Matt Tries – 1984 VF500F Overhaul

Discussion in '1st & 2nd Generation 1983-1989' started by Colddevil, Feb 14, 2020.

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  1. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Howdy everyone. I wanted to start a rebuild thread for my 1984 VF500F after I created an introduction thread. https://vfrworld.com/threads/intro-post-12-years-late.57878/

    Anyway, I’ve been wanting to do an overhaul on my first bike for many years now. I’ve finally decided to take the plunge, and I’ve been pulling it apart and creating a shopping list of the items I need. I bought the bike at ~12,000 miles and it currently has just under ~21,000. It ran beautifully when I parked it for the last time maybe three years ago; so, I’m really only likely to screw things up.

    I’m not really looking to do anything aesthetic at this point. I simply want to get the bike in sound mechanical condition since I plan on having it for a while. Once I’m comfortable that it is mechanically sound, I’ll move on into aesthetics.

    Items to Address:
    1. Valve Adjustment – Want to verify clearances, and I plan to use the two-feeler gauge method. I did a valve adjustment on a 2002 Bandit 600 last month, and it seems like this should be very similar, only with much trickier access.
    2. Brakes – Rebuild front/rear wear components and replace lines.
    3. Forks – I currently have 4 forks and only one that’s usable. Two of them have rounded damper rod 8mm bolts I cannot bust loose (bought on ebay), and the other that was on my bike had a rusted circlip with snapped heads. I read I might be able to break it loose by drilling through the fork and busting out the circlip and then filling in the holes afterwards. This was unsuccessful. TBD on upcoming methods of breaking the 8mm bolts loose on the secondary set.
    4. Ignition/Electrical – New battery, coil plug #1 missing boot, wires require new jacketing, replace plugs
    5. Engine – new gaskets all around; however, besides a valve adjustment, I have no indication I need to get into anything further. I’d prefer to get it running for a season first to determine if anything further needs to be done.
    6. Fuel / Air – replace intake boots, replace air filter, replace petcock gasket, synchronize carburetors. If necessary, rebuild carburetors, but I have gone through and cleaned them ~6 months ago.
    7. Miscellaneous – Tires, rear wheel adjustment bolts, left tank rubber, handlebar grips
    Questions:
    1. Front Forks – How on God’s Green Earth am I supposed to break loose an 8mm damper bolt that’s been rounded out? I’ve tried soaking in evapo-rust and pb blast with intermittent heat cycles from a torch over the course of a month. Cannot get it loose. Today I’ve ordered a ½” Ryobi impact wrench and some long-reach Torx bits that hopefully I can pound in and snap it loose. The forks are my #1 source of frustration so far.
    2. Recommended Carburetor rebuild kit? The carburetor worked fine when I parked the bike, and I’ve since gone through and cleaned out all the passages; however, it probably makes sense to refresh the rubber if I’m in this far.
    3. Centerstand bump stop for Vance and Hines exhaust – This bike has an aftermarket exhaust on it, and when I bought it, it didn’t have a centerstand. I bought another one on ebay and threw it on only to realize that the V&H exhaust has no bump stop for the centerstand. Does anyone have a good recommendation on how to add something? I’ll take function over form since I’d really, really like to keep the centerstand on. If it’s not possible, I’ll remove it and stick with the swingarm stand when needed.
    4. Coil Plug #1 – The boot on my coil plug to cyl #1 is missing—what’s the best route to go about replacing it? Can I replace just the boot, or can I get the wire assembly somewhere?
    5. Fuel tank left rubber – can’t find this item. Seems fine without it, but I’d like to have it complete. Any leads?
    Also… can anybody tell me what full fairing I actually have? There is a thread on vfrworld from 2007 discussing vf500f full fairings; however, I’m struggling to follow which fairing is which that people are talking about. https://vfrworld.com/threads/vf500-full-fairing.7938/

    Lastly, if you need a self-esteem boost and you’ve run out of other internet, I’ll probably post a few videos of me stumbling through the process. https://youtu.be/J9LMKwKVE7Q

    2014-05-24 13.08.01.jpg

    2020-02-07 20.05.43.jpg
    * I did not put the "VFR" nor "Gear Driven Cam" stickers on this bike, but it took me about ten years before I knew what a gear driven cam even was since owning it, hah.
     
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  2. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    In regards to the forks... ugh. Here is what I'm dealing with. On the original forks, one of the circlips was rusted through and end snapped off. I could not work out how to get it out--I soaked the cup in PB blaster for weeks on/off. I tried drilling through the cup to break it loose, but that didn't work out as planned. So, I likely trashed that one (not that it was any good if I couldn't get that circlip out anyway).

