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View Full Version : How much of your own work can/will you do???


VETRAN
21st May 2006, 19:53
What will you do or not do on your bike yourself, and what would you farm out?

Thanks, Scott

Jimbo999
21st May 2006, 20:04
I don't own a torque wrench. So, most the stuff I do is outside the important
parts of the engine. All regular maintenance and adjustments though. Even
changed all brake pads and a new battery this spring. I got a buddy to mill
me up a piece of machine steel that fits perfectly into the Primary Inspection covers
I knew a 1/2 inch driver will fit but too easy to dammage my $125 a set chrome covers.

jg5150
21st May 2006, 20:27
I maintain all my vehicles and I mean everything. I let the dealer do the 1K service because it was free. Other than that none of my vehicles have ever seen a dealer or garage since new. I am a tool junkie LOL.

Casper
21st May 2006, 20:35
I'll do top end engine stuff. I just picked up a torque wrench yesterday :clap, so I don't have to borrow my buddy's anymore. I haven't had any reason to go deeper, although I'll probably do cams if/when I swap up.

VETRAN
21st May 2006, 20:45
...one of my best investments was the factory service manual. A guy at work freaked when I told him I was going to adjust the belt myself...he says "that will void your warranty". This is the same guy that took his EG Ultra in to the most expensive dealer around to have a chrome neck cover installed!!!

*OBTW* I grew up in Trenton, NJ and I have a sister that stills lives there in Kinnelon, both about an hour from Phillipsburg if I remember correctly. My Dad is a retiree from PSE&G*

Scott

Lynk
21st May 2006, 21:02
...one of my best investments was the factory service manual. A guy at work freaked when I told him I was going to adjust the belt myself...he says "that will void your warranty".

Yeah, and a parts counter guy, at one of the local stealers today, said "oh, well that'll void your warranty right there," when I told him that I was running Amsoil. My immediate response was, "Bull sh*t!" The next thing he asked me was how well it was working for me... :roflblack

Anyway, I was in the stealership to collect a part for warranty work. He directed me to service, where I took the lady outside to see my bike. Upon return to her counter, she handed me the part, asked me to sign an invoice, and requested that I return the defective unit. :p I'm not going to let them touch my bike, even though that oil pressure sender unit was a pain to replace! Prior to purchasing my Sporty (Oct '05), I owned almost no tools. Now, I have a pretty good assortment, including two 3/8" torque wrenches (ft-lbs, in-lbs). The way I see it is that the service is a relaxing way to spend my time, and the tools cost less than the appointment at the stealership. :tour

cantolina
21st May 2006, 21:05
I've wrenched my own cages for years, because I like to do it, and it saves me money...

When I bought the first Sporty, I felt no different about it...

I bought the manual (as I have with every vehicle I've ever owned), and didn't stop doing my own work....

I always farmed out tires, with EVERY vehicle, because its just not worth the hassle without a machine..

Now, I'm wrenching in a HD dealer shop, and loving every minute of it! :clap

With the advantage of the shop and the knowledge of the other guys there, there's NOTHING I won't do...

And now I have a tire machine at my disposal! :)

xena
21st May 2006, 21:24
Bought it new, now has 7446 miles, and so
far I've done everything myself. I suppose
I'd take it to someone if I encountered something
I couldn't figure out or I just plain didn't feel
comfortable tackling it....so far that has not
happened.

jg5150
21st May 2006, 21:32
...one of my best investments was the factory service manual. A guy at work freaked when I told him I was going to adjust the belt myself...he says "that will void your warranty". This is the same guy that took his EG Ultra in to the most expensive dealer around to have a chrome neck cover installed!!!

*OBTW* I grew up in Trenton, NJ and I have a sister that stills lives there in Kinnelon, both about an hour from Phillipsburg if I remember correctly. My Dad is a retiree from PSE&G*

Scott


Scott,
I think I voided the warranty within a week of owning my Sporty. Dealer wanted to do Stage one and he gave me a real good price on the parts but I wasn't paying him $70.00 an hr. for labor. He said the minute I touch the carb that voids the warranty. I told him we will see if I have any other warranty issues I bet they get fixed, as for the carb I am not worried about it.
Joe
P.S. Yeh Trenton is about an hr. south of me but I grew up an hr east of hear in N. PLainfield,NJ but I been living here for the past 20 yrs.

