Sunday, May 24, 2009

Who is a dipstick now?

My XRs Only temperature gauge dipstick had accumulated oil in the gauge that was not draining away like it used to. Or this time the oil was so black that I had trouble reading it. I decided to find out just how far I could disassemble it. To my surprise, it came apart far enough that I could spray out the gauge face with brake cleaner, clean all the parts, and reassemble it.

I reassembled the thermometer and squeezed it into the screw cap filled with silicone sealant. I screwed it into the oil reservoir and noticed that the face was sideways and not easily readable as I thought I had positioned it. I then attempted to align it by twisting the temperature probe. I then had to re-adjust since this accidentally de-calibrated it. This thermometer reads a broad temperature range, between 50 and 350. To calibrate a thermometer that will read down into freezing temperature range, you put it in ice water and if it doesn't read 32 degrees, you rotate the stem or the nut on the back against the face with the numbers to adjust the reading. I counted up the dash marks and figured them for 5 degree increments, and eyeballed 32 degrees.

My recollection of the instructions that accompanied this dipstick were to rotate the stem in order to adjust the position of the face. Maybe they also said to remove the clip that holds the thermometer part into the screw cap. Either way, the old instructions weren't going to work because they didn't put enough silicone in there to begin with. The only place they sealed up was around the area that the nut meets the stem and the back of the face. That's not where the oil gets in though, it gets in around the outside edge where the press-fit cap holding the glass on and it oozes out through the space between the thermometer and the screw cap to the outside, pooling up on the outer face. To the credit of XRs only, this usually only happens when the oil is overfilled. On my journey, though, it was a lot better to be overfilled than underfilled. These temperature gauge dipsticks are constructed of good parts and put together very thoughtfully for the most part, but they need only a little more silicone to be perfect.

I will monitor the progress of the re-seal job and update the blog. Now that the bike consumes nearly no oil, I will not likely risk any more leakage unless I were to overfill it.

I confess, I did some detailing on the bike. It's beginning to show signs of its original finish as opposed to highway road grime, chain lube, oil, and mud. I think the rear rim looks kind of stupid with the silver aluminum color showing after all this time. The thing to do now is get another rim anodized black since they look better.

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