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post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2010, 12:47 pm Thread Starter
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Another 999r resurrection thread

Thought I'd killed my 999r. Wouldn't have been the first time, it spun a rod bearing for no good reason (other than shoddy construction or faulty parts from the factory) a few years ago at 3000 miles. That turned out to be an $8000 repair bill, so I've been gun shy with my engine since then, and always somehow sure that it was just about to grenade again.
Post traumatic stress disorder, maybe. Once bitten, twice shy.
A friend of mine serviced his front caliper, then forgot to tighten the mounting bolts. It came off when he test rode it, jammed in the spokes and sent him over the handlebars and into the hospital. To this day, he can't ride without looking down at that caliper every few seconds to be sure it's still on. Same kind of thing, I guess.

Anyway, I was doing a simple belt change with the new California Cycleworks belts.

Installed and tensioned the belts, and with the plugs out, put it in gear and used the rear wheel to slowly spin the engine over several revolutions, listening for any interference in case the belt jumped a tooth here or there during the install. I was sure it hadn't, I'd marked and measured and took digital photos before I took it apart to be sure, but better safe than sorry. Ounce of prevention/ pound of cure kind of thing.
It seemed to turn fine- no noise, no clicking, no issues, so the plugs went back in, and out of an abundance of caution, I spun the engine with the starter motor, coils and gas tank not yet re-installed, so it wouldn't fire. Same thing, turned fine and sounded good, so I installed the coils and gas tank, and hit the starter button.

It started almost instantly, but what I heard coming from the horizontal cylinder, sounded like somebody was beating it with a hammer.
BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG-BANG.

Then stop.

Oh sh*t!!

Two friends were there too, doing work on their own bikes. They just stopped and stared at me, jaws dropped.

That high-pitched ringing started in my ears when fear and adrenaline shoot into your bloodstream, sacred to death that the super expensive titanium valves had been slamming into the super expensive piston, transferring that shock into the even more expensive titanium con-rod, into the crank.
Another $8000? Or would it be more this time? I started doing the math in my head as the blood drained from my face. More for sure. I didn't have to replace valves or piston last time. Add $90 per hour for even more labor.

I sat in stunned silence as my friends started offering their condolences, reminding me that I have another track bike to ride at the trackday I'd scheduled 2 days later, so at least that wasn't a wash. "It's only money...".

I had to be sure it was cooked, or maybe not cooked, so I took it apart again, gas tank off, coils and plugs out, and turned it by hand again.
Surprisingly, no noise. No clicks, or bangs, or rattling bits of smashed piston churning around in there.
Confidence increasing, I hit the starter button, coils and plugs still out, and it sounded fine. Chuggada-chuggada-chuggada..., air sucking in and out of the empty spark plug holes. How can that be?

Just then, one of my friends noticed that there was oil spraying out of the horizontal cylinder's spark plug hole onto the front tire and shouted for me to stop. My heart sank. Sure enough, I'd killed it, and the adding machine in my brain started running again.
"Don't worry man, take your other bike to the track Monday, have a good time and forget about it. Deal with it later."
"You've always wanted to do a complete tear down of that engine, see how it works, now's your chance!".

I spent that night beating myself up for not being absolutely sure the cams were properly lined up, and saving a few bucks by doing the belts myself.
I ignored the voice in my head telling me to get plastered, to temporarily forget and numb the pain. Pain builds character, and I wanted to gain something positive from this experience any way I could.
The next morning at first light, I rolled the bike out of the trailer to have another look. I couldn't understand how it could be so destroyed that oil would spray out of that plug hole, yet not make any grinding or clanging sounds as it spun.

I knelt down to have a closer look at that horizontal cylinder. Maybe I could rig a mirror, flashlight and digital camera set-up somehow to peer into that cylinder to see what was happening in there. Maybe someone I know has a fiber optic inspection camera that I could borrow.
I reached my finger into the plug hole to pull out the bits of metal mixed with the oil that must be in there, but amazingly, there was no metal, or any oil. Wait a minute, I saw oil that had sprayed out of that hole onto the tire yesterday, what happened to it?

Just then, it hit me. I'd seen silicone gasket material smeared onto the threads on the small bolt that attaches the stick coil to the top of the valve cover, and had wondered in passing why it was there. Turns out it's there to keep oil, under a lot of pressure in the cam area, from leaking out past the threads. I'm a cautious mechanic, I always replace any bolts and nuts that I remove with a few turns, so I can keep track of where they go, and not get them dirty or lose them. When I did the final test, when the oil sprayed out, in my haste I neglected to screw that bolt back in, so that small hole was wide open, and oil was spraying out of it.
I looked closely, and sure enough there was an oil stain below that small hole, but not the spark plug hole!
We'd just assumed that it was coming from inside the cylinder.

