I wrote this a while back on ADVR.
I wrote this a while back on ADVR.
so I finally got a chance to put in some proper seat time on the 2017 6 speed AT.
Richard (on another AT), Evil Greg (2011 DL 650) and Reg (2012 DL 650), Loaded up the bikes and headed south to California.
Plan was to ride roughly 80% pavement, and the rest decent gravel. It was a great trip. Will not go into detail, but fuel was burned, tires well used, wheelies well executed, to date, probably one of the best trips I’ve done to California. Link to Cali album here: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmhkuxCq
On to the bike.
Before setting off, I took my sweet ass time to equip the bike.
Check my previous posts for the big ticket items.
The only thing I didn't really write about was the Tractive rear shock. Yes the rear shock is rebuildable, but it's a feeble little thing, and I usually default to buying a rear shock. For me it's a good investment, and I can usually sell it on after I trade in my bike, for about half price of new. Shock was purchased from Ted and Jeff at the Beemershop. Good dudes. I've dealt with them on several shocks, and will keep coming back. http://www.beemershop.com/
Above, Honda OEM boinger and the Tractive shock. Notice how beefy the shock shaft is. With the correct spring, I have one or two turns of preload in, while riding with zero added luggage. The shock rides nicely.
Fork worked a treat on the trip. The bike was nicely loaded. Two 36L tin cans and my camping gear.
AT Thoughts to date.
-Ergos. I swapped the OEM bars to my flat-ish renthals. No complaints or aches after long day, getting stuck in snow, or having to detour, due to errmm…more snow
-Seat. For shorter days, say under 300km, the seat is really decent. But after 5 non stop days on the bike, I was in agony. The bit between your ass, and thigh…was in pain. For shorter days, I'm happy with the seat. It works well off road, if you need to stand up, shift your weight back towards the passenger seat. I'll leave it be for the time being.
I may just need to switch the foam out to something a bit higher quality. The overall fit and finish of the seat is holding up well, and staying clean unlike the red ATs.
-Suspension. I spoke about the shock. Winner. The front forks, for road work actually did ok. A bit of dive on them, but not bad. Regardless, I'll be tearing into them next week to fit SKF seals, linear springs to my weight, and shims to take up the slack behind the main fork leg bushing. I also have shims coming, and will re-valve the meh..OEM shim stacks (comp and rebound). There is a but…The longevity of the outer tubes remains to be seen. My buddy has issues with his tubes at 13k km. I'll speak to it on the next blog post.
-Brakes. No complaints. They're not brembos, but this bike doesn't need brembos. They do the job well. Rear brake has a bit of travel, and nice wide take up. It's not grabby or anything like that
-Motor. This motor was never going to set anyone's hair on fire. That said, it's good. It did great from sea level (wheelies, yes please!) all the way up to 6000'. It's linear, and has a decent step in power around 4500rpm. Pulls nicely to the low-ish red line
-Fuel consumption. The entire trip, the bike averaged 5.4L/100km of spirited riding.
-Controls, and dash. Straight forward and easy to use. I didn't find issues in seeing the dash, it worked well for me. Lots of useful settings on the dash, between the trip meters, avg. fuel display, and remaining liters/km's to empty
-Electronics (TC and ABS)
TC. Compared to my 2012 XT1200, and my 2015 FJ09, the TC fucking rocks.
The on the fly adjustment is awesome. Additionally, the settings all do a different job. E.g. TC1, in 1st gear, pre-load the suspension a bit, and give it a handful on rebound..instant wheelie.
For Gravel roads, and minor wash board. TC2 does a great job. TC3 work well on fast and smooth gravel. Happy days.
ABS. Good set up. I like the fact that the brakes are not linked. I played around with the rear ABS off button, but didn't need it in Cali as we never did anything that crazy. I'll be useful at home on the hairier shit.
-Tires. I was brave/cheap/stupid enough to keep the Dunlop OEM tires on after I fitted the Outex kit. Surprisingly, they did great on road. Wet, dry, on the side of the tire, mid corner corrections, and overall confidence. The good out of the way, they flat out sucked off road. I had so many close calls on wet gravel, that I was super happy to lever on my set of Mitas E07 dakars waiting at home.
