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Thread: Sometimes Bad Luck is Good Luck - Share Your Stories

  1. #1
    #13338 PGlaves's Avatar
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    Sometimes Bad Luck is Good Luck - Share Your Stories

    Sometimes what seems like bad luck turns out to be good luck when you really take time to think about it. I was driving our 2002 Roadtrek Camper Van, pulling a trailer, from Lawrence, Kansas to Angel Fire, New Mexico, and then from Angel Fire to Alpine, Texas. The trailer was to pick up my BMW G310GS which had just blown the second engine.

    Look at that route. There is an awful lot of area along that route that truly should be called the “Middle of Nowhere.” See, only for example, the 83 miles between Clayton and Springer, New Mexico or the 97 miles from Vaughn to Roswell, New Mexico, which stretch of roadway has only one single ranch house barely visible from the highway only if you are looking to see it.

    So I was driving our 20 year old Dodge 3500 based Roadtrek camper van when the water pump self-destructed and the serpentine belt driving all of the engine accessories became a broken tangled mess. I heard this strange slapping noise and the steering suddenly became much more difficult. My first thought was I had shredded a tire. I slowed to a stop on the narrow shoulder right at a gravel cross road. I then made a left turn onto the gravel cross road to get the van and trailer off the narrow shoulder of US Highway 56. I checked the tires. They were all fully inflated. I opened the hood to discover the tangled shreds of the serpentine belt and a slightly overheated engine.

    I called Voni who was visiting friends in Angel Fire to tell her I would not be getting there any time soon. We had a brand new policy with Good Sam Roadside Assistance which is actually Allstate RV coverage. She called them. They provided the information needed for us to be reimbursed if we went ahead and arranged our own tow. Meanwhile realizing where I was I made a couple of phone calls. I was one mile – yes one mile - from the intersection of US 56 and US 50 just east of Dodge City, Kansas.

    I used my cell phone – yes I actually had cell phone coverage – to identify Lopp Motors, a Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge dealership in Dodge City. I called them. They could get me in immediately. They recommended a tow service so I called Bailey’s Auto Body and the wrecker arrived within ten minutes of my call. Yes, ten minutes, not a few hours as last time I needed a tow for a motorcycle in South Dakota. They towed me the 6.2 miles to the Dodge dealership. I have in the past been on hold listening to awful music from roadside assistance call centers longer than that all took to get me to the dealership, not to mention the hour or two until the call center and “George” (a mythical fraudulent being at a call center) in Mexico City called back and said they couldn’t find a wrecker for me.

    This was all late in the afternoon but Lopp Motors got the van into the shop anyway. They then provided me with a loaner car to get around until the van was fixed. Yes! A loaner Chrysler minivan, courtesy of the dealership until they fixed my van. I went to a motel we have stayed at several times traveling through Dodge City. The next morning they determined that it wasn’t just the belt. They identified the worn-out water pump as the real culprit. But they got the part and got me going the next day.

    Had I had this failure a few hours or miles later I might have had no cell phone coverage, a 50 or more mile ride to town with a Good Samaritan to call somebody, a similar hitch hiked ride back to the broken-down van, and then if lucky a three hour minimum wait for a wrecker and a 50 or 100 mile or longer tow to the nearest mechanic of any reasonable competence.

    So breaking down could easily be considered bad luck. But I do believe that where it happened was very good luck. And the service from the dealership and tow service was spectacularly good. I wind up with very little to complain about.
    Last edited by PGlaves; 09-21-2022 at 10:40 PM.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell
    http://web.bigbend.net/~glaves/

  2. #2
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Happy to hear you got through this all right.

    Itís not exactly clear to me on the time line. Is this just a recent episode? I remember a post on a previous engine failure on your 310.

    Hopefully you have contact information for Lopp Motors so you can send them a link to this thread recognizing their excellent help in a tough situation.

    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
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  3. #3
    Back in the saddle again mikegalbicka's Avatar
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    As they say, timing is everything. You were blessed.

  4. #4
    Sorry to hear of the multiple mechanical failures, but at least you werenít stranded out in the middle of nowhere with no cell coverage. That could be a very long walk!

    The Dodge is fixed but what about the 310? Very strange it failed again with such low miles. Maybe a winter project installing an ebay donor engine?
    -Live as fully as you can as long as you can-

  5. #5
    3 Red Bricks
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    Paul,

    I have had similar luck.

