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General Category => Introductions => Topic started by: petetb154 on March 23, 2014, 05:20:55 PM



Title: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: petetb154 on March 23, 2014, 05:20:55 PM
Hello all, just joined this forum yesterday, I'm almost 40, I live near Omaha, NE and I am a recovering FJ addict... that just fell off the wagon.

I'm a long time FJ owner, I bought my first, and current '87 FJ in 1990 when I was 16 years old. It was my dream machine, I sweated it out on the farm for 2 years at $3.25/hr to save the $3,350 it took to buy it from an Army Sargent that was headed over-seas to desert storm. The bike had 5,000 miles on it at the time, and I rode the hell out of it but Barney Fife took my licence before I was 17! I think I signed 7 tickets in 6 months. Looking back, no 16 year old in a small town should have a bike like that, but I'm lucky I did. The FJ was my only means of transportation until I was 18 and went overseas with the Air Force myself. My Dad kept careful watch of her until I came back from my tour in Japan and Saudi Arabia. When I got back, I took the bike on a 2 week, 8,000 mile "find myself" trip and stopped in Utah. There I met my wife, had kids and picked up the responsibilities of college, a family and a job. I stopped riding it completely in about 2002, but I kept the bike. It had about 54k miles on the clock by then. As I've grown, I lugged that damn FJ around with me, never riding it, but never parting with it. She has been stored in a garage her entire life.

During the time that I was actively riding it, I put every penny I had into the thing. I put a Wiseco 1mm over piston kit in it, larger stainless valves, heavy valve springs, back cut & magna-fluxed the transmission, Barnett spring clutch, Vance & Hines Exhaust, installed stage 3 jets & filters. The plastic and paint are cracked and brittle now. A thick layer of dust was protected her paint until this morning.

Lately, I have been thinking of selling her, not for the money but for the space in my garage. I still ride, but mostly offroad with my 12 yr old son. I was planning to post a craiglist ad this weekend but... this morning, when I woke up I felt a since of sorrowful regret, that I had been neglecting her, and hadn't given her a chance to serve me again. Laying there in bed, thinking about motorcycles, I remembered that no other bike struck me as profoundly as the FJ did. So I got up and went to youtube to see if I could remember what it was all about. Right off, I found this: 1987 Yamaha FJ1200 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0zXWhsdOFA#). Watching this video, I realized had forgotten how pretty the red and white FJs really are. This video re-ignited my excitement about the old girl. Watching it, I could smell the exhaust on full choke as I first start it up, I could feel the vibration through the bars as she revved and I even squeezed my mental clutch when it was time to shift gears. I needed to give her a chance, but I'd need more information about where to find parts etc.

I used to participate heavily on the yamahafj@netpath.net mailing list http://fj1200archives.com/ (http://fj1200archives.com/) back in the late 90s. It doesn't hold a candle to the information on this forum, but hey, it was all we had! I kept digging. I found this forum and the rpmracingca.com site. What amazing resources. So, I went outside with a pad and paper and started writing down every defect I could find on the bike. I counted 51 things that needed to be replaced or repaired. None too serious, much of it was cracked & scratched plastic, some of it was wear related, but nothing serious. I built a shopping list, then scoured bike bandit parts fiche, amazon, ebay, and the rpmracingca.com site, I figure it's about a $1200 job to make her mechanically and cosmetically sound again.

So, I think I'll start a project to get her running again. It just wouldn't be right let such an old member of our family go to the junkyard.

I thought you guys might like some vintage photos of my early days with the FJ.

This is me right after I bough the bike, going to high school in the morning. Notice the football jersey, oh to be 16 again! (1990)
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-OtkPydOwPK0/TNSh415tvbI/AAAAAAAACfU/DOUS4K2cGaE/w942-h600-no/abx.jpg)

Here is me working on the bike in our shop after I lost my license. I took the down time to strip it bare, paint the frame and engine.  (1990)
(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-AUVGX-C5UOU/TNSheeUZG9I/AAAAAAAACco/OekoUAOumZM/w696-h438-no/aad.jpg)

Installing and balancing some new new Metzler tires. I think they were ME1F. I loved those things! (1991)
(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-bA2dvMRdgCk/TNShgoHrj-I/AAAAAAAACc4/voj0-UWw300/w604-h465-no/aah.jpg)

A trip to Brainard, MN superbike races while in high school (1991)
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-YqPRAC8XIyY/TNShfZ6zIRI/AAAAAAAACcw/QhWUIYk4eak/w700-h396-no/aaf.jpg)

