17 April 2011

FZ1 Maintenance: General Thoughts

I was supposed to ride on Thursday but due to circumstances, I didn't.  Instead I've spent the last few days in the garage doing maintenance.  Since I replaced the battery on my laptop and I can use it for more than 3 minutes off of the power cord, I had it in the garage while I worked so I could consult Pat's FZ1 Page.  That page is the Bible for the Gen 1 (2001-2005) FZ1.  It's better than my Clymer and easier to understand than the Service Manual I downloaded a few weeks ago from partshark.com.

I just finished servicing my EXUP Valve and adjusting the throttle position sensor.  I was contemplating doing the carb sync and began to ponder about when we do maintenance.  Or more accurately when I do it.  On the FZ1-Forum, there are a few threads about winter maintenance projects; one involving a complete tear down of the bike!  I'm not thinking about going that far but over the past few days I've done some things.

Thursday after TopWop1 called and said his son was sick and he couldn't make it, I went down to the garage intending on riding anyway when I noticed some funny wear on the back tire.  I've had new tires since February so instead of riding, I pulled the tires and took them to the shop to be mounted.  $46 later, I pondered the logic of paying to have tires mounted but that's another post.

One of the first things I did to prepare to remove the tires was go to Home Depot and get a Big Ass Nut to serve as my front axle tool.  I also got a corresponding bolt for continuity.  At some point, I'll jbweld them together.  But for Thursday, I used it like this

The first thing was to take off the rear tire.  The last time it was a nightmare because I couldn't get the bolt off so I ended up going to Cruzman's where we (he) mounted my rear tire.  This time, I did it myself.  Removed the bolt with a monkey wrench (next planned purchase is a Big Ass Box Wrench that'll fit over that nut!) and everything went smoothly.
With no lift or jack, remove the rear tire first!
Next, I carefully positioned a floor jack under the header and jack stands under the sliders before putting my new tool to good use and removing the front axle.  A little difficulty here because I was rushing to get it done before the shop closed and I forgot to loosen the pinch bolt.  Once that was done, the front tire slid out easily!

Note ingenious use of rope to hold the calipers out of the way!
Shiny AM Undertray
The tires got to the shop minutes before close, enough time for them to be mounted that day but the mechanic was tired because he'd been working all day long.  Imagine!  So they were left to be picked up the next morning.  In the meantime, taking inspiration from the FZ1-Forum threads, I cleaned up my swingarm and undertray for the first time since I bought the bike.  I also forgot to take pictures.

Trust me, it looks great.  I can't imagine spending a hundred dollars or more on one of those shiny undertrays and then riding the bike on the street!  I'd have to spend just as much time cleaning as riding.  No thanks, I'll stick to the stocker, but I digress.

While Baby was in a state of undress, I decided I'd do the EXUP Valve Maintenance, TPS Adjustment, and Carb Sync.  I did all of these things with Cruzman last year and was looking forward to doing them alone to see if I'd learned how to do them right.  After cleaning the swingarm and undertray, I ran out of energy and left those things for Friday.

Friday morning I got my tires back and took a long nap to store up energy for all the tasks I wanted to complete so I could hopefully ride on Saturday.  While the tires were off, I switched out the rashed rear caliper for the used on I got off of eBay last month.
My new to me rear caliper.  No rashes!
That switch went easy and I learned how to change the pads which will come in handy someday.  Then I put the new tires on and prepared to bleed the rear brakes.  But I was tired.  No meds and theWolf does whatever the hell it wants despite what I think I should do.  It was time to cook dinner and take another long rest before I could finish doing what I wanted to do.  Good thing because the skies were beginning to look like God was mad at somebody and I didn't want to be in the garage.

Here comes the rains!
Saturday, with fresh rubber, I bled the rear brakes.  The still need more bleeding because they don't have the bite they did before I switch calipers.  I can't decide if that's good or bad.  I did a short ride to try out the new BT-023s and liked that the brakes had more feel to them just need to be a little faster to engage.  More bleeding to follow, but first EXUP and TPS stuff.

After dinner, I did the EXUP.  It was about as easy as I remembered.  I'm glad I did it because I was thinking of waiting a little while longer.  When I removed the cover, I found one of the bolts resting against the cables.  I can't say that I noticed anything that prompted me to do it, only a desire to make sure everything was all right in prep for next month's trip.

