a Blade - last updated
or... How NOT
to repair a Fireblade!
Time for the rebuild then. Realising
I missed a lot of the good weather last Spring while
my bike was having the new engine fitted or parts
were being resprayed, I'm determined to get this thing
back on the road ASAP. With the likelihood of it ending
up on it's arse again sometime, I'm not fussed about
spraying it up nice and purdy. So long as it runs
well and straight then I'll be as happy as Colin Edwards
on a full spec RCV211! ;)
In order to try keeping costs to
a minimum, I've spent the last couple of months trawling
ebay for bargains. Late nights spent at the 'puter
waiting for the last few seconds of an auction, before
trying to steal it with a late bid. Or emailing people
who didn't sell their item and offering a low price
to save them rebidding usually works too. Read on
for some tips on how to (or not to) fix bent or broken
parts of your bike.
Cost of repair (not for the squeamish)
Bearings & Replacement Forks
Removing the forks was something I'd
done before, but I hadn't a clue about sorting out the
head race bearings other than what I'd read in the Performance
Bikes article. So nothing else to do but buy a bike
stand to lift the front end off the ground, remove the
forks, then take it as it comes.
Once I lifted the wheel off the ground I tried to push
the front wheel spindle back through the wheel and out,
but it was having none of it. With the aid of a hammer
and socket extension I banged it out to discover even
the spindle had bent! I also presumed the front wheel
would be buckled, but after taking it to Redline Honda
to check it over we discovered there was only a minute
warp which was nothing to worry about thankfully.
The process for removing the top yoke,
bottom clamp & steering stem was straight forward
With the forks removed, remove the top nut (which was
loose!), and you are faced with a bizarre lock nut system.
You should in theory be using a specific Honda tool
to remove these (allegedly)....so I dug out my monkey
wrench and whipped the top nut off, followed by the
lock washer and finally the lower thread nut. This is
the point when I discovered I should have bent the edges
of the lock nut up first to prevent damage, ahem. Next,
remove the top dust seal, let the stem slide out the
bottom a little bit, then push it back up again to poke
the top bearings out, then let it drop out the bottom
finally... err, while holding it of course. The bearings
were looking a bit dry, but not damaged as far as I
I had bought a set of yokes and forks
from ebay allegedly for an RRW, however after comparing
the bottom clamps it was clear these were from an RRV
or earlier. So I decided against swapping these thinner
clamps, instead giving my original setup a good clean
and packed the bearings with a liberal dose of grease
(as you can see from the photos below) Thankfully this
stem and bearings contained an as yet undamaged lock
nut which I could replace my knackered one with.
Lift front end off
with ABBA stand
Forks & yokes
bought on ebay
clamp & stem
the dust seal
Adjuster nut added
Replace the top yoke
The replacement process was simply
sliding the stem (complete with lower dust seal and
well packed bearings in place) back up through the head
(pic 5). Slide the packed top bearings into place, followed
by the top dust seal.
If you do not have the required specialist Honda tool
to tighten the adjuster nut, use a 'C' spanner and tighten
hard to pack the bearings. Next slacken the adjuster
nut slightly so there is only slight resistance, so
the bearings are left under very light load to remove
any free play. Next add the lock washer and fold the
edges down into place. Hold the adjuster nut to prevent
it turning and screw the locknut on finger tight. Using
a C spanner hold the lower thread in place and tighten
the locknut a further 90 deg's so the lock nuts edges
can be folded into the slots. Replace top yoke and screw
on the top nut. Replace the forks to align both triple
clamps then tightent the steering stem top nut to 105Nm
with handy new torque wrench.
Align the top of each fork with the
top of the triple clamp and tighten the top clamp bolts
to 22Nm and the bottom bolts to 27Nm.
tyres, exhaust, spark plugs & footpeg assembly
I bought a pair of BT010's from the
London Bike Show the previous weekend and the good folk
at Redline Honda fitted them for me during the week.
Having given the wheels a good scrub up, I slotted the
front one back into place, gave it a spin with my hand...and
discovered BOTH discs were more warped than Zodiac Mindwarp.
