Looking at buying a bike that was in an accident, what should I look at/for?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by Mermalady, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. Mermalady

    Mermalady n00b

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    I'm a fairly mechanically saavy gal (I used to be a classic car mechanic, but only a bit of work with MC's). I sold my last motorcycle to be with my dad during chemo, and I finally saved up a bit for another bike, but not much.

    There's an add nearby of a bike that's for sale, cheap- an early 2000's fz1. The guy has a pleasant manner (he doesn't give me the dumb squid/sketchy dude/CL idiot vibe). It crashed at 30mph when the throttle (or the cruise control that was put in) stuck. He says it doesn't run- but then again, he hasn't tried to start it since the crash. He says it leaked all the oil out of the 'broken stator cover' and there's no oil in the bike. This seems off (stators don't have oil in them?), but he could just be mistaken on where the crack is. I'm not familiar enough with the bike to know what's near it. Needles, the plastics on one side are trashed. bike looks fine otherwise. both tires are fine and hold air.

    so..what can I look for? I have a garage where I can work on it; a bit of spare time-and-dime. Is there key points I should really be wary of? things that are HUGE red flags? Honestly, I think this guy just is freaked out after the crash, not a swindler.
    #1
  2. kirkster70

    kirkster70 moto junkie

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    Make sure the motor isn't locked up. It won't hurt a thing to bump the starter for a second or two to make sure things spin freely.

    Make sure the title / VIN numbers match.

    Check for frame cracks. Shouldn't be any at 30mph unless he hit something solid.

    Make sure the crack isn't in the engine case itself.

    Pull a plug. Check for spark.

    If all looks good and the price is right, go for it. Good luck on a potential project!

    BTW - it needs to be cheap. You can get a very nice, and I mean VERY nice FZ1 of that vintage that needs nothing for $2500- $3500 all day long; many times with full luggage included. Make sure your project doesn't take you near that, or it wouldn't be a worthwhile project.
    #2
  3. PineyMountainRacing

    PineyMountainRacing Oops....

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    Make sure his insurance company didnt pay out, ie., salvage title. If you can "steal it" (buy it cheap enough that you wouldn't get hurt if something major was wrong) then you'll prolly be ok. I would be concerned that he rode it home after the crash and there may be oil starvation damage, be hard to lose all the oil with just a side cover crack.

    You're probably the only one who has called on his bike,, I can't imagine a 10 year old wrecked FZ1 would be in high demand. Negotiate accordingly. Good luck!
    #3
  4. Mermalady

    Mermalady n00b

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    you'd be suprised what people go crazy for in SF. I think he's gotten lots of calls- fz1's fetch a high price no matter what the year here.
    #4
  5. mcma111

    mcma111 Long timer

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  6. concours

    concours WFO for 41 years

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    The stator is on the end of the crankshaft and is bathed in oil (like most all modern motorcycles). You should RUN away from this bike. By the time it's over, you be in deeper $$$ than just buying a nice one. YMMV
    #6
  7. emti

    emti Been here awhile

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    look to see that the wheels line up, suspension should move freely without binding, wheels should be round, check engine case mounting points for cracks. good luck, emti
    #7
  8. max384

    max384 Bandaided

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    A quick and dirty way to look for front end damage (forks, bars, whatever) is to turn the bars from lock to lock. Measure the distance from the bar to the tank on one side and then measure the distance on the other side. You can usually get a pretty good idea with your fingers (IOW, two finger breadth on one side, three on the other as an example), though a measuring tape will be more accurate. If the measurements are the same on each side, you can be fairly certain the front end is good. If there is a discrepency, than you have something going on, but you'll still have to figure out what it is.

    Buying something wrecked can save you a lot of money and net you a good bike for a major discount. It can also be a money pit. If you can get it for less than what you can part it out for (if all else fails) than you've made a good buy.
    #8
  9. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    So...he crashed it and broke an engine side cover which resulted in a quick loss of engine oil...the variable we don't know here is how long did the engine run without oil?

    This is not a motorcycle I'd be interested in, personally.
    #9
  10. H96669

    H96669 A proud pragmatist.

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    I'd look away. But if you really want to look, a long fluorescent tube/straight edge along the real wheel up to the front, do that on both sides with steering centered should give you clues at to where there can be twists or deflections.

    Some bikes have the rear wheel offset to the front so you may have to compensate for that but still the possibly running on the side would bother me. Bought a bike where that happened a couple years back, not even ever crashed and that running on the side didn't do much good to the engine.:huh Not worth fixing that one.:cry

    There is such a crashed bike up this way at the tow yard. 96(?)ST Honda for $800.00 or less.Apparently low speed and only the plastics. I haven't seen it but my buddy has. We may have time to go look at it this week and bring the straight edge and of course engine diagnostics tools.

    Now apparently there was a police report on that ST so maybe some photos to give us more clues as to what really happened to the bike. If there was such a report for that FZ....well you can ask the owner about that, you may get more details.:wink:
    #10
  11. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    I bought a wrecked FZ1 from an inmate here a few years ago. Turned it into one of my favorite bikes. The stock frame was bent slightly where the subframe meets the main frame. There was plenty of other damage as well, mainly cosmetic and the wheels etc.

    I paid $1500, and it came with a clean 2nd frame, plenty of newish used plastic. Bike had 5000 miles i think and ran (and runs) perfectly. These have a tip over sensor so personally I wouldn't worry about it.

    But again it comes back to what you can go get one for without damage. They are for sale for $2500 all the time, just might need to travel a little. Buying forks, wheels, plastic and everything else to put it back to good working shape might cost you more than getting another. That didn't factor into my buying decision because I knew I wasn't going to be using stock parts.

    As another guess on value, I bought a 2007 Ninja 650 that was badly wrecked, forks snapped off, front wheel toast, all plastics gone with 12k on it for $350 from an auction. The fees took it to $560 out the door.

    Throw some pics up for us to see hard to guess based on your description.
    #11