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The Squaw Magnet in Colorado - Part 2


mplate

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Spent Wednesday in Durango at the local custom shop working on the bike. The owner of the shop, Steve, was unbelievably cool. We hit it off and had a great time. He let me pull the bike into his shop and work on it there, lent me tools and parts when I needed them, and assistance when I needed that. He even had a replacement drive belt in stock that was virtually new just a few minor scuffs on the sides. I tore into the EHC again and we put a couple of new pins on the problem wires and coated all the pins with electrical grease. I fixed the taillight problem and put some more silicone seal on the tranny housing cover to see if that would stop the leak. Didn't get out of there until around 4PM. When all was said and done, I asked Steve for a bill so I could hit the road and he said, "How about $40?" I said, "Sorry Steve, all I've got's a $50". What a deal. Access to his shop, tools and a new drive belt for $50. Turns out Steve used to be head mechanic for Bob Dron Harley, the largest Harley dealership in the Bay Area. He moved out to Durango in June to start up his own shop. It also happened to be the day that the local newspaper did a write up on his business so we had people coming out to the shop all day long that didn't know it was there before the article. Hopefully, having the Squaw Magnet there helped make an impression. Steve's a great guy and I hope he succeeds. Anyway, I hit the road at about 4PM and was only going about 75 miles to the town of Ouray on the other side of the San Juan mountains. As I mentioned before, the San Juan Skyway is one of the most beautiful roads in the country. The bike was running fine and I was letting it air out on all the twisties through the passes. It gets up to about 11,000 ft. up there and the scenery is beautiful. So, I'd gotten about 50 miles into the ride and, once again, the bike died. No power to anything, just like the problem in Green River. This time, though, I was in the middle of nowhere. No cell phone service up there, of course. No nothing. I took off the dash to jiggle the EHC and, to my dismay, no amount of jiggling would restore power to the bike. I'd been there about 15 minutes and was beginning to seriously think about pitching my tent and camping there for the night when a trucker pulled over to see what was up. Now, I've had bikers pull over to help before and even the occasional car, usually because it was being driven by a biker but I've never had a trucker pull over before. Turns out the trucker, named Chris, owns a 2000 Chief. He suggested giving me a ride into Ouray so I could arrange for a tow. I took him up on the offer and we rode into town. The local tower in Ouray was closed for the night so we had to call for one in Montrose, about 30 miles away. He showed up in relatively short order and we went back up into the mountains and picked up the bike. The ride back up the mountain, in the dark, was unusual in that I've never seen that many deer in one day before. We must have passed at least 30 of them on the way back to the bike. He dropped me off at the KOA in Ouray at about 10PM where I made camp and went to sleep. The next morning, I went to work on the bike. I decided to take the problem pin out of the plug and run a hot wire back to the battery, bypassing the EHC completely. I have all the tools and parts that have been recommended in this thread so it was an easy job. Unfortunately, when the job was completed and I flipped the ignition switch, the bike was still as dead as a doornail. Damn, I was stumped. At this point, I called colo.gw to tell him that it didn't look like I was going to be able to make it to his house in time for the dinner he had planned. I explained what was going on and told him that I was going to have to stay in Ouray and work on the bike until I could get it running again. Colo.gw told me to hang tight and he'd be out there with a trailer to pick me up and take me back to his place outside of Colorado Springs. Keep in mind that Ouray is about 275 miles from Colorado Springs. I told him that it wasn't necessary as I had the tools I needed to fix the bike where I was but he insisted. I suggested a compromise. I would continue to work on the bike while he came out to get me and, if I got it working, I'd call his cell phone to let him know so he wouldn't have to drive all the way out to Ouray. So that became the plan. I went back to work on the bike but, before doing so, I purchased a sewing kit at the KOA store. I took a needle out of the kit and started poking it into the ignition wire at various points to see if I had power. This quickly led me to discover the problem. Turns out that all the work I did in Green River finding out that the problem was the pin to the ignition wire at the EHC had weakened the connector for that same wire at the ignition switch itself. That's why the bypass of the EHC hadn't worked. It wasn't the problem. The symptoms had been exactly the same but it was the other end of the wire, this time, that was the culprit. As luck would have it, the instant I discovered the real problem, it started raining. I called colo.gw to tell him that I'd found the problem but that I didn't know when I would be able to fix it as I didn't want to work on live wire electrical problems in the rain. So, colo.gw continued to drive to Ouray and I waited for the rain to stop. 2 cigars later, it was still raining. It finally let up around 3:30 PM and I was able to fix the broken ignition switch connector. Unfortunately, although I had been able to remove the plugs from the EHC without taking off the right side gas tank, I was unable to get them back on the same way. I would have to take the tank off the bike to put everything back together and, of course, it started raining again at this point. I decided, the hell with it, I'm just going to break camp and get everything ready to put the bike on colo.gw's trailer as he was now close to arriving, I thought. Turns out he'd hit construction traffic and didn't make it to Ouray until around 6:30PM. We put the bike on the trailer and made the ride back to Colorado Springs. Didn't get in until 1:30AM. This morning, we took the bike over to colo.gw's workshop, a really nice facility adjacent to his house. Once again, I drained the gas and took off the tank. A close inspection of the work done in Durango revealed that the new pins that had been used were the wrong kind and it was just a matter of time before they lost contact with the EHC. We replaced them with the right kind of pins and they now look to be fine. A close inspection of the EHC also revealed that the original problem pin, the one I had bypassed in Ouray the day before had a broken male counterpart in the EHC itself. No wonder the connection had been intermittant. The bypass job I had done, even though it had not been the immediate problem, had not been a wasted effort after all. We buttoned the EHC back up and, after a few fits and starts, the bike fired up and everything looked to be fine once again. We also fixed a couple of other electrical problems while we were at it. I had an intermittant right spotlight and, after all the dicking around we had done, a short in the right turn signal. Got all those ironed out and replaced a sheared windshield bolt to fix the only non-electrical problem of the day. Took the bike out for a 10 mile test ride and everything seems fine. Work was completed just in time to have the cookout at colo.gw's house that was supposed to have taken place the night before. A few of colo.gw's friends showed up and we had a nice time. A few more are supposed to show up tomorrow morning for a ride to the Kansas state line. I feel a lot better about the bike after the work we did today and I can't tell you how much I appreciate what colo.gw did to help me out. Even got the spare EHC in the mail that Greg D AZMan took off his bike and used it today to help figure out what was going on. I'm still using my EHC, Greg, but yours is going in the sidecar with me for the rest of the ride. Given the problems I've had, I feel a lot better knowing that it's there. Thanks a lot, Greg. I really appreciate it. Anyway, I've got to hit the hay as it's kickstands up at 8AM tomorrow for the ride. The 2005 Iron Butt Tour continues. A day late but I'll make up that time next week. Talk to you later.

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