-Lights. OEM LEDs were great. The Chinese bought LEDs did a good job too. High beam melts paints off cars.
-Exhaust. I ditched the OEM slip on for a Staintune. The baffle stayed in all of a day. Great noise with the baffle out.
Overall riding impression. Very good. We mostly road paved roads, ranging from smooth as glass, to bumpy shitty pot holed side roads. The AT did great. Off road, in California with the dunslops, it did great in the dry..tires were the limiting factor. I can report that with the E07s, the bike rocks off road. Light enough, changes direction well, and there's a lot more confidence in the 21" rim with deep gravel, ruts etc. Surprisingly, it's very good at changing lines mid corner if you screw up. And I screwed up regularly.
Right! While the tank was off, I installed the Traction Control (TC) memory module switch/sticky switch. You might ask what the hell I’m on about…well here’s a video:
Basically this little gem remembers the TC setting you want. Leave the selector switch on one, and it stays on one, what ever floats your boat/sinks your sub. You still have full use of your OEM TC selector switch.
I got the switch from my buddy Richard at 12’O Clock performance.
Cost $150 USD
A note: I’ve had lots of feed back on various forums of people bitching and moaning about the cost. In case you’re wondering, about half of that is for the material. Add an hour for assembly, and leave some for the guy to make it worthwhile.
Remember…if you don’t need it, great…don’t tell me about it. If you’re super cheap, set up your TC and ABS on a relay and switch…
and call it the SGTCS (Super Ghetto TC Switch)
Below, the components ready for assembly
Contact him here to get your grubby hands on one: firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s do it! You will need:
The kit comes with all you need. Good set of clear and straight forward instructions.
Remove the tank. Follow your owners manual. The kit suggest to run the wires on the left hand side of the bike. I found lots of real estate on the right hand side, along my gps, radar, heated grip wiring. I installed the switch 1st, and worked my way back to the ECU. Ladies choice! Either side will work.
A few things I did to make the work easier:
Get your 1″ long piece of 3/8″ heat shrink, cut it down the middle and slip over the wire.
Grab some tie wraps, and tie wrap the heat shrink on the wires. Grab your heat gun and slowly and evenly heat the heat shrink. As it heats up, because it’s cut it will have a tendency to want to fold out. Use your fingers to glue it back together, and tighten up the ties as your’re going. Repeat the above for the second wire. Once you’re satisfied, cut off the ties. I also ran a longer 1.5″ heat shrink over the 1″ shrink. Double up the protection. Not really necessary, but whatever…I had it cut and ready to go.
Once that’s done, I took a large 1″ diameter shrink, split it down the middle, and cut it roughly at 1″ long. I put that around the entire bundle of wire that serves the black ECU plug in. Tie wrapped it semi tight, heated it up, and removed the ties once it was set.
Dress all your wires, secure the module where ever you please, and put the tank back on.
Plug all your connectors back in. Test the TC switch one more time before installing the tank.
Enjoy your new sticky TC switch!
Right…it’s colder than cold lately, -30C this morning. Perfect time to head to the garage, with three layers of clothes on, and do some more work on the Africa Twin.
Today’s project, install the Outex kit. For those of you living under a rock, the Outex kit converts any tubed rim, into a tubeless set up. Magic.
I’m not going to rant about the AT having tubes, or the pluses/minuses of tubes/tubeless rims etc..I wanted tubeless tires. I don’t want to fuck around on the side of the road by myself trying to break a bead on my rear tire, when I can plug it in 5 minutes on a tubeless and ride on. I’ll still carry tubes and irons with me in case I dent the rims badly enough to warrant tubes as a repair.
This is a blog post. The below is a rant by a semi competent half wit. Don’t take my words for it, the below is meant to be helpful, and to illustrate my experience with the Outex kit. Personal experiences will vary. The instructions are decent enough. More on that later.
If you’re lazy, or illiterate, you can oogle all the pictures here:
My plan was to pull the wheels off, bring them into the house, and do the work there. Even with a heater, the garage was at 5C today. The house at 18C. The house wins!
