Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sunny Saturday - Twisting Wrenches

I spent this sunny day working on motorcycles.

I took the rear wheel off the Connie so I could get a new tire mounted.

I had to buy a 27 mm socket at Autozone since I didn't have one that big and a cotter pin at Lowes for the right side axle nut - so that slowed me down a little. I'm never in a big hurry when I'm working on cars/bikes anyway. I like to take my time, read and re-read instructions if I have them, take stuff apart to see how it works and clean/oil/grease things before I reinstall them. The main point for me is to learn something, get immediate feedback on if what I did was successful or not - and save some money to use for other things I want to do.

I put the bike center stand on a 2x4 to give me a little extra room to clear the tire from beneath the rear fender. I used some straps to secure the center stand to the front wheel so I didn't accidently push forward on the bike and have the center stand fold up.

Taking the rear wheel off requires removing both mufflers, unbolting the torque link from the brake caliper, removing the cotter pin and axle nut from the right side and then pulling the axle out from the left side. The wheel disengages from the gear drive by pulling the wheel to the right. I cleaned and greased the gear splines while I was at it.

You can see the center stand on a 2x4, straps holding the center stand and the brake caliper hanging from a bungee cord in this photo.

I put anti-seize on the axle before reinstalling it. I wish someone would have used anti-seize on the two socket head bolts that hold the rear brake caliper. They are frozen tight. I tried using WD-40 which didn't help. I bought some PB Blaster penetrating oil at Lowes and will try that when I have to remove the caliper to replace the brake pads. If worse comes to worse I can slide the axle out and take the brake caliper assembly to a machine shop. I don't need to remove the bolts right now since the pads still have over half the material left on them.

The 27 mm bolt on the right side was tight but came off with an extender bar and me pushing down on the bar with my foot. It took me awhile to figure out I was turning the whole axle and needed to put a wrench on the left side to hold it so I could remove that nut from the right side.

I took the wheel to Shiny Side Up on Rucker but they were closed this Saturday. I lucked out and found the good people at Northcoast Thunderbikes at 1911 Broadway were happy to mount the new tire for me. They charged the same as Shiny Side Up - 20 bucks. They are really friendly and quick in that place and I'd recommend taking work there. When my Sportster needs tires I think I'll check them out. The owner said they can sometimes beat internet prices.


I finished my maintenance day by replacing the front brake pads and air filter on the KZP.

Replacing brake pads is easy on that bike. You remove the two bolts that hold the caliper and slide the caliper off the disc. You can slide the caliper assembly apart and the pads literally will fall out - just be sure you watch for the two little metal pad guides that sometimes fall out too. You don't want to lose those.

Loosen the master cylinder cover and slowly push the brake piston into the caliper so the new (thicker) pads will fit into the caliper and clear the disc. Keep an eye on the master cylinder to see if you have brake fluid coming out - you'll want to clean that off painted surfaces quickly. As an alternative you could remove some fluid from the master cylinder before pushing on the brake piston. Replacing the 4 front pads (2 discs on the front wheel) is about a 15 minute job - so it took me about an hour.

Replacing the air cleaner on a KZP is easy too. You open the seat, remove a couple of screws and pull the air cleaner out. It takes a little fiddling around to get the air box cover to line up when re-installing but no big deal.


FedEx says the Concours water pump oil seal from Ron Ayers will be here Thursday so that will give me something to do next weekend. I have the cigarette lighter socket to install for my iPhone charger - and then I just need to figure out somewhere to go. That shouldn't be any problem at many places to choose in this beautiful country.