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Lazrus Goes to Florida

Lazrus Goes to Florida

by Spencer Bennett

This story actually begins in January 2019 when Marshall Robilio mentioned to me in passing that
he was selling an R1150 R for someone and I might be interested in it for a “parts bike” as I had
recently acquired a relatively high mileage one and this one might have some parts that I could
use or bank against future needs. I did not necessarily need a “part bike” but Rosey said “Go look
at it, what can it hurt?”

When I saw the bike, it was sitting on Marshall’s trailer looking rather forlorn, sort of like those
ASPCA ads on TV, and it did indeed look like a good candidate for disassembly. The story behind
its present condition was that it was part of an estate that was being disposed of, and the
executor knew Chris, Marshall’s son, and was able to talk Marshall into helping him sell the bike,
as all he knew about it was that it was a motorcycle. The owner, the Executor’s late brother, had
apparently parked the bike in late 2006 (based on the last registration) on his carport and it had
gotten covered up in rugs and other things and more or less forgotten.

When he passed away, his brother (the Executor) was cleaning up the house to get it on the
market and was amazed to find a motorcycle under the supposed pile of garbage on the carport.
The good news was that the key was still in it, the bad news was that the 2006 gasoline was too.
Unfortunately, the title and the seat were missing as were the bags and most of the other normal
paperwork. This is where Marshall came into the story as he fgured that, as a “parts bike” it
didn’t need a title as much as one that would be ridden and researching what had happened to
the title and getting a replacement was a lot of work.

As they say on the home remodeling shows, it had “good bones” or in this case all of the parts
were there and as best we could tell it had not been stolen so it seemed like and ideal candidate
for a possible recovery, or at worst, a lot of low mileage parts. Did I mention that it had 3800
miles on it when parked? It probably got the 600-mile break in service and then had not had
anything further since then.

I agreed to the purchase and set about seeing if I could get a title for it. I got a title search form to
run the title numbers for me and they came back as not reported stolen or with a lien, so I was
able, for a small fee to get documentation that I could take to the local license folks and get a
Mississippi title issued in my name. A short note of thanks here to Mike Dale, a former member
of the RAMS who you may remember, who taught me years ago that you can accomplish almost
anything if you are patient, polite, and persistent. In the case of getting vehicle titles, for example,
you just have to keep pursuing it and asking what it will take, and the following up on what the
officials tell you. Remember that the folks at the license office don’t really care if you get a title or
not, they just want you to go away so they can get to the next person and whatever they can do to
make that happen they will.

Once I had a title, I began to actually evaluate the carcass, labeled as “Rusty” at this time (I always
name my bikes, probably a carryover thinking of them as friends rather than machines). Once a
new battery was in place, the engine turned over and all of the lights seem to work as did the ABS
although it made some unusual sounds. The tank had that wonderful vinegar mixed with paint
thinner smell and severe rust evident when viewed with a light thorough the 􀃕ller neck, but the
bones were still good and I needed a winter project any way.

I got the tank off and pulled the fuel pump and filter assembly, only to confirm that the rust was
indeed severe and everything inside the fuel tank would have to be replaced. The tank itself
appeared to be salvageable though and I soon had it soaking in a diluted mixture of “Milkstone
Remover” and water. This is a mild acid mixture that dissolves rust but does not seem to affect
paint provided you dilute it to about a ten to one mixture with water. It is effective, if slow acting,
is environmentally safe, and is available at your local Tractor Supply or Co-Op.

Once the new pump and filter assembly arrived I was able to get the fuel system put back
together, which is not as easy as it sounds on an R1150 R as the pump, filter, and all associated
plumbing mount on a plate that mounts with eight studs and nuts and must be tightened very
carefully to seat the gasket properly and avoid leaks. Once it was holding fuel, and pumping it, I
moved on to cleaning out the fuel lines and injectors and got the engine running, and it ran
surprisingly well, although maybe it should as it only had 3800 miles on it.
At this point, the ABS was flushed and seemed to be OK, but this was not to last. Next time I
turned the bike on the ABS pump went into full on mode and proceeded to fry the circuit board in
the unit. I also had a failure of the new Westco battery that I had purchased from Beemer
Boneyard and I have read on a couple of forums that a low voltage battery will cause the ABS
pump to melt down as it tries to draw enough power to run the pump motors but cannot due to
the low voltage. The high current demand then causes the driver transistors to melt down. In any
case, the ABS pump was gone and had to be replaced. I was able to find a low mileage unit on
Ebay at a “reasonable” cost and Beemer Boneyard was able to warranty the battery and I was
back in business.

As part of the initial ABS flushing, I had changed the fluid to all the calipers and now had to go
through it all again. I was buying big bottles of brake fluid and I have gotten pretty proficient at
doing the system flushing. Now it was time for new tires and oil changes for all systems and
“Rusty” would be ready to go.