Rear wheel was first. I tried to break the bead with my motion pro tire bead breakers. Wasn’t going to happen. Yeah it’s fucking cold, even though I was working next to a 30A heater. Out came the tire changer. Used the bead breaker, and the bastard gave easily enough. Peeled the rear tire off, and remounted the rim on the axle to give it a clean. Notice the nice ridge on the rear rim. Nice! My first screw up of the day. I forgot to use sand paper to rough up the rim. Instead went straight to go and tried to collect my 200 dorra…muppet. Right, rear rim, tire stand (made by Borat) In the house for the rim to warm up, and on to the front tire. A little segue about Honda quality. Some of the bolts on this bike are really fucking cheap. Out of the six that hold the fender on, two stripped. Yeah I was using the right 5mm allen key. They are made from imitation american cheese. On a positive note, the fender doesn’t have to come off! Take both calipers off (14 mm) Loosen off the left side pinch bolts (12 mm) and undo the 22 mm nut. No need to worry about the big allen on the other side, as the right side pinch bolts are on. Once the nut is loose, undo the right side pinch bolts, slide the axle out, and remove the front rim
OK, on to warmer locales! I’m set up in the house, got the blessing from the boss.
Do not drink beer prior to doing the work. You are guaranteed to fuck it up royally!. It’s tough enough to do it sober, and with someone helping you. My wife volunteered!
You will need the following stuff:
Right, let’s get going! Rear rim first. I’ll go step by step according to the Outex instructions STEP 1: Sand paper the rim. Really only need to do the area where the tape will sit. Take your time, and be extra pedantic (read: anal retentive) around spokes nipples
STEP 2: Clean off moisture, and dirt using acetone. If you have a white rag, as you clean, it will show
STEP 3: use the round pre cut seal tape on each nipple. Top tip, use your heat gun to adhere the tape to each nipple. The heat shrinks the tape a bit, and gets the outer edges stuck to the side of the nipples STEP 4: Use heat to warm up the rim. Since the rim is warm from the ambient temp of the house, I get to skip this
STEP 6: Cut the tape at one revolution. Don’t overlap
STEP 7: What I found is that the tape is stupid strong, so with your lovely assistant helping you out, take a flat piece of metal (I used a small pry bar for the rear rim, and a rounded tire for the front), with heat from the heat gun or blow dryer aimed directly at the rim, slowly push down on the tape between the spokes to work the air out. Eventually all of it goes out. Yipeee!!
STEP 8: Cut the hole out carefully, push the valve through to the outside. Remove the valve
STEP 9: Start the tape as shown, install valve finger tight
STEP 10 through 17: Nothing to report here. Follow the instructions, go straight…Rear rim tape went on straight enough, as there’s some room. The front rim was a bit more crowded but easy enough
Top tip, remove the green tape at about two spoke lenghts at a time, that way the tape stays strong
STEP 18: This is critical, it’s a re do of STEP 7. Go through the rim with both tapes on, and your overlap tape. Have your assistant heat the rim, and the pry bar/tire spoon. Slowly work out the air, and use the pressure of the tools to further glue the tape on the rim
You are done! Put the beer down fozzie bear!!…we’re done the Outex install.
The tire needs to go on next in order to put pressure on the tape.
I spooned on the rear tire in the house. Went on easy enough. Over to the garage, popped the bead on, checked pressure. Left it at 42 PSI, and brought it back in the house. Ditto for the front, set at 30 PSI.
and the set
I’ll let the tires sit overnight, check tire pressure tomorrow, and re-install.
21 K KM update!
Right! got a few k’s on the outex. It’s been totally tits! I’m on my 4th tire now…and zero issue
Here’s the front at 17k
rear at 17k
I bought one of these:
I had this coming…my 2011 pre delivery Tenere ran like a top till about 60 k km (all units will be metric!!). At which point I wasn’t able to do a full oil interval of 5 k without adding oil. It wasn’t much at first, maybe .5 L between fill, then eventually around the 75 k mark it needed 1.5 L between intervals. To top it off I was told that the bike puffed blue off throttle.