This is a photo from my 8,000 mile trip to the NW coast after the military (1995)
(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-O6GqkB2Mj44/TOKc_A7tdLI/AAAAAAAAWUs/h0XeVzBRkew/w1024-h699-no/aah.jpg)

I was always working on the darn thing. This was in Port Angeles, WA. I was getting water out of the ignition coils this time (1995)
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-tCKbmsresk8/TOKc76v8WpI/AAAAAAAAWUM/C6R7kljS4Ss/w696-h423-no/aad.jpg)

A trip the Glacier National Park (1998)
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-BV6Dj0wvM9s/TOKdTXZ74pI/AAAAAAAAWYI/6hu03tjlE0E/w1024-h743-no/aak.jpg)

This is in 2002, about the last time I had her out on the road
(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-CyU4G7lLYK8/TOKepvOYX9I/AAAAAAAAWjM/BnhrfxWW768/w1024-h768-no/aaa.jpg)

I'm not going to post a picture of her today. I'd be embarrassed. Well guys, see you around!


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: FJmonkey on March 23, 2014, 05:29:48 PM
What a great introduction. Welcome, from a fellow long time ambulance rider. Sounds like you need to get your FJ ready for an FJ rally near you. Time to find the Kookaloo again...


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: big r on March 23, 2014, 05:30:45 PM
Awesome intro. I, too have an 86 and just love the power. I will be turning 60 next month and have been riding since I was about 10. Welcome to the nut house. Looks like you already have the moditus bug. Big R


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: Klavdy on March 23, 2014, 05:32:37 PM
G'Day there and thank you for the best introductory post ever.


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: fj johnnie on March 23, 2014, 05:33:29 PM
 Nice intro. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the therapy rebuilding the FJ will give. Then the therapy the riding will offer next.


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: fintip on March 23, 2014, 05:38:04 PM
That was awesome. Those are my favorite FJ colors, fine bike you have. I have an '86, just bought an '87 so I could steal the fairing for mine and have that paint scheme.

Awesome stuff. Would love to hear more about that 8k mile trip.


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: TexasDave on March 23, 2014, 05:41:59 PM
Great intro. Great pictures. You can't sell the old girl she's part of the family.Welcome.  Dave


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: The General on March 23, 2014, 05:43:34 PM
G'Day there and thank you for the best introductory post ever.
+1  :hi: Really looking forward ta hearing more. Cheers, Doug Mc


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: movenon on March 23, 2014, 05:53:50 PM
Welcome to the forum. Great intro ! The FJ is family with a lot of history for you.  Now is as good a time as there ever will be restore her.  Ton's help and support here.  Every year there are rallies with the FJ group, next year we are talking about a rally in the Black Hills area.  Glad you decided to keep her.
George

As a side note referring to your pictures, I still have one of those milk crates (upgraded the top to a piece of plywood) and the picture of you working on the your bike with three fellow biker supervising is great  :lol: :drinks: You are going to fit right in............


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: kawabob1 on March 23, 2014, 06:15:14 PM
Welcome Brian,
Great intro and welcome. First and foremost thank you for your service. I am glad that you are giving her another chance to let her service you again, you will find this forum to be very informative and friendly. I have received so much advice over the past 2 years on my '85. Please post some pics when the old girl is presentable  :drinks:
 
Hello all, just joined this forum yesterday, I'm almost 40, I live near Omaha, NE and I am a recovering FJ addict... that just fell off the wagon.

I'm a long time FJ owner, I bought my first, and current '87 FJ in 1990 when I was 16 years old. It was my dream machine, I sweated it out on the farm for 2 years at $3.25/hr to save the $3,350 it took to buy it from an Army Sargent that was headed over-seas to desert storm. The bike had 5,000 miles on it at the time, and I rode the hell out of it but Barney Fife took my licence before I was 17! I think I signed 7 tickets in 6 months. Looking back, no 16 year old in a small town should have a bike like that, but I'm lucky I did. The FJ was my only means of transportation until I was 18 and went overseas with the Air Force myself. My Dad kept careful watch of her until I came back from my tour in Japan and Saudi Arabia. When I got back, I took the bike on a 2 week, 8,000 mile "find myself" trip and stopped in Utah. There I met my wife, had kids and picked up the responsibilities of college, a family and a job. I stopped riding it completely in about 2002, but I kept the bike. It had about 54k miles on the clock by then. As I've grown, I lugged that damn FJ around with me, never riding it, but never parting with it. She has been stored in a garage her entire life.

