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About GebruikerNotLID

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  • Location
    Connecticut USA and the Netherlands
  • In My Garage:
    1992 VFR
    1993 CBR1000

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  1. Swish. Swish. Swish. Yet another new word for my glossary. I’m thinking from context, this is British for the opposite of clarty. Or is that from LA? At this particular moment I’m a little skeptical of unverified definitions… The rubber tab on the seat is OEM? Well, what’s it for? Is there something under it that I should know about? It looks pretty tacky for OEM anything. Does it have a part number? As for the front tabs, believe or not, those are intact. Not in the greatest shape, but they are there, still doing the job after all these years. Considering that most of the things that could’ve broken off this bike probably did break off at some point, I’m a little surprised to know these things are delicate. Lucky me. 🙂
  2. Wait. Is that true? Nah… Really? No. Nononono. Sonofabitch. No. I mean, yes, I knew it meant member. As in, ‘he’s a member of the club’. That’s why I picked it. But not the other thing. It can’t. Nooooo. That can’t be right. I remember the day I signed up, I asked a Dutch friend if I could take it as a user name. I just needed something short and easy. She said she thought it was perfect for me. Heeeeeey. Goddammit! You people are all evil! Dammit. Very funny. Now I have to change it. Hey admin, how do you change user names around here? How about Clarty? Is that one taken? 😉
  3. So, in a moment of inspiration, I skipped right on past the do-nothing stage of seat repair and went right to the seat stretching option. First off, I found out that, no the old seat covers don't stretch. But they don't tear easily either. Also the fabric is really thin. Here's what I started with. Lots of staples... I pulled it back to the first um, boss(?) Clarty underneath... 🙂 Even though the fabric didn't stretch, I was able to pull it tighter to reposition the tears, dragging them under the edge of the pan. I thought it would rip out right away, but it didn't. I used a lot of staples. Probably three temporary staples for every one that made the final cut. I doubt it'll last, but for the moment it's better.
  4. Clarty. Another new word for me. My vocabulary is expanding like crazy in here... I'll have to use it in a sentence before I forget. Yes, your seat cover looks great... So, a couple questions if you don't mind. Do these things come only pre-cut, or are they also pre-formed? I mean are you only getting a flat piece of vinyl in the outline of your seat pan, or are you getting a three dimensional cover that fits like a slipper? The EBay seat covers appear to be cut and sewn in three sections. But I can't see why that would be helpful unless all the edges just slipped into place, ready for stapling... And, yours also looks smooth like the marine grade vinyl. I don't suppose you've found that particularly slick when wet? (that's a question) Or maybe it doesn't rain much in your part of Holland. 😉 As an aside, what's the Bever lanyard for, hanging from your exhaust system?
  5. Seat Cover, part 2 Okay…on to the seat cover. I should say, back to the seat cover. The seat that came on the bike is original I think. The vinyl has the standard pebbly finish. On the underside, one of the POs stapled in a rubber patch. It’s more or less…but not exactly…over the battery box. It’s not obvious to me why it’s there. Was PO worried about a short to the positive lead through the plastic seat pan? If anybody knows what it might be for, please let me know... Anyway, the overall condition of the seat maintains the generally dodgy standard of so many of the cosmetic bits on the bike. It’s not terminal, well, yeah, I guess it’s terminal. Several small tears on the tail make any repair pretty much impossible I think. If only I could reposition the cover an inch or so, I could restaple it beyond the undamaged areas. That seems unlikely. Anyway, recovering a seat will be yet another new adventure for me, like