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PROJECT VFR.....20 Year refresh.


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5 th gen VFR's are my thing really. I buy them then rescue them but I always try and start with a bike that has good provenance / a verifiable history and certainly all its papers/books/service invoices as well as owners handbook and original service book etc etc . I don't know if its me, but the amount of bikes I come across that only have a log book ( the ownership papers for my American friends on here ) and nothing else. So many people seem to lose their other documents . I just don't get it. Personally , I won't buy a bike without supporting paperwork unless it is cheap.  Im  not scared of the many jobs that need doing , and  whilst I look, inspect and renew parts as needed, if it is perfectly serviceable then the part gets cleaned and put back .

 

 

In the case of this VFR , it was a 7 hour round trip. Half a dozen owners and just 15,300 miles on the clock with lots of history /paperwork and its not been got at .

Where needed things are replaced or cleaned and put back .  The  original exhaust was in such good condition that I left it alone. The rear shock absorber although with a few marks is working remarkably well. 

A pictorial for you of the work in progress. 

 

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This is how it came to me and it is presented to you after a wash. 

 

 

 

 

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First job was to strip it of all its bodywork and give it a really good clean .

There was 2 years of chain wax/grease all over the back of the bike and the front sprocket cover was oozing the stuff. 

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All cleaned up .

 

Chain guide removed. Old rusty bolts replaced with stainless steel items. Swing arm cleaned along with the entire back end. 

 

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I used a lot of brake cleaner & degreaser.

 

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Back end looking a lot better, and the chain adjuster is nice and free.

 

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The next job was to clean the engine, replace the coolant, oil and filter , fix a coolant  leak , couple of new coolant hoses and clips and replace the oil pipes with some better stainless steel items that are made for us over here at less than half the price of the Honda part. I also replaced the fan housing, as these rust and I had a freshly powder coated one so on it went. 

 

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New oil line and clean engine cases. 

 

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Cleaned oil cooler and new lines.

 

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New oil line, oil filter and clean engine casing. 

 

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That exhaust is in such good condition.

 

Radiator off and the fan housing has been replaced by a freshly powder coated one. 

It looks so much better and will be much more durable.

 

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Fan and rad back in place and being tested for leaks and making sure the fan kicks in at the right temperature. 

 

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Next job was to change the air filter for a K & N item .

 

 

 

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All reassembled and everything here was inspected and cleaned . 

 

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The VFR had heated grips that didn't work. They had to go and new grips were fitted. 

 

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Then it was time to tackle the front end. Fork seals, stanchions were cleaned up. Lowers were striped, cleaned and repainted. 

 

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I have seen much worse. 

 

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After a repaint, waiting for the legs to dry .

 

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The front brakes were fully serviced. Cleaned and any internals where needed were replaced. I always replace the pad pins with titanium items ad Ti doesn't rust and use Ti caps. 

New brake pads from Mr Honda fitted all round and all the brake fluid was also replaced. 

The wheel was replaced with a white item , with new bearings, Ti disk bolts and Ti pinch bolts . Disks were in excellent condition and were cleaned up .

 

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New Pirelli tyres were also fitted . 

 

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A different view in daylight so you can see the result. 

 

I think its come out very well .

 

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And not forgetting to clean up here either.

 

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Yes thats a dirty mark, not a flaw in the fork paint. 

 

Thats the front end done. Now took the back of the bike off. Everything was checked , cleaned and every connector removed and refitted to make sure it all connects as it should, especially the RR connections. 

 

New clips and bolts for the rear brake lines too .

 

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Its all good this side. 

 

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And this side .

 

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And also in here. 

 Then all the bodywork was put back and the whole lot was mopped and polished. Its easier to to on the work table.

 

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And there you have it. 

One 20 year old VFR , refreshed and ready to do another 20 years. 

There are lots of things I have pictures off that I have not posted. I didn't want to bore you . 

 

Overall Im very pleased how this one turned out. Thats the third one I have done. 

 

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Those Ti bolts look so good. 

 

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Out with its older brother today as the sun was out .

 

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Proof that you can have more than 1 VFR and get away with it. As they are both blue my wife thinks I only have 1 bike and its the same one she sees. At least thats what I tell her .

 

Now looking for my next project VFR. 

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Lovely job making it look it's best! I think your next project should be to ride up to Oxfordshire and help make my gen 3 look half as smart! 😅

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Looks great. Love the blue. We only got red and yellow in the states for 5th gen. I did see a blue one while visiting France years ago. 

 

Keep up the good work!  