Trout
21st May 2006, 21:35
I do it all, including tires. The only thing I will farm out is machine shop work.

Lynk
21st May 2006, 21:40
He said the minute I touch the carb that voids the warranty.

Here's the problem... parts guys want to sell parts. If you get something replaced under warranty, the parts guy doesn't get a sale. However, the service department benefits from a charge to the MoCo. If you need warranty coverage, talk to the service department. ;)

edman
21st May 2006, 21:40
So far I have done all maintenance and mods myself. Oil changes, tire changes, rocker box leak, 1200 conversion, front forks, blown crankcase seal and lots more. I can re-jet the carb with my eyes closed. I knew nothing when I bought the bike in 2001. The factory manual and this site are all you need. I have bought tools as I needed them.

Now that I think about it I’m surprised the bike works at all. :roflblack

mazeppa
21st May 2006, 21:48
I maintain all my vehicles and I mean everything. I let the dealer do the 1K service because it was free. Other than that none of my vehicles have ever seen a dealer or garage since new. I am a tool junkie LOL.

Same here, I want it done my way, in a time frame that is convenient for me.

My 1K service only cost me the price of a factory service manual, oil & filter, and a new belt tension tool (part # 4006-85)

Tools are cool

68B_Body
21st May 2006, 21:51
ill do everything myself except for any machine work to the engine. all the info i dont know can be found here or on the internet somewhere.

XLFREAK
21st May 2006, 21:53
I do everything myself with the exception of tire mounting/balancing & state inspections.

These bikes are simple machines to work on; that's one of their strongest virtues...

chrishajer
21st May 2006, 22:10
I got a buddy to mill
me up a piece of machine steel that fits perfectly into the Primary Inspection covers
I knew a 1/2 inch driver will fit but too easy to damage my $125 a set chrome covers.
For those of us with Iron heads or 86-90 Evos, they also sell the tool (HD, J&P, CCI, Drag, Tucker Rocky):
http://img.jpcycles.com/main/13bb5542-3492-43e3-975d-e7d5 22a974ac.jpeg
This one is just like the HD one.


Jim's Machine also sells one that is a little different:
http://www.chrishajer.com/bike/1168.jpg

There's another style I can't find right now, different than both of these.

I used the 1/2" rachet for a while until the corners of the hole got rounded off.

--Chris

rottenralph
21st May 2006, 22:12
I have done everyting with the exception of the bottom end. I suppose eventually I will split the cases and have them bored for 88". Wrenching is possible for everyone. Sometimes you will learn expensive lessons when you screw something up.

Bigmatt
21st May 2006, 22:27
As with all my vehicles I do all the wrenching. About the only thing I pay to have done is new tires mounted and balanced after I pull the wheels and machine work when it is needed.

chrishajer
21st May 2006, 22:31
He said the minute I touch the carb that voids the warranty.
Did he also mention that the minute HE touches the carb the warranty is void too?

And it's not like the whole warranty is voided: just anything that might be related to the carb mod, that they can PROVE failed because of the modified carb. The problem is dealers can be d:censorks about it, and the Motor company can also be a d:censorck about it, but the Magnuson Moss Warranty Act (15 U.S.C. 2302(C)) prevents them from denying warranty coverage for a failure unless they can prove that the aftermarket part caused or contributed to the failure. Not that they won't try.

There's a big fallacy about voiding the warranty if you do your own work. So long as proper maintenance was performed, they cannot deny you warranty coverage. (save your receipts and a log of when the maintenance and mods were performed and how many miles at the time.)

They can't deny you warranty coverage for not using HD parts unless they provide those parts for free. (oil and spark plugs come to mind here)

If they install the SE pipes, or you do, and the motor melts down, they would have to prove that the addition of the parts "caused or contributed to the failure." Maybe the oil pump locked up - they can't deny coverage for that.

