Planning a refresh/rebuild on a '99

Discussion in '5th Generation 1998-2001' started by w3bdevil, Aug 27, 2019.

  1. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    I've now been driving my "new" 5th gen for a few months and I'm planning to do a bit more than regular maintenance the coming winter. I've read through a ton of related threads including GreginDenver's excellent sticky and I've come to the conclusion that even though mine is low mileage, 20 years is still 20 years and I want to at least check/replace some seals and gaskets and give it a good cleaning once I'm taking it apart anyway.

    There is nothing actually wrong with the bike although I've never ridden it new so what do I know :) One thing I have noticed is the brakes. According to previous owner the fluids have been changed once every two years but still the front brake feels a bit spongy especially when driven a bit harder on track. Rear brake lever is quite stiff but works. Clutch engages very late, at the end of the movement that is, but doesn't slip and otherwise works ok. To my knowledge the electrics are original but there is a small computer fan on the RR.

    The point of this thread is basically to see if there are some things I've missed that I'd need to take a look at while doing all this. I'll list below what I've thought and gathered from other threads. The bike has around 40k km / 25k miles on the clock.

    Brakes
    - new brake lines, going with stainless steel
    - taking apart and cleaning all brake calipers and rebuilding with new seals
    - the same for front master, front slave and rear master cylinders
    - even though rotors are not alarmingly worn, I'll go and replace them too
    - new brake pads and fluid obviously

    Clutch
    - same as for brakes, take apart / clean / rebuild
    - I'll probably change the springs for a bit heavier EBC ones
    - slipper clutch would be nice but they're prohibitively expensive

    Electrics
    - I've purchased a VFRNess so installing that
    - mosfet-type RR
    - checking and cleaning connections

    Suspension
    - doing something for the soft front, thinking Andreani Misano cartridges currently
    - rear already has a Wilbers shock so only adjustment needed there

    Other stuff while I'm at it
    - new coolant hoses
    - new thermostat and o-rings
    - maybe cleaning and coating the exhaust headers
    - having injectors serviced
    - starter valve sync
    - new spark plugs

    Maybe
    - PCV
    - Pazzo/ASV levers
    - Helibars
    - do the flapper/snorkel/PAIR valve mods make sense on a '99?

    Feel free to comment if there is something else that would make sense to check/fix while I have the bike apart.
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2019
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  2. adk_finn

    adk_finn New Member

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    Some thoughts/comments:

    Brakes
    - new brake lines, going with stainless steel
    I find this worthwhile and used Goodridge with good results.

    - taking apart and cleaning all brake calipers and rebuilding with new seals
    Not sure if you have a favorite parts house but Partzilla.com has been good for me (no idea for places outside of the US)

    - the same for front master, front slave and rear master cylinders
    - even though rotors are not alarmingly worn, I'll go and replace them too
    - new brake pads and fluid obviously

    I agree that if you are draining all your fluid to do the calipers then it makes a lot of sense to replace the three master cylinders, all lines, etc.


    Clutch
    - same as for brakes, take apart / clean / rebuild
    I used Goodridge for this line, factory parts for the master and slave rebuild.

    - probably not touching the plates or springs at this time
    - slipper clutch would be nice but they're prohibitively expensive

    Electrics
    - I've purchased a VFRNess so installing that
    if you are going to install a Mosfet R/R I would wire it straight to the battery and skip the VFRNess if I were you (see roadstercycle.com for reference, Jack also sells mosfet R/R's.)

    - mosfet-type RR
    - checking and cleaning connections
    This is one of those simple things that gets overlooked. But spending an hour to examine, clean, and treat all your grounds and connections with Oxgard or dielectric paste is more than worth it.

    Suspension
    - doing something for the soft front, thinking Andreani Misano cartridges currently
    - rear already has a Wilbers shock so only adjustment needed there

    Other stuff while I'm at it
    - new coolant hoses
    - new thermostat and o-rings
    - maybe cleaning and coating the exhaust headers
    - having injectors serviced
    - starter valve sync

    T-stat, o-rings, new coolant hoses, injector service are all the same labor so it makes to do them all at once. I'd also suggest PAIR valve delete with block-off plates (see @mello dude for a set), checking your coils, replacing plugs, etc while you have it all torn down. This is also a good time to consider checking your valves since you have it this far torn apart.

