The good, the bad, and the ugly

This weekend, I finished up the 36ish,000 mile service on the SVS, which was, basically, checking the valves. I’d never done the valves on the SVS before. The first time they needed inspecting, the bike was at the performance shop getting the jet kit installed, so the mechanics checked the valves for me.

The good news is that checking the valves was pretty easy and everything was still in spec. The bad news is that checking the valves requires removing pretty much everything from the bike, which is annoying and time-consuming. The ugly news is that I managed to utterly munge up the radiator temperature sensor bolt while putting the radiator back on.

It utterly escapes me why bike manufacturers make parts out of plastic or really soft metal. I couldn’t even tell I was cross-threading this bolt until I’d gotten it all the way on and it still wasn’t tightening up. If I’d been rushing, or just plain ham-fisted, I’d be less annoyed. Or maybe more annoyed, but at least I’d be annoyed at myself instead of at life, the universe, and everything.

So, yeah, I now have a completely fux0red radiator temperature sensor bolt — y’know, the really expensive-looking one with the wires attached that screws into the back of the radiator. Naturally, I also now have a completely fux0red radiator temperature sensor bolt hole in the radiator.

“Oh, darn”, I said — or something like that — and Peter and I went to the store for a tap and die kit. But guess what? Did you know that it’s impossible to find a tap and die kit for a bolt larger than 12mm? We didn’t either. Now we do.

So we went to the hardware store for a helicoil. Did you know that it’s impossible to find a helicoil for a bolt larger than 12mm? We didn’t either. Now we do.

Tomorrow, I bring the radiator and bolt into Redwood City Honda/Suzuki/Kawasaki/KTM/blah/blah, throw them at the service guys, and say “make better”. I figure they’ve got to have a helicoil and tap kit that might actually fit the bolt and hole in question.

Incidentally, Peter’s first suggestion was that I buy a new bolt and radiator. Once I stopped laughing, I suggested that we play The Price Is Right with these parts. “Oh, come on,” he said. “It can’t cost more than $200.” “Five hundred,” I guessed. “You’re on,” he said. Once we got home, I went online and looked up the parts. Radiator plus temperature sensor bolt: $520. Boooooya! *victory dance*

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3 Responses to The good, the bad, and the ugly

  1. Geoff says:

    Blue, you might try to make friends with a machinist near you–when I need things like large taps or dies, I borrow ’em! (my Ducati-riding buddy owns a machine shop…ok, I guess I have an unfair advantage there).
    Alternatively, if you need special tools like these, go to an industrial supply house. You may get some funny looks from the good ol’ boys behind the counter with their “CAT Diesel Power” caps, but they’ll have all manner (and sizes) of taps, dies, helicoils, etc. And you can buy them individually, no reason to get a whole set–of course, they’ll be expensive, but generally industrial quality (meant for the machinists in the first instance I posted…).

  2. sharad says:

    A guy I know managed to munge up the bolt on his temp. sensor too. Seems like this is a common problem. If it’s necessary to take this bolt off in order to remove the radiator, it may be worth it to splice in a quick connect type electrical fitting to the cable. That way, the bolt doesn’t need to be removed from the radiator.

  3. carolyn says:

    Y’know, I think that’s exactly the (future) solution. The manual says to leave the electrical connection intact and remove the sensor from the radiator. It does sound like the opposite makes a *lot* more sense, huh. I’ll be sure to mention that in the write-up.

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