so many of these little tasks. A while back I had picked up a nice, sticky Aldi trunk liner for a few euros to try as a seat cover (see entry Sept 12, 2018, above). I liked the texture of it but after closer consideration, decided it really doesn’t seem well suited for a seat cover. The problem is that it turns out to be kindof fragile stuff. You’d think a trunk liner would be sturdy, right? But if I bash it a bit, even with something relatively soft, I can damage it. Yeah. Too bad. A careless swing of a boot will scuff the top layer. This material would last all of about a month as my seat cover. The vinyl I was really looking for is something like Slip-Not Griptex. I see lots of custom seats using similar materials. My CBR came with a beautiful custom seat made with this material. I got used to it. Sticky. I can get a swatch of that for about $35. It’s used on boats. This seems like a good choice to me. https://www.seattlefabrics.com/54-Bumpy-Slip-NOT-Grip-Fabric-2195-linear-yard_p_169.html For my seat cover experiments, the cost is a little steep. The shipping and handling really kill that deal… ($16.46 for the material, $18.20 s&h) If only I lived in Seattle… No matter. There’s at least one guy on Ebay making inexpensive, pre-cut seat covers. He seems to get good reviews. This will probably be my choice after I screw up doing it myself. https://www.ebay.com/itm/HONDA-VFR750F-Interceptor-750-Seat-Cover-VFR750-1990-1991-1992-1993-BLACK/382386101278?fits=Year%3A1992|Make%3AHonda&hash=item5907fcdc1e:g:cOkAAOSwndZaazLr The material he uses is marine grade vinyl. Good stuff, and easy enough to come by at any fabric shop. A swatch here costs 8 bucks. More than enough material for an attempt. Right. So what’s the problem with that? Well, sticky it ain’t. It’s pretty much the opposite of sticky. Slippery. This material is designed for use on boat cushions. Don’t boat cushions get wet? This stuff would be slippery as ice when wet. Riding the VFR in the rain will be an extra adventure. So where does that leave me? I’m thinking of trying the trunk liner material first. No, wait. I’m thinking about doin' nuthin first. That’s always first. And I’m thinking of gently stretching the present cover second. Does 25 year old seat vinyl stretch? The trunk liner experiment would probably be third. Then, even if that cover only lasts a short while, at least I’ll be better practised for an attempt with marine vinyl from the EBay guy. Lastly, I’ll spring for the griptex and be happy. I have to try the electric stapler anyway on the seat pan. The tutorials say ½ inch staples are long enough but even so, an electric stapler usually doesn’t have quite the power necessary to get the suckers all the way into the plastic. There must be 100 staples in the seat. That’s a lot of stapling that has to be tidy. The tutorials say that you really need a pneumatic stapler for the job. Yup. Nope. I have a basic electric one. Okay. And what about extra padding while I’m in there… Whew. One more thing. Last year I thought I’d try modifying the seat foam too. I have a few scraps of closed-cell foam laying around that would do the job. And even more scraps of open-cell foam. The seat comfort could always be improved but I wouldn’t even know how to begin customizing it. I’m not going to make random changes just for the hell of it. I’d be better off stuffing the back of my riding pants with foam and seeing how that works. By now I’ve grown accustomed to the original seat padding. I get achy after a 200 mile ride. But it’s tolerable. I’m using this link as a tutorial: http://diymotorcycleseat.com/
  6. 🙂 If only all our problems were so easy to solve. Glad to help.
  7. iirc from my cbr, the switch you're talking about is on the right side. A horizontal switch. Off. Parking lights. Low beams. The switch looks like the blinker switch...but on the right side. The high beam switch is on the left side. That looks like the kill switch... See if that just got bumped up by mistake. It could be as simple as that. Or not. I know. A cbr is not a vfr, but a honda is a honda. Pictures help. JZH is one of the gurus around here.
