ROUTINE MAINTENANCE

Here are a few things you can do to help keep your FZR running great. They take a little initiative, but you don't have to be a mechanic to do any of these, and are worth the effort. Do yourself a favor -- if you're going to be doing any work to your FZR, spend the $20 on the Clymer or Haynes repair manual! It's going to provide a lot more information to you than I can, and will help ensure that you do the job right the first time. By doing things yourself, you'll also gain a greater understanding of how your bike runs.

(Click on any thumbnail for a larger view)


REPLACE YOUR SPARKPLUGS

You should be in the habit of changing the sparkplugs in the FZR every year or two. For about $20 bucks, it's an easy, cheap thing to do that will help keep your FZR running smoothly. You can clean the old one's and reuse them, but I've never bothered. If you want to save money, just buy your plugs from somewhere like Clubplug in bulk, for about half the cost compared to the dealer price!

The FZR uses NGK CR9E or CR8E sparkplugs. CR8E's are a little hotter (read this if you think hotter means larger spark or something, like I first did) which are good if your bike burns a little oil, or runs a little rich. I personally run my bike a little rich because it helps a lot when starting a cold engine, and my FZR burns a wee bit of oil... so I use the CR8E's.

thumbnail Start off by doing yourself a big favor, and get a can of compressed air -- if you don't blow out all the crap that gets in around the top of the plugs, you're just asking for trouble. I also use a short piece of garden hose so I can hand screw in the plugs so I don't cross thread anything -- not a good thing to happen here... or any other place for that matter! You also need some silicone and anti-seize for aluminum.
thumbnail Take the front fender off so you don't scratch it with the radiator. Remove the bolts attaching the radiator, and use some wire or something similar to keep it hung up and out of the way -- you don't need to drain the coolant, just keep everything attached.
thumbnail Using your gap tool, gap all four plugs to .030”. Starting on one side, one plug at a time, remove the cap and wire from the old plug. Using the can of air, blow out all the dirt and pebbles that have collected in around the plugs and then remove the old plug with the plug wrench.
thumbnail Stick the new plug in the hose and apply your anti-seize to the end of the plug, staying about six threads away from the tip. Now you can easily hand thread the plug in. This also works great for removing the old plugs after loosening them with the plug wrench.
thumbnail Once you're done hand screwing the plug in, tighten it in with your plug wrench - not too much... about a quarter turn from hand tight. The final thing to do is to take your silicone and apply a little bit to the end of the plug and then push the plug cap on. The next three should take you about five minutes to finish.


MAINTAIN THAT CHAIN

So you have an O-Ring chain... that means you don't have to do anything with it right? Wrong! All that o-ring is doing is helping keep lube in the between the side plates and rollers. It will still get dirty, it will still rust, and it will cause more friction. Bottom line -- you have to take care of your chain if you want it to last and work properly.

I like to do this every couple hundred miles, or whenever the chain looks like it could use it. The best time is after a nice ride and the chain has had a chance to warm up. Not only does that make it easier to clean, but it also helps with getting the chain lube where it needs to be.

First take some WD-40, spray a section of chain, wipe it down with a clean rag, and move on to the next section of dirty chain. This job is much easier to do if you have a rear stand and can spin the tire. You can either purchase one, or if you have the skills, make your own.

Anyway, after you're done wiping the entire chain down with WD-40, it's time for the chain lube. Eh? You thought WD-40 was a lubricant? Technically yes, it does provide light lubrication. However, WD-40 is primarily a water dispersant, and is not suitable for lubing a chain drive. Personally my favorite chain lube is Silkolene Chain Lube -- it goes on just like WD-40, but sets up very quickly, into a nice, thin coat of lubricant.

For those of you who don't think it's worth the hassle, let me just tell you this...

My rear sprocket carrier and wheel hub are worn a little where they meet, which actually causes the sprocket to wobble. So my last new chain and sprocket set, got trashed, with the most damage to my aluminum rear, which got chewed to shit by the steel chain. Take a look at these:

thumbnail
thumbnail
thumbnail

I kept that rear sprocket on there for a while... until it started losing teeth! There was no way I was riding it like that, so I ordered a sacrificial rear AFAM and put it on (it's best to replace these all together, but until I fix the carrier or wheel, I'm not dumping any more $$ into it than I have to). This is also when I bought the Silkolene. Well, take a look at my sprocket now:

thumbnail

After 1200 miles, the Silkolene is protecting the sprocket and chain so well, that there is very minor wearing on the sprocket -- even with the sprocket wobble! I'm telling you, the last sprocket starting wearing immediately after I put it on -- there were metal filings all over the place, and I could clearly see what was happening. I'm impressed.