Pre travel stress


The 1,400 miles to Flagstaff didn’t do the Yamaha a lot of good. In a sense it was a successful test ride, because we discovered some problems, but it’s obvious that the bike isn’t ready for the trip yet.
Very early on during our trip to the south we noticed that there was something wrong with the rear suspension. When I was sitting on the fully loaded bike, and deliberately moved the seat up and down, we could hear the bearings and collars whimpering greaselessly. From underneath the luggage came an asthmathic wheezing. ‘Mmm…not good’, is Anne’s short and worried conclusion. He promises that, as soon as we are back in Boulder, he’ll give the rear suspension a thorough inspection.

But there is more. A few days after our return, Anne wants to show our guest from the Netherlands all the cool motorcycle trails around Boulder. But somewhere halfway Flagstaff Road, the Yamaha decides to just give up and die. They can kick-start as much as they want, but the engine remains silent. Revenge for the monster trip to Arizona maybe? I guess we’ll never know.
It is very hard for me not to get a little stressed over this. With just one week to go, my means of transportation is reduced to a motorcycle that sends -one- spark to the engine and then stops altogether.
The problem is electrical, that much is obvious. But what can it be? These kinds of complications are very hard to solve, because you can’t simply take a peek inside the wiring harness and see what the problem is. The only thing to do is testing and trying to discover what the cause may be. Sometimes these problems appear to have solved themselves, but then it often means you’re in even bigger trouble; it is never clear if the problem is really solved in some magical way, or that you are riding on a kind of electrical time-bomb that can stop working any moment.

Fortunately , our guest from the Netherlands holds a PhD in electrical engineering. Striking, to say the least. Together with Anne and our helpful neighbor Jon he voluntarily spends a few hours of his vacation in our garage, multimeter in hand.
The three of them decide to use Anne’s XT as a donor bike. When they presume a certain problem, they take off the part from Anne’s bike and use it on mine. This way, one after the other possible cause is excluded. Like three experienced surgeons they keep getting closer to the electrical heart of the motorcycle. Deeper and deeper they dig in the aluminum and steel armor of the bike and eventually they reach the stator of the generator. Here they see what the culprit is: one of the wires that lead to the ignition generator coil is stuck behind the coil and the isolation is slightly damaged by 25 years of vibrations. It is easily fixed with some gasket maker and a few minutes later, life is kicked back into the bike.
One problem solved, one to go…