Saturday, January 28, 2012

Slight Return (busted crank)

I have lost track of my black Bajaj Chetak. It resides in the East Bay (SF Bay Area) now. That's a lll I know. I have been lending a hand as-needed to the owner of my wife's yellow Chetak. At first the brand new battery crapped out as did it on the black Bajaj Chetak. The owner, Jon, of the yellow one recharged per my recommendation with a heavy duty motorcycle battery charger and the battery has been problem-free since then. I really like the look of white walls, but since then have learned that the walls (sides) of the tires are four times thinner = shorter life. Jon installed Continental Zippies on his Chetak and honestly that is one of the best tires to put on your bike. You can score good deals of them at Motorcycle Superstore. The last call I got from Jon was the engine is dead. He checked the spark plug and inspected the flywheel. He had the CDI and electrical tested. No problems there. He brought it in to Barry G. at SF Scooter Center and Barry found that the flywheel nut spun freely. He removed the flywheel and found a broken crank. This reminded me of a conversation I had with Steve of MotorSport Scooters years ago where he was rebuilding a lot of Bajaj engines due to broken cranks around mile 10,000. Jon does not even have 5,000 miles. A shop wanted $1000 for fix or to swap out a new engine for him. The ladder would be good so Jon could sell his engine for parts. Jon is a college student on a budget and has no garage, no tools, nor is he comfortable wrenching. I recommended parting the bike to him. I suspect his bike is worth more in parts. Many people on the Retro Bajaj list are looking for parts.

I also spoke to Kent, a mechanic former for Bajaj USA, and he said parts are no longer made and getting more and more scarce. Kent recommended walking away from the bike and moving on to a new one.

Jon needs the Chetak to run for one more year and he is on the college budget so Barry offered a weld solution. For $100 the flywheel was welded to the crank and should hold up for one more year at which time Jon will most likely sell. On some vintage bikes I have seen the farmer's weld has worked a long time.

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