Monday, June 30, 2014

Variator Failure

I am now certain that I know the cause of the belt failure.  I am quite sure that the belt would have lasted through the event if the variator hadn't failed.  The variator failed at the bushing around the shaft.  The hole that wraps around the bushing enlarged irregularly creating a wobble and shake.  This created vibration and heat that I could feel.  When we cobbled together pieces to fix it, we reinstalled the bad variator that shredded the belt after less than 30 miles on day 10. 

I had intended to bring a new variator on the ride but waited too long, and decided that this one, with less than 10,000 miles on it would be OK.  I also shouldn't have put Dr. Pulley sliders in it before the run.  I have had two failures in variators, both times with Dr. Pulley sliders inside.

Next time I will come better prepared to make repairs.  Tools, spares and the ability to do my own work on any potential problem are in the works.  I am buying parts now, including a gear puller and other specialty tools.  And I am getting comfortable with the work itself.  Boris has agreed to help teach me, so I will be ready.


  1. Bill, I really admire the dedication it takes to ride or drive competitively.

    Touring is one thing, but you can count on dealers to help out in a worst case scenario. Placing decently in a competition means that time is the one thing in really short supply. That means thoroughly understanding your bike and its needs, and how to respond to fix things like transmissions, ignitions and the other systems that are likely to fail under pressure.

    I enjoyed the thread on MV with the post mortem on Rocket's performance. I provided genuine insight into the relationships among the competitive riders and their machines.

    The more I learn, the more I doubt that I'll ever attempt a Cannonball. I am a tourist at heart.

    I think I could enjoy riding with Ken Wilson though. Who knows.

  2. David, The Cannonball appealed so much to me because it matches my preferred riding style. That being fast with few stops. I hate to stop. So it worked very well for me except for the repair part. Next time I will bring more parts, tools and ability and not have any issues.

    The last Rocket post was a mistake by me. It brought out the competitive side of Dave, that I never saw on the run. He never mentioned to me that he was interested in winning. The leader after each day was barely mentioned after the Rider's meeting in Jasper where I believe it was a surprise to many that I was leading. I stretched my lead that day too, and held it until I messed up on the Pinedale to Dillon day, losing more than an hour to the others due to a wrong turn and frozen GPS. But the next two days saw me get a strong lead before the breakdown. Dave didn't like my last shot at glory when I ultimately did not finish. But others got a kick out of it so that part was good. I have traded messages with Dave and I hope that we are all good again. He is a very cool guy.

    Ken is too. You would like him.