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2wenty

Just picked up a mint RC36 tonight and something went wrong on the way home

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Hey guys, 
 
Just bought a super clean RC36 with 7K and on my 50 mile ride home something happened. I was almost home and I was pulling away from the light and there was a small pop and it started running terribly, there was a loud ticking like an exhaust leak. Does anyone know if its a common problem or a known problem to blow an exhaust gasket? 
 
The bike has a slip on so I thought it might have been at that joint but the sound is coming from somewhere closer to the engine. I didn't really get a chance to run it and check exactly where it is since its midnight here. I took a look by the radiator where the front 2 headers come out and nothing looks unusual, no gasket material. Not seeing any fluid leaks yet and I checked the oil and dont see anything that might be water. Also I dont remember seeing any smoke. 
 
Im guess from the mile I rode to get it home it sounded like an exhaust leak but who knows. 
 
Not really the greatest way to start ownership. Also the seller lucked out like a mofo. 
 
Really hoping this is nothing. Maybe its running lean as hell from the slip on and the exhaust got really hot and the old gasket let go. IDK. 
 
Was super fun ride home except for the crazy soft suspension and now this. 
 
Any help would be great. Thanks

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Well F me sides ways, couldnt sleep with this on my mind so I went down to take the plastics off to have a look. Couldn't really get them off since I dont know anything about this bike yet. 
 
Fired it for a fast second and put my hand under the bottom exhaust connections to check for a leak. Nothing. The sound it def coming from under the seat/tank. I pull the seat and try and peak from the shifter side and what I see is the spark plug boot sticking up?! WTF?! Im praying to god at this point that the plug was just not tightened down all the way and or backed itself out. 
 
I figured out how to raise the tank so I can get the wire and plug out at the same time, can't believe this S#$t, the plugs broke off in the head. I mean wtf?! Im guessing someone broke it off in the head and left it and or used the last remaining thread to tread it back in just to sell it. Uhh man, I literally bought this bike as second transportation because my BMW needs a new part like once a week. Im praying to god again I can back this thing out without doing anything else, or else its just going to sit for a very long time. Im not taking the head off. 
 
Is this common?! Been working on pretty much anything that has a gas motor my entire life and never seen this. 
IMG_7243.jpg
 
IMG_7244.thumb.jpg.d230b79bc7173bc6b46abe71b42a7599.jpg
 

IMG_7245.jpg

 

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So I get down on my knees and asked god, "why, you screw me nearing every god d$mn day,  please let me just have one, I can't live like this." Not letting this go. Grabbed a flat screwdriver to see if it would fit and wedge, it was too big. Went back and grabbed a Phillips, it started backing out, "yes god! thank you, noooo, no, I'm not celebrating too early, I'm sorry". It stopped backing out and was slipping, it was hung up, "please god, not now, I need this one, I promise I wont be cocky" grabbed some masking tape and wrapped it around backwards, "pleeeeaasseeeee", YESSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!! I just want to keep screaming Allāhu akbar :p  but its 2am. 
 
I know deep down I should replace the other plug, but hell no, Im not rolling those dice. 

 

 

IMG_7246.jpg

IMG_7247.jpg

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What a story! It reminds me plenty of time when you say to yourself: "But why???" Lucky for you you were able to solve it in the end. Also, rear cylinder spark plugs are easier to access than the front ones. I did not know how to changes plugs without removing the cooling radiator.

 

Let us know how she runs after you put a new plug in. 

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Bro, for real. The bike has 7,700 miles on it so the plugs are good for awhile, the gap on the broken one looks decent. Just hoping no more are broken. As of now Im leaving it, I cant afford for one to break off in removal.

 

The ride home was pretty great other than the crazy soft suspension, but ill have a look at that and have it setup soon. Im coming off a Duc 1098 with race exhaust and the RC doesnt quite shake the ground like that one did, but it does sound pretty good, albeit kinda quiet compared to the Duc even with the slip on. Might need a header in the long run but for now, she's pretty nice. Just need to stiff the suspension up and add some preload to get her to turn a little better. 

