I called my son, then held the phone close to a running motorcycle to let him hear the engine. He was thrilled when he figured out it was Thumper, the little 650 savage we’d been working on. We replaced the wiring harness the weekend before, but ran out of time before he had to leave and didn’t finish putting it back together. I promised him I’d get the gas tank back on it and see if the bike would run with the new wiring harness.
We thought we’d dodged a bullet because it had been setting up for a little more than 2 years with electrical problems. We both figured that once we got those sorted out, we had a trip into the carburetor ahead of us. The sewing machine regularity of the “putter putter” being transmitted to Fort Worth by cell phone seemed to belay that assumption. Alas, it was not to be.
A couple of days later Brandon had a Friday off and headed home for a three day weekend. I got a call midmorning while I was at work. “Dad, I can’t get it started, and there’s gas pouring out of the air box,” he explained over the phone.
“Sounds like a stuck float,” I told him. “Go get some carb cleaner and we’ll pull it tomorrow.”
An early morning ride with a side trip to the Pioneer Days festival in New Boston delayed our wrenching session until Saturday afternoon. By 1:00, it was too hot to ride, so we set up in the carport under a fan and got to work on Thumper.
Neither of us had pulled a carburetor before, so we carefully checked the Clymer manual before tearing into it. We also took pictures at each step so we’d have reference images as we put it back together. Even so, we occasionally found that a part wouldn’t come loose as easily as the manual suggested, or that our unit looks slightly different from the drawings.
We compared ideas and observations, each offering techniques until we eventually got the cleaned carburetor back in place.
This exercise had every opportunity to be frustrating, starting with the fact that we were tearing into the carb after we thought we had the bike fixed. Putting the bike back together we tried to remember, or figure out, where some of the hoses taken off 2 years earlier went.
Eventually we finished. Standing over the little machine, listening to the engine running smoothly and surely I realized that I had thoroughly enjoyed myself. My son’s satisfied grin told me he had also.
It was fun putting the little bike through its paces and making sure it would continue to run. We went looking for bumps to be sure the electrical short from two years before was really gone. We toped off the tank, then headed down the road, each mile bringing us more confidence in our repairs and a greater sense of accomplishment.
Fixing and riding the little bike was fun. Doing it with my son made it fantastic.