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dozyproductions

San Diego 98 vfr800 restoration

140 posts in this topic

Hey there guys. Bought this bike 4 years ago from a guy on the east side of Los Angeles. He garaged it every day and had the luxury of being able to work on it in a nice dry and spacious place. Needless to say the bike didn't fall victim to salty air or neglect. I've been living, since that time in apartment complexes, without garages, right by the ocean. I work there too so that's no help to the bike cause. Needless to say, the salty air EATS these things apart. I've been doing the maintenance such as oil changes, coolant flushes, brakes, rotors, chain, valve adjustment, new fork seals and etc but it's time to do the smaller cosmetic things. Some goodies the OP put in were a Corbin seat with stow away compartment, Ohlins rear shock, Wolf undertail exhaust, raised handlebars and a voltmeter that decides to work time to time. I've put a lithium battery in myself and it's been a total game changer. 

PLAN: Make this look from rags to at least upper middle class. I have all the main maintenance done and now it's minor maintenance and the bigger cosmetics. 

CHALLENGE: My biggest challenge is to do a lot of this without proper tools and space. Most of you will say use a die grinder for this, use that vice with that and etc but these are just some things I don't have or can't use. My HOA is REALLY strict on noise violations and my old room mates left the state with a lot of my nice matco gear. I might be moving to another country soon so I wan't to make her my gem while I have her and make her sell able when I leave. 

WHAT HAS BEEN DONE: All my fairings have are at the painters. Getting the Honda VFR go fast red with a dabble of pearl. I've sent the handle bars and rear step for powder coating. Have already painted my severely rusted radiator fan shroud with some rustoleum rust preventative primer and black acrylic enamel. Did the same to the motor for good measure.

Here is how she was.
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Here she is how she is now.
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Here are some pictures of the rust I'm talking about. 
oh20i0.jpg
(rust spots on the frame)
2irb4uu.jpg
o714p4.jpg
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WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE: Fix the rust on the exhaust tray, fix the rust on the frame, make the front forks look new, powder coat the step and wheels. Definitely will PC the wheels a shade of gold. Think about a honda + ducati flavor to this thing. HONCATI or DUCONDA. Will also want to polish off/clean the decades worth of road grime off of my underbelly and side of the bike. Make the black parts look black and the silver parts look silver. Definitely want to fix the last mechanical issues when they bring their ugly heads around the corner. Bearings, other seals, rusted bolts and so forth. 

Since this thing might be a very easy restore, it might be boring compared to some of the work you've guys have done. Hey, I'll most likely be the one asking the questions for the how to's. Please enjoy this blog though. 

1st question. I've been reading up on the issue and it seems like many people say just to powder coat the front forks. Mine are suffering from a lot of corrosion. Is it possible to etch primer, paint on some good acrylic enamel or so and then put on a see through adhesive film to protect it in the most exposed areas? 
 

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Wow - that's a nicely farkled machine - nearly impossible to get some of those bits now.  Not sure about your paint question, but I do have the 3M clear material on my fork lowers.  Seems to be holding up ok.

 

With all that salt air seeping in to things, it might be worth it to go through all the electrical connectors / grounds looking for corrosion.  The part time voltmeter might be indicative of brewing issues.  I have used Oxgard with good success.  Clean connectors if necessary and apply.  Seems to keep the electrics in good shape and prevents corrosion. 

 

pACE2-1127168reg.jpg

 

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Thanks for the doom and gloom ;) Can you fill me in a bit on the parts made partly of unubtanium? Some of the line connectors seem a bit corroded but I'm wondering if I start working on them that I'm not taking off some extra layer of protection that I shouldn't. 

Will look in to Oxguard and 3M film so thanks!! Need to add in some proper protection around some of my wires and cleaning the connections were definitely a given It seems like everyone is talking about the paint chipping but no one is talking about such an obvious fix to that. . Really appreciate the feedback. Might Take the ol' rear sub frame off and say hello to the rust bits 

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May be a slightly more expensive option, but; Maybe get the frame, bars, yoke, forks and swingarm blasted and coated black? The black would go REALLY Well with the red panels.

