Saturday, January 12, 2013

Every Dark Cloud Has a Silver Lining

My dark cloud was when I dropped my bike while moving it around in my garage a couple months back. The silver lining is, to facilitate repairs to my damaged fairing I had to remove practically the whole shooting match. I’m really used to working on naked bikes, this is the first full faired bike I have owned since my 1992 GSXR750. And before the VFR, this has been the only bike that I have owned to be ensconced in ABS plastic. I know I am somewhat slow, but a picture is beginning to form as to the reason I normally ride naked bikes. Besides the fact, most naked bikes appeal to my sense of aesthetics. And as the word procrastination has a prominent spot on the tag line of this blog, you may have surmised by this point, I have a penchant to put things off. Removing all that bodywork is not what I consider a knee slapping good time. I gather putting it all back together is going to be just as fun.
That leads us to the silver lining part of this post’s title, with all the body work removed, my winter maintenance is going to be some what of a breeze. Today I am changing the coolant, basically because I’m not sure how long it has been in the bike. I’m looking at the thermometer and it is telling me it is fifty nine degrees out. Normally on a day such as this, I would be out riding and a enjoying a rare warm January day here in Michigan. But with my bike being in the state is currently resides in, I’m doing the next best thing, maintenance.
Today I am changing the coolant. I am using Peak Long Life 50/50 prediluted antifreeze and coolant. I know there are those types out there that will only use the product with the bikes manufacturer on the container. That’s fine with me, I am a cheap ass and will use other brands that don’t say Honda on them. The most important thing here being that I choose a name brand type 2 coolant to use in my all aluminum Honda motor. Type 2 coolants are silicate free (as opposed to Type 1 that are silicate-based). Why am I making this choice, aren’t silicates slightly abrasive and keep the innards of our coolant passages sparkling clean. Yes they do, and this may be the case with your brand of motorcycle. But in Honda motors this same cleaning agent is known to lead to water pump failures. I also recommend that you steer clear of that orange Dexcool as well. There are several cases out there where this stuff has turned into a jelly like substance and has also been linked to failed intake manifolds on the cars it is used in. Please check your bikes repair manual and any forums you may belong to so you can be sure of the correct product for you bike.
Seeing that I have already removed all my bikes clothes, all the way down to her bra and panties, changing the coolant is a pretty simple and strait forward affair. For the VFR, if all the body panels are removed, you only need a 10mm nut driver, 5mm nut driver, a pair of plyers and a flat tipped screw driver. If you are removing the body work you will also be needing a 5mm allen wrench to remove the fasteners holding on the body panels. And if you do need to remove them, it only takes about five minutes. I start by emptying the reservoir of all it’s contents, it is held in place by a couple protrusions on the bottom and a 10mm bolt . Next I replace the reservoir and I remove the radiator cap. We now turn our attention to the radiator hose leading to the water pump. It is held in place by a single hose clamp with a 5mm nut, at least on my VFR, you may find a different fastener on you application.
After draining all that nasty old coolant (mine looked pretty good, but better to be safe than sorry). Reattach the water pump hose and tighten your hose clamp. Be careful not to go over board here, we don’t want any leaks, but we don’t want to damage the hose either. Now it is time to refill our cooling systems boys and girls. I like to use a long narrow funnel and slowly add coolant until it is very near the top of the opening. The engine, radiator and hoses hold 0.61 gallons and the reserve holds 0.08. When your system is topped off, start your bike and let it get to operating temp. This will allow you to top off the system. When warm, the coolant will circulate and draw from the reserve to top itself off and all you have to do is add a smidge to the reserve and there you have it. Our bikes are now ready to face the elements, hot or cold. If your bike is air cooled, please disregard this entire post.


red said...

I'll disregard this post and your future posts about valve service intervals and chain maintenance.

In turn, you can disregard my posts about belts and the black magic that is required with modern motorcycle electronics. =]

Winter maintenance isn't as fun as riding but it's much better than no moto related twiddling. I'm looking forward to your fairing repair.

Gymi Kroeter said...

Ok I'll turn a blind eye to your ongoing battle with your bikes electrical gremlins. The valve clearances on my bike are currently at their maintenance interval, so they need checking. The previous owner told me he had not performed or had the clearances checked. So that is the next item on my agenda. So when you see a post regarding valve maintenance, please put on a blindfold before clicking on it.

red said...

There aren't too many places left for the the gremlins to hide!

Snikrep Nitram said...

I second your take on silver linings and finishes as the best appealing look booster a rider may have always desired for his/her bike. I am one biker who has always felt confident as far as my bike ride on its dual sport tires laced around silver rims. It is a nice look and experience to have such silver linings all over your machine..

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