A Job Well Done – Tinker Talk 3

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. You should always strive to complete a job in its entirety the very first time it is attempted. We are all faced with the temptation to cut corners every now and then. Cutting these corners may save time and/or money but may often result in having to perform the job a second time. Let’s go over a few of these missteps that can easily lead you to redoing a job.

This fuel line belongs in the trash. The cracks are not quite all the way through but it would be a roll of the dice to reuse this.

Avoid reusing parts that should be thrown in the trash or scrap bin. Parts intended for one-time use should absolutely never be used a second time. Things such as gaskets, seals, snap rings or high torque fasteners are a few examples of things that should only be used once. Anything damaged or even in questionable condition should be replaced. Consider replacing any part that has had a lengthy service life or is approaching its wear limits, even if it may still be usable.

Do not skip a step in order to expedite the completion of the job. Take a moment to look up things such as the correct fluid capacities and torque specifications. Clean any parts you will be reusing prior to reinstalling them. Remove any stuck on gasket material from mating surfaces. If you expose a caged bearing, repack it. If you disconnect a cable, lubricate and adjust it.

Utilization of the proper tool for the job is essential. Minimize the use of “trap tools” such as impacts, power drills and adjustable wrenches. These tools may allow you to move through the job faster but their use can include severe consequences. Being lazy and zipping through everything with power or air tools increases the likelihood you will strip threads. A routine oil change can become a much more difficult job if you overtorque the drain plug and damage the fasteners within the oil pan or crankcase.

Always keep in mind that the diagnostic process can make or break an entire job. Take the time to conduct a thorough and efficient diagnosis. Do not just change out a part hoping it was the cause of the problem. Parts often cannot be returned once installed, especially electrical components. It is good practice to start with the simplest things then work up to the more complex ones. Going about a diagnosis in this manner will steer you away from overlooking something or fixing something that was never even a problem. You do not want to find yourself replacing an expensive electrical part when repairing a bad connection or broken wire was all that needed to be done.

Both of these breathers were as dirty as the one on the left when removed. It only took a few extra minutes to clean the breather on the right.

You may get away with taking a shortcut from time to time but eventually a shortcut will lead you to a dead end. Shortcuts are always a gamble especially when it comes to the maintenance of your motorcycle. I cannot stress the importance of avoiding the shortcuts covered in this article enough. In fact, if I ever write something to the effect of “10 Commandments of Tinkering” the content you have read here will certainly show up.

Tinker, Shred, Destroy, Repeat