11 June 2010

FZ1 Maintenance -- becoming a Shade Tree Mechanic

During the rally, Cruzman learned me how to service my EXUP.  It was something that was overdue but I was too chicken to do it myself.  Up until this point, my idea of maintenance has been to change the oil, clean and oil the chain, and make sure the tire pressures are right.

Oddly enough, one of the first things I bought after getting the bike was a Clymer manual.  I had this grand notion that with it I could do all the maintenance myself.  Technically that's true.  It is a detailed book with pictures and great instructions.  The combination of Clymer, Pat's FZ1 Site, and either FZ1 forum should be enough for a semi-competent shade tree mechanic.

The problem is, I'm not certain I'm a semi-competent shade tree mechanic.  The only thing I have in the way of tools is a mechanic's kit I bought from Wal-Mart one Christmas and the tool kit that came with the bike.  I almost forgot my dremel knockoff I got from pep boys.  I used it to remove the rivets that held the rider's pegs when I replaced my stock pegs for anodized aluminum ones.

My first attempt with the Clymer manual proved to be an exercise in frustration.  I was going to check the spark plugs, air filter, lube the cables, change the radiator fluid to add water wetter, etc.  It's the check Clymer recommends one do every 4,000 miles.  I decided I'd stretch it out over a couple of days so I wouldn't get too tired because of the damned Wolf.  The first day I lifted the tank and checked the air filter.  Found a leaf in there.  Good so far.  Then I drained the radiator fluid, added new fluid and water wetter.  Check.

While I was at the store buying new fluid, I also bought the can of stuff to lube the cables.  Here is where the frustration started.  I must have abandoned the book because I couldn't figure out how to use the damned lube kit.  I set it aside and figured my day's work was done.

The next day, I decided to check the spark plugs.  In retrospect, I should have done it when I had the tank up to check the filter.  I could only reach one spark plug and it looked fine.  I couldn't reach the others and didn't even consider raising the tank again.  Prednisone really affects ones thinking and ability.  I left that crap alone too.  In fact, I left it all alone.  I wasn't thinking right and couldn't do the simple things with the ease I was accustomed to all my life.

I guess the maintenance failure has as much to do with theWolf (Lupus) as it did with my ability to read and understand.  I'd read all about each thing I wanted to do before I even went out to the garage.  I understood each step but when it came time to execute, I failed miserably.  That left a bitter taste and I was hesitant to do anything like it again.  The stuff I did do successfully, I'd done before on the VX.  Different bike, similar process.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I knew it was time to do the EXUP, but I didn't want to do it alone.  I checked Pat's site.  Understood the great pictures but still didn't want to do it.  I downloaded the instruction sheet to take out into the garage with me but I still didn't want to do it alone.  Thankfully Cruzman said he knew it and would do it.  When we got to the rally, I insisted he let me do it and just give me instructions.  That worked great.

Next is the postponed Carb Sync.  I just got a Sync tool today, thanks to SuperTrey on FZ1OA.  It is the same one Cruzman has so when he shows me how to sync the carbs, using my own tool, then I'll be able to do it without him the next time.  Clymer says to do it every 4k.  I'll be able to do that now.

I delayed the jetting because of my rear tire:
Yes, that is a nail.  Yes I road from Gainesville home with that in my tire.  It was still holding air--still is holding air.  No, I haven't ridden it since I parked it.  Here's another look at the wear bars:

That's right, the left side is wore down more than the right and the whole tire is at the wear markers.  The grip has degraded quite a bit--even before the nail--so the best spot for this bike is right where it is, sitting comfortably in the garage waiting on a bath and new rubber.  I have cleaned the Fairing and front fender.  A few more trips outside with the Dawg and he'll be all clean and shiney.

I know the rear tire doesn't directly effect the carbs but it does directly effect feeling the results of an afternoon's hard work.  You tell me if you could make performance enhancements and delay the test ride.  I fooled myself all the way to Wednesday that I could; then Thursday morning dawned and so did my senses.  There is no way I could NOT see how the Jetting affects the feel of Baby.  I sent a pm to va_rider and we postponed it for another day no later than the September FZ1-Forum meet.

In the mean time, I will use my new to me carb synchronizer to sync my carbs then install new Autolite Spark Plugs.  Baby crossed over 25K while I was at the rally on the Skyway.  That is 17K with me as his owner.  Spark plugs are due every 8K according to the Clymer.  According to the folk on the forums, they rarely need changing that often but you should at least check them.  See above re: checking.

There are a couple of things I need to learn.  Other than carb syncing, Chain adjustment.  So far I don't think it's been needed.  When I took it to the tire shop for new rear rubber the last time, the mechanic said the chain and sprockets looked good for at least 10k more miles.  I've learned my religious chain care will result in longer mileage out of the chain and sprockets.  Good for me but I need to know how tight or loose the chain should be, how to check it for slack, and how to get rid of or add it if needed.

I kind of watched a guy do it at the lookout on the Dragon, but I had questions I didn't ask.  I'll save them for my MotoHusband.  He's done a good job so far and I'm inclined for him to keep doing it as long as he wants.

Yes, you read that right.  I got pronounced MotoMarried at the FZ1 Rally.  Cruzman is the lucky guy.  I'm not sure how his real wife, CruzWoman--or is it MrsCruzman--likes it.  She's more important than me so if she doesn't like it, I'll never mention it again!

I'd also like to be able to lube the cables.  I have the stuff I want to know how to use it.  When I visit Cruzman, I'll have a lot of stuff in my tail case.  The carb syncer, the cable luber, spark plugs, and Clymer manual.

Then I need to lift the tank and change the spark plugs and check the air filter while I'm in there.  I don't think I need supervision for that one.  It might happen this weekend since I can't ride.

Now, if I had a real husband, I wouldn't need to learn all that stuff.  I could just have a nice dinner and warm bath ready when he returned from the garage all grimey and sexy looking from working on our bikes.  Does anyone know a single guy looking for a MotoWife to be his real wife?  I can cook, but I don't clean.


  1. #1 There is absolutly nothing you can't do.
    #2 Your stuck with the title moto wife (yes I will miss our anniversary too)
    #3 I'll be back in a week and then the following weekend you and the eFn's have been invited to the house. (show up early and we will get baby all sorted out.
    #4 Lube the cables? (I am not even sure that is necessary) :)

  2. #1. I know that, but sometimes I need a little help.
    #2. If your wife says cease, I won't ever mention it again.
    #4. I know its not necessary, but somewhere on the forum(s) they said the cables work better or last longer or something. I want to be able to do it either way.

  3. I forgot, I found the copper stuff at O'Reilly's.


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