Journey of a new RC36 owner

Discussion in '3rd & 4th Generation 1990-1997' started by Yawk-oh, Jul 4, 2019.

  1. Yawk-oh

    Yawk-oh New Member

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    Today marks the day I really got to experience my VFR for the first time. And I like it!

    Backstory: I was browsing for bikes a few weeks ago and did a search for VFR's, as I've always liked them after following billmaa's (RIP) Youtube channel many years ago. So, this nice looking 1992 VFR with a full set of panniers shows up for a good price. It was a three-hour drive away, but the ad said that the bike was in nice condition and never been dropped, so it seemed worth it to go check it out.

    I arrived to find a VFR that was in showroom condition. Totally unmolested. I was stunned, as I actually couldn't find any dings or scratches, and externally everything seemed perfect. It was hard to believe that this was a 27-year old bike. The seat had been reupholstered at some point and was in excellent shape. Mechanically it looked and sounded very good, too. It started up instantly and made all the right sounds but none of the wrong ones. Tires had lots of tread on them, but the Battlax on the front was from 09 and the Pilot Road 2 on the rear was from 07, so the bike had been likely tucked away in a garage for most of the past ten years.

    Test drive was a bit of a mixed bag. While the bike idled nicely, it sputtered and jerked at low revs, but then it cleaned out and pulled nicely to the redline at full throttle. I couldn't find anything else wrong with it, so I made an offer and ended up getting the bike.

    vfrDSC_0613crop_sm.jpg vfrDSC_0614_sm.jpg vfrDSC_0615_sm.jpg

    I changed the clutch fluid and started looking into the sputtering problem. The air filter was basically unused, so I turned my attention to the carbs. I put mixed some injector/carb cleaner in the fuel, but that didn't seem to make a difference. So today I decided to reset the pilot screws on the carbs before I pull them out for cleaning. The pilot screws seemed to be out a bit further than the 1-7/8 turns called for in the manual, and I suspected that the jerkiness was caused by too rich of a mixture, as it really didn't need choke to start, and the jerkiness grew worse as the bike warmed up.

    I went for a quick ride after resetting the pilot screws, and the jerkiness was gone. Bike now pulled cleanly from low revs, and I was ecstatic. Came back and planned to go for a longer stint, but I decided to check the tire pressures first, and they were way down, so I added air and took off for a ride.

    It was perfect. The bike is relaxed and docile in the midrange - just what I like. The handling sharpened up with the correct tire pressures. I still need to sync the carbs and do a proper carb tune, but I can already see that this is going to be a long-time keeper. I hope to get many more miles (or km's) out of her!
     
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  2. scottbott

    scottbott Insider

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    looks like you got a good buy there, nice looking bike, enjoy it!
     
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  3. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

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    great find, but you made a risky mistake by riding a bike b4 you verified that tire pressures were 100% OK.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 5, 2019
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  4. mello dude

    mello dude Member

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    Wow, beautiful 3rd gen!
     
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  5. Yawk-oh

    Yawk-oh New Member

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    Thanks, guys! The plan is to tune the carbs (I have a synch kit and optical tachometer on order) and ride easy for a couple of months to get to know the bike better. I also plan to replace the front brake hoses, and it's probably wise to do the tires too. I just want to make sure that the bike isn't hiding any nasty surprises before I spring for a set.

    I'm thinking about a set of Michelin Road 5's. The rear tire size is only available as the "Trail" version, but I suppose it works just as well.

    It looks like someone has had R/R issues on this bike already, as looks like it's an aftermarket one with a fan on it. The power feed has been tapped from the rear light.

    vfrDSC_0621sm.jpg
     
  6. VFR4Lee

    VFR4Lee Member

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    I think they say tires are good for 6 years.
    So........ :cigar:

    Looks good! :homer:
     
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  7. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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    That is a great find, well done.

    I bought a ST1100 that had been parked up for 10 years but the tyres had too much tread left to discard. I rode the bike, cautiously at first, then with gusto. The tyres were fine. I would certainly check for any obvious signs of cracking or perishing, but i they feel fine, I wouldn't hesitate to use them up. I suspect conditions in Finland don't cause accelerated aging due to heat during storage.
     
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  8. Yawk-oh

    Yawk-oh New Member

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    Thanks for the input, Terry Smith. Indeed, the tyres look and feel nice. There are no cracks or discoloration, and the rubber is pliable still, so I think I'm going to ride and monitor them as I go.
     
  9. Blackslide

    Blackslide New Member

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    If they feel good then have at it. I rode my already worn out Maxxis supermax 2016 rear and decent 2014 front in pouring rain at about 40F / 0C and it handled nicely, just a tad slippery. After about 3100mi/5000km I took the wheels into the shop.. I think the front had some miles on it, but the rear was well used up.

