I have been doing a lot of work on the bike preparing for the VBA Rally in Lake George, NY. I finally finished and the weather cooperated today, so I took a test ride.
Besides just needing scheduled maintenance, I was having 1) too much instability in the front end (not an uncommon complaint) 2) some squealing from the front brakes 3) a sort of ratcheting sound from the rear end at slow speeds.
The fork oil needed to be replaced, so I decided to go with a higher weight oil and while I had the forks off, replace the steering stem and wheel bearings (All Balls) and add Garry's fork brace (google "Garry's fork brace", or search this forum or the VBA forum for the same). What a DIFFERENCE! I can't say how much was the oil and how much was the brace, but in my limited experience, changing the fork oil would not take out the wallowing (for lack of a better word) in the front end that I'm pretty sure is caused by flexing of the forks. The brace really stabilized the bike going thru curves or when doing an aggressive swerve in a way that I do not believe a fork oil change alone would. I'll try to remember to take and post a pic of the brace tomorrow. The heavier fork oil stiffened up the mushy front end. Much smoother ride and the front tire rides much better over rough pavement in curves. I went with Motul Maxima 15w oil. Not too stiff and not mushy at all now.
There was a very tiny bit of play in the front wheel, which is gone with the new bearings. The OEM stem bearings were in good shape, good being a relative term for such cheap bearings, so changing the steering stem bearings was mainly for peace of mind. I made the tool below from a 36mm axle socket to torque the steering stem nut. $20 at O'Reily's, and Dremeled with cutting and grinding disks. Since it was an axle socket, it was deep enough that I didn't have to take any material out of the neck to accommodate the stem.
While I had the front end apart, I checked the front brakes. I also did the runout on the rim, the runout and thickness on the disks, and deglazed the disks. When I examined the calipers, I found that I had a very sluggish piston in each caliper, which explains the squeal, so I rebuilt both calipers. I changed the pads (sintered), too. Now the squeal is gone. I also rebuilt the rear caliper. The pistons were a little sluggish there, too. Now, no more clicking.
I changed the front and rear brake fluid and the clutch fluid. Before changing the clutch fluid, I took the slave cylinder off and cleaned it out and cleaned the piston. It is amazing how dirty it was. I had seen a post either here or on the VBA forum about how nasty they get and start sticking. Thanks to whoever posted that. I would never have thought of cleaning it before the seal change was due. I cleaned and lubed the rod, too, as well as cleaning out a lot of junk that was in the cavity and seems to be what gunks the slave unit up. Anyway, the clutch fluid was filthy. Quite a bit of particulate residue in the reservoir. I flushed the line with a good bit of brake fluid from a previously opened bottle, then with new before doing the final bleed.
All this and only one bolt left over! It's obviously a bolt off the fairing, but I can't figure out which one I left off. Doesn't seem to be causing any problems or rattles, so I'll hang on to it until the next time I take the fairing off.
I'm going to flush the system and change the coolant and do an oil change before I leave for NY. This project has taken too much time with all the parts I had to order after I started and all of the other distractions (like a broken tooth
and having to replace the entire water delivery line to the house, $$
). I need some saddle time! I'll take the back end apart and do checks and bearing changes after I get back.