Rob's Working Definitions

Personally Dirty
Work Mess
Dead easy! Grandma could do it
Slightly oily / dirty hands and fingers
None, or very minor drips and leaks
Basic ring and socket spanners, feeler gauges, torque wrench
Enough space to walk round the bike
Easy ... why pay a mechanic?
Oily / dirty hands and fingers
Drip / drain trays needed
ditto plus vacuum gauges
Car-sized work area
Straightforward if you closely follow the instructions
Oil / dirt up to elbows
Messy and untidy
ditto plus full socket and ring spanners, car type jack
Garage or covered area recommended

Engine must be removed from frame

Complex or delicate inside-engine work
Boiler suit / overalls recommended
Significant mess in the working area
Top-level home toolset and equipment
Double garage needed
Major surgery
Throw your clothes away afterwards!
Major disruption in the working area
Dealer level facilities

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Notes - from 40 years of spannering experience:-

These days I tend to use surgical rubber gloves when wielding spanners. They make a very significant difference to keeping your hands clean. However as soon as a glove is torn, discard it, or you might inadvertantly drop a rubber fragment, and block a water passageway or oil jet.

Never be afraid to ask a more experienced rider / mechanic for help. This will probably only cost you beer or coffee. Most good home mechanics are happy to be asked to help out.

A second opinion on a problem is always valuable.

If removing a petrol tank, do not place it at your only means of escape from a working area. In the event of a fire, you will be trapped. Don't ask me how I know.

A torque wrench is mandatory equipment.

Clean lint-free rags, an old expendable towel, are extremely useful items to have around.

Keep small children away from working areas. You'd be amazed what they poke down spark plug holes or open cylinder head spaces. I once recovered a Stickle Brick from a radiator hose.

After an engine rebuild, have a work break before starting the engine. On returning, refreshed and renewed, you may spot something vital that you missed before.

Use your old towel to cover exposed engines or electrics, if you are interrupted. This prevents foreign objects falling in. I've seen bird droppings fall into an open engine.

Label all unfamiliar removed components. Most engine parts are left or right handed and are not interchangeable. Generally, when working on paired components, deal with one side at a time.

If you are in doubt about a procedure, itemise it as you go along, dictate into a voice recorder or photograph the work.

Brush clean and grease engine to frame, axles, and other holding bolts before reassembly. This ensure that next time they will come out cleanly. For small nuts and bolts, spray them with ACF-50 before reassembly.

Most mechanicky jobs take twice as long as you thought they would.

An involved job is best done in stages of 3 to 4 hours. If you try and blitz a long job, you tend to get fed up and that's when you cut corners and make silly mistakes. Take work breaks and think about what you will do next, play the work through in your mind.