Day 5, Wed March 12, 2008. Rio Grande, Zacatecas. Grease Monkey Day
This a.m. I'm greeted with a small puddle of oil under the bike.
My friend, Warren sez it ain't officially a "leak" if you can cover the spot on the floor with your hat. Well, I guess this qualifies since black oil is dripping from under the engine, both sides, and along the swing arm to the rear axle.
The Hat test
OK, long painful story short. I traced the leak to a hose clamp that connects to the bottom of the oil tank reservoir. It seemed loose so I tightened it. The chore involved draining all of the oil from the tank. The job took me all morning, performed in front of my room. No shade. I get to know the maid.
Draining oil from oil reservoir in front of my motel room
So it's all fixed? Nope. Still leaking black oil, maybe worse.
Now this Harley has a peculiar set-up. The battery is supported by a bracket that is wielded to the oil tank. (Stupid design, if you ask me.) Vibration and riding rough roads has repeatedly broken one of the battery bracket supports -- and I fear the leak may be coming from a crack in the tank, where it is wielded to the battery shelf support. Which happens to be right next to the hose clamp that I originally suspected as leaking.
Option #1. Ride on, checking engine oil frequently. After a cruise thru town I've just about decided to do just that. Get the bike to Zacatecas and be broke down there. I contemplate the ride back all the way to Texas with this messy oil leak.
On my way back to the motel/hotel I run across a motorcycle repair shop and decide the best use of my time is.... to fix the bike right here and now.
I put the bike into the shop. Mechanic Gabriel and I will do this chore together -- that is, inspect the bottom of the oil tank. As in, remove oil tank for inspection.
1st mishap, we clumsily loose 1˝ liters of jet black oil onto the shop floor.
Finally, tank is removed. Gabriel thinks the hose is old and ratty. I ask him to check for other leaks with gasoline, and hear him talking to his boss about that, but somehow this is passed. Of course when the bike is reassembled, I still have the oil leak, so... for my 3rd time, and Gabriel's 2nd, we break down the bike and remove the oil tank. We´ve got it down now. Passing tools, working as a team, we tear it down "volando
" (flying). Sure enough, testing with gasoline, now Gabriel finds the suspected tank leak at the seam with the battery bracket, an insignificant looking tiny crack. He's off with the tank to the wielder. Job finished about 7:30pm. I'm done.
Charges? Oh, yeah. The charges were $8 for the wielder + $15 for the shop for a total of $23. I slipped Gabriel a $5 tip on general principal.
Good news. That leak is fixed. No engine oil leak. Just a slight primary drive case "seep" (i.e. it does't pass the hat test) and I can live with that.
Please no comments about new bikes or leaky Harley's in general.
Went into town later that evening. It's a small town, everything closing up at 9:00. Had an excellent burger cooked on a street grill. $3. Skateboard gangs rule the Plaza.