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Old 04-12-2021, 08:31 PM
Johnny Ritz Johnny Ritz is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Mendota Heights, MN
Posts: 4,117
Thoroughbred Maintenance

A couple weeks ago, I noticed an oil film near my front cylinder head gasket.
A swift 500 mile ride through Iowa and Wisconsin on the next day (Saturday) brought more conclusive evidence.
The next day (Sunday) a quick 500 mile loop to South Dakota with heavy winds confirmed - I am pretty sure my headgasket is leaking. DANG! But…. it still performs like an animal though!
The following Saturday, I thought I would triple check and was spiritedly riding some fun roads in WI, also in heavy winds. (some roads were great – nice and clean, others…worse than a gravel road)
After about 300 smiles of fun, I was a few clicks south of Cream WI on 88 when I heard a little thud…kinda like hitting a small bird. A quick check of the mirrors didn’t show any remnants.
Then, about a mile from Cream, the bike felt “funny”…could it be the strong winds in the valley? About a ½ mile after Cream, I thought…something isn’t right. I pulled over by a little cemetery and checked the Big Blue Angel over, and..yep…there it is – a flat rear tire! Gol Damnit!
Luckily, I have elected to have super-duper AAA with 200 mile towing coverage that includes motorcycles.(and motorhomes too, but motorhomes are required to the motorcycle coverage…hmmm) I grabbed my phone, and – No Service! So…I started walking with my phone in the air trying to find coverage. About 3 blocks from the bike, and a nice older lady pulled over to ask if I needed help. When I asked where I could get cell service, she laughed and said – not for a few miles, and only on top of one of the hills…if I am lucky! She offered to let me try her phone, just as her husband pulled up behind her as they were on their way to drop their grandkids off and have dinner.
The husband stated – “the guy that owns the bar in Cream, he also has a small motorcycle shop he is moving in near the bar – one minute…I’ll call him.”
Sure enough – the bar/motorcycle shop owner said he’d see if he could help. The nice older man drove me down to the bar and dropped me off to chat with him. Nice people here!
I’ve ridden past this bar numerous times, and never knew it was open – the parking lot and door are in the back! The bar/shop owner came out – his name is Seymore, and the bar is called the Ponderosa – he cooks there too, which he stated he is doing tonight! Seymore opened the shop garage door and sure enough – he has a nice little shop! (with a couple air tables that had some nice bikes on them, tire and balancing machine -etc.. he had a shop in Mondovi that he was in the process of moving to this location) His portable air tank was still at the other shop – dang!
But, he gave me a ride to the bike, and I attempted to walk while clutching the Big Blue Locomotive back to the shop. My 29” inseam started to give out about ½ way to the shop so I tossed a leg over and leaned forward as much as I could and slowly pulled into the shop. Seymore started the air compressor, and mentioned – “I have to run into the bar and have one of the other two people cook – we gotta see if we can get you back on the road!” I mentioned he didn’t have to do that, I do have AAA, and he laughed.
We pumped up the tire and found the leak – a piece of metal…and right in the tread line… damn. Seymore had a good selection of tires, but not one that fit the Vision… darn!
Seymore said well… let’s try to plug it! (I did have some old plugs/tool on the bike, but he had fresh ones!) After muscling the weird piece of metal out,(a twisted nail possibly?) followed up by more muscling the plug dipped in rubber cement into the tire, we were able to get the tire aired up.
We decided to let the tire/plug sit for a bit to see if it would hold air.
We went to the bar and Seymore cleaned up real well and ran back to kitchen to help run food.
The Ponderosa is a nice bar! Great people in there too!
I happened to be standing next to a guy named Steve from Columbia Heights(?) that has a couple Road Glides – one of which has 208K on it! I had a soda and Steve and I traded stories as Seymore continued to run good looking food out of the kitchen.
After close to an hour, Seymore caught up running food so we went out to the shop to check the tire pressure – it was right where it was supposed to be, and where it was when we left it! I asked Seymore – what do I owe you? He said – you assisted, and he was happy to help a biker in need – the plug is 3 bucks. Stop by on your way through next time and have a bite to eat.
I gave him a 20, and said - not only will I stop by, but I will tell my friends of your great generosity as well. Seymore is a great guy!
I tooted my horn on the way out and thought about finishing my twisty ride…but then decided to head straight home via the river road and take it easy.
It was still quite windy.
As I neared Stockholm, with dusk just setting in, a big wind gust hit me and the Blue Angel leaned over…that was weird…. hmmmm, that didn’t seem quite right? I decided to pull over in front of the GEM bar, right under a street light. Better check that tire again. 2nd Gol Damnit of the day - the rear tire is flat… again! All right …the motorcycle gods have been in my favor and kept me upright through 2 flat tires in just a few hours – I’m calling AAA! At least I have some phone coverage right here, in this specific, exact spot! After 15 minutes on the phone, AAA stated: we can’t find a tow truck for you in that location. Our special operations team will call you back within 2 hours. 2 Hours! I said….ma’am, I am on the side of the road, on a motorcycle, at night, with a flat tire, and it is starting to get cold! She said they would “prioritize my call”…. Hmmm…that doesn’t seem like very good service….
Just as I got off the phone with not so helpful AAA, a motorcycle slows and pulls up…it was “Road Glide’s Steve” from the Ponderosa bar! He dismounted and stated – I figured you go this way and I wanted to see if I would find you along the way! We chatted some more and I told him of my unimpressive AAA experience.
I then decided to call AAA again, made the same case, and got a similar response: can’t find any tows, expect a call back within 2 hours. Then it dawned on me – I asked, can I call my own tow? I know there is a big towing company in Red Wing, MN (Siewert’s Towing)– about 20 miles from here, I am pretty certain they will have a truck. AAA response was – yes, you can do that, keep the receipt and we will reimburse you for the tow. A quick call to Siewert’s and they found me a tow, but the truck is coming from Hastings, MN – it would be about 90 minutes…being that I was about 60 miles from Hastings, that seemed reasonable.
Just about that time – people from inside the (formerly GEM bar – it’s under new ownership) bar came out to see if we were ok, offered us water, and if they could help. We went inside to a happening bar, that had just opened under new ownership…that just re-opened that day! Wow – how lucky, thank you again motorcycle God! I bought Road Glide’s Steve a drink, ordered a soda and we chatted with people in the bar. We were also offered a free cookie and/or a slice of pizza they had. Man, there are great people here too!
After a little more than an hour – the tow truck arrived. Road Glide’s Steve stayed entire time, and helped load and tie the bike down, despite me telling him he could take off anytime after he pulled up…. making it the second time, that day….. – dang, what a nice guy!
Bike all tied down on the flatbed, I was on my way home again. Got home about 1130pm, and put the bike on the lift table. Ahh, time for a bourbon to say thank you to the motorcycle God again…
On Sunday, I went to pull the tire…yep, still flat! Checked the head gasket….yep, still leaking! Then I noticed something else….hmmmm, there seems to be residue on back of the fork tube. What!?!!...I just had those replaced less than 5K ago, that can’t be…. Gol Damnit! Yes, that fork seal is leaking…dang! Then…hey… what is that on the other fork tube? Sure as shit….that fork seal is leaking as well! Double gol damnit!
The old fork seals had 35K on them, and only the left seal was leaking when they were changed. Now they are both leaking with less than 5k, and in less than 6 months! I know the fork tubes were inspected very well during the seal change, and in fact they were inspected with 2 pairs of eyes… one set of eyes were mine! In 2010, Victory did a running change of forks on the Vision’s, and the new brand fork had different size seals from the former version. I know the part numbers were double checked on install as well. (with that same double pair of eyes)
Hmm, I wonder if I got a bad set of seals? Why else would both now be leaking? Again, the former set had about 35K on them, and at that time on the left side was leaking. Dang!
Pulled, replaced and installed new tire.

