TIPS & TRICKS

The following are just a few tips and tricks I've picked up over the years working on my FZR.



FRONT SPROCKET REMOVAL

Can't get that front sprocket off by yourself? Don't have an impact wrench handy? This procedure will get that sprocket nut off in no time.

First off, don't be a dope and put the bike in gear and hammer on the nut -- you risk some major transmission damage! The bike should be in neutral the entire time.

thumbnailAlso, you MUST have your chain and rear sprocket still on. So if you're doing this to change out your old chain and sprockets, this is the very first thing you need to do before removing anything. Jack up the rear enough to be able to spin the wheel. Get a 2x2 about three feet long, stick it through the wheel, laying it flat on the top of the swingarm.

Watch your rear brake line and move it out of the way if necessary (see that wet spot at the base of the rear wheel...? yeah, that's what happens when you're retarded like me and aren't paying attention!!). Now spin the wheel towards the front of the bike until one of the spokes is resting on the 2x2 and the wheel won't turn anymore, and lower the bike.

thumbnailFlatten the lock washer behind the drive sprocket down with a flathead and hammer, or something similar. Take your long-handled ratchet (if you don't have a long-handled ratchet, just take a 2ft piece of strong pipe - not copper - and slide it down over the ratchet handle) and turn the nut counter-clockwise. The rear wheel will try and turn but the 2x2 will stop it, and your long-handled ratchet is going to give you tremendous torque... of which that poor little sprocket nut just won't be able take.

When you go to put the new sprocket on, just put the 2x2 on the bottom side of the swingarm (opposite to how you just had it), turning the wheel the other way so the spoke holds it in place, up against the swingarm. Again, you need to have the chain and rear sprocket on, so this will be the last thing you do if you're swapping out your old drive system for new. Put on the lock washer, apply a little blue/medium lok-tite to the drive shaft, and then torque the nut down to the proper spec - you do have the manual for your bike, right? Don't forget to flatten a new spot down on the lock washer. If the lock washer is trash -- get a new one!



BLEEDING THE BRAKES

I'm not sure what it is, but most people seem to always have problems bleeding their brakes. It's not a hard process, just one that requires a little knowledge about what's going on with your brake fluid. So for those of you that don't know, we'll start by describing each part of the brake system. This applies to both the front and rear brakes.

Basically, the whole system works with fluid pressure, or hydraulics. When you squeeze your brake lever, you're actually pumping brake fluid through the system with a plunger/piston - also known as the master cylinder. This in turn makes the pistons in the calipers try and pop out toward the rotor. The brake pads go between the caliper pistons and the brake rotor which is attached to the hub of the wheel. So as the caliper pistons push out, they push the brake pads together on the rotor, which stops the bike. When you release the brake lever, the master cylinder plunger sucks the brake fluid back up and ends up pulling the caliper pistons away from the rotors, letting the bike roll freely.

Now, to start bleeding the brakes, you need to hook up a tube to the bleeder bolt on the caliper to release the old brake fluid. Next you want to open the fluid reservior at the master cylinder. Loosen the bleeder bolt just a little bit, and start pumping the brake lever slowly. You'll see the old brake fluid coming out of the tube you hooked up. You don't want to let any air in the system, so you need to watch the fluid level in the reservoir. As it gets low, add some fresh fluid and keep pumping. You need to do this until the fluid coming out of the bleeder tube is nice and clear.

When the fluid coming out is as clear as the fresh stuff, you need to get ready to close that bleeder bolt. The trick is getting the bleeder bolt closed just as your brake lever is fully squeezed. This way, fluid is still coming out of the tube as you tighten the bleeder bolt closed, and you don't let any air into the system. If you didn't close the bleeder bolt as you're squeezing the brake lever, air would get sucked in as the brake lever was released, which you don't want.

thumbnailFor those of you who just replaced your stock brake lines with something better and you're starting to refill the system, you'll probably find that you just can't seem to get the new fluid in the reservoir to go anywhere. The reason is because there's air blocking the fluid in the little tube going from the reservoir to the master cylinder. Just give that hose a few good squeezes and you'll see the air bubbles come right out into the reservior. Keep sqeezing the tube until there aren't any more bubbles coming out, or until the fluid in the reservior starts going down as you sqeeze the brake lever. Once that happens, you're good to go... proceed as above.



AIRBOX ISSUES?

Are you having a bitch of a time getting your damn airbox on? If you let it sit off the bike for too long, the velocity stacks that fit on the top of the carbs will shrink a little. When this happens, you won't get them back on by trying to force them.

The easiest way to get them back on, is to take a pan that's wide enough to fit the airbox in... something that you would bake brownies in. Boil up some water and pour it in the pan so there's enough so you can place the airbox in so the bottom of the stacks are sitting in about an inch of hot water. Let them sit for about five minutes and they'll be nice and soft. Wipe off any water, and put them on - they'll pop right on.

Now for whatever reason, some people can't get this method to work for them... I don't think they have enough water in the pan, but another trick is to take a hairdryer and heat the tubes up that way.