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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Suzi Lives

Suzi, also known as "Big Red," is the 1983 Suzuki GS1100E that son Jamie rode to Florida last October, following his brother Alex's wedding in New Hampshire.  For the past few months, she has been sitting idle, due to a major malfunction of some sort, that Jamie had tried to sort out, without success.  Jamie reported that she would start on choke with the petcock set at "prime," but would die shortly after it was turned to the "on" position, and would refuse to respond to the throttle.  In other words, the problem appeared to be in the fuel system, and hence, he had removed the gas tank, tried to identify the problem, and was disappointed and frustrated that he couldn't do so.

Of course, Suzi and I are much more intimately related than are she and Jamie, since our partnership goes back to 1991, when I bought her off the roadside for $600, with only 15,900 miles on her odometer.  Since joining my stable of mounts, she has taken me from Campton to Colorado in 1992, with son Jesse on the pillion, then to California and back in 1995, in the company of Jamie and Jesse on their pair of Suzuki GS550s, and to Newfoundand in 1998 with Alex aboard, not to mention a couple of rides to visit my Dad when he lived in Florida, one in the company of daughter Piper and her friend Kelly (Drew) Dolling as pillion passengers, one on Suzi and the other on brother-in-law Dick Cichowski's Gold Wing.

So, I was confident that I could get Suzi running again, and today I did so.  Yesterday, I replaced her battery, which was refusing to accept charge, with a Motobatt permanently sealed unit. That enabled her to crank strongly, but still not to keep running.  Last night Jamie and I pulled the tank again, and I identified that upon reconnecting the fuel line when last reinstalling the tank, Jamie had not noticed that a smaller hose from the tank's petcock remained unconnected at its lower end.  This time, we found its male connector on the intake manifold, connected it, and remounted the tank.  It was now quite dark, so we left Suzi in the garage for the night, and I told Jamie I'd continue to work on her while he was at his office today.

As I'd mentioned to Jamie, another likely contributor was stale gasoline, for today's ethanol-blend fuels are notorious for causing problems after a machine has been in storage, as over a winter.  So, today, I stopped by the Advance Auto Parts store in their neighborhood, and added a little Sea Foam to the gas tank, along with fresh gasoline.  Voila, she started right up, revved when asked to rev, and behaved like a new bike.  The Sea Foam and fresh gas may have helped, but I am sure it was the reconnecting of the fuel valve's vacuum tube to the intake manifold that did the trick.  After a test ride, I texted Jamie, "Big Red Lives."

Today, with her odometer showing over 55,000 miles, Suzi is again running strong.

Jamie is a natural motorcyclist.  He was the one with the lowest "tilt" angle in the corners on our cross-country ride of '95.  As a new father, I know Jamie will ride carefully.  I trust him with Suzi, and I know that they will make as fine a pair as she and I have made for the past twenty-two years.  By twenty-two years hence, about the time that Bam-Bam is graduating from college, I know that Jamie will be able to sort out such minor problems with ease, and that Suzi will be for him a reminder of good times had with his Dad.

By the way, I intend to attend Bam-Bam's graduation ceremony, preferably arriving there on a classic bike of my own.  Why not?  I'll only be 91 in May of 2035.

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