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Premium Member
13,137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
First off a word on maintenance...

So, let’s say that hypothetically you want to leave off doing you valve clearances for a while, this is what you are doing:

Have a look at the yellow line on this pic:

At the moment you’re on the right hand side of the "constant failure rate" section. You can rename the y axis "probability of failure" and the x axis "mileage".

Many people will be ok if they let the service interval lapse because it's the probability of failure that is increasing, which doesn't mean that it will definitely fail. That however doesn't make it the right way to go.

There are a few different maintenance methodologies you can look at:

Breakdown maintenance:- Wait until it breaks then fix it, this has the advantage of the longest service life however when the item breaks it can take other things with it and your bike can be out of action for quite some time. Given the failure of one item will cause the failure of other things it is readily apparent that this method can be quite expensive.

Preventative (or interval based) maintenance:- This is based on the curves in the picture above, what we are doing is changing items at a given interval to make sure you stay in the flat part of the curve, this ensures that failures are as unlikely as possible and that downtime is managed. The downside is that you may be replacing parts that are perfectly ok, or adjusting things where it is not particularly necessary it does still work out significantly cheaper that the breakdown maintenance method.

Condition based maintenance:- This is where something is only adjusted or replaced when the machine starts showing symptoms that it is wearing out, there are a bunch of different methods that can be used for condition monitoring and analysis that I wont go into but suffice to say that this method gives the advantages of the other two without the downsides and is the cheapest overall and as such is the preferred.

Honda use a combination of condition based and interval based maintenance, at a particular interval the condition of an item is checked for signs of premature failure, then if necessary it will be replaced, other things like your chain are maintained purely on an interval basis (for me every Friday arvo). This ensures that replacing expensive parts is not done until it is necessary but things are checked often enough to pick up premature failures.

So while your valves may be perfect, the reason they should be checked is that this is about the time premature failures may start to occur so it is a good idea to have it inspected because the last thing you want is to drop a valve.

If you’re worried about the cost this is a job that someone with a reasonable mechanical aptitude can tackle by themselves without any great difficulty, there is a write up in the how to section if you’re interested. But IMO you are far better off having it done for no reason than finding out that you should have.

Now the how to bit:

Now that we have covered a couple of different types of maintenance we can have a look at what needs to be done and how to actually go about it, I know that the info presented may appear to be for a particular year model but it applies across the board...

So, given that a few of you are unlikely to know exactly what kind if things need to be done and when they need doing, here is a picture of the maintenance chart you will find in your service manual:

Next I'll address each item on its own:

Fuel Lines
This is an easy thing to check, in basic terms you are simply lifting the tank and inspecting the fuel lines for leaking or weeping around all of the connections, including the banjos and where the fuel rails meet the injectors, and looking for cracking of any of the lines.
If you do notice anything, replace the part in question immediately. In addition to this it’s generally a good idea to replace your flexible fuel lines once every 4 years simply as a matter of course due to the potential outcome if one fails...

Again, another simple one - just check how far your throttle moves before the slack in the cables is taken up, this should be about 2 - 4mm. If it’s more, you can adjust it at both the throttle and throttle bodies.

Air Filter
Something you should never skimp on is your air filter - when it gets blocked up your engine will start running rich which will result in reduced fuel economy and power, but thankfully its not a dangerous situation for you motor to be in. However if you let it get to bad and stuff (dust) starts to pass through it you will find that you begin to grind away the inside of your engine. To replace it just pop you fuel tank up, then undo the brace holding your ECU in place, unplug the IAT (intake air temp) sensor and undo all of the screws holding the top of the air box on and remove it from the bike, next undo the screws holding the air filter and replace with a new element.

Here is an excellent write up:

Spark Plugs
IMO this is one of the more important things to check periodically as it is an excellent gauge of how well your engine is running, what you want to see when you pull them out is a light brown coating, if you have a white coating you are most likely running lean and if you have a dry black carbon coating your probably running rich. You also want to make sure that the spark plug electrode is nice and pointy, and that the gap is 1mm (0.04") - check this with a wire gauge not a feeler gauge. If the spark plug is damaged in any way or excessively dirty replace them with new ones.

