Stress is good for you

Ungh… long day. Basically, work has been a drag… lots of outage stuff to deal with today… so I figured I’d run out and grab myself a nice peaceful lunch at Red Robin in Chesterfield Valley. So anyway, riding down there the bike started to surge a little at 55 mph… so I held back at 55 thinking maybe I had water in the gas. Stopped off at a gas station, dumped a little bit of HEET into the gas tank and topped her off. Went to lunch… not bad.

Anyway, get back out on the bike, take her up onto highway 40, accelerate down the on-ramp… surging is back at 50mph. Keep riding… as I approach the Boone bridge suddenly the surging gets worse. I keep falling back… and falling back… only to have the cycle repeat. By the time I’m cresting the bridge I’m at 30 miles per hour and not happy.

So I pull off to the side of the road, the idle not running very happily. Out of curiosity I give it just a smidgen of choke. She dies immediately. OK… choke off… start again. Kickstand down and round the back of the bike. Yep, she’s running rich alright… like REALLY rich. I think I know what the problem is.

So here I am, sitting by the side of the road with screwdriver in-hand pulling the air filter out of the bike. I pull it out… more oil around it. Now all I can think at this point is that there’s oil actually embedded in the paper filter… and the damned thing is completely black on the inside. Trucks are shooting past way fast and way close… bastards.

Anyway, I finally get the thing extricated and put the bike back together again. Lacking a place to put the air filter and not wanting to foul up the side of the highway I straddle the bike and sort of lean in such a way to hold the filter between myself and the bike. Thankfully I had the Corbin seat today, the stock seat I wouldn’t have been able to do it. Start her up… no problems. Accelerate up to 30… 40… 50… 60… 65… OK, so I’m speeding a little… but no surging. No problems… and smooth running.

Ah well, on the bright side I have a filter on-order… only problem is I have to get the bike home this evening with no air filter. The old one was leaking oil into my hand as I carried it up into the office… so I pitched it in a trash can. I love maintenance problems, don’t you? Also on the bright side, Fedex shows my package including the filter should be delivered tomorrow.

So why did this problem occur now? Well, probably the heat and humidity today combined to create a naturally rich-running condition anyway. The clogged and ancient filter (last replaced in 1997 according to Sharpie-marks on the filter itself) just made it so the carbs couldn’t breathe. Over-rich running and the flames of the combustion were essentially blowing themselves out with fuel. I’m not so confident that I don’t need to strip down and completely clean out the carbs… I might do that this weekend. Wheee… fun!

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