  8. Satin finish is my goal too, on both the forks and exhaust. Pretty much like yours, which is also close to factory original I think. Steel wool, Scotchbrite. These I have. I have some Magic Erasers to try as well. I'll go back when I find some more elbow grease...something always in short supply around this house. On the exhaust especially I'm polishing to a finer finish than I actually want, but on a badly prepared surface. So the shine must be coming out brighter where the little scratches are not. And the result is blotchy. (I think?). So I gotta go back and add more uniform little scratches all over. Ack. That seems so counterproductive... I had noticed the forks were cast(?) to varying grades of smoothness. By now, it probably would not come as a surprise to anybody in here that I don't know much about machining. Maybe original castings are all rough, and Showa then polishes only the parts that it um, polishes. Yes, the bits around the bosses are rougher than the more visible bits. (New word for me. Boss. I had to look it up https://www.diecastingdesign.org/bosses) I'm definitely not worried about smoothing out parts I'll never see. I hadn't even noticed drain plugs, or not. I'll look next time I'm in there. ...and I'm purposefully avoiding all those acres of fairing plastic. That will be the biggest job of all...but I'm on it. Thanks for keeping me on track. 🙂
  9. Thanks for the encouragement John. I may have overstated my ‘mirror finish’ goal. ‘Brushed look’ seems just about right for me, like in Lorne’s pictures. After all, the thing isn’t chrome… To be clear, this is a picture of LORNE'S bike. Not mine. LORNE'S... …and there are definitely scads of tutorials out there. Many are surprisingly unhelpful…or maybe not so surprisingly. I got a google link to Here's How To Restore Your Crappy Exhaust System. My kind of title, even if my system isn’t all that crappy. The guy was even working on a Yoshimura. What are the odds? https://jalopnik.com/heres-how-to-restore-your-crappy-exhaust-system-1794718932 As it turned out, he wasn’t all that helpful either. But he did a decent job with not much money or effort. So I recommend the link. Other folks endorse Autosol, like Lorne did. So I may have to spring the 10 bucks for that I think. There are lots of other recommended products, most likely recommended by folks who sell em. Can’t I just use toothpaste or baking soda? How about Brasso? As always I don’t want to make things worse, but most solutions seem to begin with serious sandpaper and scouring pads, and then gradually bring out a shine with finer grades of polishes. I’ll think on it.
  10. More polishing. Since the polisher seems to work, I went over as much of the metal as I could easily get to. Pretty much every bit of metal on the bike could benefit from some treatment. There are some small scars in the frame that I haven’t repaired. Like you can see here... I could sand them down I think, but then the surrounding frame will not match the repaired area. So I’m leaving them alone. In general, the more I disassemble of course, the more access I get and the better the final result should be. Because I am impatient, I’m just racing through bits I can get at. This was the exhaust... It was in semi-grotty shape when I got the bike last year…like everything else. The little polishing wheel shines it up easily. But I can’t get close enough around the screws or seams. I’ll look for a smaller wheel for those bits. Polishing also highlight scars. I don’t know what to do about them. They’re all over the place. Do I just keep polishing? It's not getting me anywhere. Here's a detail picture. You can see the tiny blotches and scratches, not exactly a mirrorlike finish... Maybe I should try the red clay, which is slightly more abrasive. Overall, it all comes out sortof blotchy and mottled. I’ve been over it a few times and it’s always mottled. I’m doing something wrong. Here's what I have so far… Fork sliders I went over the fork sliders too. Lorne posted me results from his work. This is his bike... Yeah, I'm never going to end up that good. I’d been reluctant to cut through the clear coat but the things are so cruddy I didn’t have much to lose. And, as Lorne said, any clear coat was probably long gone anyway. Like other components in need of work, I really need to take the forks off the bike to do a proper job. I just went over the leading edges to see what I was up against. Lorne had suggested steel wool. For me, 1200 grit wet sandpaper got rid of all the mess. And then I polished. The picture makes them look okay, but the real result isn’t so great so far, although it’s better than before... Before... Annnnnnd after... You can see that I'm still getting that uneven effect from the polishing. My sliders were originally painted with aluminum gray colored paint. I didn’t even notice it until getting on with the job. It must be factory paint; the Showa stickers are still in place. I could repaint when I get everything apart…one of these days. Or I can just strip away the rest of the paint and then polish. Again, like Lorne did. That seems the better solution. And easier. Still, slow progress.
