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NYC to Colorado Part 3: Mechanical Break Down, Stuck in Ohio, But in Good Company

This trip has already been more than I expected.

Jay (metallimonster) has been a very good host, especially since I am now stuck in ohio (more on that later). He’s been absolutely patient and really chill about the breakdown I had on my bike. Much thanks to him and his fiancé for letting me crash at their place for the time being.

I hopped on my bike around 11am and expected to be in Indianapolis by 1:30pm. About 5 miles from metallimonsters house, my bike shuts off. Just dead. The bike had no throttle, no power at all. I just floated to the side on the emergency pull off lane and I thumbed the starter. Nothing but WHRRRRR. Clutch is engaged, the starter is spinning, so is the clutch But nothing.

I called up jay and asked him to meet me. I did the basic run down of any combustion engine and I faulted it with no spark.
Luckily just two days prior I added full coverage for my bike including road side assistance, and it wasn’t long before a tow truck came and towed the bike back to metallimonsters house where I could dig deeper into the matter.

Both pickup coils were not sending spark to the plugs, it was highly unlikely that the plugs ( all four are brand new) were bad, and unlikely that both coils would go bad at the same time. The next question became why the plugs were not firing. They are controlled by the timing sensor (which tells the plugs when to fire). A quick look at the sensor yielded nothing, so I pulled the sensor and realized that the timing gear was not spinning!

This lead required me to pull the covers off the bike. Initially I thought the sprag clutch had went down the drain. To keep things less technical, there was a nut that held the flywheel in place and the nut was just banging around everything. It was completely backed of the crank shaft and the whole reason why the motor wasn’t sparking was because nothing was moving the timing gear.

I leaned the bike up against the wall at an angle to keep the oil from pouring out.

Took the cover off. This is about as ghetto as it gets. Those are sockets used to help the long nuts hold onto the case.

This is the first thing you saw when you opened it. No flywheel. On the shaft, it was stuck on the case!

On the generator end, the flywheel skipping around sheared off some soft aluminum. Steel vs aluminum = steel always wins.

The bike as it stands now.

Ive always been told I had a particular kind of luck. Never the worst, never the best, but always just enough to keep me at bay. This is one of the cases where it could of been VERY bad. The nut coming off at a time where I was going straight up a hill at a slow speed interchange, and not down a hill, or at high speed on the highway, OR worst, in the twistys where i spent 120 miles yesterday.

The damage was also fortunate enough to occur only on the nut, and not the crankshaft itself. Had the crankshaft been ruined, I would be SOL beyond belief. The motor would be useless since it would cost much more to replace it then to just drop a new motor in.

Another thing I am lucky on, is to be stuck in Ohio in good company. Had this been anywhere else id have no access to tools and no one who knew about motorcycles to help me out.

Now off to hunt for the proper nut. I don’t need OEM parts, I just need the right sized nut.