Well, that sucked. - Honda Vultus Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-12-2017, 11:06 PM Thread Starter
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Well, that sucked.

Went to New Hampshire, did an 8 mile hike.

Today, as part of the Laconia Bike Week, the Mt Washington auto road opens for motorcycles only. A group of riders from Massachusetts met up at 7am to take advantage.



The ride up was nice. Good twisty roads and everyone was having a great time. With the heat, we decided to stop for lunch before making the 8 miles of switchbacks up Mt. Washington. Sadly, as we came out of the cafe, I discovered a small puddle under my bike. Oil was leaking and it seemed to be leaking from the seal where the oil filter mounts on the engine.
As luck would have it, we were right next to a NAPA. Sadly, the girl at the counter wasn't a lot of help. I ended up buying a filter to a Honda Fit as I recall reading that most Honda filters use the same basic connection and just vary in overall size. But, how does one change a filter in the middle of the street? Seems there was a Honda dealer just down the road - maybe a better alternative than guessing.

After a little bit of debating, we rode the 2 miles to a Honda dealership. At this point, the party went on and I was left to the repair. I did not leave the dealership until 2:30 - roughly an hour and a half after arriving. What did they do?

"Oh, your filter was loose. I tightened it and filled up your oil with 2 quarts - that will be $50."

That doesn't sound right. I do all my own work - No way I didn't tighten the filter. Just didn't ring as likely. But, there it is. I'm sure they laughed at me as I pulled away as the idiot that can't tighten a filter.

Given the time, I decided to head home to catch my son's baseball playoff game. I headed south on 16, picked up 25 west and intended to get on 93 and head home.

Well, that was the plan.

About 35 miles down the road, the bike lost power. Seems the dual clutch transmission opens both clutches when the oil light comes on. Oh yes, I was almost completely out of oil. Nearly a gallon in just 30 miles.

So, I pulled over, shut the bike down and then tried to start it up again. She ran just long enough to get to a little general store where I parked in the shade. (did I mention it was about 98 degrees at this time?)


Called the Honda dealer I just left and he decided that I was closer to Laconia. He called them and (surprise) they were booked solid. I have AMA roadside, but who knows how long that would take during motorcycle week. Needed options.

Asked the clerk at the store where the nearest auto parts store was. NAPA, about 4 miles away.

Hmm. Maybe I can swap the filter, use some cheap oil from the store and limp it to NAPA. Well, they sure did tighten the filter. I destroyed the nut on the end of the K&N filter and it didn't budge. No idea how tight it was, but it was on there good. The clerk wasn't much further help.

I secured my bike as best I could and started hiking.

This NAPA was cool. Guy was super helpful. He didn't have the right filter, but looked up the actual dimensions. I then had him look up the Honda Fit filter - a match for the threads and gasket!

Not only that, but they also had the exact same Amsoil motorcycle oil in stock that I use! So, I bought the oil, a filter wrench, and a funnel. The clerk set me up with a box to carry it all and a plastic bag. The idea was I could cut the box down, line it with the bag and use it as an oil pan. He recommended stopping at the Hannaford Supermarket and getting some paper towels to absorb the oil.

$70 later and I was hiking back. A quick stop at the grocery store for water and paper towels. Only, I didn't buy towels. I went to the bathroom and they had the automatic towel dispenser. I felt like Stallone in Demolition Man as I'd rip off one towel, wave my hand for another and then repeat until I had a half dozen or so.

Walked back to the bike, did a quick swap of the filter and refilled the bike. Tossed all my trash into the dumpster and looked at the time. Almost 8pm. Crap, I missed my son's game. Called the wife and told her the story. She wished me luck getting home and told me to call if I needed to get picked up. My son's team won 9-2, so we have the last division playoff on Wednesday. If they win that, it's on to the finals.

I rode about 20 miles and stopped at the Irving just before Rt 95. I topped off the fuel and checked the oil. No new leaks from the look of things, and the level didn't seem down at all. COOL!

Headed down 95 to exit 20 at Tilton - roughly another 20 miles. Checked the oil again. Still good. Grabbed a jug of Poweraid and downed it for the push home.

Got home and checked again. Still good.

My theory? Something let loose in the K&N filter shortly before we arrived at the lunch stop (no more than 10 miles out) and clogged the filter. The primary oil pump on this bike is just before the filter and that pressure had to go somewhere. So, it started leaking past the gasket. Between the vibrations and the pressure, the filter loosened. The Honda Dealer just tightened it like an ape which didn't work because the pressure was still there. The oil sprayed out from the seal just as easy.

Had the dealer actually changed the filter, that likely would have been the end of the issue. Instead, I get an adventure.

So, my memento of Bike Week 2017 is a new oil filter wrench and a Honda Fit filter on my bike.
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2015 NM4. took delivery on Sept 13, 2014

Mods: homemade bracket for topcase, modified NC700S center stand, rear brake at left hand using Silver Wing master cylinder, Amps Rugged Mount 12v GPS charger/mount, USB power at handlebars, Hot Grips heated grips, Clearwater Glenda LED driving lights, SAE power port, Mo-Door hidden garage opener, Custom seat foam and gel pad with hot weather top pad.

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post #2 of 7 Old 06-13-2017, 03:52 AM
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That Honda dealership in Jackson sure was a dud. Sorry for the ride that became a running repair. I've had some of those.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-14-2017, 10:23 PM Thread Starter
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More information on the K&N filter.

Seems the KN-303 I've been using has quite a rep with various boards as a failure waiting to happen.

In fact, there is a push for a Class Action Suit: http://www.consumerclassactionlawyer...stigation.html

From what I've read, the filters are now produced in China and they are crap. Some failures are case cracks near the end nut. Other failures involve the pressure relief valve failing to open causing overpressure in the filter (hmm, that sounds real suspicious)

I'm going to switch to the: Purolator PBL14610

Let you know how it goes.