Out came the compression tester. For reference, factory spec compression: 84-108 PSI. I’m at 1200 m elevation (3500 or so footsies)
Readings were as follows:
Cyl 1/Cyl 2 (no oil): 62/72 PSI
Cyl 1/Cyl 2 (oil added): 72/88 PSI
I didn’t bother with a leak down test…I don’t own a tester.
If you don’t like reading and like looking at pictures…they are here :
Logic would dictate that rings are suspect, with a possibility of valve seals.
To rebuild or ride, or sell…I went back and fourth a few times. It annoys me to have to carry oil on longer trips. A normal motor will use a small amount of oil between changes i.e. from full mark to low mark on the window. But this was more than that.
Many will say that it’s the oil that I used (non synthetic for a break in-motoman style, google it), then amsoil synthetic from there.
Many will say it’s lack of maintenance. I ride my bikes as intended. I don’t baby them, I don’t putter. I ride. Wheelies, hell yes. Pinging off the rev limiter, hell no. I use the entire rev range. And yes, the bike has been ridden off road. Roughly 40% of the k’s were off road.
What if it was a long weekend bike? The boys at Yamaha Japan wanted to knock off early to drink sake…who knows.
Maybe sub par components? The first gen rings and pistons were discontinued. Same goes for the god awful oil fed cc tensioner. Don’t forget the clutch basket.
At any rate, the decision was made to rebuild the motor. No point in taking it in the ass on a trade in (would sir take $5k, then pay full retail for a new 2016 ST), I didn’t want to sell it second hand to some unsuspecting sucker, besides I really like this bike. It’s a keeper.
I budgeted for a $1000 cdn in parts (not including head work/valve work if needed), Without going into the motor, I wasn’t sure what needed changing/rebuilding.
My initial guess was the parts needing changing would be: pistons, rings, gaskets, valve seals, valves, springs, head bolts, possible head work/valve lap, hone and a possible re plate.
I was extremely fortunate to have a good friend of mine overseeing the process. Richard from nearby Red Deer offered to help me tear down the top end, and rebuild it once we figured out what the motor needed. Richard is one of the top motor guys in Alberta, so I was in good hands.
Disclaimer: THIS BLOG POST IS WRITTEN BY A COMPLETE MUPPET!
DO NOT FOLLOW ANY OF THESE STEPS! THIS ARTICLE IS WRITTEN FOR ENTERTAINMENT ONLY! THE ACTUAL WORK WAS DONE BY A PROFESSIONAL!
Do not attempt this on your own! Do not touch your motor, unless absolutely necessary! Spend lots of money at the dealer, as they will do a better job (highly unlikely) Better yet, sell the Yamaha and buy something reliable like a BMW!
Right. The above out of the way, I set to work on dropping the motor. As always, my trusty Yamaha book by my side, I followed the motor removal step by step. Easy enough. Motor came out without too much trouble. Once out, I had to get my neighbor to help me carry the heavy bastard from my bike bench over to my work bench. The thing weights a god damned ton. I’m guessing about 180 lb.
Motor disassembly was straight forward. Again following the book, I took the head off, set my head studs aside (numbered in a card board sheet)
Now being a complete engine newbie (I only go to the valves, and maybe the cct…but that’s it!!) I was worried by the 1/8″ of carbon on the pistons. It looked pretty gross. No matter, I kept keeping on. Next up was the cylinder head, and to have a peek a boo at the pistons and rings.
Notice the fine scratches at the top of the bore. Yep, the Tenere got a case of KTnatis! took some dirt in somewhere along the way. No worries, a hone will clean it up sufficiently. The nickasil was in perfect shape. About 1/4 thou wear. Cylinder was well within spec. Nothing out of sorts
Rings were just ok. Some blow by present, top ring was starting to move (my plating guy said that that’s what caused the scratches on top of the bores) I’m thinking it’s dirt and shit.
Scraper rings look…meh
Other odds and ends…
If you ride off road, clean the rad from time to time. This never affected cooling of the bike.
Head tear down, and clean day.
