Thursday, June 17, 2010

Boosterplug Smooths it...

I just want to share my experience coping with and finally smoothing a rough running engine in my 2007 R1200GSA…

I bought the bike new, it now has 30K+ miles on it. From day one this has simply been a rough running R1200 (love the bike regardless!). I have owned two other straight GS’s and my keeper bike naturally has to be the one with the rough at idle engine and especially at low speed and low rpm – difficult to ride and shift smoothly when slow. Again, I’ve ridden several other bikes with the same engine and know what smooth feels like, my bike has never been it.

I’ve tried everything, multiple tunes, valve adjustments, computer tweaking at the dealer… it’s just always been rough and I basically conceded to some sort of a balance problem. Then I started reading about Boosterplug (, and other makes of similar products, that adjust the temperature of the intake air downward in order to fool the bike into believing that the OAT is cooler than it actually is. This tricks the fuel controller into producing a richer mixture.

I was hesitant to try it, and then I really took a good look down into my exhaust and could see that there was absolutely no black residue at all, it was obviously burning very hot. This is where I should jump in and tell you that I am a now retired professional pilot and in the piston days spent many hours out of sheer boredom (and occasional necessity) playing with and adjusting mixture. In the reciprocating engine airplane world the accepted practice is to lean to peak EGT (Exhaust Gas Tempurature – approximately peak RPM), and then RICHEN slightly off peak. There are some guys who will LEAN off peak slightly believing that they get better fuel burn and a cleaner engine, but they are in the minority and almost no credible source teaches that (these are also horizontally opposed engines).

At any rate, after reading a couple threads on ADV (ADV Forum - Boosterplug, ADV Forum 2), and especially reading Jen’s remarks at the end of the second link, I decided to take a chance and try it. The plug arrived in very timely fashion considering it came from overseas with no problem, and when I took it out could tell it was very well made and heavy duty. I took off the bike’s left side cover, unplugged the OAT sensor coming from the airbox, plugged in the Boosterplug, plugged the airbox feed into the receptacle, and laid the new OAT sensor alongside the rear side of the tank. Total install was less than 5 minutes, only needed a couple of ties to make it real pretty.

I had read that it sometimes takes 3 engine cycles before the bike’s computer begins to process the inputs properly, but I noticed the difference on the first start and ride. First of all, the engine turns over once and is running, not 2 seconds later, it fires right now! Then idle is stable and MUCH smoother. Slow speed riding has no surges and shifting is way smoother. The bike still accelerates the same, and on high rpm decelerations does not pop and spit near as much as it used to. Overall the bike instantly felt as if I had installed a new engine.

But I hadn’t run it in any warm weather until this weekend. Saturday I rode my wife over to Yakima (87 degrees) via Chinook Pass (50 degrees). Our destination was Los Hernandez Authentic Tamales… a hole in the wall with the BEST tamales I have ever had, the pork as well as asparagus & pepperjack cheese were delicious and worth the ride:

She had no idea I had installed it, and as we were eating Connie remarked that “the bike seems way smoother!” That said it all – and I have spent hundreds tuning and primping never getting measurable improvement.

I checked mileage and it was the same 40 mpg exactly that I always get. The bottom line is I think the bike was running way too lean and this has radically changed its character to the better – well worth it, and it came after I had given up hope for smoothness.

Reading around this seems to be very common with this vintage engine, and not just the 1200. If you are having some of the same symptoms (like engine surging just above idle in low gears), you might want to look into it. I’m sure the dealer may have a problem with it warranty wise and I’m sure the South Sound guys can chime in on that. All I can say is that I don’t often endorse products and I get nothing for reporting on this other than the pleasure of hopefully helping out someone with the same frustration. Install was simply plug and play.



Thursday, March 4, 2010

A Video From Houston

I'm back hanging at SheepShaggers while we count down the days to head back into Mexico.

As is typical, we don't know where we're going, so I'm not going to try to predict, here. But in the meantime, for anyone who's curious about riding in and around Houston, here's another video I put together with me following Sheepshagger around. I hope you enjoy.

