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Tyy

What can you tell me about my VF500?

64 posts in this topic

I bought this VF500F earlier this year as a project bike and my second ever motorcycle. I have been working on making it look better and work as it did in the '80s(while modernizing where I can). I thought I was buying a 1985 VF500F, but have since found out from the MTO history documents that it is an '84. Its got 56 thousand km on it, but it runs and it was cheap. I have been told that one of the previous owners restored it using a few donor bikes and based on the frame paint and what not I'd say it has. I have been taking it apart and learning how it works so that I can fix up anything is out of date or falling apart. It has been fairly straight forward so far using guides and chatting with people on this forum, but I have a few questions and am looking for general advice.

 

I've been thinking about the exhaust on this bike for awhile. The bike has some sort of upgraded 4-1 exhaust on it and I think I've identified it as the Hindle 4-1 pipe. It shows it's age though. There is rust pitting and an odd cloudy texture on the metal. How do I resurface the pipe?

Also, the can that was on the end was a SuperTrap, but its kinda broken and I'd like something lower profile too. I have been considering leaving the end open as a straight pipe, except the end of the pipe is messed up and has an adapter bolted straight through it. To fix this I want to remove the end bit of the pipe and fab my own stainless side exit. Would this be viable? Will it mess with the tuning too much? I am aware of the carb jetting I'd need to do in order to make it work and I can do it. All that I've been reading from GAZ's topic about building his own pipe has put me off though.

I'd also like to know what having this pipe means compared to stock.

 

Besides the exhaust I am open to advice for things to fix. So far my list of things to do looks like this:

  • Tires
  • Repainted wheels
  • Lights
  • Speedometer
  • Redone seat
  • Chain and sprockets
  • Wobbly clutch lever(How do I fix this?)
  • Carb sync and clean
  • Carb jetting
  • Mirrors

I am going to link an album of pictures here for the pipe. http://imgur.com/a/RmqqA

P.S. - I am not keeping the original look of this bike, but I am a huge fan of the engineering behind the VFR series and I've wanted one of these since I first got into bikes. If anyone in Ontario needs red plastics or stock parts I can hook you up. This is an ultra-low budget D.I.Y. build, since I'm 18 and in school(before anyone suggests super sonic builders who can do it for me). Why is mine red?

 

PA130166.JPG

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For your exhaust, I recommend pulling it off the bike, sanding it yourself, then taking it to someone who can ceramic coat it.  Doing the sanding yourself saves you money.  Ceramic coat everything including headers, downpipe, and muffler. 

 

I owned the final year of the VF500F in 1986...my first bike.  Yeah I'm old.

5216207254_7085c2ed6d_o.jpg

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Valve inspection is the first thing I would do, right after a cylinder compression check. Great engine, but not reliable if not watched with a careful eye. Eventually I'll finish putting my 500 engine back together after a valve dropped, punched a hole in the cylinder, and did a bunch more damage. This is somewhat typical. But if you keep an eye on things it should be fine.

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From your Imgur page:  “What caused that gash in my swingarm? I have matching cuts on either side that look like mini craters cutting through the ridge on the side”…

 

Interesting.  I too am new to the VF500F (got a really nice 1986 example) and started looking at the swingarm from your prompt.  As far as I can surmise, the passenger foot peg bolt extends too far out the backside, and when fully loaded (with a less than a great rear shock) the bolts make contact with the swinger.  Just another reason for me to pull the passenger pegs.

 

IMO, I'd attempt to migrate back to an OEM exhaust as these bikes really purr and pull nicely w/the original piece.  Making a less than complete 3rd party exhaust work with this complicated V-four may provide many hours of headaches.

 

I've read virtually everything I can find concerning the valve failures:  Heed the advice given by YoshiHNS and check your valve train clearances.  One popular guy in the know, Jamie Dougherty, has suggested not taking it above 9,000 RPM.  Whether that will result in a net gain in longitivtiy probably has yet to have been proven, but I will follow this advise until it is proven wrong.  Yoshi, which cylinder did you lose?  Care to enlighten us as to what was transpiring when the valve dropped?  Seems the left front cylinder is prone to eating exhaust valves, but have no real data to support.

