Sasha wants some serious attention!

I keep claiming we’ve been real busy and here is a big part of what with: Sasha. It seems that the past year and especially the winter riding have taken a serious toll on 34-year-old Sasha (that’s older than me!!!). The left fork has started leaking, the chain is stretched and just on the edge of popping off and to top things off, there is a dead spot on the throttle in the top two gears and getting worse. Oh and the speedo stopped working.

Ok, so the speedo cable is probably snapped and I bought a new one, as well as new a new fork seal. The speedo cable is easy enough to do, so I was just gonna do that as part of doing the fork seal. After all I needed to disconnect the cable for this job in any case. With the help of the rather old-fashioned joke book for the GS550, taking the fork out and apart was quite easy. I just took my time and did everything rather meticulously, writing little yellow sticky notes as to what screw goes where.

The trouble came with the fork seals. They are hard plastic and simply do not want to come out. I eventually managed, completely tearing the old one apart with pliers and a screw driver. But no matter, I had a new one, right? Then put it all back together real easily and filled the fork with new fork oil mixture. Fitted the new speedo cable too. I was well chuffed with myself 🙂

The next thing was the chain. I didn’t really know how bad it was and hoped I could make it last till we store Sasha in Ireland, just before the trip. So I set about cleaning the chain real good, covering myself in chain oil, looking like I had some kind of black measles. Once the chain cleaner ran out (all two cans of it), I checked the entire chain for seized links. And there were none, so far so good 🙂

So then I set about tightening the chain. And that’s when it dawned on me. This is the original chain, as there is no master link! There was no way of saving the chain! It had stretched so far in parts, that the adjuster was too short and could not adjust far enough. Yet other parts were too tight. Shame! So I had to invest in new chain and sprockets after all, oh well! Sasha is happy she got some new parts 😉

Back on the road the speedo cable snapped as I rode to Gatwick Airport at 4am. (I went to Berlin to visit my dad. Gatwick Airport has free motorcycle parking ! So what better way to get to the airport, just in time for breakfast 🙂 ) This time the speedo cable really snapped, while the old one actually hadn’t. I still haven’t quite figured the problem out. I suspect it’s the actual speedo counter that’s stuck. Took it apart, but its a major fiddely job so leaving it for a weekend when I’m feeling really enthusiastic (and when I’m sure Seven is 100% so I have one to ride to work on).

The fork seals also leaked some more so its back on with the Bluroll-bandage. Either the leak was caused by there being a scratch in the actual fork leg and not a faulty seal. Or it was a faulty seal, and in my efforts to remove it, I scratched a little rill into the leg, so that oil can now escape through it. It’s a disaster 😦 So much for being chuffed!

But before I get round to fixing that, on the way back from Hastings, Sasha is losing power. The dead spots in the top gears are getting worse. The next day on the way to work, she loses power almost completely. Then on the way home, it gets better again, but she is backfiring loads. So I’m thinking gunk in the carbs? I try to bleed them, but of course the screw for the most suspicious sounding one of the four is the screw that’s stuck fast. And I don’t have the right tool, so I end up almost completely rounding it off to no avail. That’s it, I give up, she is going to A&E (aka Dave Wilkins workshop). We are moving house by now, so I simply drop her off at Dave’s and leave her there for two weeks.

After having a look, Dave gets her a new front tire plus tube and two new end cans. Again I had hoped they would make it to Ireland even though I knew they were VERY rusty and had holes, making them very loud. But apparently they wouldn’t make it through the MOT in October and they were well beyond a bodge fix. Oh well, more prezzies for Sasha – lucky girl 🙂

But the biggest thing was obviously the losing power and backfiring.  Turns out one of the spark plugs is ancient (an original old Italian make that you cannot get here – Sasha is imported from Italy) and has disintegrated so much, some of it has fallen through into the engine. So he has cleaned that out as far as possible and put new spark plugs. The backfiring and dead spots aren’t cured. Basically to fix her completely, I will have to take the engine out, take it apart, clean it out, change the seals and then adjust all the valves. It’s a huuuuuge job. She runs for now. So If I’m doing it, it will be after we come back from Daniel & Raquel’s wedding in Portugal.

Back home at the new garage, I need to solve the leaking fork leg. At first I was going to have it chromed by a friend who offered to do it for free. But there is no guarantee that it would work. So in the end I simply bought a cheap second-hand one on Ebay and fitted it last weekend. At first it worked easily enough. But now the handlebars wriggle at high speed and the bike corners really badly. So the forks must be slightly off. I have been trying to get them realigned ever since. But so far no luck. Gave it another go today so will find out if it worked on the way to work tomorrow.

So yeah, Sasha is keeping me well busy and there is still loads more to do….. It’s mostly fun and sometimes frustrating. And hopefully I’m learning something that will be useful on the big trip 🙂

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