Blog 05: by Shane Conley

Video Lesson: Why to test fits parts, use the service manual and never trust the last tech!
Video Series: Every Mechanic Should Know This



In today’s lesson, I found a fantastic example to model these three practices:

  1. Good disassembly practices
  2. How test fitting mating parts is beneficial
  3. Record but never “trust” the last mechanic

Over and over I’ve heard students in training, technicians and DIY customers say this often-costly statement, “that’s the way I took it off”. Oh, the insanity of it all. As a seasoned mechanic, you will learn to NEVER trust the last mechanic upfront!

I can’t stress enough to take pictures, notes and record any details that will assist in assembly. This missed skill-set creates such “expense” on assembly for many entry-level or DIY mechanics.

Q: Why? A: You must use this “recording” as data for the assembly process. Just data. You must remember not all data is good. Let me provide an example.

Let’s say you have a picture of how you removed a gear and it’s directional by having two different sides (watch the video for this very example). By simply reinstalling as removed, you may potentially use bad data and could install backwards. Here’s an analogy all you parents will relate to. Your child comes out with their shirt on backwards and claims that how they took it off. It doesn’t matter right? It’s still on backwards. What data did they use to put their shirt on backwards? Limited knowledge that it mattered, right? It was still covering them up, they still got dressed, they were in the big kids club right?

See the similarity with many entry level techs? They just don’t know better yet. It’s the same comparison to the shirt. Did the tech take the gear off “inside out” or “one sleeve at a time”?

In summary, I find the best practice to record all data with pictures and notes on disassembly. I review the “factual” data as compared to the “correct” data found in the service manual. Then assemble correctly taking special concern if a part was in-deed installed backwards. A required additional step not found in the service manual but is found in the “every mechanic should know this”, is to inspect for problems this may have caused. Let’s not put our shirts on backwards kids.

Feel free to share and use as desired.

Keep Wrenching,
Shane Conley

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Shane Conley


20 + years in the motorcycle industry have awarded me a life of powersports adventures, travels, and experiences I could have never dreamed of.  Former racer, shop owner, riding coach and championship bike builder. I’ve also been in management, fundraising and partnership building positions. Currently employed as an educator in the study of motorcycle mechanics. Avid mechanic, bike builder, author, traveler and studier of life. I’m a visionary with proven results.