    I’ve had the fuel pump on my 156,000 mile ‘87 K75S fail on me twice, once just around the corner from my house on the way back from a 600 mile camping trip and another time on the other side of town. I had new pumps at home. No tow required. Changed them on sight.

    Another time I was taking my wife’s ‘89 635CSI to my buddy’s shop 30 miles away to get the AC recharged. The instant I got into the fast lane on the freeway, steam started coming out from under the hood. I was able to get over to an offramp within !/2 mile and pull into a residential street on the other side of town. The top radiator hose neck had broken off the radiator. I called my wife to bring a few tools and jugs of water. Was able to temporarily reconnect the neck, fill it with water and drive it home with the radiator cap off. Then went to my buddy’s and picked up a new radiator. Had the car back on the road that afternoon.
    Wasted a day but saved the engine.

    Another time, I had just got off the 7 mile long San Mateo Bridge, after crossing it the other direction earlier that afternoon. The bike started running bad just as I cleared the bridge, but gave me enough time to get over to the slow lane where I took the next freeway exit. The offramp was about 1/4 mile long and up hill. Half way up the offramp the bike shut off. I was JUST able to coast to the top of the ramp. From there I was able to coast down to a shaded residential street and got a tow within the hour. NOTE TO RIDERS: Check the remaining alternator brush length as your bike is nearing 100,000 miles! You’ve been warned.





    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
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  6. #6
    SURVIVOR akbeemer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldCamper View Post
    Sorry to hear of the multiple mechanical failures, but at least you werenít stranded out in the middle of nowhere with no cell coverage. That could be a very long walk!

    The Dodge is fixed but what about the 310? Very strange it failed again with such low miles. Maybe a winter project installing an ebay donor engine?
    I believe the first failure was on Voniís 310 and this one was on Paulís.

    It will be interesting to see if the nature of the two failures are similar. Iím pretty sure the cause will come down to Paul and Voni hot rodding and drag racing each other.
    Kevin Huddy
    Silver City, Montana
    MOA# 24,790 Ambassador

  7. #7
    Registered User CABNFVR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGlaves View Post
    Sometimes what seems like bad luck turns out to be good luck .....There is an awful lot of area along that route that truly should be called the ďMiddle of Nowhere.Ē ....
    We've been on US50 and US56 a couple of times in the last two years. Being from North Carolina after the 7th mountain range of the day one gets to missing green grass and trees.

    Glad this one worked out for you!
    "Have BMW. Will Travel"

  8. #8
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    I don't know if I should call this good luck, but it sure could have been a lot worse. I was returning from visiting my daughter in LA, driving along I40 in Texas, when the water pump imploded on my Jeep Cherokee XJ. I was at, not past, the exit for Hwy 70, 50 miles past Amarillo. A local stopped and told me the closest mechanic was in Clarendon, 17 miles south. There was no available tow service so with constant stops for cooling, I spent the next 2 hours driving/coasting to Clarendon. Floyd's Automotive had the part, fixed me up and had me on my way.

    Doug
    Sent from a Galaxy, far, far away

  9. #9
    3 Red Bricks
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    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    It will be interesting to see if the nature of the two failures are similar. I’m pretty sure the cause will come down to Paul and Voni hot rodding and drag racing each other.
    It’s a known fact that doing multi mile long wheelies uncovers the oil pump pickup, causing oil starvation.
    We caught ya Paul (and Voni)




    LONG MAY YOUR BRICK FLY!

    Ride Safe, Ride Far, Ride Often

    Lee Fulton Forum Moderator
    3 Marakesh Red K75Ss
    Mine, Hers, Spare

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by akbeemer View Post
    I believe the first failure was on Voniís 310 and this one was on Paulís.

    It will be interesting to see if the nature of the two failures are similar. Iím pretty sure the cause will come down to Paul and Voni hot rodding and drag racing each other.
    I too, am curious about the failure mode, but thereís not much data out there. TVS has made a lot of 310 engines for their Apache sportbike, but usage in India is probably at lower speeds and for shorter distances.

    While itís not uncommon for small displacement engines to require rebuild occasionally, most of the time fair warning is given with excessive oil consumption, odd noises, or poor performance leading up to the rebuild. The 310ís on the other hand appear to run well right up to the minute of destruction.