    I have a second set of forks I bought off of ebay. The problem is both of them came with rounded out damper bolts. I've been unable to break either loose. I gave both of these many weeks of soaking w/ PB blast + heat cycles from a torch to try to penetrate, but I've gotten nowhere. I tried drilling one out, but I was just making a mess of things since I don't have a proper way to hold the lower and drill straight. I've got some large long-reach Torx bits I can hopefully hammer into them and bust them loose with an impact wrench.

    I am 100% all ears on any suggestions for getting these buggers loose. They're infuriating.

    2019-01-12 17.39.53.jpg 2018-12-16 19.07.08.jpg 2018-12-16 19.07.20.jpg
     
  3. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    The first "project" I'm likely to finish on the bike is the front and rear brakes. I took apart the calipers to clean them out and inspect the components. Glad I made the introductory post here because "Captain 80's" notified me that the gunk I was seeing on the calipers wasn't simply resilient dirt--it was pitting. So, I've ordered four new caliper pistons and will move the best two to the rear. The rubber boots/seals everywhere were trashed in addition to the caliper sleeves. Those are all being replaced as well. There was a bunch of thick, viscous gunk sitting behind the pistons as well, so this cleaning was necessary.

    The brake lines will be replaced with Galfer (3-piece front) stainless steel lines.

    Just waiting on the new pistons, then I can do a final cleaning and get these reassembled.

    2020-02-01 17.55.28.jpg 2020-02-01 21.08.21.jpg 2020-02-02 16.52.49.jpg 2020-02-02 16.52.37.jpg
     
  4. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    I'm not much help on the damping screws... carry on with your plan is best I got.. BUT, those seal retainer rings, ditch them. Use the wire type, 51447-KA4-711 (later Honda direction for VFR, CF, etc.)... these ones for 41mm forks.
     
  5. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    raY, the 500 forks are 37mm. Have you installed 41mm clips in them before?

    Cold, drill out the bolts. It's easy, the hex hole will center your bit for you (get a nice new one for metal). Just go a little bigger than the bolt shaft and the head will pop off when you get far enough. You won't damage the lower and the remaining bolt will come out with your fingers after disassembly. Just did it (again) on some VF1000F forks.
     
  6. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Live and learn, I screwed that up. I'm back in the market for another right fork. If there was somewhere I could go to buy a new set that would drop right in and work with the calipers, I would purchase them without hesitation.

    It's interesting, actually. I trashed one damper by drilling into it. Oops. No big deal though, I'll just pull the non-damaged damper from the other one since I only need a right fork. Nevermind, left and right have completely different dampers. I guess I have some spare parts if needed in the future.

    2020-02-15 14.59.42.jpg 2020-02-15 15.52.17.jpg

    Anyway, I guess it's back to ebay in the hopes that I get a fork that's straight, has a non-rounded damper rod bolt, and corrosion-free circlip. I'm pretty over these forks right now. I realize it's early in a build thread to be seemingly calling it quits on something that should be relatively easy, but I've been trying to get something to work on these forks for months now.

    I've never had a problem with any other bike's forks I've disassembled like this before. It's just nonsense. They've ruined enough of my weekends so far. I'm going to pretend they don't exist for a while while I work on other things.
     
  7. NorcalBoy

    NorcalBoy Member

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    :( Good idea to walk away from it for a spell, get your sanity back, and return to it later. You'll get it sorted.
     
  8. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Thanks NorcalBoy.

    Walked all the way to the other side of the bike and confirmed two things that warrant me taking my time.
    1. Several of the valve clearances are tight. I just popped the front valve cover off and measured a few. This was just a quick check, but at the very least the adjuster pairs are unequal and need to be fixed.
    2. My clutch slave cylinder is blown. I'd noticed an orangish fluid below the left side center of the bike, but I couldn't guess if it was fuel/grime, coolant, engine oil, or brake fluid. I just pulled the slave off and the rubber is destroyed and leaking bad. Glad I bought a repair kit on a whim.
    I'll have enough other things to keep me busy while I hopefully come up with a better idea on how to deal with the front right fork.
     
  9. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    The 41mm circlips will fit, actually tend to stay fully engaged. If the ends of the wire are touching, just cut a little off, no problem at all. Put a set in a friend's CB650 Nighthawk, his are 39mm.
     
  10. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    OK. What do you actually need for the forks. The forks that you drilled thru the side to get the circlip out (dont know what your plan was on that), you can still drill out the bottom bolts the correct way to get the dampers out.

