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Dead Dirty Vision

Started by Brian Moffet, July 05, 2006, 10:27:48 AM

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Brian Moffet

9 ounces each fork, slightly less actually because the Progressive forks take up a bit more room. 5.5 inches of distance between the top of the fork and the top of the oil. I picked up a battery filler which happens to fit into the forks, and is 5.5 inches from the tip to where it fits in. I filled the forks more than 5.5 inches, and then sucked out all I could with the filler. It looks like a thin turkey baster. After I did that, I put in the progressive forks, extended the front forks so I could put on the top caps, tightened everything down to the correct torques, and the front forks are now complete.

If I have time, I'll paint the drive train, clean the rear wheel and put it back on.

Brian Moffet

Well, today I painted the drive train, greased up the spline for the rear wheel, and put it back on. I would have pictures, but my camera is in the shop.  Needless to say, it's good to have it on two wheels again.

I had put on the rear shock, but I ended up taking it off again to remove the rear valve cover.  I checked the valves, and according to the shop manual, the exhaust is supposed to be between .16 and .20 mm, the intake is supposed to be between .11 and .15 mm.

My front cylinder, the one with the problem, measured .115 and .12 on the intake valves, and .160 and .17 on the exhaust valves.
My rear cylinder, the one carrying the load, measured .11 and .12 on the intake, and .16 and .13 on the exhaust. 

I need to swap out a rear shim, but the front is good (minimal, but good.)  I could easily swap out and get more clearance on each of them, they're on the low side, but according to the manual it's not necessary.  I'm suspect there is a little lee-way so the .13 is probably not going to cause problems.  I'll be swapping it out anyway because it's out of spec.

Anyone willing to lend/rent me their valve tool?



I will Brian, but if i don't get it back i swear i'll hunt you down!  8) (i think Dave is pulling his engine this winter & wants to do his then) & one condition

I have some shims you can use too, anything you take out, please replace with something else (i'm sure i'll end up with a bag of useless shims at some point, lol)

Be aware that a long time ago there was a thread that pointed out how the factory shim chart was wrong & to use the Haynes manual instead...

since the tool is made of 'unobtainium' you need to PM me about this.

Thanks, --Lucky
1982/3 XZ550 Touring Vison, Gold on Black

Brian Moffet

I don't know if anyone had linked to my previous site, but I've changed the URL.  I've decided it is actually *cheaper*  ( ??? ) for me to have someone else host my sites than it is for me to.

Wow, electricity is expensive!



guess I should add painting the frame to my winter Blackie project too...hmm that should do it...oh wait...and the stator....doh
...a vision is never complete.

Brian Moffet

If you can pull the engine, painting the frame will go a lot faster.  Just make sure you clean everything really well and rouch up the surface well.

But you probably know all of this :)


I'd like not to pull the engine...considering that all this work will be done in my girlfriend's parent's garage.  have to kind of keep my presence on the down low lest I be heeve hoed.
...a vision is never complete.

Brian Moffet

Today was brake day. Other than paint a small portion of the frame and the rear-brake bracing, I pulled apart the front brakes and rebuilt them. Rather than use compressed air, I used grease to push the brake piston out. Cleaning out the grease isn't difficult with a good set of latex goves and some brake cleaner. The piston was trashed, it was not useable, so I was glad that I ordered a new one for each brake.

I basically set up a little tray to catch parts in. First I pulled out the sliding caliper (on the wheel side). This allowed me a bit more room to get at the brake piston. I put a temporary bolt into the banjo-bolt thread to keep the grease from coming out. I opened up the bleeder valve and starting filling the brake with grease. Slowly, the piston started coming out. Once I heard the hiss of air, I knew that the piston was as far out as it was going to be.

From here, I cleaned out most of the grease with my finger. I pulled out the inner two seals (which were completely trashed) and then cleaned the inside with brake cleaner and a rag. I made sure to clean out the banjo bolt and bleeder valve of grease. Everything looked good, and I put the two new seals into the brake. I lubed them up with brake fluid, lubed the piston with brake fluid and pushed it back in slightly. I grabbed a dowel, and slowly pushed the piston into the cylinder. I pushed it in just about as far as it could go and left it there.

