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Servicing - Do it yourself?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' started by Marx, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Do you service & work on your bike at home?
    Are there things you are comfortable in doing, & other things that you will never consider doing?
    Do you have more confidence in your own workmanship than a qualified professional when it comes to mechanical work on your bike.
    Have you been let down ,or had previous bad experiences with mechanical work on your bike in the past?

  2. So far my "servicing at home" is limited to oil change only. I'm working on that though. Ideally, I'd like to do all my own work.
  3. My main reason for DIY is personal enjoyment/satisfaction.

    Next reason is avoiding price gouging

    Next reason is I actually give a fcuk unlike the first year apprentice

    Next reason when I do the work I know it was done, and done properly

    Finally the work gets done on my schedule not someone else's with out the hassle of dropping off and picking up.
    • Agree Agree x 7
    • Like Like x 1
  4. 100% of what iclint said
  5. Most. (Am qualified mechanic - that helps.) However, as I haven't the space for a bike lift etc, it is limited to the more minor tasks. Things like swing arm pivots, head stem bearing - these will need to be done at the dealership. Everything that can be done with the bike on the centre stand though - great way to get to know your bike, know the job is done right, and awesome way to forget about the sh!t that went on during the week.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. Do all my own servicing/modifications (and a few close friends' bikes too) knowing people who work in bike shops and a professional welder also helps. Currently looking at purchasing a bike lift to make the job just that bit more easier.:)

    Like Tas man, being a qualified mechanic has paid off and has saved me heaps of $$$ over the years, every now and again I might purchase a special tool, spending time working on your bike gives you the chance to get to know it a little better and you would spot that loose/worn or broken bit that might need attention, saving you trouble while out in the middle of nowhere.

    Needless to say, I have full confidence in my workmanship, I know the work has been done and done properly and I actually enjoy spending the time doing it:D
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Only I bring my mortorcycle to mechanic to hear their opinion and advice. otherwise all have been done myself.
  8. Being more of a bike builder - restorer, and detailer, I can do all my own servicing, tune ups, including two stroke top end rebuilds. I don't have the experience to dive into gearboxes or four stroke top ends, never really had the need to yet. I would leave that serious stuff for the more experienced, friends or a mechanic. I've had a few engines rebuilt by shop mechanics, never had a problem, as long as your clear on what you want done, and thoroughly check there work.
  9. Four strokes aren't that difficult. As you know it's just making sure your measurements are right. But then again was a diesel fitter for a long time. Many engine rebuilds
  10. I've always done as much as possible myself with only warranty repairs being sure to go to the shop. Since I haven't had a new bike in over twenty years, that's not often.

    Totally agree with what iClint said.
  11. Just bought my first bike, had been sitting for a few years and I've replaced the fuel and vacuum lines, fuel tap/petcock due to old fuel and perishing rubber. Changed the oil, put in new battery etc. Will replace blinker fuse, and anything else it needs for rego. I'm capable and comfortable doing stuff like this, but I'm no mechanic. Will take it to a shop for serious work, but only after I've googled it and think its too hard to tackle myself.
  12. On the other hand I am mechanically inept but ept enough at other things to be able to afford to take it to a mechanic for pretty much anything more complex than adjusting the chain. Only use dealers if its likely to be a warranty issue but do use a qualified mechanic.
  13. I'm no mechanic, but have rebuilt heads and manual transmissions on cars. I leave motorcycle internals to mechanics. There is no way I could press apart a crank to replace a big end bearing on a single, never mind reassemble it, though they are so simple in theory.

    The mechanics don't always get it right. I had a a shift fork problem (bent) that was caused by over-enthusiastic reassembly of a gearbox. On them to replace. I had to laugh once, when I found my shift linkage reassembled backwards, giving me an upside down pattern. Again, for them to fix. I was annoyed once when they tossed a resettable circuit breaker with a fuse, after cutting it off short (it couldn't be re-used as a result). Turns out, they didn't know what it was. This is not confidence inspiring.

    Apart from engine/gearbox internals, I pretty much do whatever there is to do. I like having a real good look over my bike from time to time. Last set of fork seals, I had them do, as I wanted them to look at the wear parts. Good value. They spotted an emerging issue which will be best sorted by a suspension specialist. Not urgent, but will need to spend the dosh and travel to get it done.

    I appreciate the expertise and am prepared to pay for it when it is needed. There is a list of things which is simply beyond my knowledge, skills and tool set. The key for this to work, is in knowing where to draw the line or stop when things get tricky.

    It's not a bad philosophy to have a low value (or second) bike which you are prepared to make mistakes on. You'd be surprised what you can do yourself at times.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  14. Could not put it better myself!
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. No professional has ever touched any of my bikes. The only thing I've ever farmed out is tyre fitting to loose wheels because it's an unpleasant job without a machine, it doesn't cost much and it's easy enough to see whether it's been done properly. Even then, there's at least one shop who will never again get my business after they put a tyre on the wrong way round and then lied to me about it, also failing to do the balancing I'd asked for.

    Oh yes, I didn't used to do machining work either (rebores etc.) as it's not really possible to do it without suitable equipment. However now I own a big lathe and something that at least looks like a milling machine so, if I needed to, I'd have a shot at a rebore on something simple.

    I'm not a qualified mechanic but I have been twirling my own spanners on an amateur basis for more than 30 years. Poverty, desperation and an inflated idea of my own abilities has led me to have a crack at pretty much any job and you know what? Most of the time I've been successful. Given all the dangerous bodges I've seen perpetrated by trained "professionals", I'm going to keep doing what I do.

    I'll admit that, these days, I'm pretty well equipped to tackle most things but it wasn't always thus. It's surprising what can be done at the side of the road with a grotty Chinese toolkit and a bit of lateral thought.
  16. So far I've just had mechanics do my servicing, but I do want to pick up the skills to do it myself. Don't currently have a garage or shed, though, which makes it a bit hard to do much :(.

    Working on the forks using a centrestand is actually doable, just need to tie/weight the rear down so the see-saw stays the way you want it. Preferable to have a friend about the place to keep a hand on it if you're going to be hitting stuff, though :p. Maybe even rest the front on something solid (tip it up, slide whatever under).

    Headstem bearings are also doable; something like this (a bit of tubing [preferably aluminium] and a hacksaw is cheaper ;)) makes life a lot easier. The lower bearings can be a pain, but a vice, a hammer, and some care are about all you need. The old racers come in handy for getting the new ones in, too.

    TL;DR: A lot of things can be worked around if you're willing to do things not quite the right way :whistle:.
  17. Well, yes, a great deal of the 30+ years I mentioned has been spent learning what it is possible to get away with. A proportion of the rest has been spent learning to deal with the result when it turns out that it isn't :D.
  18. Yeah, the line between "not quite right" and "wrong" can be a bit hard to see sometimes...

    But it's always a learning experience, either way :p.
  19. On second hand/out of warranty bikes I'll do the basics (oil change, chain tension, etc) myself. Anything more it goes to a mechanic.

    There's a few reasons for this.

    1. I lack the tools to do more.
    2. I lack the skills (interest) to do more.

    3. I work on the theory that if I do it and fcuk it up then it's my problem and my cost. If a mechanic does it and fcuks it up, it's his problem and his cost....
  20. Mick, that is the first time in a long while that I have seen someone admit they know where their mechanical skills start and finish. Kudos to you mate.