    If you pull the header to coat it I would advise against VHT Flameproof. I've used it a couple of times with less than satisfactory results.

    Starter valve sync should be last after injectors/etc. But you don't need to have the bike torn down for this procedure, fyi.



    Maybe
    - PCV
    Skip the PCV, look for a good used PCIII or buy one NOS. The 'V' does not seem to play well with 5th Gens.

    - Pazzo/ASV levers
    - Helibars
    - do the flapper/snorkel/PAIR valve mods make sense on a '99?
    flapper/snorkel is fine, I'd leave it alone unless you are going to really mod the airbox/intake/trumpets etc a la @Mohawk on VFRD
    PAIR mod eliminated the popping on decel with my aftermarket exhaust, I would do it again.

    Here is a link to my refurb - https://www.vfrdiscussion.com/index.php?/forums/topic/87690-adkfinns-5th-gen-20yr-refresh/
    I don't break any new ground but you might find the thread useful, HTH.
     
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  3. GreginDenver

    GreginDenver New Member

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    I agree with your philosophy, a 20 year old bike is a 20 year old bike.

    It sounds like your point of view is the same as mine: I wanted to own a 5th Gen VFR because I recognize it as being among the best motorcycles Honda has ever produced, and if I was going to own this bike I certainly wasn't going to settle for anything less than knowing/feeling what the bike was like when it was new, I just can't bear the idea of riding around on a 20 year old bike with lots of deferred or ignored long-term maintenance issues.

    This worked out for me, it's been a very satisfying experience (so good that I ended up buying and refurbishing a 2nd 5th Gen VFR that I could keep in Huntsville Alabama where I spend a lot of time).

    I salute your maintenance and upgrade efforts.
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2019
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  4. jfrahm

    jfrahm New Member

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    Below is just my opinion

    Brakes
    - new brake lines, going with stainless steel
    Waste of money IMO on a (mostly) street bike, I'd try a good pressure bleed first but to each their own.
    - taking apart and cleaning all brake calipers and rebuilding with new seals
    Cleaning is good, OEM seals are sealing, nothing to gain by replacing. Taking apart IMO is overkill unless something is stuck.
    - the same for front master, front slave and rear master cylinders
    Clean yes, rebuild if there is a lot of corrosion. The little windows are cheap also if they are cloudy. Pump the secondary master with a small jack to flush and bleed that circuit.
    - even though rotors are not alarmingly worn, I'll go and replace them too
    Why? Just a waste of money and energy if they are not excessively worn. It's rare to wear out rotors on the street.
    - new brake pads and fluid obviously

    Clutch
    Clutch is very sensitive to bleeding, clean and pressure bleed before overhauling. Clean the master, slave and the shaft. The clutch is probably OK. Bleed at the upper banjo bolt too. Tie the lever down for a good 30 min, then pop fluid out at the upper banjo. Release, tie down again, repeat at the slave. Be ready for the mess.
    - same as for brakes, take apart / clean / rebuild
    - probably not touching the plates or springs at this time
    - slipper clutch would be nice but they're prohibitively expensive

    Electrics
    - I've purchased a VFRNess so installing that
    - mosfet-type RR
    - checking and cleaning connections
    This is all good, maybe add a trickle charger connector. I went with a used RR from an FZ-09 or the like, far cheaper than new.

    Suspension
    - doing something for the soft front, thinking Andreani Misano cartridges currently
    - rear already has a Wilbers shock so only adjustment needed there

    Other stuff while I'm at it
    - new coolant hoses
    Most of these appear to me to not need replacing in the timescale of 30 years. Maybe some small ones. I have seen pics of some in bad shape though, not sure how people manage that, nail them to the barn roof?
    - new thermostat and o-rings
    - maybe cleaning and coating the exhaust headers
    - having injectors serviced
    - starter valve sync

    Maybe
    - PCV
    - Pazzo/ASV levers
    - Helibars
    - do the flapper/snorkel/PAIR valve mods make sense on a '99?
     
  5. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    Thanks for the input. You read my mind on the brake lines, I just ordered Goodridge ones. US is not that good source for parts since shipping is somewhat costly and we have to pay import fees plus taxes. Luckily there are some decent sources in UK and Germany and I also have a local mechanic who can supply me with Honda OEM parts if needed. Definitely going to replace the spark plugs, I'll add that to my list. Valves have been checked/adjusted at around 28k km / 17k miles but I could always do a check anyway. For the headers I was thinking of sandblasting and some kind of ceramic coating. There's stuff from Tech Line that you don't necessarily have to bake in oven and it can be sprayed on with a normal spray gun. About the PCV according to what I've read it should work ok on '98-'99 and has produced problems with '00-'01, go figure...

