Thursday, November 12, 2009

The pitfalls of buying motorcycle parts on eBay

Well, I just got burned again buying parts for my motorcycle on eBay. This time, I bought a used rear fender for my Yamaha Virago that was described as being in good condition, with "no dings or dents." I paid $40, plus about $15 for shipping.

I received the package and opened the box to find the fender creatively packed. Instead of newspaper or styrofoam peanuts, the seller had used two empty Bud Light 18-pack cartons to cushion the fender. But he may as well have not even bothered, since the fender was NOT in good condition. The mounting holes for the left and right rear turn signals were both deformed, indicating the donor bike had been dropped on each side. This was the reason I wanted to replace my fender in the first place. Second, two rather large holes had been drilled on each side of the fender. This was not mentioned in the auction description. Needless to say, I am ticked off and will be contacting the seller seeking a refund.

The first time I bought a part from eBay, I also had a problem with the part, an aftermarket turn signal stem. The part fit poorly, and I had to modify it (i.e., butcher it) to get the wires to run through the stem. I rode it, then the bike blew a fuse, leaving me stranded at night. I have since disconnected the wiring to this turn signal so it will not short out again. Also, the stem will not stay secure, so it rotates until the lens is pointing skyward, not to the rear. That seller said he rarely has complaints about that particular aftermarket part, but he did apologize and promptly gave me a refund.

Original parts from the local Yamaha dealer cost a small fortune (for example, about $300 for a fuel pump - basically just a tiny electric motor). Good used parts for a bike more than 20 years old are hard to find. Also, there are relatively few add-on accessories for my bike, a 535 cc model, compared to its big brothers, the 750 and 1100 cc Viragos.

My plans for the bike over the winter were to get a good, straight rear fender, a used rear turn signal, also in good condition and a mirror to replace one that broke off. Then I wanted to remove both fenders, side panels and gas tank, paint them black, reassemble the bike and give it a good detail cleaning. The bike, now a dark red, would look sharp in black.

Now, I'm not sure I want to keep spending money on parts for my Yamaha when I'm saving for a Harley.

1 comment:

  1. Update (this was several months ago, I'm just getting around to posting now): I contacted the seller, who said he would refund my money if I shipped the part back to him. I did ship the part, but the U.S. Postal Service apparently lost the package. Unfortunately, I did not insure the package .... :-(