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2 hours ago, dozyproductions said:

Thanks for the doom and gloom ;) Can you fill me in a bit on the parts made partly of unubtanium? Some of the line connectors seem a bit corroded but I'm wondering if I start working on them that I'm not taking off some extra layer of protection that I shouldn't. 

Will look in to Oxguard and 3M film so thanks!! Need to add in some proper protection around some of my wires and cleaning the connections were definitely a given It seems like everyone is talking about the paint chipping but no one is talking about such an obvious fix to that. . Really appreciate the feedback. Might Take the ol' rear sub frame off and say hello to the rust bits 

 

Was thinking mostly of the Wolf exhaust and the Corbin Smuggler seat (with the compartment) - both no longer in production.   Once in a while they'll come up here for sale or on ebay, and if reasonably priced go quickly.  The rest is for the most part still commercially available or trades 2nd hand semi-regularly.  

 

For the 3M film, an Amazon or ebay search for "3M Scotchgard film" will turn up numerous sellers that offer it in various bulk roll sizes.  IIRC there's also a heavy duty variant.  I trimmed it to fit on the fork lowers, then peeled off the backing and applied.  You'll want a spray bottle with a mix of about 1/3 rubbing alcohol and 2/3 water (that can vary).  Spray liberally on the surface, apply the film - the liquid will allow it to be positioned, then from the center squeegee the liquid out.  Don't worry about adhesion - it will stick fine.  Once in place it's difficult to see. 

 

As for the connectors, there's nothing on them to protect them from the factory, so if there is obvious corrosion, you have only upside to cleaning and treating them.  Oxgard is conductive so helps the electrical flow in addition to preventing further corrosion.  Some people like to use di-electric grease, which is fine for sealing connectors, but being silicone, is an insulator so it's not good for the metal pins themselves.  I've been using Oxgard for a long time on both my bikes and cars and have had zero electrical issues.  In this case being near sea air, IMO is an ideal candidate for Oxgard. 

 

 

 

 

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3M has a spray on version of the clear protectant. I've no experience with it, just seen commercials. 

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Holy mother...that is one rusty VFR.

 

I would be seriously inclined to remove as much of the metal work from the bike, including yoke and rear subframe, and have it blasted/powdercoated - the bars etc are a good start, but this rust suggests more is to be expected in the near future - it would a shame not maximise this opportunity.

 

If you need some ideas, take a look here:

 

 

and here:

 

 

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Taking your considerations seriously with this black. Don't how it's going to tango with the gold wheels and definitely want to keep the swing arm silver. I don't know how I'm going to solve the rust with the rear subframe without taking it out. By that point, smarter money says to take it to the shop for pb + pc along with the front forks. Yoke, we'll see as it doesn't look half bad. 


A neighbor who use to ride let me use his garage for this crazy stuff. I can't thank him enough and if he ever sees this link, thanks Bob! I tackled the exhaust tray's rust with paint stripper, naval jelly, sanding and rust preventative primer + acrylic enamel on top. There are a several runs because the can shot out streaks for a moment here and there but light sanding and respray will do. Did the same for the horn.

4rp9na.jpg
mh7v42.jpg
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Hopefully by the end of the day I'll have a wheel prop and will be able to send the wheels and the front steps out to the powder coaters as well. This will be good since my plastics painter has been waiting FOREVER to paint clear over the tank stickers. Partzilla is an amazing site but 3 weeks for stickers is a bit slacking...  

2m4bb.jpg


Thanks you guys. 

