Friday, January 18, 2013

A Way of Thinking for Motorcycle Touring Repairs... Far From Parts

You don't have to get deep into the hinterlands of China to get to a spot where there just aren't parts for your Ducati.

Hell, SW Arizona had me failing to find parts for my '08 Yamaha Raider!

I was loading it to move camp a week ago and happened to spot a hole where there was supposed to be a bolt. When and where I lost it I have no idea... or how long my senile self managed to miss a bolt missing out of the left hand fender strut! But there it was.

Then came the confusion in finding out that Yamaha don't stock the bolt in the shops... and I had to leave town. Another rig was coming along behind me in a few days and was supposed to pick up the order for me... on their way through... of course... the order didn't come for them either... so There I was... out in the desert with the scooter un-rideable with the missing bolt and me having used up my patience.

So... I went looking in hardware stores around the area...

A half dozen hardware stores and one dedicated fastener dealer later and I came up with zip... because I had made the mistake of looking for THE part.

Rather than A part that would do the job until a proper and correct replacement could be acquired.

I had just left the last hardware store in Lake Havasu city without the RIGHT bolt... when an old lesson FINALLY broke through the crust that's formed over my brain pan the last few years. ;)

I did a very nice military style about face and trotted right back in. The clerk that had helped me looked kind of surprised. I told him I'd had a Cowboy epiphany and crooking a finger at him said; "Follow Me."

Yes sir... when you're a long ways from town on a ranch... you learn to make do with what you have until something better comes along.

This first pic is the right side fender strut and how they should look with both proper and correct button head bolts.

*How the Fender strut bolts are supposed to look*

This next pic is the left side from where the left hand bolt had vanished... and my improvised fix...

*Raider Fender strut with temp bolt for a fix*

The only thing any of the hardware stores had was HEX head bolts. None of the Button head in the right thread rate/metric.

The problem as I saw it was going to be fitting a socket on the hex head bolt and getting it down into the recess in the fender strut... so I kept to my single minded search for the RIGHT type, rather than one that would get things put together and functional in a pinch.

My cowboy epiphany was that I could space the TOO large head out with washers or a spacer and have a good strong 10.9 grade bolt in there until I can get my hands on the bolt you have to Order from Yamaha.

*washers spacing the hex bolt on a Raider Fender strut*

Turned out, the recess isn't as tight as I thought it was... but it don't change my point any. :)

That point being; Do you really want to sit in a parking lot somewhere for a week or ten days waiting for some ordered part to get to you from a Motorcycle dealer?

Go find a decent hardware store or mechanics shop of some kind. You can almost always find bits and pieces in a hardware store or shop; Parts that were made for something else; BUT, parts that you can, with a lil' imagination, fit together to get the job done securely, until you can replace the faulty bits with the permanent repair.

When you're broke down and a long way from home and other help... think outside the box, Use your imagination and don't just stay broke because you don't have a piece with the proper part number!

Hell... a metal strap bent around and with a few holes drilled in it could likely be worked up to replace a busted shock and get you rolling to find the permanent fix. It'd be a tough testing hard tail! ;) but then I did see that old man on a '36 Indian riding to Alaska... on his Old HARDTAIL! :)

The Bike is fixed... and now I've got the excuse to make the 300 mile or so round trip ride to Phoenix to pick up a pair of Proper Raider Fender Strut replacement  bolts! ;)

Where there's a will... There's a way... just let your imagination run.

Grab Your Handles and Ride


Trobairitz said...

Improvise and adapt, a must to keep bikes on the road.

Cindy Kingma said...

Bravo, I KNEW that sooner or later, you would strike onto this point!

Unknown said...


I don't think the owner of my previous bike got your memo to replace the temporary bolts. I remember having to use three sizes of Hex T-bars to remove my body panels.

Riding the Wet Coast