Good grooming, but…

This seems like one of those time-saving ideas that might not look too good in retrospect.  If a crash occurs, we may discover that having naked razor blades in the helmet poses some sort of safety risk. *shrug* But, I could be wrong.


Bad Farkles

Some motorcycles are inherently uncomfortable.  Some of them get uncomfortable as you age.  Sometimes, if you really like a bike, you try to modify it to make it fit you better.   The thing is, there is a right way to do this, and a wrong way.  Case in point:

Well, at least it has good lumbar support.
Well, at least it has good lumbar support.

I’m sure that getting this thing up to 80MPH + on the freeway is an…interesting experience.

Why I Don’t Wrench II

So, everyone says that removing the stock throttle tube from the FJR and replacing it with the G2 tube and cam is a 30-minute job.

They are wrong. it’s a 3-hour job. At least, it is for me. I start the job off at about 6:15 this evening. But what I don’t know, is that the things I do know, are wrong.

First misconception: The heated grips on the AE model are heating elements that are wrapped around the throttle tube. Wrong. They are integral parts of the grip itself. I did not know this. I learned this the hard way.

Second misconception: The throttle grip is a discrete piece that does not go into the throttle assembly housing. Wrong. The electrical cable for the heater connects to the grip via a rubber bushing that is an integral part of the grip, is about 1/2 inch in height, and is housed in the throttle assembly housing.

Third misconception: The grip can simply be pulled right off the tube without disassembling the throttle assembly housing. Wrong. See first and second misconceptions.

These misconceptions arose from the fact that I couldn’t find any detailed instructions for removing the grips of the AE model.

So, after various attempts to pull the grip off, and getting some advice from FJR Forum members, I purchased a couple of bottles of compressed air, and jetted some air under the grip while pulling. No joy.

So, I begin to wish for a long, thin Philips screwdriver to stick under the grip, to roll it around and try to loosen it. I go inside the house and tell this to Chris. She suggests I get a wire hanger, cut a piece off, and use it, instead.

Aha! I grab a wire hanger, get my fence wire cutters, and snip off a 12-inch section. Then I get a file, and file one end smooth and round, and bend an “L” into the other end. It slips right in. Now, I can slide the plastic tube from the compressed air way up under the grip.

I give it a good spritz of air, and pull hard. The grip started to come off. It moved off about 3/4 of an inch…then stopped.

It stopped because the rubber bushing inside the throttle housing was now jammed into the edge of the housing. And, I couldn’t push it back in either.

After much futzing around, I pull off the throttle housing, at which time my problem becomes apparent. Also apparent is that I’ve torn the insulating cover on the heater wires. I suspect that I no longer have grip heaters on the right grip, due to excessive wire stretching.

So, I cant get the grip off, and I can’t reseat it on the stock tube, so I pull the throttle cables off and try to remove the whole tube. But, of course, since I’ve moved the grip about 3/4 of an ch off the tube, there isn’t enough slack in the heater cable to pull the whole throttle tube off.

At this point, I call “Neil in Vista”, who is a regular commenter here. His only suggestion, now that I’ve totally fracked it up, is to shoot some WD-40 under the grip, and try to move it. Too bad, I tell him, that I have no WD-40.

Well, I’m two hours into the “30-minute job” at this point, so I decide to hang it up for the night, since it’s 8:30.

At this point Chris comes in, and I commence to whining about the whole deal, and musing about how much it sucks that we don’t have any WD-40. She points to a shelf 10 feet in front of me in the garage, and says, “We have a brand new can right there. In plain view.”

Once again, I stick the hanger into the grip, Chris sticks the WD-40 tube in and squirts it a couple of times, and the grip slides right off!

Holy smokes, maybe I can do this!

And I can. It’s all downhill from there. The grip slides right on to the new throttle tube. I slap it on the bar, hook up the clutch cables, and begin the tedious job of sticking the throttle housing back on.

Neil calls again and asks if the bike isn’t rideable, if I need him to come over to the house and bring his air compressor. Thankfully, I don’t have to inconvenience him with my massive incompetence.

After a while, I get the two throttle cables seated in their respective halves of the throttle housing slap the hex screws in, and, voila! I’m done!

It’s 9:30 pm.

I have to say, though, it appears that the change was really worth it. I took off on 20-minute test ride, and the throttle response is now perfectly smooth, linear, and predictable. No more throttle surging. It vastly improves the ability to handle the bike at low speeds, and makes throttle usage in cornering 1000% more predictable.

Oh, and I still have two heated grips.

It’s really a very effective mod, and I highly recommend it to anyone with an ’06 or ’07 FJR. Just be sure you know what you’re doing before you install it.

To sum up, this eveing I learned, once again, that being a mechanic just isn’t my calling. I think it may be Chris’, though.

Why I Don’t Wrench

I decided to put my frame sliders on today. The FJR is pretty simple in this respect, because the two frame bolts are right out in the open, so no cutting or anything is required.

The thing is, I didn’t have a torque wrench, a 1omm hex driver, or a 17mm long bolt driver.

So, I whipped on over to Home Depot to pick up a torque wrench. Unfortunately, all they had were three foot long torque wrenches that put 1200 ft/lbs of torque on a bolt. That was a bit too much, and, since i was on the bike, I couldn’t see how I’d get the wrench home. The nice home Depot guy sent me across the parking lot to Auto Zone.

I went into Auto Zone, found $20 torque wrench, and a 10mm allen head driver, and, mistakenly picked out a 12mm instead of a 17mm driver for the slider bolt. I didn’t realize that quite yet, though.

Thinking I had everything I needed, I went out to the parking lot, pulled the left side engine bolt off, then tried to install the slider. Of course, the driver was the wrong size, so I had to go back inside, and exchange it for a 17mm.

So, it was back out to the bike, where I grabbed the new 17mm driver, and tried to attach it to the wrench. This didn’t work, because the wrench had a 3/8″ drive, and the socket was for a 1/2″ drive.

Back into the store I went, to get a 3/8 C 1/2 adapter for the torque wrench.

I then went out to the bike, got the torque wrench all put together, then picked up the slider for the left side. Naturally, the socket, while it fit the bolt perfectly, was too large to fit inside the bolt hole for the slider.

Now it’s back inside, to see if they have a smaller socket. As it happens, they do. It’s a 3/8″ drive socket, so now I get to exchange the adapter and big 17mm socket for the new one. Finally, I have the tools I need.

So, it’s back out to the bike. Once agin, I assemble the torque wrench and socket. Now I have to set the torque to manufacturer’s specs, with is 35 ft/lbs for the bolt. Naturally, the wrench itself is calibrated in inch/pounds.

So, now I have to try and do the math in my head to multiply 35 x 12 to figure out the number of in/lbs.

At last, after 25 minutes of buying, returning, and exchanging tools, I could install the sliders, which is literally 80 seconds of wrench turning.

And people wonder why I go to the dealership to have work done.

Give me a couple of pieces of wood, and I’ll build you something real nice. I’ve got my table saw, and my miter saw, my planer, my sander. No problem.

But cars and motorcycles? Forget it.