 

15 hours ago, Rogue_Biker said:

For your exhaust, I recommend pulling it off the bike, sanding it yourself, then taking it to someone who can ceramic coat it.  Doing the sanding yourself saves you money.  Ceramic coat everything including headers, downpipe, and muffler. 

 

Good advice.  I ceramic coated a set of pipes on a CX500 a few years back and it held up very well.  I did notice it was prone to scratching, so be mindful.

 

FYI, I added an OPT7 LED headlamp and the difference is incredible.  As a matter of fact, I rode it in this morning and the nice white light really illuminates my path.  Simple to do with the OEM fairing, but if you're going to drift from the original parts, you may have problems stuffing it in a standard light can (I couldn't fit it in the huge GSE1100 "train" headlight I added to my '88 GT647).  The placement of the LED's in the bulb housing fairly well mimics the light path of the standard bulb.  As a matter of fact, I think I need to adjust it slightly upward (not down).

 

How 'bout a few overview pics of the bike?  Like to see the red you reference.  Inquiring minds need to know...

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4 hours ago, flyinelvis said:

IMO, I'd attempt to migrate back to an OEM exhaust as these bikes really purr and pull nicely w/the original piece.  Making a less than complete 3rd party exhaust work with this complicated V-four may provide many hours of headaches.

 

I understand the tuning they put into the stock pipes, but I ran the bike for awhile(I soon realized it was spewing oil because the hydraulic clutch rod was not depressed with sprocket cover off) with the can off and it sounded like it belonged in WSBK, just in idle. I did a straight pipe on my Grom with a 6'in can on the end and it isn't that obnoxious either. Maybe I don't know what I'm getting into with a 500cc bike, but I'd love for it to growl through a starightpipe. I like the idea of ceramic coating it, but I still don't know what I should do about the tip. Given the fact that its getting a jet kit, would it be feasible to do a short side exit or would this create back-pressure problems? For the valve adjustment, does anyone know how much the OEM adjuster tool costs or would a makeshift tool be ok?

 

I am replacing the front fairing with a Street Fighter Esq headlight assembly. It takes 55w H3 bulbs if that compares to LEDs at all. I looked at the footpegs and I agree with your hypothesis, there are matching marks on them.

 

Here's a picture of what it looks like right now, its a little stripped down. http://imgur.com/A0SPT4w

I am going for a white/red colour scheme. I reshaped and covered the seat myself. Tell me what you think. I have been trying to decide whether I should paint the flat half the seat with a stencil and matching red vinyl paint. Also, has anyone tried cleaning up the tail? I have the mudguard and rear fairing gone here, but the fairing is coming back once I put new blinkers in. I just don't know what to do with the metal rods or the tail light.

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From what I learned from "The Dutchy", regular valve clearance checks at 5-6,000km and oil change is key to long life.

So upon buying mine, he checked them (and will teach me next...).

took some piccies, they got the thumbs up...

 

P7189139_zpsq5c22n31.jpg

 

 

 

P7189142_zpscg31k3tp.jpg

 

 

 

P7189143_zpsssvpuw1i.jpg

 

 

 

P7189146_zpslxesrwhx.jpg

 

 

 

 

The seal around the gear rod can develop a leak. Honda-san wants you to take out the engine and split cases. There is a different way....  :-)

 

IMAG3326-768x1358 2_zpsjrwtoodj.jpg

 

 

Dremel is your friend...

IMAG3554-1024x1811_zpsmu4s9iky.jpg

 

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If you want to enjoy this bike for longer periods, beside all the good advice already provided, I'd suggest to install the oilpump and sump of a 1986 model.

The sump holds more than halve a quart of oil more than the early models and the oilpump is a bigger one. Honda didn't install that for no reason.

 

Another thing, the carbrail on the 1984 / 1985 model is fed from the left side. So #1 gets fuel instantly, #4 is the last one to get fuel.

On the 86 there are two fuel lines going inbetween the carbs of #1#2 and #3#4. Also, the 86 is gravity fed and doesn't have a fuel pump.

