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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm not "new" to riding, but after a wreck in 2003 that broke my leg I didn't buy a new bike. Now that my kids are 14/15 I'm getting back into it.

I recently bought an 83 Nighthawk 550 that only needed a bit of work to get running right again. Low miles, pretty great condition.

Main thing the seller said was wrong with it, was it not firing on Cylinder 1. I found a short in the cable and replaced that as well as replacing both ignition coils.

The carbs were acting up, so I pulled them off and cleaned them.. but then it was worse. So I had to pull them off again... unfortunately I then had to drill out a couple screws and I'm waiting on replacements.

I'm brand new to mechanic work on bikes, and barely done any on large or small engines before now. It's fun... but I wish I'd held out and got a newer bike I could just hop on and ride. It's been 2 months now and its killing me looking at the bike in the driveway.

Anyway, Hope for great support and new friends here! Please take care of me.

EDIT: Also... is there a reason I can't reply to any threads or add a signature? I haven't participated yet because I literally can't...
 

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American Legion Rider
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25,916 Posts
WELCOME ABOARD, and...



As to you last question you might like to read.

This.

And this.

I think you'll find the answer there.
 

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Also... is there a reason I can't reply to any threads or add a signature? I haven't participated yet because I literally can't...
Welcome! You have to have a certain number of posts before the site allows certain actions.

I've had my bike down a few times while waiting on a part or working on an issue and know it isn't fun. Good luck and would love to see some pics of what you are doing as well as what she looks like all put together!
 

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2005 Suzuki C90T
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I'm waiting on riding mine because a an idiot red light runner driver who just about took me out two days before my course to get my license. As far as working on your, do it. Learn about it. Watch some videos, ask question. Take things apart and figure them out. See if you can find a shop manual.
 

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I think many of us who have bikes no longer under warranty turn into at least shade-tree wrenches. First, current hype aside, bikes just don’t seem to be as maintenance-free as many modern vehicles and second, most of us enjoy tinkering on our machines (that seem a bit friendlier than opening the hood on modern cars -- or at least that is what we tell ourselves). As you get into older bikes, you’ll probably want/have to be the machine’s mechanic anyway as the dealer probably no longer has “technicians” who are up to speed on it and/or it isn’t cost effective to pay a hundred bucks an hour on a bike that probably isn’t worth it (except to the owner). Usually I can find someone n YouTube who is doing what I need to know…
 

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When I first got my bike I took it to a shop for tires and found they broke the speedometer cable and put the spacers on the front wheel wrong so rivets on the disk were clipping the left caliper. I became my own mechanic and no one else has touched my bike in over ten years of riding. They treated me like it was my fault for bringing in a old bike in for service. As for screws on the carburetors (or anywhere else on the bike), there are many stainless steel Allen screw sets out there that are far better than what the manufacturer provided. One word of advise with carburetors, stay very far away from rebuild kits. Usually all internal parts can be cleaned in carburetor dip for 24 hrs. (carburetor racks have to be taken apart to soak all parts and carburetor bodies except diaphragms and usable parts that would be damaged) and O-rings and gaskets are the only thing that really needs to be replaced in most cases. Many factory parts are still available even on a 41 year old bike such as what I have. Happy wrenching, it is quite satisfying to be able to do your own work, then you know it is done right.
 

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I have service manuals for both of my bikes, and with them plus online sources I believe I could do 'most anything my bikes would need -- and I am no mechanic, just a bit mechanically inclined, top-notch at following instructions, and (usually) pretty patient. Now, of course, given the choice of paying someone else to do it, depending on the contents of my wallet at the time I might not WANT to do some of those jobs! Still, for 100% of maintenance and superficial repairs/parts replacements, I feel some satisfaction in paying myself $100 an hour rather than some guy who may know no more than I.
 
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