Monday, August 17, 2009

Brookfield Odyssey - Part 2 "The Horror"

Here it goes. The first bazaar happening. Sam and I rode about 40 miles to a small town looking for a motel. The roads are beautiful and wind through farms and hills. As we approached the town I noticed my valve train getting a little noisier than usual. Clicking and clacking...not good! We pulled into a gas station and I could feel hot air blowing on my leg. Oh shit, a blown head I thought. Sam pulled up next me and I said "Blown head gasket". He looked down and said maybe it's a base gasket.

Upon further inspection we discovered it was neither. My timing hole plug was gone! The air and oil was blowing out along with my oil pressure. Fuck! How do we seal that up? Still sitting on the bike I looked down and to our amazement the friggin' timing plug was sitting right on the inner primary cover!!! What are the chances of that?! How long was it sitting there as I rode through the hills? I picked it up and thought stripped. Nope. I screwed it in and tightened it up and we were back on the shit.

Well we made it to the hotel and just before going down to the bar for some food and drink I happened to look in the mirror. Holy shit!!! I had a big friggin' bump of some kind right on my eyeball... WTF! I am 250 miles from home on my Panhead and now I have one friggin' eye! As I sat at the bar deciding what my alternatives were it was getting worse. I went to the drug store across the street to see if the Pharmacist could help me out. She gasped when I showed her my problem and told me to go to the ER. Now what are the chances that we end up at a motel that is three blocks from the only hospital in the area? I mean we are out in the middle of no where! What took place in the ER is a story in itself. I'll spare you. Anyway, three plus hours later the Doc checks we out gives me some meds and I ride back to the motel to get some sleep. Next morning I can see and we are back on the road.
This is all the beginning!

Back to Brookfield we go and spend the first part of the day hanging out with friends and checking out parts. Our buddy Petey rides up from Jersey to meet us and we decide to take off. Back to northern PA where we can ride without helmets and hit Petey's house on the lake...or so we thought. We cruised down route 8 and decided to take a detour through some great winding roads Sam and I had found on the way up.

As we rounded a bend my Pan just shut off. Sam was up ahead and out of site. I pulled onto the shoulder at an abandoned farm. Petey stopped as I looked over the bike. Hhhmmm this shouldn't be too hateful. Something simple I'm sure. I popped off the points cover and checked the points to see if they sparked...they did. I kicked the bike over to make sure they were opening and closing. Much to my horror the motor turned over but the distributor did not spin. Holy shit! I'm fucked!

I grabbed the end of the shaft and I could spin it with my fingers. Not good! Sam came back to find us and the three of us stared at the distributor. "That's hateful" Sam said. We looked around and there was nothing but hills and road. Well, Brookfield was about 35 miles away and Sam volunteered to ride back and see if he could find me a distributor at the swap meet. But first I needed to take it out to see what, if anything else was broke. I got out my tool bag and got to work on the de-install. I was hoping the pin that held the gear sheared and the whole thing would come out in one piece.

NOT A CHANCE. As I pulled out the distributor we saw why it was not spinning. The shaft snapped! This meant the gear was in my cam chest! Fucked again!
Well there was no choice but to pull the cam cover right there on the shoulder of the road. So I got to work on that. After removing the cam cover I fished around in the molten hot oil with my fingers (ride 35 miles in 90 degree heat and see how hot your oil gets) and found the distributor gear tucked under the oil pump gear. How fuckin' lucky, no damage to anything else!

Sam was off to the meet to search for a replacement. Petey went off to search for some Permatex that I would need for the emergency gasket fix. I got to work on cleaning the goo off the cover and prepping everything for a quick re-install. Not so bad, it was a beautful spot to be broke down. Not to mention what are the chances of the shaft snapping (God only knows why) within 35 miles of an antique motorcycle swap meet? Could be worse... (that phrase turned out to be the theme of this whole adventure).

Now folks would stop occasionally and ask if I needed help. One guy in a pickup wearing a Harley T-shirt pulled up and walked over. He couldn't see what I was doing and asked if I needed help. I said, "nope, just a quick repair". When he walked around the Pan and saw its internals hanging out he gasped in horror, grabbed his chest and stumbled back a few steps... I am not kidding. He just couldn't believe it. I reassured him and sent him on his way.
Petey finally returned with a tube of Permatex and much to my delight, two tall cans of Heineken! God bless him! After guzzling the beer I got back to work on reassembling the cam cover. By the time I buttoned it up Sam returned from his 70 mile round trip with a distributor.
Yeah! Problem solved...back on the road! Off to the mountains of PA.

NOT SO FAST. I grabbed the end of the shaft and twisted the gear on the "swap meet special" Fucked again! The Harley Gods are relentless this day! The gear had back and forth slop. The hole for the pin must be worn. There is no way I would get the bike timed properly. Oh well, I had no choice. In it went. I messed with the distributor until it ran good enough (not very) to attempt the 35 mile ride back Brookfield.

Now what?

To be continued.


  1. It could be worse - you haven't mentioned mosquitos - yet!

  2. Wow, amazing... too many incidents for one trip! What caused the eye problem?

  3. Mosquitos!!!...that must have been what took out my eye!