Misc. Maintenance Tips

Beemerphile

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Here are a few things I decided to document from my last maintenance session. Hopefully some of it will prove helpful. I don't intend to defend or debate any of it - it is simply how I do it.

I use 10W-30 Amsoil motorcycle oil. There are lots of good motorcycle oils, so I am not selling anything here. I do believe that 10W-30 is a better choice than 10W-40 for this bike in almost all weather situations. Some folks think that heavier oils give better protection, but what really matters is what weight the engine has been designed for. When a range is given, I run the light end of the range because the cold start-up lubrication is better and that is where lots of wear occurs. On a very high miles engine, I might use the heavier end of the range.

DSC05003-M.jpg

There are lots of good filters and more than a few bad ones as well. You can save yourself the worry of the specifics (like anti-drainback valves, bypass pressure, etc.) by sticking with the Honda OEM filter. I use those, but I also use Purolator and Amsoil filters. This is the Purolator PL14610. It is a bit longer than the stock filter but fits well enough behind the awesome Hondabikepro bash plate...

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I do valve adjustments at 10,000 miles. I have no basis for that other than it seems to work. For simplicity, all of my machines (cars and bikes) get a minor service at 5,000 miles and a major service at 10,000 miles. Most of the BMW's spec a 6,000 service interval and the Honda specs an 8,000 mile interval, so I am inside of both of them with my intervals. I am sure that the specified intervals are fine, but I like to be able to look at the odometer on any of them and know what's coming up.

With the NC, the first step of valve adjustment is to get the radiator out of the way. I take the opportunity to clean it inside and out and also to completely refresh the coolant. I always use fresh washers. This is the 90463-ML7-000 washer for the coolant drain plug on the block. The service manual does not spec the torque, so I use 72 inch-lbs (repeat INCH) for 6mm steel hex bolts in aluminum threads. I don't think anyone's feel is as accurate as a good calibrated torque wrench.

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You are in here anyway, why not remove and clean the overflow container? I see no sense in not taking the time to clean what you remove before it goes back on...

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When removing a radiator, reaching up in here to try to release the clips on the airbox drain and left spark plug wire as well as the electrical connector for the fan, is a bit tedious.

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When I don't feel like messing with it (usually) I just take off the three bolts that hold the fan to the radiator and remove the radiator with that stuff still attached to the motorcycle...

DSC05012-M.jpg

Then after I have washed the radiator inside and out, I reinstall the fan onto the radiator. It is not so hard to reattach the stuff as it is to remove it.

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Be sure to empty the drain hose for the airbox while you have easy access. There is usually not much there, but some oil carries over from the crankcase ventilation system.

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When adjusting the valves, I DO NOT remove the cam timing inspection plug. It is not easy to access and the torque by degree process is something to avoid. I can see why Honda gives this method as it will work in all cases - even if the rockers and cams have been removed, but on a normal valve adjustment none of that has happened. So, I leave it alone.

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Instead, I locate T1 and check for some clearance on the exhaust valves. If there is no clearance, I rotate the crankshaft counter-clockwise 360 degrees to T1 again and check for valve clearance. If I have some (any) clearance on at least one exhaust valve and one intake valve, then I am at the correct timing location.

DSC05020-M.jpg

There has been a lot of discussion about whether it "hurts" to spin an engine backwards. Whether it "hurts" or not, it is not recommended and I do not do it. The manual says "counter-clockwise" in all mentions of manually rotating the engine. Please start your own thread if you wish to refute this. When you turn the crank bolt, it helps to use a breaker bar instead of a ratchet. You should have the spark plugs out when you do this, and at a certain point in the engine rotation it will fall forward on the weight of the crankshaft counterweights. When the ratchet over-runs, you will lose your place in counting degrees of rotation. With a breaker bar, even if the crank follows through, the breaker bar handle will still be indexed with your turn. Once you have set the #1 (left) cylinder's valves, you need only move 270 degrees more to line up T2 for the #2 (right) cylinder.

DSC05021-M.jpg

When you reinstall the caps, Honda specs grease on the threads and oil on the o-rings. The torque spec is "very damned little" - 10Nm on the smaller inspection port and 15 Nm on the crank bolt port.