During the time that I was actively riding it, I put every penny I had into the thing. I put a Wiseco 1mm over piston kit in it, larger stainless valves, heavy valve springs, back cut & magna-fluxed the transmission, Barnett spring clutch, Vance & Hines Exhaust, installed stage 3 jets & filters. The plastic and paint are cracked and brittle now. A thick layer of dust was protected her paint until this morning.

Lately, I have been thinking of selling her, not for the money but for the space in my garage. I still ride, but mostly offroad with my 12 yr old son. I was planning to post a craiglist ad this weekend but... this morning, when I woke up I felt a since of sorrowful regret, that I had been neglecting her, and hadn't given her a chance to serve me again. Laying there in bed, thinking about motorcycles, I remembered that no other bike struck me as profoundly as the FJ did. So I got up and went to youtube to see if I could remember what it was all about. Right off, I found this: 1987 Yamaha FJ1200 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0zXWhsdOFA#). Watching this video, I realized had forgotten how pretty the red and white FJs really are. This video re-ignited my excitement about the old girl. Watching it, I could smell the exhaust on full choke as I first start it up, I could feel the vibration through the bars as she revved and I even squeezed my mental clutch when it was time to shift gears. I needed to give her a chance, but I'd need more information about where to find parts etc.

I used to participate heavily on the yamahafj@netpath.net mailing list http://fj1200archives.com/ (http://fj1200archives.com/) back in the late 90s. It doesn't hold a candle to the information on this forum, but hey, it was all we had! I kept digging. I found this forum and the rpmracingca.com site. What amazing resources. So, I went outside with a pad and paper and started writing down every defect I could find on the bike. I counted 51 things that needed to be replaced or repaired. None too serious, much of it was cracked & scratched plastic, some of it was wear related, but nothing serious. I built a shopping list, then scoured bike bandit parts fiche, amazon, ebay, and the rpmracingca.com site, I figure it's about a $1200 job to make her mechanically and cosmetically sound again.

So, I think I'll start a project to get her running again. It just wouldn't be right let such an old member of our family go to the junkyard.

I thought you guys might like some vintage photos of my early days with the FJ.

This is me right after I bough the bike, going to high school in the morning. Notice the football jersey, oh to be 16 again! (1990)
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-OtkPydOwPK0/TNSh415tvbI/AAAAAAAACfU/DOUS4K2cGaE/w942-h600-no/abx.jpg)

Here is me working on the bike in our shop after I lost my license. I took the down time to strip it bare, paint the frame and engine.  (1990)
(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-AUVGX-C5UOU/TNSheeUZG9I/AAAAAAAACco/OekoUAOumZM/w696-h438-no/aad.jpg)

Installing and balancing some new new Metzler tires. I think they were ME1F. I loved those things! (1991)
(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-bA2dvMRdgCk/TNShgoHrj-I/AAAAAAAACc4/voj0-UWw300/w604-h465-no/aah.jpg)

A trip to Brainard, MN superbike races while in high school (1991)
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-YqPRAC8XIyY/TNShfZ6zIRI/AAAAAAAACcw/QhWUIYk4eak/w700-h396-no/aaf.jpg)

This is a photo from my 8,000 mile trip to the NW coast after the military (1995)
(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-O6GqkB2Mj44/TOKc_A7tdLI/AAAAAAAAWUs/h0XeVzBRkew/w1024-h699-no/aah.jpg)

I was always working on the darn thing. This was in Port Angeles, WA. I was getting water out of the ignition coils this time (1995)
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-tCKbmsresk8/TOKc76v8WpI/AAAAAAAAWUM/C6R7kljS4Ss/w696-h423-no/aad.jpg)

A trip the Glacier National Park (1998)
(https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-BV6Dj0wvM9s/TOKdTXZ74pI/AAAAAAAAWYI/6hu03tjlE0E/w1024-h743-no/aak.jpg)

This is in 2002, about the last time I had her out on the road
(https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-CyU4G7lLYK8/TOKepvOYX9I/AAAAAAAAWjM/BnhrfxWW768/w1024-h768-no/aaa.jpg)

I'm not going to post a picture of her today. I'd be embarrassed. Well guys, see you around!
[/quote]


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: FJscott on March 23, 2014, 06:34:52 PM
Welcome to the group Brian.

what a great intro. at this point your FJ is family, cant sell her. You joined the right forum to re-kindle your FJ flame.This year is the 30 year anniversary for the FJ so if you can make it to one of the Rallys you will meet some very good people that share your passion for the Mighty FJ.