    I was in the middle of Michelin Pilot Road 4 or Pilot Power 3, but cheaped out as a local retailer has Mitas Sport Force on sale, so I took the plunge. Apparently these are superbike tires with grip and endurance so we shall see how these hold up in my use.. or abuse. ;)
    [​IMG]

    Riding on the storm
     
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  10. Yawk-oh

    Yawk-oh New Member

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    Yeah, I'm going to use up the current tires and go from there. I'm still suffering from fueling issues, so I changed the fuel filter and ordered a carb service kit from LiteTek. I'm going to take the carbs apart to clean them and check the float height, so I might as well replace the O-rings while I'm in there.
     
  11. Yawk-oh

    Yawk-oh New Member

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    The LiteTek gasket/seal kit arrived. Meanwhile I removed the carb assembly from the bike and checked the float bowls. They had a fair amount of residue and dried up gunk, so I removed the float bowls and put the assembly face down in some diesel fuel to soak the residue. I will remove the jets and clear the passages as well, but I haven't yet looked into whether I need to separate each carb from the assembly to properly clean them up and change the O rings.

    vfrDSC_0740sm.jpg
    vfrDSC_0746sm.jpg

    I'm also debating whether I should change the carb boots. They are fairly pliable still, but I'm guessing they are original. Not sure about the quality of aftermarket ones.

    Yeah, I need to clean that vee.

    vfrDSC_0745sm.jpg
     
  12. Yawk-oh

    Yawk-oh New Member

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    So I guess an update is in order: I completed the overhaul, bench synced the carbs with the help of some drill bits, and put everything back together.

    The first time I rode the bike after the carb overhaul, I immediately noticed that I was missing the top end of the rev range. The bike would pull very strong from idle up to 4-5 k, but then power would just taper off. It was obvious that the carbs weren't transitioning to the main jets, so I initially thought that I had a vacuum leak somewhere. I checked that the intake boots and sync screws were tight, but there was no change, so I turned my attention to the diaphragms, and indeed they weren't seated properly.

    There was an excellent video on YouTube on how to set/test diaphragms properly, which helped immensely:



    The trick was to push the diaphragm in and pull it against the seat slightly so that the edges expand. The problem is that the diaphragm wants to 'pop' out, letting the slide fall fully into the carb, so I chucked a plastic ruler down the throat of the carb (see image) to prevent the slide from going in and hence keeping the diaphragm edges expanded, and I was then able to place the cover on and screw it tight. I did this on all four carbs, as none of the diaphragms were seated properly. The diaphragms themselves were in very good shape still, so no issues there.

    vfrDSC_0790sm.jpg

    The bike runs like a dream now, so I'm a happy camper!
     
  13. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

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    live and learn: always test diaphragm seating by blowing air into the proper hole in the carb side b4 mounting on bike.
     
  14. Yawk-oh

    Yawk-oh New Member

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    Indeed, live and learn - I will certainly remember that trick in the future. Another good tip was pushing the diaphragm "inside out" to help seat it.
     
  15. squirrelman

    squirrelman Member

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    i've seen cases where the rubber was distorted and needed some silicone seal to stick it into the groove.
     
  16. Yawk-oh

    Yawk-oh New Member

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    I thought I'd update the thread with some news. I've ridden the VFR a fair bit now, and I am getting acquainted to how she handles and rides in various conditions. I've also done some adjustments to various things to see if and how it changes things.

    It's an old bike, so the suspension is most likely slightly tired, but I noticed that there was some cupping in the rear tyre, and the damping setting on the rear shock was adjusted all the way up, so I turned it back to lessen the damping and maybe get rid of any cupping tendencies. I guess some previous owner had misunderstood the effect of the damping screw and just wanted to "tighten it up", which effectively has the opposite result, and makes the rear wheel lethargic to follow the road surface. I also adjusted the preload on the front and rear suspension (rear was closer to "low" while the front preload was tightened all the way to high).

    Knowing that these bikes can suffer from rectifier issues, I installed a USB socket with a voltage display on the bike (pictured in the attached image). I used a fuse holder that taps into an existing fused circuit, and using the headlight circuit the display now turns on when the ignition is turned on. It's actually very useful to have, and I've already noticed that while the voltage is a nice 14.4V when idling cold, it starts to drop when the bike warms up, and can actually drop below 13V when warm and with lights on, so I'm going to do something about that at some point.

    While I was installing the socket I had to move the speedo cable a bit to get around it, and obviously I was greeted with a non-functional speedometer when I was done with the install. Bugger. I troubleshooted the issue for a bit and googled the cable and drive parts (I looked at some images, and the cable itself appears to be similar to what's in those Dremel extension thingies). I figured that the cable end had most likely backed out of its slot in the gauge, as this can happen with the Dremel thingy too, so I removed the speedo drive from the socket cover, turned the cable by hand gently while pulling and pushing the cable, until I noticed the speedo needle jumping a bit, so I assumed that the cable was now back in its happy slot in the speedo. I replaced the speedo drive making sure not to pull back on the cable, and the speedo works again. Whew! I'm definitely not touching that speedo cable again unless I absolutely have to.

    vfrDSC_0801_sm.jpg
     
  17. Yawk-oh

    Yawk-oh New Member

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    Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I also adjusted the throttle cable to remove the slack, and now the throttle responds immediately to the handle. This makes it much easier to control throttle during shifts and general maneuvering.
     
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