Arse...not a good start. :(
After a few phone calls to local dealers and a couple
of websites, I was a bit miffed to find out how much
a replacement set would be. Ruling out genyoowine Honda
discs and looking for the allegedly more sensibley priced
pattern parts, I was quoted £160 per disc by one
shop and £115 each by another, neither of whom
had the discs in stock. So this will have to wait until
later in the week. There goes the test ride tomorrow.
Onto the rear wheel, but before replacing
I gave the rear end a good scrubbing using "Fuchs
Off" for the lesser dirt and "Yoshimoto Degunge-Ofreen"
for the caked in chain lube, dirt and oil. After that
the chain needed a thorough cleaning too, using a bowl
of paraffin and a sturdy scrubbing brush, it came up
like new. Considering it had only done a couple of hundred
miles prior to the crash, it needed to! I then gave
the wheel bearings rubber seals a good layer of grease,
before refitting the collars and sliding the wheel into
place...not forgetting the endless fiddling about trying
to get the wheel and caliper etc in place?
Paraffin to scrub off the kak
One nice shiny chain
Next problem I encountered was fitting
the Harris carbon exhaust. The previous slip-on took
a fair wack in the crash, but I hadn't counted on the
main exhaust getting bent out of line. I also noticed
a 2 inch scrape on the swing arm where the exhaust must
have banged against it when sliding. I'm now beginning
to fear either a bent rear swing arm, or worse, a bent
frame. When fitting the 3 stud slip-on I needed to add
a bit of liquid gasket as there was a bit of a gap in
one section. Then when trying to bolt the bracket through
the pillion footpeg it wouldn't reach...without a fair
bit of elbow grease.
back to top
Carbon/Kevlar engine covers
I bought these last year from Creations
Armour for £90 pair and had them fitted to
my previous engine, but removed them when I sold that
and hadn't quite got round to putting them on this bike
before binning it. The covers I bought were 'Road' versions
of the Carbon/Kevlar weave with a Carbon cover for the
generator and clutch casings.
I tackled the generator cover first, by fixing the stator
comp to the inside of the cover, then adding a good
layer of liquid gasket around the edge before slotting
the cover into place. Next I hit the second major fuck-up
of the day...
Alternator cover in place
M ullered clutch pin
How the clutch cover should look
Once I had added a layer of liquid
gasket round the edges of the clutch cover, I rotated
the cluth lever round so the clutch lifter pin could
slot into place when I pushed the cover back on. Or
so I thought I had! With the cover in place I worked
my way round the bolts slowly but surely until there
was a rather disturbing bang from inside the cover.
Removing the cover I had managed to snap off half the
head of the lifter pin. (see pic) I was beginning to
take one step forward and two jumps back. I'll add this
to the list of parts being ordered on Monday.
and Earls braided lines
How can someone have so much bad luck
with just one bike?
The first half of the day got off to a promising start
when I replaced what was left of the front brake lever
and the scuffed clutch lever with some pattern parts
bought from Kevbikes
on ebay. Next I checked the plugs to find they were
in tip-top condition and didn't need replacing. Next
I gave the middle of the bike and front end a good cleaning,
before tackling the front calipers. These took a fair
bit of wire wool and brake cleaner to get the caked
in brake dust and dirt off the outside, but I soon had
them shiny and almost new. I attached the braided hoses
to the master cylinder routing them straight down and
around the horn, before attempting to attach the right
hand caliper to the fork. Strange...the bolt holes on
the caliper were about 5-10mm out from the holes on
the fork legs! I kept moving the caliper about and checked
to see if anything had jammed between the pads but all
was okay and similarly on the left hand side.
At this point I had a sinking feeling about the entire
fork set-up I had been sold on ebay. Considering the
clamp was from an earlier model, this would explain
the difference between the calipers and the new forks
as earlier models have smaller front discs. I held the
old forks up beside the new ones and sure enough the
bolt holes were further away from the fork leg. Double
bollox. At this point I threw my toys in the pram and
packed it in for the day.
I've emailed the seller to try and
sort something out about this, but my options seem limited.
