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Rod Taylor
Rod Taylor is the owner of Cycle Station, located at 406 S. Seneca St. Cycle Station specializes in sales, parts and services for motorcycles. Rod has 13 years of Auto Dealer experience, and over 10 years of motorcycle experience. He is also ASE and Honda-Suzuki Polaris Certified. He can be reached at 316-267-3025.
2006-02-01 14:17:00
Is it necessary to give motorcycles a ‘spring cleaning?’
For riders here in Kansas the cold-weather blues is almost over, and it’s time to pull that bike out of the garage. If your motorcycle, like most has spent a long winter's night out of service, remember the following are points to consider when you begin to get it ready for a fun summer of riding.  Some of the following are items that may require special attention after extended storage and things which should get attention now to avoid interrupting the riding season. Your owner's manual should have a checklist for a standard service.Valves: Most manuals will tell you to adjust them when the engine is cold. This is a perfect time to check the values, when will your engine be colder?  Make sure you give those cam lobes a squirt of oil too (I’m quite sure the old stuff is long gone).  When you are done torque the cylinder head too.Battery: If your battery was well charged through the winter, as with a Battery Tender or a regular trickle charge, then it's most likely ready to go. A specific-gravity tester is an inexpensive way to a check battery for good health.  If it was neglected all winter, do not hesitate to give it a regular service (fluid level and slow charge) before expecting trouble free service.  If it’s looking a bit sickly, replace it before it causes problems, making sure the terminals and vent tubes are connected and routed properly. Oil: If you changed the oil before you tucked it away, it’s probably ready to roll. Do keep in mind however; fresh oil can be contaminated by water, which will give it a milky appearance when it is first run. If there’s any question regarding contamination change it immediately and if you didn't change oil before storage, change it now.  Change the filter of course, and always use a torque wrench on that drain plug.  Remember some storage systems make your spring service easier than othersFuel: Leaving your fuel tank full is an excellent way to avoid rust.  If you left your tank full the fuel has probably gone bad (stratified) unless you used a fuel stabilizer. Before turning on your petcock and allowing old or contaminated fuel into your carburetor disconnect the fuel line and drain the tank. (Use the old gas for something other then in an internal combustion engine). This is also good time to clean your fuel filter and you may want to check your tank for rust.  If you didn't drain your carburetor float bowls, pull them off now and take a look. Remember the word stratified, if the inside of your carb has gas that looks something like varnish, or cottage cheese, you probably have clogged jets. Carborator cleaner may do the trick, but you might need new jets and a professional de-clogging (sounds like a program for addicted county and western dancers) as well.Engine: During those first few revolutions, a shot of oil in each spark plug hole followed by a couple of spins of the engine with the plugs removed will protect the cylinder walls and rings before initial start up.  This is an excellent time to check or even change the plugs.  Remember if you’ve been lazy and haven't serviced anything during the winter, the rest of the engine items (air filter, carb synch, drive-line fluids, etc.) should be attended to as well.Brakes: Most don’t think about servicing brakes, after all there’s not much to them.  Trust me there decently important, and need more attention then most give them.  Taking something for granted maybe OK, (marriage, friends, family, etc.) however brakes is not one of them. Install fresh fluid, your old stuff has spent all winter soaking up water and will have very poor consistency. You should definitely do it if you’ve neglected it during the last year or two. Check the pads or shoes too, if they appear thin, get new ones immediately.Suspension and steering: With the front wheel off the ground, sit in front of the bike and grasp the bottom of the forks. Move them back and forth to check for steering-head play. If you feel any movement or clicking from the steering head, tighten it per the owner’s manual.  When was the last time you change your fork oil?  This is also a perfect time to check for fork seals leaking.  If they are take care of it now.Finish protection: Now for the easy stuff.  Before riding your bike, give it a deep coat of wax, and also treat any leather apparel with leather conditioner. This is also a great time to pull things apart and thoroughly clean everything you can get your fingers on. Remove any corrosion, or rust and put on a nice thick layer of wax or any other appropriate product to protect and preserve it during the up coming riding season.  Tuning and working on your on bike yourself can be fun.  However without the proper knowledge and equipment in can be very frustrating.  Remember, safety first in all aspects of motorcycling.  If there’s any doubt have a qualified motorcycle service facility prepare your bike for a fun, safe, trouble free summer of riding. Have a great riding season!
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