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There is a time when the admirable thing to do is to admit defeat and pay a professional to restore domestic tranquility.



At least it wasn't an Alfa Romeo. Good luck running down to the dealer to source a missing widget.
 

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LOL



Were you following the directions in the Hayes manual for this project? Do whatever you have to do to get rid of this piece and buy any model Jeep or Honda vehicle. They are reliable and dead-simple to work on. A Honda, in fact, can be almost entirely dissasembled piece-by-piece with a phillips screwdriver, a socket wrench, and 10 and 12mm sockets.



I can't put my finger on it but there's got to be some kind of cultural difference between German and American common-sense engineering. American cars are easy in my opinion, and I'm sure Germans think their cars are logically assembled, but there's a crossing of wires somewhere between the two.
 

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Good Stuff, Burns!



Now I see why you have been ignoring our repeated requests for an update on the head bolts -- you were working on this story. Well worth the wait.



The story reminds me a lot of my misguided attempt to work on an old Alfa Romeo Gulietta Spider. Every time I turned around, I encountered some odball tool requirement or something that was done totally differently from anything else I had ever seen. As I recall, the ending was not so different either -- except in my case, the car just sat parked on the street until someone called to offer to buy it and my wife insisted I take the ridiculous offer, just to get the damned thing out of there.



Just to show that I am a slow learner, I bought 2 Fiats and a Ducati since then!
 

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There there, Johnny, you put up a brilliant effort...

But it was you against a thousand German engineers who were bolstered by innumerable mercenary marketeers and salespeople.



Sure you could've licked any one of them - hell, any ten of them. But all of them?



Oh well, you've gained some character out of the deal. Now get on your bike and ride!



...and while you're riding, how about a naked bike shootout? :)
 

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I always have the 20 lb sledge handy in case the other tools and me mess up the job sufficiently. Damn sounds like one of my projects, where you want to cry and smash the living crap out of the vehicle at the same time. JB I feel your pain.
 

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Gotta love the 'Percussive Maintenance Implement" - the good ol' fix-it hammer! It'll make your intermittent problem no longer intermittent!
 

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I used to carry a big rock in the trunk of my MG to "unstick" the start bendix that randomly decided to freeze whenever I was in a hurry to get somewhere. On a car that simple, a hammer would be overkill... except to take off the wheels, that is.
 

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Re: I love that moment

Where you realize you've just gotten way too deep into a mechanical project and it's too late to turn back...frustration and distemper rolled into one.

Really I love it.

Sure do.

Yep.

It's why God invented alcohol. For me at least...
 

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Been there bought a Honda afterward. My Dad still loves to fiddle and is patient with his fine GM products. Like Longride he works on everything he can. He remembers fondly his 67 Impala. Simple and sweet. Although he was going to get a BMW but Mom talked him out of it. Never to generalize I say that American products are simpler but cheap, have poor fit and finish, and have inferior designs sometimes. But look cool. German products are overengineered . Japanese cars and motorcycles are the best thing that happened to the world in the 20th Century. Never buy a Beemer or Benz when you can buy an Accura. My Accura Integra had 130,000 miles on it when I got rid of it. 0 problems. Bought a Chevy Blazer what a peice of junk, in the shop every 2 months, sold it 2 years latter for a Honda Accord.
 

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Bikes, that seen to run forever....all have one thing in common.....

1988 Harley FLHS, 173,000 miles, I don't work on it (except for pitifully simple crap)

2000 BMW K1200LT, 75,000 miles, I don't work on it (not even the simple crap, it's German! Nothing is simple...)

2003 Harley FLHTI 7,000 miles, I ain't gonna work on it because of the two above! (except of pitiful simple crap - after the warranty runs out)



Cars? I do have more kids than will fit in the sidecar (it goes on the '88 Harley)...

1996 Dodge Intrepid, 95,000 miles, I don't work on it,

1997 Dodge mini-van, 96,000 miles, wife won't let me work on it....smart lady....



Why don't I work on them? Well, because of the 1969 Dodge Dart Swinger 340 I worked on, the 1982 Harley FXR that I worked on, the 1961 Studebaker Lark that I worked on, the 1964 VW Bus (the only vehicle that I wished I never sold, no I don't really know why) that I worked on to death.....that all cost me a collective small fortune paying someone to fix my screwups! Lots cheaper if they just wouldn't have had to repair the damage that I did (like the easy outs needed to extract messed up bolts.....)



But at least I have never been stupid enough to buy an +10 year old high mileage Mercedes, not to even mention working on one..... ;-)



Like we say in the BMW Riders Association, one must KNOW YOUR LIMITS.....



Burnsie, just get a hold of some of your favorite intoxicant, get away from the kids and just get f***ed up, before Maurice calls you, and ruins the buzz.



James Allmond

Macon, Ga
 

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Not really picking on you, KPaul (well, just a little bit), but anyone who would recommend an Accura as a superior choice to a BMW either has not driven a BMW or is missing the "enthusiast driver" gene.