I'll be back on this RR when we hit Mexico in a few days, so if you are still interested, don't kill your subscription yet!

DayRideWithSheepShagger3 from Arno Jones on Vimeo.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Heading Back - The Ride Through Guatemala and Mexico

Forces have conspired together to force me to act like a responsible adult. In particular there's one government entity that hasn't been pleased with my travels, plus, I've simply underestimated what the cost of a trip to South America would be. So, with a heavy heart, I turned the Spec Ops bike northward to Texas.

The road through and out of the jungle in northern Guatemala. I'm heading east toward the town of Naranja, where there's a brand new border crossing into Mexico. It's shown only on the 2010 Roji Guia maps.

This is kind of common in this region - that the jungle has been cleared in order to raise cattle. Of course this is sparking a lot of controversy and there are a lot of people who say raising cattle here will fail, too.



At the Mexico side of the Guatemalan and Mexican border. Brand new. They got angry at me for taking pictures

Past the border heading to Villahermosa:

I took the cuota caraterra all the way to Texas and managed to get from Guatemala to the Texas border in only two days. That probably cost me over $200US to do though.

Rising out of the foggy, wet jungle into the central highlands of central Mexico, heading for Mexico City:

This climb when on for a long time. It is an excellent, high-speed, twisty road.

This is the brand new Mexico City bypass. Once again, a great road found only on the 2010 version of the Roji Guia map (the 2009 version does show this road being constructed though). For the first time though, I broke out my electric jacket. It was cold the whole way to Texas. Anyway, you can pick it up at KM 195 just before Texmelucan and follow the signs to Queretaro.

I hit Quero two hours past dark, searching for a hotel. The hotels on the cuota are expensive! I kept searching, not knowing where I'm at. I'm tired and cold. Finally I find a motel that turns out to be an auto-hotel. $260p/night and they are great rooms. I swear, that's the only way to travel. Super clean, room service, a garage, big tv, etc. Did I mention relatively cheap?

Just before you get to Monterey, I took Hwy 31 to Linares. I did it to avoid paying any more toll, and that turned out to be fortunate. The scenary was unexpected and astonishing. Highly recommended. I didn't get all the pictures of this area I should have.

I made it to the Los Indios border in time, but I couldn't find my visitors pass. It turned out to be in my traveling pouch all along, but I just didn't see it. I checked myself out of Mexico no problem, but by the time I got done with this, the border had closed and I couldn't check my bike out. So... I took a room at the hotel at the border for the night. Quite possibly the most miserable room I've ever stayed in.

Well... that's all folks. I'm in Houston and this trip is over. From here I'll look for work, and if I have my way, I'll pick up where I left off next year.

BTW, thank you VERY much to all the folks that clicked the ads on my blog. It was worth over $200 and very much appreciated.

Last of the Photos from Tikal

Most of the pyramids have you climb these kind of stairs instead of the treacherous stone steps. The stone steps are narrow and steep. If you fall, you fall all the way to the bottom. This is better.

Yes, there are still more pyramids...

The view from the top of the pyramid:

This is about a 90 degree panorama:

There's no mistaking that you're in the jungle...

It was a long climb...

Another tiny pyramid

And finally, some creepy bugs doing the nasty. For scale, they are about 4 inches long.

Thus endeth the photo-journey through Tikal. I hope you enjoyed them.

Pyramids on Tikal

And then... something gigantus in the distance

No, it's only a little shrimpy pyramid, only twice as tall as I am

Since you're deep in the jungle, you don't really appreciate just how large this place is. I started to realize this when we came upon the courtyard. Here, we're in the center of things.

Imagine being King and looking down on all the peons below, wondering who's head you're going to lop off.

The structures that we've seen so far are actually built upon older ruins. At one time archeologist's were dicking around and the floor caved in under them. Instead of getting in trouble for grab-assing, they were honored for discovering new stuff. Here's a big face in the wall. Probably some important (and ugly) guy. I'll bet it scared the crap out of the grab-assers.

Another pre-ruin ruin.