Monday, September 18, 2017

Mechanical Mission

I am not a mechanic.  I understand how some mechanical things work and have just enough knowledge (knowledge <> skills) to be dangerous.  But I'm keen...

With the Concours just having celebrated a big birthday and it finally due to get some exercise it was time to give it some loving.

The first job I completed a week ago and that was easy (having done it a few times), replacing the air filter.  I also had intended to dive into the big job of changing the plugs but ran into an issue with a damaged fairing bolt that I couldn't move and didn't want to totally destroy.  A trip over to the old man's shed sorted that pretty quickly.

And so, on Sunday it was time to start removing tupperware (and a lot of other stuff) to go in search of the plugs.

It begins...
 Dad and I had done this job about 60,000km ago and I knew from that experience that it wasn't easy.  There is a motor (and what a motor) under all that plastic and other stuff.

Nope, can't get my mitt in there yet...
All sorts of stuff needs to be removed or pulled aside.  You cannot just remove the tank (like a lot of bikes) as the airbox is basically built into the frame and the area between the top of the motor and the frame/air box is tiny.

The RHS is a bit easier and you see the donk sooner
When we first did the job we couldn't get any of Dad's spark plug removal tools in anywhere near the plugs and sat around for a while scratching our heads trying to work out how we were going to perform the operation.

In the end I decided to check the bike toolkit and low and behold there was a special tool in there which has a joint in it to allow you to get it in under the frame and drop it down the plug hole.  It can then be turned by a ratchet and then skinny hand (don't have one of those BTW).  I tried to show how little room there is in the pictures below - tricky to get a decent picture.

This picture appears to show more room than there actually is...

Anyway, with a lot of perseverance and holding my tongue the right way I eventually got the first plug out and a new one in.  That was a nice bit of encouragement with just three to go...

I did 3, 4, 2 and then 1 with 4 being the easiest followed by 1 and 3.  Number 2 was definitely the most awkward.

Anyway, by lunchtime (I think I started just before 10) I had the plugs in and half of the bike back together.  Another half an hour or so in the afternoon had the rest of the bike back together - and yes, I fired her up before putting everything back together just in case I'd made a blue.

Here's a comparison of an old #3 and its replacement.  Mechanics out there (Dad) will be able to diagnose all sorts of things from the colour etc, I can't.  I hope the old girl is still in good health...

An untrained eye sees some carbon build-up...
After buttoning things up I took her for a wee pootle into town to pick up some oil and I reckon she felt like she was enjoying the new plugs.

Maintenance not quite finished for the day, the hot oil was dropped out and replaced along with some more fresh oil for the final drive.

Now all she needs is a warrant of fitness...


  1. I did the plugs on my old R1 with Dad's help as well. We had the same issues as you. How the hell do they come out, oh yes the special tool, how the hell do I get my hand in there?
    Tip: blow out the plug hole with compressed air before undoing the plug in case there are any small rocks or dirt in there that can fall into the top of the engine.
    I'm sure there must have been a few choice words muttered under your breath trying to fit into those small spots. I know I did.

    1. Yep, the compressor was put to use before plug removal.

      I kept the volume up on the radio...

    2. Yep way to go, gotta keep friendly with the neighbours

    3. They're still getting over the Aussie invasion...

  2. Yep, holding one's tongue at just the right angle is usually the deciding factor.

    As to the Japanese manufacturer habit of embedding regularly changed wear items such as filters as deep as possible within the engine/ comment. The V-Strom was just as bad in terms of air filter replacement.

    1. Hi Dom, I didn't find the air filter too bad on the V-Strom, it's probably easier accessed than the Connie's one. Looking back at my write-up on the job the tricky bit was the fuel line connection to the tank.

      At least plugs last a while these days...

  3. It's amazing what you can do if you're methodical and don't let it overwhelm you. I'm a pretty crap mechanic to be honest, but replacing the exhaust valve in my C90 was pretty interesting. The satisfaction I got when it fired up was unreal!
    Keep the blogs coming.


    1. Thanks Mike. Don't think I've be going anywhere near the exhaust valves on the Connie....