by Gus Breilandgear67

I brought home a new toy this year. A ’99 KLR to be exact. I had looked at it when snow and ice littered the alleys but it idled and thumped and did what ever motorcycles do when you start them. So my check cleared and the bike was loaded up into my truck and off we went. I was going to ride tomorrow! Whoo Hoo!

The next morning, with a grin on my face, I walked out to the new bike ready to start my riding season. It was March and the lack of 2 wheels had really been wearing on me. I put the key in, hit the starter and…nothing. Wait. OK, put the key in, check. Choke on? Check. Gas? Check. Kill switch to “run”. Check. Clutch pulled in (just in case). Check. Hit the starter…nothing but sputter, sputter, hack. Huh? (This would last another 10 minutes or so, various order. Some praying, some cursing.)Guess I am not riding today. About the only appropriate child proof statement here is “Grrrrrrrrr!”

Earlier this winter I had added a few items to my tool collection with a couple in particular I would soon greatly appreciate. Over the next couple of weeks between calling/emailing my trouble to friends looking for advice and throwing tools, parts, tantrums and the like I would come to find that the Craftsman Magnetic Parts Tray kit would be invaluable. Carbs have a lot of small parts. Some of them like to go sailing across the room if not held onto. Others liked to find the small fins, nooks and crannies that are a motorcycle engine. With spring loaded grabby things and magnets on the end of sticks I was able to retrieve most of these parts and put them into my Magnetic Parts Tray.

For being a glorified cereal bowl, the trays keep you from getting in trouble with the better half. I won’t make the mistake of good china sitting in the oil bucket again, that is for sure. Apparently Grandma brought it over from the “Old Country”. Where ever that is. The Craftsman Magnetic Parts Trays are stainless steel with a donut shaped magnet covered by a plastic boot glued to the underside of the dish. Deep enough to keep CV carb springs from rolling around on the ground and magnetic enough to keep all of those little phillips head screws that are used to keep the innards in.

One tray was attached to the handlebars. It was used for bodywork nuts and bolts. The other attached to the frame just above the carb so it was easily accessible. Since the tray was attracted to the frame, the couple of hundred times I bumped and nudged the tray while scraping my knuckles across cylinder fins didn’t cause my valuable parts to sail through the air into places even this mice wouldn’t dwell within my garage. Nope, the strong magnet held its own and kept its perch.

For storage I slap them on the side of my toolbox in the garage. They are always within reach. The 2-tray kit is perfect. A 6-inch round bowl for bodywork screws and the 5 x 9 inch tray for the carb parts. The springs and longer items aren’t precariously hanging to the edge of a tupperware dish waiting for the first time you turn your back on them. That is usually the time they make a break for it. They make that mad dash to the 8th dimension. You know, that outer dimension where miscellaneous socks and springs frolic through fields of loose change and pretty women’s phone numbers.

I picked up my Craftsmen Magnetic Parts Trays at They are also available at Sears stores separately. The set online was $19.99 plus shipping and handling. Get 2 sets, one for the garage and one for the basement. Or, as at my house, one set for the garage and another to some how get attached to the underside of your car only to be found the next time you do your oil change.

By the way, if you ever decide you have carb problems make sure that when you reassemble it, the carb goes back together the way the factory suggests it, not the way your memory suggests. It is amazing how much better a motorcycle carburetor works when it is properly assembled. Heck, you could have almost ridden a whole extra 2 weeks this year. But who’s counting.


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