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VFR400R - Project bullshit LAMS Bike

Discussion in 'Modifications and Projects' started by Unconnected, Jun 30, 2012.

  1. Evening NR.

    So back sometime around april i swapped my old bumblebee yellow CB250F Hornet for ad91on's tri colour VFR that he had been trying to sell with varying degrees of seriousness since August last year. A few people have told me this was a bad idea, the VFR is 9 years older than my Hornet, which i already considered to be fairly old, much much rarer (even though the hornet is uncommon in itself).

    Anyway the reason why i decided to swap these bikes is this bikes party trick, LAMS approval, which is something that this bike is not supposed to have, when it rolled off the factory floor in 1988 it would have had a power to weight ratio for lams purposes of 180kw/t. It also sounds amazing and is far more track/sports focused then my last bike, which is the kind of riding i prefer to do.

    The bike has a fair bit of fairing damage, a broken pillion seat, shot brakes, shot suspension and an engine that probably is not running nearly as well as it should. Even still, i ride it most days and take it for rides in the hills most weekends, and its always reliable unless you try to wake it up too early on a cold morning.

    So here is the plan, in order of importance:

    1. Rebuild of the front calipers

    2. New fork springs and hopefully maintaince to the anti-dive mechinisim which i suspect is broken judging by the amont of dive under brakes i currently experiance

    3. new rear shock

    4. Dyno and tune up for engine, perhaps i might try to get a ram air intake going, it has ram air ducting, but of course they are not connected to anything.

    5. Depending on the results of the dyno and tune, a full rebuild may be in order in the future.

    6. Repairs to damaged fairings, sand back and full respray/resticker

    8. Respray of things like the engine, forks, brakes, brake disc centre hub and so on, so mechanically it looks clean and nice.

    7. Random bling - new grips, levers, switch banks, carbon surround for gauges, respray of fuse cover (which is next to my top yoke and on display), tri colour takamii tron lights for the wheels.

    This is planned to be an extended project to tackle over the course of my LAMS period, which is the next 28 months or so assuming i dont lose my license, which is something that is inevitable on the VFR. I dont have the mechanical skills to do a lot, nor the space, so things like rebuilds of the brakes, suspension and engine tuning will be outsourced to my mechanics at motorcycle weaponry in mona vale.

    However im going to try to get my hands dirty whenever possible, and will do most of the random bling, painting of the engine/forks/calipers/discs as well as hopefully doing a bit of body work and the preparation for the respray myself. Im one of those people with no mechanical training but good problem solving and figuring shit out skills, so im confident to fiddle with the stuff that wont put my life in danger if my workmanship isnt up to par.

    Currently things that have been done:
    1. Race taped the fairings with colour matched duct tape to hide the battle scars

    2. oil and filter change

    3. new standard levers

    4. disassembly and lubrication of the throttle tube with some graphite powder

    5. Xenon headlight and braided lines in race configuration

    On monday, the bike is going into motorcycle weaponry for its front caliper rebuilds. Hopefully the guys there can sort out the parts needed with ease, i really wanted to rebuild my calipers myself, as it does not look too complicated, but i just simply dont have anywhere to do this kind of work at home, and i feel brakes are too important for me to just give it a go.

    Will probably repaint the calipers and disc centres a nice 1980's gold when they come back from the mechanics, i assume you can do this with out taking the calipers apart again if your willing to be patient with your masking work.

    Here is a picture of the bike pre race tape application:


    I am just a uni student, so dont expect this thread to move very quickly due to my income, and because im not doing the work myself it wont be very instructional, but will keep it updated as we go along, considering its rareity im not expecting this to be a very easy restoration, the NC24 shares hardly any parts with other hondas, even with the NC30 made just a year later, so it should be interesting.
    • Like Like x 1
  2. I will watch this with interest, not the least because at sometime or other you're going to have to post an audio file of what the Yoshi pipe sounds like :LOL:

    So many things to like though, the red,white and blue paint work, the single-sided swing-arm, and the fact that it appears to be relatively unmolested.

    One tip; get a Pyramid Plastics 'Fenda Extenda'. That abbreviated front guard must be murder on the engine and the lower fairing pan.....
    • Like Like x 1
  3. just buy a Ninja 250R :bolt:

    Nah, in all seriousness, good luck with the build. You'll be the coolest and fastest on the LAMS block :grin:

    What's with the long period on restrictions?
  4. Engine rebuild on that? You're gonna be up for like, $7000
    • Like Like x 1
  5. It's a beaut mate. Good luck with it.
  6. Seriously - restore it back to original!

