Monday, August 5, 2013


In the Native American communities elders are venerated.   They are looked up to as being wise because of their years.  

I have always disagreed with this premise; believing that if you were stupid when you were young and stupid when you were middle age you are probably a stupid old person.  

I am the absolute proof of the proposition.   You would think after seventy plus years I would have learned from my mistakes.  

During my lifetime I have sheered bolts in oil pans, engine heads, carburetors, mufflers, and plumbing fixtures, and just about everything that has threads.  

Last year I decided to set the valves in my motorcycle.   My wife suggested I take it to the dealership and have it done.  I informed her that I had set the valves and timing in bunches of bikes and I was not going to pay someone to do what I was capable of doing.  

The black one is mine.  My wife in the jean jacket talking to the secretary of United Bikers of Maine

The job turned out to be bigger than I thought: I had to remove the seats, the tank some of the wiring and vacuum hoses just to get access to the heads.   I soldiered on removing the heads from a space barely big enough to admit a wrench.  I set the valves and remounted the heads; but on my last head bolt I gave it just one more turn.  

Yeah – I sheered off the bolt in the jug.  I ended up renting a trailer and transporting the bike forty miles to a dealer where they were able to remove the bolt, reset the timing and put the bike back together.   It was a hundred dollar fiasco, not counting the rental of the trailer.

Today I decided to change the oil in the bike.  My wife suggested I take it down to the local bike shop and have it done.   But, I am not going to pay someone to do what I can do. 

The drain plug is located at a position that you have to lift the front end just to get a wrench on the bolt.  After cursing Honda engineers I got the front end elevated on some 8x8 lumber and was able to drain the oil and change the filter.  I gave the drain plug just one more snug turn and felt it give…fearing I may have stripped the threads in the oil pan I backed it off and snugged it just close, checking there were no oil leaks.  Needing to check the oil level in the rear differential (the bike is direct drive) I unscrewed the nut – the oil was fine – and I replaced the filler bolt.   Just one more twist to make sure it is tight… and then swore: Shit, Fire and Molasses – God Damn Flatheaded Bastard…

The new bolt is costing me $25.00 with the O-ring, plus $10.00 shipping.  

Provided there are no leaks this season; next year I will have the local bike shop change the oil and act surprised when they have to retap the threads on the oil pan. 

Meanwhile, I have found that the brake light switch on the foot brake is not working and needs replacing.   And I am not going to pay someone to do what I can easily do. 

the Ol’Buzzard 


  1. You need to re-calibrate your elbow so it clicks at the proper torque!!

  2. I am not mechanically able to do shit! I have the stuff done; read a book while some knuckle-buster is having at it, and then pay them. I don't even wash the KIA - use a car wash instead!

    Thanks for a great post!


  3. Story of my life, too, but in Home Improvement. 30 minute job takes two days.


COMMENT: Ben Franklin said, "I imagine a man must have a good deal of vanity who believes, and a good deal of boldness who affirms, that all doctrines he holds are true, and all he rejects are false."