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Old 12th November 2007, 12:22   #1
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Default Getting to know the VFR better.

It's been a month since the VFR has been with me and since the ride from Bangalore to Mumbai to bring her back, I haven't had much chance to ride her too much. A solitary ride to Lonavala and some city jaunts have been all the action she's seen since the long ride.

Part of this has been due to my schedule which has me traveling more days that not and tyres that need replacing and the associated lack of budget for that at the moment. However, another reason, albeit a subconscious one, was that I didn't really know the VFR like I should.

To really feel connected with the machine, you have to know what exactly you're riding. More so when the machine in question has passed through a couple of owners and is quite a few years old. What lies beneath the shiny plastic fairings? Part of me is afraid to find out actually, as no matter what precautions you take, you can never really be sure of what you're getting.

So this Sunday, my first free one for quite a while, and the only free one I would get till mid-December, I decided to pass on ride and decided to get to know the Viffer better.

Tools in hand, WD40, armor all and Turtle wax in tow, I head downstairs to strip her to the chassis and see what lay underneath. There are always surprises, some good, usually not so good. So I went down not knowing what to expect.

I had acclimatized myself well enough with the bike from the Clymer Service Manual I recently purchased. As Manson pointed out, this is probably the most expensive book I have bought recently! I begin to take apart the fairings. It’s a relatively uncomplicated process on the Viffer, far better thought out than the million screws and fasteners I had to remove on my ex-ZZR.

Mirrors off first, followed by the screen. Unscrew the 3 allen bolts on either side, followed by a couple of plastic clips on the mid section and the entire top fairing comes off smoothly. This holds the headlights and turn signals. However, I notice many of the plastic clips are either missing or broken. This was expected as anyone who’s ever worked on anything will tell you that you will usually end up with a couple of extra bolts/clips or a few less! And considering the age of the bike, it wasn’t too bad. All the essentials were in place, though I would need to buy a few new clips and screws to make up for those missing ones.

all fairings off

With the front, mid and side fairings off, I take a close look the insides of the fairings to check for any signs of damage or the beginnings of any cracks. I was prepared to find a couple. I was happy to be proved wrong though. No cracks or damage repair visible. However I could see that a small portion of the front fairing had been repainted. I presume this may be due to some scratches that it may have picked up along the way, as there were no signs of any damage. Another point to note is the sheer quality of the fairings as compared to the Kawasaki. The Kwacker had hard plastic fairings which had very little “give” to them. Hence, they are more prone to cracking. On the Honda, the fairings were far more flexible, sort of like a bumper of a car – they had a lot of elasticity inbuilt in them which gave them a rather rubbery sort of feeling which I feel could easily absorb small bumps without cracking. I do hope I don’t have a chance to see this though!

So we’re off to a good start. Aside from a few missing clips, all is good. Encouraged, I dive in deeper. Next step, check the air filter and spark plugs. Undo the two bolts in front which hold down the front of the tank. Honda designers have made it so that the rear swivels on a base, and the tank is held up just like the bonnet of a car. This means no removal of the tank and the associated mess with fuel spillage etc. Another mark for the renowned Honda engineering team. A simple, yet useful idea to implement.

6 screws hold down the airfilter cover. I lift it up to see a filthy looking panel. I take the filter out and see the small inscription under the dirt. It reads K&N. Oh, neat! That’s a nice surprise, and one that will save me some money buying an aftermarket filter or replacement OE filters. I clean up the filter and move on to check the plugs.

The rear cylinders first. Plug one out, it looks perfect! Not rich, not covered in oil, not lean, just perfect! The remaining three cylinders give the same result! I am happy. The fuel injection and ECU seem to be in fine shape.

However, I peer down the intake with the filter out. Sure enough, years of crappy Indian fuel have left a gummy residue on the valves. I need to deal with this with a gradual addition of injector cleaner/de-gumming agent to the fuel. Too much too soon would cause chunks of this to break away and flow into the cylinders, which is not the best.

I do a visual check on all cables and coolant pipes and hoses. With twin, side mounted radiators (this allows Honda to reduce the wheelbase), there are a lot of coolant lines crisscrossing the engine bay. All these are still in good shape and not hardened up. All cables look well lubed and in fine shape.

No signs of the engine being opened for any reason, as it should be. The VFR has its first valve clearance check at 16,000 miles i.e.25,749km. Its done only 13,4XX till date. So I have another 10,000 kilometers before I need to check clearances. Even then, the VFR is known not to need any shimming for upto more than double that reading.

So far, the bike is living upto its reputation of being one of the finest engineered machines ever to emerge from the Honda stable.

I end the job with a well deserved waxing. A good 5 hours spent, and aside from a few missing clips for the bodywork, I was happy that everything was as good as the day it rolled out of the factory, and the K&N was a nice surprise.

My Christmas present is already fixed. I scored a good deal on a Micron slip on, which I shall have in my possession by mid-December. Which will coincide with new tyres and free weekends for riding. Oh yes, don’t forget the great weather and roads that should be newly paved after the monsoons. Do I sound excited? Well, I am!

