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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Long time, no post!

Its been an interesting winter here in Georgia. Long story short, I had an unfortunate bad service experience for the 48K service. I had the sprockets and chains replaced at the local Honda certified dealership in addition to the usual service.

I was in the middle of Brinkley (nowhere) Arkansas, 500 miles from home and 120 miles from my destination, when the chain fell off. The master link gave way. Had to tow it 120 miles to Hot Springs where John's Honda (they are great!) put the chain back on with a new master link.

A few days later, about 500 miles later, I noticed the chain looking very loose. I was still in Hot Springs, so I had John's Honda tighten it.

650 miles later, 1/2 mile from home, the chain jumped off the rear sprocket at 1 AM. I had to put Scarlett's flashers on since it was a curvy road with no lights and I had to park her on a hill - no way to push her UPHILL to the nearest driveway. Master link HELD, but chain had stretched so badly it jumped the rear sprocket.

After pushing my loaded suitcase UP the hill to my car (about a mile away) and dispensing with my 20 lbs of winter riding gear and calling AMA towing, I headed back to the bike. It was about 2 later and her battery was dead. So I pulled behind her in my car with car flashers on to wait for the tow truck. Which never came. 2 tow trucks didn't come. Finally a 3rd tow truck came at 8 AM and picked her up.

The shop confessed they put the "wrong rated" chain on. I got a couple of different stories about why the chain was wrong - "should have been an O-ring," and "wrong-rated for that size engine."

We agreed:
  1. New chain and new sprockets at no charge
  2. $679 credit to pay for my on-the-road towing and repairs (the tow to Hot Springs was $580
  3. They need to charge the battery fully since it died due to needing to leave the flashers on (I didn't have my triangle reflector kit)

It was 5 weeks later when I picked up the bike. They brought her out, running. I shut her off, swapped keys, but some things in the luggage and 15 minutes later, she would not start. Not enough juice in the battery.

The battery was run down twice, both time because of having to leave the flashers on (once to keep a friend's broken down bike safe, the 2nd on that black and curvy back road in the dark). I surmise the battery probably won't hold enough charge for very long to start her, so I bought an OEM battery from Revzilla.

When the battery comes in I will swap it out. Let's hope this ends the saga of poor Scarlett "breaking down" due to the bad service.

I'd give a pound of flesh to have a reliable mechanic do the job right. And I'd pay them $200 an hour instead of the usual $100/hour to get it done right the first time.
 

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Welcome back!(y) & thanx for sharing your experience. Sorry to hear about the problem w/AMA towing/road service, perhaps the time of "night" was a factor...but I would report it to AMA, maybe they need a new contractor?
You have confirmed that the correct/quality chain is vital.
I believe any new battery should be charged with a low amp automatic charger before installing for the best result.
Happy you are well!;)
 

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Sorry to hear of your bad luck with service.

Maybe Rebel can help you out?
 

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Good to hear from you; unfortunate about the bad servicing. It's a bit surprising to hear such poor work from a Honda dealership. I have been a CAA member for close to 40 years. With the CAA Plus, I will get a tow up to 200 km (120 miles) as part of the service. I would think that AAA has similar programs.
 

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There is no reason anyone should make a mistake about the proper parts for any machine, we now have easy access to all data for specific parts for any machine manufactured after the year 2000. It sounds more like poor choices, on the other hand it sounds like the dealership shop is willing to try and make things right. Even with their best efforts I would still have a bone to pick if they left me sitting on the side of the road, it's a good thing you were not in a bad neighborhood. Oh well, we still have a chance for 2021 to be better than 2020, hope it works out that way for you.
 

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Kind of unusual that the dealer didn't use OEM parts. They generally don't use other parts for this specific reason unless asked to do so, and then rarely stand behind the work as it is "custom". Your dealer sounds like he was trying make a couple of extra bucks using cheaper after market parts, made a mistake, and it came back to bite them. Nothing wrong with quality non OEM parts if they are the correct ones though.
 

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I can’t think of any acceptable excuse for their claim that it was a mistake. What they did in my opinion is inexcusable. Their mistake could have possibly cost you your life. I hope they have good insurance because they are going to get someone killed with these types of mistakes. Watch the attached video all the way through to see what a loose chain can do. You pay top dollar for parts and labor at the dealer thinking yes it’s expensive but you are going to get the job done right and you got nothing close to that. I am amazed that the second dealer that replaced the master link didn’t notice that a practically new chain was half way past its adjustment and threw the master link. Simple clues that there are issues with the chain. Tech never talks to the customer and work order just says “replace master link”.
 

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Hi all,

Long time, no post!