    That dead stock red white and blue VFR will be worth more each year you keep it stock.

    I wish my 1988 VFR750 was as original as your 400!
    • Like Like x 1
  7. I suggest changing the rear wheel to a 17" if you can. Better tyre choices...can get one off an RVF if there are any about.

    Other than that, good luck with the rebuild :). Also get a valve clearance check...these things are a bastard to run if the clearances are out.
  8. #8 Unconnected, Jul 1, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 13, 2015
    i didnt really make it that clear, but my main aim is to get this thing looking factory fresh again, i dont like it when people change the way old bikes and cars looked, as i feel at least a few of them should be kept so people will remember them. I plan to do a lot of small nitty gritty work getting all the parts looking semi fresh again, i really want all the metal work and plastics and seat look fresh again, i plan to do a lot of sanding and polishing in the near future. That being said, i will still put on blue anodised preload adjuster caps and blue and red tron light stickers and other stupid crap, but all of that can be removed with ease, so its fine in my books.

    As for changing the rims, an RVF wheel can be done if you have the hub milled out as it is a wider fitment, this isnt that cheap. However due to the bikes very retarded wheel sizes of 18/130R and 16/100F and geometry, it is blessed with razor sharp steering and lighting quick direction changes, to change the wheels im told will really ruin this inate quality of the bike, so even though it means i have to run crappy bias ply tires, i think its better in the long run, sport demons are better then the rubber they had in 88 anyway.

    The bike also had a major service and valve clearance and compression test only a few thousand kays ago by the same mechanics as ive always used, so its got quite a strong heart still and a good gearbox, im not really expecting to do a rebuild for a while, i also plan to probably just keep this bike forever if i sink too much into it but also get it looking shiny again, it will be nice to have around even if its not my main ride. I reckon all it needs is some jets and a tune up to get it running sweet (a challenge with these engines, im told) and it should be fine for the next while.
    its only done 52 thousand...apparently :p

    Also hornet, the bike is pretty stock and all stock cosmetically, the body work is all honda oem, original paint original dash and related sundry parts. Besides the yoshi it also has a modified ignition that allows it to rev harder, and im told the first australian owner back in 2004 fitted bigger carbys too it, but i take that with a grain of salt, as its just passed on information with no evidence.

    Oh and your in luck, i already have a video of me going through a tunnel under the F3 near the slab.

    (sorry too lazy to quote people its 2am)

    EDIT: lams period is 28 months as i have 10 months of Reds, and 18 months of Greens before i get Blacks. (was on Ls for 9 months, im lazy) But yeah, welcome to NSW, at least it means that the idiots give up after they cant get a R1 immediately.
  9. to save money try to do the work your self,its not hard now days with the internet ,one trick is to take lots of photos as you go ,that way you know how things go back together.there are lots of on line forums for your specific bike and this will help when you need info and tips ,you tube is also helpful with how to do thing to your bike .its always good to build a work bench /table to put your bike on so you dont have to bend over when working on the bike , this is the first thing to build before you start the your project ,,try to use second hand wood ,old pallets are good for this ,but any thing cheap will work,it dont have to look flash just practical,,, i find the best hight is about 2foot that way the bike is at a hight where you can sit on a milk crate to work on your bike .if you dont have the tools to do the job try and buy them second hand ,its much cheaper ,, and get a work shop manual ,you will need this ,,,good luck
  10. Ahh...forgot you have the NC24...I was thinking NC30 at the time. So my bad.

    Be good to see it back into good looking stock condition :). They are a nice bike (bar the electrics *shakes fist*).
  11. Great bike
    looking forward to seeing that on the Nth Beaches
    Also good choice taking it to Motorcycle Weaponry Steve ,Arthur and all the lads are
    exceptional spanner men and know there stuff.
    She will look awesome with a refresh.
    If I see you Ill give you a thumbs up Im on a red n white S2R1000 with full Arrows
    Good luck
  12. Just picked her up from motorcycle weaponry, cheaper then i was expecting, however the brakes actually feel significantly worse with the new pads and rebuilt calipers? do you need to bed new brake pads in as you would a new set of tires?
  13. By "significantly worse" do you mean the pedals feel a bit squishy or 'floppy'. That is do you have to press the pedals in deep before you notice braking?

