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Old 05-30-2010, 06:32 AM   #1
jeff10236
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Default Thinking about trying to do some of my own maintenance

Instead of taking my bike into my car mechanic (who knows bikes too, though it isn't his specialty) for maintenance, I'm thinking about doing at least some myself. Somehow, with everything being pretty open it doesn't seem as intimidating as it does on a car.

Years ago (when I was 13, I turn 40 in just over a month) I knew some basic car maintenance. I went to a private school where I guess they assumed all us guys would be car crazy (what an odd idea ) and they offered a non-vocational car repair class. In addition to the theoretical stuff (how an internal combustion engine works for example), I learned some basic stuff- how to change tires (like I said, basic), how to replace carbs in old cars with carburetors, how to check and replace spark plugs, how to change the oil and a few other basic maintenance items. I have no further training or experience. I have no auto repair tools (just a very basic tool kit for around the apartment and the kit that came with the bike).

Changing the oil and the gear oil would be pretty easy. However, is inspecting the valves something I should try to bite off myself the first time I work on my bike? Complicating things a bit, I don't have a service manual for my bike. The Suzuki manual is $90, Suzuki made some changes in the C50 Boulevards for 2009 and Clymer and other companies don't seem to have one out for the 2009 yet so there is no cheaper alternative. I have to buy all my tools for these jobs (even a container for the used oil), if I have to pay $90 (online- more from the dealer) for a service manual I'm getting up there and losing most of the savings over just having the dealer do it (though the tools and manual are a one time expense and I'm then ready to do a lot of my own work from here on out). How safe would it be to use a service manual for a 2008 (i.e. is it likely that any of the specs for the valves have changed)? Probably not a great idea. I may see if the library may have the 2009 Suzuki repair/mainenance manual in their reference section and write down the info I need. So, how much goes into getting to the valves? If it is out of spec and needs adjustment how difficult is that? Should I stick with the clutch inspection and fluid changes and leave the valves to the dealer?

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Old 05-30-2010, 06:48 AM   #2
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Oh, one more thing, does anyone know if I can get oil and filters for motorcycles at Walmart? My closest Pep Boys had the oil, but not the filters, or the gear oil (they had motorcycle gear oil, but my owners manual very specifically states it must use SAE 90 and all the gear oil they had were in ranges of weights- 80W90, 85W140). If I do it myself I'd prefer to do it later today (a big part of why I'm thinking of saving the money and doing it myself is that I'm at 560 miles and I want to keep riding this weekend) but the dealers are closed today so I can't go and buy what I need there (and some may be closed tomorrow for the holiday).

On that note, the 600 mile maintenance is short enough that going 50-60 miles over is 10% over the recommended interval. I'm thinking that may not be a great idea (unlike the 3500 mile intervals where 50-100 miles may not matter so much). So, I really need to limit my riding the rest of this weekend if I don't get the maintenance done now, unless I'm being a bit too conservative and 50-60miles over isn't a big deal.
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Old 05-30-2010, 06:18 PM   #3
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Some riders say inspecting and adjusting valves is easy; but some people find doing an appendectomy easy. Personally, I'd leave that for the shop. Doing it wrong can be expensive.

On the VStrom website some guys have put up cross-references for Suzuki to Fram to Autolite etc. oil filter charts. They've found that certain car filters will thread up and the gaskets fit. I like Suzuki filters because they have the right backpressure valve setting, they use an O ring instead of a foam seal, and if I compare them to, say, a Fram, it's obvious the Suzuki unit is better. For $25, it better be.

Don't sweat running past the 600 mile interval. You changed your oil, that's the big item on that service. Everything else can wait.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:38 PM   #4
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The oil and filter changes are easy- and the most important, other than keeping the tires inflated.

The valves shouldn't need to be checked until at least 12,000 miles (if at all), unless your C50 is really a Ducati.
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:03 PM   #5
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I'm with Ken on this one. While I'm a smart guy, and I can no-doubt read a manual, I prefer to leave the wrenching to the professionals unless it's something relatively easy (quite a subjective term, indeed).

Having said that, when my starter went on my old Honda, I deinstalled it myself, took it to a starter repair shop and reinstalled it for about $40. Honda wanted $300 for the starter plus approx. 1 hour labor (at about $80/hour). Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
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Old 05-31-2010, 11:23 PM   #6
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OK, I'll take the bike to the dealer for the valve check. I'll change the fluids, check the play in the clutch, and do all the tightening it calls for (like the bolts on the frame) if I can get my hands on a service manual that tells me what torque they should be set to (a torque wrench is a relatively inexpensive investment in the long run). But, now and in the future I'll leave any actual mechanical work that I attempt to things that are bolt on and don't require partly or largely taking the engine apart (so, no valve checks, or later, valve adjustments).

Pushrod, the owners manual calls for a valve inspection at the 600 mile maintenance (not adjustment, unless needed, which it probably won't). After that they don't call for any attention to them until the 15K mark.
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff10236 View Post
OK, I'll take the bike to the dealer for the valve check. I'll change the fluids, check the play in the clutch, and do all the tightening it calls for (like the bolts on the frame) if I can get my hands on a service manual that tells me what torque they should be set to (a torque wrench is a relatively inexpensive investment in the long run). But, now and in the future I'll leave any actual mechanical work that I attempt to things that are bolt on and don't require partly or largely taking the engine apart (so, no valve checks, or later, valve adjustments).

Pushrod, the owners manual calls for a valve inspection at the 600 mile maintenance (not adjustment, unless needed, which it probably won't). After that they don't call for any attention to them until the 15K mark.
My first bike (1985 Honda Nighthawk) had hydraulic valves (no adjustment required) and shaft drive. My Buell has hydraulic valves and belt drive. Ease of maintenance is requisite for any bike I ride.
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:12 AM   #8
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A valve check at 600 miles! Wow.

Well, as was mentioned in one of your other threads, the first service is to make sure the bike was built properly.

You can have the dealer do only the service items you want, and save major bucks that way. You do the rest of them.

I do everything to my bike except the valve check/adjustment. I don't want to mess with it, and it serves to have someone familiar with the model to check it out. As in, I've got the only one around, and I don't know if it's doing anything abnormal. Like, the clutch may be WAY out, but I've grown used to it.

Anyhow, at 12K intervals, it takes almost 3 years between visits.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:25 AM   #9
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Ah, don't listen to these guys. If you can read a manual and follow instructions you can do your own maintenance. I've done valves for 40 years and never had a problem. The only work I farm out is machine shop stuff like pressing sleeves and bore jobs. It's saved me thousands of $ and allowed me to spend the money on more bikes.
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:55 AM   #10
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Apparently there isn't much to the actual valve check/adjust, but it seems that getting to them is a b*tch.

Imagine that!

http://www.volusiaowners.com/viewtopic.php?f=34&t=808
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