A week ago I posted about my riding trip in the Black Hills of South Dakota getting cut a little short due to a machine that didn’t want to cooperate. You can read about it here if you want;
I also mentioned a few thoughts as to what it could be, and that I would try to figure out what went wrong. Well I did, I figured it out! And it really reinforces the saying, check it twice, then check it again.
This past week I spent a lot of time chasing problems that didn’t exist on my three wheeler trying to figure out why it suddenly started running like garbage. I checked the cam timing, the ignition timing, fiddled with the carb and put it back to the last known good settings, rewired several frayed wires (which was a good thing anyway), ran a compression test, a leak down test (both of which were very good), checked ignition timing again, made sure the exhaust was clear, and the air box was clear. All of this checked out and the next step was to start testing ignition components, but I decided to fiddle with the carb one last time, just in case. While I had the carb off, and the gas tank off to check my wiring one more time I decided to check my valve clearances even though I set them just over a week ago. As soon as I popped the cover off, the problem was painfully obvious.
For those not familiar with Honda’s engines, there’s supposed to be a screw and a nut there to allow for valve adjustment. Clearly, that nut and screw weren’t where they were supposed to be, and the pieces for the intake valve had nearly come out as well. Luckily they didn’t go far and I got them out with a magnet, installed them again, adjusted the valves, and lo and behold... it runs great again!
I want to be frustrated, and was a little for a while, because I could have saved myself a lot of work if I hadn’t convinced myself that I’d done it right, and knew that it just had to be something else. Oh well, all I can really do is laugh now. All that stopped me from having an amazing weekend on my own machine was two little nuts that weren’t as tight as they should have been. (Not that I didn’t tighten them the first time, I remember doing it, they just weren’t as tight as they should have been, obviously). Needless to say I’ll be checking them again very soon, and much more frequently than before.
Check it twice, then check it again.