Monday, July 9, 2007

Down and Out...

This is an email I sent out to my mailing list:

Well, yesterday was about worst day ever. I'm not sure where I posted last, and I'm not updating the blog (I only have a few minutes while I wait for laundry).

My bike has been giving my problems. Over the last several days the idle has been not right. At one point the codes on the computer indicated the IAC was bad (the module that controls the idle air flow). No biggie. The bike ran mostly fine. Two evenings ago before stopping for the night the bike started running really poorly, even at speed. The idle was all over the place (high-low-high-low). We'll the group has been having a hard time putting the miles in and so we pushed forward. And I didn't want to be the one holding everyone up (mistake).

So yesterday we covered 400ish miles. The entire time my bike was fighting me. The power was surging all the time. At speed, 60+, it was manageable. At slow speeds it just plain sucked. And pulling over as many times as we do with the group, it became kinda hairy more then once. To say the least, I was in a rather pissy mood all day and didn't enjoy myself at all.

When the group finally got to a hotel here in Whitehorse (Yukon, Canada), I worked on the bike all evening and then again first thing this morning. I believe I have now found the culprit. The O2 sensor module's power supply connection was poor. The computer interprets no O2 sensor as rich, so it was trying to adjust by going way lean momentarily. When that wouldn't work it would go back to it's normal base map briefly. Hence the surging and high-low idle.

I fixed the bad connection this morning (Chuck - Remember the stupid connector that went on the fuse? Can I say I told you so? Well, it's now soldered on there). I don't have much faith in it at this point.

Also, there is VERY few gas stations with premium gas. Bruce (road captain) and I were talking this morning and we had both figured there would be a only handful of gas stations that wouldn't have premium gas. Why is this a problem you may be wondering... My engine has extremely high compression (>10.5:1), so I actually NEED premium gas. I've been adding octane booster, and at one point thought that was my problem yesterday.

So, I'll be stopping quite frequently today while on the road to check things over. I sent the group on ahead. I really wanted clean laundry and the group doesn't do well with stops. So, I'm on my own at this point. I have to make it to Tok, Alaska at some point because I had my cell phone shipped there (another stupid story). At this point I am seriously considering turning around once I get to Tok. I really am not having any fun and don't want to kill my bike just to say I made it to the Arctic Circle.

Sorry I don't have any cool pictures to share. I'm sure I took some (Buffalo in the street!). I'll keep everyone posted.


Cindy Dietz said...

Dan, you have had a hard day. I feel your pain man. You are right it is not worth tearing up the bike over. Sleep in tomorrow, Pack the bike, Look down the road and trust yourself and your ride to kick its ass. If you aren't having fun, slow it down. Stop and smell the roses, take the pictures you were missing with the group. Ride your own ride and have a good time. This is the adventure of a lifetime and you are prepared for it, just take it on in your own terms. Now is when the fun starts. AND YOU HAD BETTER CALL ME WHEN YOU COME THROUGH KC!!!
Take Care, Cindy

Gary said...

Hey, I hope your bike straightened itself out.
I agree with what Cindy says. Also, maybe a checkup at the Fairbanks H-D dealer before taking the haul road up if you decide to do that.


Joakim said...

I am holding my thumbs that your fix will make your bike work well again in order for you to get nice days in the saddle again!

Ninjacpa said...

Dan, hang in there bud! With all those miles behind you and at least that many ahead of you just to get home you really don't have any choice but to get the bike running right again and keep on riding! Be realistic in your expectations and set your goals accordingly. The group needs to be realistic as well and realize that problems such as yours were bound to come up. The group needs to adjust or leave the group and wing it on your own. You can do it man, don't let a bad day and a minor break-down spoil the great adventure you are on.

Mike Snyder

Chuck said...

I got a voicemail from Dan today. The problems with his bike are fixed. He has rejoined the group. It sounds like Bootie may be having some issues with his bike, I know that he's had some minor electrical issues. My guess is that they're related to the trailer wiring harness. If they can't be correctly repaired, hopefully he can just disconnect whatever is causing the problem.


dieselvette said...

I just returned from AK last weekend, I'm surprised we didn't cross paths with them somewhere around Dawson Creek.

Hey, Fairbanks isn't exactly paradise but everything around it is!

Anyways if you read this before heading up the Dalton:

travel light up to the Arctic Circle (leave as much stuff in Fairbanks as possible - including the trailer). And be prepared to patch some tires, however we had only 1 bad tire on 3 bikes and that wasn't a very good tire to begin with. Don't leave Fairbanks with a tire more than 1/2 worn or you'll probably get a rock through it. Good new tires should be OK. Run tires at about 30-35 psi. Carry spare gas. Good news is it's light out 24hrs so you have all day and all night to Git-er-Done. Road gets better as you go north of the Yukon, once you're past the Yukon you're basically home free.