Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Fix is In

After a minor mishap, Y.T. (Trish's 2004 Honda Rebel) was left with some very slight damage. It included a skewed footpeg and a warped license plate -- both of which I "repaired" using the old-fashioned method of pulling, twisting and hammering them back into place -- and also one thing that rendered Y.T. effectively unrideable: a bent shifter lever.

  This was easy to fix . . .

But this was not.

The lever was bent into a position that made it impossible to get your foot under it. Thus, one could not shift gears. Thus, one could not ride. Hence the dilemma.

Trish ordered a new shifter lever and it arrived about a week later. Today we finally had a chance to get out there and devote some time to removing the bent one and replacing it with the new one.

While we were already working on the bike, it was a good time to go ahead and also replace the headlight bulb. (The low beam was still working, but the high beam had failed. Or maybe it was the other way around. I don't really remember.)

Trish begins the process of removing the headlamp casing.

Changing out the shifter lever was a multi-step process. It was not complicated, requiring only a properly sized hex key and an adjustable crescent wrench, but it was just a bit annoying, for two reasons: first, it turns out that you have to remove the entire left footpeg assembly to gain access to the actuator rod to which the lever connects. And second, the replacement lever doesn't come with its own rubber boot -- believe it or not, that's considered a separate part! No one told us that, so we had to pry off the boot from the old lever (using a screwdriver helped) and then wiggle and tug it onto the new one in a process not entirely unlike attempting to put on a much-too-small condom without tearing it.

Trish holds the left footpeg assembly after we removed it. The actuator rod is still attached to the shifter lever here.

After one trip to the hardware store and three or four trips back inside the house to look for various tools, we succeeded in changing the lever.

I made the foolish mistake of assuming that changing the headlamp bulb would be much easier. It turned out to be equally challenging, if not more so. The headlamp casing is not designed to be easy to get into. (The owner's manual doesn't even contain a procedure for changing the bulb -- clearly they want the dealership to do this.)

After several false starts and two separate Internet research sessions, however, I figured out what needed to be done.

Let there be light!

I triple-checked to make sure the new bulb was working right and then Trish and I embarked upon an elaborately choreographed committee project to get the bulb into the lens housing, the C-clip over the bulb, the boot over the C-clip, the two COMPLETELY REMOVABLE (WTF?) brass fittings that hold the C-clip in place, the screws into the brass fittings and finally the headlamp case back into its housing, where it is secured by two bolts. I have never seen such an unnecessarily complex configuration for such a simple -- and frequently replaced! -- item. Why not have a simple hinged opening in the back of the housing that allows somebody to unplug the old bulb and plug in the new one?

After we were done, I took Y.T. on a quick 12-mile ride and filled up her tank with fresh gas. On that ride I noticed that the right rear-view mirror stem had also been bent. I'm going to have to figure out if I can muscle that back into its proper position without breaking it or if we're just going to have to buy a new one. The good news is, Y.T. seems to be running fine and our field repairs were apparently at least semi-adequate. The shifter lever feels a little bit too low; I might have to experiment with adjusting it.