I'm Going for It!!! Tips/Comments Welcome!

BREAKING NEWS: Novice Wrench Turner to Attempt Multiple Maintenance/Upgrade Projects Simultaneously

Project Bike: 2009 Yamaha YZ450F

Nine months ago, I caught a bug which resulted in me purchasing my first MX bike in 15 years (I'm 40 y/o now). With 20 "gentle" hours on the bike, and my confidence pretty high that I'm still a competent rider, it's time to get serious! At 6'4", 240 lbs, this bike doesn't fit...but that's about to change!

Over the next two weeks I'm tackling the following upgrades/maintenance in one big shot:

1) Handle bar swap (stock to Renthal Fatbar RC High)

2) Seat swap (stock to SDG tall)

3) Front tire swap (from stock 742FA to Geomax MX51)

4) Rear tire swap (from stock 756 to Geomax MX51)

5) Oil change :smirk:

6) Fork spring swap (from stock .47 to .50)

7) Shock spring swap (from stock 5.5 to 6.2)

8) Swingarm and linkage re-grease! (a little nervous about this one!)

I'm going to prep my garage tonight by cleaning, installing a larger work surface, vice and improved lighting. :moon:

I've ordered fork and tire changing tools...so I should be good to go there.

I've been hunting TT and YouTube for how-to's for the past week, and I've found some good information. That reference material, along with my service manual hopefully will see me through.

Wish me luck...and if you have any tips/tricks, or any suggestions of additional things I should do while I'm at it, please fire away! I know alot of you guys have the equivalent of a PhD in motorbikology...and as always, I can't thank you enough for your guidance!

I love my bike :smirk: ...and I think she loves me too! :cheers:

I'll try to post some updates/pics as I progress. May be some good info for other novices looking to step up their game!

The only thing on your list that's a bit ambitious for a novice wrench is the fork springs. Not impossible though as long as you have good info resources. I had to do mine without a manual and had to find the info for the oil weight and amount online. I also had found a pretty good 'how to' video online. The biggest trick is getting the oil in the inner chamber right so the rod extends properly. There are two tools you will have to buy, not just the wrench, but also a socket for the inner cap at the top.

Since you're in the neighborhood, re-grease your head tube bearings.

The handle bars are really easy.

The seat swap is a piece of cake.

The tire changes you might need a little help on. Maybe get a friend to show you in person or something.

Oil changing will be easy.

The forks springs are going to be a little tricky.

The shock spring will be really easy.

And greasing the swing arm and linkage will be pretty easy as well, just a lot of work to get to the parts.

So I mean you really aren't dealing with too much even for a beginner. Just take your time and do not rush. If you run into trouble go take a brake for an hour or so. Good luck.

Make sure you get a good torque wrench and torque to spec. I would also agree on the springs. Goodluck.:moon:

Be certain to read/reread/reread the manual and other info regarding two things, and understand them before you proceed:

  1. The fork cartridge bleed procedure
  2. The correct way to reassemble the damper rods to the rebound adjuster

These are simple enough to do right, but are critical, and the manual is a bit fuzzy on both.

10-4 on the forks. I've been studying my tail off, and found a few really good step-by-step videos. I'll have my laptop in the workshop with me. I've ordered the Tusk tool set that comes with the fork cap wrench and the socket for the compresion valve. I also just picked up a Motion Pro fork oil level tool for $9 at my Yami dealer (clearance price!). Also picked up Yamaha 01 fork oil and a ratio-rite.

Fork cartridge bleeding and damper rod/rebound adjuster assembly...thank you, I will look specifically for information concerning these steps.

Re-grease your head tube bearings = will do. When the bike was a few hours old, the lower bearing pooped all over my pretty white fender and stained it...will definately hit it.

Tires - Again, I've found a solid how-to video, and have ordered 2 Tusk irons/spoons and a tire bead tool. I don't have a stand, but I may be able to borrow one. Hoping I can avoid killing the tubes.

Torque wrench - If I don't buy one, I'll borrow.

I appreciate guys. <---Edit: heh...how about "I appeciate IT guys"...not guys in general :moon:


Edited by sro2004
That sounded pretty gay (not that there's anything wrong with that)...

Don't know what you bought for the fork oil level tool, but if it's not a measuring cup thing like a Ratio Rite or similar, it won't help you. You fill these forks with a specific amount of oil. The old style forks used a tool that had a height setting on a tube and a hand vacuum pump type deal to remove excess oil, is that what you bought?

I've always just used a 5 gallon bucket for tires.

Might also be a good time to check the valve clearance and possibly cam chain replacement. A little more involved than what you are doing now, but will be most of the way there with it apart already. Not sure if the cam chain is a necessity with low easy hours but something to think about.

It won't need a chain at 20 hours, but it would be a good time to check the valves and get a baseline just to stay on top of them.

I did pick up a Ratio Rite...and on a whim grabbed a Motion Pro fork oil level tool out of a clearance bin. I didn't see one used in the how-to videos...but for $9, that's okay. I bet I'll find other uses for it not related to my motorbike. Can never have too many tools!

Yeah...definately need to learn how to check the valves. I'll have to get one of my buds to give me a hands on with that...

It's pretty easy, I just use a 45 degree bent feeler gauge set with an extra bend at the end to fit in there. The only real work is if you need to change the shims, odds are you wont at 20 hours.

Also picked up Yamaha 01 fork oil ...
Take it back. In the first place, the bike calls for Yamaha S1, not the old 01 oil. In the second place, it's way too expensive (and S1 costs more) for no better than it is, and especially considering that it doesn't last any longer than it does.

Amsoil Shock Therapy is a much better choice in a conventional oil, and Maxima, Motul, and a number of others are good choices as well.

The absolute best is 215.VM2.K5 from SMART Performance. It's a different approach, and works exceptionally well.

there's a couple tutorial videos on this site that u can refer to, i watched em a couple times, and then jumped right in, had no problems at all... good stuff on there, check it out!



10-4 gray...the 01 is going back. My dealership "recommeded" the 01 over the others...

Think I'll stick with the conventional oil this time around. Once I get fork servicing down, I'll get a bit more exotic! The 215.VM2.K5 boasts some pretty amazing benefits...would love to eventually give it a try. Sounds expensive!

Okay folks...I see the Amsoil Shock Therapy available in light #5 and medium #10 weights. Preference?

Hey myoung,are you the same mike young who was really fastin the 80,s early nineties?you were ridin 4 strokes way back right?

LOL, I wish, I think my name has to be one of the most common ever in motocross. The most famous I can think of is the Big Gun Mike Young, the latest one I just recently heard of is the team manager for Motoconcepts. I have been hearing my name called at the races for as long as I can remember, I always get a kick out of it. :moon:

Okay folks...I see the Amsoil Shock Therapy available in light #5 and medium #10 weights. Preference?
#5. If you want to try something different, use #5 in the cartridge, and use the #10 in the outer chamber. This will probably allow you to use a slightly lower oil level in the outers (say 330 instead of 350cc per side) for an overall plusher feel without bottoming.

#5 in the cartridge...#10 in the outers...sounds like a plan!

For the swingarm/linkage, I have some Bel-Ray waterproof grease on hand. Is there something better to use? I want to use the best.



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