Monday, March 1, 2010

Cracked frame...but not to worry!

I’m exhausted. The day of riding was very nice with some river crossings and beautiful terrain. I got to Villa Mar (or Mallcu), a small village on the desert trail, around 3pm. The desert was mostly open terrain with sparse shrubby vegetation. After I passed Villa Alota, the road turns to the south and parallels a mountain range. The high mountains were volcanoes and the lower hills had deep gorges carved of soft sandstone.

There were a fair number of 4x4 vehicles carrying tourists on 2-4 day circuits.
When I arrived at the hostel in Villa Mar there were two 4x4’s and a bunch of Israeli and Argentinean tourists and their driver and crew. The driver was putting a new head gasket on his Toyota. Apparently, the tour was delayed for a day due to the blown head gasket.

With mechanic happenings in the air, I decided to do the maintenance on my motorcycle. First, I reinforced the failing pannier rack. I found an old chair frame and bent it into something that acted as a splint for the three cracks in the pannier rack. Second, I tightened the chain. Then I changed the front and rear brake pads. They were down to the wire.

I kept smelling gas, but couldn’t locate the source. Eventually, I noticed a wet spot by the battery. It looked like it was running ever so slightly. I took the seat off to see the source and sure enough, the gas tank had sprung a leak. I siphoned the tank empty and then took the tank off so that I could stand it on end and let the spot dry. I washed the area with soap so that the glue would stick. The only thing I had was Krazy Glue. I applied two layers and it seemed to hold the gas in.

Then I noticed that one of the hockey puck looking rubber vibration isolators was missing. I figured that this was the cause for the leaking tank. I found an inner tube and cut a bunch of disks and glued them together to form a puck. Then I glued this in place.
Then I noticed that the main frame was cracked. The two inch diameter top cross bar that goes from the steering column to the seat was cracked almost all the way around. This alarmed me, because it could result in catastrophic failure. I’ll ride it slowly to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile where I’ll find a welder. I do wonder why the frame cracked.

The poor motorcycle is having its life used up in short order on this trip. I’m beginning to think that it may not be coming back, though that remains to be seen.

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!! I heard of the subframe bolts breaking when overloaded or ridden very hard but NEVER heard of breaking the main frame.((Didn't you have to weld the rack or something? Make sure your subframe bolts aren't broken which may have put stain on the main frame?)) OR the only other thing I can think of is you may be carrying too much weight...combine that with continuous rough terrain and may have fatigued the frame somehow...Good luck, Dave.