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technical tips

Go Back   FZ1OA Message Board > FZ1 & Fazer Owners Association > Service & Maintenance > Gen 1 Service & Maintenance

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Old 06-16-2018, 01:21 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 669
Crappy Kirby Belts & Leaky Fork Seals

Hi, Last century, I had a Kirby vacuum cleaner in need of a new belt. My then GF stopped at the local dealer who happily sold her a 3-pack. When I tried to fit one onto the rug-nozzle, I found it was significantly too small.

To cut to the chase, the dealer insisted that those were the correct(and only) belts made to fit our model, & that I should really pull hard on the overarm lever to stretch it on. I was assured that the seemingly excessive belt tension wouldn't be a problem as it would quickly "run-in". The lever arm promptly broke off in my hand. In due course, I picked up a replacement at a yard sale.

Fast forward a couple decades and having killed yet another modern plastic POS vac stone cold dead, I once again call the mighty Kirby back into service, but I find that it's again in need of a belt replacment. After searching the ebay listings, I select one of the older style smooth belts that match what was on my machine, avoiding the much despised knurled newer style ones. When the belts arrived they were knurled... and again, much too short. I sent the guy a wtf msg & he said sry bout the pix, but assured me that those were the correct belts and that I needed to really stretch them into place - lol.

Now the wiser, I took a pass on that & decided instead to heat the belt to stretch it. Once the proper length had been obtained I ran cold water over it to get it to take a "set" at that length. It worked great! I know, I know... what about the forking seals eh?

Fast forward(again) a couple weeks and my GF's GSXR is leaking from one of its fork seals. It was fairly serious, as there was a persistent little pool of oil collecting on the rim every night. Reflexively I cut up an old negative and tried that trick, but it made it worse not better. Out of desperation to avoid doing a fork rebuild, I thought I'd try my Kirby belt tactic since there was nothing to lose.

I evenly heated the seal and metal fork tube to ~4" below the seal(clean it spotless with brakleen and paper towel first) with a heat gun until it reached ~ 250deg F, then quickly bounced the bike up and down for a dozen or so cycles. It's stayed dry as a bone since.

If you try this, keep the heat gun at least 6" away from your target and keep it moving at all times. Use an IR gun thermometer(~$10 at harbor freight) so you don't roast your seal. As best I'm aware, most elastomers used in vehicle service conditions can handle 250F, but there's a few like some neoprene, nitrile and butyl that can't, so maybe best to start at 170F and work your way up if you're unsure. You don't want to push them past their service temperature limit because you weren't being careful, causing more problems for yourself. I hope this helps someone. Ride Safe!
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