GENERAL NOTE: Don't confuse units between Nm and Ft-lb. If a torque is given in newton-meters and you mistakenly set the number in your torque wrench as ft-lbs., you will apply 35% too much torque to the fastener sometimes with very bad results. Also make sure that the stated thread conditions are adhered to. Examples: dry, oiled, anti-siezed, greased, with thread sealer, etc.
 
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Beemerphile

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When putting it all back together, a little silicone grease on the inside and outside of the spark plug jacket will make it easier to remove next time. You don't have to hit the electrical contact inside the boot, just the rubber that grips the porcelain. It might be what saves you from pulling the whole end off of the wire a couple of years from now.

Notes on the subject of spark plugs: I use the OEM Iridium plugs for longest life and good running. You should never have to gap an Iridium plug before use as they come pre-gapped when new. You can check the gap, but be careful because the thin Iridium tip is fragile. The gap will widen as the electrode and especially the ground strap erodes in use. If the gap ever becomes too large you should change the plug. Re-gapping ANY plug is dangerous because the ground strap (which you must bend to re-gap) becomes brittle from heat cycling. If the ground strap breaks off in operation it will likely scar the cylinder head and piston crown mightily before it finds the exit (if it ever does). It can also damage a valve seat on the way out. Don't risk it, even if your smart buddy on the interwebs has been doing it for years and says that all good professional mechanics do it as well. That is a good clue that he is making things up because nobody has ever separated the good professional mechanics from the bad ones and then polled the good ones on this (or any) question.

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Everybody knows the deal on these fragile bolts. 10 Nm is not much. Make sure that you have a low range torque wrench, because a big one turned down low is not likely to be accurate. If that is all you have, then forego the torque wrench and use a 1/4 inch ratchet gripped like a palm wrench. Then go out and buy yourself a low torque wrench. BTW, the metal side of the sealing washer goes towards the bolt head. This washer seals on both its ID against the bolt and its bottom face against the valve cover. Inspect both for damage, because you ain't gonna fix a leak by tightening it some more.

DSC05022-M.jpg

I use the Honda premixed coolant. There are others that will work fine, but again, if you use the OEM you don't have to be a junior chemist. Hell, I am a chemical engineer and I am still lazy enough to simply use the OEM coolant. The radiator stays squeaky clean at my change intervals. If you let the coolant get old, it can start plating out. Some chemicals plate out at the hot spots (the cooling jackets) and some at the cool spots (the radiator). Either way, the last thing you want is an insulation layer interfering with heat transfer. Well, second-to-last thing. Probably the last thing you want is a leak.

DSC05026-M.jpg

When you change the air filter element, you have to lift the center cover out of the way and open the battery compartment. You do not have to remove the two cables operating the frunk and the pillion seat.

DSC05033-M.jpg

However, if like many people, myself included, you found the area under the fake air ducts a neat place to mount electrical doo-dads, then all of those mounted to the center cover will have to be removed to lift it out of the way. I attacked this inconvenience by mounting the doo-dads using velcro. I just release them and let them fall out of the way...

DSC05030-M.jpg

Poof!

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Beemerphile

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Next up is brake bleeding. Every two years is probably adequate, but I do it annually. I like to use a vacuum bleeder, but the old squeeze and release method still works. The reservoir on this vacuum system is large enough that you can even change transmission fluid in a car/truck with it.

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Clean the reservoir before opening it. I find the screw heads always fill up with silt on the rear one, so I clean the heads out with a pick before attempting to open it.

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Then blow all the trash off to keep it out of the brake system...

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Honda suggests in the service manual to reattach the rear reservoir temporarily in a lower hole in the bracket. I don't find that this works too well because it is still tucked up under the side cover, so I bring it to the outside and attach it to the frame rail level and securely with a zip tie...

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Next comes fork fluid changing. I don't have much of significance to add to dduelin's fine write-up of how to do this. I have some urethane soft jaws for my vice that I use to hold the forks while I am working with them.

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I prop them up similarly for filling.

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I use the MotionPro tool for adjusting the level.