 

Justin 

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Nice work! Really like that blue with white wheels.

Where did you get the new oil pipes??

 

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The oil pipes are made by a man in Wales. 

He only makes 5 th gen oil cooler lines .  Made in 316 stainless steel and stainless braided hose.

Each set is test fitted to a spare vfr he has. 

 

They are £140 for the pair . He would appreciate you sending back the the old engine ends from your old ones as those are cleaned and reused to make new lines. 

 

They fit very nicely .

 

 

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10 hours ago, Careca said:

The oil pipes are made by a man in Wales. 

He only makes 5 th gen oil cooler lines .  Made in 316 stainless steel and stainless braided hose.

Each set is test fitted to a spare vfr he has. 

 

They are £140 for the pair . He would appreciate you sending back the the old engine ends from your old ones as those are cleaned and reused to make new lines. 

 

They fit very nicely .

 

 

I did put together a how too on this for a DIY replacement a few years ago. Good to see someone has stepped up 👍

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Beautiful work, appreciate the attention to detail to bring it to like-new condition!  :beer:

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She really is a looker!!!

 

When I lived in the UK I learned about the whole log book / service history / dealer stamp deal. Especially when owning Ducati’s....... I always keep receipts for everything from dealer services to pieces parts purchased along the way. To bad everyone doesn’t understand the benefit. 

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Nicely done! I have to admit I have a thing for Red/Blue VFRs with white wheels.

 

Your windscreens look interesting, thought they might be Power Bronze but did not see them in the catalogue. What brand are they?

 

You easily have more invested in Ti/SS fastenings than I have in a couple of my bikes. 🙃

 

In 2015 I lived and worked in the UK for about a year in Falmouth Cornwall. While sitting on the ship fueling up in Gibraltar I bought a 91 Red VFR on Ebay. A few days after we arrived in Falmouth, the owner was kind enough to deliver it to me for gas money. The V5, road tax, went fine. Then I was asked if I was a resident, no, but I have a letter from immigration stating I was working on a foreign vessel and was legally working in the UK. Then I was asked if I had a residence, subtle difference. Yes as the ship was in drydock the crew were scattered in houses and apartments. They were happy. Insurance was a problem but one company agreed as long as I had a valid International drivers license, I did and sent them a copy and all was good.

 

When we left, I sold the bike to a friend with the Caveat that I keep the 8 spoke rear, the selling price reflected that. After 9 months on the boat I finally had it in my Garage and after a clean and paint it was on my 4th Gen. I ended up painting my 4th Gen front wheel white so I could keep the floating discs.

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Beautiful.  I have a Gen 5 and 5.5 and would still have a blue Gen 5 in my garage.  Thanks for saving these bikes from an early death.  Still modern and beautiful after 30 years, quite an amazing feat.

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14 hours ago, FromMaine said:

Nicely done! I have to admit I have a thing for Red/Blue VFRs with white wheels.

 

Your windscreens look interesting, thought they might be Power Bronze but did not see them in the catalogue. What brand are they?

 

You easily have more invested in Ti/SS fastenings than I have in a couple of my bikes. 🙃

 

In 2015 I lived and worked in the UK for about a year in Falmouth Cornwall. While sitting on the ship fueling up in Gibraltar I bought a 91 Red VFR on Ebay. A few days after we arrived in Falmouth, the owner was kind enough to deliver it to me for gas money. The V5, road tax, went fine. Then I was asked if I was a resident, no, but I have a letter from immigration stating I was working on a foreign vessel and was legally working in the UK. Then I was asked if I had a residence, subtle difference. Yes as the ship was in drydock the crew were scattered in houses and apartments. They were happy. Insurance was a problem but one company agreed as long as I had a valid International drivers license, I did and sent them a copy and all was good.

 

When we left, I sold the bike to a friend with the Caveat that I keep the 8 spoke rear, the selling price reflected that. After 9 months on the boat I finally had it in my Garage and after a clean and paint it was on my 4th Gen. I ended up painting my 4th Gen front wheel white so I could keep the floating discs.

Windcreen wise ,

 

1 is a powerbronze , the other is an airflow ( never heard of them ). I have ordered another powerbronze one to fit so both will be the same. i have found that powerbronze fit the best . I even have one on my 8 th gen bike. 

 

Those Ti fasteners are not that expensive, relatively speaking. Some are a little more than the Honda items, a couple are less and yes the brake pad pins are £11 each but they make a big difference. If you polish the Honda items they tarnish / rust really quickly. 

