useful tool you can have is a good mc jack imo.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If you are going to do any of your own maintenance the most useful tool you can have is a good mc jack imo.
Well! I've resisted from buying jack because I don't like working on it. However, I do it because I don't like giving money to someone else to work on it. I think the screw was already in my tool pack. This bike had a previous owner. I think overall, I've done okay because the bike is running very well.
 

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Daboo311...great story LMAO. Keep at it but know your limits and weigh your time and money to keep your sanity. I just took my 900 to have the dealer put a new tire on. First time in 50 years that I had a bike shop work on my motorcycle....never thought I'd see the day but at some point its not worth the hassle. I will do my own valve adjust next week though since I don't trust people that much.
 

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I did my coolant last week. Along with a valve adjustment. Not the first time I've wrenched on this bike but let me tell you what I did!

I couldn't remember what the service manual said so I grabbed both torque wrenches (inch lb and foot lb) from the tool box and sat them down next to the bike while I thumbed through the manual for the torque specs on the head bolts. When I found it, I grabbed the wrench, began torquing it down; and about the same moment I realized I had the wrong torque wrench and was putting WAY more pressure than the few inch pounds it needed should be; SNAP!

So yeah. That was me! Drilling a bolt out of my ENGINE HEAD (thankfully, with no damage), and having to wait a week for a replacement bolt. Just finished it today.

We've all had those 'projects'! Sometimes it's best just to go back into the house, wash your hands, watch a little TV or walk the dog or something; then come back to it!

There's something to be said for knowing your abilities and paying someone, too. You gotta learn somehow; and that's true. But we can do more harm than good trying to tackle things that are outside our ability. I do basic maintenance and small/easy repairs myself; but other things (car or bike) go to the shop. Luckily I have both a good local MC shop for the bikes and a GREAT local mechanic for the cars. I don't mind at all paying them to do the work I am unable or unwilling to do. And I'm a big advocate of saving money by learning to do basic maintenance and repairs by yourself! But you have to know your limits!
 

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haha I sympathise. Sometimes anything that can go wrong does go wrong.

As for getting the tank off. If you know how it's a 10min max job. If you don't it takes luck and time to work it out. The 1st time I tried it took ages because I couldn't work out how to disconnect the fuel pump and wire bundle next to it. It's pretty hard to describe but once you know it's a A-HA moment.
It's a must to learn if you need to route wires or change the plugs. Don't bother telling me you can change them without taking off the tank because my hands are just too big.
 

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Anytime you involve tools, those with more experience will prevail over those with less. Even if they spent 30 years wrenching on 2 stroke dirt bikes at the motocross tracks, and you've spent 30 years as an accountant, you ask that guy for help installing a hot water heater at your house and he'll have a clue where you won't.

One thing I just don't understand is the frequency in which people change their coolant/brake fluid. Those are sealed systems that IMHO (I'm not sure of the owner's manual suggested change intervals) do not need changed unless you have to open the system for some reason or you're at 50k+ miles.

To suggest they need changed every 10k miles or something is overkill if you ask me. A motorcycle uses coolant and brake fluid in the same manner and at the same rate your vehicle does IMO. When's the last time you flushed your brake fluid on your 150k mile car? Ever? Still stop okay? You think your 600lb bike is "wearing fluid out" any quicker than your 4k lb car?
 

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To suggest they need changed every 10k miles or something is overkill if you ask me. A motorcycle uses coolant and brake fluid in the same manner and at the same rate your vehicle does IMO. When's the last time you flushed your brake fluid on your 150k mile car? Ever? Still stop okay? You think your 600lb bike is "wearing fluid out" any quicker than your 4k lb car?
I have no scientific backing, but it's been my understanding that both volumes (coolant & brake fluid) are so small that they will break down faster under the extreme heat conditions they operate. So, they require more maintenance.
 
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