I dragged all the various bits over to Richards place and we set to work. Now you can tell a lot from a man’s work space. Mine looks like someone lobbed a grenade into my garage, and ran away. Richard’s shop looks nothing like mine.
I wasn’t sure what to expect with the valves, valve faces, head, guides and seals. Once the valves were compressed, springs seats, valve lock thingies set aside and bagged (Richard’s fine work, not mine…) I was tasked to go to town in the wash basin.
We weren’t going to stop at a varsol bath. Bead blasting was up next. I cleaned the head, pistons, and valves. The cylinder head simply had the excess gasket goop removed with a blade, and sent off for honing
Here’s the interesting bit. The pistons had 1/4 thou wear, after 80k of me romping on them. Basically brand new!
Here’s some hard numbers:
Piston clearance (Piston to cylinder)
Cyl #1: 0.5/.75 thou
Cyl #2: 0.5/0.75 thou
Cylinder number. Taper/out of round
Cyl #1: 0.5 thou / 0.5 thou
Cyl #2: 0.5 thou / 0.5 thou
Piston diameter. Factory spec: 3.8569-3.8575 inch
Piston #1: 3.8571
Piston #2: 3.8571
Head, valve seats, and valves were perfect post bead blast. Nothing wrong with any of the parts.
At this point, I was ready to make my parts list:
-2nd gen pistons and rings. Yes I could have reused the old ones, but Yamaha updated the piston and ring design. You cannot get 1st gen rings anymore. Besides, the 2nd gen is lighter, and higher comp. I did check the cam shaft profiles. Identical from 1st to 2nd gen. Proceed!
-All new gaskets..obvs!
-O ring for water pump
-8 new valve seals. They were gone..like dropping a hot dog down a hallway…
Valve guides were perfect
-Two new coolant hoses. One that drops from the rad to the metal cross pipe. One from cross pipe to water pump. Both were looking a bit swollen
-New cam chain. Old one had about half a link of extra wear. Cheap insurance.
So, what the hell went wrong with the motor. Three things:
-Valve seals (see hot dog down hallway)
-Dirt ingestion and/or top ring flex
Right. Back at it. All parts came in. Well packaged by my friend Don from Lodi. I’m hella cheap, shipping was free from http://www.procaliber.com
Don did say that their packing of the gaskets was sub par. Otherwise no issues. Cheapest parts I found. Plus, if you let you basket contents linger for an extra day, they give you an additional 5% off all items. Bonus!!!
Now, for the fun part. Each piston has a total of 5 rings. Two main rings (with lettering), a scraper ring and a ring on either side of the scraper ring.
These were a total PITA. With two sets of hands, four head bolts to line up the head, we managed to cross the scraper ring several times. It’s extremely hard to notice if it’s actually crossed up. If you’re not paying attention, you’ll put it back together, turn it by hand and find out the hard way. At any rate, we finally got it together, one piston at a time
That shit job out of the way it was time to re-assemble the head. Earlier I mentioned a hot dog down a hallway (see valve seal). When the new valve seals went in, you could feel a nice even drag on the valve. Nice! Richard expertly re-assembled the head (compress each valve. Tweezers in hand and using the force, insert both valve retaining clips (with a dab of grease), while backing out valve compression tool) Any one able to do this, is the fucking man in my book! Tricky, very tricky.
Holy shit on a stick…don’t forget that $2 o-ring on the water pump!!!
I cheaped out, and did not order new head bolts. Think about it. The bolts do stretch, that said, you torque them to a given spec, then use the degree tool on top a torque wrench to go to the prescribed degree (270 degree, or whatever the book says). At any rate, the motor is holding together just fine. Joy!!
Before putting the cover back on we spun the motor, to check that everything is copacetic.
We spun the motor by hand, and there was a very faint ping, and noticeable stop to the proceedings…Yay !!!! Valves contacting the piston..
SHIT ON A STICK !!! When we changed the cc, we re-set the motor to TDC on cyl #1 (T mark on bottom of motor!!). If my little mind can grasp the Yamaha manual, the T mark is only for checking the valve clearance. See page 3-5 and on, in manual.
Remember, T mark is TDC on cyl#1. Then you turn it 270 degrees, and you have cyl #2 at TDC. K mark is for disassembly/reassembly.