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Had to travel across San Diego to pick up a prop and then come back with it on the bus. Definitely a great ice breaker. I'm young enough to still get numbers but old enough to remember when the Padres made it last to the world series!! Maybe I should bring the stand with me on the bus more often!
295xph0.jpg

Started really surveying the corrosion with the wheels being off. 
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Prognosis: She's dirty. Living the high life has it's consequences and teenagers don't learn about them until they get older when their bodies can't heal as quick. Will be sending the sub frame to powder coating. Took a look at the lower lower tree and its rusted too. Possible client for Mr. Powder Coater. My lower forks look like they've been to Mouline Rouge and back, but if I have to take them all apart... they might get a paint + film treatment. The exhaust mannies have surface rust with a bit deeper around the connections. We'll see if there's a more local solution to resurfacing and finnishing them. Now my engine + brake calipers + other parts have that white shnee all over it. Either it's something specific that you guys know about or it's just dirt and salt. Seriously, it looks like something seagulls swim with... post feeding time. Next step is to figure out a not overly abrasive way to clean all of this stuff and then protect it with something that isn't flammable. Will be contacting 3M and other boat supply places in the next couple of days. 

I can't stress this enough though. My HUGE restriction is space. I have no space in my apartment to store things and my most consistent work area is a glorified parking spot. Need to lower my profanity singing voice. Once I take off the yokes and tubes... I have to jerry rig a way to keep my bike from falling... outdoors... in a parking spot. My HOA will not like a monstrosity either. Literally have been googling solutions such as "DIY motorcycle stands" and "redneck motorcycle stands" and etc. 

Off note: Does anyone happen to know what these wires on the right rear side of the bike are for? My rear brake light doesn't work anymore but want to ask you gurus. 
opzs4z.jpg


Definitely a green thumb when it comes to all of this and I appreciate all of your advice so far. In posting this I hope you guys can shoot me questions down the road too. Perhaps I can give some tips on how to do things without the proper means to do them ;)

 

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AFAIK the relay is the fuel cut relay which is intended to start/stop the fuel pump running. The links below will take you to my Dropbox files with a high res wiring diagram and also the VFR800Fi service manual. Page 5-4 in the manual shows the component locations. The FCR should have two brown wires, and two black-white wires. 

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6q8eu4drmci6fl1/VFR Wiring Layers hires full (2).png?dl=0

 

https://www.dropbox.com/s/wgmgfcbhi4emc4n/VFR800Fi 98-01.pdf?dl=0

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Yeah, you guessed it already! There is a wire that comes from the brake pedal with two bullet connectors that should plug into those two open wires to activate the brake light. One bullet connector is gone on the green wire.

Maybe your HOA wouldn't be concerned with an ongoing project under a bike cover when you aren't around?

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LOTS or props to you Dozy for jumping in on this deal  That is the best way to learn stuff.  That is how I've learned most everything I know about bikes and cars.  Keep up the good work sir!

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Thanks for the drop boxes. That wiring diagram will come in handy, especially after learning how to read it properly haha. 

If it is indeed the brake light then that will have to be fixed down the road. Thanks for the heads up. 

I got in touch with another friend to figure out the corrosion issue. He, just like I use to, owns and works on 70's and 80's BMWs which were prone to rusting in certain areas (2002's didn't have any sort of reliable coating/treatment what so ever). He gave me the last of what he swears by. Fluid Film
4g5j82.jpg

Called them up and they said that as long as whatever you're spraying doesn't go over 230 degrees ish then it shouldn't start melting away. Isn't flammable once applied, can technically be used as a dielectric grease and even as a chain lubricant *scoff*. The customer rep I was talking to rode as well and he uses it on his bike.

Another hurdle I want to tackle is the rusty exhaust headers. It seems like they'll need a wire brush and naval jelly treatment before even getting off the bike. We'll see. Might of found a cheap treatment solution that will look upper middle class. Options are $300 for new stainless delkevics, $200 for ceramic coating or a $15 DIY option. Been looking at some random chevy restoration forums and a couple guys are raving about slip plate. Just called them up and a couple of them said they've been using them, on autos and motos alike, with great results that last for years. High temp, rust preventative and blah blah blah perfect. 
2191m6v.png


Can't do anything at the moment while it's raining in San Diego of all places. Just wanted to post to say thanks. 

