Why I Clean/Service My Own Bike.....

Discussion in 'Technical' started by SilverhawkUSA, May 8, 2009.

  1. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    I know many of you do this already, but I still hear some say "Why should I clean my own bike when I can have it done for a few baht?"

    Yesterday, Davidfl and I decided do to a quick blast to Samoeng and back in the late afternoon. David was delivering some donated clothes from his girlfriend.

    I hadn't ridden my 650 since returning from Laos in early April. Figuring it would be a little difficult to start, I tried some choke but found the cable or something to be stuck. No big deal it started anyway.

    We traveled the 1096 round trip to Samoeng at our usual pace; let's just say we didn't worry about anyone overtaking us.

    Today I decided to fix the choke and popped off the tank and seat. While trying to find the problem I also decided to blow out and clean some of the red dust and dirt that clung to the nooks and crannies from the Laos excursions.

    What's this? That doesn't look right! :shock: My upper shock bolt was protruding from the mount and only remained attached by about 3 threads at the most. Now, no matter how one looks at it, having your shock absorber fall off is not going to net a good result.

    So, even though I DO let the 50 baht bike wash do the really tough jobs (especially since I found the "All Lady Care Care" across from Mae Jo University) :lol: I take the time myself to do some cleaning, detailing and the repairs/maintenance that are within my limited ability. Plus I just like a clean shiny bike.

    The car wash is not going to find those loose nuts and bolts and other problems waiting to happen. Today was another reminder that it is worth the time and effort.

    P.S. I still didn't get the choke to work. :wink:
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  3. KZ

    KZ Ol'Timer

    I fully agree. Not only may you spot something that may go wrong, you also may avoid mistakes of people who are less mechanically versed but pretend they are mechanics and are messing with your bike.
    I went to my Honda dealer to pickup my insurance sticker for the old Wave, so I told the mechanic to change the oil while I was in the office. When I got back he was done, so I took off. As soon as I used the brakes the rear wheel locked up; the mech had tightened them up so much that even slightly stepping on the pedal locked the rear wheel up. Then I took a dirt road and almost fell - the front end made a quick left/right, fortunately I was going slow. Almost home I heard the chain making noises and thought I should tighten it.
    I loosened the brake adjustment front and rear. I measured the front tire pressure - 50 PSI - no wonder it wouldn't work on a dirt road! The chain was supertight, no play at all, and hot. There's even a sticker that says the chain should have some slack. So I untightened the chain, when I finished I realized that the plastic plug of the chain cover was gone. I picked that up the next day at the dealer.
    This service was no service!
  4. HTWoodson

    HTWoodson Ol'Timer

    I usually drop it off at the 50 baht wash and then when I get home I give it a wax, oil the chain, and clean out the nooks and crannies in the engine where they never seem to clean. I still catch obvious stuff like loose nuts that way.

    Silverhawk, did you say you have a car wash you prefer? I've gone to some pretty terrible ones; do you have a recommendation?
  5. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer

    It seems everytime I have found a reliable place they closed or moved on. The Shell station on the SW corner of the moat does a good job, but they upset me one day when they tried "falang"pricing.

    I believe they are doing bike washing at Tony's Big Bikes, they should know what they are doing. Pikey??

    I just tried for the first time an all lady staff car wash on a soi across from MaeJo University that I was told about. They washed my 250 and did an amazingly good job for 50 baht. They also have a small coffee stand. Not sexy, but kind of fun anyway.

    Anyone else have recommendations? :?:
  6. Azoulay

    Azoulay Ol'Timer

    Hi Friends,

    Bike wash is really fantastic in Thailand...I use to go to wash station (a CALTEX stand on Romklao Ladkrabang Bangkok) near my Bangkok home or in a specilise washing station when in Cha Am and it's really fantastic how these guys are busy at 3 or 4 washing the bike for some 50 to 80 TBH with wax, oil, air cleaning and all done.

    Generally they are very friendly and interested by these big bkes (Ducati or Suzuki) and look at it with passion and envy.

    But should say, as Dave pointed out, this does not avoid me from carefully inspect my bikes at each ride, this avoid surprises and it's a good exercise for observation.

    I can only encourage you to go and make it wash in such places you'll found all over LOS, just imagine the poor service we could have in Europe and/or/or AMET....
  7. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    I can say that you guys are lucky as you can inspect, but me :cry: there is no way that i can do that or they could manipulate my cabling or anything else....

