Grand Prix 125
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: London, UK
Other Motorcycle: Vespa 125 Primavera ET3
Right, chaps, you are going to love his.
I buy a new ignition coil cheap from the BMW specialist mentioned up thread, and a new pickup coil and alternator cover gasket. I also buy some torx drivers and some Three Bond liquid gasket, as used by Hinkley.
I go to my garage with all this and a bag full of tools.
First I change the ignition coil. Easy peasy, took about 30 minutes.
Then I try to undo the alternator cover. The nuts are so tight they break my manual screwdriver handle and my electric one won't turn.
After trying a local hardware store I check the net and end up cycling 6 miles there and back to Halfords to buy a torque wrench and an 8mm socket that fits it. At least now I will also be able to fasten those nuts to the correct torque.
I get back, undo all the bolts, and the cover still won't come off. The manual says there might be a bit of pull from the stator. What it doesn't say is that 6 year old gasket sealant has welded the cover on and to get it off you need to wedge a pry bar under one of the tabs and bash the living hell out of it with a big hammer. Finally it comes off and I remove the old pickup.
"Trace the wiring back to the connector" the manual says. What it actually means is trace the wiring back to a black hole between tank and battery tray that is impossible to access by any reasonable means, then spend an hour using your little fingers, a lot of swearing and some psychic powers to finally identify the correct connector and gradually tease it out into daylight where you can finally unplug the damn pickup.
That ordeal over, and after spending nearly an hour cleaning up the mating surfaces I now get the three bond out and apply it to the alternator cover and the engine case. I put a bit on the pickup grommet and push it into its hole. It pops straight out again. It doesn't fit. It's not exactly the right shape. So now I have to balance the cover in one hand, push the gasket into the silicone, hold it in place and keep the grommet held in its void all with the other. David Copperfield would be impressed at such dexterity. The astonishing feat as in one smooth swift movement I slap the cover over the dowels and slam it home in exactly the right place would have drawn applause from the man.
I tighten the bolts, put the bike back together, and try and start it. The battery is flat. I have spent 9 hours on this now. I remove the battery and take it home to charge it.
The next day, with a fully charged battery, I head out to the garage again. I put the battery back in the bike and nervously try to start it. It bursts into life for about a minute, stalling when the throttle is opened, and eventually only running on one cylinder, before crapping out completely. I am spent. I give up. I make plans to set fire to it, but instead I go to the pub, buy a pint and call the RAC.
I'm into my second pint when he finally arrives. He goes over the bike, checks the spark. It's strong! At the very least my work has not broken it. He pulls a plug. It's bone dry. There is no fuel in the cylinders. Looking over the bike he notices that the fuel hose is routed wrong, and is pinched flat. That's the cause! With a full tank the weight of the petrol created enough fuel pressure to overcome it, but as the tank got emptier, and its contents lighter, the carbs were starved. BLD (Biker's Legal Defence) must had done this when they had the bike to fix some cosmetic damage on my insurance after some toerag drove a pickup into me at a red light. We pull the hose and put it back without the tortuous kink in it. This time the bike roars into life and keeps running. It's fixed.
What this does mean is that I spent 10 hours and over a hundred and fifty quid I didn't need to, changing components that were working perfectly well. And I learned an important lesson I will share with all of you.
Don't, under any circumstances, let BLD work on your bike. If you insure with Motorcycle Direct that's who they will use. This is only the latest in a series of cockups this bunch of incompetent and unprofessional cowboys have inflicted upon my Trumpet. First their new clutch cover poured oil out of a badly installed gear change seal. Then it wouldn't un immobilise, then this. And I discovered after working on the bike that they returned it missing one seat bolt, 3 seat rubber feet, both bar end mirror rubber bungs, and one of the battery tray locating washers had been replaced with a plain one.