T – Coffee late in the afternoon is a bad idea. Neither of us managed to get a decent nights sleep last night. Bloody amazing Colombian coffee, its all your fault!
We packed up and pushed the bikes outside and went through the usual pre start checks, oil, keys, clothes, stares, etc. Rosie bellowed into life on her first kick and sat there idling away happily. Then it was Mabels turn. She fired right up but then started misfiring and making a hell of a horrid racket. She backfired and rattled, spat and farted and died. Hmm. Weird. Maybe she was just cold.
I kicked her again and again she fired right up, but any use of the throttle at all result in nasty noises from her engine and massive farts and hiccups. Plus she smelt very fuelly. I couldnt and didnt want to pull her apart right here in the middle of the main street, with the cities occupants standing around staring at us, so we rode about 400 meters to where we could pull down a little side road and I could have a look at her. The whole ride she bucked and groaned, rattled and backfired and I couldnt get about 5km/hr. There was something seriously amiss here. I suspected either a blocked jet in the carby or maybe a jet had rattled out and fallen into the bottom of the fuel bowl.
We stripped her down and found that her carby was fine and clean looking and had a healthy flow of fuel. We swapped CDI units between the bikes, swapped sparkplugs out, did a valve adjustment, all to no avail. I was stumped. I wanted to swap out the coil and lead but it looked like a major operation so we put her back together and did the unthinkable. We took her to a mechanic.
C – A lovely gentleman passing by told there was a mechanic only three blocks away, so we ventured off to find him. We didn’t find a bike mechanic in three blocks, but we did find plenty of auto and truck mechanics. One nice guy came out and told us that there were two mechanics, just around the previous right hand corner. Just in the nick of time too, as Mabel was getting adamant she was soon not going to run at all!
We were greeted out the front by mechanics from both shops, as they checked our bikes.
T – The mechanic was super enthusiastic about working on her and soon he had checked her cam and cam chain, stripped her carby down, gave her a new spark plug, checked the CDI, and then went and got his mechanic mate from over the road. They both concluded that Mabel was having and electrical mishap and after prodding and probing her bits with a multimeter declared that yes she definitely had some electrical issue.
He ended up swapping the stators between the bikes, swapped the carbies, swapped the CDI unit the lot. And still Mabel ran like a hairy dog. I asked him if he was enjoying this challenge of working on a bike he had never seen before, to which he replied “YES! It is very good!”
Finally he kicked her again and she started up and sat there…..running terribly. Nothing had changed. The guy had worked on her constantly for about 4.5 hours and still he was no closer to her running better than before. Then he tapped his head and while she was running and backfiring and filling his workshop with fumes he reached into her battery box and gave her a tickle and VROOOOOOOOOM. Her revs came right up, she idled smoothly and then I had to stop listening as the mechanic tested out her rev limiter for what felt like a month. He was very pleased. He fiddled a little more and pronounced her fixed. What he did I don’t know. But she ran the best I have heard her run in quite some time.
He put her back together and then gave her another handful of throttle just to make sure she was still fixed. Oh Mabel. I am sorry! We have never revved our bikes hard like this! Ever. He took her outside and then waving and beeping at all his mates on the street he proceeded to race her around the place. I didn’t mind. He did a good job on her, fixed some other broken bits and tidied up her wiring. He came back grinning and saying he liked her and that she was a very good bike and would take me to Argentina no problems at all.
C – After pillaging bits of Rosie to try on Mabel, the mechanic put Rosie back together, tidying up her wiring too. We were both prepared for a largish bill, but were both ok with this. The staff were all lovely and he certainly worked not stop on her all day.
T – So it came time to settle the bill. I waited nervously while he calculated how much to charge us. It came to a grand total of $18 USD. Oh my. I was very happy with that! In fact if I had to replace her whole motor I would have still been happy. This engine cost $300 and has carted my fat bum and all my luggage from Alaska to the middle of Colombia. About 37 000 kms with nothing more than oil changes and a new clutch. Go Mabel! Go Lifan! Go Rosie!
We then checked into a nearby hotel and called it a day. We hadn’t eaten all day and both of us were a tad peckish. So after some chicken and rice we went to bed.
Tomorrow we shall try to get toward Guatape again!