Welcome to XJ900 2007

First problem of the year. Not charging. Not a peep

Recieved on 11th January from Abbey Motorcycles Leicester through Partfinderukltd.com at a total cost of 62.00 (56.00 plus postage)

Fitting the new Regulator and testing

First the old regulator has to be removed from the bike. This is a case of removing the seat and side panels and then the battery.

Remove the Battery unplug the rectifier from it's multiblock
Remove the battery first. Trace the wires from the Rectifier back to it's multiblock connector and unplug. (It's under the electrics tray beneath the seat)

Next I cleaned up the replacement rectifier as it was a bit corroded and also one of the bolts were totally seized in it's hole. Not too much of a problem as it happens.
corroded Rectifier body seized bolt
Body of replacement Rectifier needs some cleaning This bolt is not moving for anyone. Will probably shear off first!

After cleaning up the body and going to fit the replacement, I realised that there was no need to clean it at all! I had initially thought that the unit would require an earth through it's body but, this cannot be the case as it is mounted on the plastic Battery holder box! I'm no electrician but I do know that Plastic is an insulator. Moving on....

Removing the old rectifier

The rectifier is located beneath the battery box on the left hand side of the machine. Two 10mm bolts hold the thing in place on the (Plastic) box. Undo these bolts using a spanner, or probably two as they are actually nuts and bolts with various washers and will probably turn (if they are not seized!!)

Unscrewing the rectifier
Unscrew the rectifier mountings with 10mm spanner/s Trace wiring block under seat electrical tray and unplug

Remove rectifier
And maneuver the rectifier out the gap between the footrest hanger and rear shock absorber.

So, I fit the new Rectifier/Regulator and check the battery level before starting.

Regulator check not running Started up now
The battery reads 12 volts at standstill (Not running) Start up the beastie and the regulator settles at 13.2 volts Yahoo, so it's not the Alternator at all!! great news

Boooo Double boo
Booo, Hisss, the regulator is not working well at all. It goes on getting worse as revs increase. I have seen 19 volts but it's difficult to catch on camera

SO, I have proved that the Alternator is not faulty but that the original Rectifier/Regulator has indeed died. Sadly the replacement is not too happy either and is overcharging madly but, as luck will have it, Abbey Motorcycles are willing to take it back and send another. I hope that the next one is better. Looks like I will get some riding done next summer after all.

That's all for now.

The new Rectifier

Abbey Motorcycles 01162511919 agreed to send me a Brand New Rectifier Regulator in exchange for the faulty one. I was of course delighted at this news and accepted. They told me that the new one would be about 40.00 more than the second hand one but that they were willing to stand that cost as they had sent me a dud replacement.

Yes, I know I should have suspected something was up then as of course there is no such thing as a free lunch. However, a new rectifier turned up several days later:

New Regulator
Spot the new regulator

New Regulator
Of course, it's the shiny one!!

Of course it was a "Pattern" part made by someone called Tour maX! I took the liberty of costing a brand new Yamaha part and that would be about 85.oo plus Tax so, around 100. This means that I was saving 40.00 just like the man said but the man did not say it would be a pattern part!.
However, I went ahead and fitted it, temporarily first to test it and, guess what humble reader? This one does not charge at tickover speeds! At tickover it reads between 11.80 and 12.10 volts whereas the second hand faulty one sat at 13.10 volts at tickover but raced away to 19 vlts when the engine was reving hard. I'm at a loss! I'm not sure if 12.10 volts will be enough to keep the battery topped up (the 11.8o reading is with the lights on) Anyay, I decide to return this item and go for the real thing instead. Or at least thjat is what I wanted to do. At this point Abbey closed ranks and became unhelpful.
It is the opinion of the Abbey "Technician" that there must be a fault with my Alternator. I asked him what particular fault he had in mind that would exhibit the symptoms I had experienced, i.e. on Rectifier over charging at high revs but fine at tickover and the other undercharging at tickover and fine at revs? He didn't have an answer to that only quoted from their returns policy, which conveniently disallows the return of electrical items and told me he sells hundreds of these and has never had a faulty one!! Until now? I then ask if he can exchange it for a Yamaha original one and he agrees to this but, and this is a classic "Gotcha", he quotes me 177 for said Original item. I tell him the quote I got from a more local (and honest) garage and he has no comment other than to say "That's cheap!"
Finally he totally drops the nice guy approach and I realis that I have lost this battle. I am now the proud owner of a poor quality Pattern Rectifier which undercharges at Tickover. I have decided to fit it anyway and see how we get on. It may be Ok since I don't spend a great deal of time at Tickover! It does prevent me from simly "Running" The bike to keep the battery charged though :(
I think I'll just go for original parts in future, in the case of important items like this! It's got to be worth the investment.
So for the moment, I think the XJ is back on the road. I just wish it would warm up and dry up a bit outside!! Brrrrrrrr.

