Does a dealer service your bike? Should he? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
 
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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 01:32 AM Thread Starter
 
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Does a dealer service your bike? Should he?

Need to relay something very scary that happened to me today. I just got the bike this week. Bought it used. Previous owner's story: Bike was sold by a dealer in Houston, TX. The bike was in that same dealer for a 100 mile checkup after sale. Then the 600 mile service. So, the bike has been serviced twice by the dealer.

Segue to this evening.

I took the V out for a flogging. I am riding twisties very aggressively. I hear this horrible grinding noise from the rear. It gets worse. I get alarmed. I pull over. I inspect. I crap my pants.

The rear brake caliper is loose! No bolt in the bottom. Bolt half out on top. The image of that caliper wrapping itself around the rear hub while I am in full lean resonates in an unfavorable manner. WTF?!

This sort of thing is not unusual.

When I owned my Aprilia Tuono, one day, the lower cowl just disappeared. Fell off the bike. Just got it back from the dealer for warranty work.

Then there is my BMW story. I had them install bar risers, and they simply stretched my wiring harness 1". Pulled a connection apart on the harness. But they charged me $75 to "reroute wiring".

Three years ago I began servicing my own bikes. I will continue.

Lesson is this. Whenever anyone works on your machine, check their work. If you are sending the bike in for service, make some sharpie marks on a few nuts and bolts just to be sure they actually did pull the valve cover to do the valve check. Believe it or not, that same BMW dealer once charged me for a 6000 service but did not even pull the valve cover. They knew the bike was still in spec (they always are), but they charged me to do the work.

When I got home tonight, after calling my wife to get me in the pickup truck, I pulled out a torque wrench and was horrified at the half assed job the assembly idiot did on the Versys. I am surprised that the previous owner did not have some serious accident with the thing.

I forgot that most of the time when you pay $495 for dealer prep of your brand new bike, it is actually being assembled by a teenage cretan with the IQ of a lemon. So, I guess it is my fault.

So, if you guys think the talent level in most dealer service departments is different from that on the sales floor, think again. If you need work you cannot do, then go to an independent shop of a reputable person. I beg forgiveness from all the good, competent dealer mechanics who read this. You already know you are the minority.

If anyone would like to know who any of these dealers are, please PM me. I would love to damage their reputation, but my ethics prevent me from doing it publicly.

Finally, though I am new here, I notice that there is not yet much material or FAQs here regarding wrenching the V. I plan to document stuff as I do it and share it. I think it would be great is we had a FAQ effort like that on F650.com. That resource is brilliant. It actually allows folks to prevent the things like above from happening. Cause, as my story shows, if you want something done in a manner you can 100% trust, you almost have to do it yourself.
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 03:07 AM
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+1 on the need for more descriptions on normal servicing & maintenance. I'm comfortable with automobile mechanics but this is my first bike and it's a whole new ballgame. There are several threads on one of the very first pages of the forum with some pdf's of How-to, but very few of these are Versys specific. They're a great starting point but more is needed. I'll try to help in this regard as I'll be pulling off both wheels next week for new tires. Something along the lines of the stickies on DIY Oil change (http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...read.php?t=836) and the front sprocket replacement (http://www.kawasakiversys.com/forums...ead.php?t=1784) would be really helpful. BTW, those 2 stickies are GREAT! Thanks to all!
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 03:46 AM
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My rear caliper's lower bolt was not tight enough on mine either. Some have found the front calipers' bolts to be loose, but mine were too tight... I do all my own maintenance, repairs and mods.
My first new Toyota was tampered with by the dealership's master mechanic to create an annoying, hard to find noise to 'ensure' that I'd bring it in for checkup and maintenance, when he realized that I like to take care of my own. Ironically, they made my first and only visit to that dealership also my last, and they were reported to headquarters...
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 05:11 AM
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After a week of owning the bike I took off all the body work to plan a 12 volt install. After taking off the left side plastic an unused bolt (threads in new condition) fell to the floor. I checked that area for a missing bolt and could not find where it came from. Could be that the installer dropped the bolt by mistake and did not want to disassemble the bike to find one bolt. Since the weather will be crappy I will check all bolts on this bike.
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 10:29 AM
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You guys are scaring the he(( out of me. I'm kind of a mechanical dummy. It might be easy to go through the bike and tighten all the bolts even if I'm not sure what their purpose is. But it also seems like I can over tighten them. My gut feeling with my dealer is that he's okay but I don't know for sure. Here in Canada we have to take our bikes to the dealer for regular maintenance in order for the warranty to be valid. I thought I would leave it up to him to make sure the bike was in safe operating condition but now I'm having doubts.

