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When spare parts aren't available?

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' started by Shiftplusone, May 9, 2014.

  1. I've just found out that my bike (Kawasaki VN250) is not made any more and spare parts are not available from Kawasaki dealers. I need a new gas tank and heat guard for the exhaust, but the response I am getting from Kawasaki is pretty much "too bad". What do people generally do in this situation?

  2. You've got a few options, depending on how fussy you are about the bike and how much money you've got.

    Option 1. Do without the knackered bit. Probably not an option for the fuel tank but what, exactly, does the heat guard do? Is it vital protection for something or is it just an anti-lawyer device? Maybe it hides something hideous. Whatever. It's a judgement call based on the perceived function of the thingy and the desired shininess of the bike.

    Option 2. Find out where your local wreckers are and see if you can get secondhand bits that are better than what you've got. The VN's not that uncommon so there should be a few around. Check your local free ads paper and Gumtree too.

    Option 3. Use parts from something else. Usually requires a bit of bodging talent and probably won't look good. Can be a cheap route to a functional bike though.

    Option 4. Make something which works. Again, not really an option for a tank. Otherwise as 3.

    Option 5. There are a zillion companies making money out of the Japanese manufacturers disinclination to supply spares for anything that's out of warranty. Whilst the VN250 has no classic cachet yet, a thorough google may turn up a specialist in obsolete Kawasaki parts who can help you.

    Option 6. Repair what you have. You don't state what's wrong with your tank or heat shield. If the problems are cosmetic (loss of paint, surface rust etc. it's time for the sandpaper and rattlecan treatment. If they've been bent or dented in a crash they can be straightened with a bit of ingenuity or brute force and any remaining dents in the tank filled, followed by sandpaper and rattlecan. If the tank's leaking it can be resealed with a kit from someone like POR15.

    Option 8. Chuck the whole thing in a skip, or sell it for what you can get for it, and replace it with something you can get parts for. Which, with the products of the Big 4, means something either in current production or less than ~5 years old. There are exceptions but you need to know what they are before venturing down that particular road.
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  3. Thanks for the detailed reply. I am going overseas and selling the bike. The bike is great internally and rides like the day I got it, but I fear the cosmetic stuff will bring the price down. The tank isn't too much of an issue, a smash repairs place will fix it, but the prices I've been quoted were quite high. I just wanted to compare those to a new tank. I'd do it myself but would probably bodge it. The heat guard, on the other hand, is just missing. I'll keep an eye on the wreckers for it though.

    Any advice on how to fix up the tank? What sandpaper to use, how to straighten out the dents and so on.
  4. Doing sorta OK sheetmetal and paintwork repairs requires more detailed instruction than I feel able to give, given that, as a rat bike fan, I've never really bothered and so my knowledge is largely theoretical.

    However, I've recently discovered the cornucopia of tutorials on all sorts of stuff that is YouTube, once you get past cats falling off things and kids crocking themselves on skateboards. A search on things like "dent repair", "auto paint touch up" and similar would be very likely to lead you to some useful demos.
  5. Ebay is your friend!
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  6. Every city has a motorcycle wreckers. As for new, to build a bike from the spare parts shop would cost about twenty times more than the bike on the floor. And you would still have to put it together
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  7. It shouldn't be too hard I have the EL version and have yet to have major issues plus as mentioned Ebay is great
  8. Thanks for the input, everyone.

    Not so much in this case. I've had ebay alerts set up for things related to the bike since I got it. In all that time, I've only see a few parts listed.
  9. Would ya just look at that... Ebay tirelessly scours the globe, looking for the spare parts you want, but instead of being thankful, you dwell on the negatives... :rolleyes:
    :p ;)

    I've found that opening up the search worldwide, for auctions in any language helps to get more parts than I can poke a stick at. Most of them are useless things like "up yours finger" stickers for rego plates, but amongst the crap, there's the occasional gem, often from Germany.

    Once you figure out a few foreign words for what you want - eg: Fu├črasten is German for pegs (technical terms are rarely in Google Translate, unfortunately), then your options really start to open up. Admittedly, the fuel tank will be a tricky one to find at a reasonable price (with freight). You'll probably have to look up repair and painting methods in Google for that one.
  10. Yup, you're right. I didn't have much luck with my search terms, but found out from kawasaki that the part number is 49106-1229 and it's a part of the muffler cover and got a little closer. It doesn't seem to be on eBay yet, but it might show up, and searching the part number on google seems promising too. Thanks again.
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  11. For the heat shield, it might be easier to buy some heat shield material (Supercheap, ebay, etc should come up trumps), and bend it the way you want it. It's usually quite workable. (y)
  12. If I had the tools and experience and was keeping the bike, I would. Since I am going overseas, buying tools doesn't make sense right now. I'll just keep checking the wreckers and ebay for an auspuffabdeckung and if that doesn't work out, I'll sell the bike without it.

    Here's the missing part though (or lack thereof):

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  13. google findapart. There are wrecker networks - parts request sent to dozens of wreckers, you get email replies from those who have the bit. Saves chasing around. I've used it. If the part is there, it is fast.
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  14. Thanks for the tip. I've already tried them, no luck. They said they'd contact me if it shows up though.
  15. You could grind off the heat shield's mounting points, polish the area, and pretend that there wasn't anything there in the first place. Although it could be a bit more difficult to do this with the tank... ;)
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  16. In case someone stumbled upon this thread looking for the same information, I've interrogated a guy who knows how to make things out of other things.

    Here's how he recommend making the part:
    Use some thick paper to size up piece by placing it where the part will go.
    Get the radius right, bend it into shape (use tape if necessary) and draw the outline.
    Use the paper template to cut out the shape in a sheet of stainless steel.
    Since the part has a changing radius, make 20 equally spaced marking on each side.
    Use a pipe to make lots of small bends along the markings and in between, until the radius is right.
    File down the edges and smooth them out further with a whetstone.
    Drill the hole and the rest is obvious.

    If I was to do this without any help, I would've just cut the metal and tried to bend it by hand until it looks right (and it never would).
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  17. Picked up a sheet of 1mm thick stainless steel, primer, colour matched paint and and took the tank off today. Managed to pop most of the dent out using a rather silly method.
    Glue, wait, pull until it pops off, repeat x 100:

  18. Your bike has an erection! Eeeewwwwwwwww!!! ;)
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  19. I've been rubbing it and tugging on it all day, of course it does.
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  20. :ROFLMAO:

    When this guy says he loves his bike, he means he lllllluuuuuuurrrrrrrrves his bike! ;)
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