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Home Repair And Restoration

Poorly FZS600 Fazer

Post Date - 22 November 2017

By Stephen Latchford

I wanted a winter hack to take the brunt of of our very English weather over the winter months. I have a very lovely street triple in the garage which I would like to keep looking lovely. Long story short I got a second chance offer from a popular auction site for a Yamaha fazer 600 that I had bid on previously and lost because I was being careful with how much cash I was waving about.

Padgetts of Batley were the seller and my bid of £650 secured the deal. So off I went with a friend so that I could ride it back one rather nice Friday in September 2017.

Money handed over we stepped outside and the bike was warming up for me sounding very sweet indeed, it all seemed too good to be true. 2001, 37,000 miles, handbook, tools, two keys and it came with a meta alarm. However there was no guarantee given or implied being so cheap.

A Yamaha FZS600 Fazer from 2001 in red

I climbed aboard and rode off homeward bound from the dealer. There's a problem, a big one. It is coughing and dying  under any kind of throttle which seems to disappear when I level off the throttle. I think "oh dear flipping heck" (or words to that effect). Perhaps the carbs need cleaning, or could it be something worse like an open valve due to not having clearances checked, or perhaps it's that throttle position sensor on the side of the carbs, or oh oh the igniter module!

On the motorway now and it is struggling to get up through the gears then at 70 mph I level off the throttle and she is cruising along like a new bike which sort of reassures me there's potential in this one. I phoned Padgetts to see if the previous owner had given any info about the bike but sadly he had not so I was on my own in trying to sort it out.

What I am about to say makes me feel real stupid and and I should have known better in my steps to sort the problem out, but you lucky people can learn from this.

You see what I did was to buy a bank of carburettors and struggle like mad fitting them before my new Haynes manual came through the post. I did this the hard way you see as the whole air box can be moved back to ease the job, that's what you get for being impatient.

This did not sort the problem out. I replaced the spark plugs for new ones then checked the valve clearances which all turned out to be spot on and again there was absolutely no difference made.

After spending £80 on carbs and plugs I went and purchased an igniter module for £25 and fitted this to the bike and again there was no improvement.  Now owning the bike for nearly 3 weeks and spending almost all the time in my garage I hit on the idea of fitting new coils, kerching, another 36 quid spent in vain.

Getting quite depressed now. Spark plug caps were ordered for the relatively small amount of £10.

When they arrived it was a really quick and simple job to fit them and I eagerly slotted the ignition key home, started her up and donned my gear. WAIT, WAIT, OPEN ROAD AND OH YES it pulled smoothly at full throttle and accelerated like scalded cat as it should.

That's what this DIVVY riding the bike should have fitted first.

So ends today's lesson, a simple lesson, buy the cheapest parts first.

Do you want to share your mechanical tale of woe here on Bikes And Travels? Contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

Reader's Comments

Bob said :-
We've all been there, I've had a cylinder head in my hand and then noticed the kill switch set to "off".
To be fair you tend to automatically think "carbs" when a bike runs like poo, but it often is ignition. I don't think I've ever needed to replace a plug cap, I have for cosmetic reasons, but I've never had a failure.
23/11/2017 3:55:30 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
There's an old saying - carb problems are almost always ignition trouble. And vice versa......

When I first had my 955i Tiger I foolishly let my brother out for a run on it. When he returned some 2 hours later with the exhaust ticking and tyres smoking and well scrubbed, he left it on the drive as he disappeared into the night.

I put it away in the garage only to find it wouldn't start the next morning. I had checked all the fuses, made sure there was fuel in and was starting to strip off the side fairings when, like Bob, I checked the kill switch. I never use it but said brother had stopped the engine with it. I was somewhat peeved.
23/11/2017 4:47:56 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Oh, and plug caps? I had a mysterious problem with my lately departed Honda Super Four. It would start and run beautifully but after a few miles would cut out when stopping for a roundabout etc. I tried everything I could think of and eventually checked the resistances of the plug caps - one was showing an intermittent infinity reading.

I had assumed that any problem with a single cylinder would still let it run on 3 but the Honda design meant that each plug earthed through the other one somehow so if one wasn't connected the other wouldn't fire (still can't work that out). So it effectively became a very poor 200cc twin. A new cap (weel I bought 2 as they were cheap enough) and HT leads and it was perfect.
23/11/2017 4:51:29 PM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
I'll add the link to my plug cap issues on the 125. However the 125's cap sails in the wind and the rain so failure is more likely.
23/11/2017 5:08:57 PM UTC
Stephen Latchford said :-
Update, I've now done 1000 trouble free miles, and I really like this bike, it is a quality item. The brakes of course we're in a right state being neglected, so bad that the left brake disk had been pulled so far outward that it was binding on the inside of the caliper, and had the appearance of being dished. Ren will confirm this and for both of us was a first.
I stripped and cleaned/renewed seals, pads and banjo bolts and bleed nipples, new stainless pad retaining pins, etc.
Other than that I fitted heated grips, and a brighter headlamp bulb and did the conversion so both lamps come on. 38,000 miles and counting.
23/11/2017 10:42:11 PM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Good result.
24/11/2017 10:10:27 AM UTC
Ren - The Ed said :-
Imagine your typical dinner plate - a flat area approximately 6 inches in diameter with a further inch and a half all around that is slightly raised to stop your tea from falling off the plate. The centre of Latchy's disc was the centre of the plate, the actual friction area was dished upwards just like a dinner plate.

If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I wouldn't have thought it possible.

My Fazer was the same as Latchy's. They are a very good, solid and well made machine - I just never quite gelled with mine. It was like dating a good looking caring woman who met your every need and yet somehow, for some unknown reason you just don't love her.
24/11/2017 10:37:20 AM UTC
Ian Soady said :-
Some discs are actually made like that eg the fronts on my Guzzi.

24/11/2017 2:02:52 PM UTC
Latchy said :-
Yes but the area that the pads contact was dished, the outside pistons were seized solid and only the inside pistons were pushing the pads outwards and also the disc, in time ruining it by dishing the disc. The pads were suitably tapered by this stage. Hope this makes sense.
24/11/2017 4:09:50 PM UTC

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