 

BTW, where should the temp needle sit when cruising on the highway/freeway? Mine sits at about the 25% percent area if you consider the cold to hot marks 100%. Should it be about half way (50%)? Do I have a thermostat problem too? It does seem like it takes a little bit to warm up. 

 

Thanks!

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Front plugs: loosen radiator and push a wedge (piece if scrap wood) from the side to move it out more to give you just enough space.

 

As for the other plugs, maybe the PO overtightned them? Set torque wrench to spec for the plug, switch direction and see if the other rear one will come out. Increase torque setting by small increments if not. 

 

Temp gauge: after 19 years, 100k+ ownership I can tell you it rarely moves over 25% 🙂

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I've never seen that before. Lucky it wasn't stripped threads.

 

I'd probably replace all the plugs. Rears are easy. The fronts, you remove the lower radiator bolt, loosen the top, and you can hinge it forward towards the forks to get your hand in there. I usually take the fan off too, or at least 2/3 bolts and swing it out of the way. Makes life much easier.

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In the 24 years I've had my '95, I've never seen the temp gauge much past 25%. I even replaced the thermostat early on thinking it might be stuck open. It wasn't.

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Nice "save" with that broken spark plug.  Good job.

 

I've seen some strange things with spark plugs.  When I saw your first picture I was thinking you had a thread failure in the head and the engine spat out the spark plug (I've seen this happen on 1990s-2000s Kawasaki engines).

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Hey guys, kinda need some help again. Not out of the woods yet.

 

Picked up a plug today. Put it in and it ran fine, died a min later. Figured I may of hit the fuel shut off switch. Took the seat off sure enough it was off. 

 

Rode it in about an hour of solid lane splitting on the 101. Got that thing hot to give her a nice shake down. It has a high mount Delkevic on the brake side (right?) and my ass was on fire. Went to a friends to be like "hey check out my new clean a$$ bike". Hung out for a bit, then tired to leave, wouldnt start. I dont know much about this bike but I have briefly seen the rectifier problem, looked around to see where it might be, Im guessing its on the side right above the exhaust at the tail? Im also guessing the exhaust being high mount cooked the sh!t out of it and killed it. 

 

From the brief searching I've done the Ricks motorsports looks like its the one to get? What do you guys think? Also if this is the problem I'm guessing I might have to relocate it under the seat away from the high mount exhaust. 

 

Let me just say that push starting that thing on flat ground is a real b!tch. So far, ownership of one of the most reliable bikes isn't looking too good. 

 

Also does anyone know where I can find a guide to the suspension, like where the adjusters are at and what they do? Maybe something like a sticky. I tired to look around and really havent found anything. The thing is super soft and it dives and lifts too much plus the seat is kinda low. I like to fix it. 

 

Thanks guys. 

 

 

PS also realized the Delkevic had the db killer in it. Took that out and it sounds even better. Sounds like a da$m f1 car near redline. Only bummer is theres no screw to go back in and theres a leak now right before the can. 

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You don't know the age and state of the battery, it may be a simple issue of a dead battery, charge and load test it and once you can start your engine check your charging voltages. You may not need a new R/R yet!

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Will do. But it just seems weird. It fired up yesterday when I picked it up. Fired up again 3 times when I was checking for problems, and fired up like 3 times today riding around to various places. I would think the battery would of been dead before all that. Also rode it 2 places push starting it and each time I killed the engine it would not restart. Wouldnt this be a charging issue? 

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1 hour ago, 2wenty said:

Will do. But it just seems weird. It fired up yesterday when I picked it up. Fired up again 3 times when I was checking for problems, and fired up like 3 times today riding around to various places. I would think the battery would of been dead before all that. Also rode it 2 places push starting it and each time I killed the engine it would not restart. Wouldnt this be a charging issue? 