    It is NOT my intent to heap dirt on the 310. Iím simply interested in the engineering behind the design. Is this perhaps a valve spring, keeper, valve stem weld, or even a cam chain tensioner issue? Are there any proactive measures one can take to avoid experiencing a similar breakdown?
    -Live as fully as you can as long as you can-

  11. #11
    Since this thread is about good luck, i once totally ran out of gas on my Honda 550 cresting a hill, and COASTED into the only gas station for miles around at the bottom of said hill. Whew!

    I needed a 12mm wrench to change oil on my CX 500 at the local NAPA in SLC. They wouldnít lend me one even though i bought the oil there but i FOUND the needed wrench laying in the parking lot while returning to my bike.
    -Live as fully as you can as long as you can-

  12. #12
    Back in the Saddle mcmxcivrs's Avatar
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    I had a good/bad luck experience once with my F800GS. I had packed up my camp in a very remote site well out of cell coverage and headed off for my next location. I pulled into Creston BC to fill up with gas and the bike died just as I was approaching the pump. No electrical power at all left due to a failed stator and a now dead battery. Had it died a couple hours earlier I would have been testing my luck with the SPOT to get help out in the back woods. There was a small motorcycle shop just a half block away too. The owner came over and helped push the bike up to the shop where he recharged the battery and later confirmed my suspicion on the stator failure. Spent the rest of the day enjoying the sites around town while waiting for my wife to arrive with my truck to haul the bike home.
    Ed Miller, Calgary, AB
    2008 K1200GT, 2019 F850GSA

  13. #13

    Kismet

    A couple of weeks ago, while riding near Bilbao, Spain, I stopped at a rest area to refuel.

    I pulled up to a fuel pump that I've never seen before, one diesel nozzle and a nozzle for "Eco Blue." Well, thinking this was gas, I went to put some in the tank. After a couple of seconds, I realized that this was not gas. It was DEF.

    So, thinking that I had only put a small amount in, I filled the rest up with gas and hoped I was good.

    Bike ran for about 30 seconds and then, no more. This was during a *major* two-day holiday in Spain, of course.

    Long story short, the guy who is putting my bike on the flat bed got me to a local hotel, and really took care of me.

    The good news is that he and his wonderful wife also runs an RV rental company with some really nice rigs. Will be looking them up real soon to rent a camper for me and wife.

    Would probably have never found this place had it not been for my slip up.

    Ian

    Go soothingly through the grease mud, as there lurks the skid demon.
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  14. #14
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    Just had it happen today. After a bunch of rain and a cold front blew thru, took my 95 R1100RSL out for a short 30-some mile ride and some errands. Got home, put the kickstand down and opened the door to the bike garage. I caught a smell of gas when I started it, but was thinking of putting it away rather than worrying about problems. I got halfway up the ramp to the garage when I started to REALLY smell gas. Looked down to see gas spraying out of the right throttle body. Shut the bike down, rolled back off the ramp and watched gas steam on the exhaust manifold.

    Bad luck to have this problem. Really good luck that it happened at home and that I didn't burst into flames on the bike.

    I'm guessing it is the throttle shaft. So...if anyone has done the rebuild, I'd love to hear about it.

  15. #15
    Registered User wkoppa's Avatar
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    Last October 31st I was returning to Northern Michigan on my 2018 G 310 GS from Tennessee that had been experiencing a stationary rain drenching. Seems I made it to Nashville with it still raining trying to skirt the weather to the west.. My wiring to my heated jacket was failing (powerlet). I got up in the morning it was still raining lightly and headed north. Found a Harbor Freight and rewired directly to the battery and set sail for home. Was going to be about a 700 mile day. I emphasize WAS. Just over the Michigan line forward motion decreased significantly, pulled clutch in, engine revved OK, clutch out and transmission made noises. 25,195 miles. An exit was right there - right now - as they say in the fast food business. I nursed it to one of two open business's in a very small town (Downtown Tekonsha, MI). Called the road service number, couple hours later they picked me and the bike up and hauled us to BMW of Grand Rapids, MI and a Hotel. Wife picked me up in the morning. The mothership replaced the engine under warranty. Almost bought another warranty (at the end of the current warranty) and instead traded for a 2022 GS 310. Took all the farkles off the old bike and put them on the new one. This could have happened a long ways away in a less connected area. Didn't have to sit on the side of the road or push the bike. Figured I was lucky. I am all farkled up now, something similar to what my friends say about me at times. I am at a little over 4,000 on the 2022 and hope to make the RA Rally.



    Wayne Koppa
    Grayling, MI
    #71,449

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