The Saga Continues...

The bike my wife has recently started calling "Piece of sh@t " has struck again. The last problem I brought to the group was a broken kickstarter stopper which required a new crankcase assembly. Assuming at least some of the responsibility, the dealership fixed it for the labor cost only, $400, and the parts were all free. That was this past February.

Last weekend, about 90% through a 130-mile ride, my bike seized at about 60 mph going down a dirt road. Luckily, I had a tow strap and my friend was able to pull me back (very slowly). It sounded like a snapped cam chain when it locked. I chalked it up to bad luck and was resigned to a several hundred dollar repair bill. To add insult to injury, the new set of tires, chain, sprockets, and some assorted replacement plastic all arrived on my doorstep the day AFTER it crapped out on me.

Today I mustered up the gumption to get the case split and see exactly what I'm going to have to fix. When I took off the valve cover, there were little bits of metal in the oil. When I took off the flywheel, it had a powdery metal all stuck to it and the stator. I had to almost chip the stuff off. When the cases were finally split, the first bit of oil that drizzled out was so full of fragments that it was chunky--not good.

When I finally got the case halves separated, what to my wondering eyes would appear bit a crushed dowel pin. It was flattened on one end and mangled, but it was still round on the other end so it's clear exactly what it is. It's one of the "inside" dowel pins, near the oil pump. You can see where that part of the crankcase face is damaged from improper installation. Apparently, they got in a hurry reassembling it and didn't get that dowel pin lined up right. So, it got pinched in between the halves. It finally worked itself loose enough to come in contact with a moving part and then it happened.

The good news in this is that it is clearly the dealer's fault. There's no other way to explain this type of failure. The dowel pin can't work it's way out like that under any circumstances. I'm taking it to the dealer tomorrow. My inspection indicates that every roller bearing in the engine will need to be replaced, even the camshaft bearings. The damage that was done to the crankcase wil probably necessitate new ones. Even the cylinder is badly scored, apparently, the oil got so thick with fragments that the oil stopped flowing. At least, right at the very end. The piston may also be damaged. It's going to be expensive. For them.

It's also a bit of a matter of pride. I do all the maintenance on the bike, so I'm glad it doesn't appear to be a result of anything I did. But, in either case, is this f'ed up or what? And this is prime riding weather.

[This message has been edited by Rich in Orlando (edited 05-11-2001).]

Sometimes bad things happen to good people and otherwise good bikes. Looks like you won the "bad lottery".

Your choice now is whether you let it spoil your subsequent time or just move on. I know this is a very bad thing to you now, but believe me, there are way worse things that can happen in your life. Take care of it and move on.

Good luck.

Well, after a couple of sleepless nights trying not to think about the $2500 repair bill it's going to take, the situation has been resolved. I took the engine to the dealership in 4 separate boxes and showed them the damage. They agreed with my assessment. They are going to replace the crankshaft, piston, rings, cylinder, all the associated seals and gaskets, and they're going to clean out the rest of the engine with their parts washer. I'm taking in the rest of the bike so they can flush out the frame's oil reservoir and oil lines. The parts are going to cost them around $800. I'm going to put the whole thing back together so it's only going to cost me some time. They offered to let me use any specialty tools I might need and they will press the new crankshaft into the bearing for me. They even offered to let me do all the work in their shop!

Looks like I'll have to break in the engine again, but that's not such a bad thing.

I slept well last night.

[This message has been edited by Rich in Orlando (edited 05-17-2001).]


I am THOROUGHLY impressed of your dealer support. My dealer would point to the sign that reads $60/HR and NO WARRANTY! Feel lucky, even though they did it.

My Dodge dealer, while re-installing the transmission on my Grand Caravan, nicked the seal. It ran me $1000 in trans repairs at AAMCO. They REFUSED to pay a penny, even though AAMCO said it was the only way it could have been damaged.

BTW, where in Orlando do you ride? I thought that place was solid asphalt and Disney/Universal/MGM, etc?


Am I lucky that they are fixing it without too much hassle, yes. Have I had some seriously bad luck so far? Yes, too. They kind of cancel each other out.

There are a couple of excellent riding areas around Orlando. This is where I'm lucky. Less than an hour north of here is the 300+ thousand acre Ocala National Forest, and less than an hour west of here is a smaller state forest, and it's bigger than 50K acres. Both areas require a license tag to do any serious amount of riding. When my bike's running, we do 100+ miles every Sunday in the national forest. If anyone is planning to visit Central Florida and you want to ride, let me know and I'll show you to some really nice places. You'd be surprised.

[This message has been edited by Rich in Orlando (edited 05-17-2001).]

I agree with you. I live in Jacksonville,

and although it's not like the deserts of

So-Cal, the Ocala forest is definitely a fun

place to go!! Btw, if you wanna get together down there and ride later on this year, let me know!


I used to ride in northern JAX at a track/riding area that is east of 95. LOTS of whoops and sand (believe it or not! :)).

It was very good practice for the Ocala MX. I raced there once in '89. That track was like riding on concrete, especially in the whoop section where I was knocked senseless during a crash. I was wearing an open face helmet at the time. My Troy Lee Visor split down the middle. Each half, still attached to the helmet by the side screws, pivoted backwards, JUST LIKE A SET OF WINGS. My x-wife was near the announcer. He told someone else, "Here comes Captain America".

I should be happy he didn't announce it to the whole park!

I haven't heard of a track/riding area east of 95, yet. I've heard a lot about Hilliard, and plan to go there in the not too distant future. Any chance that place is still open?


'98 WR400, S-3B Viking


You stationed at JAX?

I was at Kings Bay, now in CIV-LANT.

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