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Arrrrrrrgggggghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, that had to come out.

It WAS of course followed by a big grin when it was finally all in place.

So has anyone ever taped a butter knife to a wrench to give it longer reach <G>? (more on that later). I'm sure that my bike would wish that I went back to computer repair any time it sees me coming at it with a wrench.

The Bike: 1997 1500A

I started my install of my new "DG HardKrome Slashcut Really Shiny Mean And Clean Looking Drag Pipes". First I waited (bouncing from foot to foot) for the coasters to come in from Drew (http://members.tripod.com/~Drew_Drew/coasters.html) so I'd have them in place before running the pipes. OK, they came in on Saturday (4 days from when I mailed the check) but I didn't get started until Monday :-(

Anyway here we go. A LOT of swearing as I went to replace the reed valves with the coasters, the 1500A has them behind the back cylinder and in front of the front cylinder (I believe the 750's have them more to the sides). It comes down to that my hands are to big to do this easily, especially with the short handled 10mm wrench that came with the bike. Drew says "A 15 min. procedure that will eliminate each reed valve ** ONLY ** and put a COASTER in its place (under the housing)." HA HA HA HA HA HA HA. (Only kidding Drew (he goes on to say "*1500 models require a little more time due to the reed valve being in a more confined location.", this is an understatement, at least in my case)".

Now before anyone starts with "Well it only took me such and such time you must not know what your doing blah blah blah" Well, I DON'T know what I'm doing <G>. But I went and bought a shop manual and I plan to do as much as I can when ever I can.

So I'm replacing these reed valves, see?, and after some prolonged gymnastics with my wrist and fingers I finally get the back reed valve replaced. It's easy, it's just very difficult <G>. Whew, have a smoke, take a look at the front, ack, there ain't NO WAY I'm getting my hands in there. So I try anyway (well what am I supposed to do). After 20 minutes of trying new positions I give up for the day and decide to go to the Craftsman area of Sears (insert grunts here) the next day.

I'm at sears, what I came looking for was a long handled 10mm wrench, the one I had just didn't cut it. I find my wrench, I find a 10mm open-end ratchet wrench (is that the right name?) that looked like it might come in handy, and of course a drill bit set. The drill bit set had nothing to do with the pipes but I'll be replacing my bags next and I wanted some really wide bits. I picked out a full set for $30 and when I went to pay for it the clerk said "hold on, I think we have a special" so we went over a few aisles and they had the same set for the same price but it came with a bonus set of high speed high quality fancy smancy metal bits. So things aren't all bad.

I'm at home now and I've already stripped off all the bits and pieces (and the bits and pieces... weird science [sorry]) of the stock muffler and exhaust system. (Sheeesh that's a bunch of stuff) I just have that front reed valve to go before I can start to unwrap that new set of pipes (bouncing from foot to foot again). Slowly I turn... (the bolt) step by step... tried the new wrench, better but still now quite long enough. Hmmmm what do I do now. ding ding. Off I go to find an old butter knife (thin blade so as not to add width to the wrench) and get out the ol' "duck" tape and viola (a stringed instrument?). FINALLY the two bolts are off, the gasket is in hand (seems to me to be "gasket material" as opposed to rubber). I start to contort my hands and fingers again to get the new plate in place, some really long needle nose pliers came in handy at this point. Shoot! dropped a bolt, fell into the radiator area, get flashlight, find it in a place I can't reach with anything, take off radiator cover, loosened radiator at bottom, get bolt. ding ding. The loosened radiator gives me a little more maneuverable room at the reed valve.

snip snip to conclusion, got the bolts in finally, replaced bolts on radiator and it's cover. Started cleaning up the area, exhaust parts, clamps, gaskets, mufflers, valves all lying all over. Off to get my new pipes (giddy me).

Bring out the pipes, no clamps, flanges, hangers. Cut off the outer bubble wrap and leave it on the floor for when I set them down. ooooooooo shiny. No instructions, sheesh, trial and error time, look at manual, no help, have a smoke. Get out the new gaskets I picked up and start putting the new pipes gingerly in place, use this bolt hole, no, this one, no, ahhh there it is. It's straight forward from there, the front pipe bolts on to where the hanger was and they bolt into the back pipes that hang below them.

NOTE: If you have the F&S engine guard. I received this from Paul Hetzer:

"Oh, you said you had the F&S crash bar, that may not allow the forward cylinder pipe to seat correctly. While your out running around the part stores, pick up a tube of high temp/pressure silicon sealant at your local cager shop (about $5), and throw a bead around the front cylinder flange receptor over top of the crush gasket. It wont hurt to do even if the pipe seats solidly, and will save you the heartache of having the flange leaking after you have the pipes installed."

This appears to be correct (I mean that in the sense that it's not a one time thing concerning only his bike). The front pipes DOES seem to be a hair off because of it's motion being limited by the engine guard. This "hair off" does not cause any complications in the install or looks but it may allow for a slight leak if no other sealant is used. I haven't put it in yet (I wasn't able to find anything suitable yet) but it's entirely possible I will.

All the bolts are tightened, everything is in place, I've picked up my tools, I looked at the color of the spark plugs (light brown) it's getting dark... so I wait. I stand back and look at it and I grriiiinnnnnnn.

Today when I get home I put the seat back on, polish the pipes (don't want ANY fingerprints to burn in (this hint sent to me by FMelehan@aol.com) and fire it up...

Part Two and Pics when they're ready to follow, I'll probably (from what I'm told) be starting into the archaic art of rejetting and such <G>.

PART 2

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