Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Measure twice, order once

Here's a bit of advice to all the budding "$1000.00 Motorcycle" mechanics out there: Anytime you order a part, make sure it will fit your bike by actually measuring the mating parts and don't go by what "should fit based on the model".

I'm not sure why, but I fell squarely into this trap myself.

I had to order a new set of tyres since the ones that came on the bike are of unknown age but definitely old. So I go to Madison Motorsports and we look up in the book what kind of tyres are available for a 197x CL350. As it turns out they are hard to get so I place an order and forget about the whole thing for a couple of weeks.

I get a call last week that the tyres are in, so I spend a few hours getting the wheels free from the bike and bring them down to the shop the next day.

Later that same day I get a call from the shop because there is a problem with the tyres I ordered. I ordered a set of 18" tyres as this is the size of the stock wheels on the 197x CL350, however when the guys at the shop tried to mount them they found out that my front wheel is not 18", it's 19".

This brought into question weather or not I had a CL350 at all (apparently the SL350 had a 19" wheel). I know it's a CL350 because that's what's stamped on the frame, but then it all becomes clear:

When I was stripping and re-painting the tank I found out that there was some bondo filling in a few dents, and there are other signs that the bike has been down. My guess is that when the bike went down the original 18" wheel got bent and was replaced with this 19" wheel. Maybe the whole front end was replaced?

Now let me say here that this is all my fault. Instead of going with "what the book says" I should have measured the wheels (hell, just read the numbers off the tyre) and this could have all been avoided. Based on this, the shop could have justifiably charged me for this tyre as well as another that actually fits, but they have been most understanding of the situation.

Fortunately they were able to source a 19" tyre from a nearby supplier and it's still possible that they will get it ready before they take off for the races at the end of the week. This could have been a show-stopper for the fall run, but it just goes to show the value of having a good relationship with a professional shop.

My old man was right...


Anonymous said...

gonna be done in time?

Jason J. Gullickson said...

It's going to be close, check out the latest post.

(BTW, let me know if you have any thoughts on the "new" idle problem...)