I bought two SW's in 2010. An '03 and '05 as a package deal. The '03 "RedWing
" never felt quite "right" since the day I rode it home. Never knew quite "why" I felt that ... just did. And this also through the 1700+ miles of last summers tour.
Cut to 2011 and into 2012 when I was getting valve stems replaced and ran into some rim corrosion on both front and rear of Red, and tires had to be dismounted/remounted on Red. Last time I picked it up, by the time I got home, I noticed the front had a "squeal" (No..not the Ned Beatty/Deliverance kind)..but a squeal I thought was Tupperware
induced from harmonics from the front wheel assy. Additionally, I heard a grinding rotor sound from the rear of the bike, but only when I was sitting on it. Fellow riders could hear it on their bikes from 10 feet away. Needless to say, I was pissed. But after spending a LOT of time at the dealer prior on failed valve stems and other screwups..I'd had enough of them for a while.
So today, I go to another dealer in Tacoma and BANG..off the mark (and I mean within two minutes) the Svc Mgr finds:
1. The parking brake caliper is MISSING a bolt. They replace with two of their own. So the grinding noise was as a result of the looseness of the caliper moving against the rotor.
2. The front caliper bolts are HAND TIGHT. As in "LOOSE" ... WAIT...WHAT!!!!
3. After spinning the front tire for all of SIX SECONDS..he says "I think your bearings need to be replaced.."
So they replace the bolts on the rear caliper, tighten the front and send me on my way back to my Usual Suspects
"Uh..Hello... Is this on!!?? Loyal Customer now on board!!"
I get to my dealer and after some blank looks and some "Uh..excuse me..but I'm REALLY FREAKING ANGRY..that you would send me out on the road on a bike that is a safety hazard...and that the shop has a safety/quality control issue..." they confirm.
1. The bolts the other shop put on are fine..but they'll order the OEM bolts and replace for no money.
2. The other shop did a good job tightening the front caliper bolts.
3. The other shop correctly diagnosed the front bearing problem and charged me ONLY for the parts..they ate the labor since the Svc Mgr said he felt bad about the whole thing. And did the job then and there.
So ... I'm wondering...why didn't my usual mechanic, whose been wrenching both bikes for OVER A YEAR, notice my front bearing was gone. And I mean GONE. It was toast when I bought it in Aug of 2010...so .. ..
And BTW, the bike feels 300% better now. No slop, no vague steering and it feels almost like the '05 SW now. And about 90% less "squeal" (Noo..not the Ned Beatty kind...) than before.
I had a few when I got home....