Restarting my project VF500F from 2016

Discussion in '1st & 2nd Generation 1983-1989' started by Hellapet, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    Hi folks,
    So the story goes back in 2016 I bought an '85 VF500F for $1600 in good running condition, just needed some new fluids here and there and a petcock rebuild. It was my first bike but being a mechanic I thought I was up to the challenge of keeping it running, street parking it in the city during the riding season and even upgrading it during the off season. I rode the bike a few hundred miles, made a trip from Philadelphia to DC and back, rebuilt the clutch slave, did an oil change, and generally was happy with how the riding season was going, apart from hating riding in the city and parking the bike outside. Here's a couple photos, in one you can see my 1986 MR2 which was an awesome car.
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    Well, before the off season began the bike was knocked over while parked, bending the brake pedal and tweaking the steering so the front wheel was not in line with the handlebars. I rode it a little longer but eventually brought it to my folks' house in the suburbs where I took the forks out, sent them to Jamie Daugherty along with some other parts, and had him install emulators and modify the speedo to fit a CBR600F2 front wheel. I bought a pair of F2 front and rear wheels, thinking I could make the rear wheel fit myself after a lot of reading, and had nearly all the kit together to get it on.
    Where I worked there was a cheap chinese lathe and an even cheaper chinese milling machine, so I turned the rotor mounts down on the front wheel and swapped on the VF500F rotors, replaced the bearings in both wheels and bought and modified a VF500F cush drive according to what I've read on this website to fit the rear wheel.
    Here's how I turned the rotor mounts down since the wheel was too big for the lathe: I replaced the bearings, then ran a rod through the bearings and bit it in the vice on the mill's table, and just turned the wheel by hand through an end mill. Worked really well as I recently put the wheel on my balancing stand and the rotors are dead true to the axle.
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    I machined the appropriate spacers for the rear wheel swap and bought the recommended brake hanger as well. Lastly I purchased a CBR600F4i rear shock and cut into it in a similar way that JamieD seemed to in his modification process, and mimicked the extensions he milled out of aluminum. That part worked really well, I nailed the fit and am pretty happy about that. Still, I never got to install it.
    I got my shocks and other parts back from Jamie but curiously never got instructions on how to mount the new front wheel. No worries, I'll try myself. Well, I didn't realize that the procedure for re-aligning the forks involved removing a nut on the top bridge that was torqued to 80 ft lbs, and I didn't have the correct size socket, and I didn't have the bike on solid footing with no front wheel attached. It was around this time that I lost interest in riding while living in the city, I bought and sold some interesting cars that held my attention for a bit and life moved on, while the bike stayed in my parents' shed.
    Until a few weeks ago. A friend of mine offered me a bike for $500, I had been thinking about riding a little bit and I have moved to the suburbs (where I have a dilapidated garage to keep old bikes in) and now I have the bug again. I bought the $500 bike and it's a gem but that's another thread. Here's a pic of my mom on it for fun, I know you people love pics. No, she doesn't ride.
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    So I collected all the parts I had taken off of the bike or ordered or sent away and got back and now I'm determined to get the thing running and finish the wheel and suspension swaps. I'm still stuck on the fork alignment though I did finally get that nut off and have had everything apart and back together a few times.
    I think I've finally got the alignment right after the third try removing abolutely everything related short of the stem from the frame itself. Still, it seems like the axle, which is the original VF500 axle, is too short to span between these forks somehow, at least when pinching this wheel and speedo. Here is a photo of the axle as it sits in the throttle-side fork when everything is together:
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    See how there is so little being pinched by the fork cap? It's like it's only coming halfway through. For anyone with an F2 wheel swap on their 500, is this normal? It also required me to run the axle through the opposite from how the Clymer manual says, with the nut on the clutch side and the axle coming through from the throttle side. It absolutely refused to go together before I made that change. Anyway, there is another problem, the tire is closer to the clutch side fork than the throttle, and the rotor on the throttle side is contacting the T.R.A.C. bracket.
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    So, that's where we are today. I have a few questions for anyone reading:
    Does anyone have the instructions Jamie Daugherty supplied with the F2 front wheel swap kit? I understand they no longer offer info about this kit on the DMr website, and maybe don't do these mods at all.
    Is it a big mistake to run the axle through the wheel "backwards"?
    Is there any other way to adjust the wheel side to side so that I can clear this caliper bracket, or am I f***ed from maybe not taking enough material off the rotor mounts on one side?
    Does anyone want a set of CBR600F3 wheels? The first pair of F2 wheels I bought were mislabeled and are actually from an F3. Thanks for reading everyone!
    Dave
     
  2. RllwJoe

    RllwJoe Member

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    I think that Jamie is still active here on VFRW. He may have the ability to post instructions for you.