Scott


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: rlucas on March 23, 2014, 07:27:50 PM
Outstanding intro.  :good2:

Welcome to the Virtual Campfire.


rossi


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: aviationfred on March 23, 2014, 07:50:56 PM
Great intro and welcome to the group.  :hi: I also have an 87' along with an 89'. Even though they are the same model and look similar, they each have their own personality. The mods that you have done are very similar to what a few have done here. No worries about what it looks like at the moment. We do not judge. A current photo would be helpful to view when you need advice from the forum members. Plus, once you get her all sorted out everyone can look back and see what your hard work has accomplished. My 89' was in pretty poor shape when I got her, 2 years later and it doesn't even look like the same bike.

Don't know what your time frame is on getting her back up and running. There are a few FJ rally's. Willits, CA May 30th - June 1st. Dogpatch, AR July 18th - 20th. Eastern TN in September. Next years Central Rally will be in South Dakota.

Willits, CA
http://www.fjowners.com/index.php?topic=10832.0 (http://www.fjowners.com/index.php?topic=10832.0)

Dogpatch, AR
http://www.fjowners.com/index.php?topic=10840.0 (http://www.fjowners.com/index.php?topic=10840.0)

Fred




Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: petetb154 on March 23, 2014, 08:15:14 PM
Thanks all for the warm reception.
Looking forward to getting to know you all!
I'll keep you posted.


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: petetb154 on April 02, 2014, 09:49:21 PM
After about 12 years of sleep, she runs again!
http://youtu.be/K42fG7HOuvo (http://youtu.be/K42fG7HOuvo)

It took a new battery, new XJR starter motor, a total carb overhaul with new brass parts, new air filters, an oil change and new valve stems for the tires. I couldn't have done all that without parts from RPM Racing.

She's still a little sleepy and still runs a little rough. Nothing a few miles and another carb sync wont cure. 

Next:
I bought a 88 GSXR750 rear wheel and 93 FJ1200 front wheel. I'll install soon with fresh, fat rubber.
I bought a plastic welder to fix up all the cracked plastic.
After that, fresh paint, original colors of course.
Then I'll be 90% done, 90% to go to make my ole' FJ like new again.

Thanks everyone for the help so far.


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: kawabob1 on April 03, 2014, 09:46:43 AM
Great to hear you have her back on the road!! Would love to hear how you make out plastic welding as I have to do some of that as well. My chin scoop is in 5 pieces and the abs the fits next to the tank is now multiple pieces as well.


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: airheadPete on April 06, 2014, 06:40:31 PM
Welcome to the asylum.  :hi:
That's a great intro post.
Your parents let you get an FJ at SIXTEEN!?!?
Sweet Jesus!! I'm glad you're still alive! You must have been the coolest kid in high school.
(Mom was an ER nurse, you can guess the rest.)
I think you'll enjoy your decision to renew her, but I gotta ask, what will you do when junior wants to borrow her in four years?
 :lol: :lol: :lol:


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: petetb154 on April 06, 2014, 08:57:55 PM
Your parents let you get an FJ at SIXTEEN!?!?
Sweet Jesus!! I'm glad you're still alive! You must have been the coolest kid in high school.
(Mom was an ER nurse, you can guess the rest.)


Yup, I remember the day I was planning to go buy the bike. I was 16 and a month, and had just sold my 1980 XS1100 that I had been riding to work for 2 years (on a farm driving permit). 

(https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/-YbC8VYqUFEI/TNSg3z1CcBI/AAAAAAAACao/NS14MP_pCWQ/w700-h444-no/acp.jpg)
This is me and my younger stister. We were on a motorcycle camping trip with my Dad. I think I was 14. Dad's bike was also an XS1100 with vetter everything. I bought this bike for $650 when I was 14.


My Dad came into my bedroom in the morning and said that he had changed his mind and that he thought the FJ was too much machine for me. I cried my eyes out and pleaded with him that he'd simply ruin my life if he didn't let me have it. I had worked non stop for 2 years to save that money, and it was mine, and it was might God given right to own a FJ1200. Plus, I reasoned, that I had been riding the XS1100 for 2 years without killing myself, the FJ is almost the same thing (yea right). Somehow he was convinced and let me buy it. He shouldn't have. Oh the stories I could tell...

We at least thought we were pretty cool. 
(http://fjowners.com/gallery/7/4000_06_04_14_8_43_13.jpeg)
Here is my friend and I getting ready to go to our high school graduation ceremony (notice the robes).

I actually think the colors and the styling made the bike more dangerous for me. Somehow I thought that it looked like it wanted to be going fast, on one wheel, down main street, with girls watching. As the owner, I was obligated to make that happen. Yikes. 

