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I agree. I am sure that most of us who work on our own bikes have made plenty of dumb mistakes (we won't talk about how many times I have accidently flipped the kill switch while working on it, only to tear everything apart trying to figure why it wouldn't start when I was done). However, it sounds like he has already identified the most likely cause -- has spacers reversed -- so I might have thought that having determined that, even an inexperienced wrench might have tried fixing that first?
 

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I keep a 25-year-old RD400 piston on my desk as a reminder not to trust the supposed experts. Said piston has a large hole in the top, because the local Yamaha dealer (now out of business -- surprise!) replaced my one range colder than standard plugs with one range hotter, when I brought my mildly tweaked RD400 cafe racer in for a routine tune-up. Made less than 20 miles before it seized up.



Since then, I have done more of my own work, and made sure to get referrals for dealers or other shops for whatever work I NEED to outsource. Just like with your family doctor, you do need to find one you can trust so he/she is there when you need it.



Certainly, when you have a bad experience at the dealer, particularly if it is not satisfactorily resolved, you should take your business elsewhere and let everyone else know. Let the marketplace weed out the underperformers.



Bob
 

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Digital cameras are a great idea. I used to use a polaroid, but that was costly enough that I didn't get as many shots as I should.



This is especially important when there will be a time lag between dissassembly and reassembly (unfortunately, my work schedule dictates that sometimes it is a couple of weeks before I can reassemble). It is amazing how quickly you can forget little details (or maybe it is just senility on my part).



I also agree with getting more than one manual if possible. Often, one will have better illustrations, while another has better text.



For me, doing much of my own work is as much a matter of personal pride as it is any issue with the quality of the work. Much like feeding, bathing, changing diapers for your infant child is a major factor in parental bonding with your child, that will continue for a lifetime, I find that my relationship with my motorcycles is affected. When I have played a major role in maintaining and modifying my own motorcycle, it is no longer just a piece of machinery -- it is really MINE.



Bob
 

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The others have addressed Leno. I do agree that not everyone has the ability, time, or facilities to do his/her own work. Not doing your own work does not mean you are not an enthusiast, just like hiring a nanny to raise your own kids does not necessarily make you a bad parent.



Doing at least SOME of your own work does seem to give one a closer feel for his/her bike. Even if it is just simple things like oil changes, etc. Maybe it is just me.



Bob
 
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