We Can Make it Better


A bit out of order, but this post is going to be about the work done on Curiosity since I’ve been back.

As you might recall, while in the Atacana Desert in Chile, Curiosity vomited out it’s oil (after I failed to replace the oil filler cap). Since I was 30 miles out of a town called Copiapo I headed back there, and somewhere along the way melted the piston rings to the piston.

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I spent a lot of Skype time talking to the Shop, working out how to get the bike running again, and there was some helpful advice on Facebook as well –

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Curiosity was again mobile, but still very sick, and came home is a box.

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The box was a bit oversized.

There was a bit of a pause while I got back into the joy of non-traveling life and worked out what I was going to do next. Then I worked on a plan B, after my first plan didn’t work out as well as I could.

But I had to get Curiosity running again, so I got on the phone again with The Shop to work out a plan. The plan was simple –

I had a spare engine with a bad cylinder head. Use the engine that was in Curiosity to rebuild the cylinder head on the spare do a real top-end rebuild on the spare since it was all going to be apart anyway, then install the spare into Curiosity.

The shop did the rebuild, including honing the cylinder and fitting new rings into the piston. I picked up it up and brought it to the storage locker where Curiosity was sitting, it’s engine already removed to make the task a little easier.

First thing I had to do was get the replacement engine out of the donor bike. This turned out to be much, much harder than I thought it was going to be. One bolt wouldn’t come out.

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See the scrape marks? That is from my pounding on the bolt end with a big hammer.

In the end I took the donor bike back to The Shop, where they (reportedly with no small amount of glee) cut the engine out of the frame.

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I picked up the engine with my truck, then some friends came over to help with the rest.

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Once I had the engine to install the rest went smoothly. I even took the time to install a replacement windshield for the one I broke back in Panama. I hadn’t really missed the windshield while it was gone but back in the USA, with higher travel speeds, I thought it might be nice.

I also put the hard luggage back on, giving me somewhere to install all those stickers I picked up on the trip.

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Back on the road, I was asked not to take it anywhere until I had gotten 50 miles or so on the new engine. I decided to be save and put on about 100, and then it was next next day and I was ready for the road.

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