Orwell's Interceptor

Discussion in '1st & 2nd Generation 1983-1989' started by Colddevil, Mar 7, 2021.

  1. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    I mentioned in my other post that I'd begun working on my buddy's 1984 VF500F. He purchased it last year nonrunning, and we went and picked it up. The carburetor was completely in bits rolling around in a box, and we're not really sure when it was last running. Could be a few years, could be a decade. The tires are 14th week of 2008. Guessing someone took the carburetor apart and just decided to move on. This thing is just making me crack up every time I see a post on reddit/youtube/whatever about "Is a VF500 a good first bike?".

    SawsiBike.jpg

    Anyway, it's a bit of a basket case right now, and it's got some issues that are testing my limited mechanical and electrical intelligence. But I got it running. Actually, it surprised me how quickly it fired and well it sounded when I finally mustered up the nerve to hit the go-button. I was trying to tackle items that wouldn't cost much (if any) money at all before deciding if he (we) wanted to start throwing more money into it.

    Adjusted the valves, and everything looked pretty good under the covers. A couple tight valves, but the cam lobes all looked in good shape. I should have checked the journals, but I didn't. I actually reseated the carburetor with the old intake boots because I was impatient and it was a Sunday and I wanted to try to run the bike. Ended up installing new ones the next day when they arrived in the mail. I'm still not good at seating a V4 carburetor.

    A couple other things I've done is rebuild (new seals, boots) the front brake calipers and also the clutch slave cylinder. I've got new fork seals I haven't gotten to installing yet because I've gotten wrapped up in some other problems I've discovered...

    The first one is the weirdest electrical issue I've ever encountered. I'm stumped, and I've been stumped for the last 8 days. Before I fired the bike, the headlight worked. Since I've fired it, no headlight. Every check I've done indicates it should work. Grounding all seems correct. No issues on the fuse block--I swapped over the fuse block from my VF500F and no difference. Additionally, seemingly randomly the electricals on the left hand control (turn signals, horn) will decide to work or not work. But never the headlight. There's no issue with the actual headlight though since that works fine straight off the battery. My hypothesis is that there's an issue with the power delivery to the left hand controls from the right hand controls. I'm really not certain what to check next since I'm kind of shit at electronics. But I've been putting my new fancy multimeter to as much use as my pea brain is capable of, and I just can't figure it out. Something must have happened when I fired the bike. Hoping the answer comes to me in a dream. Or one of you tells me something obvious I'm missing.



    I think I nailed the bench sync on the carburetor pretty damn close (thank you for the tips on how to do this with the paper feeler). I had my vacuum gauges out yesterday when I realized the next big issue... I saw a puddle of coolant forming under the water pump. It wasn't coming from the drain plug--it was from the lower left of the pump itself. I happened to have a new o-ring from a gasket kit and decided to see if replacing it might rectify the issue. I also have a really good looking spare water pump of unknown origin (I honestly can't remember where it came from).

    CoolantLeak.jpeg

    I just started laughing to myself when I read the manual on how to pull the water pump. Not that I even needed to pull the whole pump--just the cover. It should have been four bolts after you remove the clutch cover! Instead, you're removing two of the three engine thru bolts and jacking the engine up and removing the left side subframe all because the friggen kickstand mount blocks access to the last 8mm bolt on the water pump. .... whatever. Anyway, I put the new o-ring in. When I finished it was about 8:15pm tonight and probably too inconsiderate to the neighbors to start idling the bike even though I want to know if the fix is going to work or if I'll have to do it again and swap in the new water pump.

    waterPumpOnBike.jpeg

    waterPumpOnBike2.jpeg

    Another major item of concern is the fact that I cannot get the left side crank case cover off. The clutch cover was a pain, the water pump was really tough, but the crank case cover... That thing is basically glued on. I tried driving a razor inbetween the cover and the engine and the razor snapped. It's really, really stuck. Luckily I don't think I need to get under there anytime soon. For the valve adjustment I just put it into 6th and spun the rear wheel to move the pistons. But I'd still like to be able to get it open at some point. I'll probably try again after running the bike to nice and hot and maybe that'll soften up whatever is gluing the damn crank case to the engine.

