I fought the clutch and the clutch won.
It has taken me a while to get this here text bashed into the mac, but in all fairness you just don't just smoothly jack off this kind of experience without some level of scar tissue, both mental and physical.
Y'all may remember sometime late last year I was bitching about the Iron pig and how the clutch had started to slip.
I had read all the "help me god, my clutch is slipping" threads on this forum and on the flyingbrick.de forum and I knew how to tighten things up a bit, however I was acutely aware that a do it myself clutch change would be a major undertaking, maybe even impossible, Slammer's way of dealing with motorbike trouble involves shaking chicken bones and poking it with a stick most vigorously until the problem goes away.
Using this method I had managed to bubble through the winter, taking it nice and easy and choosing roads that do not involve going up a hill with more than a 5% gradient, however a few weeks ago on the Autobahn I used up the good JuJu in one fell swoop, Slammer gets hisself into a situation where he needs to open the taps, engine roars and the pig slows down, not a good thing to happen if you are a few meters in front of a thirty ton lorry bearing down like a nuke, my only thought was "oh crap my piles" I was in real danger of becoming a granola bar of organic mush and bits of metal with "Made in Germany" stamped on them.
Clearly the fates were telling me that it was time to stop bullshitting myself and shop around for somebody who can change a clutch on the cheap.
I think the cheapest quote was for 1500 Franks and the most expensive one was quoted at 2500 Franks, nope, gonna have to bite the bullet and do it myself, I can use a screwdriver and a spanner but clearly this is a quantum leap from from my permanent struggle to simply open the gas tank.
The problem in Basel….! WHERE??
A friend of mine offered me the loan of his garage for as long as it takes, I was pretty thankful for that and In all fairness I tried, lord how I tried, I got to the bit where Iron Pig needs to be supported on the front wheel without a stand, I rigged a wooden block for support and tied the frame down with ratchet belts.
This guy is from the dark side and rides a Harley, a big, black bad-assed Harley full of shiny chrome and Aftermarket Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Parts and Accessories.
Now you may not believe this but Slammer sometimes gets visions, sometimes even without excessive consumption of alcohol, especially unsettling are the kind of "ouch this is gonna hurt" vision you get just seconds before you skewer your holding hand with the screwdriver that you are fumbling with in a inappropriate, non regulation manner.
My vision plainly showed Iron Pig falling of the makeshift block and banging into the Harley, knocking it over in a expensive manner, there would be no way a box of chocolates could say sorry enough, so I packed up and sulked for another week.
Big bad-assed black HD slumming it with the pig.
I asked around and was tempted to take a offer from st2lemans, one of the Englishforum's brethren in Lugano, however the attempt in the HD-guys pad showed that you really need the infrastructure of a well kitted out garage so there was only one way to do this.
Slammer's stepmom has a humongous house with a garage, that, if my brother's kids don't clutter it up with bicycles and toys and skateboards, can easily accommodate up to three cars and a lawnmower. There is also a top notch workshop with all the tools left over from from my father, some of them things we brought over from the UK over forty years ago, dad believed in good quality stuff.
And so it begins..!
It would make sense to nurse Iron Pig the four hundred and forty Kilometers to north of Augsburg, to a village in the middle of Schwäbisch-Kongo, a strictly "no bars" area with the map reference of "Here be ye Dragones," the village of Druisheim where I spent my early teens could have inspired Night Shyamalan to another crap movie.
Mom is, how can I say, 21st century challenged and the house and all technology in it are good old stuff that has been in use since 1980-odd, nowadays the village has electricity and they no longer eat their dead, more amazing still, dear brother has a computer in the house with the (and I quote) "window internet" running, however it takes over four minutes to open the forum's main page.
For mom, bless her socks, the internet is as alien as heck and could be in Klingon, she was quite surprised that I could access information at all hours of the day and that the internet doesn't have a closing time.
(Her words: "it's after ten is that internet thing still open?)
Different generation, defiantly a different generation.
I had arrived good friday and immediately started to strip the pig, I had all the bits I needed and was confident to succeed…
…Until I saw that the clutch plate, worn to the rivets, by the way, was covered in oil and clutch rubbings with the consistency of a well rolled ball of snot…
…The bastard had gone, the main seal between the engine and the clutch was leaking oil, bugger.
Sunday, shops shut.
Monday, shops shut
Tuesday, I get a train to Augsburg and the main BMW dealer for a new seal, silly Slammer gets only one which I promptly bash into a shape that defiantly would no longer work as a seal, it took me all of five minutes to ruin the bloody thing.
Split pig, oh the fun.
I now know why they charge so much for a clutch change on a LT by the way.
I order a new one while trying to kick myself, this meant ANOTHER trip to Augsburg, I had just gotten my shoes on, not had time to bind the laces, mom comes in:
"Slammer, next time you must repair your bike, have it done in a garage, even if it…" and her voice takes on a hushed tone of awe "costs two hundred Euros, tie your shoe laces you'll trip and hurt yourself!"
The very next day I take the train again to Augsburg, this time I buy three seals @ 22 Euros a pop from a sales guy who is openly enjoying hisself at my misfortune, grinning like a sadistic cheshire cat, he explains that they are the last ones and if I want any more it will take three to four days for them to restock.
And again, I wreck the next one don't I?
The next one I manage to bang in more or less spot on using the special tool I bought to remove the oil filter, a perfect fitting tool for banging in the bastard if I may say, only to find that the propshaft rubber ring thing is bust, a non standard part and not to be found in a DIY store, another train ride… of course, what else?
Thursday, back on the train to Augsburg, this time I hear the buggers at BMW laughing over me even before the door closes.
A three day job normally, four if you have had a spot of bad luck, had taken me eight days and I was ready to roll back to Basel on Saturday.
The good, the bad, the ugly.
TADAHHHH! The last screw.
A cold ride if I may inject here but it worked and I was happy as Larry, until the next day under the bike drip, drip, drip, I went as cold as the weather, FORNICATE, was the word I used, now it seems that the leak has stopped and I am willing to believe that the seal just needed to work it's way into a comfortable position, we will see after 5000 Kilometers max.