Wrenching on the Ninja

Yesterday, my Sport-Touring.net buddy Andrew came over to help me work on the Ninja.  By “help me”, of course, I mean “do all the actual work” since I still can’t really pick anything up that’s heavier than a torque wrench.

Andrew, let me tell you, is a god amongst men.  He’s also a professional mechanic, which is what I remind myself when I get depressed that he managed to do about 15 times more work on the bike yesterday than I could do in a typical weekend.

In vague chronological order, Andrew:

  • Removed, drained, somewhat cleaned, replaced, and refilled the tank
  • Checked the float levels on the carbs
  • Installed an inline fuel filter
  • Disassembled, cleaned, replaced the petcock (my glorious contribution to the day’s events was to remove two screws on the petcock, a task of which I am enormously proud)
  • Replaced both tires
  • Removed, cleaned, and replaced both sparkplugs
  • Replaced the oil and filter
  • Replaced the front and rear brake fluid
  • Installed bar risers

The above took Andrew about 7 hours, including a trip with us to Kragen to buy the inline fuel filter.  It normally takes me that long to find the service manual.

Anyway, thanks to Andrew’s huge brain, the Ninja is now purring like a kitten.  It remains to be seen whether the sheer volume of crap that we removed from the tank is completely gone (hence the fuel filter) but so far it seems to be running well.

Here are a few visuals from the day:

This is the first thing that greeted us when we removed the tank.  A fuel filter should not look like this.  This looks like something from Deepwater Horizon.


Next up was the tank itself.  Those with weak constitutions should be glad that I couldn’t photograph what we saw when looking into the tank.  Fainting, wailing, gnashing of teeth.

Instead, make do with what came out of the tank.  It was like panning for gold in Alaska, but gone horribly horribly wrong.


By some miracle, the carburetors seem OK.  We think this is because the massive clog of rust in the tank trapped the bad gas and none of it actually got to the carbs.  Fingers crossed.

Have I ever mentioned that I love my Harbor Freight lift?  Because I really do.  It is made of awesome and made the whole day much easier.


Though our ingenious front lift also worked pretty well, for a fraction the cost:


Kids, if your brake fluid looks like this, something has gone wrong in your life.  Repent!  It’s not too late.


And finally, here’s Squid Andrew proving to himself — and now to the internet — that the Ninja is running well and will likely not actively kill me when I try to ride it this week.


All in all, it was a fun day.  The other cool bit was that Brandon brought the XT over (the black one that I sold him a little while ago).  He was worried that an oil leak was a sign of Something Very Bad, but fortunately it was just a bolt on the valve cover that had worked its way loose.  Turns out you shouldn’t be able to remove bolts with just your fingers.  So that was good and much less worrisome than he was fearing.

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