If I wanted to leave the forks in place I would have
to fit smaller brake discs, which would mean I would
also have to source calipers to match, adding up to
a bodge job. Therefore the forks will have to be removed,
resold and a new set bought from somewhere. Gauranteed
a fair bit more than the £155 I paid for these
EBC discs and 'correct' forks
Well I ended up having to buy another
pair of forks from Colchester M/C's who have a fairly
good 2nd hand department. Add in a new set of EBC discs
and my pockets have never felt so empty! Today was spent
in the freezing cold, going about undoing what I had
done on the front, resulting in much boredom. What I
did discover though during this, was how I had been
previously been fastening bolts and clamps up 'way'
too tight if this torque wrench is doing is anything
to go by?!
I'm shortly aware, that I can no longer find enough
screws for the screen, nor a set of brake disc fasteners.
These along with requiring a new set of pads for the
discs are added to the shopping list...again.
Next up, the new braided lines are attached to the calipers
which are then bolted to the forks...which fit for once.
The lines have no shrink wrap on them, so I'll need
to be wary of how I fit the front guard for fear of
adding a few more scratches. It's noted now just how
badly butchered the wiring loom has been in it's past
life, so I reconnected a few of the looser connectors
and wrapped them up with new electrical tape. I had
bought some more powerful bulbs for the headlight, which
are touted as providing "whiter light & 30%
more vision" which I fitted. Finally I stuck the
tank on to kid myself I'm nearly finished.
Shiny stuff to stop the world
Not quite colour matched...
After buying the tank on ebay, I coincidentally
bought the matching front nose cone. So I thought it'd
be a wise idea to keep an eye on ebay for further matching
parts, to try and get a complete bodykit in the end.
Even if it is for the RRX model it's all the same fitting.
I've since bought a decent pair of lower panels for
£30 (inc.P&P) in the same colour and put the
earlier forks up for auction on ebay to try reclaiming
pin, brake pads, new battery
One major pain in the arse about living
in this back water town, is the nearest decent bike
garage happens to be 15 miles away in Colchester. I
took a trip over last night to pick up my new clutch
pin, plus some EBC pads for the front, considering I've
got expensive new discs on the front I don't want to
damage with worn pads. The clutch pin was straight forward
enough removing the clutch spring bolts, then the cover,
swap the broken pin for shiny new one and replace bolts.
There's no recommended torque setting for this so I
was very wary about fastening these too tight and snapping
summit off. Finally apply a layer of silicon sealant
around the outer clutch cover and screw back into place
ensuring everything fits correctly this time. Not having
electricity in this garage I've got now, means I've
got to leave the rest tilll tomorrow.
Today felt like I made some progress....then
First up, replacing the new brake pads was straight
forward enough, but I thought I'd leave the joy of pumping
them until later knowing how long it took me last time!
Instead I thought it would be good to try turning it
over now the sealants were dry, so I filled up with
semi-synthetic. Then I added a gallon of new full fat
fuel to the tank, during which I remembered I hadn't
fully attached the tank and it's hoses yet. Panic subsided
when I realised I must have wisely left the fuel tap
in the off position. Once we were all hunky dorey, a
turn of the key sees the welcoming neutral light come
on, hit the start switch.....nothing but a click from
the relay. Huh? A quick fiddle around the rectifier,
alternator and anything else with wires coming out of
it gets me nowhere. Each time I press the start button
there's no other sound but a loud click each time I
press the starter button, eminating from the battery
region...balls. I'd put the battery on charge the previous
night, though it had been ignored since the crash so
chances are I was flogging a dead horse....or battery.
Nothing for it then but to take another trip over to
Redline Honda and pick up a replacement battery.
I got home as dusk was setting in,
so I put the new battery on full charge and started
with the brake pumping. A much easier task without the
top fairing in your way, but still led to knackered
forearm from pumping the lever. Next time I will invest
in a pair of the valve bleed nipples to make life a
bit simpler. I went through one bottle of brake fluid
and have managed to get rid of the bulk of the air in
the lines, so I've left the lever cable tied to the
bar overnight, before finalising the brakes tomorrow.
