Friday, August 24, 2007

Troubleshooting my motorcycle this weekend

It has come down to this. I am going to have to tear into my motorcycle this weekend and see what is going on with it.

About two months ago I was riding to work regularly when the weather was nice. I stopped at a red-light in town one morning and I was first in line. All of a sudden my bike just died. That had never happened before. I couldn’t start it up right away. It would just wind and wind but not turn over. Before the light turned green I rolled it over towards the sidewalk on the corner of the street. Now that I was out of traffic it still wouldn’t start. I looked across the side street and saw a parking lot. I assumed I would have to call someone. So I rolled across the street, luckily there was a slight downward slope. I parked it, waited a couple of minutes and finally wound it up, gave it a good rev and she started up. I went on to work from there, muttering to myself along the way.

I took it home and read the owners manual. I decided to adjust the idle screw because it didn’t seem to be idling fast enough to keep going. I turned it a little until I could hear the engine sound like it would keep running. It had been fine until yesterday.

The Suzuki had always been very dependable especially since I bought her new back in 2005. It’s a Boulevard S-40, the smallest in that series. I did have to fill up the brake fluid reservoir after about a year of riding. It turned out the front brake pads were down to nothing after only 1400 miles. I do shift down to slow the bike so I was pretty surprised to see them shot so soon. I bought new ones and put them on, with a little help from my husband. I then filled the fluid reservoir and they have been perfect ever since. I think the first ones were paper thin to start with….

The other thing I did was adjust the tension of my drive belt which I love because you never need to lube it. I’ve changed the air filter and, of course, added oil. I have all the stuff to change the oil so will be doing that soon. It’s due around 4000 miles and I’m at 3600 miles now.

Tomorrow I plan to check the spark plug, and look at the carburetor. The bike only has one spark plug, but it is under the gas tank. I’ll have to lift it up to get to the plug. The seat has to come off to get to everything else. I like working on the bike if I can figure out what to do. I always refer to the manual, which has been pretty helpful so far. Now I’m not sure what the problem is. The bike died again twice yesterday at stoplights on my way back to work after meeting friends for lunch. I adjusted the idle up once again to make sure I could get home.

The other thing it is doing is hesitating a little like a bucking bronco in lower gears. When I get up past 4th gear it seems Ok. It also backfires a lot more while going downhill. I am not sure what is going on but I ride it all year and use good gas always.

If anyone has a suggestion of what else I should try, let me know. I hate to take the bike to the Suzuki dealers. They don’t respect the smaller bikes and the last time they gave mine back to me with big greasy handprints all over my tank! As you can see its white – I was not happy. Grrrrrr. I take very good care of my ride and I’m proud of it. I will take it to a different dealer next time that I can’t do something myself.

Meanwhile, I’m having fun trying….


Liz (Rippin-Kitten) said...

Have you been to the Volusia Riders board?

It's a forum for Volusia/Boulevard riders and there's lots of info there for wrenching your bike on your own.

Plus, if you can't find any info all you have to do is ask the question and the guys there are great at giving advice.

Becky said...

Thanks Liz. I'll go check that out now. Any info is welcome...