    As for bedding in brakes, just ride/brake sedately. Usually this is encapsulated by normal riding. Some recommend bringing the bike down in speed from 60-80 kmph to about 20kmph relatively quickly. Coming to a stand still could have you end up with pads imprinting on the rotor. Unevenness will result.

    Anyway if your pads a floppy even after a rebuild you may have to bleed the brakes. This isn't hard, and you need not any special tools to do it. I managed to tighten up the brakes on my bike significantly through my own bleeding approach. Approximately 80% of braking force is achieved with 20% of pedal depression through this way.

    The whole concept revolves around pumping the pistons out till almost max extension. Then fill fluid and bleed whilst pistons are out, and top the fluid reservoir to only 10% level, and tighten/lock the cap. Once you've ensured there are no air bubbles in the line, use a c-clamp to force the piston back in. Brake fluid will be forced back into the reservoir, however as you've capped and sealed it off, the back pressure in the reservoir/line will accumulate. This accumulated pressure will be noticeable through hyper sensitive brake pedals. Note I've used the term "brake pedal" to substitute for simplicity, front brake lever, and rear brake pedal.

    I've made a thread for my first attempting at pad change bleeding. Resulted in significant success. Here's the link.

  14. Yeah mate, pretty much prior to the rebuild the brake lever had a high level of pressure and feedback at all ranges, needed a fairly hard pull to brake hard in an emergency style situation.

    After the rebuild it felt at first like they had adjusted my lever all the way to the super flopy end of its travel. But it was set where i left it, initally the pads were very bad, but they have gotten better, but the lever still feels very strange, pretty much its super soft with no effect for the first 70 per cent of its travel, then it just becomes hard and does not apply much force, i cannot for example manage to lock the brakes or make the forces seriously depress in a hard stop from 80kph this afternoon, the bike just slowed, not too poorly, but a lot less aggressively than before.

    Im going to take it for a ride tomorrow up the old road and see how that beds the pads in, if its not good by monday ill take it back to motorcycle weaponry and get them to bleed and refill the brakes.
  15. Yep. Even with worn down pads, albeit not completely worn down, you will be able to lock up the brakes easily. From what you describe the only diagnosis is they screwed on you brake fluid/bleeding. However you can bleed the brakes according to the book, but if the pistons are completely in when you do, there will not be much pressure left for them to extend. So, it may not be entirely their fault. Either that or your reservoir wasn't capped off and sealed during the bleed.

    Since you've got it done at a mechanic, well you pretty much solved your problem. Take it back, and as you said, get a re-bleed done. If not one spanner, a beer bottle, a clear pipe, and a c-clamp, are all you need.
  16. Yeah a ride up old road made the brakes better, just bed in properly now, but still very floppy and no where near as good as they used to be, i went for a dam long ride on saturday, around 600km, so the should be working fine now but they are not. So i will be taking it back to MW tomorrow and get them to re bleed it, how long do you reckon this process of re bleeding would take?
  17. I bled my front brake in about 15 minutes. About the same time for the rear too. All up half an hour. However this should be less given they're "professionals" whilst I am not.
  18. Yes..
  19. Hey mate.

    Bleeding shouldnt take more than 15 mins if the lines are already full. However there are quite a few other things that could cause the floppy feeling

    * Master cylinder could be almost shot. Replace or get a rebuild kit. Cheap and easy to do.
    * a piston could be sticking
    * air in the lines - try bleeding the master cylinder first when you bleed the lines. Crack the banjo bolt the same way you would the bleed nipples on the calipers during a normal bleed process. Feel free to pm me for my number if you want me to talk you through it.
    * this ones a bit odd but its how I fixed my brakes. It's a funny story actually. My brakes had been really really spongy - probably about 40%. I tried rebuilding the master cylinder, replacing the brake lines with braided ones, replacing and then rebuilding the calipers myself and bled the lines for ages. I. Total I spent four days and 3 bottles of brake fluid. It didn't make sense! Still no pressure! I even blocked off each caliper one by one and when I did I got full pressure but when I connected both calipers again it was ****ed.
    Eventually a mate said that my lever looked a smidge bent. I replaced it and it worked first time! Full pressure. I laughed so hard I nearly cried.
    So, um, in short check your lever has enough throw to the master cylinder.
  20. Oh, and stop wasting money getting mechanics to do this unconnected. You're a smart sounding guy and this stuff is very easy to do. Buzz me if u need to.
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