I'm praying the thing will actually bloody start too
so I can check it goes in a straight line! :)
- Still Not Starting
Well then, guess what?! After leaving
the new battery on the optimate all night, I went out
this morning to try again, and same thing happens! The
flywheel whirred a bit stronger first time, but after
that it sounded weaker and weaker each time, leaving
just the relay click making any noise in the end. Gave
up and tinkered with a few other areas of the bike which
needed attention in the morning while I had, before
packing up and emailing a few people with pleas for
help. One thing I didn't examine was the voltage reading
before, during & after trying to start it which
would have been a bit intelligent of me! This plus some
other feedback from the Yahoo mailing list and others
gave me some thoughts for tomorrow.
Today after work, I dug out my multimeter
and checked the voltage of the battery with the starter
button pushed in and the voltage drops from 12.5v to
about 5v or so, before I let go.
I then used the Haynes manual instructions to check
the stator coils and this appeared normal, though the
specified resistance quotes 0.1 to 0.3 ohms, whereas
the reading I got between each of the yellow wires was
0.7ohms. I also checked for continuity across various
wiring sections and all came up ok.
Finally thought I should check if the starter motor
actually turns, so I detached it from the engine and
pulled the starter motor out of the crankcase. I reattached
the earth wires and tried the starter button to discover
this works fine on it's own (plus a fair few sparks
from the loose earth connections)!!
So from this feeble piece of detective
work I'm presuming the problem lies within the alternator?!
Perhaps I've reassembled or reconnected something wrong
when putting it back together a couple of days ago?
I've left the oil draining now daylight has faded, and
will remove the alternator cover tomorrow to see if
anything isn't as it should be....not that I would know!
a working engine!
My next thought was if it could in
fact be the starter motor playing about...not that it
should considering it was working fine prior to the
crash. So to play safe I bought a replacement motor
from ebay again for £25. Once it finally arrived,
I swapped motors over and brimming full of confidence
I fired her up... I wish! Same old story. Least I got
something right this time...it wasn't the starter motor,
so that's going back on ebay.
Right then time to suck eggs and drain
the oil and open up the alternator cover again. Except
this time I thought I'd be clever and ocnsidering the
petrol tank was off, I could press the starter button
quickly with the cover off to check for movement. (I
have my moments of clarity) With the cover off, I checked
the gears were all in the right place and after removing
the starter gear I noticed some teeth markings on the
inside, as if the gear had worked itself loose at one
Teeth marks visible
All bits in their place
Checked all was still in one piece
after that and using my skill and observation, decided
it was and bunged it all back together as the piccie
shows. So touching wood and fingers crossed I hit the
starter button and bugger me with a barbed wire covered
larry the lamb...the starter turned the crank! Jeezus
was I ecstatic! Right then, lob on a layer of silicon
sealant and stitch her back up...refilled it with oil.
Hit the button....and guess what! It didn't work. There's
a pattern emerging here. Well at least I've narrowed
it down to the replacing of the cover.
Back to draining the oil again (for
the fifth time I believe) remove cover, hit the starter,
success. Checked the inside of the cover and it looked
like the pin holding the starter gear in place, has
been rubbing against the cover. I kept pressing the
starter button gently to make sure things turned, and
slowly replaced the cover and all went well until the
bolts were being tightened up and everything stopped
again. Staring at it a bit gobsmacked, I couldn't believe
the matter of a 1/4mm spacing provided by using a gasket
could be what was causing the grief!
Next day I took a trip to Redline Honda
to enquire if this was possible and they concurred,
so armed with a new alternator cover gasket (and one
for the gearbox, just in case!) I headed home. Once
home I cleaned up both casings of sealant, fitted the
gaskets, replaced the covers, tightened things to be
tightened, added the oil, refitted the petrol tank,
held my breath, pressed the starter button and WAHEY!!!
Some fiddling about with the choke to get some fuel
flowing through, a few back-fires later, she roared
This forced me to double check the
gears worked as well. So on I hops, wires an'all dangling
from the fairing free front end and ran her up and down
the cul de sac. Aaah, first time being on a running
bike since that fateful day in October....and summer
is just round the corner! :)
back to top
fork seal and caliper
With the bike running as it should
finally, all that is left to do is stick on the fairing
panels bought by auction on eBay mentioned earlier.
