Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Bled the front brakes. Actually this is a story unto itself. I have one of these vacuum pumps for brake bleeding. I hook it up on the left caliper, open the master cylinder reservoir, removing both the top and a plastic thing. You know how there is a seal to help keep air out? That thing. So I pump some of the old, brown fluid out (the new stuff is clear and colorless), and it's getting firmer, and I'm not getting the clank. And I'm watching the fluid level and adding more. Then the brakes go completely soft. After staring at it awhile I realize the problem: The seal I removed? The thing that keeps the air out? That wasn't it. That was just a plastic spacer to keep the seal in place. The rubber seal was still in there, sucked all the way down to the bottom, and I was just pouring brake fluid in on top of it. Once I got that out, and refilled the master cylinder, and pumped it about, oh, two or three hundred times to get the air out of it, then I could start bleeding the calipers. I ended up going with the traditional method of holding the brake, opening and closing the bleed valve, and repeating until the fluid ran clear with no bubbles. This is impossible to do by yourself on a car, which is why I had the vacuum pump to begin with, but easy on a motorcycle. Now the front brake is nice and firm. The rear brake is a little soft, and I should change the fluid there too, but soft brakes on the back wheel is not such a bad thing. Went for a good 30-mile or so ride. A lot of the carburetor problems are clearing up, or are only an issue when it's cold. I've got some Gumout Regane in it now, which I bought, in part, because it was free after mail-in rebate at AutoZone. I got most of the way home and looked down and suddenly my speedometer wasn't working. Rode carefully the rest of the way home. The housing was kind of loose on the axle, looser than I thought it should be. I decide to pull the front wheel but discover that the front axle was not screwed in as tight as it should have been, and this is why there was extra play in the speedometer housing. This is actually a really good engineering design feature, because if your axle is getting unscrewed, your speedometer stops working before the front wheel actually falls off and you die. I'm pretty sure I didn't have it in far enough, rather than it loosening up due to loose clamp bolts or something, because that play was present when I had put it all back together. It didn't look right but it wasn't obvious what the problem was. I also decided to give Eagle One NanoWax Spray a try. It looks pretty watery when you spray it on, but as you wipe, it gets more... waxy. They recommend using a microfiber cloth to polish it, which I haven't done yet, but so far it looks pretty good. There's no dry, white stuff to wipe off either.
Monday, June 16, 2008
It's only taken about 19 months (maybe longer) but the ZX-6 is up and running again. Took my new tires (which have been sitting in a closet for most of that time) in to be mounted and balanced and new valve stems installed. Reinstalled wheels. Install another new battery. Also had installed some months ago a K&N air filter. Good thing too as the original factory foam filter had rotted. Bike starts, not instantaneously, but it runs pretty good for having old gas in it. By now after working several hours on it, dark clouds are blowing in. I decide to up the ante and roll it onto the driveway and wash it. Rumbling begins. Right about the time I get it fully cleaned and start to dry it, the raindrops start. Roll it back until the carport for waxing. Took it back out after dark (while still wet) for a test ride (and to get fresh gas), and immediately found that the front brakes are quite soft. I decide they are good enough to get to the gas station. Filled up. It's sad that it costs almost US$20 to fill a motorcycle tank; I put in more than 4 gallons of 89 octane. Went for about an 8-mile ride. The gunk in the carburetor is killing acceleration below 4000 RPM until it warms up. It's good at 5000 RPM. At 6000 RPM, you start to feel the Spaceballs torque curve kick in (plaid is about 10-12,000 RPM), but on a wet road at night with some fog and soft brakes, I wasn't going to push any harder than that. Made it home and tested the front brake some more and discovered there's a "clank" sound when I release the front brake. Traced this to the left front caliper. Apparently there is too much clearance now between the pads and the rotor. Planning to replace the brake fluid as it is 10+ years old.