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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok , we went up to Gadsden, Alabama before Xmas and on the way up we heard a weird sound from the exhaust, also we use the Strat as a daily driver. The only way I can describe it was the exhaust had a thready sound. We also lost about 10 mpg at hiway speed ( 80/85 mph).
So, I am trying to figure it out without disassembling the bike as this is are main transportation. I decided pull the plugs and see what they look like, so bought new plugs , come home and let bike cool and I can't get to the plugs with the tank on as the cooling fins are so close to the plugs I can't get a ratchet in to loosen plugs. Just don't have enough tools to to beat the problem. Now I have to buy tools. To make it easier I decided on 1/4 drive was going to be the main weapon of attack. I have one universal for that set, I buy another and a step up adapter for 1/4 to 3/8 drive to fit 18 mm socket , which fits spark plug. . Now we are set. I break the plug loose and it is free , but too free to spin out with a double universal set up and I can't get my fingers in the to spin them out....so I find a piece of fuel line , push it over the insulator and use it to remove and reinstall the plugs. But also with a double universal I can't get that 1/4 turn of tighten after it seats... so it is back to the store for a 18 mm box end wrench to tighten the stupid plugs. the change is complete....
Now it is time for a test ride ....bike runs perfect ...but the plugs look good ......come home and clean off the plugs real good and really look hard at them and there it is right next the the 9 in the numbers printed on the side is a very tiny back mark that won't come off ....So the insulator must have gone bad right there and was arcing to the cooling fins.....
Conclusion... cheap fix ( except for having to buy tools) and a real pain in the butt to change plugs on the 1900.......
 

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Super Moderator "Loose Nut"
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Good catch on the broken insulator. Many times thru out the years I've chased misfires only to be a plug or plug wire. Not picking on you, but a lot of people want to know why a true mechanic charges a fair to them rate, not only the experience to complete the job but a huge tool box full of expensive tools to complete the job correctly.
 

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I agree with Les, good catch Jspree! I’m sure it was frustrating to replace them, but I assume all is well now.


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good job on the leaky spark plug wires

I have to say, get a torque wrench. 1/4 turn past snug will strip your heads out sooner or later.

there are many threads about putting helicoils in spark plug holes - difficult and expensive - a $15 torque wrench would have prevented all of them.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
A torque wrench would be nice, but have you ever changed a spark plug on a Stratoliner? Unless you have another means of transportation you don't want to go through what it would take to use one.
The Stratoliner doesn't have a petcock to shut off fuel. So you need a gas safe pump to empty fuel, it feeds directly to a sump under the seat where the fuel pump / reserve tank is.This must be removed to get a torque wrench anywhere near a spark plug. Or you can plug the fuel line , if you are quick while spraying fuel on all the electrical components under the seat.
I am sorry , I needed to look at the color of the plugs , replacing them since I was removing them . I am also not rich so taking it to a dealer is not an option , which would involve leaving for a couple days , leaving me again with no transportation.
In 50 yrs of working on motorcycles seating a plug to the crush washer and turning it 1/4 turn I have never stripped a thread in the head...Yes I am a shade tree mechanic, with a lot of experience keeping a Yamaha on the road.
I apologize for the little bit of rant , but unless you are in my shoes , don't tell me I am going to strip threads and should use a torque wrench when there is no possible way to use one without removing the tank.

Also the picture below is from the Yamaha Roadliner/Stratoliner owners manual pg. 6-8.
90849
 

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a mechanics feel on the wrench handle is a real thing

it would be interesting to have you torque down several plugs by hand, then put a torque wrench on it and see what the torque actually was

no one is debating your skill and experience as a mechanic, but lots of people have done it by hand, and never stripped out a spark plug or oil drain plug...

until they do - hence all the threads here about how to install a helicoil

Keep in mind, many people read these threads, for years after we are gone

You can torque a plug or a bolt into steel and get an excellent feel for when its snug and when its tight without stripping it out

but aluminum is unforgiving, it gets snug then it gets tight then it keeps turning and its stripped with only another 10 ft lbs on the wrench

so when I recommend using a torque wrench, its not just for you - its for everyone that will ever read these threads. Its worth the few extra bucks to get the right size socket / drive / flex extension / crows-foot... to get a torque wrench on everything that bolts into aluminum. If you dont, you will spend hours repairing the damage.

Nothing personal - universal recommendation
 

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From my experience its easier to pull the tank to change the sparkplugs. The Stratoliner and Roadliner have fuel shut off valves that make it easy to pull the tank and airbox. If you dont have a service manual I suggest downloading one . The only tricky part is not scratching the paint making sure you have all of the vacuum lines attached when you put it back together. The instructions for removing the tank cover how to turn off the fuel valves, there are two of them. I admit its a little intimidating at first but once you have done it you realize its not complicated.
 

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@KLaird, good first hand knowledge. Noticed this was your first post. Would be nice for you to head over to the New Members Introduction thread and post so we get to know you and your bike.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Where is the fuel shutoff on the Stratoliner?.....the book says to empty the tank and plug the fuel lines


91292
 

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You don't need to empty the tank to remove it, just disconnect the hoses on the fuel pump side (picture e. hoses 1& 2, notice these are not the tank side hoses) after you shut the valves off (picture d) . Picture b. Item # 1 are the shut off valves. I put a rag to catch any gas that spills and then plug the hoses while I have the tank off. Emptying the tank makes it easier but its not mandatory.
 
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