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Phuket Bike Repairs – Part III

Posted by TravellingStrom on March 18, 2013

So, I have been waiting to hear about the bike, I had been around on the Wednesday to see what was going on and it was up and running, but running badly 😦 The symptoms were weird, with everything connected it would run rough, no acceleration(this is parked up not riding). With the two air hoses that go to the O2 sensors disconnected and blocked off, the bike was running fine? Of course with the two O2 sensors out of the system, I got two error fault codes, but that is to be expected. So, I explained that I would go and do some research on the net, but I believed personally it was a timing issue and maybe the cams were out by one tooth or something? They agreed to look at it on Thursday morning.

When I turned up Thursday morning, armed with some check procedures, they said it was fixed 🙂 The problem lay in them not following the exact procedure as laid out in the service manual. One of the procedures in rebuilding the engine is to line up the front cylinder to TDC or Top Dead Centre, then the cam and cam chain are installed and timing marks lined up. Next, the whole crank shaft has to be turned counter clockwise 360 degrees, or one full turn, then the rear cylinder is set to TDC and the cams etc installed. They did not turn the crankshaft between doing these two alignments!!! So, they had redone the timing this morning and now the bike was running perfectly 🙂

Well, that was all good news, the thing is now to get the bike back together, polish the windscreen so I can see though it(it is all cracked and crazed), clean the bike and then give me the bill. This is when it all fell down, because the manager is never around and I could not get anyone to give me a price!! It was a painful procedure, but I told them to bill me, NOW please!! I have been here long enough and I want to ride south. They said they would get back to me later 😦

Oh well, there are a few more Geocaches to go and find, so I spent the rest of the day doing that, I had quite a few lined up, about 7 or 8 in all and I had set out a circuit to find them. I had also been contacted by one of the cache owners who would like to meet up, but not until after 2pm.

The first cache was called Use Low Gear and it was in a new section of construction on one of the many steep hills that cover Phuket. To get there I had to go through congested streets because of a bingle, I saw many of these while I was here. The cache was quite easy to find and as I had done the research beforehand, I knew that the caches were still there just recently, so I had hopes of finding them all today, if I could get to them, more on that later!

Now, the next one was going to be a challenge and I thought about not even going for it. It was a physical challenge mainly as it involved a waterfall. Now, for some reason waterfalls are put up on mountains, and to go and see them, this involves trekking or climbing. In this case it was 440 steps!!!! I decided I needed the exercise and went for it in the late morning and it was a struggle, I am so unfit at this moment 😉
The cache is called Namtok Kathu

The stairs were brutal to my legs, but I got there after a few breathers, but even so, it was steamy hot and I am glad I brought the water bottles with me! Once there , I read the cache description, it says check the hollow tree across the water. This is what my GPS said anyway, although the actual way point said over the other way, on this side of the water and the tree there looked interesting?? So, I checked in and around and under and everywhere near the hollow tree to no avail 😦 I re-read the past cache logs that got downloaded but the last comment was by the cache owner late last year saying it was raining and he could not replace the missing cache!!! Then I recalled reading that the new replacement cache was near another tree and wonders of wonders, when I checked the tree near to where I thought it should be, it was 🙂 That made the effort worth while at least 🙂

The hike down was a lot easier on my legs and I was soon back in the carpark and on the scoot. The next two caches were near each other up in the mountains. The road up here was great, brand new and fun 🙂 The first cache to look for was called Guardian Trees It was a simple cache to find with some nice views from up on high 🙂

The next one was called Phuket Divider . This one involved a bit more care and attention on the track in as it was steep and stuffed with washouts. It was a bit tougher finding this one as the satellite accuracy was down a bit and the overgrowth had changed, there was no longer the 3 bits of bamboo to aim for, just a short stick section left, but it was enough for me 🙂

So this is a good day so far, 4 from 4 🙂 The next one took me east towards the sea and I found myself riding though the rubber tree plantations along a narrow concrete road, a very nice ride 🙂 The cache was located next to a sign in Thai, and I have absolutely no idea what it says, maybe someone out there can help with translation? This cache is called Tha La It took some finding, but I eventually found its hiding spot 🙂 Strangely enough it almost looks like there is an English word in that script, can you find it?

The answer is the word CHARM, 4th line down just to right of centre. OK, I am now on the home stretch, it is just past 3pm and I only have 3 more to chase. The next one was called the Sea Tree I was a bit dubious about this one as it involved tidal access. As it turned out I could go for a swim or come back another day at low tide. In the end I never went back, so I never actually attempted this one as there was no access at the time. The cache is located in the small tree just to the right of the white foam thing, this side of the headland.

I next headed to the other side of the island to chase up the last one of the day, and also after making a phone call, to meet up with Wolfgang, a German expat who has placed many of the caches here in Phuket. We met at the cache called Millionaires Mile, not one of his. Once again this was a relatively simple cache to locate and as with most of the ones I did today, muggle free, just the way I like them.

