Sunday, April 5, 2009

Have a Spring Fling

Have a spring fling, spring time maintenance that is. Get your spring time maintenance done in time for summer riding. My Mistress was rapidly coming up on her 30,000 mile birthday. I purchased her used and was not sure when the oil had last been changed. I did know she had V-Twin Mobile One 20W-50 pulsing through her veins. I also new her front and rear brakes were about gone. Lastly, I wanted to change the final gear oil.

Spring time temperatures in Texas are like a runaway roller coaster. I have probably zipped out the quilted liner of my FMC leather jacket over a half dozen times, only to have to zip it back in a few days later. This last Saturday, yesterday as I’m writing this, I had to work a half day and it was going to be warm in the afternoon so I zipped it out once again. Now they are talking about a possible freeze next week. Any way, my plan was to ride over to Bikers Bay after work and pick up the supplies I needed for the motorcycle maintenance that needed to be done. Some was overdue to be done like the brakes and some was just coming due by mileage.

Friday night I had surfed over to the V-Star 1100 Riders Knowledge Base and printed out a list of supplies. They have a nice list of compatible oil filters and I have a Jardine ORK, (Oil Relocation Kit). I also printed out the specs on the rear differential fluid. I had already called Bikers Bay a couple of weeks previously to make sure they had the brake pads in stock and they did had the EBC brand for my bike in stock.

I left work around 1:00 pm and headed to Bikers Bay. I did not wear my Street & Steel chaps that morning because it was supposed to warm up and I had no room in my saddlebags to store them because I had some old uniform pants and shirts to take back to the store I worked at previously, I had recently been promoted and transferred. It was borderline too hot out for a leather jacket but tolerable once you got moving down the road.

Bikers Bay had three bikes parked out front in their bike only parking section and I slipped into a spot next to a vintage looking sportster type bike, stashed my helmet and put on a black, blue, and silver colored Chevrolet Corvette ZR1 baseball cap to cover up my helmet hair and went inside. I grabbed four quarts of AMSOIL 20W-50, one quart of AMSOIL Severe Gear 75w-110 gear lubricant and went to the checkout counter. I’ll not get involved in the great oil debate here.

At the checkout counter I asked for an oil filter and front and rear brake pads. The salesperson asked if my V-Star was dual front brakes to which I replied yes. He brought everything over and I did not recognize the oil filter brand and it did not appear to be the correct size. I informed him I had a Jardine ORK and got my oil filter chart out. I asked what brands they stocked and one was HIFLOFILTRO. The HIFLO HF303 was on my list, so I chose it and proceeded to the painful part of checking out. I had to extend the buckles on my Custom Classics Saddlebags to the longer length to get everything inside. That completed I headed to the store I used to work at to drop off some old uniforms. It’s not a long ride, maybe five miles or so. Taking off from the last stop sign before I get to my destination I start hearing a tapping type sound from my bike. I let go of the throttle and listened intently worried that it might be an engine noise. The sound continues and slows down with the bike so I revved the V-Twin 1100 a couple of times just to make sure it’s not the motor. I sped up a bit and it seemed to increase with the speed of the bike and it was coming from the front. I then started to think that I had procrastinated to long on these brake pads.

I made it to the store and unloaded my cargo from my passenger side saddle bag and stowed my leather jacket in its place. Then I visually inspected both front rotors and both sets of pads. They looked extremely low. I let it cool off while I went and visited my old coworkers. After a short visit I timidly took off and headed on the short ride home. I rode her home like an old lady, slow and cautiously, well as slow as you can go on the freeway. Fortunately, I live just a few exits down. I made it home fine with no troubles, parked the bike in the garage to cool off and went inside to nap.

Attempted nap over, hard to do sitting up on the living room couch with a grandson toddler over, I headed to the garage. I backed the V-Star into the driveway leaving the front forks unlocked. I located the correct Allen Wrench and removed the two bolts holding the right front brake caliper in place. I removed the old pads noting that there was hardly any brake pad left. I could not have waited any longer.

Next I removed the front brake master cylinder cover and used a straw to slowly remove brake fluid to lower the level of the fluid. This would make room for the fluid that would come back up into the reservoir as I pushed the caliper pistons back inside the calipers. Note that I did not suck on the straw, I just put the straw into the fluid and used my thumb to cover the top of the straw and then removed my thumb when I put the straw into the empty beer can I was using to catch the old brake fluid. I just invented a new reason to drink beer.