This afternoon, after a good morning's sleep (theWolf doesn't like sleeping at night!), I was back at it.  I wanted to double check my EXUP work because I couldn't remember if I'd put the valve in the right way.  I did and shouldn't have wasted the energy re-doing what I'd already done.  Next, TPS adjustment.  Again, I don't think I needed it but since I knew how to do it and had access to Pat's page to be sure I remembered right, why not?

As I type this, all that's done.  There are still tools all over the garage as I contemplate the Carb Sync.  I bought some long bent needle nosed pliers just for this and am looking forward to trying them out.  But as I reflected on the past days work, I began to wonder why.  Why was I doing what I was doing now.  Was it the trip?  Honestly no, I didn't even think about that until I mentioned it here.

Changing the tires is not apart of this general maintenance thing.  That happens when it happens but there are things that you can do while the tires are off that is maintenance, like cleaning the swingarm and I think there's some bushings or something back there that should be lubed.  Nope, I didn't do that either.  Next time.  Taking the tires off is also a good time to look at the brake pads.  I gave a set of pads to Cruzman because the last time I checked my pads they looked good for a while.  This time I discovered I'll need new pads before I leave on the trip.  One of the fronts is really worn but the back look pretty good.

Putting the front tire back on, I confirmed what I'd been suspecting since the accident.  The handle bar is bent.   No amount of loosening the risers is going to get that 1/2" back.  I probably should have added a handlebar to my parts order but since I didn't, getting a new one online doesn't make sense.  With shipping, it'll be about the same as going to the dealer so add $45 to the accident parts tally -- and another $50 for the levers that I replaced because I didn't want to look at the scraped black ones and learned they were tweaked enough so that they weren't as good as they should be.

It was mere wishful thinking on my part because of not wanting to be bothered with taking the throttle off again.  I was going to put the OEM bars back on, but I'll wait for the replacement.  I've been riding with them like that for 3 or 4 months, another one won't be too bad.

Back to the reason I started writing this.  Starting with the tires, and the associated checks, I discovered some things that needed to be addressed.  When I finally got to the EXUP, it needed to be addressed too.  The TPS?  I haven't ridden it yet but I suppose doing it didn't hurt anything.

While I was doing this stuff, my brother would check on me and ask why I was doing it.  Not having the money to take it to the dealer to do is part of it.  Enjoying it is another part.  But the big why is unanswered.  If I had a job, I don't know that I'd still do this stuff.  I'd take it to the dealer when I had time and money or noticed something was amiss.  As it was, I did this now because it is part of my on going maintenance from this winter.

Maybe I saved myself more costly damage.  The loose EXUP nut might have been catastrophic or not.  Not noticing the brake pads could have been truly dangerous.  My chain looks great, but the guys keep telling me to change it before the trip.  I'm inclined to get the chain and sprockets and take them with me so that I have them when needed.  That's likely what I'll do.  Why?  Because I'm confident I can change them whenever it's needed.

I'll do the carb sync one day this week for sure.  Definitely not today as I'd planned--I'm drained but theWolf is full of energy.  The bike is very smooth so I don't think the carbs need syncing.  Baby is not like Sam.  Sam's v-twin engine gave definite signals it was time to sync it, most notably in my feet where I could feel more vibrations.  I'm looking forward to getting him back, hopefully next week, and am re-thinking selling him.  I can ride Sam with Dad and not buy a cruiser like I considered for a few minutes after riding one at the Kawasaki Demo.

Thinking about Sam and the maintenance I used to do with him and the difference between that and Baby.  There is much better online documentation for Baby.  The VX crowd is very knowledgeable and supportive but not so much on you should do this when.  Of course, Sam is simpler than Baby.  Carb sync, oil change, checking the air filters pretty much describes the big stuff for him.  No chain, no EXUP, no TPS.  Sam gives definite signs when stuff needs to be done if you are paying attention.  Baby gives signs too but some of them I don't understand.

I've been thinking Baby is running better now than at any time I've owned him yet the EXUP had a loose screw, the handlebars are tweaked, the brakes are worn.  I'll look at the service manual and the Clymer book to make sure I've got all the necessary stuff done before I leave next month.  I think I've done most of it so it'll just be ride more worry less.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

Chameleon blue levers work better than the tweaked black ones.

1 comment:

  1. Ok so I have a job and I do stuff like this. The whys are 1 because I can, 2 because I enjoy it, 3 because I don't necessaraly trust dealers.
    As for the sprockets and chain, Well at 30k miles baby is due, and trust me when I say "You don't want to put this off till you have to, because a chain failure on the road can be bad (really, really bad)


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