Could well be a shorted cell. If you noticed your bike was cranking over OK with all the starts you did and it didn't have an indication that cranking was getting slower and slower then it points to a shorted cell which will rapidly kill the ability to crank the engine.

 

The other thing is that if you were able to push start your bike and ride any distance this would mean your charging system is probably OK. A dead battery AND no charging system = No ride!

 

Also make sure your battery connections are clean and tight.

 

So really, until you're sure you have a good battery in the bike, you can then verify your charging system is working correctly. If with a good battery you're seeing low charging volts then you can start to look at a Stator issue or the R/R or both.

Cheers.

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Did only around 500km on mine since restoration. Saw the temp gauge needle go over 25% (like let say 35-40%) but it was like 30+ degrees F here (something like 86-89 degrees F apparently) and I was stuck in traffic waiting for too long. Hopefully, fan works 😉 As long as I ride it, it never goes beyond 25%.

 

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Just want to say thanks for posting this. When I read it, I was like WTF. I work on a lot of bikes and I can think of two spark plug related issues I have seen in 36 years of wrenching.

My 1996 has 27,7xx miles. I thought, maybe I should check mine. Usually I replace plugs at 50K miles.

Let me just say, If you have a forth Gen VFR and have not checked the plugs, you might want to open up the bike and have a look see.

When I saw your picture, I knew exactly what happened to the plug.

I hit my back two first. Yep. Both were only hand tight in the hole. Jumped on the front two the one on the right was snug but not torqued. The left was just again hand tight.

You can see in the pictures, that fuel and exhaust were blowing past the plug. The bike still ran fine.

I ran down to Car Quest and picked up new NGK CR9EH-9 Part # 7502.

The bike ran fine before, but now after a quick trip to the Cherohala Skyway this morning, the bike is running awesome like a VFR should.

 

Your other problem, I suggest replacing the Regulator/ Rectifier and battery first before replacing any other electrical part.

I am 85% sure this will correct the electrical issues you are having. At 7K miles, the RR has not been replaced with a better one.

sparkplug1.jpg

 

sparkplug2.jpg

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Well, welcome and you are fortunate.

These bikes have their quirks, but are the best ever made in many people opinions.

There are things you will learn.  Replace the plugs, oil and filter, air filter, and sub air filter (off the right side of the airbox)  Pm me your address and I'll send you either a clymer or factory manual.  I've got several.  Get a vfrness from wiremybike.com.  You are in for a bit of a learning curve, but it's a fairly easy one and fun.  Just put some time in and you'll be up to speed in no time.  

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+1 on the recommendations for battery and regulator. If the battery wasn't cooked before, it may be compromised now. Also, highly recommend a voltmeter install, even if you do replace both R/R and battery. The charging system is the weak point on the VFR and it takes major efforts to overcome that. Make sure you replace the R/R with a newer, cooling-finned model (the OEM is now like this). VFRness is also a great idea, and not a hard install. Do these things, and this bike should provide reliable transportation for tens of thousands of miles. 

 

I probably have 100k miles on 4th gen VFRs, and have never seen a spark plug issue like that one!

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I didn't see this posted but if you're still looking for an R/R, I'd pick up a Mofset R/R (FH020AA) from Roadstercycle.com.  They're the new style of R/R and for $150 you can get the all the wiring premade to go with it so it charges directly to the battery with thicker wires.  The only downfall to these bikes is the charging system, so upgrading to the newer mofset style R/R with upgraded wiring will help you a great deal in the future.  

 

I bought a Rick's stator and regulator for mine and ended up throwing away the regulator.  It was garbage.  The stator I got came with a pinched wire and while they replaced it and tested it for me, the entire process took about 2 weeks for shipping back and forth and cost me an extra $35 in shipping costs.  I'd skip the Rick's regulator and go Mofset.

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Hey guys sorry for the delay. I guess the RR was just a fluke. I recharged the battery and been riding the hell out of ever since. Starts and runs fine every time now.