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My bike has RaceTech springs and Gold Valve emulators and the setup is a little different from stock. Where the manual calls for Honda SS-47 fluid at 104mm, RaceTech specs 15 weight BelRay at 120 mm. The buyer of the bike wanted lighter fluid, so I used Honda SS8 (10 weight) at his request. I did stick with RaceTech's 120mm guidance though. The fill measurement is taken with the springs out and the fork compressed. If you are using Gold Valves, they are "in" for the measurement. Also with Gold Valves, if the spacer is sticking out too far at reassembly, it is likely that the Gold Valve is not seated properly. The spring on the Gold Valve goes "up". It has been pointed out that weight doesn't mean much with fork oil and that is true. SS47 and SS8 are both "10 weight" but the SS47 is more viscous. In the end, it is whatever works to suit you. The same with the level. If you are having trouble with the front suspension bottoming out on you, you can add some fork fluid and make it more progressive. Take it up in 10mm increments until you get something you like. Fluid level only affects fork tuning in the final third or so of the travel. It won't do anything for "plushness".

Bombs away with the Gold Valve...

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Wcmike

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Would you happen to have any pictures of the old spark plugs? I've got a couple thousand miles less on mine and the plugs looked good to me when I did similar work last month. (But not as thorough.) It would be nice to compare with others before I buy new plugs.

Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk
 

DirtFlier

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Good tips! I agree about it not being necessary to remove the Cam Timing Inspection Cap. I took it off the first time I checked valve clearance and tight clearances to the frame tube make it a real bear to get off & on! :)
 

Beemerphile

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Would you happen to have any pictures of the old spark plugs? I've got a couple thousand miles less on mine and the plugs looked good to me when I did similar work last month. (But not as thorough.) It would be nice to compare with others before I buy new plugs.

Sent from my SM-T330NU using Tapatalk

I didn't take a picture, but they were clean lightly browned and within gap spec. They could have been re-used, and normally I would have, but it was my goal to give the bike to the new owner in the best condition that i could provide it in.

I added some spark plug guidance to my second post. Chances are they are fine if the gap is still within spec.
 

DirtFlier

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The appearance of spark plugs has so much to do with what the engine was doing when it was shut OFF. Few people, if any, do a clean "plug chop" before looking at their plugs!
 

Beemerphile

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The appearance of spark plugs has so much to do with what the engine was doing when it was shut OFF. Few people, if any, do a clean "plug chop" before looking at their plugs!

True. I have often done the clean pulls when setting up carburetors and such on a new motor. However, for purposes of deciding whether to change the plug or run it longer, everything you need to know is apparent when they are pulled during maintenance. Things like gap, build-up, erosion, oil fouling, signs of overheating, etc.
 

Grey1one

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Maybe this thread could be a "sticky", then it could be easily referenced/referred to when a question is asked about something that is already covered in it.
 

bigbird

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I can add another tip.
Instead of replacing the coolant drain plug copper washer, just anneal it and then re-use it.
But don't quench it after heating it.
 

RF52

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A point on motor oil. I used to be an independent Amsoil Dealer, and was able to get some decent inside information about motor oils through formal education, properly regulated government testing, and real life experience on motor oils, mainly Amsoil. Anyway, there are a lot of good full synthetic oils available, and I'd highly recommend using any name brand full synthetic of whatever variety suits your fancy, over using non-synthetic. However; having seen so much of what Amsoil offers, I'd recommend it over the others. Why? Several reasons: The other oils begin to break down not long after they're being used. So, when tested by govt standard methods, they're bran new and they all test pretty much the same, but once the heat and work is applied to the oils, that great protection erodes fairly quickly, although still acceptable, while the Amsoil protection won't fade for a very long long time. It holds up much longer at the peak of its performance than claimed, and I've seen this happen many times, which also means the service life is longer than stated. For motorcycles, they say 2xOEM. I go with that with confidence. The second reason is it's ability to cool an engine. Harley Davidson riders love Amsoil because the engines run so noticeably cooler that the heat from the exhaust manifold doesn't burn their legs as it would with other oils. It releases heat very quickly. Amsoil also won't thicken, creating a layer of oil on the case of the engine which acts as insulation, as other oils do. Third, Amsoil flows very easily and splatters much more than other engine oils which means it's easier on seals, and it also covers better. There are fewer hotspots in engines because the oil gets in to more areas that might have normally seen less oil coverage. It doesn't pressurize hoses as much as other oils, meaning seals last longer in automatic transmissions (Amsoil ATF is available, and extends transmission life).