 

Racing this VF500. we found out that #3 and #4 were nearly starving for fuel.. Without going to the gravity fed option, which needs a 86 carbrack, we feed the 85 carbs from both sides by making a extra fuel delivery on the # 4 carb. 

 

For the exhaust system... We left the original collector box installed, carbs are open and rejetted..

 

Differences in the oilpan: (84/85 on the left, 86 on the right).. The 86 is easy to recognize.. It has the extra Cooling fins. Remember, it's not just the oilpan... This is the whole list:

#1, used '86 oil pan (OEM part no. 11210-MF2-710)
#2, gasket (OEM part no. 11315-KE7-000- same part number for all years)
#3, used '86 pickup tube + 2 bolts to mount this
#4, used '86 oil pump and check valve assembly

8485vs86.jpg

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14 hours ago, TheDutchy said:

If you want to enjoy this bike for longer periods, beside all the good advice already provided, I'd suggest to install the oilpump and sump of a 1986 model.

The sump holds more than halve a quart of oil more than the early models and the oilpump is a bigger one. Honda didn't install that for no reason.

 

Another thing, the carbrail on the 1984 / 1985 model is fed from the left side. So #1 gets fuel instantly, #4 is the last one to get fuel.

On the 86 there are two fuel lines going inbetween the carbs of #1#2 and #3#4. Also, the 86 is gravity fed and doesn't have a fuel pump.

 

Racing this VF500. we found out that #3 and #4 were nearly starving for fuel.. Without going to the gravity fed option, which needs a 86 carbrack, we feed the 85 carbs from both sides by making a extra fuel delivery on the # 4 carb.

 

 

Is the oil pump conversion as easy as plug and play? After hearing about the carb problem I did some investigating and found some solid evidence to back up your claim.

 

Carbs.jpg

 

These are carbs 1, 2, 3, 4 from top left to bottom right. As you can see the carbon deposits on carb 1 are huge compared to carb 4.

 

Carb-fuel-in.jpg

 

Is the process of adding another fuel line as simple as drilling out the inlet on carb 4 and attaching another hose after the fuel pump?

 

If this mod does not have its own post, it really should.

I am also picking my jets soon while I have this thing open. Any suggestions for size? I'd like a mixture further on the rich side. I am using stock airbox with snorkel removed and a K&N filter. I am going to use the Hindle 4-1 after I resurface it. No can on the back, ~250mm shorter than suggested length for this bike.

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8 hours ago, Tyy said:

 

Is the process of adding another fuel line as simple as drilling out the inlet on carb 4 and attaching another hose after the fuel pump?

 

 

 

Yes it is.. I have taken the brass intake tube from another carb rack. Drilled out the the fuel delivery hole on the #4 carb. just a bit smaller than the delivery tube. Heated the area of the carb body and pressed the fuel tube in.

 

Make sure you got the angle rigt on the brass tube because the #4 carb is realy close to the frame.

 

 

On the oilpump and sump: If you got all the parts mentioned of a 1986  model, it is a direct fit on a 84/85 model. We didn't encounter any problems, also the original 85 exhaust collector fitted straight back.

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Having just replaced a set of 30mm (VD41A) carbs with 32mm carbs (VD56E) on my 86 VF500F2F, I'm puzzled by the necessity to add a another fuel feed to the right hand side of the carb bank. My 86 has no fuel pump so I'm just gravity feeding the left hand entry 32mm carbs. I am not disputing your findings, but how did you come to the conclusion you were starving 3 and 4? Did adding the extra feed make a significant difference? Were you running a fuel pump or just gravity? 

 

My bike "seems" to run OK with a single feed (after some messing with mains and slow feed jets). I can run full throttle at max speed and I don't get any starvation symptoms. At least I don't think I do. And the bike hits a decent top speed (GPS 182km/h) .

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On 10/17/2016 at 0:09 AM, TheDutchy said:

Yes it is.. I have taken the brass intake tube from another carb rack. Drilled out the the fuel delivery hole on the #4 carb. just a bit smaller than the delivery tube. Heated the area of the carb body and pressed the fuel tube in.

