Motorcycle Maintenance Guide

This is a guide to servicing your motorcycle like it should be. Many people just change the oil and think that's what a service is. There's a lot more to it than just that. I can always tell the "I change the oil myself" customer bikes. They are never properly serviced. I have no problem with people doing there own work, Just do it Right.

    • Air Pressure and Tread Front Tire 32 to 37psi recommended for everything except 21" tires. I run 40 to 45 psi to help prevent pot holes and such from bending rim. Look for uneven wear, cupping, dry rot and tread depth.

 

    • Air Pressure and Tread Rear Tire 32 to 37psi recommended for everything. Look for uneven wear, cupping, dry rot and tread depth.

 

    • Front Brake Pads check to see that there is sufficient pad material and that it is wearing evenly. Also lube pins that caliper slides on if you have single piston type. Check to see that caliper releases properly after applying brake (not draging)

 

    • Rear Brake Pads check to see that there is sufficient pad material and that it is wearing evenly. Also lube pins that caliper slides on if you have single piston type. Check to see that caliper releases properly after applying brake (not draging)

 

    • Front Brake Fluid Look to see it is full and fluid looks clean. Pull the cap off to do so. Don't just look through window!

 

    • Rear Brake fluidLook to see it is full and fluid looks clean. Pull the cap off to do so. Don't just look through window!

 

    • Mechanical Brakes Adjust and Grease Look to see that everything in the linkage or cable is working freely and is lubed. Only adjust rear brake after adjusting chain.

 

    • Fuel lines Look to see that there are no cracks and that clamps are in place. Check and clean the inline filter if you have one.

 

    • Oil Lines Look to make sure no cracked lines and that clamps are in place and there are no leaks.

 

    • Front Axle Nuts Check to see that it is tight. Check axle clamp nuts also.

 

    • Rear Axle Nuts Check to see that it is tight and cotter pin or any other locking / safety devices are in place.

 

    • Drive Belt / Chain Lube chain. Clean chain if excessively dirty. Check drive belt to see that it is properly adjusted and that there are no holes / tears in belt and that teeth are in good shape. **NOTE: "drive belt" is a commonly used term. The actual name is Polychain. This is important because a belt is tightened and a chain has some slack. Your rear drive belt should have some slack in it like a chain. Tightening it like a belt can cause excessive wear in belt and pulleys and I have seen a few destroyed  transmission output bearings.

 

    • Motor Oil and Filter Change out oil and filter. be sure to use proper filter. Unless it's a TwinCam there should be NO back flow valve in filter.

 

    • Primary Oil and chain/belt Change out primary oil. Check and adjust primary chain. If primary belt check to see it is in good shape and properly adjusted.

 

    • Transmission Oil Change out on Sportsters every time you change motor oil. On Big Twins I usually let it go a good 30,000 miles as it really doesn't get dirty and changing it is a waste.

 

    • Intake seals Check closely to see that the manifold is on tight and that there are no signs of the seals leaking. On "Rubber Band" type I always replace them yearly, as they are prone to cracking and leaking.

 

    • Pushrods Solid type lifters and pushrods should be checked and adjusted when you change out motor oil.

 

    • Points and Advance Unit Points generally last between 20 and 30,000 miles. They should be checked and gapped if necessary every time you change motor oil. The advance weights should be checked and lubed every 3 months if you are using the bike everyday. They have a tendency to dry out and cause all kinds of havoc when you least expect it.

 

    • Battery Connections These need to be checked every time you change out motor oil.They are notorious for coming loose. Be careful with them as the battery connections are only soft lead. Clean corrosion.

 

    • Charging System Check sitting voltage of battery. Maintenance free battery condition is check by voltage. A new battery has between 12.7 and 12.9 volts "sitting". Sitting means like sitting over night and the bike has not been run. A sitting voltage of 12.2 usually means the battery is on it's last days. Batteries usually die when it's really cold or really hot. Start the bike and check to see that the voltage is between 13.5 and 14.5 at about 2000 rpm.

 

    • Electrical : Lights, Horn, Starter, Brake Lights, Accessories Make sure all that stuff works as it's supposed to.

 

    • Lube Clutch cable Check Adjustment Loosen the clutch adjustment and drip light weight oil down the cable and lube the pin / piviot point. Most clutch cables snap at the piviot point, or clutch barrel because the barrel quit turning like it is supposed to and instead the cable flexs and eventually brakes from constant bending. Lube a cable up good and it will give you many, many good years of service.

 

    • Lube Throttle Cables Just like clutch cables, throttle cables need oil too! Make sure that you take the throttle housing apart at least yearly to grease and lube the stuff in there.

 

    • Lube Pivot Points, Levers, Kickstand, Brake Pedal If it moves, it needs lube. Rain water and washing bikes and dirt make stuff stiff. I couldn't tell you how many kick stands squeak and don't move freely from neglect. Same goes for levers and linkages and foot peg mounts etc.

 

    • Check Exhaust Bolts and Leaks The exhaust is constantly heating up and cooling down and this can cause things to come loose and heat shields to rattle.

 

    • Check Wheel Spokes Spin the wheel and tap all the spokes with a screw driver or wrench and listen for duds and tighten as needed. If you don't know what you are doing here have some one who does do the job for you. If you indiscriminately just start tightening spokes you can screw up the trueness of the wheel.

 

    • Check Fork Seals Look under any fork boot or gator to see that the seals look dry and everyone is happy.

 

    • Fork Oil  If your not dealing with fairings and all kinds of other stuff in the way, every year or 2 is best. On baggers with all that crap to dig through the book says every 40,000. I noticed that Jap bike manuals don't tell you to change it until the seals leak. I say if it's easy do it. I don't work on baggers so that settles that.

 

    • Spark Plugs, Ignition Wires, Ignition Voltage Check and clean plugs. Re gap if necessary. Point ignition system, plug gap is .025". Electronic ignition system plug gap is .035 to .040" Always gap new plugs!! Put a little anti-sieze on the threads of the plugs. Make sure the ignition wires look good and replace them every 5 years or so. I see many 15 plus year old wires on bikes all the time. While they are still working, they aren't working optimally and can cause issues that can drive you mad.

 

    • Check For Codes This apply to EFI bikes.

 

    • Neck Bearing Adjustment / Grease neck bearing can cause wobble issues or hard to steer issues. To check them for looseness put your thumb on the tree and the neck of the bike and hit the front brake to see if there is movement. You can do this while pushing the bike or riding it. It's not really hard but if you fuck up and drop the bike or fall down that's on you. Better luck next time. If the neck bearings have a grease fitting on the neck you might want to put a squirt of grease in there. I much prefer to install the bearings properly, well greased and with seals and not have to worry about greasing them for a good 20 years. Springer Softails are notorious for eating neck bearings. Harley has also gotten real cheap with the grease and I have seen bearings dry out in just a few short years.

 

    • Swingarm This is often over looked. On older models they had Timkin Bearings that would wear out rather fast because they don't spin, they just move a little. This type of movement along with the pressure from the drive chain will cause them to pit and the swing arm adjustment to become loose. Grab the rear tire and try to move it from side to side watching the swingarm for movement. If you ride the bike and the swingarm is loose, you will see it cock to the chain side when you give it some gas.

 

    • Chain / Belt Guard While you are there lubing the chain or checking your belt, get a wrench and check to see that the chain guard is tight and not broken. I have seen chain guards pick the clip off the chain from rubbing it and the chain break and cause all kinds of damage, ruining the fun and your transmission or engine cases if you own a Sportster.

 

    • Air Filter / Breather The air filter should be cleaned out when you change out the motor oil.

 

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