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trapjaw

just picked up a '99 model - now what?

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Hi everyone, this is my first post here. I'm in Bournemouth in the UK (originally from South Africa, though), and I just picked up a yellow '99 VFR800Fi. It's in excellent nick for a 20 year old machine, and has 54,000 miles on the clock. I'm not entirely new to VFRs, as I had a VFR400 NC30 many years ago (which was a fantastic bike, if a bit cramped), but am definitely new to the bigger VFRs. 

My new bike seems to have been very well taken care of. Last owner had it a year then bought a ST1100, but owner before him had it for a very long time. The mods that (I know) have been done to it are: 
Scottoiler on the chain
Renthal handlebars conversion (very comfy, but he gave me the stock bars too in case I want to change it back)
new-ish Yuasa battery
upgraded RR unit
MRA touring screen
Oxford heated grips
braided brake hoses
Motad stainless steel downpipes and collector
rack for a Givi monokey topbox (but no topbox, previous owner lost it)

Oil was changed approx 1,000 miles ago.

Everything else on the bike is stock, including exhaust can. To me it looks like the headlights may have been upgraded too but I haven't tried them in the dark yet.

I'm planning on checking (and likely changing) the air filter, as previous owner didn't say it had been done. From the reading I've done so far here, it seems like the VFRness might be a good mod to make in terms of preventative measures (reliability is my #1 concern at this point)?

Anything else I should be doing ASAP?

Down the line would like to pick up a seat cowl, possibly upgrade suspensio , and perhaps an end can for a bit of a growl 🙂
 

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Welcome to the board and great choice of bike.

 

You will never need to adjust or replace a timing chain on your bike 🙂

 

First thing I did to my 2000 gen5 with 38000km on it was add a volt meter and a usb socket and phone cradle. I checked (for heat damage and corrosion) and greased (with conductive grease) every electical connector I could find on the bike too. Both my clutch slave cylinder and water pump housing had leaks too.

 

Then I changed the brake and clutch fluid. Bleeding the combined brakes is a bit of a process  (so you better down load the workshop manual from this forum) warning, air will hang up in the banjo fittings if you bleed the lines dry!

 

You might consider checking your front and rear wheel bearings. Also check the headset  (mine was sloppy and worn) and rear suspension links for slop.

 

Further down the list comes changing out the cooling system O rings on the four coolant elbows that mate with the cylinder block (they will likely have turned to cheese) and checkthe thermostat and its housing for operation and corrosion. Change out the engine coolant when you do this.

 

You will likely get a performance kick from an injector clean and idle valve sync you can do this when you are getting at the coolant elbows.

 

I guess these are just a few of the joys of owning a mature motorcycle. 

 

Enjoy

 

 

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On 5/5/2019 at 6:48 AM, trapjaw said:

Hi everyone, this is my first post here. I'm in Bournemouth in the UK (originally from South Africa, though), and I just picked up a yellow '99 VFR800Fi. It's in excellent nick for a 20 year old machine, and has 54,000 miles on the clock. I'm not entirely new to VFRs, as I had a VFR400 NC30 many years ago (which was a fantastic bike, if a bit cramped), but am definitely new to the bigger VFRs. 

My new bike seems to have been very well taken care of. Last owner had it a year then bought a ST1100, but owner before him had it for a very long time. The mods that (I know) have been done to it are: 
Scottoiler on the chain
Renthal handlebars conversion (very comfy, but he gave me the stock bars too in case I want to change it back)
new-ish Yuasa battery
upgraded RR unit
MRA touring screen
Oxford heated grips
braided brake hoses
Motad stainless steel downpipes and collector
rack for a Givi monokey topbox (but no topbox, previous owner lost it)

Oil was changed approx 1,000 miles ago.

Everything else on the bike is stock, including exhaust can. To me it looks like the headlights may have been upgraded too but I haven't tried them in the dark yet.