 

Make sure you got the angle rigt on the brass tube because the #4 carb is realy close to the frame.

 

 

On the oilpump and sump: If you got all the parts mentioned of a 1986  model, it is a direct fit on a 84/85 model. We didn't encounter any problems, also the original 85 exhaust collector fitted straight back.

you were able to use your 85 collector and headers with the 86 oil pan? really?  I always thought the bigger oil pan needed a different collector and pipes.  

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The 86 is gravity fed and has (much) larger fuel lines (as in the feed from the petcock). So you're safe if you have everything lined up from the 86 model..

 

I have a 85 model with fuell pump with a single line feeding from the side of the carb rack.. Therefore converted it.. Toasted two engines mostly caused by the oilpump but we measured heat balancing issues as well. to cover that, we went to to the dual feed..

 

Yes, the 85 Original collector didn't have any fittment issues.. The tabs that hold the collector to the oilpan are on the same level.. Also the front headers are clear. I will make some pics this weekend...

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It's the aftermarket pipes that can cause problems with an 86 oil pan.  Most systems were designed in 84 and some cross over right under the oil pan.  On my 86 race bike I had to install an 84/85 oil pan and pump.

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Hey guys,

 

Oh man... I have something here that is making me wheeze and groan every time I think about what could possibly be going on. I pulled my spark plugs today.

First of all, everything here is contradictory or way off what our fuel delivery findings would suggest. To remind you, the carbon deposits on the carburetors suggest the cylinders are getting less fuel in order from 1-2-3-4. I have no idea what these plug readings suggest. Here is a link to ultra HD pictures of each plug: http://imgur.com/a/4LAWa

 

My observations from those pictures are as follows. To start, plug 1 is one set colder than the rest of the plugs. WHY!?! WHATADUGAGAHAWHY!!? This plug to me looks a little slimy. Hot plugs are meant to burn oil residue right? Already this seems so wrong. This plug is the darkest, but the light shines on this one a little, and so it looks brighter. Next, plug 2 is the best out of them all. Although a little rich looking. Then, plug 3 is totally messed up. This thing is white and clean as can be. There is a spot of oily residue on the electrode. Does this plug look like it is firing at all? I have a sneaky suspicion that this plug was changed on its own because the bike came with 3 spark plugs and not 4. I have no way of knowing whether that is the case though. The gap on this plug is also very big compared to the rest. Maybe it is not bridging the gap? Lastly, plug 4 is the third most black and it has lots of deposits on it. Being the furthest away from the fuel I would expect it to match the lean pattern on the carburetor. This plug has the best gap out of them all though. It is nearly on point at 0.85mm, FSM suggests 0.8-0.9. 

 

I am doing a valve adjustment this weekend and will post anything more I find out. Please tell me what you think is going on with my engine, before I sink into my chair to never be found again. It does run by the way, only complaint the PO had was losing power on the highway near 120kmph.

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I opened up the engine today and found something. I don't know whether to be relieved or worried. 

PA230311.JPG

 

These are a pair of valves on the number 3 cylinder. Maybe you do not see it at first glance, but one of the rocker arm adjusters are missing. That piece with the thread and a nut around it is the adjuster.

 

What this means is there's an explanation for the spark plug. I do not know if this is an intake or exhaust valve though. It must have rattled out over time, I doubt somebody took it out and forgot to put it back. I am trying to think of where it could be. There are a few pools of oil around that part of the engine. I am going to get a magnet on a stick and fish around in there to see if I can find it. Could it have fallen all the way into the oil pan and does this explain the spark plug?

 

Hopefully I can find it. I could not find any sources for a replacement part. If I don't find it I will try to make a new one first(its basically a bolt with a nut right?) and call Honda if I fail. One thing I am glad about is, where ever it went, it did not jam the engine and make it explode.

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I reckon "The Dutchy" will read this and advise soon :-)

Alternatively drop him a pm...

 

 

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It is probably in the bottom of the engine. Taking off the sump means taking off the headers and collector if you want to make sure.