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Yeah, '98-'99 had mild steel headers...:mellow:

Didn't switch to stainless until '00, probably for the extra heat generated by the cat. 

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Really? I hope it wasn't just because a 'they had to'! Beyond some electrical joojoo doesn't seem like honda skimped much on the 5th gens.

Well, bought the 'dry lube' is bought along with 60' of wire harness tape, for maybe 3 ft of harness (max), stainless steel hose clamps, double bubble windshield, chain guard plastic, fork axle tightening blots, and axle.

2 questions. Do y'all think the rear steps being gold would match with gold rear wheel (and front)? Everything else remaining stock colors.  Also, whats y'all favorite bearing grease? Been eyeing some lucas oil Xtra duty for that steering bearing job in the future. 

 

Btw, couldn't help myself when the rain backed off for an hour. Off to the powder coater! 
2d0jl12.jpg
Chair is properly propping up the exhaust now and all the wires, plugs and such are tucked away and kept dry. ;) 

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What's the load rating on that chair? :wink:

 

I think you're doing the right thing by taking it apart as much as you have - keep up the good work :smile:

 

I just used good ol' multipurpose lithium grease for my head bearings. There are others who would advise using a waterproof grade if grease, but if the seals do their job properly, the regular stuff shouldn't be an issue. The steering bearings are actually remakbly easy, and no special tools are required at all. There is a good video of some Aussies replacing the head bearings on YouTube - whilst it's not on a Viffer, the steps are the same.

 

Not sure in the gold heelsets myself - it may detract from the wheels. They would be unique though...

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Awesome job so far. As far as the headers go, my vote is for having them ceramic coated. Any competent shop should sandblast them (or another comparable method) down to bare metal before coating them. I would also advise you to buy new oem hardware (exhaust manifold studs, gaskets and clamps) so the reinstall goes smoothly. I am sure you studs are in bad shape. Here is my before:

header1.jpg

header2.jpg

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And my after ceramic coating:

 

 

header7.jpg3.jpg

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Ohh dem is some purdy pipes

 

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18 hours ago, dozyproductions said:

Thanks for the drop boxes. That wiring diagram will come in handy, especially after learning how to read it properly haha. 

If it is indeed the brake light then that will have to be fixed down the road. Thanks for the heads up. 

I got in touch with another friend to figure out the corrosion issue. He, just like I use to, owns and works on 70's and 80's BMWs which were prone to rusting in certain areas (2002's didn't have any sort of reliable coating/treatment what so ever). He gave me the last of what he swears by. Fluid Film
4g5j82.jpg

Called them up and they said that as long as whatever you're spraying doesn't go over 230 degrees ish then it shouldn't start melting away. Isn't flammable once applied, can technically be used as a dielectric grease and even as a chain lubricant *scoff*. The customer rep I was talking to rode as well and he uses it on his bike.

Another hurdle I want to tackle is the rusty exhaust headers. It seems like they'll need a wire brush and naval jelly treatment before even getting off the bike. We'll see. Might of found a cheap treatment solution that will look upper middle class. Options are $300 for new stainless delkevics, $200 for ceramic coating or a $15 DIY option. Been looking at some random chevy restoration forums and a couple guys are raving about slip plate. Just called them up and a couple of them said they've been using them, on autos and motos alike, with great results that last for years. High temp, rust preventative and blah blah blah perfect. 
2191m6v.png


Can't do anything at the moment while it's raining in San Diego of all places. Just wanted to post to say thanks. 

 

 An easy, simple, and cheap formula for getting rusted/corroded hardware off is a 50/50 mix of acetone & ATF. Just make sure you don't get it on paint/plastic, and wear nitrile gloves.

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10 hours ago, Loftust said:

What's the load rating on that chair? :wink:

 

I think you're doing the right thing by taking it apart as much as you have - keep up the good work :smile:

 

I just used good ol' multipurpose lithium grease for my head bearings. There are others who would advise using a waterproof grade if grease, but if the seals do their job properly, the regular stuff shouldn't be an issue. The steering bearings are actually remakbly easy, and no special tools are required at all. There is a good video of some Aussies replacing the head bearings on YouTube - whilst it's not on a Viffer, the steps are the same.