Maybe you jetted the carb leaner and the motor melted down: well, in that case, it is going to be easier to show that the failure was caused by the work that was performed.

The grey area comes in when a bike it hopped up, and something breaks. You built the motor, but now your rear sprocket comes lose and trashes the wheel and pulley. Is it because they used fasteners that were too short (or too long in a blind hole) to attach the pulley, or did they only test the assembly up to 80 ft lbs of torque and your motor now has 90 and tore the rear pulley loose? Whose fault is it then?

I have seen some very interesting things get denied warranty coverage because the motor was hopped up, even though the component wasn't directly related to the engine assembly.

--Chris

L.B.
21st May 2006, 22:48
Now, I'm wrenching in a HD dealer shop, and loving every minute of it! :clap

With the advantage of the shop and the knowledge of the other guys there, there's NOTHING I won't do...

And now I have a tire machine at my disposal! :)

That's cool Cantolina! I'd say that you'll make a great mechanic. It's good to be the guy at the dealership that everyone trusts...

I can do most anything although sometimes I make mistakes like everyone else. My Dad had a motorcycle shop when I was 14yrs old (that was around 33 yrs ago), so I've been around it for a while, but a service manual is still my best friend.

I'll still take it to the dealership occasionally because sometimes I just can't find the time.

chrishajer
21st May 2006, 22:49
However, the service department benefits from a charge to the MoCo. If you need warranty coverage, talk to the service department. ;)
Good point but another grey area.

The service department CAN get paid for the parts and labor from HD for a warranty repair that you perform, but they are lying to the Motor Company (not that some don't do it.)

I would never (well rarely) let a customer perform a warranty repair himself. On the surface, it appears to be a win/win. The customer gets the part for free, to install himself because he does not trust us to work on his bike. I avoid working on a bike of a customer who does not trust me. I get paid by the Motor Company for labor I did not perform. Win/Win?

What if the customer made the wrong diagnosis? (in this case, the oil pressure switch was bad, but let's assume it wasn't and something else was wrong: wiring, connection, etc.) What then? I have a part from a customer (hopefully he brought it back) that is NTF (no trouble found) by HD and they deny my claim for parts and labor. All because I wanted to help a guy who doesn't trust me in the first place.

What if the customer's repair doesn't last very long (not applicable to the oil pressure switch, but there are other possibilities) and he ends up going to another dealer (because he didn't trust me in the first place.) Now it appears that my dealership did some shoddy work.

How about the case of a safety campaign/recall repair that the customer wants to perform? The dealer sends in the paperwork saying he performed the recall, but the customer may or may not have done it (or may have done it improperly.) What happens if there is further damage from not performing the recall, or if there is an accident? That's a whole can of worms I'd rather avoid than open.

There's too much on the line to commit warranty fraud for a customer who doesn't trust me in the first place.

(am I imagining the oil pressure switch being mentioned in this thread? I can't find it now...)

--Chris

p.s. In any case, you don't want to be dealing with the Parts dept at all - vehicle warranty needs to go through service.

ed_in_az
21st May 2006, 23:08
You guys are all making me feel guilty. I've almost retired from wrenching my own vehicles. I even take my wife's & daughters cars in for oil changes(they're cheap though $22). My son and I still work on our own trucks. That's the basics, oil, filters, belts, brakes. I used to work on my bikes until I switched to HDs. Seems like I'd just rather ride my Sporty than work on it. I enjoyed riding 50 miles to the Indy shop to have my tires put on. That was another excuse to ride. My Sportster is the most fun street bike I've ever owned. I do have my factory service manual, and a proper bike jack. I've still got my Progressicve Suspension to install. I've just got to get motivated and take some time and do it. If I can get started I might even move on to do the 1212 NRHS upgrade. I still need to get an inch pound torque wrench and maybe some more or better sockets.

chrishajer
21st May 2006, 23:27
Oh yeah ed, I'm done working on mine too. Truth be told, it doesn't need much any more. Changed the tailight assembly recently, but that's about it in the past two years. Well, an oil change last year before winter. It was so cheap, I just had the dealership do it.

