Travel Through Germany on a Harley-Davidson

By Peter & Kay Forwood

Germany on a Harley (7/5/09 - 14/5/09)
Distance 695 km (528000 km to 528695 km)

This is part of the fifteenth section of our around the world trip.
Complete Trip Overview & Map

Coming from Belgium or read our previous visit to Germany  

7/5/09 Jan and Anke we first met at the Tesch Rally eleven years ago, we stayed with them in Germany, we travelled together in Romania, Bulgaria and Turkey, at the beginning of their world tour, and they stayed with us in Australia, again meeting up travelling in Canada. They have now settled down, married, have two children, returning to a more conventional lifestyle, but their minimalist years on the road haven't left them. Jan, in a well paid job, still prefers to limit purchases to a comfortable level, getting the most out of products rather than throwing them away because a newer, flashier model is on the market. It was a pleasant afternoon catching up, getting to meet their children, and a quiet evening spent at the local ethnic restaurant.

8/5/09 A young household rises early. At 4 and 5 years old the children are off to kindergartenSpending a relaxing afternoon with Jan and Anke and breakfast is a lively, busy affair. We have been wanting to move some weight forward and down lower on the motorcycle and Jan and Anke took us shopping to buy two plastic containers, which we strapped onto the front of the panniers with used bicycle inner tubes. Non valuable, more rarely used items and food we can place in here, removing them from the kitchen which is carried at the highest and furthest back place on the motorcycle. The sunny afternoon was spent in the garden and an evening barbecue rounded off the day.

9/5/09 Jan and Anke escorted us along our way, to Jan's mother's house for lunch, they were visiting for Mother's Day, and then we headed north towards Denmark. By mid afternoon, not sure what to do for the night's accommodation we ran through our options. It is the first time we have un-booked accommodation this trip to Europe. A roadside motel was 66 Euro, too expensive, and we didn't see any real reason to detour to a campground, and with the weather favourable, and good roadside rest areas, we decided to pitch the tent at one near Hamburg. Not sure if this is allowed or not,Visiting Jan's mother's house for lunch but we didn't see why not as truck drivers sleep in their trucks in these places overnight, as do campervans, and people sleep in their cars, so why shouldn't we be allowed to put up a tent, just for sleeping hours, we take up less room than the other vehicles even including the tent?

10/5/09 The night passed uneventfully, earplugs dulled the motorway noise, and with daylight saving we read in the tent till late keeping away from the cold fog that had descended. The sunny morning was uneventful until leaving our motorway rest spot when there was a slight crunching noise in the engine area, then a second crunch, then the oil light came on, so we pulled over after just half a kilometres riding, then pushed the motorcycle back to the rest area. On investigating, first the oil pump, where a small piece of metal was found wedged between two cogs, then in the cam area, where metal shards filled the groove at the bottom. It appears the crankshaft oil pump worm drive, (an original part), had finally worn out, breaking off a piece, which wedged in the oil pump cogs, jammingTrying to repair the motorcycle at a rest stop it and causing the remainder of the worm drive to peel off its worn teeth. Being a Sunday the surrounding Harley shops were closed, and unable to fix the problem on the spot and not knowing how long it would take to get parts, we phoned Jan and Anke, who borrowed their father's horse float and came to our rescue later afternoon, the first time we have needed to be towed in almost 300,000 km's.

11/5/09 The resulting pressure of the jammed oil pump cogs had distorted the key-way metal keys but didn't break them, both within the oil pump and in the crankcase area, welding the cogs hard onto the oil pump drive shaft. With the motorcycle in Jan and Anke's garage we contemplated ways of removing the broken drive gear cog, first heating it, trying to force it, finally opting to grind it from the shaft with a Dremmel, as no other method could be suggested by either the HD dealers or others we talked to. It took a few hours and many grinding heads to remove enough metal to release the cog from the shaft. Meanwhile the nearest HD dealer, just across the border in the Netherlands, express ordered the parts,Jan brings a horse float to our rescue two new cogs, which should be here by tomorrow. So by 6pm it looked like things were going well. The repair will still not be 100% as the damaged shaft is not removable without removing either the engine or gearbox, and the oil pump is quite scored from grinding the floating metal pieces. One of the oil pump cogs, undamaged, remains wedged onto the shaft and will hopefully remain there as we couldn't remove it without more damage to the shaft. Hopefully none of the shards made it into the main crankshaft bearing, which is in the same oil bath area. So whilst we had a moderately successful day we will not be sure of the result until time has passed, and miles have been ridden.

12/5/09 The morning was spent cleaning parts and the cam area of grinding debris, and then waiting for a phone call from the HD dealer to say the parts had arrived. By 1.30 there was no phone call, so we called, the parts were there, just arrived, and two hours later we again started work on the motorcycle. The oil pump shaft was damaged and initially wouldn't take the new cog, but it was finally persuaded on. Then we installed the oil pumpOil pump cog, bottom, cut away for removal only to realise we had put the wrong bolts in the wrong holes, it needed to be removed again. The cam area went back together, and a test run, but the oil pump wouldn't prime and there was a tapping from a lack of oil in the rocker area. On re-studying the manual on the computer we realised I had not aligned the oil scavenger properly with the cam. It was that sort of day, everything seemed to be twice as difficult as normal and I was making mistakes, and when we pulled the cam cover off to realign the oil scavenger it pulled the whole cam out, meaning we now needed to remove the rocker covers at the top of the engine to re-insert it, a few hour job. So by 8pm we were further back than we were at 3.30 pm, so the only thing to do was order a take away meal and have a few beers with Jan and Anke, which we did. They have been incredibly supportive with the whole repair. Offering to collect us initially, letting us stay, providing needed tools, not to mention moral support and any assistance we needed.

13/5/09 Back being a mechanic, again, something I don't enjoy, preferring A second goodbye to Anke and familyto be riding than repairing, but no choice at the moment. By the third day ideas of getting a new motorcycle, calling it quits with travelling altogether, all passed through my mind. We removed the rocker areas and re-inserting the cam, "correctly" aligned the oil scavenger, and a better result. To get the oil pump to prime we laid the motorcycle over on its right side, cranked the engine with the oil valve open, then closed the valve, righted the motorcycle and it started sweetly and with oil pressure, a seeming success, but as we mentioned earlier, time will tell. This is the first time the failure of one part has resulted in damage to other parts in the motorcycle.

14/5/09 Said goodbye to Jan and Anke for the second time early morning in perfect riding weather. The day improved to 20 degrees and sunshine, well for most of the time. The Tom Tom had us on small roads first then the freeway as we passed the same spot where the oil pump drive cog failed and we kept riding to the Danish border.

Move with us to Denmark or go to our next visit to Germany




Top of Page

Story and photos copyright © 1996-
All Rights Reserved.

Hosted by: Horizons Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website, with more Travellers stories, a great Travellers Newsletter, and a Bulletin Board for all the latest On the Road Information! Webmaster: Grant Johnson