The spark plugs are a bit of a PITA to remove, if you have an 03-06 you are in luck cause your bike came with a tool specifically for doing this otherwise, see if you can get the tool... all you have to do is remove the lowers and mids, undo the radiator (but not the coolant hoses) and horn, then unplug the wires from the coils and pull the coils out (not easy) then undo the spark plugs.

When you put them back in you want to do them up hand tight then half a turn further.

Here is a write up for the plugs:
Please note that Kidnplay has removed his radiator hose, which while it will make life easier, is not necessary.

Spark plug part numbers:


NGK: IMR9C-9HES (NGK alternative to the 9HE)


Valve Clearances
Only attempt to do this if you have some mechanical aptitude as there are a few things that can go wrong...
Having said that, it is certainly something that the home mechanic can successfully accomplish.

One thing to be aware of is that if the clearances are out a little you may end up not being able to ride the bike for some time while you wait for the correct shims to come in at your local Honda dealer, cause believe me the last thing you want to do is go through the effort of pulling it all apart only to have to do it all again a week later when your bits arrive.

For a how to check out this thread: (Thanks Dreamzboy)

Or there is this one, its a little less detailed: (Thanks abadfish)

Engine Oil and Filter
IMO you should check your engine oil level every time you clean your chain, ideally you should do it before every ride but who is going to do that?
There is a lot of talk about what oil you should and or shouldn't use, I'm going to enter into that discussion a little here...
It's quite simple, there are four things to consider:

1. You have three types: Synthetic, semi-synthetic and mineral. The way I see it, you should run a mineral oil for the first 1000 miles or so but after that it doesn't really matter to much so it’s all down to personal preference.

2. Brand. Pay for a well know and decent brand and your set, i.e. stick with Motul, Castrol, Amsoil and the like.

3. Viscosity. The standard oil that comes in the bike is SAE 10w40, this will be suitable for almost everyone on here and I would recommend sticking with it for the best part, however I have included the chart just in case you want to pick a different one.

4. Don’t buy one that is labelled 'Energy Conserving' or that contains molybdenum additives or you will find that your clutch will slip.

As for changing the oil and filter check out this thread here:

When you put your drain plug back on, just make sure to use a new washer cause the last thing you need is a rear tyre covered in oil, and do the plug up to 22ft-lb

When you replace the oil filter itself you should apply some new clean oil to the rubber gasket and do it up to 20 ft-lb, or hand tight then 1/4 - 1/2 a turn further.

Idle Speed
Chances are that you don't have to check this at all as you will notice as soon as its starts to get a bit off, but fwiw:
To adjust the idle have a look down on the left hand side of the bike and you will see a knob down next to your coolant hoses, give that a turn to adjust the idle. It should be set to 1300rpm +/-100.

If you do decide to adjust it, be aware that the cable will sometimes break right next to the throttle bodies, and it’s a bit of a PITA to change it.

Premium Member
13,137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I'm not going to write to much on this other than it's not something you should put off doing...

For info about what kind of temps your bike should be running:

How to change your coolant:
03-06 -
07 onwards -

Something that most people seem to be blissfully unaware of is how tight they should do up the clamps on their cooling hoses, so without further ado:

This one has been tightened correctly; notice that the clamp has barely compressed the hose material:

Whereas this one has been slightly over-tightened, as evident by the flaring at the end of the hose:

And this one has had the crap tightened out of it as can be seen by the complete deformation of the hose:

If you over tighten the hose you will crush the rubber and then when the system heats up the damage will become permanent, and it will be exacerbated by the fact that the plastic / metal fitting the hose is on will expand whereas the pipe clamp wont causing the rubber to be further crushed, with the hot / cold cycle leading to hardening of the rubber and eventual cracking and seeping / leaking of the join.

Secondary Air Supply System
All you are doing here is pulling of your air box in order to inspect the PAIR hoses.

The better part of how to do this is here:
Just don't pull the hoses off like he does :) unless of course you want to remove the PAIR system, then go right ahead.

Evap system
As above with the pair system...

Drive Chain
Yet another area where debate runs rife...

Despite what the book says IMO you should be doing your chain at least once a week if your commuting on it otherwise around every 400km or 250 miles, that will keep it in good nick even if it is raining.