I have nothing at all against Honda cars -- I have owned 3 and my parents also owned three. I traded a Honda for a BMW, which I then (several years later) traded for a Honda Prelude. This was in pre-traction control days, and my reason for trading the BMW is that it was not worth sh!t in the snow, and I was moving to Switzerland.



The Prelude is probably one of the most sporting, driver-friendly Honda cars made (except for the S2000) but it still does not have the wonderful car-driver interface that even less expensive German cars have (eg VW Golf).



Don't get me wrong, the German cars are a pain in the ass to work on (I gave up on anything more than changing plugs and oil), but for driving enjoyment, they are far more satisfying. Not for nothing that BMW claim to be "The Ultimate Driving Machine."



Having said that, of all the cars I have owned, the most satisfying from a pure driving pleasure perspective were the Fiat X-1/9 (an oversized shifter cart) and my wife's Mazda Miata.



And this is the giving you sh!t part -- I would say that someone who trades a Blazer for an Accord must not have had a clue what he was looking for in a car!

;-)



Regards

Bob
 

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The most difficult car I've ever worked on is my moms '76 Saab 99 GL, I swear that sum' bich hates me. Most of the stuff I've done on it is basic maintainance and upkeep but I can't touch the damn thing without leaveing a little blood (knuckle) sacrifice. Ever cut yourself changing oil? or lighbulbs? I get within 10 feet of it with a wrench and it's at me like Christine. My dads '89 Range Rover is a peice'o' cake compared to the Saab, that's why I stick oil, filter's and brake pads on my Ranger and my wifes Altima, just about anything else and they go to the shop, I still do all the work on my bike though.
 

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Always remember that if 6 bolts are more than enough to mount a flange to an engine... then Mercedes engineers will use twelve.



Seriously, I've successfully rebuilt a fair number of engines for motorcycles and cars that ran perfectly fine afterwards. So I was little prepared for the nightmare that was that 1975 Mercedes 240D that my wife wanted so badly.



Incredibly complex and in many ways silly engineering. For example, the heater/AC blower motor went out. The new one costs $300. I discovered the hard way that the Germans place the dash assembly in the car before they put on the windshield. The dash will NOT come out without pulling the windshield... unless you carefully break the plastic on the side of the dash. You can carefully put it back so that no one is any the wiser. By the way the new blower motor began to scream "my bearing is going" only a year later.



Another joy was the turn signal switch unit. A new one was $120. Easily replaced, the left turn detent failed within 3 months on the new one. German electrical stuff is often crap. As are VDO instruments.



One of the bolts that holds one of the pumps goes into the block into a oil gallery. It also has a tendency to work loose. It fell out once and two quarts of oil pumped out within 200 feet. Fortunately I caught it before the oil level dropped to a catastrophic level (Rebuilt MB 240D motors run about $4500).



I found a local old German guy named Henry who worked on Mercedes, BMWs, VWs and Subarus out of the messiest shop you've ever seen. Everything was covered with a thin coating of old oil (including Henry). He did great work at 1/3 the cost of the local dealership. Even worse than the dealership was a factory approved MB repair shop that was run by the most arrogant staff I've ever come across.



Henry always chuckled when I raised my eyebrows at the costs of maintenance. "Don't complain, you could own a BMW!", he'd laugh. "$600 for a new starter."



The MB was great in many ways, excellent handling for a 4000 lb car (the weight on front and rear axles is almost identical). Turning radius was unbelievable for a car that size. Very comfortable on long trips. It was just a black hole of maintenance and repair costs.



My experiences taught me that "German engineering" is extremely overrated. (Well, actually the motor is built by Volvo, but don't tell anyone.) They do some things well, but in other areas their engineering is abysmal. Just like everybody else.
 

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The Toad
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Uh, Abe? Where on Earth do you find these reliable jeeps? My experiences place them amongst the worst... except maybe the older CJ series.





Your comment of crossed wires is spot on. German cars horribly over complex in my experience. I'd swear they are ordered by management to make the cars as user-unfriendly as possible. Except for the old beetles my experiences with German car maintenance are nightmares.
 

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Everyu problem in this world can be solved with the judicious use of high explosives.



And there is no better candidate for said explosives than a 1975 Fiat 850 Spyder. Or maybe a Renault Dauphine.
 

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I can remember needing a special allen wrench (different number of sides, or something) to remove the head bolts on my son's BMW. I have all the american and metric; this was something different. And I needed ANOTHER special allen for the exhaust header. We should have bombed them back into the Stone Age when we had the chance.
 

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"And this is the giving you sh!t part -- I would say that someone who trades a Blazer for an Accord must not have had a clue what he was looking for in a car!

;-)" Moving to Seattle, getting married, etc...



 

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Re: VW Golf?

Are you serious? VW Golfs consistently are mediocre drivers cars. A Civic CRX Si is a driver's car. Ditto the newer Civic Si. An Acura Integra (try the Type R) is a wonderful machine, as its offspring the RSX. I believe that none of the roundel machines comes close to a S2000 much less an NSX.

Please don't buy the marketing hype behind the spinning propeller; conversely, Hondas aren't all CR-Vs and Accords.

Porsche on the other hand...the 911 is perhaps the quintessential sports car.
 
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