Troubleshooting Moto Parts – What Causes Issues and How to Solve Them
Starting from the late 1800s and onwards, motorcycles have advanced a lot, from hydraulic forks and multi-cylinder engines to ABS braking, RBW throttling and electronic fuel injection. All these fancy terms and more, have made motorcycles more sophisticated than ever, both on paper and on the road. With so much functionality on board, problems are bound to occur and it is often the main components that are being affected the most.
If your headlights aren’t working at all, check for blown out fuses or damage to the bulb itself, if both are in a bad state just replace them. Today’s moto parts can easily be replaced, which is the case even if the plastic around the plug and bulb is burnt or cracked.
Reading the voltage on the battery can help you save a headlight that dims or one that has fuses blowing out frequently. The voltage readings should be 12-13 volts, otherwise you should replace the battery.
When the headlight doesn’t turn on together with the bike, changing the relay can be a potential fix. You can also check the wiring in the back of the headlight, as sometimes they can be damaged or have parts of them exposed.
The wattage of the bulb can be way off, so make sure you compare it to the manufacturer’s guidelines. If it doesn’t have the correct wattage, the headlight won’t turn on.
1. Prep you motorcycle on a flat and stable surface held in place by a kickstand or a mate. This way you will prevent the motorcycle from falling on the ground when you are going to be twisting on the front of the motorcycle.
2. According to the manufacturer’s manual, unfasten the bolts and screws – that will allow you to access the headlight assembly. Once you have all the required fasteners out, place them in a visible place on the ground in the order you took them out. It’s best that you put them on a piece of paper so you don’t misplace them.
3. Next, you need to remove the coupling barriers or covers that your old headlight may have and carefully disconnect the bulb. If you are not able to do this easily, hold the bulb tight around the base and try to loosen it. Inspect and clean the socket for any residue and insert the new bulb in place.
4. Replace the coupling and headlight cover in the same way you removed them and tighten the bolts/ screws. Once that is done test the new headlight.
If your engine is responding poorly and the acceleration is noticeably reduced, you most likely have a sagging chain. Another sign of this is the rattling noise coming from the chain cover and the chain itself, which means that it’s time you bring it back in shape.
1. Take a look at the swinging arm to find out the correct amount of drive-chain slack or like with other moto parts, check the owner’s manual. Turn the engine off, put the motorcycle on its side or centre stand and put the transmission in neutral.
2. Next, find the chain’s middle point, between the rear and front sprockets. Push the bottom of the chain up and check the distance between the lower (full-slack) and upper (no-slack) position. For street bikes these moto parts thee need to be 30-40mm, but for dirt bikes you’ll need 35-50mm.
3. In order to adjust the chain, you’ll need to loosen the axle nut with a couple of turns. Make sure you make the same adjustment on each side of the swinging arm – adjust with a quarter turn at a time. Remember to tighten the axle nut back to its correct torque level when done.
Poor braking and too much free play on the brake lever/pedal means that you need to adjust the brake cables. To do this, first find the cable end in the lever, pull on the outer cable and place it on the adjuster lock nut. After that, release the lever, pull again on the outer cable and slip it inside the adjuster.
Screw the adjuster so that you have 12mm of free play before the lever begins to bind. You should be able to apply maximum pressure with your hand past the 90 degree angle.
Dirty brake pads can also lead to poor performance and if you have ridden your motorcycle over 20,000 km without cleaning them, then it’s time you do so. Weak braking is also a sign of dirty pads.
1. Start by squeezing the brake pads against the pistons using water-pump pliers to grip against the caliper and then remove the retaining pin(s) that hold the pads. When you extract the pin(s), be careful not to let the anti-rattle shim fly away. Undo the caliper retaining bolts by lifting the caliper clear of the disc – be careful not to damage the mudguard.
2.Check the caliper for damage and spray brake cleaner at the pistons and scrape off dirt with an old toothbrush. Pump the brake lever gently while paying attention to how the pistons are working. They should come out and return slightly and if they don’t return, push them back.
3. Clean the pistons with WD-40 and very fine paper – 1200 is okay but 1500 is better. Clean around the entire outer surface of each piston and rotate it if needed. Do one piston at a time until it returns back easily.
4. If the pads look shiny, gently rub them with clean, dry 800 grit abrasive paper. Clean the retaining pins back and sides of the pads by wiping them with a clean cloth. Put copper grease on the back of the pads, just be careful not to get some on the friction material. Reassemble everything back together in a reverse order.
Poor disc brake performance can be fixed by adding enough brake fluid but if the problems persists then it’s time to air bleed them. This improves the overall feel and sharpness of the brakes.
You’ll need a dual ended wrench (combined open and ring), Phillips drive bit (matching the reservoir top), small hammer, water supply, brake fluid and a bleed bottle with a rubber hose connection.
1. First start by filling up the brake fluid reservoir just below the top edge – put absorbent rags around the reservoir to protect the paintwork. Pour brake fluid into the bleed bottle with the outlet pipe below the surface of the fluid.
2. Bleeding the air out of the brake is done with an empty system and the bleed nipple being opened about 1/3 of a turn. Repeatedly pump the lever and top of the fluid in the reservoir so air doesn’t enter. You will see bubbles coming from the front end of the tube from the bleed bottle, below the fluid level.
3. When removing the bleed bottle be cautious as the hose can spring out and splash some of the fluid on the paintwork or in your eye. After you remove it use a proprietary brake cleaner on the caliper and bleed nipple and clean spilled brake fluid too. Wipe the rotor with the brake cleaner, any fluid or fingerprints and put the dust cap back onto the bleed nipple. Top the reservoir one last time and close it off.
If you are experiencing cold starts, engine hiccups when you open the throttle and engine overheating even if you are not pushing your motorcycle to the limits, then you’ll need to tune your carburettor.
1. Before we start, you’ll need a tachometer in order to measure RPMs. Get the engine warm by driving the bike around with half its top speed for 10 to 15 minutes. Put the motorcycle on the main stand and locate the air screw (2 stroke machines) or fuel screw (4 stroke machines).
2. Air screw is located on the carburettor away from the engine while the fuel screw is near the engine. There is an idle screw which is linked closely to the throttle cable – this screw sets the engine RPM at “Idle”. The fuel screw gives a lean mixture when turned clockwise and a richer one when turned anti-clockwise. The air screw works the other way around.
3. Start tuning the carburettor by setting the idle screw so that you get 3000 RPMs and tune the air/fuel screw so you get the leanest mixture. At the same time, turn the idle screw so the engine doesn’t stall since the RPM will decrease. RPM won’t be steady and this is when you start turning the air/ fuel screw clockwise/ anti-clockwise 1/4 to 1/8 at a time. Count the total number of turns as you do.
4. When you turn the screw about 3 to 4 full revolutions the RPM will start to become stable – this is the optimal setting for the engine. Then turn the screw to about 5 – 7 revolutions and the RPM will start to decrease which means the mixture is too rich. Repeat this process 2 to 3 times and count the revolutions each time.
5. When you have the engine humming nicely, decrease the idle screw to about 1000 RPM and when the engine slows down, twist the throttle. The result should be quick and crisp. Restart the engine, if it starts in a single kick without using the throttle then you’ve done a good job.
Who Buys Motorcycle Parts & Where to Buy Motorcycle Parts?
Although motorcycle groups and mechanics are the top buyers of moto parts, people who want to customise their ride and those who want to reduce their carbon footprint are high up there too. As to where you can buy parts, well, with the power of the internet you can purchase a motorcycle from virtually anywhere and at any time.