Thinking about an older VFR...

Discussion in 'Road Warriors' started by chambersc, Jan 25, 2011.

  1. chambersc

    chambersc Been here awhile

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    So back in the mid-80's I remember as a kid lusting after the Honda VFR750's when they came out. That was the coolest bike I had ever seen. The fact is, even today I still kind of feel that way. Loved the sound of those V4 motors, and in general, just always thought the mid-80's VFR was a killer bike.

    I have the opportunity to pick on up right now and I need advice, talked out of it, talked into it, something. I don't know how much I would REALLY ride it, but I kind of want it. It's an 85 model 700cc version. Been parked for several years. Supposedly ran fine when parked, but I have no way to prove that. Pretty decent shape, appears to have been indoors this whole time, and the price is right.

    I love my Road King, and it will still be my highway king, but I'm trying to figure out if I need a VFR too? This thing was pretty much my first 2-wheeled love as a young and impressionably youth, so it may be clouding my judgement. I think I can get this thing bought for a few hundred bucks. I know they had cam problems back then and this one could be one of those victims. I know nothing about the seller so I have to assume they're lying about it running great a few years ago.

    So, worst case scenario... What say you?
    #1
  2. Rad

    Rad Just me

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    #2
  3. ExTex

    ExTex Been here awhile

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    If you can buy it for a few hundred dollars, you should be able to get it running for about the same amount.

    Then you can find out whether it is the bike for you.... A pretty cheap "trip"

    Othewise you will always wonder about it.

    Even if the bike isn't what you want, you can get your money back.... at the prices you are indicating.

    Ride Safely,
    #3
  4. Brian-M

    Brian-M Melting in GA

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    The 85 was a VF-F, not a VF-R bike. The VF-R line (with the exception of the VF1000R) started in 1986 and did NOT have the cam oiling issues. Then you had an 86 750 F1, and 86 700F1, I think an 86 700F2 and an 87 700F2. The F1's had round "racing" style gauges, the F2's had more "dash" like gauges... Personally (I have over 100k miles on both an 87 700 and an 86 750), I liked the 700 motor better.

    Dead reliable engines for the most part, the charging system (as a whole) was the weak link. I had one rotor cook it's wires inside the cover (broken connection), several plugs roast themselves to death and went through 4 Reg/Rec units (lasted roughly 30k miles). The engines do run hot and I installed a manual fan switch to keep ahead of the curve when I know I'd be stopping for awhile in traffic. Past that, it's the normal old bike limitations, spares are hard to come by and expensive when you find them. The wheels are odd sized, forks are REALLY skinny and flex like crazy, shock will be trash at this point in life, etc... I love the bikes, hate that I sold mine (could only afford one bike and had modded mine into a street legal racer that wasn't fitting with my recently acquired live-in GF) and will buy one again sometime in the future... if I don't find an RC30 first.

    [​IMG]

    I had an HRC exhaust, '94 F2 (cartridge) front end, F2 rear wheel, and put an 86 750 motor in the 87 700 chassis. Oh yeah, there was a fox shock out back and a corbin seat under my behind... I think I had some sort of rearsets on there too.
    #4
  5. chambersc

    chambersc Been here awhile

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    Im thinking after reading the other posts I'm going to attempt to get it bought. I think my plan includes carb overhauls and fresh fuel and see if she fires sans horrible noises and wants to charge. If we pass that hurdle, I'll start tearing it down into pieces, rebuilding shocks, forks (maybe a fork brace is in order during rebuild), new tires, rebuild brake calipers and master cylinders, etc.

    Once all that is done it should be ready for a voyage. My first ride on the beast I lusted after for all of those years. Lets hope she can live up to the dream like standards that have lived in my head since my youth. I can't imagine that she wont.

    All in all, assuming I can get it bought for the kind of money Im hoping, I would be hard pressed to lose. Worst case catasrophic failure on start up it can probably be parted out for what I have in it pretty easily. It might depress me a bit to do that, but I don't want to get into the cost of an engine overhaul.

    Thanks for pushing me into a new obsession... You bastards.

    We'll see what happens this weekend. I may be a new VF700 owner. (Thanks for the model correction as well.)
    #5
  6. chambersc

    chambersc Been here awhile

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    So it appears I'm a new 1985 VF700 owner. Worked out a too-cheap-to-pass-up price with the seller and I'm going to go grab it next weekend on the 5th and 6th. I've got a 500 mile drive so hopefully it was worth it.

    I think it will be. It will be a good little tinkering project and let me own something I've wanted for years now.

    Now, I may be hitting up some of VF guru's out there for advice as I get stuck during the resurrection.
    #6
  7. Brian-M

    Brian-M Melting in GA

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    http://www.daughertymotorsports.com/

    Jamie has been around in the Honda V4 world for at least 15 years. Good resource if nothing else. And since it is an F model, look at the cam lobes straight away and buy a top-end oiling kit if it's not already installed. They're not expensive in the grand scheme of things.

