Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Still the Season for Wrenching...Fortunately

The XS750 project is officially on hold for now.

There's still a lot more work to do (and a lot of money to be spent, sigh...) before the XS750 is ready to hit the road. However, spring is here, and while the roads in Anchorage are still under about a foot of fresh new snow, courtesy of a storm that hit over the weekend, it won't be long until it's time to get the bikes out on the road again. However, since the Yamaha won't be ready at the first blush of spring, I need to finish up all of the maintenance that I have been putting off on the Wee-Strom over the last year.

The first order of business is the rear wheel bearings. I'm not yet certain that those were the source of the odd squeaking noises that I heard on the Strom near the end of last summer, but I suspect it is. Wheel bearings are cheap (although the bearing removal tool wasn't), and the OEM bearings are only sealed on the outside, so last fall, I picked up a set of All-Balls sealed bearings to replace the OEM bearings. Popping out the old bearings in the rear wheel was beyond simple with the Pit Posse kit (for better instructions that I can provide, see this post over at the V-Strom Riders International forum). However, the Pit Posse kit doesn't include a drift for the larger diameter bearing in the cush drive (grrr...). Fortunately, I found a shop here in town that is willing to pop that bearing out for me. Once that's done, I'll need to find a threaded rod and some 1 3/4&qout; (+/-1/8") large-area washers to gently pull the bearings into the hub. You don't want to just press-fit them and tighten up the axle, because that puts the load on the inner races, rather than the outer races that are being compressed into the hub. The bearings are plenty strong radially, but they aren't designed to withstand shear between the inner and outer races, and therefore, using the axle to pull the inner races together can lead to premature bearing failure.

Photo of the rear wheel hub with the cush drive and inner bearing removed.

The running wisdom over at Stromtroopers is that a chain and sprockets should last between 20K and 25K miles. At 16K+ miles on the odometer, I'm starting to get close to the 20K mark, and while I've been pretty good about keeping the chain lubed, I haven't been quite so good about keeping it clean, and sand is a pretty effective abrasive, so I thought I'd look into a new chain and sprockets while I was prepping the bike for the new riding season.

The rear sprocket doesn't look too bad, and the chain hasn't been stretching much...

...but daaaaaaang! The front sprocket has got a pretty wicked hook on it!

Fortunately, Bike Bandit had steel front and rear sprockets for the V-Strom from JT Sprockets for a very reasonable price. I've been enjoying the moto-gymkhana thing, as well as playing around on unimproved gravel roads every chance I get, so I went with the stock (15 tooth) front and a slightly larger (48 tooth, vs. stock 47 tooth) rear sprocket for the bike to give me a little better torque, acceleration, and low-speed control, albeit at slightly higher revs -- and therefore, most likely at the cost of some degree of smoothness -- on the highway. Honestly, going from a 47 tooth rear sprocket to a 48 tooth rear sprocket shouldn't make a lot of difference; I'm kind of skeptical whether or not I'll even notice. Unfortunately, it's best to change your chain($$$) with your sprockets, so I ordered a new Ek 525 X-Ring chain and screw-type master link, as well.

And that's how the poor Wee beastie sits tonight, as I get ready for bed. The front tire still needs to have the bead set. The rear wheel needs to have the bearings pressed in place. The cush drive needs to have the old bearing removed and a new bearing pressed into place. The Wee desperately needs a new front sprocket, it probably needs a new chain and it maybe needs a new rear sprocket...and then, there's the yearly maintenance items like air filter, oil and oil filter o_O

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