I put some grease on the sliders (see repair manual on what kind) and put them together. Using a vise with plastic heads, I pushed the sliders together until they were almost all of the way in. The new rubber boots fit into the chamber, and then slip over grooves cut into the sliders. Once I got these together, I put the brake pads in, and installed them on the bike. Other than not having brake pads for the right side, it went exactly the same but faster.  Brake pads will be ordered soon.

Interesting enough, the manual says to replace the rubber boots about every 2 years. It had been 20 since mine were replaced. Replacing them is easy enough, take a look at your rubber boots.

Brian Moffet

It was late when I came home, and upon my doorstop I saw a small package.
"What could this be", I pondered, "so close to halloween?
Could it be a trick, could it be a treat, only one way to be seen."
Opening the door, and bringing the package in, I carefully unwrapped it.
Pulling the tattered paper out, meant to protect some precious treasure,
I saw a glint, a glint better than silver or gold.

I carefully dropped the talisman in my hand,
held it up to the light to see.
It is truely magnificent, a thing of beauty
the combination of smooth curves and angular edges,
it must be worth a fortune.

There were no imperfections visible on it.
The metal must be very rare, perhaps that most rarest, unobtanium.
The metal that will provide light when all is black,
The mere mention of this metal, mortals dream of more than platinum.

My cats wrapped around my feet, wanting to see the toy.
The lights went out, for no apparent reason,
I stepped back and dropped the talisman, but I shouldn't have worried.
There in the darkness I could see it, as it glowed with its own power.
Picking it up, I could see there was an inscription on it,
one I had not seen before.

With my old eyes, I peered at the words and read the truth

Four Valves for each cylinder in a V,
Shims of Eight in the lifters of steel,
Two Covers to keep the black elixir in,
One gasket each to keep the engine clean,
In the Engine of Vision where the powers lie.
One Tool to tune them all, One Tool to align,
One Tool to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the Engine of Vision where the powers lie.

Thanks Lucky.


Now THATS poetry!   ;D ;D ;D ;D


Living the dream - I am now a Physician Assistant!!   :-)

Brian Moffet

Today was exhaust valve day.  All of my exhaust valves, save one, had > .152 mm and < .178 mm clearance on them.  The one that was less was around .102 mm.  I pulled all of the shims off the exhaust valves, and all of them were 250s (2.50 mm thick) except for the .102 mm valve.  That had a 255 shim in it.  Digging through Lucky's pile of shims, I found a 250 shim and slid it into that seat.  Now that exhaust valve has is the same as the rest, between .152 and .178 mm.  Since going to the next smaller shim would dump it to .202, which is outside the limits, I'll leave them at 250s.  Convenient that they all are the same size.

Tomorrow, I might try the intake shims.  I may have one intake that is tight on the rear cylinder.

I want to seriously berate the person who came up with this shim method!  They are a pain in the a** to replace.  And the exhaust ones are easier!



Keep going Brian,
   Remember we are going riding in December.
Don ;)


Having done the valves on my ducati which has openers and closers and the triumph which has a 4v I3, the vision don't seem too bad.
1982 Yamaha XZ550
1995 Ducati M900

Brian Moffet

The tight intake shim was on the rear cylinder, on the right side (sitting on the bike).  It had a 260 shim in it, and putting the 255 from my exhaust made the tolerances much better.  Then came putting the valve cover gasket back on.  Geez. I also discovered that the manuals are slightly incorrect.  They say that the shim will pop off.  Not quite.  I heard a pop, and figured that I could pull out the shim.  Nope, it took a second pop.  The first sound was the oil seal (surface tension) breaking, and the second was the shim popping out of the bucket.  Once I realized this, everything went much easier.

I lubed up the new gasket cover to hold it into place while I tried to maneuver the cover into place over the radiator line.  1 hour later I realized that was not going to work.  And the radiator line was frozen into place from being there for so long.  Out came the knife. I cut off the radiator line (I was probably going to replace it before this point) and the valve cover slid into place.  With a bit of wriggling, the gasket also slid into the right locations and I bolted it down.

The rear cylinder is finished off, and thankfully when I was turing the engine over I could not hear any sounds of leaks.  Since it was the front cylinder that had the problem, I'll be looking into that one next weekend.  It doesn't have any tight valves, so it should go together fairly easily.  (I think I just jinxed myself...)