P.s.: Please excuse the lousy photo's. These were taken from my phone with a shaky, dirty hand.
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Old 12th November 2007, 12:45   #2
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Beautiful. Are all sbk owners as patient and technically skilled, or are the forums haunted by a talented, patient, skilful SBK owner bunch?
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Old 12th November 2007, 13:04   #3
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Neat and clean ,any other way to kill time ? .
Did you check ,brakes pads,Battery voltage and level? and just retighten all the bolts and nuts once .
And BTW ,do you have first party insurance ?
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Old 12th November 2007, 13:16   #4
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enjoying the ride without riding eh. good show RT
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Old 12th November 2007, 13:38   #5
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excellent rtech - i like diy guys with tech. (know what they are doing)
me too the same only the difference being I cant have the patience of doing the job and clicking pics at the same time. nice to see u do that.

have fun buddy you have got a very nice techy bike.

dont neglect the valve check as these cams are known to speak up.
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Old 12th November 2007, 14:57   #6
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Originally Posted by phamilyman
Are all sbk owners as patient and technically skilled, or are the forums haunted by a talented, patient, skilful SBK owner bunch?
haha. There was nothing really technical I did! Just removed a bunch of stuff, inspected some other stuff and re-fitted the stuff again.

Originally Posted by black12rr
Did you check ,brakes pads,Battery voltage and level? and just retighten all the bolts and nuts once .
And BTW ,do you have first party insurance ?
All that was done much earlier. This one was to check out the stuff which is not visible until the plastic is removed.

By first party I presume you mean comprehensive insurance right? No, it is insured for third party only. No agency here gives a comprehensive policy, and if they do, the premiums are too high and the claim procedure is ridiculous.

Originally Posted by jaggu
enjoying the ride without riding eh.
haha. yea. this is the next best thing to riding it I guess.

Originally Posted by 2fast4u
me too the same only the difference being I cant have the patience of doing the job and clicking pics at the same time. nice to see u do that.
This is the first time i've taken pics as well. But I've seen that posting here makes for a great record of the car/bike which is really helpful a few years down the line. I still remember Samurai checking his report when he first bought his Baleno and realising that he had an extended warranty on the car!

BTW, I don't think anyone here has seen any proper pics of your bikes yet. How about posting a few? I'm sure you would have taken some nice shots of your bike on some of your rides. Do share.

Originally Posted by 2fast4u
dont neglect the valve check as these cams are known to speak up.
Actually no. The 5th generation is the one with the least issues. The only recurring problem with the 5th gen is the Regulator/rectifier. The cam issues were with the 2-3 generation VFR's, and sorted out by 1990's VFR750. So embarrassed was Honda that they over engineered the 750 & 800. The 4th & 5th generation VFR 750/800 can be equated with the Mercedes E220 on the over-engineered bit.

Last edited by Rtech : 12th November 2007 at 15:00.
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Old 12th November 2007, 16:46   #7
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one amazing u have Rtech ...... that engine is gold ..... and bike looks as good as new ..... take good care of her
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Old 12th November 2007, 20:10   #8
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awsome right up and i bet it sounds easier than it actually is to open up the fairings of the viffer. i would have been scared of breaking a few clips in the process.
glad to know that viffer is in perfect health besides the gummy residue on the valves, which also can be easily taken care off. all in all the heart is pumping well and hope you get to know her better and that too soon, so that we get to read your experiences.
i have learnt alot with your experience and am more determind to convince the folks at home and the special somone to let me buy a bike.
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Old 12th November 2007, 20:14   #9
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Very inspiring. Gimme a shout the next time in Pune, I need moral support (pun unintended) to fiddle with my Triumph.
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Old 12th November 2007, 22:18   #10
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What a beauty!Viffy sure looks good with or without the fairings.
I know whom to talk to,when I get a bike!
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Old 12th November 2007, 22:47   #11
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nice write up! just feels awesome to see a guy spend the QUALITY time with his bike and share the experience with us, felt like that was one of my moments when i first got know about the engine on my bike.very exciting indeed!

and one question what is the current generation of VFR in the market?
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Old 12th November 2007, 22:55   #12
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I'm happiest when I fix something in my car. Though I must admit, I am happier thinking that not much will go wrong with it. Seems like good fun!

Nice toolkit man! I can't wait till I have enough saved up for my set.
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Old 12th November 2007, 23:07   #13
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very well documented. Enjoyed reading the article.
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Old 13th November 2007, 04:48   #14
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Aha...nice..!! This's a great idea, photographing your mechanical journeys...

Gah. Wish I had a camera phone (non-existent back then) when I had dismantled my Yezdi & Splendor first experiments....I remember a couple of bolts and nuts being left over after the re-assemble....the bikes ran fine after the overhaul, though; perhaps better, due to lesser engine weight...

Tell me when you open up the mechanicals, Robin...I'll be there to capture all the obscenity in all possible angles....
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Old 13th November 2007, 07:10   #15
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Fantastic Rtech! That was a good Sunday for you.
Originally Posted by Rtech View Post
I clean up the filter and move on to check the plugs.
How exactly did you do it? With K&N kit? I may be wrong but that should look more purple after proper cleaning and re-oil. No?
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