Don't think about trying to make a replacement if you can't find it. Get a secondhand head off Ebay, or another engine. The missing adjuster is probably the cause of the misfiring cylinder. 

 

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The missing tappet could be in one of the head oil pockets under the cam, or anywhere else that it will fit around the valves. Use a strong magnet rod to seek it out in the head voids. Do NOT run the engine like that as you could lose the collects on that valve.

 

I loved my 500, had it for many years, but was an 86 model. A good tip when adjusting the valves is to use a flat head screw driver to lever up the rocker arm between the two adjusters. This takes any side to side rock out of the rocker, so both valves gets the same adjustment.

 

Being a V4, the inlet valves are in the middle of the engine & the exhaust valves are to the front & rear of the heads ! 

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Wow... Lucky the valve keepers are still in place.. Otherwise the valve would have dropped in causing serious damage..

 

I don't like loose parts moving around in my engines, it probably went down the tunnel into the oilpan or as suggested still in the oilpools at the cilinderhead. But make sure you find it.

 

The adjuster isn't a normal bold and locknut. They are very fine threaded.. I have several spares so if needed I can send you an adjuster with locknut..

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PA240334.JPG

 

I got it! My dad brought me a miniature magnet on a stick from his tool box at work and I stuck it down in the first little pool of oil beside the valve springs. I had to rotate the engine to get the clearance between the rocker arm and the camshaft. I am surprised it fell down there in the first place, being such a tight fit. It looks like it has been in there for awhile, and you can see how far the bolt worked its way up the lock-nut.

 

I've run into another problem with these valves though. The timing cover is stuck closed. I tried soaking it in WD-40, using a wrench and screwdriver combo, using a Toonie as a screwdriver, but it wont budge. This means I don't have an indicator for the piston position. My question is, is TDC on this engine after the exhaust valves close? As far as I understand the workings of an engine, it should be. Although when I try to fit a feeler gauge under the valve adjuster there is no room on either set of valves. The time between the exhaust valve closing and the intake opening also seems non-existent. 

 

Either somebody adjusted these valves wrong or I am missing something. Possibly the last guy also had a jammed timing window?

 

After the intake closes and between the time before the exhaust opens, is the longest time both the valves stay closed. This is the only time when there is room under the adjusters, but it should not be TDC... right?

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As long as the lobe of the cam is pointing directly away from the follower, you should be able to adjust the clearance of the valves. Top dead centre would indeed be after the intake valves close, and before the exhausts open (intakes open on the down stroke then close, the piston rises up to TDC on the compression stroke, is driven back down on the power stroke, then the exhaust opens on the next upward stroke to allow exhaust gas to escape). 360 degrees of crank rotation after TDC, there might be some overlap between the exhausts fully closing and the intakes opening.

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+1 what Terry said.  No need to see marks, just make sure lobe is pointing away from rocker.  I had a feeling it would be sitting right there in oil.  Yay!

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Very lucky on finding the tappet.

 

Is the valve stem and everything still there on that valve? It's amazing that it was even running and didn't just break the rocker arm or something. Are the threads on either side damaged?

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The first VF500 with VTEC!

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Blimey, glad you found it. As per Terry's suggestion re valve clearance, it also makes adjusting valve clearances so much easier, as you just need to turn the engine forwards & every time a valve reaches the right point, check it & adjust if necessary !

 

A tip for those tappets, is to get a complete (16) spare set & round the tips off. When you next check the valves, replace them all. The reason for this is the angle of the valve wears the end of the tappet, then when you next adjust it, there is less material on the tappet end due to the chamfer wear from the last postion. When finished, just round the ends of the old ones ready for use at the next adjustment !  This means the valve will maintain the correct clearance longer.

 

If you keep a record over time, you will work out which valves tighten or loosen in the head, so can set the next clearance for best longevity, as inlets often recede into the head thus tightening the clearance & exhaust valves often loosen due to increased wear with the extra heat. Thus inlets can be set on the looser end of the adjustment scale & exhausts on the tighter end, meaning over time they will even out & allow you to extend the clearance interval !

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