My wife's car: not worth the hassle for me to find a place to drain and recycle the oil. I just take her car to the dealer.

Lynk
21st May 2006, 23:34
Chris, you're right. As far as the fraud, I keep my nose out of the dealer's business. On the pressure switch, it appears that there wasn't enough teflon sealant; the leak may have been coming from the threads. Nonetheless, the defect in materials or workmanship cost me $10 in oil (really started to go, today), and I wasn't about to let the dealer start mixing Syn3 in with my Amsoil!

Ed, why should you feel guilty? If you don't want to work on the cars, take 'em to the shop! If you need the tools, buy 'em; if you can make it without, then save the cash. It sounds to me like you're having fun with your Sporty... so what's the issue? :D

chrishajer
21st May 2006, 23:42
On the pressure switch, it appears that there wasn't enough teflon sealant; the leak may have been coming from the threads.

This is a perfect example I think of what can happen. HD screwed up when they built the bike, and didn't seal the threads properly. They leak. You get a switch from the dealer, promising to bring in the old one. Turns out (maybe) that the switch was not leaking, but the threads were. You install the new switch, bring in the original one, they file a warranty claim, HD denies it because the switch is not leaking.

I still can't find in the thread where the switch was mentioned but I don't think I was imagining it.

Anyway, this is a fairly minor amount of money for the dealer, but the same thing can happen with almost any component, and it can be a lot more money.

I'd like to hear how the whole thing turns out. So long as the leak is fixed....

--Chris

sportysrock
21st May 2006, 23:47
Scott,
I think I voided the warranty within a week of owning my Sporty. Dealer wanted to do Stage one and he gave me a real good price on the parts but I wasn't paying him $70.00 an hr. for labor. He said the minute I touch the carb that voids the warranty. I told him we will see if I have any other warranty issues I bet they get fixed, as for the carb I am not worried about it.
Joe
P.S. Yeh Trenton is about an hr. south of me but I grew up an hr east of hear in N. PLainfield,NJ but I been living here for the past 20 yrs.

More dealer BS. I think you can get a new plug for the mixture screw if you want to keep one around in case there's a problem someday. When that happens you can pop it in and to hell with them. I bet that is as far as they'll look because they are all cheap and basically suck.

Everyone who doesn't have them, should pick a tool sale at Sears and get their in-lb and ft-lb 3/8 in. torque wrenches. They're on sale all the time for $59.99 and the Craftsman Club is free which will save you another 10% or so.

Lynk
21st May 2006, 23:52
I still can't find in the thread where the switch was mentioned but I don't think I was imagining it.

You weren't imagining the mention of the switch; I stated the problematic component. I was actually rather pleased by the woman working the service counter, as she professed a frustration with the rocker covers! :D Apparently, we aren't the only ones frustrated by those slots. ;)

Anyway, I rode around a bit after replacing the thing, and it appears that the problem has gone away. If it comes right down to it, I'll pick up the eight dollar charge from the parts counter, and use the original one, should this one go bad! It's not that I don't trust her with my bike; I just don't want to leave it with someone.

This bike is quickly becoming my hobby. Happily, my hobby and my profession are no longer one in the same! No longer do I leave work for the weekend, only to return on Monday feeling as though I never left. This is one happy biker!

Lynk
21st May 2006, 23:56
Everyone who doesn't have them should pick a tool sale at Sears and get their in-lb and ft-lb 3/8 in. torque wrenches. They're on sale all the time for $59.99 and the Craftsman Club is free which will save you another 10% or so.

Grab the in-lb torque wrench at Sears; get your ft-lb wrenches (both 3/8" and 1/2") at Ace! The Craftsman tools are only warranted for a year, whereas the Ace wrenches carry a lifetime warranty, cost a lot less, and come with a storage case. Or... you could get one with a plastic handle, from Sears, and get silver paint on your hands (cheap, painted script), every time you use it! :doh

Jason's Sporty
22nd May 2006, 00:14
I pretty much have torn my bike down, made stuff for it, painted it, and put it back together in 3 months! So the Stealer is pretty much just there for parts and clothes. spent $300 for my Speed jacket 2 years ago.