I think you'll enjoy your decision to renew her, but I gotta ask, what will you do when junior wants to borrow her in four years?

Now, I have already told my son that there is no way he is getting the equivalent of an FJ at 16. He's a pretty good hare scramble racer (rides a KTM 85), but he loves to show off too. I told him that were going to get some clapped out, street legal Honda XR250 that he can ride to school. If he listens to what that bike tells him to do, he'll probably stay off main street, keep his license and stay alive.


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: X-Ray on April 11, 2014, 07:13:19 AM
Fantastic!

But also if you can, throw up some "in the build" photos for us, we love that sort of thing,  :good2:


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: petetb154 on April 12, 2014, 11:34:37 AM
Ok, here is the 10 footer view after I fixed most of the high priority mechanical things. 
Not too bad. Just got it re-registered yesterday, so we can go on short rides to continue shakedown.


(http://fjowners.com/gallery/7/4000_12_04_14_10_56_49_0.jpeg)

So far, I have only completed my high priority repairs
  • New battery
  • new XJR starter
  • clutch slave cylinder rebuilt
  • spin on oil filter adapter
  • oil change
  • rt crank cover replaced
  • rebuilt carbs
  • polished rusted pipe
  • new uni pods
  • crank case breather filter

Mechanically, my medium priority list of todos that you probably cant see includes:
  • New tires - will probably go with Conti-motion (waiting for new wheels to be installed),
  • fuel gauge bounces - waiting to take the dash apart and inject the Toyota silicon
  • instrument lights burned out - ordered 10 120deg LEDs. Should last forever
  • Speedo cable trashed - have a new one, wiating to take the fairing off for gauge work

Lower priority cosmetic defects include:
  • New wheels - have GSXR 5.5" rear and FJ 3.5" front. Powder black coat planned this week
  • Drivetrain - Have have a new RK gold chain and black 17/40 sprockets ready to go on with rear wheel
  • Suspension - still looking for late model FJ forks, and hoping Randy's shock will be available soon.
  • Brakes - have R1 fronts and GSX-R rear ready to go. Will order the Chinese front rotors when I find the forks.
  • Plastic welding - have the tools, just need to spend a weekend fixing cracks
  • Body Paint - will pay someone to paint the plastic OEM colors
  • Hardware Paint - will probably send all the black metal gloss stuff off to be powder coated last.

We'll get to all that soon enough, but here is what it looks up close, like before I fix them
(http://fjowners.com/gallery/7/medium_4000_12_04_14_10_56_51_1.jpeg)
(http://fjowners.com/gallery/7/medium_4000_12_04_14_10_56_54_2.jpeg)
(http://fjowners.com/gallery/7/4000_12_04_14_10_57_00_5.jpeg)
(http://fjowners.com/gallery/7/medium_4000_12_04_14_10_56_58_4.jpeg)
(http://fjowners.com/gallery/7/medium_4000_12_04_14_10_57_02_6.jpeg)


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: red on April 12, 2014, 01:56:19 PM
Ok, here is the 10 footer view after I fixed most of the high priority mechanical things. 
Not too bad. Just got it re-registered yesterday, so we can go on short rides to continue shakedown.  So far, I have only completed my high priority repairs
Mechanically, my medium priority list of todos that you probably cant see includes:
  • fuel gauge bounces - waiting to take the dash apart and inject the Toyota silicon
Petetb,

A bouncing fuel gauge may be caused by flakey ground connections to the instrument cluster. 
It's common that these connections need to be disconnected and cleaned, after all the years.

Cheers,
Red


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: Joe Sull on April 12, 2014, 05:28:06 PM
You might get some more red on that front wheel. :blum1:

(http://i1212.photobucket.com/albums/cc460/whiterabbit30/DSC05184-001.jpg)


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: wyraider on April 24, 2014, 09:52:50 AM
Hey welcome to the forum man. I'm not too far get her going n let's meet up. Cool story too :good2:


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: Yamifj1200 on April 25, 2014, 04:09:53 PM
Perfect intro,

  We are happy to see you have decided to restore your 87. Most folks here like seeing another FJ being brought hack to life. These old bikes are still impressive and easy to upgrade with modern wheels, tires and brakes they can become even better.  There are many original owners here and even more that have owned their FJ for many years. You have stumbled on the best place for all things FJ

  Keep us informed with your progress and enjoy the ride..

 Eric M


Title: Re: Hello from Nebraska, restoration starting
Post by: andyoutandabout on April 25, 2014, 08:41:16 PM
The ten foot view looks good enuff to me. Get riding, there's plenty of time to paper over the cracks.
Andy