Jared goes back to school. But this time he pays attention. The end result – he claims to be able to build and take apart (of course) a Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine.
Growing up, I spent a lot of time playing with Lego. Till the age of 12, it was my favourite pastime. Opening new boxes with hundreds, sometimes thousands, of different pieces and following the instruction manual to create some pretty awesome toys was all I wanted to do in my free time. But, that was a very long time ago, and it’s pretty safe to say that my childhood skills of building toys never really blossomed into an engineering or technical career. However, Harley-Davidson recently invited me to their newly opened technical training centre in India and gave me the opportunity to be a certified mechanic for a day – under their supervision, of course.
The newly launched Harley-Davidson University (HD-U) is a technical training centre for Harley-Davidson technicians, who will be trained to work on the latest engines and technology at Capital Harley-Davidson, Gurugram. The HD-U in Gurugram is the fourth such university in the Asia Pacific region that will train Harley-Davidson service engineers in a mix of classroom sessions and practical hands-on training to work on the latest Harley-Davidson engines. I was invited to attend a small training session, in which I was to first dismantle and then reassemble the American bike maker’s brand-new engine – the Milwaukee-Eight.
The technical centre is a state-of-the-art facility that houses multiple workstations and all the high-quality tools required to work on these engines. Under the watchful eyes of John McEnaney, Regional Lead, Technical Support Asia Pacific, Harley-Davidson, we were split into groups and began dismantling the Milwaukee-Eight 107 engine. We had to follow the instructions of the engine manual, which had more pages than all the Lego manuals in the world combined. It certainly wasn’t easy, and on more than a couple of occasions I found myself completely lost. In a very particular order, we started by first removing the rocker covers. Next, we had to make sure the pistons were at top dead centre before we could remove the rockers. Then the cylinder heads came off and after that the pistons. We had to be precise and work safely to make sure that the connecting rods or other parts of the engine didn’t get damaged. After all, this was the first time in my life that I was operating on a motorcycle engine. Soon, it was time to get to the bottom end. We took out the cams and pried open the crankcase. The whole process took about six hours.
The next day, we had to put the engine back together by bolting all the parts back into place. However, we had to use a special torque wrench to make sure the bolts were exactly as tight as the manual stated. We did manage to break one bolt and one piston ring, and we weren’t spared whatsoever during the verbal lambasting – John clearly let us know that he wasn’t happy at all. But, of course, he was patient and helped us get back on track. We continued with the assembly, and at the end of the day were successful in assembling the engine. It was a fantastic learning experience, and I must thank Harley-Davidson for letting me spend two days at their unique university to get schooled – again!