As for what to use, there are a fair few different off the shelf cleaners and lubricants that are available and any of them are more than suitable, personally I use kerosene (as per the manual) and motul 'white graphite' lube, however #80 or #90 gear oil is perfectly ok as well. If you pick one of the commercial products just make sure it's suitable for use on o-ring and x-ring chains. Also worth noting is that most chain manufacturers advise against using a brush to clean o-ring and x-ring chains simply due to the fact that they are fragile and may be damaged in the process.

For those who use (or are thinking about using) WD-40 to clean your chain, don't. Have a read of these threads to find out why:

When you clean and lube your chain, make sure that you check its slack and check the condition of the sprockets.

And for the how to see this thread:

One thing to note... put a piece of cardboard behind the sprocket to prevent getting the lube on your wheel and tyre.

In order to adjust the chain:

Loosen off the rear wheel, then adjust the slack in the chain to be between 25-35mm - to do this you will see two adjusters on the rear axle, turn them by equal amounts to ensure that the wheel stays aligned and from the middle of the swing arm measure the slack from the bottom of the swing arm to the chain with the chain pulled down towards the ground, then repeat with the chain pulled up, the difference between these is your slack.
Once you have the chain at the correct setting just do your axle back up to 83 ft-lb

And if the chain and sprockets need replacing have a look here:


A quick note: The buzzing sound you may hear when you apply the brakes is normal, it happens as a result expanding air, due to heat, in the holes in the disc which is released as the hole clears the pad.

This is another thing that IMO has to long of a service interval, I recommend doing this every 6000 miles or 12 months, whichever comes first, purely because you don't want to take chances with your brakes...

On that note, if you don't know when the last time yours was changed was - do it this weekend!

How to change the fluid:

If you look at the side of the pads you will see at least one groove cut into them, when the pad wears down enough that the groove is no longer evident, you need new pads.

In order to change the pads:
Quite simple, just remove the calliper, then use a screw driver to push the two pads apart so that there is space for the new pads to sit. Then once that is done remove the old pads and slide the new ones in then slide the calliper back in place. If there isn't quite enough room for the disc to go into, put your old pads back in and jimmy them apart some more until you can get the calliper back on.

It is recommended that you use new bolts on the callipers each time but IMO you can use the old ones, just make sure you locktite them and replace them every 10 or so times you re-torque them.

Rear calliper mounting bolt: 13 ft-lb
Front calliper mounting bolts: 22 ft-lb

Easy thing to check, just look for cracking and what not in the rubber, also check for deformation of the lines - particularly at the banjos etc.
It is generally recommended that the brake lines be replaced every 4 years.

To check your discs make sure that there is no pitting or groves worn into the braking surface and that their runout (side to side movement) is less than 0.3mm (0.012")

The service limit for their thickness is:
Front: 3.5mm (0.14")
Rear: 4.0mm (0.16")

Brake Light Switch
The brake light should come on just before the rear brakes start to engage, if this isn't the case just turn the adjuster on the switch (not the switch body) until it is at the correct setting.

Headlight Aim
Not going to go into it to much here, other than to say that there are two adjusters for each one located on the back of the headlights, one adjusts vertical the other horizontal, the vertical one is in the outside top corner of each one and the horizontal is on the inside bottom corner.
If your not happy with the aim of your lights you now know where to find the adjusters, getting them right is simply a matter of playing with them until your happy with the result.

All your doing here is checking the condition of the cable, making sure it runs smoothly and that there is the correct amount of free play in the handle.

If its frayed you will need a new one, if it doesn't run smoothly or looks very dry you need to lube it and if there is more / less than 10 - 20mm play at the end of the clutch handle you need to adjust it.

To do all of this have a look here:

Side Stand
Just have a look at the side stand and ensure that the spring is in good nick, then with the side stand up and the clutch in put the bike in first and then put the stand down, if the bike stops your side stand switch is working properly.

Front Suspension

Just the very basics here, all you need to do is inspect the seals on the forks and ensure that they are not cracked and that there is no fluid coming out past them, then check that all of the bolts that hold the front end together are done up properly.