    It's pretty ratty and rusted in a lot of spots, but I think I can clean quite a bit of it up. It's too cold to paint anything right now. This is absolutely never going to be a showbike, but we might be able to make it into a decent runner. It already had the vacuum-operation of the petcock deleted too! Haven't ran it with the tank on yet, but the tank looks really good inside corrosion-wise. Also I took the horn off and haven't put it back on yet because it just gets in the way and doesn't make enough noise to be considered anything more than a cute ornament.

    I got my VF500F fired today (hadn't fired it since last year when I lost fuel delivery on the freeway and needed rescue) and can't believe how much quieter the stock exhaust is than my Vance and Hines, lol. The stock exhaust is much more sophisticated, noble, and refined-sounding... but my God it made me appreciate the V&H that much more.

    So I'm now balancing this bike with a few other projects. Namely, prepping my SV650 for a year worth of track days (why did I wait so long?!). Also the running tail lights on my VF500F stopped working after I put the fuse block in after swapping it over to test my buddy's. Because, why wouldn't I introduce more electrical gremlins into my life? I love electrical puzzles. They're my favorite. Also my truck's water pump just started leaking.

    So anyway, on the docket for this VF500F is:
    • Figure out which of Isaac Asimov's ghosts in the machine I need to bribe to get the headlight on this bike to work. This likely involves buying new right hand (maybe left?) controls since I just don't know what to test on the existing controls.
    • Run the bike to determine whether or not my new O-Ring in the water pump resolved the leak. It didn't leak when standing, only under pressure. If it doesn't work, swap in the other pump I've got. If that doesn't work, leave the bike at the end of the driveway and tell my buddy my house got robbed and they must have targeted his specific bike for the good condition gas tank. And that's all they took.
    • Fork seals. If the circlips that hold the seals down aren't rusted through, should be pretty easy. I was thinking to just run Maxima 10W because that's what I have excess of in the house.
    • Rear brake. Haven't touched the rear brake/caliper yet. Figure I'll just disassemble and clean it. Hasn't been high priority yet.
    A few more of the things I'm going to recommend be done before it gets ridden: New tires and steel braided brake lines up front. I don't want to explain to his wife that his life was ruined because of a rubber failure.

    It's funny. All of this started because I didn't like my kitchen sink. He was replacing his, and I liked the one that he was replacing. So I told him if he put that sink into my kitchen I would try to get this bike road-worthy. Because he knew what he was doing, we had that new sink in in like 3 hours. It's definitely going to take me a few more than 3 hours to get this bike roadworthy. But as frustrated as I get... as many Japanese engineers I curse... as many hammers as I throw (I had a weak moment changing the valve shims on my SV)... I will always take wrenching on motorcycles over housework. I replaced a pneumatic doorstop earlier today and wanted to die it was so boring.

    sink.jpg

    *Edit - and chain and sprockets. Forgot to mention it needs those too.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
  2. shields17

    shields17 New Member

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    Nice work! Good to see another of these bikes getting saved - hopefully doesn't cause you too many headaches along the way... I'll be following along.

    I'm also useless with electrics but had some intermittent light issues that were solved by cleaning out some pretty gummed up 9-pin connecters some contact cleaner. I think the one that solved mine in the end was the connection from the ignition switch.

    You can confirm/rule out the switches being bad by checking you have the correct continuity at each switches 9 pin block too.
     
  3. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    I think I'm going to try ordering a can of Deoxit contact cleaner. Pricey stuff, but I keep coming across it as supposedly the best when researching contact cleaners.

    I'm guessing you're right that it's an issue with one of the connectors. It was just strange that the headlight stopped working when the bike was fired, but it worked prior to that. It's what led me to believe I must have fried something.
     