Saturday January 27th

Started bike up and let it run on tickover from 1330 hrs until 1430 hrs today. I was keen to test whether it would charge or not on tickover. Before starting it the battery read 12.10 volts. I started it and it settled to tickover (lights off) at 12.90 volts so, allowing for about 10% error on the meter, about right I suppose. After an hour ticking over the batter was reading a healthy 13.50 volts proving that the system is actually workling. Perhaps the Regulator requires some bedding in period or other that I am unaware of? Anyway, I'm happy with this and we are definately on the road again.

Second problem of the year

The dreaded fork seals

About a week ago now I took the XJ for a quick spin to keep it running and because it was quite a nice day, sunny, breezy and absolutely freezing. NO matter, on with the "Survival Suit" from Hein Gerike which they don't seem to do anymore?? Anyway, this suit is the business for cold climates and is waterproof, windproof and very warm, having foil reflective panels and velour pads all over the place. However, I'm getting sidetracked.

I arrived at the local garage to0 fuel up and check the tyre pressures before my journey. While pumping up the front tyre I steadied myself by gripping the nearside fork leg and....Yuck...covered in oil.
So. it's off home to strip and rebuild. If the fork oil gets on to the brakes then I have further expense and, anyway, the handling will be affected by the lack of damping on one side.
The truth is that, the forks in question were always an unknown quantity since the came from a Scrap yard just before I put the bike off the road for it's 10 year wait. My wife and I have collided with a Sheep and bent the original forks (That was the only damage, apart from the dead sheep!) I had had the fork stanchions straightened and re chromed but, sadly, they still burst the new seals following rebuild. SO, I assumed that the straightening had not gone well and bought second hand forks.
I got over 3,000 mile from these scrap yard bargains so I suppose they did better than expected. The other point is that, the original (now condemned) forks had just had new springs fitted from "Progressive Suspension USA" and it had always been my intention to transfer them to the replacement forks. SO, no time like the present!!

First things first

Order the parts

The first bike shop I called, and I just looked in my local directory and put a pin in the page since there are no nearby dealers (or so I thought) told me that the parts were all available apart from the top bushes which were not sold separately. I argued with this as I had already rebuilt a set of XJ forks but he became quite snotty about it telling me that he was "A qualified and experienced bike mechanic and knew what he was talking about" I withdrew my order and told him I would research this and get back to him.
I called Tom at Spinningdale Motors, which is a tiny Bike/car garage some 55 miles from me in Spinningdale, just south of Bonar Bridge in Sutherland. There was no fuss and the parts were ordered and available at the shop in just two days. The difference is that Tom IS an experienced motorcycle mechanic and DOES know what he is talking about so, if you are in the area, give him a call.

So, the parts were purchased, top bushes, fork seals, snap rings and dust seals for both forks which came to 49.00 including postage. I had originally wanted bottom bushes as well but was talked out of it by Tom who also said I was wasting my money putting top bushes in at this stage. I explained that the forks were an unknown quantity and he understood a bit better.

Doing the job

March 5th 2007

The day dawned bright and very windy, a perfect day for not being outside! The bike sat sadly in it's corner already supported on the log that it had spent the previous ten years on...it was looking very worried!!

Worried Bike
Poor XJ, looks worried don't you think?

First the wheel needs to come off.

The wheel is gone again

Then the mudguard and fork brace come off:

Mudguard and brace Remove the Fork brace
Remove the Mudguard first And then the fork brace comes off

After removal of the calipers, wheel, mudguard and fork brace the Fork pinch bolts can all be slackened off. There are two at the bottom yoke and one at the top yokes.

Top pinchbolt Bottom pinchbolts
Remove the Top Pinchbolts And both Bottom ones

And, ladies and gentlemen, the fork legs slide out in your hands!!

And, to coin a phrase...ForkOff

First part of stripping the forks is to remove as much of the oil as possible. This is achieved by removing the drain screw at the bottom of each leg and, while the leg is placed in a receiving canister of some description, pumping the fork gently to expel the oil. There will always be enough oil left to make an incredible mess everywhere during this job however, the above procedure should limit this to a great degree.
Next see if, while the pressure of the spring is still on, you can loosen the bottom damper bolt. Usually you can't and the entire inner assembly will turn with the bottom bolt.
Also, it's a fairly large Allen bolt and, certainly in my case, the socket type Allen keys will not pass through the hole in the bottom of the fork leg so.....

    We have two problems straight away

  1. How to actually drive the Allen bolt in question

  2. How to prevent the inner damping mechanism from turning while carrying out point 1

Now, luckily for you dear reader, I have met these problems before and, I've solved them...well, I don't suppose I actually solved them but, I found out how to get around them without resorting to Yamaha special tool number 000256487 costing many hundreds of your currency.

point 1
Use an ordinary Allen key which fits up into the recess. This however is not a very efficient tool for applying the sort of force required to loosen this bolt so. Apply the ring spanner extension trick..or, even better, a length of suitable tubing to the end of the Allen key. The ring spanner extension trick I hear you say?

Ringspanner hold
Ringspanner hold 2
As can be seen in these examples, the Allen blt can be operated with a ring spanner
Allowing more leverage. You can also see a large screwdriver shaft being used in the Caliper mount holes to steady the Fork leg.