2015 NM4. took delivery on Sept 13, 2014

Mods: homemade bracket for topcase, modified NC700S center stand, rear brake at left hand using Silver Wing master cylinder, Amps Rugged Mount 12v GPS charger/mount, USB power at handlebars, Hot Grips heated grips, Clearwater Glenda LED driving lights, SAE power port, Mo-Door hidden garage opener, Custom seat foam and gel pad with hot weather top pad.

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post #4 of 7 Old 06-16-2017, 09:31 PM Thread Starter
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Here is a little more information I've found out.

K&N in the last year or so moved the manufacturing of their motorsports filters (I do not know if it was JUST those filters, or others as well) from the Thailand factory they had been using to a Chinese factory.

In the past year, several race bikes using the same KN-303 filter I use (a longer version of the KN-204 that is specified for our bikes.) have had the filter blow out near the nut, or fail near the gasket. I, and others, prefer the larger filter which adds filter area and reduces the velocity of the oil through the filter. The result of the failures has been oil spills on race tracks and in some cases oil soaked rear tires that resulted in crashes. I have not read any accounts of any other brand filter suffering these failures. Several of the racing organizations have banned all aftermarket filters on their tracks for safety reasons. (Most of the chatter I've read seems to indicate that it is a direct result of K&N filter failures.)

When I contacted K&N on the matter, I got this in response:

Quote:
Thank you for contacting us about this issue, unfortunately K&N cannot speculate as to why you had this issue. Without the filter to inspect it makes this quite difficult, it is regrettable that the filter could not be retained.
I came across 2 forum posts that specifically mentioned the KN303 filter leaking oil at the seal and simply the act of changing the filter completely eliminated the problem. Very similar to the situation I had. Both of these cases cited a failure of the pressure relief valve in the filter and thus oil pressure forcing oil past the gasket.

Several people traced down the old K&N filter and found that the HiFlofiltro brand filters are either the same as the older K&N, or an improved version made in the same Thailand factory as the original K&N. This filter has been specifically TUV certified for racing. The filter even comes with the 17mm nut.

The part number is: HF303RC

I've ordered one of the filters off Amazon ( https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00FJFD6K2 ) and will let you all know what I think when it comes.

I took a look at the shelf in the garage where I keep my filters to see what other K&N filters I had and found an old KN303 still in the box that is marked "Made in Thailand". I did not realize I had one as the one that was on my bike was purchased in April and I installed it a few days later. **** I wish I kept the other filter. Would be interesting to see what the difference is.

Its sad that companies trash their reputation for profit. K&N has lost a 20+ year customer due to this. I'll never put another of their filters on anything I own. Not worth risking a failure on something so trivial. I lost pretty much an entire fun day trip due to this. Not to mention the health risk of having to hike 8 miles in bike gear on a nearly 100 degree day.

If you are interested in reading the accounts, just type "KN303 failure" and "K&N banned" into google and read some of the results that come back.

2015 NM4. took delivery on Sept 13, 2014

Mods: homemade bracket for topcase, modified NC700S center stand, rear brake at left hand using Silver Wing master cylinder, Amps Rugged Mount 12v GPS charger/mount, USB power at handlebars, Hot Grips heated grips, Clearwater Glenda LED driving lights, SAE power port, Mo-Door hidden garage opener, Custom seat foam and gel pad with hot weather top pad.

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post #5 of 7 Old 06-19-2017, 09:30 PM
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I am retired and previously owned an independent M/C repair shop, Mostly European and a few Japanese brands. OIL, FILTERS, SPARK PLUGS and Thermostats. WHY do people continue to Think they are smarter than OEM and buy aftermarket snake oil and lowest bidder cheep ass parts? when it comes to K&N and Fram the results are almost criminal. Luckily for you the ECM was smarter than the staff at that Honda Car dealer you visited.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-19-2017, 10:18 PM Thread Starter
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Well, there is "Smarter than the OEM bean counters". And there are parts that do exceed OEM for those times when you need to extend service intervals. Larger volume oil filters built of quality components is one of those. The K&N used to be one of those.

But yea, most stuff out there is junk. And sadly, far too many companies are shifting to the junk side of things.

2015 NM4. took delivery on Sept 13, 2014

Mods: homemade bracket for topcase, modified NC700S center stand, rear brake at left hand using Silver Wing master cylinder, Amps Rugged Mount 12v GPS charger/mount, USB power at handlebars, Hot Grips heated grips, Clearwater Glenda LED driving lights, SAE power port, Mo-Door hidden garage opener, Custom seat foam and gel pad with hot weather top pad.

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post #7 of 7 Old 06-20-2017, 11:16 AM
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Don't forget that the m/c manufacturers buy in a lot of parts (spark plugs, filters, brakes, tires, wheels, suspension dampers) and the people they buy from normally also sell in the aftermarket too. Also, part maker A may very well sell the same part to companies B, C and D who put it in their own packaging.

A reputable manufacturer probably won't offer a shoddy part for rebranding, though it might not be quite as good (though still good enough) as the part that goes out with their own name. That doesn't mean that there aren't also cheap knock-offs being sold that should be avoided, presuming you can figure out which ones they are.

The OEMs are probably in many cases not going to specify a bought-in part that is any better than "barely good enough". Think about the OEM tires, brake pads, chains, and similar items that are good enough to get you down the road a ways, but not what the buyer is probably going to put on again when it is time to replace them. Costs have to be controlled to hit a price point.

And of course there's always the occasional bad apple part that slipped past inspection. Mr. Murphy is watching all the time.

Caveat emptor, trust but verify, and hope you stay lucky.
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