Dr Jay's Tech Topic of the Month 

Proper Servicing is a lot more than just a tune-up

We all know how important it is to keep our bikes tuned up. Yamaha Cruisers with only one exception have individual carburetors or throttle bodies for each cylinder. The most important tune-up item on our engines is in keeping these "butterflies", both injector and carburetor in proper synchronization. This gives you an optimized engine "tune" that allows the engine to be the most efficient, both for performance and for fuel mileage.

Lets face it, our Yamaha's are unbelievably reliable, almost to the point where it is very easy to think everything is OK until parts start to fail. So it is very important not to forget other almost equally important items on our motorcycles that will help to prevent premature wear and failure- the CHASSIS.

Yep, the chassis on Our Yamaha's have many items that require very specific maintenance intervals to maintain optimum performance and extended life expectancy of the parts. A few of the most overlooked items, by both dealers and owners, are the front and rear suspension pivots, brake fluids, fork oil and cables. Unlike cars, we do not have zirc fittings on the pivots. The parts must be disassembled to be lubed.

Starting with the suspension, the bearings in the rear suspension pivots require re-greasing every 16 to 20K miles and would include a complete removal of the rear swing arm and shock to access all of the pivots that control the rear wheel. At the front, the removal of the entire front "triple clamps" so the steering bearings can be re-greased and while the forks are off, replacing the fork oil to remove the microscopic debris in the oil caused by normal wear from the sliders- your forks don't have an oil filter! While not always simple to perform this maintenance, it is absolutely necessary to prevent the parts failure that could cost you ten times as much to fix later.

Brake fluid replacement is another often overlooked item. The brake fluid should be replaced whenever brake pads are replaced or at least once a year. The reason for this is that brake fluid is hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs moisture from the air. Small amounts of water (H2O) is absorbed by the fluid, but under heat and pressure- two things brakes are very good at- can cause some of these O molecules to drop out and cause spongy or unpredictable brakes. Worse, the water is corrosive to the brake system internals and can cause failure of the master cylinders and damage to the calipers. A simple fluid replacement can reduce this affect and prolong component life expectancy.

Finally, it's the miscellaneous pivots and cables. These items almost never get touched, but are very important. Sidestand pivots, brake pedal and lever pivots, folding footpeg pivots and all the control cables require regular re-lubing. Heavy waterproof grease on these pivots will require the disassembly of the pivot (like taking the kickstand off to grease the pivot) and there are special lubes that are injected into the control cables to displace moisture and lubricate to prevent their wear.

The lesson here is while a "tune up" can help keep the engine running good, do not overlook the other maintenance your Yamaha requires to keep it working like new and prevent those huge rebuild bills later on. It is far cheaper to maintain it than replace it.

Have a safe ride!

Dr Jay