Luckily, my buddy who did the engine improvement work on the Big Blue Angel many smiles ago said he could fix the head gasket, but I would have to get it to him quick as he has a big project starting. Thank you again motorcycle God!

I just got an update from my buddy the engine guy. Yep, bad headgasket. Valves, springs, and cylinders all measure within spec and look great! Putting in a set of new rings… cause he had a new set on hand, and it’s apart anyway…

Even thoroughbred’s need a little maintenance to keep then running at their prime as they age….

Pics are of the tire – circle had the nail-ish piece of metal.
I have no idea what cause the rippling affect that the arrow is pointing to. I wonder if the two are related….?
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"Get Busy Livin', or Get Busy Dying'"

Johnny Ritz & #434
VMC #59

John Ritter, the one still living.
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Old 04-13-2021, 06:52 AM
Obe-1 Obe-1 is offline
Mark (MN)
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Apple Valley Mn.
Posts: 431
Great story John, glad your ok it proves there still good people out there I will make it a point to stop by both of those bars in the future. It makes me nervous every time I ride by that metal recycle place on Wisc.35 just north of Diamond Bluff.
Obe - 1 (Mark O)
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Old 04-15-2021, 08:08 PM
KillerX KillerX is offline
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,181
Not a boring day John.
That is weird about the seals. What brand were they?
I'll have to check out Creme.
Too Much Of Everything Is Just Enough
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Old 04-15-2021, 10:27 PM
Johnny Ritz Johnny Ritz is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Mendota Heights, MN
Posts: 4,117
Originally Posted by KillerX View Post
That is weird about the seals. What brand were they?
The fork seals were Victory brand.
"Get Busy Livin', or Get Busy Dying'"

Johnny Ritz & #434
VMC #59

John Ritter, the one still living.
Reply With Quote

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