Sometimes as riders we are aware of a problem with our bike, but go on with the knowledge that we aren't doing harm to anything, so might as well put it off for a better time. Part of the way through my road trip up to Vancouver this last November, my bike began running poorly only at idle and deceleration (approximately the first 1/3 of the throttle range). As these things go it was somewhat random in manifestation, and being of dirtbiking roots my first thought was a bit of dust from Hwy 1 construction worked its' way into a jet, or something of that nature.
Not wanting to troubleshoot a 4 carb setup I put it off for a few months and by a few months, I mean from November until about a week ago. Granted I was in the UK for about one and a half of the last six months, but no less I put up with a nasty backfire and sporadic idle for far too long to be calling myself an overly meticulous garage mechanic (a title I once proudly bore).
Well the time finally came for me to transcend my apathy and get my hands dirty. After pulling some side covers, the seat, the tank…simple stuff…I began poking around. During idle there was an occasional "pft" sound followed by a quick drop in RPMs and recovery. I knew the previous owner had messed around in there, removing smog equipment, capping off some breathers, that kind of thing. With four carbs, the small space becomes extremely cramped, so I decided to watch at idle and see if I couldn't locate the pft'ing source. Feeling around between the carbs with the engine running I began to definitely detect air movement. I sprayed some carb cleaner indeterminately between the mess of carburation and what do you know, the engine began to race.
Great, now I know it's just a leak. So why didn't I do this 5 months ago? As the title states, unwillingness to just deal with a minor (though very annoying) problem will let bikes go for weeks, months and dare I say years with easy fixes just a simple diagnostic tool away, like a can of highly combustible carburetor cleaner. After understanding that my leaning issue had this whole time been an air leak, I tracked down the issue to improperly seated carb boots going to the intake. The fix was straight forward from there on, and a half hour later I had my snappy smooth Magna back.
A free fix for an aging issue, I'd say I learned a lesson but that might be an overstatement…more like I've bolstered the evidence in the case that I should be more progressive in paying attention to my Magna's problems. Sometimes I get so caught up in my own life I forget the poor thing is reliant on me in the most veritable way.