If your seals are leaking, it is possible to replace them yourself however as we are talking about suspension components here I would recommend that you leave it up to the professionals to do.

If your game, here is a how-to on an 07:

It is also worth changing your fork oil every 2 years or 10,000 miles. This has a surprising affect on how well your suspension works and how long the seals last.

Rear Suspension
Same as per the front, and also support the bike and lift the rear off the ground, then try to move the swing arm from side to side, there should be no movement.

Nuts, bolts and Fasteners
Remove the fairings where necessary and check that the bolts that hold the rear sub frame, engine and all suspension and brake bolts are at the specified torque.

Ensure that all of your hose clamps and the like are in place and that all of the little plastic clips are in good condition when you put the fairings back on.

Premium Member
13,137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Wheels / Tyres
Support the bike on stands and check the tyre for uneven or excessive wear, uneven wear can be a sign of bad suspension settings, if the tyre is getting close to the wear bands - obviously time for a new one...

Take the front wheel and give it a good hard spin, you should get 2-3 rotations. If you don’t you may have a warped disc or misalignment.

On both front and rear wheels make sure that there is no side to side free play, if there is you will probably need new wheel bearings.

To correct any misalignment in the front axle, loosen off the axle bolt and pinch bolts then:
Do up the axle bolt to 43 ft-lb
Do up the right hand pinch bolts to 16 ft-lb
Take the bike off its stand and bounce the front end 3-4 times to seat the axle
Do up the left hand side pinch bolts the 16 ft-lb

Head Bearings
Lift the front end off the ground by placing the bike on a centre stand then place a jack under the right hand header pipe with a piece of wood to protect the headers. This will pivot the bike onto the side stand and lift the front wheel off the ground. You cant use and axle or head lift stand for this as they wont allow you to move the steering.

If you have an aftermarket steering damper you will need to set it to its lowest setting.

Rotate the steering left and right, feeling for any notchiness (yes I know I’m making up words) or roughness over the range of movement particularly 5 degrees or so either side of the centre position. If you feel any kind of lump you will need to replace the bearings.

If there is any vertical movement at all in the steering you may have loose lower triple clamp pinch bolts so you will need to check that they are at the correct torque and then re-torque the head bearings and check for any lumps.

See this thread for how to replace and re-torque the bearings:

For some reason this doesn't make it onto Honda's list of things to check, but I would reccomend checking your charging system once every 6 months.
To do this:
Take the seat of to gain access to the battery
Measure the terminal voltage of the battery with the bike off, you want at least 12.4V.
Now start the bike and rev it up to 5000rpm now with the high beam on check that the battery voltage is between 14V and 15.5V
If your charging voltage is low you may have an issue with your regulator / rectifier and if its above 15.5V you definitely have a problem with your r/r that will likely lead to significant damage to the battery and possible damage to the electronics in the bike.

Just a bit more I forgot to put in earlier: After around the 50,000 mile mark is the time to get your fuel injectors cleaned ultrasonically as well, it will do wonders for your power and fuel economy. The reason it happens is that the fuel will put a very thin glaze on the inside surface of the injectors after a while, and unfortunately despite what the 'injector cleaner' companies promise, there products will never do anywhere near as good a job as a decent ultrasonic bath will.

Most people neglect to do any maintenance on their exhaust system, however I would recommend that you repack the can at 2 year intervals or 10,000 miles whichever comes first.
See this video for a how to:
Please note that they only show putting the pillow back in and not the steel wool that is used around the pipe, both are required.

That should pretty much cover any periodic maintenance you should need to do to your bike, hope this was helpful. If there is anything I have missed let me know and I'll add it in. Now go out and ride!

All of this in PDF, thanks to crzie: off a word on maintenance.pdf

Ain't Even Excited
1,769 Posts
Wow man that had to of taken you a while to put together... Hopefully I speak for everyone when I say we greatly appreciate the time and effort! You're a good man

2,296 Posts
Good job Nico. This should answer almost every maintenance question out there. I vote this to be a sticky!!!!

Premium Member
13,137 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks guys!

Wow man that had to of taken you a while to put together... Hopefully I speak for everyone when I say we greatly appreciate the time and effort! You're a good man
Took me about a week all up, just doing 10 mins here and there.
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