    Congrats, hope it's everything you hoped it would be. :freaky
    #7
  8. chambersc

    chambersc Been here awhile

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  9. chambersc

    chambersc Been here awhile

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    So I go to pick the "new" VF700F up next weekend. I'm looking forward to having the tinkering project. Found some good deals on tires, fork seals, etc.

    I'm still considering the top end oiling kit add on.

    Found part numbers for Napa replacements on the Thermostat and fan switch if needed. (Will probably do the thermostat regardless as longs as its been parked) Obviously oil filters, spark plugs, battery, etc I can get at my local Napa pretty easy.

    Plan to pull valve covers, check for any bad wear on the cams and then adjust valves. Do a carb overhaul and total tank cleaning along with fresh oil change and coolant. Install a battery and see what she does!

    Once its running and I know its not going to make any horrible sounds Ill tackle fork seals, possibly rear shock rebuild, brake and clutch system system flushing, new tires, etc.

    So, the question is, does anyone have any other good cross referenced part numbers for Automotive applications like the thermostat and fan switch? I have the Wix oil filter part number. I can obviously get the NGK plug's at Napa.

    Also, anyone have a cheap connection on the K&L Carb rebuild kits? Dennis Kirk has them for $26 each. Didn't find any of that part number on eBay at the moment. Anyone know of a cheaper supplier for these?
    #9
  10. chammyman

    chammyman Been here awhile

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    I have 3 Vf750F's, well 2 that work and a third that's a frame and some bits. I got one that wasn't running then 2 more came along, never rode any of them. I wanted one as they were supposed to be great...

    My sister uses one of them and the other is on loan to a friend.

    I personally think they are way over rated. I find my 84 CBX 750 FE a much better machine its leagues ahead.

    The V4's are not that hard to work on, once you get the knack the carbs are in and out in 5 minutes etc.

    I wired the fan power supply to a constant power supply so even if the bike is switched off the fan will continue to run until the thermo switch turns off.

    For some reason all 3 bikes I have the ignition barrel doesn't have the power feed for the fan so can only assume all 3 never had the fans working or all 3 got complete new lock sets that were wrong...

    Oil filter choice is limited as the lower radiator and cowling get in the way for the big filters.

    Rear shock oil change and rear prolink bearing lube did wonders for the back end.

    I never done the top end oil mod as the heads and cams are all fine, but some have the hole drilled in the end of the cam core plug others don't. TBH I think the secret is keep the revs up to provide enough lubrication to the head.

    Fitting a relay to the rectifier does wonders. Also chances are the 3 phase wire plug will be melted so repair that.

    The carbs I just cleaned up never got a rebuild kit for them or anything work fine.

    HT leads seem to suffer with the heat though so bank on making new ones up.
    #10
  11. BoHunkus

    BoHunkus Sho 'nuff

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    My 92 VFR is still humming along with almost 140K on the clock. My son is the primary driver now, I mostly ride a 05 R6. The VFR is a great bike, I'm sure you'll enjoy your VF.
    #11
  12. chambersc

    chambersc Been here awhile

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    Can you explain a couple of these to the idiot newbie for me?

    What are the "HT" leads?

    How did you go about fitting a rely to the rectifier and what does that do for it?

    And I hear some people say the rear shock can't be rebuilt and then others say to do it? I assume I can at lest tear it down and change the fluid in it nd possible replace seals?

    Lastly, I've read a couple of things about people eliminating the fuel pump entirely and just running the bike as a traditional gravity feed system? Is this possible without issues?
    #12
  13. DesmoTull

    DesmoTull Been here awhile

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    Not to totally jack your thread up, but I just came to own a '86 VFR750F, and would like to know some of these things as well! :D
    #13
  14. Brian-M

    Brian-M Melting in GA

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    HT leads, I'm guessing here, but are most likely the leads from the coils to the spark plugs. My '87 VFR was sold off at 118,000 miles with the original coils. Dyno at 82,000 miles (at MMI where I was a student) was 92hp, which was pretty damn close to what they had at the factory.

    I've been away from VFRs since 2004, but that's all I knew for the decade before that. I never heard of fitting a relay to the reg/rec ~ but they are WELL known for burning out the diodes (not all at one time) so the rectifying of AC to DC would stop. As mentioned, the plug between the Reg/Rec and the stator/battery/ground was a known failure point, to the point of melting/catching on fire. Clean/inspect/replace as needed. After burning my first, I never burned another (dielectric grease packed). Doesn't mean the Reg/Rec will stay alive. People have swapped in all manor of replacements, none worked better than OEM but since you can get them for about $10 at junkyards it's a cheap fix. Mine failed at 30k intervals, almost on the dot. Be aware that the stator leads inside the L cover are known to cook themselves to death too (only time a Japanese bike has ever stranded me). The Goldwings of the era had the same issues.


    The rear shock can be rebuilt by someone with experience (I wouldn't classify it as a DIY project for most people). As the saying goes, you can polish a turd, but it's a still a turd. I'm a big fan of Fox shocks (value for the dollar).

    The fuel pump can be removed, but you won't get to use the full range of the tank plus you'll run into running issues when it runs low enough. I've never had a pump fail, though they do occasionally. I wouldn't eliminate it.

    The 86/87 VFRs are known for cracking the tail fairing at the side corners of the tail light. I would Absolutely remove it and do some reinforcing (fiberglass strips) to keep that crack from occurring or getting worse if it's already there.


    Honestly, the charging system was the only "Mechanical" issue I've had on any VFR. The suspension is weak on the '80s bikes though, best fixed (IMHO) by swapping the front end to something newer and putting on an aftermarket rear shock.
    #14
  15. LuciferMutt

    LuciferMutt Rides slow bike slow

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    I disagree. The OEM r/r is a turd. It doesn't even have cooling fins for god's sake, and as a shunt type unit it gets really hot. I replaced mine before it failed with a MOSFET type unit from a Yamaha R1. Had to install a new charging wiring harness as well because of the different plug style, but the thing works perfectly. Charging is much more steady at all RPMs and it only gets warm to the touch even after long rides. I suppose time will tell how long it will last but it's certainly off to a better start than the OEM pos.
    #15
  16. hpsVFR

    hpsVFR Hoosier Daddy

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    On my '94 (rather a different machine from the '86 in other respects), I simply removed this connector and permanently connected (and sealed) the wires together. It's a permanent modification, but I figured that the only time I'll need to pull that connector apart would be either:
    a) to inspect and re-pack it with grease
    b) because I need to replace the stator

    I'm comfortable with cutting and splicing my wiring should I ever need to get into it, and now I don't need to ever inspect and re-pack that connector. It's an option to consider, anyway. Otherwise, absolutely keep that thing packed with grease and regularly inspected.


    Whether or not you agree with Brian-M about the OEM R/R, the key here is that junkyards offer modern units (with cooling fins!!!) at very low prices. R/Rs are pretty much all the same sort of thing, so you don't need the OEM unit, nor even a bespoke replacement, in order to get a good one. So long as the charging system of the bike it comes off of is similar in capacity, you can make it work. You may need to modify the connectors and perhaps add a sensor wire to do so, however.

    If you don't already understand 12V systems, a bit of study will help you avoid the signature problem of the VF and VFR series of motorcycle. If you do have problems, as already stated, VFRD, the garage here, and the VFR owners thread, are all great resources.

    Enjoy that VF!:clap
    #16
  17. Tommy_J

    Tommy_J won't drive a car

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    A used 30 dollar R1 regulator has been dead reliable for me. This pic shows how to wire it on a 5th gen. The fins were huge and had to be trimmed some.

    Attached Files:

    #17
  18. MikeinEugene

    MikeinEugene Long timer

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    If you haven't already found a good V4 forum I'd recommend checking these guys out:

    http://v4hondabbs.com/index.php

    A bunch of us Magna/Sabre/Interceptor owners on there. Current content & tons of archived stuff. None of the good stuff is searchable without an account though, so if you don't see anything it's because you're not logged in. I thought the site was dead when I first got my Magna until I got an invite from a member & was able to get logged in.
    #18
  19. chambersc

    chambersc Been here awhile

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    Well, I make the 530 mile journey in the morning to go pick up the VF700F. Wish me luck. Weather looks great for the drive. Be back home Sunday night with my new basketcase addiction.

    Headed to Jonesboro, AR to pick it up. Anyone around there that can recommend a decent place to eat?
    #19
  20. chammyman

    chammyman Been here awhile

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    As someone else mentioned HT leads are the plug leads or spark plug - coil leads or whatever you want to call them. I suppose this is another Anglo - American barrier.

    Rear shocks I just drained and refilled them, they held air, no leaks and whilst soft compared to other bikes this is the spring not the damper. Also the seal I could get was ridiculously priced. Heres an exciting picture of me filling the shock back up, make sure the top bush is free and well greased

    [​IMG]

    Rectifiers mine have cooling fins, all 3 VF's all have cooling fins on their rectifiers. Then again in their mid 20's they have all probably been changed at least once.

    The rectifiers burn out on the yellow 3 phase wire side due to poor connection, tighten them up and they don't burn out.

    The other plug has similar issues but in all honesty don't even bother with it.

    My wiring mods are;

    extra earthing which helps everything.

    Earth the rectifier directly to the chassis or like me direct to the battery.

    Black wire is from the ignition switch this switches the relay, the new wire direct from the battery goes to the relay which feeds the rectifier the true battery voltage.

    This means it sees the battery voltage not the voltage drop after passing through the loom and ignition switch etc etc So the battery isn't constantly being charged and the rest of the things on the bike like the bulbs, cdi, pump etc get an easier time.

    that's a pretty poor description on how to do it, I will get pictures of how I did it tomorrow if the weather holds. I do this mod to all my bikes as it works great.

    Another good mod is a relay to the headlight, Means the bulb gets a constant stable supply and it takes the load off an ageing loom.

    Gravity feed won't work, the tank design means even if you have the tank full and no hose connected it doesn't just run out, you need the pump to draw it out.

    So you need the pump, you can mod them to make them last longer like the KTM guys but I have never heard of an issue with them on the vf's
    #20