Saturday, August 27, 2011

Changing the drive sprockets on Yoshie

Though I am still waiting on the Type 530 Chain with the 16,000 lb tensile strength from sidewinder sprockets.  The stock chain that came with Yoshie, is an EK525 SRX chain with a tensile strength of 8800 lbs and it had already started exhibiting signs of "stretching" under sidecar loads.

The "performance" replacement sprockets from Supersprox had arrived earlier this week and I decided to install them while waiting for the chain to arrive, probably early this coming week.  I hope.

I'd done my research online, asked question of fellow V-Strom riders on advrider, stromtroopers and vrsi discussion forums and had a fellow named Chris aka Bluebye on advrider who lives in Castle Rock just a phone call away.  Thanks Chris!

Took me a few hours, as I was documenting with pictures as I went, being very methodical and cleaning things as they became available to me.  I also ran into a stuck mounting nut on the rear sprocket that caused me to invoke the Oscar factor, more on that later.

First thing you have to do is remove the Slave Clutch Cylinder that is held on 
by two 6mm Allen Head Screw

 The clutch cylinder screws are not the same length, the one to the left goes in the 
upper mounting hole and goes inside a metal tube insert

 Above is the inside portion of the clutch cylinder, I would of course be cleaning it 
up before re-installing it

 Above you can see the circular cavity where the clutch cylinder was mounted.
That's the clutch actuator rod in the middle, note the donut shape tube end at 11 O'clock

 Here's the clutch cylinder moved out of the way of things,
I would end up zip tying it into this position

 Above I am removing the tube insert for the upper mounting screw 
for the clutch cylinder

 Removing the clutch actuator rod, it was quite longer than what
I remembered from when the same type rod broke on Vikki

 Above, the sprocket cover housing is removed and zip tied out of the way
revealing the front sprocket and chain

 It was a bit "gunky" above, with accumulations of flung off chain lube and dirt

 Here's the area again, after some initial cleanup work

 Now, for a 6mm Allen Head wrench to remove the speed sensor 
mounting screw.

 Before you can remove the speed sensor mounting screw, you have to have the transmission
in Neutral.  You then block forward movement by the rear wheel by either using a 2x4 block of wood
or what I found easier, I used a really long flat tip screwdriver resting on
top of the swing arms.

 With the rear wheel blocked, the chain then held the front sprocket in position and
I was able to apply the loosening torque against the sensor mounting screw and remove it.

 Here's the speed sensor plate coming off, revealing the 32mm nut which
secures the front sprocket to the transmission spline hub.

 The nut above comes from the factory with red Loctite.  I worried that it would be a bugger 
to remove but apparently the previous owner had changed sprockets at least once 
before, and I didn't have to struggle much with the cheater bar I used.

 Front sprocket nut removed, the front sprocket can now be removed
from the transmission splines but first I must remove tension on the chain.

 Here's the right side swing arm tension adjuster screw before I loosened them up.

 The tension adjuster screws fully retracted, did the same on both sides.
At this point, with the axle nut loosened beforehand, I was able to push the rear 
tire forward, releasing tension on the old drive chain.

 As you can see below, I took the chain off the rear sprocket, which allowed me
to take the chain off the teeth on the front sprocket above.

 The old front sprocket came off easy enough at this point
you can see the washer below which makes contact with both the sprocket
and the sprocket nut.

 Above is a shot of the transmission input spline hub on which the sprocket rides.

 Above is a comparison shot of the old front sprocket (left) and the new
front sprocket from Supersprox.  Note, the new one is a type
530 sprocket.

 I placed the two sprockets together, note how the teeth on the old
sprocket were starting to "hook" due to chain wear.

 A top down view of the sprockets, note how much bigger the new sprocket teeth
are and how thicker the sprocket itself is.  Note, the old front sprocket comes from
Suzuki with a rubber "damper" to lessen noise.  It's not necessary for the new sprocket.