As it turns out, I had jumped one tooth on the horizontal cylinder putting the belts on, making it pre-detonate and knock like a mother, but not do any damage.
Once I figured that out, got the belt on the right teeth and buttoned it back up, it started up, runs like a champ, and roars like always.

Disaster averted. Bank account intact.

There's a trackday at Buttonwillow this Monday, but I have a dentist's appointment.
Maybe I need to call the dentist and cancel, get on the track and celebrate with a few power wheelies.


(Yes, I know my engine is filthy. I detailed it after I got it back together and running)

Streetfighers are built, not bought.
'05 999R

'00 955i/ GSXR1000 Streetfigher
'06 ZX-636 race bike
'08 KLR-685
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post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2010, 1:17 pm
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No feeling better than the feeling of relief, with everything narrowed down to a simple bolt and no major problems. Congrats and enjoy the ride.
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post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2010, 6:23 pm
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timing

very lucky 1 tooth the other way and the piston would have bent both intake valves
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post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2010, 8:23 pm
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Lucky dog! This is why I'll never freaking mess w/ valves or belts......let the pros do it. If they have a bad day or forget something, the dealer fixes it. It's just too darn expensive to f-up these bikes....did the same stupid human trick the other day.Took off the crankcase inspection cover to have the bolts re-yellow zinc plated. Forgot that I took it off after a few days....went to start it and I felt this cool wet spray against my shin......as the oil began pumping out the open cover.......Oh well!
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post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2010, 10:42 pm
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Glad to hear you dodged the bullet.

On a related note, I'm not sure I trust those "off brand" CA Cycleworks belts. They're made in the PRC (People's Republic of China), not Italy. You get what you pay for...caveat emptor...or something.
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post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2010, 11:13 pm
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Glad its still alive. I was feeling your pain.
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post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 27th, 2010, 11:33 pm
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I would have waited to see what happens with other peoples bikes before using the new belts supplied by CC. It is their reputation on the line so I am pretty sure they have done their homework, but to test it out on your R engine.... you have more guts than me mate

Glad to hear your heart-pumping-ice-cubes moment was only a fizzle and that nothing went pop...


SF

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post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2010, 2:55 am
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How can a rod bearing be $8k? Thats absurd. How much is a new engine?

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post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2010, 1:41 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesmoDisciple View Post
How can a rod bearing be $8k? Thats absurd. How much is a new engine?
When my con rod bearing failed, it took out the crank and the con rods with it- the bearing surfaces were badly scored. The bearings themselves were ground to glittery confetti that they found in the screen filter.

A 999r crank costs $1700.00, titanium Pankl con rods cost $2000 each.
Add assorted parts (gaskets, fluids, fasteners, etc), labor to have the pistons, rods and crank sent out to get balanced, a valve job, then dealership labor and you're just short of $8000.

I don't know how much a new, complete 999r motor costs, but I'll bet its at least twice what my repair bill was.

Streetfighers are built, not bought.
'05 999R

'00 955i/ GSXR1000 Streetfigher
'06 ZX-636 race bike
'08 KLR-685
'99 KZ-1000 Police Special
'84 VF500F Interceptor
999 or 998 Streetfighter (next build)

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post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old Feb 28th, 2010, 2:25 pm Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by safetyfish View Post
I would have waited to see what happens with other peoples bikes before using the new belts supplied by CC. It is their reputation on the line so I am pretty sure they have done their homework, but to test it out on your R engine.... you have more guts than me mate

Glad to hear your heart-pumping-ice-cubes moment was only a fizzle and that nothing went pop...


SF
Indeed. If one fails and kills my motor, CC will be getting a large bill.
I'm sure they're well aware of that, that if their belts fail, they'll be buying a bunch of engines, so that gives me the confidence that they're confident in them.

They are made in the PRC, but the idea that anything made in Italy is inherently superior to something made in China is absurd (you didn't say that, someone else did). Italy would probably give it's left testicle to be able to manufacture with the quality, volume and consistency that China does. There are a lot of Chinese characters stamped on the wiring harness and other components in my Ducati, and none have failed so far.
The parts on a Ducati that routinely fail, are those made in Italy. Like my engine.

It's easy to pull the belt covers off and inspect the belts (tension and wear), so I plan to do it regularly until I'm confident that they're o.k.

I'll keep you (SF) posted.

Streetfighers are built, not bought.
'05 999R

'00 955i/ GSXR1000 Streetfigher
'06 ZX-636 race bike
'08 KLR-685
'99 KZ-1000 Police Special
'84 VF500F Interceptor
999 or 998 Streetfighter (next build)

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