  4. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    I don't have time until lunch to read the whole post. Good job so far though.

    Have you tried pulling the starter button out? Not removing it, but grabbing it with your fingers to pull it fully "out". That early design is weak and they will often stay slightly depressed: Not enough to engage starter, but enough to kill headlight.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2021
  5. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    No--I didn't even know that I needed to consider that. That would jive with why the headlight died as soon as I hit the starter button though.

    I'll get to testing that out after work for sure. Thanks for the direction.
     
  6. Sawsi

    Sawsi New Member

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    I just want to say I am very lucky to have a friend help me like this! I am much less mechanically inclined than Colddevil is so its a blessing no doubt. He is also better at this than he says!

    Either way it is nice to be back in the VFR gang after selling my high school 86 vf500f and my 04 VFR800. Its fun to think of possibly riding this summer with Colddevil on our classics.

    PS: I look bald and fat in that picture. Must be all the house projects and plumbing that have done it. Or the two kids. Getting old is fun!
     
  7. straycat

    straycat Member

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    Id spray some contact cleaner in the headlight switch.

    In the 86 VF500 I had the headlight just stopped working one day and it was the switch. bit of contact cleaner and bingo, it worked again
     
  8. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    You know.. I really wanted to not have "Colddevil" be my name on here considering I created that back in high school because it was my Counterstrike name and I was an edgy kid then, haha. But I also didn't want to give up that "Registered in 2008" accompanied with "New Member" because it cracks me up.

    I'm not mechanically inclined. I've just got you tricked into thinking so. The truth is I just have more time to throw hammers because I don't have kids.

    Excellent--thanks for the advice. I'll have some Deoxit contact cleaner and a terminal cleaner (for the 9/6 pin connectors shields17 mentioned) on Wednesday, and I'll give that a shot. It's actually quite comforting to know that this is an issue that other people have run into. I was certain I fried something when I started the bike.
     
  9. Waylander

    Waylander New Member

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    He would certainly not be the first person a rubber failure has ruined their lives


    VF1000F2 a work in progress
     
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  10. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    By the way... you nailed it. I never even considered that the return of the starter button could have been the culprit. Thank you!

    2021-03-09 17.45.39.jpg
     
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  11. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Got one of the two fork seals replaced. The reason that's noteworthy is that it was quite a smooth process--quite a bit different than my own bike's that took months because the circlips had rusted through and couldn't be removed. Should have the other one replaced later today *knock on wood*, and then we're one step closer to roadworthy.

    Does anyone know what the fork oil height on these forks should be? At least a baseline measurement? I figured it was just a failing of the Clymer manual, but I don't see a height referenced in the FSM either. Only 335ccLeft/320ccRight volume listed. It seemed like quite a big air gap. Maybe that's just how they're designed. I think I'd read previously on here that adding air pressure only caused issues so I just never have.

    I'm going to go by the book on these with the volumes listed in the manual. Just curious what other people run on air gap and air pressure.

    forkOilHeight.JPG

    hmmm... maybe I shouldn't have put 15W Maxima in if the manual calls for ATF... well, too bad. That's what I have on hand.
     
  12. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    I ran the bike for ~20 minutes yesterday checking for coolant leaks and whatnot. I believe the new O-Ring in the water pump has resolved that issue. That's good news.

    Realistically, I don't think I could have asked for a better bench sync. Thank you for the tips in the past about using a paper gasket as a feeler gauge. It ain't perfect, but I'm not ready to be hurt again by sync screw #2, so I think this is how it will stay for a while.

    2021-03-14 15.15.42.jpg

    Fitted the fuel tank and verified the fuel pump and petcock worked as expected. At least on reserve it did. Getting close to being able to hopefully take it around the block soon. Only other major item I can really address before having to start pumping money into it is rear caliper disassembly and cleaning.