    Reading through your refurb thread, good stuff!
     
  6. Rio800

    Rio800 New Member

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    Guys sorry for the noob questions but ive just bought a 98 in mint condition..
    What is a mosfet r/r, vfrness and pcv and whats to be gained.
    Please dont laugh...
     
  7. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    Thanks for the opinion and especially for the clutch bleeding tips. I'll try to explain some of my choices a bit. First of all this is a hobby and at least for me part of the fun lies in getting the bike in as good shape as I can instead of just keeping it running with minimum effort and cost. Sometimes this can and most likely will end up in over-engineering and replacing parts that might have had still some usable life left. Also the engineer in me likes to sometimes take things apart just to see how they work. Although it's mostly a street bike I will take it to the track more often in the coming seasons (we just got a new MotoGP track here in Finland, first time since 1982) so having the suspension and brakes in top condition is important for me.
     
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  8. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    Others please correct me if I'm talking rubbish here. Mosfet is a type of semiconductor. Important part here is that this type of R/R (or regulator/rectifier) stays cooler and depending on implementation can possibly handle more current than the stock one. VFRNess is a "Heavy Duty RR harness for Honda VFR 1998-1999 VFR, helps prevent the OEM 30 amp fuse melting problem, as well as provide a durable 8 Gauge path for the charging system to the battery." Straight quote from their website https://www.wiremybike.com/product_info.php?products_id=272
    PCV = Power Commander V, a fuel injection module that plugs into the existing wiring harness. With that you can adjust the fuel injection of your bike to for example richer if it runs lean with the stock control unit.
     
  9. adk_finn

    adk_finn New Member

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    Regulator/Rectifier - the weak spot on 5th Gens (relevant for 6th Gens along with what seems to be more Stators than the 5th) roadstercycle.com is a good place to start for replacement if you need one. Nothing to be gained if yours is working save for piece of mind. 'The Drill' is good place to start if yours is untested or you are curious ( https://vfrworld.com/threads/the-drill.52131/ ). The factory service manual ( https://www.vfrdiscussion.com/index...onda-vfr-service-manual-optimized-bookmarked/ ) can help explain the connection and relation of this part on your bike also.

    VFRNess - A partial wiring solution to help improve the connection of the factory R/R to the battery and ground. This becomes a bit irrelevant if you wire your new MOSFET R/R directly to the battery a la Roadstercycle.com . The factory R/R is commonly referred to a 'shunt' type unit, as opposed to the more efficient and reliable MOSFET units a lot of people use as a replacement (which can also be found on more modern bikes as OEM).

    Shunt - https://www.electronics-notes.com/a...ronics/linear-psu-shunt-regulator-circuit.php
    MOSFET - https://mosfet-regulator.com/79_how-does-a-mosfet-regulator-work.html

    The 'why' from Rick's ( I wouldn't buy here, fyi): https://ricksmotorsportelectrics.com/blog/why-mosfet/

    PCV - Power Commander V - http://www.powercommander.com/powercommander_ex/
     
  10. adk_finn

    adk_finn New Member

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    These comments resonate with me and I am sure @GreginDenver feels the same. Wrenching, learning, tinkering, etc. is half the fun of owning motorcycles. Researching/sourcing/upgrading makes for a lot of cheap, constructive, healthy evenings for me compared to a night out at the pub. Given that, I don't purely count costs based on a total spent/invested in a solely objective manner.
     
  11. jfrahm

    jfrahm New Member

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    I agree up to a point, I am sure I have replaced a dozen fuel filters that did not need replacing. Many sets of brake pads that could have gone on for years and year. However there
    Money is fungible and could be used for good vs. to buy an unneeded part to replace something perfectly good. To me that's like throwing out the salt and sugar in my cupboard and buying new. Donate, pay down debt or invest and retired a few days earlier.
    An engineer might understand the value of getting reasonable life out of a part, plus there is also the possibility that a new part is sub-standard or some other issue creeps in due to the replacement.

