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Thursday, May 25, 2006

The center stand and other issues

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was taught that when you stand your motorbike on the center stand, you are supposed to lift the bike while standing on the lever of the stand...

Today I oiled the chain on the KZ650 right before coming to work, so I put it on the center stand. I struggled to get the bike up - with a full tank it's just over 500 lbs that I was trying to lift up. Anyhow, I bent the center stand, because when I rolled the bike forward off the stand, it rubbed against the tire and didn't return to its normal position. I wedged it past the tire and then it rubbed the chain.

It was time to leave for work so I wedged a little piece of plastic to keep it from rubbing anything - expecting the plastic to fall out at any time (which it immediately did). So I rubbed the chain and the tire all the way to work (~35 miles). Just got a little extra groove in the tire. After getting to work I removed the center stand and chucked it in the dumpster. Maybe I'll just use my floor jack with a piece of soft wood on it next time.

I've been trying to get this bike to run better. It's been surging, both at very low speeds and at high RPM. So I used some fine-grit sandpaper to clean up the ignition points (hahaha, yes it actually has a pair of *points* and condensers), and adjusted the gap. I also advanced the ignition timing *a lot*. I'm of the school that you advance it until it pings, then back off a hair until it no longer pings. Well, I didn't advance it quite *that* far, but I did advance maybe five degrees.

It runs like a different machine now. I can now sometimes get it to do a low wheelie by decelerating and then whacking the throttle open. It still surges (and backfires) though, and I have a valve shim kit on order so that I can adjust the valve clearances. This isn't something that I'm keen on doing, especially as there is the possibility of losing valve timing if I screw it up. Considering the difficulty I have with something as simple as oiling the chain, a valve lash adjustment is likely to end in engine scrap :). We will see. The shim kit should arrive next week.

After stewing about the VA debacle with social security numbers, I decided to visit the Veteran's Affairs website:
Which brought me to this:
I note that there is a link to the "printable version". Hahaha. I have an unprintable version... but then I'm an ex-sailor.

Anyway after reading a bit about Identity theft, I was directed to firstgov.

And there they suggest checking with one of the three major credit background check agencies: Trans Union, Experian, or Equifax.

I chose Experian, having previously used them to obtain a credit report. Their site suggests that Veterans get a "Initial Security Alert" (90 days) placed on your credit. This requires lenders to follow certain procedures before extending credit in your name. I had them call my cell phone if an attempt is made to extend credit. Here's the description:

I highly recommend any veteran reading this page take a few minutes and do this! Just click on the "Initial Security Alert" link and fill in the boxes. You will also get a current credit report, so you can find out who's been checking your credit. Capital One has hit mine dozens of times! Looks like they want me to owe them money. Ain't gonna happen! Sorry, but I only do mortgage debt :)

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