    2021-03-14 18.04.17.jpg
     
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  13. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    15wt is a bit too heavy imo. It will be harsh. 10 is about the sweet spot on stock damper rod forks on the 500. Sometimes I mix up a 8 to 9.

    Recommend going to RaceTech website and using their fork oil height. No air pressure if the you set the fork oil height properly. You can always drain off a little if you find the bottoming-out resistance (fork oil height) is a bit too much.

    Set oil height with springs out, fully compressed, after "cycling" them a few times.
     
  14. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Ahhh alright. Crap. Well, I suppose I can use this as a learning experience. I think both this bike and my bike are setup similarly besides the fork oil and spacer (front forks, blown stock rear shock), so I can use this as a learning experience once they're moving. I might be able to actually feel the difference between 15W at 10W by jumping from one to the other.

    I suppose it would be a good opportunity to swap out the 15W for 10W fluid when we get to putting on new tires. This would also be the right time to measure sag and cut spacers accordingly. On the RaceTech website I'm seeing a generic 120mm-160mm height given--which is around what I was expecting. My eyeballs must have been off though because the airgap on the manual-suggested volumes looked like 6" or more.

    Thanks again for the help.
     
  15. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Starting to wish I would have just learned how to install a kitchen sink instead of taking on this project. ... kidding. Still going at it weekend warrior amateur style. Splitting time between the VF500F and the SV650 for now. Weather is finally nice enough that I've been able to get a few rides in.

    I thought I was ready to finally take a test ride on the Interceptor, but I'd been noticing torn o-rings all over my basement floor. When I went to give the chain a little gear oil, I figured out where they were coming from. The chain was just shooting them out, and it is totally knackered. No worries because the chain was something I needed to replace anyway, so let's just go ahead and do the chain and both sprockets while we're at it. Well, my dumbass somehow ordered a 100 link chain for a bike that needs 108 links. To be fair, the description said "VF500F stock length", but I really don't have anyone to blame other than myself. I got drunk later that night and left a 1-star review though. Kind of feel bad about that. Anyone need a 100 link 530 chain? idk what the hell I'm going to do with it. Got a gold 530 RK on the way because why not. Bling it up.

    Anyway, while I was swapping the sprockets (which really didn't need to be swapped), I let the rust on the exhaust collector and headers get the best of me. I'm not trying to worry about cosmetics before I know we've got a well-running bike, but access wasn't going to get any easier. So I cranked DMX and started breaking apart the 37 years' worth of rust and dropped the exhaust. A fair amount of swearing and a little bit of blood, but I was expecting worse given the amount of rust.
    • Sidenote--holy shit the stock exhaust collector is heavy!
    I'm still not totally sold on VHT flameproof paint if you're going for a head-turner, but this should provide a good bit of protection and stop the corrosion for now. I soaked the headers, collector box, and kickstand in evapo-rust for a day and then went after them with a wire wheel. It's not perfect, but it's definitely better. Rattlecan primer and topcoat VHT on the exhaust parts, rattlecan enamel on the centerstand and kickstand. I was also curious how it would do on plastic so I did the chain guard as well since I had nothing to lose with how sun-faded it was. I bet I used 150 blue shop towels trying to pull off road grime with Simple Green, and it's still filthy.

    2021-04-11 22.43.46.jpg

    2021-04-11 21.45.40.jpg

    It's a 10 foot paint job. Made worse by the manhandling required to remount the exhaust pieces before I could do an on-bike cure. I'll hit it with some touch-up and then idle-cure it soon.

    I ended up using the ebay centerstand I purchased instead of trying to deal with the one that was on the bike. I'd originally ordered this centerstand to fit to my own VF500F; however, I realized I'm never actually going to figure out how to fit a bump stop to the V&H exhaust, so why not just save myself the time trying to save this rust pile.

    2021-04-11 21.22.01.jpg

    I rebuilt the rear caliper while I was back there as well. Re-bled the front brakes, and we've got a stiff lever on both front and rear. So that's good news.

