Practical Sportsbikes (UK)

Stubborn Yam defies old man

FZ refuses to fire-up after senior citizen’s truly magnificen­t feat of cosmetic engineerin­g

- Mark Graham

At last. Found a decent engineerin­g firm to fabricate some alloy brackets for the new FZ fairing lowers (new as in last year). And they’re right on my doorstep.

Mgneering of Rutland are based in my garage. They’re a one man band with a bastard file, a vice and a drill. He’s a miserable sod, just don’t take it personally, and you’ll get on OK.

Having found some light duty flat alloy bar in the ferrous and non-ferrous box of odds and sods… well, flat on one side with a strengthen­ing rib for extra pleasure on the other, it was a joy to bend, drill, and file these little blighters into something resembling factory race parts.

I could have ordered all the right bits from Fowlers Yamaha, but that would have done the old boy out of a well-needed gig. And it’s nice to have your ‘own’ factory bits on a bike.

With the 1Fn-style fairing fit finally accomplish­ed, it’s time to head out, get some heat into the thing, return, drain the old oil (no doubt suspending all manner of knackered clutch detritus) whack in a new filter, and then swap drive the plates for new. I thought I might have got away with the originals being OK after I freed the clutch off. But in the traditiona­l fashion, once it had all glued itself together from standing (before I got the bike, I might add), it wasn’t up to any proper abuse.

So, with fresh EBC fibre plates given a three-day dousing in 10w/40, I try to fire up the FZ to take it out and get the old oil hot to drain – and it’s having none of it. Stale fuel? Shouldn’t be, it’s only two months old. Did I give it too much choke? Try with the choke off and it makes like it’s trying to bang off, but it won’t catch and run.

Right. Leave the battery on charge overnight and come back in the morning.

After all the faff of the fairing, the last thing I want is to have dismantle the thing to get to the engine for fault finding.

I return in the a.m. and try again. Spin, spin, spin, woffle, woffle, but no firing-up and revving, just the odd muted hint of action. I leave it for a bit and press some new bearings into the Suzuki RM swingarm. I wrack my brain cell as to what might be the bother with the Yam, then try it again… nope. I go away again and knock the swingarm back in the RM frame. Try the FZ again… still the same feeble attempts to fire, but nothing doing.

The fuel pump’s making the right noises, but the engine’s a way away from trying to catch, just those little tickover-size burbles. I’m temporaril­y flummoxed.

On the plus side it’s utterly mingin’ out there and zero degrees. But at the same time… what’s going on?

Right, let’s scoosh some Damp Start (brake cleaner) into the airbox, see if it cracks off with a bit of chemical assistance, that way we’ll know if it’s a spark or a fuel issue… Yep, fires up but won’t run, suspect sticking chokes. That means tank off, fairing lowers off, which have just gone on, and frankly this is not the season to be spending too long in a freezing garage. ’Tis the season to be jolly.

I WRACK MY BRAIN CELL AS TO WHAT MIGHT BE THE BOTHER WITH THE YAM, THEN TRY IT AGAIN... NOPE. I GO AWAY AND KNOCK THE SWINGARM BACK INTO THE RM FRAME. TRY THE FZ AGAIN...

 ??  ?? Just what is going on in those combustion chambers... ?
Just what is going on in those combustion chambers... ?
 ??  ?? Let new clutch plates soak in fresh oil. Always
Let new clutch plates soak in fresh oil. Always
 ??  ?? Profession­al, see. Nothing amateur about old MG
Profession­al, see. Nothing amateur about old MG
 ??  ?? Deluded man kids himself the carbs won’t have to come off
Deluded man kids himself the carbs won’t have to come off
 ??  ?? Well worth it in the end. Now, it’d be nice if the bike ran
Well worth it in the end. Now, it’d be nice if the bike ran
 ??  ?? Fairing fasteners – nuff already. Dzus is way to go
Fairing fasteners – nuff already. Dzus is way to go
 ??  ?? New lowers needed Dremelled to clear winkers
New lowers needed Dremelled to clear winkers
 ??  ?? He’ll be making engine parts soon. Oh, dear...
He’ll be making engine parts soon. Oh, dear...
 ??  ?? That’s factory. Biscuit factory. But still factory
That’s factory. Biscuit factory. But still factory
 ??  ??

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