 Here I am starting on the 14mm mounting nuts (five of them) that hold the rear sprocket 
onto the rear carrier assembly of the rear wheel.  I used the cheater bar again and thought I had
easily loosened all five screws.  Turns out, I missed one.

 At this point it was time to remove the rear wheel to get at the rear sprocket.  
Above is a view of the mounting hardware for the axle on the right side swing arm.

 I gently tapped the axle out towards the left side swing arm, above you can
see it start to come out, displaying the tension adjuster metal block.

 Above is the wheel spacer that goes between the left side swing arm and the wheel.
Below is a view of the spacer between the right side of the wheel and the 
right swing arm.

 Above is a view of the wheel, free of the tug, sitting on top of the new car tire
that I will be mounting later on this summer.  This way, the brake disk on the underside is
protected from contact with the floor.  It was at this point that I realized one of the five 
mounting nuts was "stuck" and the edges starting to "wear".

Before I caused more damage, I took a break from removing the old rear sprocket from the carrier and instead lifted the sprocket and the carrier off of the wheel to reveal the cush drive.

 Above is a view of the spacer which sits under the rear sprocket carrier assembly
which at this point has been pulled off the cush drive rubber pieces which "hold" 
the carrier in place.  The fact that the carrier assembly came off easy told me the old cush drive
pieces were worn and needed replacing.

 Above is a view of the old cush drive rubber pieces, note the worn spots
on top of each.  The underside of the sprocket carrier assembly also showed 
spots where the rubber had rubbed off onto the carrier assembly.

 Here's the cush drive housing, after it was cleaned up.

I now returned to the stuck mounting nut on the rear sprocket carrier.   I tried for quite some time to free it, using lubricating oil, wrenches, sockets and even a propane torch.  All I succeeded in doing was stripping the edges of the nut even further.  Dammit.

I now invoked the Oscar factor.  He was out with his family but we arranged for me to go to his place later where he'd take a crack at things.  In the meantime, I went and secured some nylon self locking nuts  (M10 x 1.25) which would have to do until the replacement mounting nuts with metal self locking tabs I ordered through the dealer arrived sometime this coming week.

I got to Oscar's place and he tried something called a Gator Socket and some specialized sockets designed for stripped nuts.  No luck.  We just succeeded in rounding things off even further!  At this point, Oscar broke out his die grinder and introduced me to the grinding wonders of this tool.  He made it look easy though a bit dangerous as he ground two flat edges back onto the sides of the stuck nut.

 A midway shot of the grinding down of the stuck mounting nut.
Oscar kept saying "Dude, I've never seen 
anything like this before".  I always bring Oscar "interesting" problems.

So, once he got the two flat sides ground into place, he got this big pipe wrench and while I held the sprocket carrier in place with a different socket wrench, he applied his considerable strength at the stuck nut.  
Pretty soon we heard a "crack" and the stupid stuck nut finally came off!  See below.

 Above is a closeup view of the destroyed mounting nut, we suspect the previous owner or whomever
did the last sprocket replacement used red loctite on the damn thing
causing us to go through the struggle we did.

 Here's the sprocket carrier, free of the old sprocket, yay!

 Above is the cleaned up sprocket carrier, mounted onto the newly installed cush
drive rubber pieces.  Below is the new rear sprocket ( 43 Tooth Type 530)
mounted onto the carrier assembly.

So, some more cleanup work here and there, now I get to wait for the new chain's arrival.  This posting is both a record for me as to how things came apart so I can put them back together.  Hope it helps someone else take on what was really a pretty simple task, the replacement of the drive sprockets.  I hope swapping out the chain is as easy.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Wanted: Chained Drive Guru in Denver Metro Area

Hoping to have all the parts on hand this upcoming weekend to change out the sprockets and chain on my 2006 Suzuki V-Strom.

If there's someone in or near the Denver metro area, who has done chain swaps and sprocket swaps, especially on a Suzuki V-Strom, I request your expertise and presence as I try my first swap.