 

Now I need to sort the suspension. Been riding in through Mulholland a lot and it doest seem to like that too much. Suspensions is too sh$t and the bike is kinda heavy for such tight turns. Up on the Crest its not too bad but it does take quite a bit of work to hustle it. Especially with ten year old tires. Feels like trying to rip a lazy boy recliner around, but still turns better then my Duc 1098 ever did. 

 

Unfortunately my bike doesn't have any adjusters on the suspension other then preload, which is already dialed in the best I could and its not really great. 

 

I kind of want to leave the parts stock since the bike is so clean. I wonder if it would be worth it to get the fronts that have the preload adjusters and rebuild those.

 

Also does anyone know if the rear shock is rebuildable? I wonder if it would be worth buying the one that has the damping adjuster (mine doesn't). I don't really want to frakenstien it with other bike parts if possible. Not sure if I'm going to sell it yet, so Id rather keep the parts original VFR. 

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3 hours ago, 2wenty said:

Hey guys sorry for the delay. I guess the RR was just a fluke. I recharged the battery and been riding the hell out of ever since. Starts and runs fine every time now.

 

Now I need to sort the suspension. Been riding in through Mulholland a lot and it doest seem to like that too much. Suspensions is too sh$t and the bike is kinda heavy for such tight turns. Up on the Crest its not too bad but it does take quite a bit of work to hustle it. Especially with ten year old tires. Feels like trying to rip a lazy boy recliner around, but still turns better then my Duc 1098 ever did. 

 

Unfortunately my bike doesn't have any adjusters on the suspension other then preload, which is already dialed in the best I could and its not really great. 

 

I kind of want to leave the parts stock since the bike is so clean. I wonder if it would be worth it to get the fronts that have the preload adjusters and rebuild those.

 

Also does anyone know if the rear shock is rebuildable? I wonder if it would be worth buying the one that has the damping adjuster (mine doesn't). I don't really want to frakenstien it with other bike parts if possible. Not sure if I'm going to sell it yet, so Id rather keep the parts original VFR. 

 

Put new tires on it and raise the fork tubes in the triple tree (lower the front) and it will ride and turn much better... and it will stay stock 😉

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Before I try and lower the forks, this is what it looks like. Do I measure 10mm from the ring?

IMG_8649.jpg

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Yeah as a starting point yes that will do.

 

What year is yours?, 3rd or 4th gen? That fork top looks "different" (in my recollection of my 1997).

Another thing you can do is raise the rear by putting a U-shaped spacer between top of rear shock and frame. U-shape because then you just loosen the bolt instead of an o-ring where you need to remove the shock.

OEM suspension so-so to begin with, most likely it will be shot. But these mods are free so try first if you like the result.

 

 

 

PS: bought it a month ago and want to sell it? So just fix and flip?

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1991 RC36.

 

It only has around 9,000 miles and is super clean so Im not sure if I want to put a ton a miles on it. So Im thinking about selling it to someone who wants a super clean low mileage example and just buying something more sporty. I do like the bike a lot though, so Im just not sure. 

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Just lowered it about 3-4mm more about 7 total from the ring. I could already tell the difference pushing back into its parking spot. I took it for an easy run through Mulholland to see whats up. I wouldnt think just moving 3-4mm would be a big deal but its definitely noticeable. Couldn't really ride hard since its pitch dark but it does want to turn in better. The bars a stiffer to turn and if I wiggle the bars its a lot twitcher. Did a little freeway run to see if I was going to be more prone to tank slappers. Doesn't seem too bad. 

 

It does seem like its putting more load on the front tire which is probably bad news for 10 year old tires. Looks like Im going to have to get them sooner then later. I wish it would be easy to adjust the forks 1mm at a time but that just seems like a nightmare. 

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Also can someone confirm, is the stock/factory setting for the forks suppose to touch the ring or is slightly down from the ring like in the picture above?

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