 

Not sure in the gold heelsets myself - it may detract from the wheels. They would be unique though...



It's a late 70's chair so you know it's capable of heavy reinforcement capabilities ;D . I think I watched that same AWKWARD and very informative video by those aussies. Seems like the VFR just needs a spanner or two to make up the difference. Interesting on your grease input. I already have the lithium grease so that's great news but if anyone else has something to say, lmk. 

CandyRedR46: Damn man, you got some purty looking pipes and definitely not making my decision any easier. Media blasting is a definite. Is there another way of getting around of going on partzilla and ordering the oem bolts and gaskets? Those alone adds up to around $50 :(  



This is how my rear swing arm pivot bolt looks like. A bit of rust surround 45% of it. Once I remove the rust what do you think I should be doing? I can't think that primer and paint will hold up to where it's going to go... even with grease all around it. If that's the case, is this grounds to buy a new one? Same thing with my front axle. There is some rust on left side of it but it's decent everywhere else. I can't see the paint weathering more than a couple screw driver props through that hole.
2aad3ia.jpg
Here is the pivot bolt. 

Thanks MBrane for the rust remover heads up. My naval jelly supply is running low but got plenty of that other stuff :) 

What I recently did: Sent rear subframe, wheels, steps to powder coater. Rust treated and painted the rest of the little things that I could do. ( license bracket, wet sanded and repainted ECU painted tray, rust treated and painted battery tray, lower radiator bracket, and some other bracket...) 

The rust stuff is wearing me down but It's almost all taken care of. Once all the PC stuff and fairings will be taken care of, I'll be lower - middle middle class presentable. Once the exhaust is taken care, parts of the wiring harness is rerecovered, fixing some of the wiring connections; I'll definitely be middle class.  Once that deep clean and new plastics have been replaced and refinished, protective layers have been laid down everywhere; I'll be in upper middle class arena. We'll see if I ceramic coat the exhaust and actually do the steering bearings. Thanks for peaking at the insignificant and slow progress updates in this thread. Really appreciate the help. 

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I think the pivot bolt and front axle bolt don't do a lot. So if you get the rust off and coat with grease you should be ok. Front axle bolt should be cleaned and regreased at every tire change. At the same time clean the spacers and add more grease to the dust seals. 

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For rust removal on smaller parts you can soak overnight in vinegar.

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Rain is gone. 1.5" you guys! We aren't in world ending drought anymore! Anyways, who needs beaches when you have a vfr project? Took the exhaust off today. Committed and bought the Slip Plate spray and new gaskets and rings. Will find clamps somewhere in this city. 


There's rust in less places than expected. Off to sand blasting this week. Pretty easy removal. The two inner nuts, under the seat where the only pains with minimal cursing involved. A 5" (ish) extension did the trick and playing around from underneath and center. The nuts aren't held on too tight. 
za001.jpg

Seems like a wire brush treatment will be needed for this. Once these are cleaned I'm thinking about spraying them with some of that Slip Plate stuff. I'm sure that once the headers are going to go back in, the nuts will stay in place with some blue anti seize. Will have to call them up for that.
2cr5xdt.jpg 

Coke and tinfoil and then some polish for the rest of this wolf exhaust
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Interesting thing I found on the web about the wolf exhaust. Supposedly the American Wolf exhaust company was operating independently from the English Wolf exhaust company. Using similar designs and perhaps even claiming to be affiliated with across the pond when it wasn't the case. Anyone who, Wolf (England) is a division of Trident (triumph exhausts) and they were perplexed by this whole American Wolf thing.  

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Er...  I've never heard of an American "Wolf" exhaust company making those exhausts.  I thought they were all imported from the UK.  Anyway, they're collector's items now.

 

Ciao,

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