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Old 11-24-2012, 06:29 AM   #42
Byron1 OP
Gnarly Adventurer
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Joined: Jul 2012
Location: Lincolnshire, England
Oddometer: 106
Are my coils toast... and a few other questions?

I dont intend this to turn into a ride report, but thought I would share with you the events of the last 24 hours as our recent run with things happening to the bike has been "interesting" for us.

As we were heading through San Jose, we thought it a good time to find a place to get a nice new rear tyre as the old one was past it. We found the BMW garage and they happily fitted a nice new Pirelli for us. As we were leaving one of the mechanics I had been chatting too handed me a 24hour emergency breakdown card and said if ever we needed them (while in Costa Rica) just call... I thanked him, put the card in my pocket and thought that would be the end of it...

Yesterday before leaving San Jose, we looked at the map for our options South and decided the curvy Carretera 2 mountain road looked like it would be a good place to scrub the new back tyre in. As soon as we approached the mountains, the heavens opened and we got a soaking. We continued up this road for a good hour and a half all the time getting drenched and struggling with visibility.

As we were riding the bike started to splutter... I opened up the throttle to see if it would clear and it did... 2 minutes later the same thing but worse this time it wouldnt clear and the bike completely stalled.

Pulled over to the verge and a quick investigation showed there was no spark.Ignition seemed to be ok - voltmeter on 12, lights working, engine would turn over. Changed the plugs - still no spark. Changed the HT leads... Spark, but only a small orange one.

As we were getting drenched, it was freezing (I never knew Costa Rica would be cold?!) and we were very precariously positioned at the side of the road with lorries screaming past I decided to put the plugs back in and give it a whirl.

I am not going to make excuses for what happened, but somehow I ended up crossing the thread on the RH cylinder spark plug. so cross with myself as I am always so careful not to do this.

I took the spark plug out to see how bad I had done it and as I did so a few slivers of metal (from the knackered thread) fell down into the barrell. At this point I was almost sick

What a numpty.

While it was only a few small bits of aluminium and I was very tempted in my anger to just screw the fcking plug in and hope it got sent straight out the exhaust, I knew this was a bad idea and would be tempting fate so decided to do the decent thing and hide the keys and try to find a way down the mountain and back to San Jose.

At this point it was starting to get dark and we were both very wet, cold and miserable. I remebered about the card I was given and felt a sigh of relief only dampened by the fact that we didnt have a phone! Long story short, we managed to flag someone down who had a phone but no signal and they towed us to a cafe where we could call and then wait for assistance.

3 hours later we were picked up by Johnny form BMW San Jose and were in a truck shivering, but glad to be back on our way to San Jose. By that time the weather was so bad it took us another 2 hours to get down the mountain and then an hour making our way through San Jose. Before dropping us at our hostel Johhny offerred for us to use the workshop at BMW the next day and any tools we needed to get it fixed...

Today has been spent removing the RH cylinder head and getting the plug hole heli-coiled.

I was so glad I didnt try and start the bike again as when I took the head off there was loads of aluminium thread in there that fell out and even some that had got (almost) down the side of the piston:

So it all got cleaned up, decoked, a helicoil inserted and put back together.

When I took the rocker assemblies and pushrods off, I was carefull to make sure I noted which side was which and which end of the pushrod was top / bottom etc. I am 99.999% sure that when I took the rocker assemblies off I didnt rotate the pin that holds them together, but once I had it all back on the bike and was checking the valve timing, I noticed that on the intake side there is a mark at the top and the exhaust side there is one at the bottom (see little holed marks below):

I am sure this is how it must have been before and it runs fine like this, but is that correct?? Should those marks not both be at the same position??

Anyway one problem fixed and now to try and sort out the original problem... no spark. Ok, so once it was all back together I spun the engone over to check for a spark and there was a nice fat bright blue one!

Why had that decided to come back now, and what made it dissapear yesterday?? I assume the moisture, but when I looked at the coils to change HTs yesterday they were both as dry as a bone.. not sure how they could have got wet. The ignition switch and seemed to be working fine as the starter worked ok... if the ignition switch was wet this wouldnt have happened right. I also looked at the points today they were fine, plenty of life left in them and gapped ok.

Anyone have any ideas? We are just going to keep riding tomorrow now it is running as we need to make it down to Panama to catch a boat. I hate having something lingering at the back of my head waiting to go wrong again so as always, any advice is much appreciated.

Tried asking the BM wrenches their opinion why it fixed itself today but my Spanish isnt quite at a technical level yet... they shrugged and said "Solo dios conoco" Only God knows!

Again, we have been so lucky to meet such fantastic people who were happy to help us out. A massive thank you to all of the workshop staff at San Jose BMW for letting me use their bench especially Johnny and Adolfo for refusing any money for the Helicoil!

Either God / karma / whatever you believe is repaying me for being really good in a previous life, or God / Karma / whatever is preparing me to massively help out someone in the future.. that I will do with pleasure
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