The silver lining of Wednesday, was my AAA premium service kicking in before the quoted 48-hour time frame and I received free towing to Farmersville California from Coalinga (score!). We got to 360 Motorsports by opening time and proceeded to hangout with the mechanic and his Dad (the John’s) for the next seven hours.
John proceeded to go through the the bike step by step to see what the source of the stuttering could be, without much success. At one point, John suggested digging into Alex’s bike to swap out the CDI (Capacitor Discharged Ignition) which controls all the electronics for the bike and if that didn’t work he was stumped (this is one reason Alex and I have the same bike, so that we can use one as a reference for the other).
Alex and I meandered over to the one of only two food options close by to discuss the situation and our options. I even called the former owner of the bike to see if he ever had the sputtering problem as he was familiar with the bike. This was the lowest point of Wednesday- where our hope was running thin.
Re-fueled with coffee and a plan we headed back to the shop without much certainty that there would be a solution. The CDI swap hadn’t yielded anything, and John’s last idea was the check the readings of all the individual electric components against the manufacturers suggested readings.
This is where we struck gold.
The ignition coil is supposed to read .4 and mine was at 1.8. He swapped in the ignition coil from Alex’s bike, took mine for a spin, and came back triumphant. The bike ran like a champ, with no sputtering at all.
The next issue, could we find a spare ignition coil locally….the answer was no. Luckily John has a bunch of spare motorcycles around, and sourced a spare ignition coil from a 50cc Honda moped (they have the same electrical output).
Alex: “Like with organ transplants, there is a theory that the recipient sometimes takes on characteristics of the donor”
Me: “So my bike is now going to think it is a 50cc?”
John threw it in the bike, took another ride, and the bike was ready to push on. It took another thirty minutes for Alex and I to get all of the gear back on the bikes and get ourselves ready to go.
Alex wanted us to get to LA. With the sun setting and the temperature dropping, we made our way down 99 towards LA.
It took us three and a half hours and two stops, but the bike held up and ran perfectly. The one heralding challenge was riding the Grapevine at night, but we both stayed confident and vigilant, and before we knew it we were in the valley and in a warm house of a good college friend (shout out to Mac).
I ordered a spare ignition coil which will arrive in San Diego by Friday and give us one free day in Santa Monica!
As a good friend commented on our Facebook page:
“Its good to earn those stripes early, on home soil, so when the real adventure begins you’ve got a few calluses.”
Tomorrow (Friday) we should be picking up my ignition coil at 9 AM in San Diego and heading to Mexico as soon as they install it.