06 November 2013

FZ1 Maintenance: Homemade AIS Removal

I originally did this back in August then my desktop with all my notes about it crashed so I've spent the last couple of months playing Real Racing 3 and fixing my computer--more one than the other.  Back in August, I had a 5 phase maintenance plan:  AIS, Clean Engine/Inspect Hoses, Check Valves, Change Spark Plugs, and Flush/Fill Radiator.  There was one more thing left:  Check Swingarm Bearings but since it was at the other end of the bike, I left it out of the plan.

After studying up on what I wanted to do for the previous month or so, I finally decided to just do it and got the trailer out of the garage so I would have the space to work on Baby.  I had a list of stuff to do that I'd made back in late winter/early spring knowing that I was over 40k miles and getting close to time for the second scheduled valve check when I hadn't even done the first.  While checking the valves, permanent removal of the AIS system makes sense so I put that on the list too.

Initially, I didn't plan on removing the AIS even though I knew it was there simply to meet federal emission standards and to make accessing the spark plugs a pain in the ass.  I got some new iridium spark plugs, considered the various AIS Removal Kits on the market before deciding to go completely DIY, and various other supplies (like antifreeze and gasket maker).  I no longer had an excuse to put it off any longer.  Risking the wraith of my HOA, I pushed the big "red wagon" into the driveway and rode Baby into it's place in the garage.

Phase 1:  AIS Removal.  There are a couple of really good AIS Removal Kits on the market for the Gen 1 FZ1 (Dale's and Ivan's are the best) but I didn't want to pay for one*.  I scoured the 'net for homemade solutions and picked the one that best suited my skills, tools, and wallet.  First step is to drain the coolant and remove the radiator so you have good access to the front of the engine.  The pictorial details can be found on Pat's Site so I won't bother to go into it.

I got started the night I put Baby in the garage.
That went smoothly enough, so I decided to get started on taking off the AIS (again instructions on Pat's Site at the link posted above).  I had the whole thing removed in about an hour.

Front of engine without the AIS.
The Homegrown Solution:  My removal remedy was to use the old parts to make the caps needed to plug the ports.  I cut off the tubes at what I guessed to be a reasonable length then used my vice to press them flat.

I used the riding lawn mower for a work bench.

I got them as flat as I possibly could before filling them with Copper Gasket Maker to insure there'd be no exhaust leaks once they were fitted.  It got a little messy.  Next, a little more gasket maker on the exhaust spigots at the front of the engine and securing my "new" caps.

Had to use the gasket maker because I somehow lost the foil spacers that were in there upon removal.
The final part of the AIS Removal is to cap the openings.  I bought rubber caps for this but didn't get ones big enough to fit the airbox, so I had to improvise.

Gasket Maker and a plastic cap from a spray bottle serve as the cap for the airbox.
Somehow I didn't get a pic of the cap on the #4 carb boot, but it looks like the pic on Pat's Site of one that comes in Ivan's kit.  With that, the end of phase 1 was complete before I even realized I'd gotten started so I moved on to phase 2.  After the mess I'd made, phase 2 was even more important than before I started!  If AIS Removal is all you're going to do, then put the radiator back on and go for a ride.  If not, see my next post about the spark plug change and valve check.

Instead of spending $35-$60 for a commercial removal kit, I spent about $6 for gasket maker and rubber caps (bought 8 but only used one) to make my own kit.  If you can find the caps individually, you could probably do it cheaper.

Parts list:

  • Copper Gasket Maker (CGM)
  • A Small Rubber cap for the #4 Carb (Sorry, I don't remember the size and am too lazy to look it up.)
  • A Large Rubber cap for the Airbox or cut the removed hose and plug it. (Obviously, I never knew the size.)
  • Cut AIS plumbing tubes filled with the CGM and flattened
  • Reuse any clamps from the removed system if needed

It still takes the same amount of time to install as the commercial kits but no tapping the engine spigots or expensive machined caps.  Either way, they all work.  On a nearly 10 year old bike I felt home made was the way to go.  If I'd done this right after I got the bike, I'd use Dale's kit because it's the prettiest.

Thanks for reading,
patrice, theWolfTamer

Easier access to the spark plugs plus you can't see how ugly my homemade caps are from the side!

*The TPO Kit on eBay requires you to remove the spigots from the front of the engine just to install the caps.  Too much work for too little reward, IMO.

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