The penguin's motorcycling and Jeep blog

Thursday, June 26, 2008

And what were *you* doing at 2AM?

Me, I was working on my Suzuki V-Strom 650 ABS, adding a Powerlet socket to the Rick's Shelf using the Left Front Panel socket kit from Eastern Beaver. I also mounted the Garmin Zumo 550 GPS's RAM ball to the handlebar and used the Garmin Zumo to Powerlet short power cord to plug it in. I also have an adaptor so I can power a regular cigarette-lighter-type electric air pump off of this socket to air up my tires.

The core problem is that I had to take off the gas tank and this was the first time I ever took off the gas tank so it took me a while to get everything off. To take off the gas tank, here's what I did:

  1. Take off the side gas tank panels by unscrewing the one screw at the front that holds them on and popping them out of their rubber donuts that holds the rear part of the panels on.
  2. Remove the rearmost screws on the side fairing panels (there will be two of them).
  3. Locate the center fairing strip between the gas tank and the steering column, and the two plastic retainer buttons at the front. Push in the center peg of those buttons until they make a "snap" sound (use a ballpoint pen or something), and remove the buttons.
  4. Remove the center fairing strip -- the sides just snap under the side fairing, you should be able to pop the side fairings outward a little and it'll just come out.
  5. Remove the seat
  6. Grab a 12mm wrench and remove the single bolt holding the back of the tank on
  7. Take the silver tank prop that serves as the top of the tank mount and lift the tank up enough to prop the tank up with it. DO NOT TRY TO LIFT IT HIGHER THAN THE PROP, there is a stop on the pivot hinge up front that you can damage if you try to lift it against the stop.
  8. Unplug the fuel gauge wire on the left side
  9. Unplug the fuel line on the left side
  10. Unplug the overflow line on the right side (just pop it off the tank)
  11. Unplug the charcoal canister condensate return line on the right side. (Was easier for me to pop it off the frame mounted fitting than to pop it off the tank, also kept clear which line went where).
  12. Remove the prop and let the tank back down. Grab a pair of 10mm wrenches (I had one socket wrench and one box-end wrench), and remove the pivot bolt at the front of the tank.
  13. Lift the tank and slide it backward off its rubber mounts up front, then lift and place aside.
Now you have the top of the bike naked and can just lay the wire from the battery all the way to the front of the bike on top of the existing wires. The only exception is that I ran it around the side of the head instead of through the box and clamp behind the radiator then the hole at the front of the frame. I then plugged it into the Powerlet outlet (which I had previously installed on the dashboard then installed the dashboard), and moved the steering from lock to lock to insure that I had enough slack. I did -- barely. I zip-tied the front in place, checked my steering slack again, still okay, then zip-tied the rest in place all the way back to the battery.

This kit was intended for the left dashboard panel, and was cut to be very slightly longer than required for that purpose. Going rightward and requiring some slack for turning the steering wheel means that I only barely have enough wire to get back to the battery. When I add a fuse panel in the tray behind the battery, I will have to cut off the battery end of this kit and add some longer wires to get to the fuse panel using Posilocks or regular crimp connectors. So it goes.

Now, what took me so long: I was following the directions in the factory service manual, which calls for removing the front side cowling panels also as part of removing the fuel tank. To remove the front side cowling panels, take out all the visible screws. Next you have to remove the chin cowling underneath the headlights. This is done by pushing in the center of a dozen of those button-type fasteners and removing them, then removing two screws hidden deep in the wells of those fake air inlets. You can then wiggle the chin cowling out. Then you'll find out why we had to remove the chin cowling -- there's two more screws hidden behind the chin cowling holding on the side panels. Remove those screws. Then slide the side panels *forward* to get them out of their little rubber donut thingies, and when you feel them "pop" out of the little donut thingy wiggle them out from under the top panel (still sliding forward a bit). Then you'll have a nice open space to work in with no side panels in the way, which I suppose is why the service manual calls for removing these.

Anyhow, it's nowhere near as arduous a process as pulling all the plastics on my old Kawasaki Concours touring bike (now that bike had a lot of plastic on it!), but it was my first time doing it, so I was going very slow and careful. So that's why it took me four hours to do all this yanking of plastics, pulling the tank, running the wire on top of the existing wires, then putting it all back together again, and why I was in my garage until 2am last night. I wanted to ride that bike to work today. And did :-).

-- Badtux the Wrenchin' Penguin


Gordon said...

Cool blog. How long ya had it? I guess I could go look, but I'd rather be a pest.

Modern sleds are much more complicated to work on than the old ones I got started on. No jokes about the lighting system being a guy walking in front with a lantern, please.

The price of progress. They don't need as much work as often, either.

BadTux said...

Just started it this month, Gordo. Had some long motorcycle-related postings to post, and realized, "y'know, the folks on my politics blog are gonna be bored stiff with this, and the folks I know through motorcycling ain't gonna give a shit about the politics stuff. Lemme put the motorcycle and Jeep stuff somewhere else."

So this is pretty much a catch-all for all the wrenchin' stuff. Mostly for the V-Strom at the moment since I'm busy customizing it for what I need, but I'm gonna do some stuff with the Jeep and the KLR too over time. The Jeep needs a trailer hitch so I can get a Trailer In A Bag to haul the bikes to the shop (especially the V-Strom because of that engine computer, I work on the KLR myself 'cause all ya need to work on that primitive thing is a stone axe and some duct tape), and I want to add an external gas can mount and tire swing at the same time to take weight off the tailgate (a 32" tire is pretty hefty). Also want to add a body lift to the Jeep. As for the KLR, it's gonna get outfitted with real knobbies and put into a dirt bike trim, put the narrow OEM seat back on and take off the lowering links, and a new shock in the back and Racetech emulators in the front so it no longer pounds my teeth out on washboard. I might also go ahead and do a top end rebuild, ship off the top end to a machine shop to get an oversized piston and cylinder liner put in and bigger valves, my engine is gettin' purty tired 'cause I rag it hard. So I got plenty of wrenchin' to do here!

- Badtux the MotoPenguin

Gordon said...

I'm assuming you have a metric stone axe...

If yer gonna dirt out the KLR, it may be old enough for you to consider some Progressive Suspension fork springs if you haven't done something like that already. The rear shock could probably stand some fettling as well. You can tailor that stuff for any kind of ride you want, but you know that.

BadTux said...

Yeah, a metric stone axe :-).

I already have the Progressive front springs. Thing is, the front forks are a primitive damper rod design. Hit a big bump with a damper rod, it turns solid. And a washboarded desert road is nothing *but* big bumps. Ouch!

I'm thinking of putting the Racetech cartridge emulators in there, which have a spring-loaded "pop-off" valve that'll keep the dampers, well, damping when you hit a big bump, instead of turning solid. I rode another guy's KLR that had'em and it was Smooooth on that washboard. I've already put a stiffer spring on the back, but there's now some real good shocks for the back too (I'm using an OEM shock at the moment, no revalving). But I'm thinking the forks are the big problem here. And I'm running Mobil 1 ATF in there at the moment (about 10 weight fork oil), and anything lighter and it bounces too much because of not enough rebound damping, so I can't go any lighter with the fork oil either :-(. So I just gotta get some better damping up there...

There's also a machine shop down in Sandy Yaygo that sez they can hard-anodize the forks to make'em real slickery-like so they won't pass up jounces as much via stiction. If the Racetechs don't work, I might take'em up on that offer...

- Badtux the Suspension Penguin