It's been over a year in the making. Since I started working on this I have moved into a new house, bought two new cars, got a new job, and watched as my beard has started showing gray for the first time. I started the teardown at a time when I thought I would be able to focus on it until I finished. Life has a funny way saying "screw that" to any plans you make.
It all started with a camping trip early summer 2014. From the way the bike was running, I knew it was time to do a valve adjustment. This was a big deal. Up until that point, I had owned the bike for 9 years and never had to do anything more complicated than replacing fork oil, or re-jetting my carb. It's been phenomenally reliable, and as a result the sentimental value of this bike is immense for me. When I rolled it up on the stand to start the valve adjustment, I took a minute to look her over. For the first time I actually felt a little bit sad while looking at my bike. She was tired. The plastics were haggard, graphics torn and yellowed, and the drivetrain showing heavy wear. I couldn't let myself even consider selling it to buy a new bike, so that was that. The decision was made. Let's tear it all down, completely, and replace and refresh everything that needs it.
I didn't have a design in mind when I started out, so I experimented with painting a few parts and doing partial reassembly to see how it looked. I poured through TT forums, looking at pictures of all of your customizations and I concluded that it was going to be black frame and subframe, red engine mounts, new white plastics with a black tank and seat, and a sweet graphics kit (though I had no idea which one yet). With my mind made up, it was time to get my hands dirty.
PHASE 1: Initial Disassembly
Here she is, up on the jack, ready for the procedure to begin.
It wasn't in dire straits, by any means. But as you can see, yellowing of the tank graphics, plastics have several creases and plenty of "character" scratches.
I finally got it down to the frame and motor.
Unfortunately it stayed in this state for a while. Party because of work, but also because I had decided to build a makeshift paint booth out of cardboard in my garage so I could start messing around with colors for the various parts.
PHASE 2: Paint Testing
Here's the booth. As you can see, it made for tight quarters in my single car garage.
Priming and painting some parts
After trying a couple different colors, when I used black and red on these and put them on the bike to see, the decision to go with those colors was easy
PHASE 3: Valve Adjustment
Once I knew which parts were going to be which color, it was time to finish disassembly. I started with the swingers and drivetrain and discovered that an unusually strong rock had been lodged between the chain and guard at the front sprocket. It had been there so long, the rock had grooves worn into it by the chain, and the constant force of the chain trying to push the rock past the guard actually ended up bending the mounting bolt. It was amazed that the rock didn't shatter, and that the mounting bolt didn't just sheer off.
I now had the bike completely disassembled
So now it was time to adjust the valves. I had never done it before, so this was a fun learning experience.
PHASE 4: Paint
Now on to the tedious work. Since I'm too cheap to pay for someone else to do this for me, I did all the sanding, surface prep, priming, painting, top coating, and baking/curing myself. Getting all of these parts through that process took weeks.
Frame and Subframe
PHASE 5: Reassembly
Before I had painted the frame, I tested the new plastics to make sure everything fit okay
So, once the frame and subframe had dried, it was time to start pulling everything back together. Thankfully by this time we had moved and I was working after my much coveted after 3 car garage
So now I had everything except the graphics kit, which I was still back and forth about. The one I wanted was hard to find, so it was a question of whether or not I could be patient. Well, thankfully, with some diligent watching and waiting, the JGR Toyota kit for my '05 popped up on eBay. I bought it immediately and paid extra for faster shipping :-)
It came in the mail yesterday, and I got to work immediately. After a couple hours of arguing with the various pieces, I took a step back and just stood in silence for a moment as I soaked it all in. After over a year of waiting on wondering how it would look when I was done, I am relieved to say I couldn't be happier with how it turned out.