JohnT
22nd May 2006, 00:23
I enjoy reading about, and have a tremendous amount of respect for, all of you who do your own wrenching. My father taught me the fine art of being a shade tree mechanic on a '46 Ford, a '48 Plymouth, a '51 Mercury and on and on. I did all my own work for many years (even wrenched a finicky '83 Land Cruiser through Mexico all the way to Guatemala). That said, my first fuel-injected car, and a rising income, sent me the way of the dealer's shop. I used to carry a complete set of tools in my cars and a subset on my bike (had to tear down and reassemble the transmission on a Honda CL 350 beside the road in Maryland once). These days, I carry a cell phone and a credit card. I am thankful, though, for those early days in the innards of cars and bikes. I know more than enough to be dangerous and certainly enough to keep my dealer's mechanics honest.

As to my Sporty, it's given me no opportunity to exercise my rather antiquated expertise.

opiewontaylor
22nd May 2006, 06:36
Like most, I'll do basic maintenance. Plugs, wires, oil, brakes, etc. I'll probably do the drive belt, should it ever break (providing I can get to the exhaust header nuts). But I know my limitations. If I need engine work, I'll farm it out to someone that (hopefully) knows a lot more than I do. And while I never hesitated to do tires on my dirt bikes, those weren't tubeless. I'll farm them out too :)

georgejtcs
22nd May 2006, 08:58
I Will Do All The Work On My 99 1200 Xlh Sports 25 Years Of Bike Maintanance In Differnt Shops I Should Qualify To Do It.
To May Fools Playing With Tool In Shops To Day That Only Know About The Current Models Not The Early Ones And They Dont Care.
Its Pump Them Out Make The Money. Thanks George Australia

Dubfire
22nd May 2006, 09:21
Basic maintenance I'll do myself, but anything that involves too much head-scratching I'll take to an indy mechanic. I know he will do a good job in half the time and not rip me off.

Preacher
22nd May 2006, 11:19
I am not much of a mechanic but I'll tackle anythhing that doesn't involve disassembling the motor. I had my local indy do my 1200 conversion but have done almost everything else myself so far.

My general rule of thumb is: How much potential damage can I do and is the potential screw up more expensive than the labor to have someone else do it? :) :)

tlgibson97
22nd May 2006, 11:33
I bought mine used in 2002 and it hasn't been to the dealer since. I do most the work myself unless I determine that I may cause more damage trying to fix it without the right tools. Thats why tomorrow it will be goin in for tires. The following week I am getting it on the dyno to get it tuned in real good then I'll take it from there.

Jt1200r
22nd May 2006, 11:42
i do everything but tires and machine work.

AeroSport
22nd May 2006, 16:07
I do everything that I possibly can, so I know the quality of the work being done. I don't feel I can fully trust anyone else. The only thing that I don't do is machine work or some electronics that require the HD diag system.

chrishajer
22nd May 2006, 16:14
Having been both a mechanic and a service manager, I prefer to do my own work, but I trust the shop I used to work at to work on my bike. Not all the mechanics, of course, but there are several there that I have no hesitation at all to let work on my bike. And my bike is neither old nor anywhere near stock.

It's certainly more satisfying to do the work myself, and I built it all initially, but there's neither the time nor the inclination to do it myself now. Although I did install my new taillight assembly recently. Just felt like it...

--Chris

95xlcustom
22nd May 2006, 16:58
basicly everything after the warrent runs out

tstoeckel
22nd May 2006, 18:03
I try to do most of my own work but I evaluate it on a case by case basis. So far, I've been confident enough to handle the things I've needed to do. The most complicated op so far has been changing the rocker box gaskets and all the disassembly/reassembly that was required. Everything else has been pretty straightforward. Fortunately I have most all the tools I need (including both in-lbs and ft-lbs torque wrenches). I won't do tires. I don't have the gear nor do I have the confidence to put my life in my own hands. My son owns a '69 VW Bus and I do almost all the work on that one starting from when we put a new engine in a couple of years ago. I've wrenched on VWs for years so I figure I handle another air-cooled engine.

