Lots of troubleshooting going on today. One of the students bought her first bike, a 1997 Suzuki GS500E, that has very low miles but which also had some problems running. Lots of people (let’s call it five) helped her remove the fuel tank and carburetors, which she then learned how to disassemble, clean, and (the hard part) reassemble. Another guy and I stayed late to help reassemble the bike, and in the process we opted to replace two fuel hoses and a vacuum hose that seemed to have shrunk a bit — basically it wouldn’t quite reach between the two points it was supposed to.

In the future, I’ll know to ask whether we’re really attaching it to the vacuum port on the  correct carburetor. This time around, it causes a mystery problem that took three after-school sessions to figure out. (And it took Mike, the instructor to figure it out.) Needless to say we were a bit embarrassed to have caused the problem. Root cause was that we didn’t know which carb the hose went to because we hadn’t disassembled it ourselves; secondary cause was that we didn’t think to try the other carb when the hose wouldn’t reach. At least we didn’t break anything.

The other problem, which I’m proud to say I didn’t cause, can be summarized thus: If it ain’t broke… In this case the main positive lead from the battery to the starter relay was broken in the process of tidying up some danging electrical bits in the belly of a 1980 Honda CB750F. It wasn’t broken such that the bike wouldn’t try to start, but apparently it was enough to prevent it from actually running. So we learned how to remove and clean the spark plugs and try again, plus we got to do a bit of electrical repair work. To put it in biological terms, we transplanted part of the nervous system from a cadaver into a aged patient. The patient got right up and walked out of the hospital unassisted.

Meanwhile, my own comatose patients back in the garage are patiently awaiting donated organs (well, purchased organs) to arrive on the motorcycle equivalent of a medical rescue helicopter (the UPS truck). Among other things.

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