I think this is a very valid thread for us mechanical morons. If there are are safety inspections we should be doing on a regular basis beyond the obvious (tire pressure, etc.), photos and a description of how problems can be fixed are appreciated.

By the way, my experience has been that an independent shop can miss things as easily as a dealer. When they get busy in the middle of the riding season and are trying to do too many jobs at the same time, the quality of their work can suffer.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 12:24 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by charly View Post
You guys are scaring the he(( out of me...

But it also seems like I can over tighten them.

By the way, my experience has been that an independent shop can miss things as easily as a dealer.
1.) It is appropriate that we be scared about this. It is a very common thing folks, especially new riders need to know. A bike is not like a car. Stuff wiggles loose all the time.

2.) You can overtignten bolts easily. Download the service manual on this site and buy a torque wrench. Also, once a bolt is significantly overtorqued, it should be replaced. It has been compromised. Once in the BMW's life, before I began servicing it, I had the dealer do a 6K on it. They over torqued a suspension linkage bolt. The bolt sheared. I found it next time I did my own 6K service. Who knows how long I was riding like that?

3.) True about shops. It all comes down to the individual doing the work. There is one guy here inHouston that Ido trust immensely. When I need work, I take it to him. And I know he will dothe work cause he is the only guy in his shop. And, yes, it takes a month to get him to work on the bike.

4.) I would suggest that we do a FAQ like the one on F650.com. Y'all visit that site and see how they have done their FAQs. They are on a searchable database. Of course doing such will require the blessing of the admins, but if they will put in the technology underpinnings, I will take responsibility for developing a few FAQs and documenting them with photos.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 01:57 PM
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Is this what your talking about?

http://faq.f650.com/main.html



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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 01:59 PM
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Gahboo, I think that the reason there are few FAQs is because the Versys is a relatively new model and we just haven't done that much wrenching on it yet. I really doubt that the admins would reject any such offers. Within a year or two I think you'll see a bunch of material from users like us. Thanks for bringing up the subject.

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 02:35 PM
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I've never seen the pdi manual for the Versys, but I doubt that the rear caliper is installed at pdi. Usually only the front wheel is removed to reduce height in the crate. There's a reason that the owners manual says check all the bolts on page 79 and again with a diagram on pages 161/162 and 163....It specifically lists all the issues that you have mentioned. Anything with aluminum components will loosen some after cycliing from hot to cold a few times. You're responsible for checking them yourself unless you specifically tell the mechanic to check them all and want to pay him $100 /hr to do it!! I've worked in the industry since the 80's BTW and it's a crap shoot as to whether anything not mentioned in the pdi list is double checked by the assembler. Usually pdi is flat rate paid to a mechanic, if he does them quickly, he just got himself a raise, if he's slow or has to redo something, he's working for lower wages...........
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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 05:22 PM
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Sorry to say but in all my years (61) of lots of cars and bikes new i have yet to find one dealer that did more than an oil change for the 500 or 600 mile service. Is one reason i bought the Versys is i can do the general oil change myself. Having an issue with Honda new car right now. Car dealers are no different. The long list for the first service is a joke and we all know it. Have two new cars and you lay the maintenece book on the seat and they never stamp it. Nothing in it. Had my own business for 28 years and depended on only word of mouth and kept busy always. They said i was very particular which i took as a compliment. Join the 20 th century folks. No pride anymore. I have also had to mark things just to see if they actually took something off. Sad isn't it. Is bad when you don't mind paying for good service and can't find it. Worse yet if you pay for good service and don't get a thing. BMW was one of the worst and didn't matter what dealership. All the same now. Buy a cheap bike and work on it yourself and then trade them off or sell after a short time. Or just learn to work on them yourself for most things until something breaks. Good luck riders.