The front fairing bracket had originally been quite
bent out of shape when I got the bike and was now totally
scrap, so with a new one fitted the fairing panels fitted
snugger than they ever had. The panels in the pics below
are the originals as I wait for the lower panels to
rebuilt right hand side
right crash protection
looks straight enough
left crash protection
left hand lash-up
The middle panels are only of use
for future track days, but they'll have to do until
I get replacement pattern parts. I've bodged the fairing
bung holes by drilling two big holes in the side panels
for them to fit through for now. When I get the correct
panels, I'll use a hole saw to make a neater job of
it. The bungs came from a sound bloke on ebay called
Grippa, for a decent price compared to other makes and
do the same job. So if you're after some for yourself,
email him here.
All this sounds too good to be true I hear you say.
Nothing broken or fallen off yet?! Read on...
Once it was all together I took it
for a quick test ride up the road to start bedding in
the new brake discs and pads gently at first of course.
When I got the bike back I checked the pads were ok
and noticed a nice oiley layer above the fork seal on
the left hand side, marvellous...one leaking seal on
newly friggin' replaced forks! So this weekend, I will
mostly be having to sort that out, when I planned to
add several hundred miles to the clock. Also, some leaked
brake fluid coming from above the right hand stainless
banjo on top of the caliper. All I can think of for
that one, is the hose itself wasn't in tight enough
when it was sent to me, so I'll be checking up with
Earls about that tomorrow. While I STILL wait patiently
for the front panels, which are allegedly 'on their
way mate' after two months of useless communication
with Allbike Spares in Greenwich, which included them
sending me the wrong coloured panels for the wrong bike,
Oh, and to cap it all off... I made
my way down to the Post Office to Tax the bike using
my newly arrived cover-note, to have it pointed out
to me the date printed on the NEW cover note expired
on 23rd March 2003! Nearly split my head open banging
it against the brick wall...
One day this will all turn out to be a bad dream, but
in the meantime I'm off to drink myself into a stupur.
Hope this has been of help to someone else. I'm sure
updated pics will be added once the new panels arrive
if anyone has made it down this far?! :)
back to top
Accomplished & it's sunny! :)
It dawned on me that I'd spent the last umpteenth weeks
putting this bike back together only to have to wait
another week, just for Redline Honda to fit a new fork
seal...I think not. I remembered someone on the Yahoo
mailing list post a query, about how to do this without
the recommended Honda tools, so I trawled back through
the archives to January 2004 and printed off all the
relevant info. I went to Redline and picked up a new
seal and a litre of HPX fork oil, got back to the garage
and armed with the printed recommendations of several
riders and Mr Haynes manual I set about the forks. I'll
be setting up a seperate web page with this info shortly.
I also phoned up Earls about the leaking braided hose.
They apolosgised and said it might simply be that someone
there hadn't fastened the clamping bolt tight enough,
allowing the fluid to seep out the top. I tightened
that up a bit on the Friady night and there was no leaks
on Saturday morning when I went out to tackle the forks
The lower fairing panels had arrived finally, so I
bunged them on the bike to make it start looking more
like a patchwork quilt than a sexy speed demon. I'd
also taxed the bike on Friday knowing I was going to
attempt the forks myself, so now I was all fully legal
armed with a working bike! :) It was late-ish on Saturday
afternoon now and I'd downed a few beers while working
away on the bike, so thought it best if I left the speed
test until the morning.
Sure enough, 8am Sunday off I went for a razz round
the Essex countryside....along with several hundred
other bikers it seemed! Until it dawned on me they were
off up to the BSB round at Snetterton, doh.
Still, 200 miles of sun-kissed-numb-arsed-slider-scratching-warp-speed-entertainment
later I returned home with the bike in one piece, a
grin to put the Cheshire Cat to shame, just in time
to watch Snetterton on the box with a beer. Aah, don'tcha
just love this time of year!? :)
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