Initial Ultra teardown

The time has finally arrived to start working on the bike upgrades for the big road trip next year.  With some nervous trepidation, I jumped in the car and drove for 45 minutes over to my friend Mitch’s home, who had graciously offered the use of one of his garages during the cold months.  Even better, Mitch knows motorcycles really well, and is comfortable taking them apart and putting them back together.  The deal I worked out with him is that he was helping only as a guide and with backup hands when needed…and that I would be doing the vast majority of the work to be accomplished.  Sounds fair to me; how else will I be able to learn?

One step further, Mitch refused to take control of the work to be performed, instead just staying nearby as a mentor as he teaches me the art of Harley wrenching.  Not to say that he didn’t get dirty like I did; we both jumped into the project with gusto although he made it a point to mostly hand me the tools and to keep a watch over his younger grasshopper.

Tied down to stand, ready to start tear down
Back end off
New Progressive 444 HD shocks installed

Unfortunately, our work ended early last night trying to get the rear rotor bolts off the wheel.  These bolts are secured with LocTite, and the only thing that really helps to get the bolts out is concentrated heat on the bolt head.  Of course, neither of us decided to investigate the proper way, and instead decided to use sheer muscle power to break the adhesive properties of the LocTite.  After much straining and grunting, we were able to get two bolts out using just the star socket and a lot of Wheaties produced energy.  However, on the third bolt, the socket shattered inside the bolt head.

These bolts are Grade 8, some of the strongest made and used on critical motorcycle components for its strength and shatterproof-ness.  It really pissed you off when one of these bolts break, but in a way it is amusing that the torque applied by the human body is enough to shatter steel sometimes.

So, round two happens tonight.  We will get a couple of extra sockets, probably try out the routine heat application, and I need to stop by the dealership and pick up some new rotor bolts (they are designed to be one-use only bolts, for some reason.)  Probably Harley-Davidson’s way of getting more parts sales, by putting into their service manuals that so much of their bike hardware is not designed to be used more than once.

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