MusclePump
22nd May 2006, 18:10
I'll do everything I can... and scream until I can do the stuff I can't... and then, when all else fails, enlist good help from fellow forum members :)

AZFlyingDiver
22nd May 2006, 18:12
At this point, I do all my own work. The only exception is pre-paid maintenance and warranty stuff if it ever comes up (I've used the tire/wheel coverage). But absolutely eveything else I'll do on my own - its part of the fun! I'll also say that I wouldn't have become nearly this confident/proficient without help from this forum (and the FM!) - lots of good info here and folks willing to help. All that and a dose of patience while wrenchin' go a long way to a job well done...

chrishajer
22nd May 2006, 19:13
AZFlyingDiver: did buying the pre-paid maintenance plan take a leap of faith from you? Did you already have a relationship with the dealer, enough to trust their mechanics with your maintenance money up front?

--Chris

JohnK/Pa
22nd May 2006, 21:12
I'm the only mechanic that I trust except for maybe the guy whose machine shop I worked at.

Desertfox
22nd May 2006, 21:25
I have neither the time, inclination, rescources, nor talent, for anything other than the simplest installs, to do my own wrenching, I have an EXCELLENT Indy that I trust with Annabelle. They race top fuel Harrley drag bikes , so I guess they know what they are doing with an H-D motor. As for trusting another person to do work on her? Well there is an old saying"if you trust no one, no one will trust you". I don't know any fighter pilots that work on their own F-14's. Ron Belsan and Justin Osborne of Southern Motorcycle here in Houston, are two of the most talented Harley mechanics I've seen. They also have a complete machine shop. They will get Annabelle when it comes time for 100 cu.in. upgrade.

XLFREAK
22nd May 2006, 22:44
I did this in my garage. :D

http://webpages.charter.net/rlaughlinjr/convert/convert17.jpg

Roadster_Rider
22nd May 2006, 22:46
I cant quite put my finger on it, but there might be something missing on Russ's bike...

VETRAN
22nd May 2006, 22:55
I cant quite put my finger on it, but there might be something missing on Russ's bike...

...the faster it goes!!!:shhhh

thunderpaw
23rd May 2006, 01:45
Russ must be hiding his ultra-rare Sportster Light in that garage!

As far as wrenching...it's my therapy. I'll do anything besides machinework.

Kim

XLFREAK
23rd May 2006, 01:46
I forgot to add....


http://antigeek.com/Sportweb/images/Scoot%20031.jpg


Yes, I got it back together... And yes, it scoots now too.

Wino
23rd May 2006, 01:57
When I bought it they tried to sell me an extended warranty and I laughed. I said are you kidding, I'll probably void the factory warranty within a few months, which I pretty much did when I tore the top end down for my conversion. I just like to work on things. Haven't had the bottom end apart......yet.

chrishajer
23rd May 2006, 02:06
Every time I hear extended warranty (which should by all rights be called an Extended Service Plan) I think of the Simpsons episode where Homer gets smart after removing a crayon from his brain. To get back to normal, he has Moe tap the crayon back in:

Moe: All right, tell me when I hit the sweet spot.
Homer: Deeper, you pusillanimous pilsner pusher!
Moe: All right, all right. [with a small hammer and punch, taps the crayon further up Homer's nose]
Homer: De-fense! [woof-woof] De-fense! [woof-woof]
Moe: Eh, that's pretty dumb. But, uh ... [taps once more]
Homer: Extended warranty? How can I lose?
Moe: Perfect.

:laugh

--Chris

davidsdad
23rd May 2006, 02:18
I do all of my own work as well as my sisters and brother-in-laws.....

fixerdj
23rd May 2006, 13:57
Nobody is touchin my bikes! I love wrenchin.

Homarr
23rd May 2006, 14:09
I do my own work, it's fun!