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Chapter XIV: Ride #2- Tweaks, Meltdown and Protection



The mechanical projects began again.  I went back to RaceTech products and ordered a Gold Valve kit, along with all the necessary seals and fluids required for a shock re-valve.  The process was simple…simpler, in fact, than rebuilding one of my forks.

You know what was NOT simple, though?  Paying for all the specialty tools that really make these jobs possible.  Shock bladder puller…shock shaft bullet…3.5mm super-fine drill bit for the required bleed hole on the Gold Valve.  By the time the project is done, and by the time I can really do all the challenging tasks, I’ll likely spend more on my garage than I will on the bike.

The shock was set to go, so I got to work on finding a Rekluse clutch kit.  Fortunately for me, Rekluse recently listed a new model their Core EXP 3.0 for this bike.  Joy!  The only downer on this job was finding more “glitter” in the oil.  Either this bike is shedding from steel clutch plates or something with a chrome surface was coming off of somewhere in the motor.

My kids were ready to go for another ride, so we packed up all three of our bikes and headed to Murphy’s Motocross Park just outside of Austin.  I gave them a few hours on the kids track, then I went to fire up my bike, which had gotten HUGE amounts of interest just sitting on the trailer.  I pulled it down and fired it up…man, kicking this thing over seemed to have been getting easier and easier.  Was I getting more comfortable, or did I lose some ring life with that past runaway?  Hmmm….

Took the bike out on their “night track”, which was shorter and close to the kid’s track.  It was weird getting used to the Rekluse, but I was liking it.  The bike shifted well off power, and I just couldn’t stall in corners, but the bike was feeling down on power.  It was still blubbering/stumbling in the midrange, and that tail pipe smoke wasn’t blue…it was white.

Before I knew it, the bike died on a straight…I went to kick and my foot went straight to the peg.  I had lost all compression.  The bike went back on the trailer, and I got ready for another forensic review at home and spent the rest of the day enjoying my “dad-time” with the kids on the pee-wee track.

The answer to what had happened became clear when I got the head off the motor back in the garage.  That ultra-lean runaway had started to melt a hole in the top of the piston, leaving a super-thin spot.  Running for a few hours between my two test-rides was enough to allow it to finish the melt-through.  The cylinder showed no wear and miced out at the same diameter, so I ordered the exact same Wiseco piston for round two.

I was also confident that the jetting response didn’t match the smoke and black oil out of the tail pipe.  I was sure I had a compromised wet-side crank seal, and I didn’t trust the stator-side.  There was also a minor leak as the shift-shaft, so it was engine seals all around.  I wasn’t going to split the cases yet, but I’d replace every seal I could reach from the outside of the motor.

While I was there, I saw the mess my boots had made of the frame spars above the pegs, and I thought about how I had been slipping around.  My first thought was to put skateboard tape on that area, but I’d heard it destroys boots and would look terrible after about a one-day ride.  The solution I came up with made me happy.  I found a set of made-in-the-90’s Acerbis plastic frame guards for the bike.  They were white plastic, and they showed their age.  I coated them in spray-on bedliner and attached them with black zip-ties.  Better grip, better protection and a far better look on the bike.

I had received some Holiday bonus pay, so I used that to purchase myself the 2000 OEM PWK carb, the matching Rad Valve and everything I needed for control ergos.  I decided to jet the carb to FMF-recommended specs before installing as a baseline.

The control stuff consisted of Renthal FatBar Charmichael-High bends in black, softer polyurethane mount cones for additional vibration control and a set of Boyesen FlexGrips, which seem like the precursor to most of today’s bolt-on grips, but with a bit of engineered cushion for the left side.

Everything is back together.  Everything checks out.  Time for the next evaluation ride next week.


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