What you are aiming for
This is just an example of the Assembly you are trying to remove. Or, one I did earlier!!

If this still does not work then we have to move to plan B. Plan B also address's point 2 above, how to stop the Damper mechanism from turning.
Now carefully remove the top cap from the fork leg. This is a 17mm Allen key and is a very unusual size to require. I can't find a bolt on the bike to help with this one but I'm almost sure there is one and that it could be the rear axle but I can't remember and, since I didn't need it I didn't try.

You will need loads of rags now as there will be still plenty oil about. Once the spring has popped out and frightened the life out of you you can withdraw it, with a rag at the ready to catch the oil caught in it's coils. Now comes the clever part. Using the front wheel axle bolt which you have in front of you in a clean container (Don't you?) you make a holding tool for the inner damping mechanism. This is achieved by locking two nuts on the end of the axle by counter rotating them toward each other like this: (The second nut can be found on the rear wheel axle in case you don't have one!)

Special tool Special tool 2

How it locates
Here you can see what is happeing inside the leg with your new special tool!

Incidentally, the spacer and washer from the original axle assemble need to be removed. I worked this out eventually as the washer is too big to pass into the fork tube!!.
You then drop this tool into the fork leg and, with a 17mm socket and two extensions, you can turn the damper with a ratchet while holding the bolt at the bottom with technique one.
It should be noted at this point that all of this would be much easier with an assistant but, in the absence of one, a small vice to hold the tube (soft jaws or plenty rags) and rotate the assembly until the bottom bolt Allen key comes into contact with the bench top and then hold the fork leg with the long screwdriver in the Caliper mount holes while turning the Ratchet (and juggling some plates on your head too!!) can work...and did for me but I pulled muscles in places where I didn't know they existed!
Once you have the bolt slackened it can be removed from the bottom of the fork. Watch out for the little Copper washer which, should be replaced in ideal circumstances but...I've never done this and simply give the old one a little rub with fine emery paper and reuse it. You choose.
The damper assembly can now be removed from the tube or, for now, it can remain in place. I removed it and this is done by just tipping it out.

Removing the old seals and bushes, or, stripping the forks...PtII

Remove the dust seal Remove snapring
First remove the Dust Seal Then remove the retaining snapring

Finally the smaller top washer which protects the seal can be removed and, when that is done grasp the top and bottom halves of the fork one in each hand and operate the fork from about half way open to full extension sharply a few times to dislodge the remaining components. It's like using the fork as a slide hammer! To get the following result:

Top seal protecting washer All the rest of the gubbins
The top seal protection washer comes out next Followed by the rest, including the fork leg.
The bottom bush can be seen in a recesss at the bottom.

Now remove and examine the bottom damper seat from inside the main fork leg As it says in all the best manuals...reassembly is a reversal of removal. Everything must be cleaned up of course and any corrosion or rust in the seal/bush/snap ring recess's must be cleaned out with fine emery cloth and then the top bush has to be very carefully drifted into place. The book says use a bit of tubing the correct diameter but, again that would be in an ideal world. I used the large bottom washer and a drift to very carefully tap around the circumference of the bush moving 180 and then 90 degrees at a time to make sure the bush went in squarely. The same procedure with the actual fork seal using the smaller washer (as the big one won't fit and anyway, if things are going well, it's already in place!

Using a drift to replace the bush More drifting
Carefully drift the bush into place Followed by the seal

The only other difficulty with the reassembly process has to be replacing the top fork cap bolts as they are under a bit of spring tension. Again, two people would make this a much easier proposition but it an be done alone.
I had double trouble as, my particular version of the Progressive Suspension springs require a spacer. I made a spacer of the required length out of plastic door stops and these, balanced on top of a spring, protruded about 1 to 1 and a half inches (or 35 Mm to the Europeans) out of the top of the fork tubes. I have a very painful hand and wrist to testify to how difficult this was. The best procedure I could come up with was to place the fork upright on the ground, assemble all the necessary bits in a small tower and, with your best hand, push down firmly on the cap bolt trying to keep it straight and in line. With your other hand, which is already holding the fork tube, turn the tube in the correct direction to thread the cap bold into position.
The first one went in straight away for me but, by the time I cam to the second one my body was worn out and complaining. I nearly had to give up for the day but eventually it went in:

Replacing the top bolts
Push....Push for goodness sake. replacing the top bolts

And that is that. Replace the forks in their mounts and put the wheel back on and you are ready to rock again. Here is the Happy bike with the new fork seals fitted.
Thanks for looking in again and I'll report on the performance of the new forks with their up rated springs and fresh oil in the next report.

Happy bike again

Until next time....Goodbye and happy biking

P.S. As a nice end piece to this story, I called back the original bike shop who told me that top bushes cannot be purchased seperately. I asked to speak to "Supermechanic" and told him I had the part numer for the top bushes of an XJ900F. He said ok and took the number down and asked me how I would like to pay. I told him the bushes are purchased and fitted, I just thought you should know for future reference that they are avaiable.
He took it quite well!! ;)
And click here for the next page


Alert Me When This Page Changes:
Powered by Changealarm,
in association with Bron-y-aur