I have a tendency to gather as much information as I can about the things I use or consume. Unfortunately, however, that always results in utter disappointment and horror when it comes to our region; be it the impurity of Milk, or the jahalat employed by the ustaads. Granted, a portion of the blame is on us short-sighted consumers who insist on saving money at all the wrong things, but at the very least we should be informed of how that affects the machines that can injure and kill us.
I hope that this thread will serve as a helpful summary of some of the procedures/techniques used by our illiterate mechanics which are either just time and cost saving at the expense of durability, or downright dangerous to the riders. But more importantly, I hope that the more enthusiastic and DIY-loving readers will use this to fight back this rusted culture by sharing proper procedures and locations to buy the necessary tools.
To start things off, I will mention some tips and summarize information I have gathered about brake pads, air filter and front fork oil. My personal experiences with these relate to Suzuki GS-150, but the problems listed apply to almost all bikes.
Brake shoe spring lubrication:
Very few scenarios are more dangerous than finding out your brakes are effectively useless because of a layer of lubricating oil ON the surface of the brake shoe. I was greeted by this puzzling image after a hairy moment when descending from a mountain. It turned out that the lubricating grease the mechanic used was not a high melting point grease. This means that in summer-- and possibly in winters too--after a bit of driving the temperature inside the brakes will rise to the point where the cheap grease melts and coats the drums. I am not sure how prevalent this issue is, but whenever you see them applying any lubrication to the brake springs, either make sure that the grease has a high drop/melting point or ask them not to apply it at all. I haven't had it applied for more than 8 months now, and haven't had any issue with noise or repeat of the useless-brake-horror.
(Foam type) Air filter oil:
If your bike has foam type air filter, be advised that the filter itself is not designed to perform any filtering duties. That job is outsourced to the filter oil that is trapped between the minute gaps of the foam.
What we are gifted with instead, is a few drops of used dirty engine oil which is barely smeared on the foam. Apart from changing the colour of the filter to the blessed black, this doesn't do much to keep the intake clean.
What is needed instead is the filter to be dipped (and later squeezed to drain any excess oil) in a specially formulated foam filter oil, that is designed to be more tacky and sticky than any engine oil, so it stays trapped between the foam and not leak out of it after a few days (which mine did, even though I used the gear oil recommended by readers here).
It is not hard to imagine the type of damage unfiltered air will do to your valves and piston, despite the mechanics insisting that it is even okay to use a filter with holes in it. I have tried my best to find any shop that has any type of foam filter oil, but unsurprisingly the result was confusing looks and stupid remarks. A little ray of hope came from a LiquiMoly distributor, who said that they can order it if there is enough demand for it.
Fork oil (front shock absorber oil):
I had to get one of my fork seal replaced after oil started leaking from it, but again to my disappointed the mechanic said he didn't have any fork oil (Suzuki recommends their own G-10 oil) and poured used engine oil without even measuring the correct amount. The result of which is that at high speeds, the front side of the bike seems to skid ever so slightly in one direction.
Even if you are not having any noticeable problem because of wrong type of oil in forks, keep in mind that the shock absorbers not only are designed to make the ride comfortable, but a very important job of theirs is to keep pushing the wheel to the road at all times and conditions. The damping force the oil provides thus influences the grip of your wheels during braking and turns.
Properly designed fork oils have anti-foaming agents among others, and stay at a relatively stable viscosity over changing temperatures. Engine oils have none of these qualities, while they are considerably thicker than any recommended fork oil (Kinematic viscosity of 100cSt+ for engine oils, while 10w fork oil are at ~33cSt). ATF (Automatic transmission fluid) can be a better alternative, provided it has similar viscosity as the recommended fork oil and doesn't damage the seals. Hydraulic oils are relatively thinner, but they don't have any anti foaming agents (prevents bubbles from forming)
Unsurprisingly I couldn't find any type of fork oil in Pakistan. but abobobilly mentions in this threadthat a LiquiMoly distributor told him that he will order if it there is enough demand for it. So please, if you feel like you would benefit from using either a proper foam filter oil or fork oil, mention it here and call the number posted there so we can collectively benefit from each other.
One more thing I would like to add is the importance of properly tightening the bolts to their specific torque recommendations. Thanks to the "Making up for durability" thread we have the factory service manual for GS-150 and all the recommended torque settings, it would be great if any of you can post those specifications of other bikes. As most people won't have access to torque wrenches, one possibility is sharing and using them at various PW group meetings. After all, we are all here to help each other out.