Amsoil doesn't have crude oil as it's base stock. It's a paraffin oil of the same molecule size rather than some large and some small as crude oil based stocks are.
Crude oil stocks vary because crude oil varies based on the hole its pumped out of. Thickeners vary to change the oil to get the correct viscosity based on the crude oil used. Amsoil is a one-size paraffin with consistent thickeners, engine protectants, zinc, and cleaners.

Here's some other observations that may also be of interest:
Diesel truck owners consistently see real improvement in gas mileage while gasoline vehicle owners do not.
I never have to change the clutch pads on my motorcycles because the Amsoil won't let them wear out. Every time I put the calipers on them, they are at the top end of specification where they were factory new. My compression is always at the top end of specification regardless of the age of the engine; the side walls of the engine have been well protected from wear. This also tells me the engine isn't wearing out.
Amsoil states that their oil can be mixed with other manufacturers of the same weight safely. That's not entirely true. In extreme heat conditions such as racing, Amsoil mixed with Rotella will turn to a gob of gum and the engine and transmission will be destroyed. I won't take any changes: I don't mix Amsoil with other oils in any application.
Amsoil states it is safe to use on seals and vehicles that have run conventional oil. That's true, usually. However, ALL name brand synthetic oils clean engines very well, and that means that if there was once a leak in a gasket that had stopped leaking due to old dry oil built up, that leak will start again because the old dried oil will get cleaned out. I've seen this happen personally. It will also clean out "stop leak" products that have been used in those engines. But, if there's never been a problem with an engine leak in an old engine, then synthetics, including Amsoil are safe to be used.
I've consistently observed Amsoil quiet some engines down: One Hyundai and two Dodge Stratus'. Other people have told me the same, but I didn't observe it personally. Women notice the change much more than men do.

Avoid generic oils such as WalMart brand. Go with something like Amsoil, Valvoline, Penzoil (Yes, Penzoil does make a very good synthetic oil even though their conventional oil is junk), Mobile 1, etc.

I use the Honda OEM recommended weight since the oil is going to protect the engine very well regardless of thickness. I might consider 10w40 if really long road trips were frequent, but they aren't. Usually my rides are 1 to 2 hours long with coffee stops in the middle.
 

670cc

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A point on motor oil. I used to be an independent Amsoil Dealer, and was able to get some decent inside information about motor oils through formal education, properly regulated government testing, and real life experience on motor oils, mainly Amsoil. Anyway, there are a lot of good full synthetic oils available, and I'd highly recommend using any name brand full synthetic of whatever variety suits your fancy, over using non-synthetic. However; having seen so much of what Amsoil offers, I'd recommend it over the others. Why? Several reasons: The other oils begin to break down not long after they're being used. So, when tested by govt standard methods, they're bran new and they all test pretty much the same, but once the heat and work is applied to the oils, that great protection erodes fairly quickly, although still acceptable, while the Amsoil protection won't fade for a very long long time. It holds up much longer at the peak of its performance than claimed, and I've seen this happen many times, which also means the service life is longer than stated. For motorcycles, they say 2xOEM. I go with that with confidence. The second reason is it's ability to cool an engine. Harley Davidson riders love Amsoil because the engines run so noticeably cooler that the heat from the exhaust manifold doesn't burn their legs as it would with other oils. It releases heat very quickly. Amsoil also won't thicken, creating a layer of oil on the case of the engine which acts as insulation, as other oils do. Third, Amsoil flows very easily and splatters much more than other engine oils which means it's easier on seals, and it also covers better. There are fewer hotspots in engines because the oil gets in to more areas that might have normally seen less oil coverage. It doesn't pressurize hoses as much as other oils, meaning seals last longer in automatic transmissions (Amsoil ATF is available, and extends transmission life).