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post #11 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 05:30 PM
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The first weekend I took my brand new Versys out for a long ride both my front brake calipers fell off 150 miles from home.
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post #12 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 07:58 PM
 
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I am a tech at a kawi dealer in denver and the original owner should have got a pdi sheet we fill one out for evry bike we sell.Also the rear caliper is already installed in the crate,we do install the front,don't know about other dealers but we check all the caliper bolts after the test ride.Some people don't like dealers but they are not all bad.
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post #13 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 08:03 PM
 
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Also if their is any local versys owners that take their bike to a dealership in denver come buy G-force powersports and ask to have Ray work on it,I will make sure that every thing is done right.
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post #14 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 08:04 PM
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I bought my bike from a dealer (ex demo) that is about 2.5 hours ride from my house. I've ridden the bike probably 1500k's since getting it. Got some paddock stands for the bike yesterday and propped it up on the stand, and for the first time "properly" checked the oil level (it's a bit hard to check the oil level by yourself...) and it was like "hey dude where's the oil?". It was bang on the low level. Will have to go and buy some oil and hope that it was the dealer that didn't put enough oil in, and not the bike using oil...

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post #15 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 08:08 PM
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Talking

I'm fortunate to have a couple of really good Dealers around me. Some of the Techs they have in their employ I've known for years...and...they all know how particular I am. One day {lonnnnnggg ago} one of the techs set-up my new 1990 FZR600, and he knew I would take it apart or put a wrench to every nut and bolt I could, "just because". The factory has one way to set up a new bike...I have other ways. He wrote "HI BOB" in magic marker inside the air box, because he knew I would check to be sure the filter lip was greased prior to using it. Kinda thought that was OK, because he beat me to it! If he went that far, I could be assured that all else was good...and it was. If I have to use them, I'm not worried at all. But...I do all of my own maint......"just because".
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post #16 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 11:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by Bear on a bicycle View Post
Is this what your talking about?

http://faq.f650.com/main.html
Exactly. There is a ton of content there. Granted, that bike has lotsa years on the road, so it is expected that its resource pool is larger than the Versys. It is not reasonable for us to expect to have that resource for our bike, but we can start building it. Someday, we might have it. The F650 crew is rabid in their loyalty to the bike, partly because of that resource.
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post #17 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 11:35 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by scooter650 View Post
There's a reason that the owners manual says...

Usually pdi is flat rate paid to a mechanic, if he does them quickly, he just got himself a raise, if he's slow or has to redo something, he's working for lower wages...........
I know, I should have checked them myself. My bad. My point being that even with the bike being touched three times by the dealer, you STILL can't count on thae fact that they did anything at all.

On the flat rate assembly, that is spot on. That is what I really meant by my comment on the competence of the mechanics. If you want to be sure, you have to pay someone specifically to do something.

Just seems to me, that when you buy a motorcycle, you ought to be able to count on the thing being assembled according to the specifications.
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post #18 of 18 (permalink) Old 03-28-2009, 11:45 PM Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by juevea12 View Post
I am a tech at a kawi dealer in denver and the original owner should have got a pdi sheet we fill one out for evry bike we sell.Also the rear caliper is already installed in the crate,we do install the front,don't know about other dealers but we check all the caliper bolts after the test ride.Some people don't like dealers but they are not all bad.
You are obviously one of those "good guys" I already apologized to... I am obviously not talking about you and guys like you. We desperately need more guys like yourself, who understand the importance of doing this stuff right. I appreciate your dedication.
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