    Lastly, I realized I need somebody to talk me off a ledge when am trying to fit a chain and see that I ordered one that's way too short. So now that I've got a supervisor on the project, I expect the bike to be ready to rock and roll very soon (fingers crossed!).

    2021-04-11 21.58.37.jpg

    Once I've got a new chain on, I think we'll be able to find out if it's running right. Onward and upward.
     
  16. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    Wow, good job!

    You should have ordered a long chain and used the extra length with an additional master link to make another chain for something else. Eveything is rivet link these days anyway, no risk.

    This is obviously using the same brands of chain.
     
  17. Captain 80s

    Captain 80s Member

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    On the center stand with the full exhaust: Before I had a lift, I took an extra stand and cut the top of the mount loops out to make a saddle. Then installed the collars and bolts on the bike. When needed, slide the stand into position and lever it up. It's a little tricky by yourself, but is doable. You could probably come up with a short bungie system to hold it in place to help. Works pretty damn good for simple maintenance items.
     
  18. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    This.. this is what a smarter person than me would have done. Whenever I do the chain and sprockets on my yellow VF, I'll definitely order a longer chain so I'll have an extra. Problem is I'll probably be holding onto that unused chain for a decade or more since I can't think of anything else I've got (or any friends have) that use a 530 anymore. Great suggestion though.

    I think I get what you mean. It's actually not too much of a nuisance to get it up on the harbor freight swingarm stand, but there's usually a fair amount of lifting the bike and re-seating it which can get dicey to allow the rear wheel to spin without the sprocket nuts hitting. It's not a huge issue--I'm just a big fan of centerstands. Since it's unlikely that I'll be taking the VF on any long trips though, it would be purely a luxury and unnecessary.

    Ironically, the swingarm stand does not work with the stock exhaust. The mufflers are way too big and interfere with it. I really wish I would have weighed the stock exhaust collector box when I had it off the bike! I was just laughing at how heavy the thing is.

    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll order an equivalent but longer chain when I finally pony up and order a new rear shock and knock it all out an once.
     
  19. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    Anybody got a recommendation on a good chain breaking/riveting tool? My cheap one is pretty much toast at this point, and it's something I'm using enough that I'd actually like to replace it with a decent one that'll last a while.

    At long last I finally got a chain on. Kind of upset at myself because I over-pressed the plate by about 0.3mm getting distracted. It looks to be moving fine, but realistically I should probably grind it off and try it again. Went with an RK 530 X-Ring because it's neat.

    I can't believe how heavy all the stock exhaust components are, hah.

    2021-04-24 12.00.52.jpg

    2021-04-24 12.02.29.jpg

    Starting to get to rideable. Might get there this weekend and take it once around the block to see if there is anything glaringly obvious I've overlooked. Pictures make it look a lot better than it does in person, but at least the left side doesn't slap you in the face with rust. The right side is a bit of a different story I'll try to address later.
     
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  20. Colddevil

    Colddevil New Member

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    I did the cure cycle on the VHT high temp paint of 10/20/30 minute idle cycles. This allowed me to also (finally) see that the thermometer, thermostat, and radiator fan are working correctly. I hadn't gotten it hot enough yet to see everything working. Felt comfortable enough to put some of the body work back on. Pretty sure the side fairings are at my buddy's house, but everything else looking good so far.

    That puddle of condensation beneath the mufflers is definitely freaking my beans because I kept thinking it was the coolant pump leaking since I replaced that gasket. But it's just water, thankfully.

    If I'm feeling adventurous I'll ride over and grab the fairings and, more importantly, license plate tomorrow. Maybe give it a spin around the neighborhood. Don't feel comfortable taking it any further than that though. I want to see if the clutch feels right or if I need to bleed it. Well, that and literally everything else.

    2021-04-24 17.11.47.jpg
     
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