  11. Frame heat. It being summer again, I am bothered, again, by the radiant heat along the aluminum spars under the gas tank. In order to get a handle on the initial condition, I borrowed one of those thermometer guns. It registers up to around 165F (74C) on both sides of the gas tank. That's the surface temperature of the aluminum below my knees after everything is warmed up. Ouch. I’d come up with a safety standard that said 140F is probably a maximum acceptable temperature, so I’m past that. ASTM C1055 (Standard Guide for Heated System Surface Conditions that Produce Contact Burn Injuries) recommends that pipe surface temperatures remain at or below 140°F. The reason for this is that the average person can touch a 140°F surface for up to five seconds without sustaining irreversible burn damage. I also checked under the tank to make sure that all the little heat shield blankets are in there. They are. Obviously they aren’t doing much to keep the heat away from the frame itself. There’s plenty of room under the gas tank and above the rear cylinders for additional blanketing. I’m not sure what would work. It has to keep the heat away from my knees, but I don’t want the heat contained around the cylinders to cause the engine or ancillary components to heat up too much. So just stuffing a bunch of fiberglass insulation in there may be a bad idea. For now, just another glitch I’m living with.
  12. Grab Rails, part 2. To distract myself from anything requiring spending money, I decided to try some modest cosmetic improvements. I have lots of choices here given the overall condition of things. I decided to take a whack at the grab handles. I figured the job was manageable and would give me a chance to try a few new things that I’d been reluctant to try. Like polishing aluminum. Lorne had encouraged me last fall to take on my fork sliders. I needed to try something small first to make sure I wouldn’t inflict any serious damage. So if you look at earlier notes (last September 12) you’ll see that my grab rails are black and the coating is in rough shape. Like this... I could redip them myself…still a possibility…but wanted to see just whattheheck was under there. Lorne had also pointed out that some of these rails came from the factory without the plasticky coating and I had the idea that burnished aluminum would be better than gnarly plastidip. That brought me to one of those point-of-no-return moments when you begin to wonder if you really want to do a job at all. Anyway. Here goes... The plastic coating peals off without too much fuss. But it’s relatively thick and the aluminum underneath scratches easily if you’re careless with any sharp tools. As it turns out, twenty-five years of plastidip did a good job of protection. The unfinished finish of the metal I like. It’s similar to unpolished parts of the mid-frame. But there were a couple serious small scrapes in the metal in places where the plastic had been torn right through... So more experimenting and my next lesson. Turns out a wire wheel is waaaaay too abrasive for getting out small scrapes. I know steel is harder than aluminum so I expected a dramatic result but a wheel is overkill and just added to the damage. Old scrapes became new, deeper scrapes. A dremel sanding disc worked better. That got me through the serious gouges, but even it was too abrasive. It must have been probably around 80 grit. A little bit of wet 500 and 1200 grit sand paper worked much better. Not perfect, but good enough for me. I wanted to try out my little Harbor Freight polishing pad kit too. I’ve never tried polishing metal before. Near as I can tell for polishing, you load a pad up with some of that white or red clay stuff, and just run it randomly around the aluminum. That’s what I did. And hey! It actually seems to work. I used the white, less abrasive(?) compound. The pad gets black and molts bits of cotton like a duck molts down. I may have been spinning it at too great a speed. And why the black? I mean, I get that the cotton may be shredding because it’s a cheap pad but the black? It’s not like the metal is dirty. Also, the blackness doesn’t appear to affect the polishing ability of the pad so I don’t think you have to keep cleaning the pad. I polished a bit and admired my progress. When I wiped the grab handle, more of that black stuff got on the white towel. It felt like pencil graphite. Slippery. It was easy, gratifying work. The second grab handle went even better. And in the end they both looked okay... (Ed. The black stuff may or may not be Aluminum Oxide, liberated from the surface of the metal. This is yet another of those internet theories that gets batted around endlessly. I haven't found an authoritative link yet, like from from a chemist.) As they are now, I’m thinking the handles may need some kind of protective finish. Just to keep them from picking up dirt and new scratches. But Lorne wrote last year that he never put clearcoat on his fork sliders and they remained in really good shape (re: September 12) So for now I won’t bother with anything. And also for now, the grips look like the newest things on the bike and are making everything else look worse. At my current rate of progress, I’m thinking the bike will be up to my good enough standard in about 5 years. But it’s running fine and I’m having fun and that’s what counts most with me.
