For those of you who have followed my saga through the terrible year of 2009, I think it's time to put Vanessa down for some serious work
I've been fighting with the carbs since I put the V&H Cruisers on back in September (the soap opera that was 55 days). She's had trouble breathing properly since that whole debacle. I've done the smoke test to check for exhaust leaks and have found no indication of that being the issue. I decided I was going to rip the carbs off and rebuild them, but I just couldn't do it until the snow hit or until I was absolutely forced into it. Well, sad to say, I think that time has come.
Last night I took her out for a ride up to the pub to celebrate the passing of a wonderful woman- the turn out was awesome as there was standing room only in the bar as we walked outside to release memory balloons into the sky. Well, as I pulled out of my neighborhood, Vanessa started huffing and puffing like she was out of gas. As I sat at a light and played with the idle screw and throttle, she sputtered more and more until she stopped completely. Well I pushed her onto the side walk and mucked with the petcock, making sure it wasn't off or in reserve. Once I verified that, I tried to fire her up again and she wouldn't start. Then I threw the choke into full position and she started just fine- more indication there are some serious carb issues going on. Well I rode her to the pub to spend some time with friends then home again with no further issues other than minor popping and some mild sputtering.
This morning I brought her out into the sun to warm up when I started looking her over really good. To my horror, I now see she has some sort of an oil leak, though I'm not sure where it's coming from. It makes me want to tear her down that much more to make her whole again. The only problem is, as most of you who read my posts probably know, I have nearly NO mechanical knowledge. I'm hesitant to tear her down because I'm afraid she might not come back to life after. However, I refuse to take her to a shop as my last experience with doing so was so unpleasant I vowed it to be my last.
So I appeal to the good people of this forum for guidance and advice. I'm prepared to buy whatever tools will be required, though I have a good start so far. I think the time has come to put her in the man cave for the winter and tear her down. I want to remove the airbox (for an ear shave), the carbs (for a complete rebuild and possible re-jet), and possibly the motor to address the oil leak. I started to do this a week or so ago before I decided I couldn't sacrifice her to the work- I just had to get a few more miles in before hand, and now it seems impossible to postpone any longer.
Here is my starting point and the questions that follow. I'll appreciate any feedback you might have:
1) In pulling the airbox, is there a way to do this without pulling the engine completely or destroying the parts?
2) Is it possible to pull the carbs without removing the airbox? My hands are quite big and everything is packed so tightly in there I can't see a way to do so on my own.
3) What is the "best" way to detect the root cause(s) of this oil leak?
4) Anyone who has gone through rebuilding these things, can you offer some tips, advice, or even a "what to expect" list? I'm about to turn this into my primary project as I go on the hunt for a new bike. I'm gonna keep this one, but I need something reliable in the mean time.