    Good luck with the rebuld.
     
  3. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    Last night I went through my emails with Jamie from 2017 and it seems he did send me a diagram of how the front wheel goes together. I am definitely missing a spacer that should be on the throttle side and that would allow me to mount the axle the correct way and probably put the rotor at the right spacing so it doesn't hit the caliper bracket. I'm sure he gave it to me, but it probably stayed under the seal at one point when I had the axle out and then fell out along the way. I'll have to go back through my parts and see if it's around. Maybe I'll send him an email and he can tell me the dimensions so I can have someone turn a new spacer.
     
  4. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    According to this thread https://vfrworld.com/threads/vf500-f2-wheel-swap-info.37561/ I should have a 2.5mm thick spacer on the throttle side which sounds right. This person ditched their speedo drive and replaced it with a 30mm spacer, but they also machined twice as much off of their rotor mounts as I did. Strange.
     
  5. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    The measuring I've done (which was a while ago) puts the amount of material to be machined off at 5.5mm each side. Measured the overall width of the mounting bosses of each wheel. Subtract to get the difference (11mm) and divide by 2.

    How did you arrive at your number?
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
  6. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    I got my number from Jamie Daugherty, both in a schematic for a machinist and written in an email as follows. "No, you need to remove 3mm which is 0.118in. Your machine shop should be able to understand this for you. Maintaining the runout tolerance is CRITICAL or else you have what feels like very warped brake rotors."
     
  7. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    Hmmm. Maybe I'm wrong, but everything I've read and what I measured says 5.5mm to 6mm each side.

    For giggles, why don't you measure the stock wheel mount width dimension.
     
  8. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    Alright, I got back over to the folks' garage today and took another looksee. As it turns out I DO have the spacer that came with Jamie's kit and it was snugly inside the grease seal so I never noticed it. I took the wheel off after tightening the whole triple setup to hold its alignment (which seems pretty good now), and reinstalled the axle in the original orientation, with the axle on the speedo side and the nut on the other side. In this orientation it seems there is no way in hell to get the nut to settle into the throttle side fork. It even seems like the wheel will contact the fork before the mounting surface of the axle and fork align, even with the spacer. Something is clearly up.
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    Nextly, the stock rotor boss width seems to be 111mm, while my rotor boss width is more like 115mm. However, this actually doesn't seem to be the problem. With the axle nut on the other side, now the rotor on THAT side is contacting the caliper bracket. I'm gonna shoot Jamie an email just to be sure but I think the issue is that the spacer on the non-speedo side of the wheel is too narrow, or there needs to be another. It looks like the rotors, given a couple more millimeters of centering, would clear both caliper brackets, in which case I wouldn't have to machine the wheels again. That would be a tremendous relief. Thanks for the help so far everyone!
     
  9. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    When trying to clear caliper brackets and discs, an extra 2 to 3mm on each side can make a BIG difference. The new wheel mount width should match the old wheel for correct fitment, without having to manipulate the forks and tightening the lower fork clamps to clear. It would seem his instructions were not correct. Sounds like he took his divided by 2 number and divided it by two again.

    Good luck.
     
  10. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    Thanks Captain 80s. Just to clear up some obvious questions, is that axle nut in the photo oriented correctly? There's no way I'm threading the nut on with the flats in the wrong place?
     
  11. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    No that isn't right. The place for the wrench on the nut actually goes inboard. The spacer in this picture actually goes on the nut side of the wheel (right side of bike).

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    The right lower fork leg is not "adjustable" on the axle. It is locked in by the raised portions of the nut. That's why disc spacing is critical. The left lower can be manipulated slightly on final fitment for proper bracket clearance. I believe it is covered in the FSM.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2021
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  12. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    Okay, that makes sense. I wonder if that is the source of my whole issue. I'm going to try turning it around tomorrow though I suspect that the flats will then interfere with the grease seal, or maybe like you say, the rotors will interfere with the bracket. You are the man, thanks so much for all the help!
     
  13. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    Well, that was a revelation. I flipped the axle nut around to the correct orientation and everything fits like a dream. I did have to ditch the seal on that side because it was interfering with the flats on the axle nut. The rotors are a little bit "outboard" in the void of the bracket but there is clearance on both sides of both rotors. What a relief. All credit to Capt. 80s.
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  14. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    Good news! Sweet!

