Joined: Nov 2007
I love all the stories. this first one is not a motorcycle story. got a passat with a "low oil pressure" light on that I needed to drive back home across the US. so, I added a cheap mechanical oil pressure gauge and routed the nylon tube through the back of the hood, through the door frame and placed the gauge on the dash. oil pressure wasn't really all that low, a little low, just lower than what the factory oil pressure switch was calibrated for. I figured the farther I got west, the cheaper it will be to tow/haul it the rest of the way.
this worked fine for a while, until the hose from the oil pressure gauge popped out while in the toll booth line, during rush hour in chicago, spewing oil over the dash... I folded over the oil line and held it with my hand to prevent more oil from squirting everywhere, while paying toll and then pulling off to fix it. drove it for another 500 miles until the oil pressure finally went away and I got off the interstate in the middle of nowhere in iowa. I found out the nearest bus stop (trailways had one bus a day and about 40 miles away), got a ride to the bus stop place (also in the middle of nowhere), took the bus to the next big town with an airport, got to the airport, rented a SUV with trailer hitch (one way) and a dolley at a U-haul and went back to get the car.
since, I didn't want to run the engine with no oil pressure I had to use a come-a-long, which I wisely brought along, to get the car on the dolly. except the cable wasn't long enough to anchor on the SUV trail hitch and pull the car up. so, I anchored one side of the winch to the ramp, winched it up a foot or so, put the car in park, re-anchor the winch, release park, winch it a little more, put it in park, re-anchor the winch.... anyway, finally got the car on the dolly and home. it only needed to have the oil intake screen cleaned... put another 38,000 miles and 3 cross country round trips on it since then.
same car; the other day one of the rear brake calipers just came off (not quite in the middle of nowhere, but away from things); the two bolts holding the caliper to the axle were gone. probably, because I forgot to tighten them when I installed the new caliper the week before. I took one of the bolts from the other side and secured the caliper... so both sides only had one bolt holding it on. no worries, it's just the "rear" brake, it doesn't really do much and got me home 50miles.
my bike mcgyver moments usually involve bailing wire found in the field and/or tie wraps holding various things on the bike, when bolts were broken/shared off, etc... I have done the, push the bike, jump on it and smash it into gear(s), when the clutch cable broke, routine.
to deal with stuck open float valves, just ride it until the carb starts overflowing, turn off the gas cock, drive until the engine starts to sputter/backfire, turn on the gas petcock, etc...
then there is the time I almost got stuck at the bottom of a big hill with no way out with my buddy. i.e. we were exploring fire trails and went down this big hill, had lunch and then tried to get back up the big hill with mostly worn out dual sport tires. it took several attempts and we were convinced that we might have to dissasemble the bikes and hike out the pieces and then reasssemble them. luckily, we finally were able to push/power the bikes out. another idea, my buddy suggested, would be to wrap industrial sized tie wraps around the rear tire/rim, much like a snow chain, in order to get more traction. we'll have to bring some the next time.
you can sometimes fix a punctured radiator, by pinching the effected tubes tubes together with some needle nose pliers. of course, the puncture/leak needs to be in the tube/fin area and not the box area. I have limped home that way.
bump starting a bike (car) with fuel injection and really dead battery is tricky. it turns out that the computer needs some juice to figure out how much fuel to meter and tell the coil when to spark. when the battery is dead, push starting it doesn't generate a high enough voltage for the computer to boot up, because the dead battery will load down the electrical system.
unless you can jumpstart with another bike/car, you'll need a really long hill and use a tall gear so that the motor/alternator gets enough RPM and generate enough juice that computer will boot and then run. it's a bit easier, if the battery is disconnected so it doesn't drag the electrical system down. you can connect the battery once you get it running to charge it.
if the computer on a fuel injection bike is dead you can re-wire the injector through some kind of switch (like the kill button) so it can be operated manually. you then pulse the injector in order to inject fuel manually... it takes a little to get the feel for it, i.e. how fast you need to pulse it in order to get enough fuel, but not flood it, but it will get you home. the brother of someone I used to work with has done this.
use condems to carry/get water from stream/puddles for radiators. most any fluids will work in a radiator, besides beer/urine, as has been suggested, you can also use oil, or soft drinks...
of course, always carry tie-wraps, bailing wire, duct/electrical tape, non lubricated condems. having rope/strap, and a multitool (I like gerber), helps too, besides tubes/air pump, basic tools, fuel line.
but most of all, stay calm, step back assess your situation, etc...
cynicwanderer screwed with this post 05-28-2009 at 01:07 AM