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Still Bitching After All These Years

Okay, I'm not done.

I got to work this morning and there was smoke coming from underneath and behind the seat of my motorcycle. Not a lot, but a little. And it smelled very, very faintly of burning plastic.

I looked underneath but could see nothing cracked, broken or melted. I could see nothing sticking to the hot exhaust pipe, I could see nothing out of the ordinary except a really, really lot of gnats stuck to the underside of the mud guard.

I lifted the seat where the fuse box and wiring are. There was nothing out of the ordinary there either. The wiring looked fine, there was nothing melted or hot smelling.

The smoke dissipated after about two minutes, but left me feeling angry and afraid. I talked to the guys at work who seemed to think that it's nothing about which to worry. "Oh, it's just a zip tie or a bit of plastic bag that got caught on your tailpipe." "It might be an exhaust leak that's heating up some plastic." The consensus was that I will not die if I continue to ride it, despite that little inner voice I have that is telling me "It's suicidal to drive a vehicle that is issuing smoke from any part therein."

Well, that's fine. Except that the last time something bad happened, first I complained to pirateguillermo and he dismissed it as nothing. Then I insisted that we take it to the shop where they drove it around the block one time, pronounced that "nothing was wrong with it," and sent me on my way. Two days later I drove it to work and ended up stranded on the freeway. I was furious at pirateguillermo, furious at the shop, furious at men in general who think that if you are not a certified mechanic, you are a moron.

Is that how it's gonna be? Is it? 'Cos if that's how it's gonna be, somebody's going to end up sorry. And I can tell you right now, it's someone else's turn.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 6th, 2004 02:15 pm (UTC)
Smoke coming from any part of your engine is on the not good list, as you've pointed out and the whole 'plastic bag in the tail pipe' is likely horse manure. If you have the same problem going home, I'd definitely get it looked at. If at all possible, I'd try another shop, though. If it's a Honda, hubbydude had fairly good luck with the Honda shop on Camden, near 17. This was, of course, about 8 years ago, however.

Good luck with the bike and figuring out what's going on.
Jul. 6th, 2004 05:24 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm feeling a little better. I did ride home at lunchtime and checked it out at leisure. It turns out that the problem I had earlier, the problem where it would lose power when I eased off the throttle to the point where it would just stall, and this problem, are related.

It appears that there is a leak in the exhaust. This leak is causing the engine to lose the backpressure necessary to run correctly and it's also burning the plastic trim on the side. pirateguillermo thought that we could mend it with muffler tape, but my friend the engineer said no, that wasn't a good idea. It would be better to have it welded and best to replace it completely.

Okay. I feel like I'm being taken seriously. I feel better.
Jul. 6th, 2004 07:11 pm (UTC)
I'm rather skeptical about less back pressure causing an engine to run rough enough to die. At least any standard 4-stroke gasoline engine. It might put things off a bit, but not too much. In fact, the earlier comment you made about something with vacuum hoses seemed more plausable. Also, if that bike has an evaporative emissions canister, that could cause temporary trouble running if the fuel tank is overfilled. (I'm not sure how long California has been requiring/encouraging those on new bikes.)

As for smoke? Exhaust leak or something electrical, I'd guess. I'd not believe any explanation until actually seeing actual visible evidence of an exhaust leak or burned/heat damaged parts. :)
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )