Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Zx-14 New Chain, Sprockets and Tires.... Part 1

It has been raining the last couple of days and today too. I decided to start working on the big green ninja, getting it ready for my next road trip, Oregon.
I started by taking off the front wheel and changing out the tire for a fresh, 120/70zr-17, Michelin PilotRoad2. The first step was to remove the front fender and the 4 bolts holding on the 2 front brake calipers. I don't have the "correct" front axle nut tool, so I improvise. I have a Craftsman, 1/2" drive spark plug socket that has a perfect size hex head for the job. I stick a short 1/2 to 3/8 adapter inside, then follow that with a short 3/8 extension, then the ratchet. It works slick.

Once the wheel was off, I assembled the Cyclehill tire changer. My buddy, John, had a steel base made so we can bolt the changer to it and park a truck on it, rather than drill holes in the garage floor and bolt it down. We went "halfs" on it a couple of years ago. This will be my 4th set of tires that I've mounted with it. I think John has mounted 3 sets. Today was the first time the drive on base has been tested. So far, so good!!

I started by breaking the bead loose on both sides of the rim.

Then mounting the wheel in the changer.

Using plenty of lube and the dismount end of the bar, take off one side.. then the other.

Once the old tire was off, I spent a little time cleaning the side of the rim where the bead seats. Mounting the new tire went pretty slick. Some tire lube makes things go easier. Make sure the direction arrow on the new tire is going the correct way! The mount bar is just laying on the rim while I took the picture. It does NOT touch the brake rotor in normal use.

After the tire was mounted, I filled it with air to seat the bead and put it on the balancer. What you don't see is, when I first put it on the balancer, I still had the 3/4 ounce (21gr.) of weights on the rim from when the old tire was balanced. That weight ended up being in the "light" spot on the rim.... Not Good! So I took it off the balancer, broke the beads loose and spun the rim inside the tire 1/2 turn. I re-seated the bead, filled the tire and set up to balance it again. Much better this time. It only took 1/4 of an ounce (7gr.) to balance it. Many tire manufactures mark the tire with a dot, and the dot is to be aligned with the valve stem. PilotRoad2 tires do not have a mark.

I mounted the wheel back on the forks and torqued everything to specs.

On to the rear end..
I didn't get very many in progress pictures. My hands were too greasy to think about touching the camera! I started with taking off the left side lower fairing, and then the clutch slave cylinder, and the sprocket cover. I used a cold chisel to flatten out the bent up side of the lock washer on the sprocket nut. I loosened the right side exhaust so I could slip a steel bar over the swing arm and through the tire. That held the chain/sprocket in place so I could muscle off the front sprocket nut with a 24" breaker bar. I got out a grinding wheel and mounted it in my Dremel tool. I took a deep breath and started grinding on the head of a rivet on the old chain. No turning back now! I used my new chain tool to push out the pin and break the chain. Pretty slick!

The sprockets didn't look too bad, but I could see wear was starting to change the shape of the "U" between the sprocket teeth. The chain, on the other hand, had a number of very stiff links, while most of it was still very flexible. There are 30,000 miles on it. It probably would have been OK for another 10,000 miles, but why push it. I plan to do another 10,000 miles or more on it this summer.

With the chain removed, I broke the bead on the rear tire and dismounted it. I cleaned up the rim so it's ready for the new tire.
That's as far as I got today. Tomorrow, I'll mount a new 190/55zr-17, balance it, put on the new chain and rivet it, and re-assemble everything.