I don't intend on selling the bikes for a long time . In the mean time I shall ride them . I think these bikes are so cheap , I am buying as many as I can ( wife permitting because of space ) and I fix them up, make them as good as I can make them and in years to come people will want to buy them . Currently buying these bikes between £2000-£3000 which I think is unbelievable value for money but they have to be right to begin with . By the time I am finished with them , given most have had a new exhaust/rear shock and a full going over / other essentials you can generalize spending £1k on each bike to get it absolutely perfect.  I think people would easily pay that and more for one if I went to market . VFR's  are plentiful, but most are in a terrible state with big mileages . 

Id like to have half a dozen at least. 

One thing is funny. Red ones were everywhere . When I started buying them I wanted a blue one and could never find one. Now I want a red one, all I can find are blue ones. 

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Thanks for the reply, I rechecked Power Bronze's web site and there it was. Operator Error/ Missed ID on my part.

 

I asked because I've been thinking of replacing my Zero Gravity see through red one with some thing a bit more restrained. But power Bronze only offers a tall touring type for the 97that I had on my 91 in the UK. Removed after a week or so and installed the oem one which was less buffety on the highway.

 

Had a look around for Ti fastenings on line, hoping to find a kit for the 97, but I did not. I assume your sourced them individually?

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Hi,

 

There are 2 places I got the Ti fasteners from .

 

1. https://titanclassics.com/honda-parts/

2. https://www.racefasteners.co.uk/

 

Please remember with Ti bolts to reduce the quoted torque values by 20% .

Ti does NOT stretch like steel / stainless steel so they don't need to be as tight.

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Actually Ti stretches more than steel for same tension. But it's "springier" than steel, so it can provide clamping tension over larger variety of loads. Kinda like rubber-band.
 

Great job on bikes! Looks better than new! 

How much time would you estimate this took?

 

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I would say It took me a week , taking my time , not rushing anything , doing it between work and family commitments. Having done it before I kind of knew what to expect and which bits I was going to have to change. 

 

If you were to work 10 hours a day and had all the parts I would say 3 full days should do it, assuming you don't run into any issues. I had 1 broken bolt to drill out and a bar end that took over 2 hours to get out because someone had used a load of threadlock on it .

Everything else went fairly straight forward. 

 

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On 4/25/2021 at 7:04 PM, jroberts427 said:

Looks great. Love the blue. We only got red and yellow in the states for 5th gen. I did see a blue one while visiting France years ago. 

 

Keep up the good work!  

 

Justin 

 

While you're technically correct, if you look hard you'll notice a factory black 5th gen cruising the streets of SLC quite regularly. Feel free to say hello if you do!

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On 4/28/2021 at 10:40 AM, Careca said:

I would say It took me a week , taking my time , not rushing anything , doing it between work and family commitments. Having done it before I kind of knew what to expect and which bits I was going to have to change. 

 

If you were to work 10 hours a day and had all the parts I would say 3 full days should do it, assuming you don't run into any issues. I had 1 broken bolt to drill out and a bar end that took over 2 hours to get out because someone had used a load of threadlock on it .

Everything else went fairly straight forward. 

 

 

What paint did you use on the forks?  

 

Thanks 

Justin 

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Beautiful!  Excellent work and care on that 5th gen.  I have a friend and riding buddy with a spotless 5th gen in red.  I'm always amazed how good it looks after 20+ years.  Like new, really, much like your blue VFRs.

 

As for the service records and ownership papers, I kept just about everything from the 14+ years I owned my 6th gen, including my own service records and receipts from the mods I bought and installed.  I gave it all to the buyer when I sold the bike last fall.  I think he was very appreciative of that.  I would want the same when I buy any used vehicle, but I think especially a motorcycle.

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I think service history is so important. I get the fact that I am buying a bike and its 2021 and some will argue who cares if it was serviced back in 2002 , it is how it is now that matters. However I like to be able to se that everything was done when it should have been done and no one skimped on anything. 

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2 hours ago, Careca said:

I think service history is so important. I get the fact that I am buying a bike and its 2021 and some will argue who cares if it was serviced back in 2002 , it is how it is now that matters. However I like to be able to se that everything was done when it should have been done and no one skimped on anything. 

 

Low miles and overall condition.  Personality I do not like when other people worked on the bike for profit  beyond basic maintenance. 

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On 4/26/2021 at 12:02 PM, Careca said:

The oil pipes are made by a man in Wales. 

 

 

 

They look good. I may be interested in a set, do you have his contact details?

 

Cheers.

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