Next, I put one of the old brake pads back on the caliper on top of the dual pistons and used a C-Clamp to evenly push the pistons back into the caliper, carefully using a piece of cardboard to protect the front side of the caliper. I installed the new pads into the caliper and installed the caliper back in place. The caliper bolts still had a nice thick layer of clean grease on them so they did not need any more lubrication. I repeated this procedure for the left side and noticed a shiny spot at the top of the inner pad where the metal backing plate had just started to rub against the rotor and was probably what was causing the rotational clicking type sound I had heard on my ride earlier. Lastly, I topped off the brake fluid reservoir and reinstalled the cover. After a couple pulls on the front brake lever I could feel the front pads seat and the lever now grabbed a lot further out.

Fronts completed, I went to the back and removed the two bolts holding the rear caliper in place. I had to work the rear caliper a bit to get it off the rotor and out a little where I could work on it. Removing the pads is a little bit trickier on the rear caliper because there are pins that hold the pads in place inside the caliper. First I spread the piston in by forcing a large screwdriver between the pads and applied slight prying pressure. The next step was to remove the rear plastic caliper cover by pressing down on one side and pulling up while I rocked it back and forth until it slid off.

Once the plastic cover is off the top or back of the caliper you now have access to remove the cotter pins or clip as the Repair Pro Manual calls them. These clips hold the brake pad pins, pads, and pad spring in place. Once the clips are off the pins slide out and the pads and spring come right off. The rear brake pads were worn down as bad as the fronts. I pushed both the pistons back into the caliper and reinstalled everything in reverse order. The rear brake fluid reservoir was about half down so I did not have to remove any fluid. After the new brake pads were installed it took a little finagling to get the caliper back on because of the brake pads clearance to the rotor, but it finally went. After everything was completed I reached over and depressed the rear brake pedal a couple of times and like the front felt the pads seat and the pedal grab higher up now. Now it was time to change the final gear oil. I located a 17mm socket and a drain pan. I could not get the ratchet with socket to fit in behind the Kuryakyn Chrome Phantom Rear End Cover to get to the fill bolt out and I could not locate a 17mm wrench so I had to remove the cover first. With the cover removed I then removed the fill bolt and then the drain bolt from the bottom of the final drive gear housing. I cleaned the drain bolt thoroughly and let the old gear lube drain all the way before reinstalling. Then I filled the final gear housing using a small funnel with the AMSOIL Severe Gear 75w-110 I had purchased at Bikers Bay. When full I reinstalled the fill bolt and the Kuryakyn cover.

I wanted to change the engine oil next. I removed the 17mm engine oil drain plug after re positioning my drain pan and standing the bike more upright using a brick under the kickstand. While that drained, I hand twisted the chrome Jardine Oil Relocation Kits chrome oil filter cover with oil filter inside off the remotely mounted position on the front of the bikes from down tubes. I located a small Allen Wrench that fit the three Allen head set screws that secure the oil filter inside and loosened them to remove the old engine oil filter. To my amazement, it was the exact same filter, HIFLO HF303 that I had purchased to replace it with. I cleaned out the chrome filter cover and installed the new filter inside carefully tightening the three Allen set screws evenly. Then I reinstalled the chrome housing and filter on the remote mounting fixture. I reinstalled the drain plug and filled the crankcase with three quarts of the AMSOIL 20W-50.

While I was there, I tightened the ORKs fittings because they had appeared to have been leaking slightly. I found it interesting that I was working on a metric bike and the Jardine ORK used American sized fittings which required another trip back to the tool box. After that I started the engine and let it warm up. Then I checked the oil level sight glass and then topped the engine oil level off with about another half of a quart. As soon as that was done, I got summoned in for diner.

Dinner over, I went out to put away all the tools and then take my Mistress out for a road test. She was purring like a kitten and stopped easily and with less effort on the brake lever and pedal. There was no more strange sound when moving. I think someone with medium mechanical ability can perform all these services by himself and save money on paying someone else to do it for you. Do not procrastinate when it comes to repairs or maintenance, there is too much at stake. Next weekend I hope to pamper her with a good bubble bath.

Ride on,
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