    Let me know what you need I might have spares for you.
     
  11. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    I'll add a couple of the 51447-KA4-711 to my next order from a parts house--that would be a great alternative because the standard ones can fail in such a crappy way. Unfortunately I've already bought 4 of the standard ones and the fancy snap ring pliers; however, I'd much prefer the wire type. Thank you for the suggestion!

    Thanks Captain 80's--and I may just take you up on that if it comes to it. It might not have to. Not yet.

    I have no issues pulling the damper bolts out of either my original forks. I just pulled it off again to verify. The problem I have with my right fork is that the circlip holes are snapped off; therefore, there is no way for me to remove the circlip and separate the stanchion from the lower.

    The thought process (and something I had read to try as a last ditch effort) was to try drilling through the cup area to either break up the circlip or provide an area big enough a punch might be able to pop the clip out enough to get a pick or screwdriver under it. Since the cup area isn't under any pressure, I can just fill it later and paint over it.

    -------time lapse--------

    I actually just got it out with a new, hard steel punch through one of the holes I drilled. I may not be dead in the water yet. The original fork lower cup area is absolutely trashed from when I was trying to hammer the rusted circlip out months ago; however, I've got the secondary fork lower that is in better condition. It just has a single nick in the cup area (not the actual seal seat) that I need to sand down, so the seal won't be damaged when I drive a new one in.

    I'm really not sure how I was going to remove that circlip without drilling the holes.
    2020-02-15 21.35.21.jpg
    The damage that needs to be deburred and sanded prior to driving a new seal on the replacement fork lower.
    2020-02-15 21.40.47-1.jpg

    I don't trust those studs for a second on the replacement lower, so I've already got them pulled out, and I'll order a replacement set.
    2020-02-15 21.43.40.jpg
     
  12. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Ended up rebuilding the slave cylinder on the clutch since the seals were blown. Confirmed my suspicions that the fluid I noticed was brake fluid from the clutch--the reservoir was nearly empty. Unfortunately, I noticed that the boot on the clutch master cylinder is torn, so... I should probably rebuild that as well. It hasn't affected operation though.

    2020-02-15 18.28.26.jpg 2020-02-15 20.02.49.jpg

    This was my first time even seeing the internals of a hydraulic clutch, so that was interesting.
     
  13. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Pitter-pattered around a bit more today and decided to pull the carburetor back out since I've got new intake boots on order, and the increased working space can't hurt when I adjust the valves. Good thing I did because the boots are haaaaaaard and brittle. Cheaper replacements than I suspected too.

    Dunce moment.. I realized when I pulled the front valve cover to peak at the valves that the valve cover gasket on the '84 is flat all around--it does not have the "mickey mouse ears" or whatever they're called. So, hopefully I can find a few usable gaskets in the 1986 gasket set that I have on order.. I believe they say, An idiot and his money are soon parted.

    2020-02-16 18.55.13.jpg
    Today I decided to take a peak at the front brake master cylinder. lol. What in the hell happened here!? Is this the result of a hydrophilic liquid crystallizing due to poor seal, or had it been previously run on a mix of gak, play-doh, and maple syrup? Either way, I got it cleaned up as well as I could without an ultrasonic cleaner and installed with a rebuild kit. This should be a lot less-likely to kill me due to brake failure in the future. The brake lines are headed to the bin.
    2020-02-16 16.26.03.jpg 2020-02-16 18.14.11.jpg
     
  14. Diving Pete

    Diving Pete Insider

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    Buy an ultrasonic cleaner - Heated... at least 2.5litre capacity. It will pay for itself.
    Dont forget you will also need to buy cleaner.
    Please don't buy the cheap Chinese crap - it really is bad. - you shouldn't need to spend more than $150 to get a pretty good one.
     
  15. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Bubble bath time! Took your advice and ended up buying an ultrasonic cleaner. The concept isn't new to me since we sell industrial units where I work--I just never figured to look an Amazon since I figured they'd be out of my price range.

    For this first go-around, I'm just using a ~20% Simple Green to water solution. This thing is waayyyyy louder than I expected. It also works great. Hopefully it lasts. It's a 15L unit I picked up on Amazon. Gave the calipers a chance at the initial run, and they'll be ready for new rubber tomorrow. New pistons for two of the calipers and sleeves for three. Seals for all of em.

    2020-02-21 21.48.15.jpg
     
  16. Diving Pete

    Diving Pete Insider

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    WOW - a 15L - lol....

    Still the results speak for themselves - bet you are kicking yourself why you didn't get one before - ha ha ha..

