Next I loosened the rear bolt that holds the muffler to the header pipe.
Then I unbolted the muffler from the frame. I used a flex joint since the saddle bag mount is somewhat in the way.
The muffler easily slid backwards and out of the header pipe bracket. I set it aside in a safe place.
Now I could get to the axle nut. I removed the cotter pin. This is when the impact wrench comes in handy. The axle nut is tightened to 80 lbs, and the impact wrench makes removal much easier. I bought an inexpensive ½” electric model at Wal-Mart and it has been perfect for occasional jobs such as this. Using a 27mm socket, the nut came off easily. It would probably be a PITA without the impact wrench.
The rear brake caliper is held on by two 8mm Allen bolts. I removed them using an Allen wrench socket.
Once the bolts were removed, I set the brake caliper on the frame and lower muffler.
I removed the belt cover on the left side of the bike and loosened the nuts on the alignment adjusters on both sides so that I could slide the wheel all the way forward. But before I did that, I noted where the alignment marks were on the adjuster and the frame. This was a quick and easy way to insure that I would have the correct belt tension when I put it all back together.
I pushed the tire all the way forward and worked the drive belt free of the drive pulley.
Then a couple of light taps with a rubber mallet and the axle came free. I pulled it all the way out from the left side. Since the bike was securely held by the Condor Rack and the 2×6 block, I sat right behind the rear wheel and supported the tire with my legs so that I could wiggle the axle out. Alternately, you could slide a small block of ½” plywood under the tire to hold it up while you pull the axle out.
Here is the axle and the rear brake caliper mounting bracket. The mounting bracket is held in place by the axle – as soon as you pull the axle clear the bracket simply slides out. Note the band of rust on the right side of the axle. This is after one year and 8200 miles. The axle had very little factory grease on it, and the grease seals had very little grease in them as well. So it’s not surprising that some moisture got in there.
The left and right collars simply press into the rubber grease seals and come out easily.
Next I jacked the bike up high enough so that the rear tire would clear the fender and rolled it out from under the bike. With the tire out of the way, I lowered the jack so that the frame was once again sitting on the wood blocks. Don’t leave the bike way up in the air – it’s safer on the blocks.
NOTE: With this setup the bike can swing sideways on the steering column, so it is safer if you have a helper hold the bike straight. How do I know this? My alert 9 year-old son Caleb exclaimed “Dad, the bike is starting to move!” LOL… If you have a true motorcycle lift this isn’t a problem.
My good friend and riding partner Scott offered to help change the tire using a tire changing rack that he had recently purchased from Harbor Freight. In order to mount the tire, we needed to remove the rear pulley. We needed the impact wrench again to get the 5 nuts off! Once we pulled the pulley, we could see why. The bolts had a bit of corrosion. I mounted a fine 3” wire brush wheel in my cordless drill and it cleaned up nicely.
Removing the Bridgestone and mounting the Goodyear turned out to be a non-trivial undertaking. It took myself, Scott and his wife Nancy to wrestle the new tire onto the wheel. Neither the Bridgestore nor the Goodyear are tires that are meant to be mounted by hand. The tire bead is just way too thick and stiff. Next time I will take the wheel and new tire to a dealer and have it machine mounted.
For balancing the tire, I decided to try Dyna Beads®. Scott has them in his ’98 Yamaha Royal Star Tour Deluxe and said that his ride improved noticeably. We poured in 3 oz. of the beads.
I cleaned the old grease off of the axle using a rag and paint thinner and then cleaned off the rust using 600 grit Wet-or-Dry sandpaper that I wet with paint thinner. I then rubbed it down with #0000 steel wool and it was like glass. There was some remaining discoloration, but nothing to be concerned about.
I had some Honda Moly 60 grease left over from when I greased the driveshaft splines on my Vulcan 750 last year, so I used that on the axle and the grease seals.
I used a rag to clean out the old grease and then spun the bearings with my finger to check for any rough spots or sticking. There didn’t appear to be any. The bearings are sealed so you don’t grease the bearings themselves, but using a popsicle stick, I placed grease inside the rubber grease seals. The grease helps to keep moisture out.
I cleaned the collars and pressed them into place, and then I coated the bolts with some anti-seize compound and remounted the rear pulley. You can see how well the bolts cleaned up.
Assembly is simply the reverse. I jacked up the bike again, rolled the tire into place and lowered the bike back down onto the block. I applied a liberal coating of the Honda Moly 60 grease to the entire axle shaft before sliding it through. Once the axle was nearly all the way through I positioned the rear brake mounting bracket, held it in place with one hand and slid the axle the rest of the way through the right side of the frame. I pushed the wheel all the way forward and worked the drive belt over the rear pulley.
I lightly snugged down the axle nut but made sure to align the tire before tightening the nut completely. I tightened the alignment bolts until the alignment marks were where they were originally. To align the rear tire, I used my Vernier calipers to measure the alignment marks on each side and made sure that they were identical. I then tightened the axle nut to the recommended setting of 80 ft. lbs. I checked the alignment again to make sure that nothing changed when I tightened the nut, and then I tightened the locking nuts on the alignment bolts. Luckily for me, the slots in the axle nut aligned perfectly with the cotter pin hole in the axle and I slid in a new pin through the nut and axle and bent it into place. If they do not line up, continue to tighten the nut clockwise up to the next alignment.
I mounted the rear brake, the belt guard and the top muffler. Lastly I put the hose clamps back on the headers and screwed them back together, leaving enough slack so that I could slide the heat shield into place.
Once the heat shield was in place, I felt behind it with my fingers to insure that the hose clamps were in their brackets. After I tightened the heat shield clamps all that remained was to mount the saddle bags. And lastly, I jacked up the bike slightly, slid out the wood block, lowered the bike, and tucked the gas tank overflow tube back inside the frame.
Done! Now to go try it out!
Here are the various torque settings from the Kawasaki service manual:
Rear Axle Nut: 80 ft lbs.
Rear Brake Caliper Mounting Bolts: 25 ft lbs.
Rear Pulley Mounting Nuts: 51 ft lbs
I’m not responsible for inaccurate content contained within this posted message. Please check with your dealer or Kawasaki before performing any suggestions recommended by this post.