Its been an interesting winter here in Georgia. Long story short, I had an unfortunate bad service experience for the 48K service. I had the sprockets and chains replaced at the local Honda certified dealership in addition to the usual service.

I was in the middle of Brinkley (nowhere) Arkansas, 500 miles from home and 120 miles from my destination, when the chain fell off. The master link gave way. Had to tow it 120 miles to Hot Springs where John's Honda (they are great!) put the chain back on with a new master link.

A few days later, about 500 miles later, I noticed the chain looking very loose. I was still in Hot Springs, so I had John's Honda tighten it.

650 miles later, 1/2 mile from home, the chain jumped off the rear sprocket at 1 AM. I had to put Scarlett's flashers on since it was a curvy road with no lights and I had to park her on a hill - no way to push her UPHILL to the nearest driveway. Master link HELD, but chain had stretched so badly it jumped the rear sprocket.

After pushing my loaded suitcase UP the hill to my car (about a mile away) and dispensing with my 20 lbs of winter riding gear and calling AMA towing, I headed back to the bike. It was about 2 later and her battery was dead. So I pulled behind her in my car with car flashers on to wait for the tow truck. Which never came. 2 tow trucks didn't come. Finally a 3rd tow truck came at 8 AM and picked her up.

The shop confessed they put the "wrong rated" chain on. I got a couple of different stories about why the chain was wrong - "should have been an O-ring," and "wrong-rated for that size engine."

We agreed:
  1. New chain and new sprockets at no charge
  2. $679 credit to pay for my on-the-road towing and repairs (the tow to Hot Springs was $580
  3. They need to charge the battery fully since it died due to needing to leave the flashers on (I didn't have my triangle reflector kit)

It was 5 weeks later when I picked up the bike. They brought her out, running. I shut her off, swapped keys, but some things in the luggage and 15 minutes later, she would not start. Not enough juice in the battery.

The battery was run down twice, both time because of having to leave the flashers on (once to keep a friend's broken down bike safe, the 2nd on that black and curvy back road in the dark). I surmise the battery probably won't hold enough charge for very long to start her, so I bought an OEM battery from Revzilla.

When the battery comes in I will swap it out. Let's hope this ends the saga of poor Scarlett "breaking down" due to the bad service.

I'd give a pound of flesh to have a reliable mechanic do the job right. And I'd pay them $200 an hour instead of the usual $100/hour to get it done right the first time.
I agree with a number of other posters here. There is no acceptable reason for a dealer service department to make this mistake.

I am happy though to hear that the fessed up to the issue and offered to provide new chain, new sprockets, and cover your other costs.

The part that annoys me here is I own the Honda CTX700 Service Manual, which I am 100% confident they also have in paper or in digital format. On page 3-15, it states to use either DID520V0 or RK520KHO 114 or 112 link chains depending if the CTX is Manual or Automatic. So they should have easily known what specification chain to use.

The other comment that bothers me is the mention of non "O" ring / or non-sealed chain. If you look at RK aftermarket chain guide you will notice the cheaper non-sealed chains are primarily recommended for lower powered dirt bikes and such. The chains also have a much shorter service life. (RK Motorcycle Chains - High Performance Durable Chains (rkexcelamerica.com).

The mechanic should have also immediately questioned if putting a non-sealed chain on your CTX was a wise move given that the CTX has much longer service interval than a dirt bike and redouble checked the Service Manual.

Anyways, Happy Rides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@350Four, yes, the chain jumped the sprocket at 1:11 AM on March 17. First tow - no show. 2nd tow- no show. Finally an AMA manager called me and said they contacted a local guy (Dawson Elite Towing & Recovery) who came out and was AWESOME. He was a motorcyclist himself. It was a long day and Scarlett is such a great bike. I am the first to say that I don't enjoy wrenching on anything: no experience, no tools, no talent, no patience. But I make a great salary so I am HAPPY to pay someone very well to do the job right the first time.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
@TLeventry, funny, I MET @Rebel13 at Two Wheels of Suches last spring or summer (2020). He is pretty far down in GA, too far to be my mechanic. I wish I had a garage space and tools here - I'd pay for his lodging and his time!
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
@Vulcan Mediator, it isn't the first time something hasn't gone right at a dealership for me with Scarlett. A few years ago when in Canada, her fan came off the housing and cut a semi-circle into the back of the radiator, resulting in 9 holes in the fins.

I had just had her serviced before the ride from Atlanta to Guelph, Ontario, Canada. And she needed a valve clearance check, and from what I've been told, they have to remove radiator parts to get to it. Awful suspicious timing. That was from a DIFFERENT Honda certified dealership. That dealership also sold the tires I ordered - twice. Resulting in them keeping the bike for an extra week each time. And my only vehicle at the time was Scarlett.