Problem being, that we had the valve train set to work with the K mark, but the bottom of the motor itself was set to the T mark.
Long story short, if we didn’t check this, the valve would have run into the pistons on the first crank of the starter. Good catch, scratch that…great catch!
Right. Set the bottom to K. As per page 5-16. Pull the cams, make sure your camshaft marks are aligned on the case, and the hole on the intake camshaft, aligns with the mark on the intake cam cap (closest to the chain)
To sum up:
THE T MARK IS FOR CHECKING CLEARANCE ONLY!!
THE K MARK IS FOR PULLING CAMS. This is where the top and bottom are in alignment/not running interference.
Well no it isn’t. I had to drive home, so we high fived each other. Dragged the heavy bastard to the trunk of my car, and I went home. Job done!
I did forget to check valve clearances the day previous. I was reusing all the valves, and shims. So I marked all the shims, and which vales they went back in. I double checked the clearances, and they were all in spec. Joy. Valve cover back on, and now I can call on my buddy Cam M. to help me muscle the motor back in.
This took about 45 minutes with the both of us moving things back and forth. Eventually we lined up the back bottom motor mounts, slid the bolts in, jacked up the mini jack, slid the top rear bolt in, and last but not least, the four main engine bolts. Done!
The rest of it was straight forward. I basically had to put the whole bike back together. Once the motor was in, I had to re-install the swing arm, shaft drive, and rear wheel. Next up was my clean rad, all hoses, clamps, and coolant. I kept the crash bars and skid plate off, until everything was back on, and buttoned up. I refilled the oil to the top mark, and thumbed the starer. Bike fired up on the first or second crank. Joy!! Got the motor up to temp, and got a low oil light to ping on. Da fug? I forgot that the motor lost a bunch of oil out of the head. No matter. Put in an extra half liter and all was good to go.
Interesting side notes and findings on the rebuild.
While rummaging in the bike, I had a look at my ABS pump. What a mess. I had dried mud half way up my abs pump. The oem drains are too small, and don’t get all the filth out. I removed the pump, clean up the muck, and enlarged the two holes. I’ll check it from time to time to make sure it’s clean.
My throttle cables needed replacing. The bottom cable was catching on the throttle body assembly…can’t remember where exactly, and was starting to frey.
I tested my five year old battery at the local battery shop. The bastard lost five CCA over five years!!! I battery tender all my bikes. Maybe that helped. No matter, i’ll be good for a few years more.
I flushed all fluids, except the shaft drive. New clutch and brake fluids, new coolant, and new oil.
All in all, the whole job took about 10-12 hours. 7-8 hours on the motor. Two hours each for tear out, and re-install.
I took the bike for a break in run, as there was a break in the weather. Wow wee…this thing pulls hard. The bike sounds smooth, and all is well in my world. Now, if I could only get my KTM 300 starter mechanism to behave…
Update: I did some compression readings after a 50 k ride. Here’s the findings:
Prior to rebuild (engine cold). dry/oil added
Cyl 1/Cyl 2 (no oil): 62/72 PSI
Cyl 1/Cyl 2 (oil added): 72/88 PSI
Cyl 1 cold/warmed up motor: 60/68 PSI
Cyl 2 cold/warmed up motor: 60/65 PSI
It’s possible that prior to rebuild the comp read higher because of the extra carbon build up :. more squish/compression
Another interesting fact is that I just did valves on a friends tenere, with 35km of light-ish use, comp cold read:
Cyl 1 cold: 55 PSI
Cyl 2 cold: 65 PSI
Yamaha compression test procedure page
How come I cannot come close to the Yamaha numbers listed on two bikes side by side, at the same elevation? At any rate, I’ll check it again at the next oil change and see what it reads then.
Moar updates: this motor has a decompression unit built into the exhaust cam. So how on earth can you measure compression if the decompression pin lets out the pressure in the cylinders every time? It boggles the mind how Yamaha came up with the numbers.
Whatever. The motor has just over 4k km on it now. Running like a top, zero oil used. What goes in comes out. Magic.