I'm planning on checking (and likely changing) the air filter, as previous owner didn't say it had been done. From the reading I've done so far here, it seems like the VFRness might be a good mod to make in terms of preventative measures (reliability is my #1 concern at this point)?

Anything else I should be doing ASAP?

Down the line would like to pick up a seat cowl, possibly upgrade suspensio , and perhaps an end can for a bit of a growl 🙂
 

Just a small note. Having the Givi top frame is needed for the side frames and cases. I had to buy that just so I could I do the side cases even though I did not want a top case... So it's a good thing. It sounds like you have most of what you need... might think about a GPS if you are doing some tours...

 

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thanks Zarquon, that's quite a comprehensive list of things for me to check. I'll get on that, learning as I go (mechanical knowledge is fairly basic, limited mostly to easy stuff like oil and air filter changes, etc). Seems like there's quite a wealth of how-to's on this forum. 

Nice yellow VFR there in your profile pic kenbrough - I picked my bike for its condition rather than its colour, but the yellow is definitely growing on me the more I look at it 🙂 And yeah I'll be looking to get a GPS attachment for future touring. 

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At 54,000 miles your stock shock must have either been replaced or refreshed (by someone willing to do that).  If not, might be good time to asess the rebound and compression damping on that shock and consider replacement or refreshment.  Di your previous owner (PO) keep copious notes on service?  How are the front dampers?  New oil is a consideration up front if it hasn't been done in 5K miles or two years...

 

Folks mentioned your wheel bearings...I would offer that if you are a UK resident, you might look at steering head bearings as well as swingarm bearings and pivot...IF you find the PO serviced those then you're probably OK til 75K miles or further...rain and gunk make corrosion a consistent problem for you folks across the pond on the Island.

 

The wheel bearings are actually not too bad if you can do oil or air filters...and you have some hand tools, the bearings are quite simple--but it IS a process.  Lots of tutorials online or Youtube to guide you.  The rear hub bearing and the swingarm pivot points are a more arduous undertaking (something to do in a shed or garage over the winter).   Maybe a couple cases of beer to a friend who has an ultimate set of tools and is willing to guide/help?  Other than the lower end of the motor and making mods to the FI system...many aspects of the VFR are fixable/maintainable by someone with some tools and determination.  

 

My bike, here is a 2000 Yellow VFR...only it got some paint from it's PO.

 

Matt Roth

post-23591-0-65242700-1336520512_zpsa34c9848 (1).jpg

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Welcome! The classic tongue and cheek note here.. .photos or it doesnt exist 🙂 - Looks like the previous owner nailed the good upgrades..

- General note, if the PO did the proper redo/upgrade with the R/R, the VFRness isnt needed.

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Welcome to the asylum. You obviously have great taste in mc's.

 

I've had five fifth gens and every one needed new stearing head bearings. One as early as 28,000 miles on her. The test: put the machine on it's centerstand, raise the front wheel off the ground (I put a concrete block on the pillion seat), and move the front end slowly from lock to lock. If you feel a "detent" in the center the OEM ball bearings are worn. I've replaced them all with tapered roller bearings. Problem solved.

A common symptom was a certain vibration in front end at certain speeds. My first fifth gen was misdiagnosed as having a cupped front tire. Replaced the tire and vibration remained. Then the mechanic diagnosed the head bearing.

 

Good luck with your machine.

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All of the above plus........... Remove all the plastics and inspect all the connections in the wiring loom. check the earth block, big red wire coming from the main 30A fuse, look for spliced in zombie wiring and see where it goes. Check the connectors coming from the rectifier. Replace anything that looks burned out or flaky because it will almost certainly let you down soon if you don't. Check the forum for advice.

 

it's worth having a look at the PCB behind the instrument panel to see what condition it's in. By now some of the tracks may be corroded through and the will cause issues with the displays. There are some straightforward repairs you can do.

 

Depending on how keen you are, consider replacing rubber hoses, check the thermostat and hosing around that area (it's a pig to get to though). Check out GreginDenver's posts here on the subject and his VFR refresh posts for what is possible. He's got some good advice about perishables!

