Thursday, January 18, 2018

I Actually Picked a Good Week to Do It!

Yes!  I did pick a good week.

[To do what, Bucky?] 

To work on my 2006 Ninja 650R.

I had a bunch of things to do that I had been putting off because I didn't want the bike to be down and I had other things going on.  Here's the list:
  • Check and adjust valve clearance.
  • Clean and adjust chain.
  • Change spark plugs.  
  • Clean air filter and air box.
  • Change oil and filter.
  • Drain, flush and refill coolant.
  • Check brake pads.
  • Lubricate clutch and throttle cables. 
  • General cleaning and lubrication. 
The valve clearance checking takes the most time because you have to remove the windshield, meter housing, most of the cowlings, the fuel tank, and the air box to get at the top of the engine.  Then you have to get the camshaft cover off and get it out of the way. 

Further, I don't have a valve shim kit, so I have to do the measuring and calculating to determine which shims need to be changed, then send away for any shims I don't already have from the previous adjustment.

That sending away takes several days, so the bike is down for at least that period.

[OK, Bucky, why was this a good week to do all this?]  

This is why:

Recall that when we get snow in South Carolina, everything comes to a complete halt.

And this is another reason why:

Yes, it was under nineteen degrees overnight.  

So, it turned out to be a good time to work on the bike.  I dressed warmly and started to work in my garage. 

The valve clearance adjustment was last done back in January of 2012 at 30,837 miles.  The bike has almost 62,000 now.  Back then, I put together some tips on how to do the job a little easier.  The only thing I did differently this time is to bring the cam cover out the left side of the frame instead of out the top.  It was much easier that way. 

This time, three of the exhaust valves were near the tight side, though still within spec.  They almost always get tighter with use, you know.  All of the others were almost exactly where I set them previously.  That's pretty good for better than 31,000 miles of operation, though remember that I am an old guy, and never redline or go to full throttle, so the engine isn't stressed as much as it could be.  I exchanged one of the shims with another valve and replaced the other two shims to bring the three back to the center of spec. 

The spark plugs were replaced at the same time as the last valve clearance work.  They looked a little worn, but they were a nice gray-brown color as they should be.  One of them had a thin thread of something between the center and the ground electrodes.  I have never seen this before, but the cylinder did not seem to be misfiring.  I bought the replacements on Amazon. 

The rear brake pads were a little thin, so I put on another set of EBC HH sintered pads.  Last time was in May of 2013 at 37,192 miles, so these have lasted about 25,000 miles.  They have a nice, predictable grip and were an improvement over the originals. 

The clutch and throttle cables needed to be lubed, so I got out my aerosol can and my cable luber.

BikeMaster Cable Luber
I use Yamaha Performance Cable Lubricant.  It made a world of difference, especially on the clutch cable.  

As I got further into the job, I found some other things that needed attention.  For example, the throttle cable was frayed at the throttle-body end, so I replaced the cable with a nearly new one I had bought almost a decade ago to carry as a spare. 

By the way, prices on parts have really gone up.  The valve cover and spark plug gaskets are $35 all together, and the shims are $10.99 each.  With shipping, it was almost $70.  It was about $40 last time. 

The lowest price I could find for NGK CR9EIA-9 Iridium Spark Plugs is almost $10 each.  They were $7.50 last time. 

I changed the oil and filter, cleaned, lubed, and adjusted the chain, cleaned up the air box and cleaned and reoiled the air filter, drained the refilled the coolant, and a few other odds and ends. 

In case you wonder, I do try to use mostly OEM parts on the bike, and I replace seals when the manual recommends doing so.  I suppose I could get by without going by the book, but I don't want to have to tear things apart a second time for the cost of a new seal or two.  I figure that Kawasaki engineered the bike to be reliable. Gaskets, seals, spark plugs, shims, and oil filter are all OEM.  Oil is Mobil 1, racing 4T 10W-40.  Brake pads are EBC HH.  The chain cleaner is kerosene, and I use Maxima Chain Wax lube from Cycle Gear.  It is clear and doesn't fling off a much as some others. 

Anyway, I think I picked the best week of the winter to do the work.  I have a few cosmetic things to put back together, and by then the weather should be cleared up.

Ah, the beauty of living in the Carolinas.  You can ride [almost] any time of year. 

See you on the roads soon!

No comments: