Pictorial: cleaning expansion sleeve of a Vario case

Discussion in 'GS Boxers' started by rdwalker, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    Hi, all,

    After a long dusty ride, including rain and a lot of vibration over several days, I could not retract my Vario cases. I washed them from outside, but it did not help. I could force them a bit, but was afraid of breaking the gears.

    Helpfully, the inmates here kindly pointed me to some info on cleaning the expanding sleeves of my Vario cases:
    http://www.r1200gs.info/howto/saddlebagmaint.html



    For the benefit of others in this predicament, here are some pictures of what needs to be done.

    First, you need to get the cases apart. The expansion/retraction mechanism is held by 6 screws along the vertical edges of the case, accessible from the back. One of my cases had Torx screws, the other Philips – be prepared for both.

    Remove these 6 stainless-steel screws (and nothing else) and then gently wiggle everything to pull the expansion sleeve from the case body.

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    #1
  2. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    The jamming occurs in the sleeve, grit and dust prevents it from moving smoothly. My finger points at the channel in the sleeve that gets dirty.

    By the way, make sure to have something clean and smooth (like a towel) laid under the case cover. Otherwise, when you press on it during cleaning or reassembly, you will scratch it!

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  3. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    I sprayed the channel with water hose and then pushed a piece of cloth through, to make sure everything is out.

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  4. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    The corresponding part on the case body is also full of junk &#8211; clean it off. I used diluted Armor-All and paid particular attention to the foam seal on the edge.<o:p></o:p>
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  5. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    Now it&#8217;s the time to re-insert. Take your time and do everything very, very gently. You may need to slightly spread the channel to guide it over the case - like I am doing here with the screwdriver.

    While sliding the sleeve over case body, do not forget to reinsert the red shaft extension for locking mechanism.<o:p></o:p>

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    In general: patience!<o:p></o:p>
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    The sleeve should be pushed on squarely &#8211; when everything aligns it will easily drop onto the case.<o:p></o:p>
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    Now reinstall the 6 screws from the back &#8211; you may have to move the expansion mechanism a bit to make sure that the screws go into the correct holes.<o:p></o:p>
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    Finally, do not forget to clean the seal between side cover and sleeve!<o:p></o:p>
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    Good luck!<o:p></o:p>

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    #5
  6. MDB

    MDB I am not advised

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    Nice tutorial.
    #6
  7. NBeener

    NBeener Long timer

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    +1.

    Always grateful for people who take the time to put these together.

    The only downside? I WAS going to use a dirty expand/retract mechanism as a rationale for moving to Jesse Safaris :D
    #7
  8. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    Thanks - my pleasure.
    #8
  9. VonHelm

    VonHelm soggy doggy

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    Thanks all for the post ups and the pictures, it really helped.

    I finally got a day off, and put my buddy's side case back together.

    Lord love a duck, he had taken EVERYTHING apart. The cases, the latches, the gears & lever, everything. I was greeted with a large zip-lock freezer bag of machine screws, self-tappers, washers, springs, nuts, gears, and tiny plastic parts. He had disassembled everything but the pop rivets.:huh It took me the better part of three hours to sort, wash, test fit, and assemble everything. I told him- next time, call me BEFORE you take everything apart, so I'd at least have some idea of what this thing looked like before it was in 50 pieces... and the other bag was six hundred miles away, so I had nothing to look at for a reference, except for your photos.

    The hardest part for me was getting the inboard case half and seal to go back into the center section. The Armor-All tip was golden!

    Thanks again!
    #9
  10. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    Yeah, I see that with the disabled attachments my posts are broken.

    I edited the write-up and hosted the pix elsewhere, Enjoy. R.
    #10
  11. mistercindy

    mistercindy In a state of equilibrium

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    Nice tutorial. Thanks for posting it. I must have missed it the first time around.

    My left Vario doesn't look straight, and won't narrow because the mechanism is bent from a slow motion parking lot lay down. Let me emphasize your point that when you put it back together you must do so gently!
    #11
  12. Lomax

    Lomax Nanu-Nanu Adventurer

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    A few years later and still very valuable. Thank you so very much. :clap

    My cases were stuck in the expanded position and not moving at all. Using this process I did get them apart and yes there are broken gears :lol3 I was able to get them in to the non-expanded position and all back together easily thanks to this write up.

    Some of my experience: Gently pull the case apart. :lol3 mine took several beers and a big rubber hammer.

    Thank you so very much for the writeup, I would not have attempted it otherwise.

    Marc
    #12
  13. rdwalker

    rdwalker Long timer

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    Hi, Marc, sorry to read about your trouble.
    It sounds like you cannot use the expansion feature anymore. It may be worthwhile to post a wanted-to-buy ad for a case. I believe that sidecases and topcases used the same mechanisms; post a WTB ad for a busted box. Some of them have flown away or were torn away from the bike and are in a poor shape; you may be able to get a deal on the mechanism itself.

    Good luck! Robert.
    #13
  14. Lomax

    Lomax Nanu-Nanu Adventurer

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    Thanks Robert, I have thought about that.

    Even after cleaning everything very good they still do not move worth a danged. So I made them small and they jammed together quite nicely. I don't think they are going to move by themselves. I don't really need that much space and when they are un-expanded they will work fine for me. I have tank panniers and a V45 Givi top box if I really want to get stupid and pack lots of things. :lol3

    Marc
    #14
  15. peterman

    peterman cop magnet

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    I have a pair of vario cases that have seen the wilderness.The rocks, the creeks, the gravel road surface, real close up!
    Good for parts, lids, hinges, latches, everything is there. They are currently stuck in the expanded position and missing their mounting tabs.
    forty bucks for the pair,,you pay shipping.
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    click the pic for more views.
    #15
  16. John Smallberries

    John Smallberries Long timer

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    Thanks for posting - this will be my weekend project. My RH bag (the one I use as a trunk) is getting stickier by the day.
    #16
  17. JRose

    JRose Been here awhile

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    To resurrect this post, I am having trouble with one of my Vario cases acting stuck. I took it apart, cleaned it well, lubed the gasket, and put it back together. Still feels bound up half way through the throw of the lever. So bound that it feels like I'm about to break it if I push anymore.

    So I took it apart again, double checked for obstructions, cleaned it again just in case I missed something, and put it back together.

    I noticed that upon reassembly, the two halfs always felt like one corner was not quite alligned when the other three were. Almost as if the bottom part was just a little swollen.

    When back together, they move togehter fairly freely for the first few inches, but then gets progressively tighter as I try to push it down. Also, a small bulge starts forming on the bottom, where the two gaskets come together. I first thought that the gasket might have come off, but it is on there, I checked twice.

    Any suggestions?

    Also, guess I should mention that these are cases off a F800GS...

    Jason
    #17
  18. Chat Lunatique

    Chat Lunatique ACK

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    Varios suck! Plain and simple. I read this post last year and tried the cleaning method method described.

    Still sticky.

    Took them back apart and chamfered the sharp leading edge and sprayed a light film of dry graphite to lube.

    Still sticky!

    Back apart again for an in depth look and found the plastic is warped. The male frame that slides into the female reciever are both so wavy that jamming is inevitable. This same situation occurs on all 3 of my Vario boxes. Friggin' cheap junk!
    #18
  19. LaurelPerryOnLand

    LaurelPerryOnLand Long timer

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    When you re-assemble the CASE BOTTOM...try to run a dull kitchen knife around the edge to insure that both parts are properly mating.

    Also...make sure there isn't some dirt/rock/pebble in the mating part which would prevent the parts from FULLY mating...which might be affecting the gear mechanism.

    Here's a link to my pictorial about 'fixing' a Vario on an R1200GS:
    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=848307
    #19
  20. JRose

    JRose Been here awhile

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    Mine too looks slightly warped. I've checked extensively for obstructions, none present. Even lubed all contact parts.

    I'll mess with it more tomorrow and see if I can figure out a fix.
    #20