 

It will also be worthwhile downloading a copy of the full workshop manual.It's on here somewhere, and a lot better than the Haynes manual.

 

If you need spares, check out David Silver and M&P. Ebay has a wealth of VFR material too.

 

 

 

 

 

Post some photos.

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Thanks guys, there's a wealth of info here. I'm going to print off all the comments in this thread so I've got them as a reference. 

I believe the PO changed the fork oil fairly recently, so front suspension is okay for the time being. Bearings might not be okay, though, as some posters have suggested, so I'll try test 'em. Rear shock looks a bit worn and rusty; might be the original item. That'll likely need to be swapped out soon. 

I've run into a bit of a problem while giving the bike an examination - some of the fairing/bodywork bolts are frozen in place! I'm guessing the bodywork hasn't come off in some time. Any tips on how I can get them loose without stripping the heads?

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On the bolts...

 

Lube well with penetrating oil for 24hrs and use a small (low power) electric impact driver and a very well matched allen key bit. Be gentle, Good luck.

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On the bolts...

I've had problems with allan wrenches twisting out of the bolt holes. An inquiry let to someone suggesting filing the business ends of the wrench so it is flat and perpendicular to the shaft. I found this technique helpful.

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Welcome, I'm just looking to buy another 5th gen Vfr, haven't had one for a few years, looking at a 98 bike with 16k miles, expecting it will need a lot of work to freshen it up, hasn't seen much use over the years but if it checks out I could be back on the a vfr soon!!

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On 5/10/2019 at 7:58 AM, MaxSwell said:

On the bolts...

I've had problems with allan wrenches twisting out of the bolt holes. An inquiry let to someone suggesting filing the business ends of the wrench so it is flat and perpendicular to the shaft. I found this technique helpful.

Yes good tip. The shallow, and soft nature of the fairing bolts dictates that you do not use any kind of ball-end or worn allen wrenches/drivers.

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Another new owner here, too, with a 2000 bike, so that's a great list for me to work through...

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1 minute ago, Wiggo said:

Another new owner here, too, with a 2000 bike, so that's a great list for me to work through...

Welcome to the asylum. In order to assure us you are not a figment of our imagination, we'd love to see a pic of your machine.

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36 minutes ago, MaxSwell said:

Welcome to the asylum. In order to assure us you are not a figment of our imagination, we'd love to see a pic of your machine.

Well in that case, here she is...

vfr001.jpg

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11 hours ago, Saoirse said:

What did she cost you Wiggo? welcome aboard by the way.

Thank you! I got her for a good price - a little over half of what I've seen some asking for on Autotrader, and right on my doorstep, too. However, the seller made the classic mistake of advertising with half a dozen blurry, camera phone photos that were too small and too dark to see the bike properly, and had had no interest in a month, despite two price drops. It will cost me a few quid to get her the way I want her - I've put risers and a Renthal style bar on, changed the throttle cables, I'm recovering the seat, replacing all the fairing fasteners, I may de-cat and put a stainless high level system on, and I'm toying with powder coating the wheels in the same bronze/gold of the Honda tank logos.

 

And I may invest in some hard luggage if I can find some at the right price, as it was a long trip with roll bags tied all over my Suzuki VL800 (Ermintrude) that made me get the VFR in the first place...

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Wiggo, your bike looks familiar.  I just added this CF Micron pipe and tank protector to mine.  I was also contemplating eventually powdercoating the wheels in a bronze or maybe a dark silver color.  I think it would look good on these green bikes.

image.thumb.png.db5d8c8ae0ee0277b559d52724328f10.png

 

 

 

 

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On 6/4/2019 at 1:24 PM, Wiggo said:

Well in that case, here she is...

vfr001.jpg

And in that case I'd say you have fabulous taste in mc's. It's the Best Generation with gear-driven cams. Ride well and ride safe.

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