The task itself does not appear complicated but someone overwatching me as I do it would be most welcome, especially if you see me about to do something stupid. : )

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yoshie at the Rampart Range Revival

Apparently quite the long running event, the RRR or Rampart Range Revival is set in the forested hills that border Rampart Range Road.  Rampart Range links CO67 and the town of Sedalia through portions of the Pikes National Forest, to the town of Woodland Park near Colorado Springs.

This forested area is a mecca for dirt bike riders from the Denver Metro Area and points beyond.  Easy access through Rampart Range Rd is provided to many campsites and nearby dirt bike trails.

I rode out today shortly before 8:00AM to meet with Dana, John and his wife Cookie and whomever was still around at the tail end of the event, the event spans four days you see.  I motored down CO 105, transiting through Parker and Castle Rock and eventually finding Mount Herman Road in Monument, Colorado.

The road quickly becomes a gravelly dirt road with many wasboarded sections to keep life interesting and put one's suspension to the test.  You climb up into the hills of the Pike National Forest on narrow gravel/dirt roads with many blind curves.  Keep a sharp eye out for 4x4s careening their way down the trail as you go up.

It was about 22 miles of this kind of terrain, with Yoshie pulling strongly in first and sometimes second gear when the road leveled out for a bit.  A bit on the warm side but with mostly overcast skies, it was not too hot for riding.

 A couple of the more interesting roadside rock formations 
along Rampart Range Road

Looks like a future road block to me....

I made it to the RRR site, located on Forest Rd 324, courtesy of a couple of paper signs they'd posted.  I parked Yoshie and was greeted by John S and his lovely wife Cookie, they'd brought along their white Ural Patrol sidecar rig and trailered a small Suzuki dirt bike for the festivities.

Spat's Patrol

Dana, another fellow Uralista who lives near Vail, CO was there as well and he'd brought along not only his tested Ural Patrol but also his almost unstoppable Rokon motorcycle:

 Dana's Rokon
Dana's winter ride

Sitting with Dana was this older gentleman by the name of Walt whom I next had the pleasure to meet.  He'd brought along his own 2003 Ural which as you can see, he's modified to avoid the "floating on snow" issue with the stock exhaust pipes.

The exhaust pipe had Aprilia stamped on it.

I spent the rest of the morning BS'ing with these folks, they'd tell me of past Revivals where some interesting activities had occurred.  Activities such as riding the dirt trails at night, and Dana being woken up and brought along because his motorcycle was the only one with a headlight!  Did I mention this festival occurs during the Full Moon, I guess it's bright enough to ride by at night!

Soon though, everyone finished packing up their stuff and we all departed together out of the camping area.  When we reached Rampart Range Rd again, I turned north and they went south towards Woodland Park.  

I had turned north so that I could finally say I'd ridden the length of Rampart Range Rd.  The other times I'd been on this road, I'd either been turned back due to snow or turned elsewhere and not continued all the way to the end.

The main portions of Rampart Range Rd are not bad at all, packed dirt and gravel with the occasional big hole or rut caused by running water on the road.  There were a couple of corners where you have to watch your speed or you'll slide right off the edge the small cliff.

The road is bordered on both sides by pine forests so the views of the surrounding areas were a bit hard to get at for pictures.

 The view from one of  the several parking spots right on the road

This pano shot should give you an idea of the twists and turns Rampart Range Rd 
offers to the rider.

I made it back onto pavement on CO67 where Rampart Range Rd ends and turned east towards Jarre Canyon and Sedalia.  Before going to Sedalia though, I decided to introduce Yoshie to one of my favorite nearby rock formations: Bee Rock.

 Bee Rock

I got home just fine after less than 120 miles of riding and about perhaps 4 hours of saddle time.  Nothing fell off of Yoshie and the chain appeared to be just right in terms of adjustment when I got her home.  The chain was covered in dust though so I cleaned it off and re-lubed it.

I'll be replacing the chain that came with the tug soon enough, thinking of going with type 530 chain and sprockets for their added durability.