Sunday, June 19, 2005

Procrastination pays off again

Yesterday I got to the Kawasaki dealer too late to get the shims I needed, so I stopped by Sears and got a micrometer. This turned out to be a good thing, because several of my measurements with the vernier calipers were wrong.

I spent a couple hours making a valve clearance worksheet (see previous post), and then I re-measured all the shims.

Here's a tip: To remove the lifters and shims, use one of those telescoping magnets. I did this the first time, and about halfway through the intake lifters, I decided I could pull one out with my fingers, which I did. And the shim fell down inside the cylinder head. Fortunately, the head is aluminium, so it was easy to fish out with the magnet. If it had fallen down into the timing chain, I would have had real trouble. When you use a good magnet to pull the lifter, it tends to bring the shim with it. Even if it doesn't, you can still easily remove the shim with the magnet.

I said those little bastards would be expensive, and they are: $9.11 for a piece of metal the size of an asprin. At least, that is the price from Cycle-Parts. You need to have a minimum order of $100 to order with Cycle-Parts, and with five shims and some assorted gaskets and a couple oil filters, I managed to reach that level. Since I can't use any of the parts until next weekend, and they have a 4-5 day turnaround, that's probably what I'm going to use.

I've been looking at getting a new exhaust system, since the old one started to rust badly, and the left muffler got a bit dinged up from the crash. Vance&Hines makes a 4-into-2-into-1 system, with nickle-plated headers, that lists for $489. Just for the hell of it, I looked up new OEM headers: $589, and that didn't include mufflers. I also got idea (much too late in the day on a weekend) to get the old headers powder-coated; I'd guess that would cost $100-200.

The last option was high-temperature header paint, so I went to Advance Auto Parts to look around. The local Advance seems to have a better selection than the local AutoZone. In fact, they had motorcycle oil filters. I got some phosphoric acid-based rust neutralizer (Right Stuff, Formula #3000) and high-temperature exhaust paint (Dupli-Color). I also stopped by Wal-Mart for a spray bottle and found a 1.2 L pressurized garden sprayer (RL Flo-Master). Got the manifold off without too much trouble, and then spent 30-45 minutes with a wire wheel cleaning it.

Right Stuff is definitely named correctly: It seems to be doing a great job, though I am going to do a second application. And the RL Flo-Master sprayer is an awesome sprayer, too. I was done applying the rust remover in about two minutes. I took a couple minutes to rinse the sprayer, but it looks all plastic, so it shouldn't be affected.

Weather permitting, I'll paint the headers tonight.

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