Amsoil doesn't have crude oil as it's base stock. It's a paraffin oil of the same molecule size rather than some large and some small as crude oil based stocks are.
Crude oil stocks vary because crude oil varies based on the hole its pumped out of. Thickeners vary to change the oil to get the correct viscosity based on the crude oil used. Amsoil is a one-size paraffin with consistent thickeners, engine protectants, zinc, and cleaners.

Here's some other observations that may also be of interest:
Diesel truck owners consistently see real improvement in gas mileage while gasoline vehicle owners do not.
I never have to change the clutch pads on my motorcycles because the Amsoil won't let them wear out. Every time I put the calipers on them, they are at the top end of specification where they were factory new. My compression is always at the top end of specification regardless of the age of the engine; the side walls of the engine have been well protected from wear. This also tells me the engine isn't wearing out.
Amsoil states that their oil can be mixed with other manufacturers of the same weight safely. That's not entirely true. In extreme heat conditions such as racing, Amsoil mixed with Rotella will turn to a gob of gum and the engine and transmission will be destroyed. I won't take any changes: I don't mix Amsoil with other oils in any application.
Amsoil states it is safe to use on seals and vehicles that have run conventional oil. That's true, usually. However, ALL name brand synthetic oils clean engines very well, and that means that if there was once a leak in a gasket that had stopped leaking due to old dry oil built up, that leak will start again because the old dried oil will get cleaned out. I've seen this happen personally. It will also clean out "stop leak" products that have been used in those engines. But, if there's never been a problem with an engine leak in an old engine, then synthetics, including Amsoil are safe to be used.
I've consistently observed Amsoil quiet some engines down: One Hyundai and two Dodge Stratus'. Other people have told me the same, but I didn't observe it personally. Women notice the change much more than men do.

Avoid generic oils such as WalMart brand. Go with something like Amsoil, Valvoline, Penzoil (Yes, Penzoil does make a very good synthetic oil even though their conventional oil is junk), Mobile 1, etc.

I use the Honda OEM recommended weight since the oil is going to protect the engine very well regardless of thickness. I might consider 10w40 if really long road trips were frequent, but they aren't. Usually my rides are 1 to 2 hours long with coffee stops in the middle.
That’s a good sales pitch for Amsoil. However, I have never worn out an engine or had an engine failure that had anything to do with oil choice, regardless of what brand or quality I used. Nor do I recall seeing anyone report an NC engine lubrication related failure here.

At any point in time I own about 20 engines, the oldest one currently in continuous operation being about 36.5 years old. To me, oil is oil, because any oil I put in there that meets engine manufacturer specs and changed at manufacturer recommended intervals always does and has done what it is supposed to do. In my opinion, the science behind oil is nice, but not something I have any reason to be concerned about. I am not concerned about brand names.

In addition, forum “oil threads“ tend to get way out of hand and reach no conclusions, so they tend to get locked early on.
 

davidc83

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That’s a good sales pitch for Amsoil. However, I have never worn out an engine or had an engine failure that had anything to do with oil choice, regardless of what brand or quality I used. Nor do I recall seeing anyone report an NC engine lubrication related failure here.

At any point in time I own about 20 engines, the oldest one currently in continuous operation being about 36.5 years old. To me, oil is oil, because any oil I put in there that meets engine manufacturer specs and changed at manufacturer recommended intervals always does and has done what it is supposed to do. In my opinion, the science behind oil is nice, but not something I have any reason to be concerned about. I am not concerned about brand names.

In addition, forum “oil threads“ tend to get way out of hand and reach no conclusions, so they tend to get locked early on.
Amen, and one other point...my c50 boulevard with 102,000+ miles has had Rotella T-4 15w40 put in it since its first oil change and still on OEM clutch plates and it works fine...
 

frog13

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I believe Amsoil would've put on their labels not to mix their oil with "X" oil if it did indeed turn to globs etc......surely they would've found this out prior to offering said oil. I'll stick with my current brand / proper viscosity. Oh, just a short note. My tw200 did not agree with Amsoil after ~ 200 - 300 miles . It began to shift ruff blah blah blah. So, back to Mobil 1 racing 4t.....all's been well since.
 
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