    Since we are in this topic again,, how long it's take them to was your bike??

    mine take's 1.5hrs :cry: :cry:
    washing,Air druing and wiping by rack and waxing.
  8. GTNZ

    GTNZ Ol'Timer

  9. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    Sounds like the standard Thai Mechanic :shock: They are in all Shops regardless of the Cost, Make or Model of the Bike :roll: It is a Truly Stressful Traumatic Experience to get a Bike Serviced here and I have never had one Service go Smoothly :? Sad isn't it? :cry:
  10. GTNZ

    GTNZ Ol'Timer

  11. Azoulay

    Azoulay Ol'Timer

    Hi Friends, Hi GTNZ, Marco and Ian,

    I fact my opinion differ a bit from yours I have a great experince with Red Baron in Bangkok, of course I can't generalise it to all mechanics but Red Baron has skilled people.

    I use to service my bikes there and up to now from some - or 7 years experience with them, i can only say nice things on them. Thus for those who look for good mechanic that's the place. Of course it will cost you more than 50 TBH, but for your beloved bike I expect you to spend a bit more. Of course they are specialised in Japanese bikes but they can service a lot of other brands for other countries....

    To answer to Marco, on the washing issue, it takes me at least one hour and a half to wash fully bikes at wahsing stand, it includes air, polish, and all the products they can put on.
    In fact, where I used to go, in BKK, people are very carefull and even signal me any missing screw or default (if any).
    For me this people are nice and carefull with bikes and cars, they are generally quite proud and/or/or amused to wash such Farang bikes.

    GTNZ if you could avoid the use of words such as "monkey or idiot" for the people who are welcoming you in their Country, it would be preferable, keep it for PM please.
    Just imagine they could have a different education, culture and mindset than you could have despites I am convinced you are an excellent mechanic... Never forget that we are living with them in their Country !
  12. SilverhawkUSA

    SilverhawkUSA Ol'Timer


    We have seen you write many times about the merits of Red Baron, I bought my TDM there 5 years ago. But, that is not much help for the majority of us who do not live in Bangkok.

    I did not say anything about 50 baht for serviceing my motorcycle. I said that is what it cost to have the bike washed, and is the average rate in Chiang Mai. :evil:

    Overall I think you must agree that the workmanship in Thailand is shoddy to say the least. I think more will agree with that statement from experience than not.

    One must search and ask for recommendations, as on this post, to find reliable service. In fact this post was about washing to begin with, not mechanics. That said, my bikes have almost always been serviced here by non-Thai mechanics. That does not mean things don't vibrate loose, break or wear.

    My opinion, as is obvious, disagrees with you. I will take final responsibility for my safety on my motorcycles and still check as much as I can myself regardless of who services it.
  13. Azoulay

    Azoulay Ol'Timer

    Hi Dave,

    I think you should not misunderstand me:

    -1°) Red Baron recommandation:

    Living part time in BKK since some 20~25 years, it the better bike place I know from experience and could recommand blind to Friends.
    I should say I have use several bike mechanics, from the crooks from RCA to those in Pattaya...No name would be necessary, you all know them. I have no experience in CNX, so I won't comment.

    -2°) General skills of people in LOS:

    It's obvious that not all are skilled as a quaterly trained mechanic from BMW Motorad in Germany or other high tech country
    However, being welcomed in this country, I can't accept that someone would have insulting words for their citizen, a question of ethic, not targeted to you of course but as I wrote to GTNZ.

    -3°) Bikle inspection:

    Of course I reserve myself the final safety inspection of the bike and won't trust anybody on vital checks even skill continental mechanics, I prefer to inspect it myself thus we are fully in line.

    To replace it in the context of this post, bike washing in Thailand is (for me, at least) very good, hand wash and cheap.

    So don't misunderstand, nothing against you or our Friends, but only a kind reminder for respect to GTNZ.
  14. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    Dave buy yourself a lottery ticket while your lucks good (re shocky bolt).
    I prefer to wash my bikes myself its safer and I enjoy the finished look without the anger of a machine blowing something off my bike again. After bike servicing a close inspection is compulsory for your safety and to check what was claimed to be serviced was done. This helps me with the process of the next service centre. Unlike GTNZ I have been lucky and have only found small issues with bike repairs/service. Unlike some stories I have heard in LOS - the worst I think was a BMW car motor repair - they mis-connected the water and fuel lines up ???
  15. GTNZ

    GTNZ Ol'Timer

  16. Azoulay

    Azoulay Ol'Timer

    The result after washing:

  17. gobs

    gobs Ol'Timer

    KenYam said:
    "they mis-connected the water and fuel lines up"


    How can this be true? The lines don't even get the same sizes, "shapes", textures and places... I cannot believe this at all!
    I think sometimes some bad rumours are just spread to sadly joke about some so called "low-skilled mechanics" and are idiotic things...

