Sunday, October 2, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again!Back in the Saddle Again!

Back in the Saddle Again!
(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Mistress is up and running wild again with new front wheel bearings.  A week and a half after getting most of damage repaired from our spill I started noticing a slight roaring sound from the left front that got louder at highway speeds while taking corners to the left. So, remembering my son Jake’s run in with a front wheel bearing locking up on him, fortunately he was going slowly at the time, I decided to play it safe and parked her.  That is, until I could save up enough money to purchase the wheel bearing kit and also clean my stuffed garage so I would have room to operate on her.

The wheel bearing kit was not expensive and I ordered it online. I found a good deal on for an "All Balls Street Wheel Bearing Kit - Front 25-1448" for the low-low price of $24.53 which included shipping. The kit arrived in about a week. Now I just needed to get that blasted garage cleaned up…

I also was reacquainted with an old co-worker, Craig Whitlock, an avid Honda VTX 1800 rider. I also worked with Craig’s father-in-law, the late Great Danny Evans who passed away over a year ago from cancer. He was also a Honda VTX 1800 Rider. I remembered he used to make metal tubular lever motorcycle lifts to sell. So, I asked Craig if he had any of them still lying around and low-and-behold I had two of them the next day, one for my son and one for me. Several months later I got the garage halfway cleaned up with enough room to work on the voluptuous V-Star 1100 Classic.

So, now it was time to get to work on the bike. The first thing I did was head over to the V-Star 1100 Riders Knowledge Base and perused the several repair manuals on how to replace the front wheel bearings. If you own a V-Star, you need to have access to this treasure trove and the V-Star 100 Forum. After that I got Johnny, one of my boys, (I have one daughter and five boys), to support the bike while I lifted it up using the tubular bike lift.

The tubular bike lift Danny made was an ingenious design. It uses leverage to lift the bike up and support it from underneath on the bottom frame. It consisted of two tubes held together in a rectangle with the front bar that does the actual lifting covered in a piece of rubber so as to not mar up your bikes frame. Attached to the left front corner is the long handle which supplies the leverage to lift the bike and the ground support to hold it in place when pulled and lowered to the ground. The end of the bar is slightly cantilevered so you don’t smash your fingers when lowering and make it easier to grab ahold of when ready to lift it up to lower the bike. There is a small piece of rectangular metal reinforcement from the lower bars to the handle to help handle the stress. The whole thing is painted and the open bar ends are capped off to make it complete. This lift worked like a charm.
The next step is to remove the wheel. First, block off the brake lever so no one accidently pulls it while the brake calipers are off. I used and electrical outlet expander. Remove both side front brake caliper bottom bolt and loosen the upper all the way. The reflectors are in the way of taking the bolts all the way out, but allow the bolts to be backed out far enough to remove the calipers.

Once the brake calipers are free, remove the pinch bolt from the bottom of the right front fork. Next remove the axle bolt. Note: this bolt is real tight and I used a large breaker bar to break it loose.  After removing the axle bolt the wheel can drop free. Depending on how high off the ground the front of the bike is will depend on how hard it is to wrestle from between the forks and fender. The two collar spacers may fall out, if not they can be removed at this time by simply pulling them out.

Once the wheel is removed be sure not to lay the wheel directly on anything that will put pressure on the brake rotors.  I used and old plastic square milk box to set mine on and it fit perfectly. The rubber axle seals can now be removed simply using a screwdriver. The next step requires a special tool to remove the old bearings.

The old wheel bearings have to be pulled from the center of the wheel using a Blind Hole Bearing Puller. Not having one of those I waited until my son Jake had a free Saturday morning to help me, since I did not have enough dough to cover the deposit on the tool kit. We barrowed tool kit free from AutoZone using his debit/credit card. Note, when we returned the tool kit they will only give you cash back, not credit the card back.

The Dead Hole Bearing puller tool worked well. You put the clawed grabbing end inside to just below the bearing and tighten it up spreading the claws behind the bearing. Next you attach the slide hammer like part to the top and slam it up until is slowly extracts the bearing from the wheel. Now you can remove the center collar that sets between the two bearings. Flip the tire over and do it again on the other bearing.
Next just clean all the parts that are re-used with something. I used brake cleaner and an old t-shirt rag. We packed some more wheel-bearing grease around the new bearings and put a light coating on everything else. After everything is cleaned up, dried and lubed you put it all back together in reverse order using the new bearings and seals of course.

The new wheel bearings have to be pressed back into the wheel. We used a piece of flat steel and hammered the bearing until it was flush. Then searched all over the garage until I found a round part made of metal that was just the right size of the bearing to finish tapping the bearing down until it seated. After flipping the wheel over re-insert the center collar and press the other bearing in occasionally running the axle bolt through to make sure the center collar is aligned and centered properly.

Next install the new grease seals. They just press in by hand. Now the two collar spacers can be inserted into the grease seals and the tire reinstalled back on the forks. Torque down the axle bolt and reinstall the pinch bolt. Install the brake calipers and remove the brake lever block.

While I was working on her I also tried to make some adjustments to the foot-heel shifter pivot which I think got tweaked in the wreck. Lastly, I cleaned the left front turn signal bulb socket which corrosion was causing a fast blink. Viola, she was ready to ride.

he fired right up, because I had kept her on a trickle charger, and I immediately took a short test ride up and down the freeway to make sure everything was working properly, and it was. Ahhh, the joy of ridin'...

This post dedicated to the late Great Danny Evans: May 3, 1958 - January 2, 2010 – RIP

Ride on,