Monday, March 4, 2013

Clean as a Whistle, Inside and Out!

I's time to change the oil and filter again, so I gather my tools and supplies to get it done. You can't neglect this on any engine, and even though I am no speed demon, sending the RPMs to the redline; this little engine still takes a beating, especially in extremes of weather. 

A few oil changes back, I switched to synthetic oil, for no particular reason, except that it is said to be better.  I use Mobil 1, but I find that I don't have any in my hoard.  A quick on-line search yields the local Advance Auto Parts -- nearby, and the stuff is on sale for $8.99 a quart.  That's a good deal.  I ride over there to pick up a couple of quarts.  After all, I have to get the engine warm to do a proper oil change.  Right? 

I already have a Kawasaki OEM filter I got with some other parts from Ron Ayers when I did the valve clearance adjustment, so I am good to go.

I remove the lower cowling to get to the drain plug, and see that the cowling is pretty crudded up with road soil.  I decide to pull off both lower cowlings to clean them up.  Then, I see that the coolant could use a little topping, so I pull off the frame slider and the right center cowling, too.  Can't get to the filler cap any other way

I get busy draining the oil, and spinning off the filter.  I let it all drain for a few minutes, then put on the new filter, put in the plug with a new sealing washer, and refill the crankcase.  That is pretty easy.  I top off the coolant, too, and look for any leaks.  None obvious.  That's good. 

The bike hasn't had a bath in a while, so I get out the hose, a bucket of mild detergent, and some brushes and sponges. 
(Not me.)
It is tough to get into all the nooks and crannies to get them clean, but I keep at it.  I haul out the leaf blower to dry everything off, and put the bike on the rear stand to clean and lube the chain. I ask my bride to help, as I don't want to dump the bike right here in the driveway while balancing it and lifting it with the stand. 

This chain cleaning is one of the things I really don't like to do.  It is messy, and you can never get it really clean, then it is easy to squirt the lube on the muffler and elsewhere.  I use the Kawasaki-recommended kerosene to clean the chain and sprockets, and I use a piece of corrugated to keep it off the rear tire.  That solvent does not attack the O-rings in the chain like a more aggressive solvent might.  Maybe a shaft-drive bike would be better, but I am not going to trade any time soon, so, I am slave to the chain gang. 

Now, to clean up the lower bodywork.  I again set to work with some more detergent and a sponge.  It takes some elbow grease to get them back to looking good.

Hmm.  Those center cowlings on both sides have a few scratches on them.  I have another set.  Why not?  I pull off the other frame slider, and the left cowling, then dig out the spare parts and put them on.  You have to take off the windscreen and the instrument surround, and find all the fasteners they so carefully hide, so it takes an hour or so to get them all positioned and properly screwed into place. 

Well, while I am at it, that seat cover is smudged up.  I have another seat, too, so I get it out and pop it on. 

Now we're cooking.  The bike looks almost new!  I break out the auto body polish and set to work putting the final sheen on the plastic.

Clean as a whistle, I'd say.  Inside and out, as a matter of fact. Take a look:

A little vinyl conditioner on the Hippo Hands

All right, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-ups.

A thing of mechanical beauty, yes?

That was three weeks ago,
and I have not ridden it since.  It is not that I have not wanted to.  It has been the weather.  Rain, rain, rain.  And time.  None, none, none. 

Now, all I need is for the rain to stop and an afternoon off so I can ride this purdy machine! 

Correction: I got out to ride for a couple of hours yesterday!  I usually don't go riding on Sunday, but I asked my loving wife if I could since I was having withdrawal symptoms for all the rain and lack of time.  The bike seemed to run better now that it is clean, and I had a nice run up US-178 to Table Rock Road, up into the park, then back down SC-135 to home. 

[Bucky, that "running better" stuff is all in your head.]  

I know. But it was nice getting back to it on an almost new looking, clean bike. 



Adam Owens said...

Not to start an oil debate, but I was using Mobil 1 and a friend who is a car nut was telling me about the royal purple stuff.

Its expensive, but I had a coupon for Advanced Auto so I gave it a shot. I was pleasantly surprised that my bike was shifting smoother than it ever has! I haven't put enough miles to see how long it lasts, but so far its pretty sweet!

I usually notice that my oil needs to be changed when my transmission starts getting a little sticky when I shift. So far Castrol Syntec and Mobil 1 have been about the same for me.

By the way, good job on your blog.

Anonymous said...

ric, love the hippo hands theylook coolon the ninja. Oil, ive been using Lucas synthetic in the triumph(s). they seem to like it. change once a year about.. 5-7K miles. K&N filter cleaned twice a year. the sportster has bee getting Shell rotello T ..full syn. 15w40. works great year round out hear. Harley recommends Diesel oil if you can't use "their" brand. K&N on the air filter too. 20K on the triumph ,17K on the sporty neither using no oil (very ,very LIttle). Mark tucson