All of our household belongings are being shipped from Hyderabad to Hong Kong and the relocation company confirmed that my Matchless motorbike could also go in the same shipping container. However, all of the fluids would first need to be drained from the bike as these are viewed as a potential fire or explosion risk.
Now getting oil out of my Matchless is not normally a problem, as the various stains across the driveway will testify! But this was just one more job to add to the list of preparations for our packing and moving. Luckily though, Azmath (our driver) knew what was needed and was able to ‘do the necessary’ as they say here in India.
The first job was to drain the oil, so after a last ride up and down the road to get the thick oil warm (and hence hopefully a bit more fluid) Azmath set to work. The oil tank on the right hand side of the bike is easy enough to drain; you just unscrew the drain plug at the bottom and the oil pours out. Well most of the oil pours out, but the last bit of course trickles out very, very slowly…
The packers advised that the bike needed to be completely dry before it could be shipped so then much tipping and tilting of the bike back and forth followed to get all of the last dregs of oil out of the tank.
Being a Matchless (and especially one that hadn’t been ridden for a few days!), it was also necessary to drain the sump to remove any oil that was hiding down there. Again this is simple enough to do after removing the correct drain plug, but the oil is in now great hurry to leave the engine and so the best plan was to leave it for an hour or two with a dish underneath in the appropriate spot to catch the final few drips.
The last job was to do drain the petrol out of the tank and then to empty the filter and carburettor bowls. I really didn’t want to have to start dismantling the bike at this late stage to remove the tank and drain it that way, although this would have perhaps been the quicker way to do it! Instead we just removed the feed pipe from the carb, opened both fuel taps and let it gradually run out that way. It took a while to all trickle out, but then at least I was sure that both sides of the tank were empty (after a bit of rocking too and fro) and also the pipes were too.
One thing that surprised me though was that the battery could be left in place on the bike. In the house, the packers had been religiously removing the batteries from every clock, remote control and torch they had come across although I am still not sure what threat these AA’s and AAA’s actually posed.
But the big lead acid (albeit allegedly a sealed, non-leaky variety) strapped to the side of my Matchless was apparently fine. So who know’s what logic is at work there! I was expecting them to say that the battery could not be shipped and then I’d have to buy a new one in Hong Kong (like they said for my precious supply of engine and gearbox oil), but apparently it was no problem. So at least that’s one extra job I don’t have to do to get back on the road when the bike finally reaches Hong Kong.
So they we are, already for a coat of bubble-wrap before being boxed up in the special shipping crate that is apparently being made to measure. Fingers crossed it gets there smoothly!