Brian Moffet

Unfortunately a bad cold knocked me out for the previous week, and I wasn't able to work on the bike. This week however I rebuilt the master cylinder for the brakes. In order to do this, I had to drill out the bolts (4mm if anyone is interested...) and remove them with hemostats once I had the top pulled off. The master cylinder is now on the bike and set for fluid and brake lines. All that is left on the frame is the center section under the battery box. Next week is Thanksgiving and I'll be out of town. I hope to have the replacement radiator hose figured out.

(This was actually done on the 18th of November, I'll be posting a new entry today about the compression check, and the radiator line)

Night Vision

those are really nice pics and a great write up on the restore on your website. I'm sure it'll help those of us that are "one step"  ::) behind you
if it ain't worth doing it the hard way....
it ain't worth doing it at all - Man Law

if it ain't broke..... take it apart and find out why

don't give up.... don't ever give up - Jimmy Valvano

Brian Moffet

On Saturday, I decided to measure the compression ratio of the front and back cylinder.  Since the bike had not been run a while, I put light-weight oil into the cylinders and turned them over (connected the battery directly to the starter.)  I measured the back cylinder first and got a variety of readings from 120 to 150 (!)  If you do the math, 150 is about as good as these can get.  I felt rather frustrated with this, so I decided to charge the battery and think about what I wanted to accomplish and how to do it.  While thinking I painted the last bit of frame below where the battery box is.  The frame is completely painted now, barring some areas I couldn't get to because of the engine.

Sunday I went out with a plan.  I had let the cylinders sit overnight, so any excess oil would drain off.  If you do the math, the cylinders compress the air down to less than 1/8 of a cup.  There isn't a lot of room in there.  I pulled off the rag protecting the carb mouths, opened the throttle bodies fully, plugged in the compression guage, let the cylinder spin for a couple of times with the escape valve open.  Then I closed the guage escape valve and went through 8 revolutions.  I did this for both front and rear cylinders:

rear cylinder: 121 PSI
front cylinder: 119 PSI.

I reproduced this twice for each cylinder. While low, they are within a reasonable range.  More importantly, they are close together and show me that the valves were probably not the problem I encountered in Paso Robles.  If I go by my airplane, I could probably lose another 5-10 PSI before I need to rebuild it.  (lose 25 % of pressure).   You won't catch me doing 115 mph runs on this engine though without a tail-wind!  (and yes, they're still higher-compression than my airplane's cylinders...)



I have 2 compression gauges and have never really used them.  I'm always afraid of what I'll find. :)
1982 Yamaha XZ550
1995 Ducati M900


I went back & read the original post (you have to put "xz" infront on "index" on the URL) & i'm thinking you may have had more of a carb problem. the symptoms sound sickly familiar..

one cyl (probably front if you want to go by the mechanics 'squirt' test) probably had a float stick open. if for some reason the fuel was drawn into the engine instead of out the overflow tube (high vacuume?) it could suck everything out that the pump could provide, cleaning the plug off too (you may only see a wet plug, or if the problem semi-cleared itself up, not even that)

one drowning cyl would would explane the power loss too...

fuel starvation would produce similar symptoms, but doesn't explane the rapid fuel loss...

was it raining? would you have noticed fuel from the overflows if it was?...
1982/3 XZ550 Touring Vison, Gold on Black

Brian Moffet

I had the bike running on an off-ramp for a while, and it had not started raining yet.  I didn't see any fuel coming out of the over-flow tubes, and if the float were stuck that would probably cause more of a problem at low RPM rather than high RPM?

Obviously we'll eventually find out (or not  ::) )  In the end, which I can see coming now, I will have rebuilt front brakes (got the braided lines today), rebuilt forks, painted frame, progressive forks, and many upgrades I've been meaning to do for quite a while.  I hope I can pin the problem on one thing, and I've got a couple of different things that "may" have caused the problem.  If I have a problem when I get it rebuilt, then the problem falls into the carbs and I'll rebuild them as well. 

Maybe it's because I'm tired, but this posting is reading a bit harsh.  I don't mean it to be, I really appreciate the advice I get here.  I store it in my head and when the time comes I investigate whether that was the problem or not.  And the list is getting smaller by the week.

Brian (and thanks, I fixed the link in the beginning...)