    That result truly is excellent & will speed you up immeasurably.

    Now as you got a 'larger size' you can use this quite a lot smarter.

    Buy or steal out of the kitchen (don't let the wife see you) some GLASS containers - big enough to hold the larger parts.

    The 1st Container should have a mix of water & a touch of washing up liquid. - this will degrease the parts & also clean them. - This will need to be REFRESHED fairly often - Kettle & washing up liquid - takes one minute

    The 2nd Container, Simple Green mix
    This does all of the hard work of cleaning but still works fine even when dirty.

    The 3rd Container, - just normal water. Also once dirty can be refreshed very quickly.

    Into the Ultrasonic should just be normal WATER..

    So each part will go through 3 stages of cleaning always in heated water & you also keep the cleaner 'clean' without having to think about it..

    You can also take parts out of no 1 & into a tub of hot water BEFORE putting into no 2.

    The glass allows the ultrasonic to work perfectly with no detriment..

    I use glass jars for a lot of the smaller parts - so for the carbs I follow this process:

    Carb 1 totally stripped into Container 1
    Run a cycle.
    Then Carb 1 into Container 2 & Carb 2 into Container 1.
    Run a Cycle
    Then Carb 1 into Container 3 & Carb 2 into Container 2, Carb 3 into Container 1.
    Run a Cycle
    Then Carb 1 onto paper to be checked, Carb 2 into Container 3 & Carb 3 into Container 2, Carb 4 into Container 1.
    Run a Cycle
    Then Carb 2 onto paper to be checked, Carb 3 into Container 3 & Carb 4 into Container 2.
    Run a Cycle
    Then Carb 3 onto paper to be checked, Carb 4 into Container 3.
    Run a Cycle
    Then Carb 4 onto paper to be checked.

    This way if any need to redone - (hasn't happened yet) I just re-add them into the loop.
    Its makes the most efficient use of your machine.
     
  17. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    Wow, that's a big 'un! My little 3L one is jealous....
     
  18. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    I think I'll be giving a spin on your suggestion a go pretty soon. I've got a new carburetor kit from Billy's Out Back on order, and that type of system to ensure I'm not mixing parts between carburetors sounds like a good idea.

    Well, I was thinking a 10L would have sufficed just fine; however, it was ~$40 more to go with the 15L that came with an additional two transducers, so I figured why not. Obviously I can't speak to the longevity of the unit yet, but it seems pretty nice. It's the Tek Motion 15L.

    Anyway, I made a little more progress this weekend, and I also ran into several more roadblocks.

    1. All three calipers were refreshed and rebuilt with new rubber after their cleaning. New pistons for the fronts, and I moved the best two remaining pistons to the rear. I installed new Galfer stainless steel lines in both the front (3-piece) and rear. I'm not totally thrilled with how the front lines are laying, so I'll probably have to play around with them. They're kind of a bitch to get setup correctly. I had to remove the front forks to get access.
    2020-02-22 16.52.39.jpg 2020-02-22 18.09.08.jpg

    2. I played parts swap with the four forks that I have in order to create two usable ones. I bought some really cheap ($4) seals on 4-into-1 that I drove in today because I expect to pull them right back out likely next year or whenever I'm going to paint the bike. I want it running first before I consider that though.
    2020-02-23 18.14.31.jpg
    3. I've got the side covers off because I was planning to do the valve adjustment today, but I got a little too hammered hosting people over for the Wilder/Fury fight last night, and I just don't have the mental fortitude to pull it off today. Anyway, I've found that the gaskets are not removing from either of the mating surfaces, and I'm wondering if there's a chemical route I should be taking because chiseling away with a flathead is going to end up damaging the surfaces too much.
    2020-02-23 18.14.08.jpg 2020-02-23 18.07.14.jpg

    I've also got to figure out where to buy valve cover gaskets for a 1984. I've got 3 gaskets that will fit an 86! But that doesn't help me at all because it's a different friggen gasket. Ugh.
     
  19. raYzerman

    raYzerman Insider

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    Nice progress! There is such a thing as Permatex Gasket Remover, apply and leave it sit for a while. You may have to do it more than once. Try using a small brass or wire brush to get the last bits off, maybe soaked with a little mineral spirits/kerosene. I have a stiff chisel type gasket scraper, but it either has to be really sharp to shave or a bit dull to "push" of course without digging into the aluminum.
     
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  20. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    I'm going to pick some of that up and give it a shot! This is some of the most stubborn gasket material I've come across, so some chemical advantage in removing it would be very welcome. My plastic blade isn't accomplishing anything yet.
     
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