Once the new tires were on and the fluids all changed, which looked pretty good for 15-year-old
products, it was time to try “Rusty” out on some local rides. These were done on Saturdays with
Rosey on standby and the trailer hooked to the truck, just in case. The local trips went well, and I
worked up to doing a 350 mile Tour of Honor ride on it by last fall and accumulated 1000 miles,
which I had decide would be the point when I would do another fluid change and tune up.

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About this time the second Wesco Battery went south on me, fortunately dying outright and not
taking the ABS pump out this time. I called Beemer Boneyard and they were very nice but
assured me that Wesco would not issue me a second warranty battery, so I was just out the
$85.00 plus shipping. They said they had tried to get a second battery out of Wesco on several
occasions and had not yet succeeded. So, I ordered an Odyssey Battery and wrote Wesco o􀃠 my
list of battery suppliers until they get their products more reliable, if ever.

With the new battery and fluids and a fresh tune up, I felt that “Rusty” was road ready, but how to
be sure? I had also been pondering a better name for the bike since “Rusty” was no longer
honestly descriptive and I came up with Lazarus, since it was raised from death on the carport
and it would 􀃕t on a Mississippi vanity plate. LAZRUS was available, so there it was, Lazrus was

Now back to the issue of how to be sure that Lazrus was really up to where it should be? I was
going to Florida for the Northeast Florida Rally in January and planned to take my sidecar as it
carries a lot and has great protection, being K1200 LT based and had figured that I would
probably run Lazrus on a rally or something later in the Spring as a reliability test. On the
Wednesday morning that I was going to leave for Florida, I noticed a pool or brake fluid under the
Sidecar. Closer examination, at 7 am, revealed that the rear master cylinder had apparently
decided that it had been in service long enough and was leaking past its seal. Being a rider who
likes to stop as well as go, this put the sidecar in a no go status and suddenly Lazrus was in the
“on deck circle”.

A lot of repacking and condensing of what I really needed to take took place in the next couple of
hours and I was able to pull out of the driveway only about 15 minutes behind my planned
departure. I was meeting Chip Mann in Tupelo and figured I would treat that as the “shakedown”
leg and if all was not well at Tupelo I would come home.

The Hernando to Tupelo leg went very well, although I was very alert for any noise or slightest
vibration that might pop up. Chip and I left Tupelo and had a great ride down through Alabama
and Eastern Georgia and the weather and roads were all you could hope for in a January trip. The
routing by Chip was excellent and he managed to route us through Columbus, GA with the
absolute minimum of hassles, which is almost an art form in itself. One of the interesting things
about going through Columbus is the corridor through Fort Benning that cuts right down the
middle and really shows you how big Ft. Benning is as it seems to go forever but is actually only
about 20 miles or so.

We met up with Jim Linneman at Albany, GA for the overnight stop and Lazrus was still doing
great. My confidence was also growing after a flawless 474-mile day on the bike.

Thursday morning dawned warm (58 degrees) and a little foggy and after breakfast we were soon
on our way to Keystone Heights, FL. Jim led the way and found us some really scenic roads
through Pecan Groves that were absolutely beautiful, even in their naked winter form.

We arrived at the Air BNB that we had rented about 4 pm and were soon making ourselves at
home. It was a four-bedroom unit on a small lake that was quite comfortable and allowed us to
do breakfast there as well as providing great sunrises over the lake to wake up to. The
owner/host lived next door and cautioned us about their Labrador watch dog as he would come
right up to you and sniff. He is blind and this is his way of telling who you are, and he knows the
yard well enough and hears well enough to find you, but has to sniff you to fix you in his world.
Every night he would be on guard on their porch until about 10 pm when he would go in the
house for the night, and if you were out during his shift he would come over and inspect you. You
just don’t get this sort of service in a hotel.

Friday morning, we headed over to the Northeast Florida Rally in Starke and got checked in,
delivered the RAMS Admit One to our Rally Door prize and began a day of bike looking, tire
kicking, and flea market shopping. About noon we decided to ride over to Osteen’s Seafood in St.
Augustine for lunch as they have the best fried or grilled Shrimp that I have eaten and wonderful
Key Lime Pie. We ate our fill, and more then took a leisurely ride back over to the rally, fully
enjoying the warm day and the sights and smells of the greenery along the way. There is
something about riding through a lush, warm landscape in January that just makes you feel that
all is right with the world.

Saturday was another great day at the Rally, with some vendor shopping and a couple of
seminars, then the wait for the Rally Dinner and door prizes. They also do a 50/50 drawing that
they drag out for the whole dinner service, which gets to be a bit of a pain, but we lived through
it. I won a pair of riding gloves in Rosey’s size as a door prize, so I came out pretty good. We
pooled our money on the 50/50 tickets and managed to avoid having to bring any additional
money home from it. The meal was well served considering that they have 500 people fed in
about an hour and the overall awards went right along as well. They do something that seemed
like a good idea for consideration by the RAMS in that instead of trophies or plaques they give
each award winner a free admission to next year’s rally. It’s a nice value for the winner and it
doesn’t cost the Rally anything unless they come back.



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