This week is one that has been dominated by ongoing attempts to fix a problem with my motorbike. A repair that has dragged out over several days.
It all began one afternoon at the beginning of the week when the speedometer stopped working. The needle swung back to zero and decided to stay there.
Fortunately I was in Piribebuy so I could head straight to the little garage I always use. Not so fortunately there was already someone there having a fairly major repair done. All I could do was sit and wait my turn.
There was little point in heading home and returning another day. I was next in the queue and if I did go home and come back another time may well have had to wait anyway.
So I made myself comfortable on a chair and sat back to watch the world go by.
Eventually after a couple of hours it was my turn. It seemed that the repair that needed doing before I could be dealt with was a more complicated one than I had first thought.
While I had been sitting there I had been hoping the the answer to my problem was that something had become disconnected. Had that been the case I envisaged a quick repair.
Unfortunately it wasn’t.
The verdict was that the speedometer unit had broken and would need to be replaced. This would need the entire dashboard removing and replacing. Again not a huge issue as surely one dashboard could be removed and a replacement connected in it’s place.
Before that was started to front wheel came off to check the bearings. I knew they would need replacing shortly, so having them changed now before work started on the dashboard was just fine.
That was swiftly done and the wheel put aside for later.
Then came the rather more complicated task of removing the dashboard. To do this the headlight first had to come off before various bolts could be removed and a whole host of wires cut.
A replacement dashboard was purchased from one of the many spare parts shops and connected up.
That however was worse than before any repairs had been started. Now the speedometer worked but the rev counter was leaping all over the place and none of the dashboard lights worked.
Talking to the mechanic I discovered that it was a common problem, Parts sold as replacements were although brand new often of such poor quality that they were worse then the broken parts they replaced.
It had by now got dark. The garage really needed to shut for the night so it was decided best if I headed home and then returned in daylight another day. Then the repair would be tackled once more.
Riding home was not a problem as mechanically there was nothing wrong with the bike. Along the way I did notice the speed was showing as a good bit higher than I knew I was going.
Therefore one morning a couple of days later I returned. Mid morning to allow whatever work was needed to be done.
In my absence it had been decided to make one working dashboard out of the parts of several. My old one, the one I had just bought and another that was lying about in the garage.
That would require opening up all three dashboards to get access to their cogs and dials as well as electrics, such as the gear selection indicator lights.
I would imagine in much of the world the stripping down of vehicle parts to cannibalise their best bits would not even be considered. Especially not a dashboard as very soon there were soon three sets of dials all registering different distances travelled from just a few up to over 30,000 lying on the workbench.
During the morning all manner of combinations were tried. They was a constant stream of components being filed, milled and adjusted. There was no way for me to tell which item had come from where.
By late morning a dashboard had been rebuilt. Then came the complicated task of wiring it in. There were rather a lot of wires. Fortunately they were colour coded to make to job of attaching each to it’s correct partner a little easier.
The various dials had all been tested individually but predictably when they were connected together none of them worked quite right.
There were a number of false starts during the morning.
It was also discovered that the gear indicator lights were not working on whichever of the dashboards was being used as a base. So a light assembly had to be swapped in from one of the others.
As the work continued to get everything into working order midday came and went.
Eventually early afternoon with one more removal of the front wheel bearings to cure a sound the wheel had been giving out for a few months it was decided by everyone that everything seemed OK. Taking the bike for a good ride was going to be the only way to test everything out properly.
Looking down at the dashboard I noticed that although the milometer did not say zero it now registered about 4,000 rather than the previous 30,000. Also the housing was far brighter and cleaner than the old one. That had had several years of exposure. Now the dials stood out brightly behind the perspex.
It happened that I was going over to Caacupe that afternoon. The run there and back would be enough check if everything was in working order.
I got there with no issue. However one the way back after riding for an hour the dashboard started to make a clicking noise and then the speedometer needle started jumping around wildly. Something had broken or was not properly connected.
So nearly had the repair been finished.
Everything else was once more as it should be. Just the small issue of not knowing my speed remained.
Whilst in town this morning I had a quick word with mechanic to let him know.
Once he sources another speedometer unit he said he will give me a call.
So early next week it will be back to the garage to try and fix finally that one last part of the dashboard. Do wish me luck!
With the poor quality of equipment, such as motorbikes, in Paraguay it is not uncommon for things to break and then for the replacement parts to be substandard. However with in ingenuity of the Paraguayan craftsman there is almost nothing that is beyond repair.