There is a guy, Clyde, who owns "Cycle towing." He has dually trucks with pneumatic beds with either 1 or 2 wheel chocks in them. AMA keeps sending big flatbed trucks, which are a big pain to load a motorcycle onto.
 
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
@CTX2fer, I cannot seem to find a good dealership or repair north of Atlanta.

One (which I brought my 2011 Vstar 650 to) didn't snap the electrical harness together tightly that lay underneath the instrument panel on the tank. I would go over a bump and the engine would cut it. It happened over and over and that bike didn't throw a check engine light (error code) until months later. Turns out the TPS sensor thingy (that's a technical term) was the part of the harness that was left loose. Which is why the engine would cut out.

Dealership #2: Then the fan breaking free from the housing and cutting a hole in my radiator. And they sold my tires twice. Oh, and they let me ride away with loose hose clamps one time and I found radiator fluid puddling under the bike.

Dealership #3: installed the wrong chain and likely misapplied the master link. Then I went to pick it up and she wouldn't restart.

2020 was the best year of my life, and let's hope that Scarlett has all her mechanic woes behind her!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@mtvic, I had 6 weeks before my 650 mile trip to Arkansas. The OEM part was on back order for 2 months. I said, you can use an aftermarket, just get something that fits the specs. Price is not an issue. I'll pay double for something (that is the correct spec) to get here in time. They asked, "do you care what color it is?" And I said, "no." Just get something that fits the specs that you can install before my trip.

Motorcycle mechanics don't make a lot of money, turnover is often high in repair shops and the parts department, and I think they just had inexperienced people ordering parts. And the mechanics are always 6 weeks behind in the spring, and it is more than double that due to fallout from Covid. So the mechanics aren't going to check the parts department's choices - their job is to get the stuff installed. And since retaining really good mechanics is hard to do, whoever installed the stuff just didn't check the specs himself.

The repair shops around here charge $100 an hour for the work. Mechanics get a tiny fraction of that. I'd pay double that to have the job done right the first time.
 
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
@dgall, some Angel was looking after me both times the chain fell off. I was shifting from 1st to second gear and the chain didn't catch on anything under the bike. I am a walking miracle.

As for the 2nd dealer, they asked if I wanted a new chain. They had no data as to what the chain was and if it fit the bike specs. In retrospect, if I had swapped out the bad chain for what they had at the Honda shop (OEM, in stock), I would have probably not brought the old chain back with me and I would have had zero proof that the CHAIN, not the master link was bad. The tow from Brinkley, Arkansas cost me $580. Ouch! And the dealership that put the master link on asked if I had tools to tighten the chain on the road if I needed to. I have ridden over 1000 miles in 1 day and didn't need the chain tightened. I figured it would (and darn well should) last for 650 miles.

Most businesses have been hemorrhaging money since the pandemic started. I wanted to be fair and give the dealership who put the wrong chain on the opportunity to make it right. They know darn well somebody (me!) could have been killed as a result of the avoidable oversight. They have bent over backwards to try to do the right thing. They should have put the bike on a trickle charger, but after 7 years and two battery drains, I might as well get Scarlett a new battery.

You are right, the technicians don't talk to the customer. I ask the service reps to put very detailed notes on my service request and we go over it line by line when I pick up the bike. Sigh.
 

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@350Four, yes, the chain jumped the sprocket at 1:11 AM on March 17. First tow - no show. 2nd tow- no show. Finally an AMA manager called me and said they contacted a local guy (Dawson Elite Towing & Recovery) who came out and was AWESOME. He was a motorcyclist himself. It was a long day and Scarlett is such a great bike. I am the first to say that I don't enjoy wrenching on anything: no experience, no tools, no talent, no patience. But I make a great salary so I am HAPPY to pay someone very well to do the job right the first time.
Thanks for all of your info/insight. Sorry to hear about AMA failure, glad you finally received help. I've supported AMA for a long time, for many reasons. Hope they learn something from your experience, about using reliable contractors for this service.
I understand your view of wrenching, it is not for everyone. Myself being mechanically inclined, have enjoyed learning basic maintenance/accessory install etc., although I'm still a home garage mechanic, working on my degree from the School of Hard Knocks & Busted Knuckles. Best Wishes for no mechanical woes & good health!;)
 

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Good to hear from you; unfortunate about the bad servicing. It's a bit surprising to hear such poor work from a Honda dealership. I have been a CAA member for close to 40 years. With the CAA Plus, I will get a tow up to 200 km (120 miles) as part of the service. I would think that AAA has similar programs.
AAA in socal offers m/c roadside w/rv roadside package, not sure of details but we have it, & not crazy expensive.
 
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