  13. Electrics, again. I reported in February that I was getting marginal outputs from the r/r. So I thought to go through the harness and clean up the connections. I’d looked it over before only to find no sign of any melting anywhere, but it wasn’t all that tidy in there either. I know. I know. Not my fault. That was POs work. I’m getting between 13v and 13.5v most all of the time… I’d hoped to goose that a bit with cleaning and with my new Oxgard in the connectors, as generally recommended. I also followed the drill insofar as measuring outputs along the components. Everything checked out and after an hour or so of moderate effort, I was done and ready for my new voltage output. Sonofabitch. It was down instead of up. 12.7-13v. This is the quality of my work folks. Damn. But I also blame the Oxgard. For no particular reason. I’m thinking maybe I got a bad batch. Yeah, that must've been it... 😉 Anyway, I tried a second time…and after another +/-20 minutes, got voltage back to where I’d begun. JZH intelligently and gently suggested the connectors to the stator and to the r/r could be better. Ya think? I’m procrastinating. I should absolutely spring the $55 for the vfrness and be done with it. I’ll probably wait until getting stranded before taking such prudent steps. Meanwhile I’m monitoring. Also meanwhile I continue to look for a better mount of the voltmeter. My latest temporary solution is at the brake reservoir with an elastic band. The sight line is good there even if it looks sloppy. Need I add that sloppy is normal on this bike...
  14. I’m still here. A few things to mention. Nothing major. Taxes Am I the only one to get assessed by the tax office at $3380 for a slightly battered 92 VFR? That’s apparently what the city thought my bike was worth. Boy. I’d be the happiest guy in the world to get $3380 for the thing. Or even 3000. How about 2000? …Anybody? In Connecticut you have to pay an annual property tax to the city for the vehicles you own. The tax covers things like the fire department, so they’ll come and put out your fire when the electrics melt down and ignite. In general, that seems like a good idea to me. But they’re supposed to tax you on a percentage of the real market value of your stuff. I gave the tax guys a call when I got my bill. They were very nice and told me to file for an appeal. I did. At a later date, I was invited in to the office to defend my personal assessment that the bike was worth maybe $1000 tops, even though I paid a lot less and had the DMV records to prove it. They told me they got their valuation from the NADA. Sure enough, that says these old bikes are now worth over 5 grand. Yikes! https://www.nadaguides.com/Motorcycles/1992/Honda/VFR750FN/Values (note: the NADA values have changed a little since last year) Of course, the taxman also assumes every bike out there is in very good to excellent condition. I don’t know where the NADA gets its ideas but the local Honda dealer seems to think that valuation is um, not based on reality, at least not for trade-ins. In the end, the taxman agreed to lower my assessment to $900, which I decided was fair enough. Then they sent me a new bill based once more on the original $3380 assessment. Grrrr. Happily I did not need to go through the entire appeals process a second time. At another visit to the office, the clerk just xxxed out the big number and entered the new, low one. I paid my lower tax and am now awaiting a nasty dunning letter saying I am overdue on the original tax and better pay up or they’ll break my legs. And then yet another trip to the tax office. As an aside, Connecticut also has a nice tax break for poor people. If you own any vehicle 25 years old or older, you can get it registered as a classic and the assessment value is then limited to $500. This includes your 1957 Corvette or gull wing Mercedes. Why don’t I think the legislators had my bike in mind when they came up with that rule?
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