    Regarding the brake rotors, mine are at 4.3mm at 48K miles. This is down from 4.5mm and with a wear limit of 3.5mm. Even if I say the limit is 4.0mm, they'll probably outlast the chassis. Replacing them just means time and money spent, possibly some new issue, zero improvement. If the good fairy came to me and said they could change my brake rotors for new I'd say keep your wand in your pocket, more chance of a new part being bunk than these wearing out or failing in the life of the chassis.

    If I spent $100 on un-needed rotors I could have invested that money and it'd buy me a pint every year.

    But, to each their own.
    -Joel.
     
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  12. marriedman

    marriedman New Member

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    Wow, it's rare to see such a quality thread. Good questions and replies without cantankerous replies! @w3bdevil - good on you for wrenching on a bike and restoring it to glory. @jfrahm makes some very good points on doing/replacing things unecessarily, but I know the feeling of confidence that knowing the history of parts and labor can bring.

    Spongy/weak brakes were one reason I moved on to the newer generations of VFR. Believe me though, if I knew then what I know now I would still be riding that 5th gen. God I miss it. Braided brake lines are nice, I wouldn't hesitate replacing 20 year old rubber lines. If you are wanting more bite on the brakes and are already considering replacing the rotors, wave rotors and sintered pads coupled with the stainless lines should be a noticeable difference.

    I will echo the above statements, you don't need the VFRness if you do your charging system right. @mello dude has tons of posts about how to do it. I would also recommend putting in a fuse block so that you can have just the one connection to the battery and then add a pigtail charger, 12v charger port, switched power, etc...
     
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  13. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    Mine are at 4.0mm after ~25k miles so half way through already. I don't actually know what kind of pads the previous owner has used. Anyone know whether OEM pads are sintered and are OEM rotors ok with sintered pads?

    I already bought a VFRNess but then again, if I end up doing the electrics without it I can always sell it forward. The bike already has a fuse block by the previous owner and also a USB charging port, mini 12V port and a voltmeter. Also there is an amber/green light embedded in the dash which shows whether the system is charging or discharging.
     
  14. jfrahm

    jfrahm New Member

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    OEM pads appear to be sintered to me, but that's just a manufacturing process. They look like a metal-and-other-stuff composite material which probably had to be sintered together. I've run EBC HH on stock rotors on several bikes, no problems. EBC HH sintered pads seemed a bit more grindy to me than stock Honda pads, probably more aggressive material.
     
  15. VFRIRL

    VFRIRL New Member

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    My bikes charging system is bone stock, don't think I'll mess with it unless it's causing problems.
     
  16. w3bdevil

    w3bdevil New Member

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    Mine too, or at least that's the info I got when I bought it. It's not causing any problems yet, as in the bike runs and battery is not drained, but my voltmeter only shows slightly over 13V (might also be partly wiring issue leading to voltage drop) and the charging light sometimes flickers from green to amber to indicate that the system is not always charging properly. So, to be sure I want to at least check all the wiring and connections.
     
  17. VFRIRL

    VFRIRL New Member

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    Good idea to check it out then, I keep the bike on a trickle charger from time to time so that probably helps things, if I was planning say a long European trip I'd get her fully checked out beforehand.
     
  18. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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    If you are looking to get the best from the charging system I can strongly recommend looking at the 3P connector between the alternator and RR which is exposed to getting wet and can then start to corrode. My personal view is that this might be the root of many VFR charging system failures: the corrosion leads to resistance leads to heat leads to melting leads to the conductors touching. A simple fix is to cut this connector out and solder the wires then cover with heat shrink.

    A great upgrade for the gearbox is the FactoryPro shift star, this makes for a much more satisfying gearchange action and I highly recommend it.

    I wouldn't bother touching the discs unless they were too thin or warped, but I would be servicing the bearings especially the shock linkages, and replacing the cush drive rubbers and possible the fork bushings, these are wear items that will make a bike feel a bit sloppy. And don't forget to clean/lube the sliding pins for the brakes.
     
  19. VFRIRL

    VFRIRL New Member

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    Would you have a pic of that connector between the alternator and the RR Terry?
     
  20. Terry Smith

    Terry Smith Member

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    Here we are, this is the area below th seat to the left side, with the tail cowl removed. The "offending" connector is the lowest one with the 3 yellow wires. Spray from the back wheel finds its way into the connectors and causes corrosion.
    upload_2019-9-4_11-28-38.png
     
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