After introducing ourselves we repaired to not the nearest pub, but one with a bloody good view over Patong Bay. We had a good chat about this that and the other, a fun time with a cold beer 🙂

After that I high tailed it back to the Aussie Bar to watch the Broncos play live, but sadly, after buying a beer, I found that the telecast would be delayed by 1.5hrs. So, that gave me time to go back to the hotel, freshen up and head to Michaels Bar where I had a great dinner, yet again the stir fried chicken and noodles and watch the game 🙂 It was a good result, Broncos beat them Dragons 22-6 🙂 Later that evening I went and chatted with Teddy and then met up with Jeffrey at the Rocking Angels for beer and music, same same but this time with a drummer, very good sounds 😉

Late in the afternoon I had received a call from the bike shop, they gave me a price(which staggered me a bit) but the bike is ready for pick up tomorrow 🙂 That was good news, and I could now plan my departure for Monday morning 🙂


The next day I fronted up with a few questions to be asked about the billing method. There were a few hidden costs, VAT, charge for using credit card, but one that I was unimpressed by was the $99 for the oil WTF, I have never paid more than $50 for the extreme best oil back home, so how can they charge $33/lt. It was Penzoil, but who cares, if they had of asked me, I would have bought another brand, that was insane!! Anyway, after some argy bargy with the boss man on the phone, I wrangled a discount, but I still had to go away without the bike. They could not use the credit card machine and the girls who know how to use it are away until 3pm!! So, I got a taxi and returned and paid and rode the bike back to the hotel. 🙂 It was strange riding a big bike with a clutch, I must say. I stopped at the scooter rental lady to pay my bill and left the bike in neutral and running(it was on the street and I wanted the hazard lights to be seen) That was when I noticed the large amount of fluid leaking onto the road, this is not good 😦

I called Park right away, It was boiling over and the coolant was escaping, the fan was not working hence it had over heated in the slow traffic on a hot day. I ended up riding it back to the hotel while they brought a ute. They in fact rode it back to the shop where they would look at it on Monday, another trip plan hits the bin 😦

But, I had a good dinner, the usual and some footy and later on some music, with a stand in singer this time 🙂


Sunday was a rest day as I had partied late again last night and put a fair dent in a bottle of local brew called Sang Som, I also planned this to be an alcohol free day, which it was 🙂 Monday morning early I hit the bike shop and before I even opened my mouth to explain the check procedures I had gleaned off the internet, they told me it was fixed 🙂 They said it was a dirty temp sensor, but I personally believe the fan connection harness was not connected properly. Never mind, it was fixed and I got them to take the bike back to the hotel for me, saved me another taxi fare and gave them a chance to see what happens in hot traffic 🙂 The bike was delivered safely, after filling the tank on the way and I was now free for the rest of the day to start packing, ready for a new departure date of tomorrow morning 🙂

I sorted gear during the day and dumped some stuff, I had to be tough now as I was going to be carrying all my camping gear once again until probably Kuala Lumpa and I had gained things on the way. I also went shopping, I had finally found a good pair of cheap polaroid sunnies and as they had lasted 2 weeks, I reckon they may be up to the challenge, so I bought two more 😉 At $10 each and they fit inside my helmet, they are worth it 🙂 Most of the others I have bought have been good lenses, but the arms snap off, which hurts and cuts my face when I still use them. I saw a Yamazaki shop at the big Tesco Lotus, but it turned out not to be a Chinese bike shop like I thought, but a bakery 🙂 I also saw Jeffreys beemer down at the Rider Cafe, so I dropped in for a quick chat and to say hooroo. Jeffrey was flying to Vancouver tonight where he will do the Pan American highway from Prudhoe Bay to Ushuaia, once the weather warms up a bit that is 😉 Farewell Jeff, safe travels and rubber side down. Nice to have met you Teddy and Patrick, keep on rocking them blues 🙂 Stay in touch all of you 🙂

And there you have the end result of an oil spill, a crash, a repair job which involved a mercy dash to a different country for parts and the consumption of many many ales whilst waiting.

Tomorrow I am riding to southern Thailand, probably a town called Trang, which is still north of Malaysia by 2 hours, but it will give me a good days ride and get used to the bike again. I had planned on going directly east using a ferry across to an island, staying overnight then another ferry to Krabi. This was a suggestion from Frank Butler and I liked the sound of it. But, when I looked into it further, the only boats that cross there are the long tail boats. Now, I know they can take scooters and they probably could take my bike, but!! I was having some bad luck recently( or adventures to be more positive) and I really did not want my bike getting dropped in the ocean and causing more delays. I decided I want to be in control of the bike, so I shelved that plan and decided to stick to the road.

I do not have a lot of time left anyway, as I had lost an extra 4 days in Phuket because they would not give me a bill, then the overheating problem happened on a weekend. I really just want to get to Malaysia now. I have no idea what to do when I get there except ride the mountains, I want some fun before I get back to the flat straight roads of home.

Cheers from Phuket

4 Responses to “Phuket Bike Repairs – Part III”

  1. Ron@wheels said

    OK,been wondering how it’s going.
    Glad to see you are back on the road again and look forward to reading about your adventures in Malayasia.

  2. Rob van Steijn said

    Good to see that you’re going again. I asked the missus here, who says she can read thai, to translate that sign. Google might be of more help though… In the top it says something about “jungle next to the sea”, probably meaning “mangrove forrest”. Anyways, you “cannot chop down trees” because the place is made in honour of the king. So no one in a proper mindset would dare touching anything there.
    Then there was something about Phuket. The authorities probably decided to make the place there and like that. And the “Charm”???
    “Well, just charm!” Right….

    Sorry that I’m not more helpfull mate… Guess you been in SEA long enough to know when you have to stop asking… Good travels. Grtz from Vang-Vieng. Rob

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