    And keep in mind, please, that NOBODY IS PERFECT!
    Even the best mechanics, the best bikers, drivers, cleaners or whatever else...


    And yes, I do clean my bikes and cars by myself because:
    1) I do adore them and they deserve I give them with pleasure some part of my time;
    2) I think it's part of the owner's maintenance, and cheking is easy (even under the chassis or the hood of a car...).
    Servicing, yes, as far as my "abilities and tools sets" allow me to... I do know what I've (well) done and if, nevertherless, something wrong happens, hey, I do know who is the guilty guy! :twisted:

    But no worries!
    Everyone has his own theory about the "best care" about bikes, cars and the rest... So no problem if someone does it in another way...
    Just enjoy your toys!


    PS: Sorry dear Azoulay, but, if I look sharp at your pic, isn't there a little tar spot "they" forget on the right side of the tank of your Ducati? Yes, here... A little bit more under... Yes, just here... No? Oh, so sorry, I'm just aware that it's a small dust on my screen! 8)
  18. Azoulay

    Azoulay Ol'Timer

    Dear Gob,

    ...And No, I don't wash my bike myself, specially when it' s so well done by others and being "Partisan du moindre effort" (means a bit lazy) I let it done by the specialists...

    ...And Yes, I am very happy about their works even if, by safety and maniacly fussy, I would allways proceed to a final inspection by myself (o course as you point out, not being perfect my good self).

    On top, having a park of 3 bikes, 4 mopeds and 2 cars I won't spend my energy to proceed to this task even if I could understand the high sexual feelings and great sensual sensations we could have at caressing our bikes with a wet soapy sponge...Hummmm.....I think that's the worst I miss !!!! Isn't it ?

    So in order to close this sensitive debate, (at lesat on my side), apologise to those I could have hurted being nervous on some unrespectuous words which have been said on our kind hosts and our beloved LOS.

    Why to come in Thailand if it's for allways critisise ???
  19. Rhodie

    Rhodie Ol'Timer

    I think many would take issue with your use of the word "specialist" rather than with GTNZ's frustrations,
    which are the norm rather than the exception.

    After David Lek's sad departure there are v v few who could even come close to that superlative.

    As for Thai soapies - well the only specialists I've found had little to do with bikes.
    The lads at the Shell garage SW corner of moat as mentioned by Silverhawk.
    They're OK. But there is a better one around the corner.
    However you still need to keep an eye out for what they are doing - bags over the horn, GPS mount and exhausts.
    Many years ago BKK a "specialist" BMW dealer wrecked my horn using a jet wash - specialists they were not.
  20. Marco

    Marco Ol'Timer

    I think friendly Critic is always good and ofcource people have they own opinions about thing's.
    As a world citizen, in every country has it's good and bad thing's and some people find them, some might not,,

    Maybe windshield water line555555555 :wink:
    Life is full of surpricies :roll:
  21. KenYam

    KenYam Ol'Timer

    Gobs it was a few years ago the net result was the engine was stuffed. Yes your right thinking about it maybe it was the air cond lines, cant remember the details - the point was this story showed me the value of making sure engine servicing agents should be recommended and professional.
  22. Pikey

    Pikey Ol'Timer

    Indeed, we do a small bike wash (Wave, Dream e.t.c) for 30B and a big bike wash (Phantom & up) for 60B. Dirtbikes, if they are filthy are 120B but if just normal then 60B. Our mechanics take care with the jetwash around bearings, electricals e.t.c and we can also do servicing/minor repairs at a rate of 200B/hour.

    Thanks for the plug Dave. ;-)


  23. Ian Bungy

    Ian Bungy Ol'Timer

    WHAT, You didn't have Your Bike Cleaned before You Left Slash :shock: Surely You would have rewarded it for the Faithful service it Provided You :? And I know how Meticulous You are about Cleanliness and Service :oops:
  24. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    Arh, Slash we have to see you with a sponge, soap & water in hand to really believe it is you, or it could just be your local paper boy picking up a few bob on the weekend. :wink:
  25. BignTall

    BignTall Ol'Timer

    Washing bikes??? Maybe I should try it one day :lol: . The green Kawasaki losing its green look.


    Alas I like nice clean bikes but enjoy them dirty far more.

    Silverhawk - Hmmm now who was the culprit that torqued that shock bolt the last time :wink: . Stop by I've got some Loctite we can put on the bolt to help keep it in its rightful place. Maybe that Hill tribe women from Laos has still got her curses raining down upon you.

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