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My bike died! - Tina Marie's Ramblings
Red hair and black leather, my favorite colour scheme...
My bike died!
I've got a 2001 Buell Blast, with just over 5200 miles on it. This afternoon (94F in Houston), I was riding the 30 miles home from the soaring club. I thought the bike sounded funny, but nothing I could put my finger on. I wrote it off as the tires, which are in terrible shape and scheduled to be replaced next weekend. Since I'd scheduled it to go to the shop on Saturday, I figured whatever this funny noise was could wait.

Well, it couldn't. Halfway home, on 290 just south of 1960, it made a strange noise, the oil pressure light came on, and I started losing power. I immediately killed the engine and coasted to the side of the road. There was oil all over the front of the cylinder, and around the top of the sides of the cylinder. Looking in the dipstick hole just got me a face full of smoke.

The good news is that it isn't seized. It'll turn over, but not run. I suspect no compression. That expensive synthetic oil just paid for itself. I called the boyfriend (still on crutches from wrecking his Valkyrie), and said, "The Buell just died. I'm 5 minute from the airport. Who's there that can help me?". Lenny and Dotsie were close, and they brought the pickup over. When they got there, someone else stopped (a mechanic from the local Harley shop), and we lifted it into the truck easily. We took it over to Eagle Cycles (the people scheduled to replace the tires on Saturday) and left it. They're closed until Tuesday, but I'll call them Tuesday morning.

No warranty - Harley gives a 2-year, unlimited miles warranty, which is now of course well expired. I suspect it overheated and cracked the head. I don't know why. I last checked the oil yesterday morning, and it was fine.

It certainly picked the right spot to die - 5 minutes from the airport, 10 minutes from the shop, on a major freeway. In 15 minutes of standing there, 3 people stopped to help (not counting my friends).

I'm going to miss it if it's dead. :(

(cross-posted to motorcycles)

Current Mood: worried worried

7 comments or Leave a comment
alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: June 11th, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
It may just chime up once properly cooled - perhaps the overheating caused a stuck valve before it did anything worse?
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: June 11th, 2006 10:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
No, I tried to start it half an hour later - it starts but won't run. Sounds like it has no compression. :(
alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: June 11th, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Still could be a stuck valve - you won't get any compression with one of those. I know about that because I had one stick on take off once, but I was only at 50 ft. with 4000 feet of runway to go so it wasn't too terrible!
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: June 11th, 2006 11:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
Stuck valves don't leak oil all over the outside of a cylinder. Something's broken. Best case would only be a head gasket. I don't think there's any way I'm lucky enough to have escaped with only a stuck value.
alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: June 12th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh well, perhaps you better hope it's just a blown head gasket - that'll cause oil to leak and compression to be lost. (And on a water cooled engine, often a nice jet of steam coming out from between the head and the cylinder).
skywhisperer From: skywhisperer Date: June 12th, 2006 07:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
That would have been highly unpleasant, given the relative proximity of my bare legs.
alioth1 From: alioth1 Date: June 12th, 2006 07:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeowch, yes.

I had a blown head gasket in a boat a couple of years ago. The engine is of course in an engine room (well, more of an engine bay on this boat, because it's a small fast boat). The engine, an OMC V6, wasn't doing too good, so I took a look under the hatch. There was indeed quite a considerable jet of steam coming out of the side between the block and the head. The engine mutted out shortly afterwards, and we ran aground before we could get the anchor out. Not many boat trips where you have to get out and push!

We ended up going back to the jetty powered by a tiny Evinrude 9.9 horsepower outboard motor. The thing was screaming at full power, pushing the boat along at about 3 knots with a massive trail of cavitation behind the tiny propellor.

Anyway, after years of procrastination, there's a new engine in the boat and it gets lowered in this week. Perhaps it'll be in Castletown Harbour within the month.
7 comments or Leave a comment