    On one of my wheel swaps I turned down a portion of the hex so it could go in the seal. I ended up making some changes on the next version and it wasn't needed, but it allowed me to bolt it up and check clearances.
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  15. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    The next version I made a half mm change to perfectly center the wheel and just shortened the nut and made the spacer longer so the break wasn't inside the seal. Still plenty of purchase for the wrench.
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    Also you can look for a slimmer seal in the correct ID / OD configuration (I had to do that as well). Stock is 22x42x7. You can get 22x42x6 and 22x42x5 no problem

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-TC-22X...457664?hash=item3d83c0d480:g:dukAAOxy4YdTRD-5
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2021
  16. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    Thanks for the tip, if I still had a lathe I would turn the nut down today. In the meantime the old seal was shot anyway from sitting with the axle half installed for four years. I'll definitely be doing that in the future though. I still have to take the right fork out one more time because I didn't route the brake hoses properly when I was putting everything back together. Next I will attack the carbs and try to get the bike running after some fluid changes.
    For now though I'd like to show off my half-finished F4i rear shock mod, which is modeled after Jamie's rear shocks. I anticipate having an issue with the remote reservoir hose and the mounting of the reservoir itself and wonder if anyone has some wisdom in that regard. I understand Jamie's come with a longer hose that uses a banjo bolt for clearance reasons. Here are a couple photos of what I have so far:
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    I still need to drill the extension to bolt it to the shock, then drill the extension to bolt it to the swingarm. I am not sure if the extensions are going to interfere with anything because they are kinda fat. I also left it a little long so that I could have the overall length of the shock be longer than the original, to make up for the smaller F2 rear wheel. I think the max length I could get from it would be 355mm while the original shock is 345mm. Would I ruin any of Honda's wonderful engineering by lengthening the shock 5 to 10mm?
     
  17. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    Go at least 10mm in my opinion. You will not screw up the geometry. The bike is pretty conservative, most of Jamie's conversion shocks are +5 to +10. I jacked my 500 race bike way up in back (Fox shock w/ adjustable ride height) and lowered the forks a bit. No issues. On my RC26 I went +20mm over stock after a F2 wheel swap. That was about the limit without starting to chew up the chain runner around the swingarm pivot. No issues, steady as a rock.

    You might have to contour your extensions a bit for clearance.

    You know, it might be pretty cool to engineer in some replaceable inserts that allows you to adjust the shock length.
     
  18. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    I will go the full +10mm then. I wish I still had a machine shop. For now I'll only have the one mounting hole, and it's going to be a challenge just to contour the extensions. Any word on whether the larger front wheel/tire will clear the cylinder head if I lower the forks? I am a lightweight guy and Jamie set the forks accordingly so I imagine they are not super stiffly sprung.
    I would also like to take a second to clear up that the previous issue with wheel fitment was not the fault of Jamie in any way. I misunderstood his machinist's drawing as that I am an amateur home machinist, and I didn't install the axle properly as that I am an inexperienced motorcycle mechanic. I would recommend his work to anyone, and also recommend being careful to fully understand his instructions and make no assumptions.
     
  19. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    You shouldn't have any clearance issues regarding the tire and head if you have the front end properly sprung for your weight. There are plenty of converted 500s out there without reports of contact. You can probably slide them up +20mm or more easy.

    I know Jamie does good work, I've bought stuff from him. But everyone can make a mistake. I've got so many goddamn numbers running thru my head from all the mods and swaps I've done. Been better the last few years documenting everything in files.

    Yeah, go +10mm. You won't be disappointed. Thru the rising rate linkage, it's actually quite a bit of height realized.
     
  20. Hellapet

    Hellapet New Member

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    Today I went to the folks' and put the front fender on, rerouted the brake hose stuff, "cleaned" the caliper brackets and got the speedo cable hooked up and all the lines from the wheel/brakes tied down with the nice factory holder things. Here's how it looks now, I used zip ties at Jamie's recommendation to gently pull the fender outwards and the tire clears easily. The fender needs a clean and wax badly, as does all the bodywork.
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    I wanted to get the carbs off today but they didn't want to move even a millimeter and I ran out of time. I sprayed some WD40 on the boots hoping that it will penetrate a little by the time I try and get them off. I've ordered new boots of course. I've also got my pry bars ready though I have to practice my mechanical sympathy. I REALLY don't want to break anything.
     
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