Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sold the Redstreak for a 2003 Honda Silverwing.

What the 1500cc taught me:

  1. How to ride safely with the proper gear

  2. How to change oil / adjust valves / change tires / adjust carb / change plugs / change a CVT belt

  3. A 150cc is too small for me ...

  4. Maintaining a Chinese bike in the USA is a DIY pursuit ... most shops don't want to work on them

I'm not negative about the experience of owning this bike ... just realistic.

If anyone asks me what to buy, I'm going to recommend 1st tier ... Honda and Yamaha.

I'll keep this blog on-line for those who would like to read my experiences.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

5900 Miles: Tightened Steering Head Bearings

At 5900 miles, I noticed that when braking I was experiencing some shake on the front end. I checked the brake caliber, the disk, and the front axle. All fine. Then I thought, maybe the dampening of the front fork legs / suspension was soft. I rocked the bike with the front brake applied, and noticed (by taking of the access panel on the front fairing) that the locknut for the steering head was loose, and the adjuster nut was backed off (maybe a 1/2 turn or so). Not good.

So I displaced (but did not remove) the front fairing to access the steering head. No need to remove the handle bars. Using a slip joint pliers and a wrench, I tightened the adjuster nut so the bearings were under very light loading without any binding. No binding / no freeplay. Then I appied some blue Loctite threadlocker to the threads and tightened the locking nut. As an indicated, I took some bright nail polish and drew a line from the top of the locknut across the adjustment nut to the body of the steering head. Now I'll have a quick visual indicator if the locking or adjustment nut loosens again.

Plastics reinstalled (the plastics on / off are the long time pole in this repair -- total time was 1 hour), and took ZX99 out for a 12 mile test ride. Perfect. No brake rattle, steering was fine with no binding. Visual indicator was still in alignment after the ride.

Wonder how it loosened up in the first place ? Seems like a good assembly to check every once in a while.

Read all about this procedure on Page 6.4 (Frame and Suspension), Section 5 "Steering Head Adjustment" in Haynes #4768 ("Chinese Taiwanese, and Koren Scooters").

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Lights Out

Needed a front turn signal bulb (Amber) and a new license plate bulb (originally clear). Replaced both with Sylvania LongLife 194NA : NATURAL AMBER 3.8 Watt, 0.27 Amp, 14 Volt, Wedge Base.

It looks clear when shining on the white plate ...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Nice Ride this Evening

Back on the road again. After work I took a nice loop ride through Stoneham, Melrose, Saugus, Lynnfield, and then around Lake Quannapowitt. Filled up with gas at 5680 miles.

New engine feels great. The idle was a little low after the replacement (when warm, it was hovering around 1000 RPM, I readjusted the idle screw to 1800 RPM). Front tire is holding pressure after I noticed and repaired a bead-leak after I got ZX99 home from the shop.

One gross thing ... after my ride home from the shop, I put my wet helmet and gloves into my rear topbox. When I opened it today, mold had formed on the gloves, and the helmet didn't smell too great either. I used a different pair of gloves this evening, and washed out the helmet. After the ride, I removed the helmet liner and along with the moldy gloves hand washed them in Ivory soap. Next time, I'll let everything open air dry before storing them in the enclosed topbox.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Engine at 5769 Miles

Well, it wasn't the valve cover spewing ... loss of compression, oil seals, and other undiagnosed engine problems. I took ZX99 to Smooth Scooters in West Medford, MA, and Frank and I agreed that for about the cost of a rebuild, I could just get a new GY6 engine. I liked the idea. It took Frank a couple of weeks to get it delivered (he has a source that he feels positive about) , and installed it for $150 in labor. The cost of the engine is comparable to prices I've seen on eBay and other parts suppliers ($400).

I can highly recommend Frank ... his shop is first rate.

Rode it home it it felt and sounded like a new bike. I'm not sure where I went wrong with the original engine ... hopefully this one will last much longer.

Some photos of the new engine:

SmoothScooters New GY6 Engine-4

Significant difference ... a 2011 mfg date, rather than the original 2008. Plus, it's a 1P57QMJ, not a 157QMJ

SmoothScooters New GY6 Engine-1

Goodbye Redstreak label ... note the ventilation intake is on the botton of the CVT cover, not the scoop with the filter on the front. Different CVT cover bolt configuration too ...

SmoothScooters New GY6 Engine-9

More detail on the ventilation intake

7/20/2011 Update:

I forgot to mention that when I went to pick up ZX99, the headlights lights were dim when the engine started. Reminded me of the time on the first engine that I needed a new stator, and the replacement was not putting out sufficient power.

I mentioned this to Frank... and he swapped the stator in my old engine with the new one in the new engine. Power was restored.

So, you need to be careful with these 6 pole GY6 150cc stators --- they are not all spec-ed the same (and there is no way to really tell what the specs are when you order a new one).