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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So for the past 2 weeks my 88 VLX has been sitting in the garage waiting on parts, specifically new spark plug wires. The bike had been running rough, with a high speed vibration/buzz that I could feel in my hands and up my arms. At idle, the bike shook so bad the rear view mirrors made it look like you were watching the Blair Witch Project...

So, started by checking the plugs. When I took the left boot off the rear cylinder, I noticed the boot was a little loose where the boot meets the cap, and all it took was a light tug and the cable slid right out. Worse, it was corroded at the cap side, so pretty much that wire was toast, and likely the plug was not firing at all. So I decided to switch all the wires out, since it's likely they all some level of corrosion (the bike is 23 years old and the PO really wasn't big on maintenance).

While I was waiting for wires, I decided it was time to put on the new chain, front sprocket, and a new 40 tooth rear sprocket. Most of the ridding I do is highway / hi revs, and the 44 in the rear is not really optimal for that.

I was a little worried I had gone too small on the rear after reading some of the posts here, mostly because I am a pretty big guy (260 lbs) and everyone who switched to a smaller rear always made it a point to say they were under 200 and never rode 2 up. well, I can't ride 2 up unless the other rider is a strung out Kate Moss as all alone I come close to the weight limit on the bike!

So the wires arrive Friday, and this morning after 8am Mass I set about putting the bike back together. Did some much needed clean up too, there was lots of old encrusted grease and oil under the front sprocket cover. Also switched out the plugs for some NGK Iridums.

So far, I could not be happier with the results. The engine is smooth as silk, no more rough idle, and the buzz is completely gone at high revs.

Thankfully my fears on there rear sprocket were unfounded. I notice almost no difference off the line or going up hills, and the bike is much smoother at highway speeds,and I still have the power I need to overtake/pass when I need it. I'm anxious to see if the MPG improves too. Right now I'm at 53 MPG or so and would like to see that a bit higher.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a Sunday morning. We now return to our regularly scheduled football watching!

Doc
 

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sweet!
 

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glad ya got your bike fixed...after goin with the 40 tooth rear and replacing the front sprocket..did you just keep the front stock?im thinkin maybe doin this later as well as i know a cpl other vlx owners on here has asked this question too,what was the chain you bought? thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Kept the front stock

I kept the front stock - 16t. The chain was DID o-ring from the local bike shop. I had to take out a link to size it right, so I got a chain breaker there too.

Getting the bolts off the old rear sprocket was a bear. I don't think it had ever been changed and they were really stuck on there. I needed by air gun / impact wrench to get them off.

The front sprocket was a little tough too. The bolts came out easily enough, but there was a fine layer of grime / rust on the whole thing. I had to put a ton of WD 40 on there and really work to get that front sprocket off. I used my dremel and a wire brush tool to get the light layer of rust off it, so the new one went on with just a little elbow grease.

Tomorrow I'm ridding it about 50 miles to our airport office, so i'll report back on how she behaves.

Doc
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Wow - what a difference

So the 40 tooth on the back is just GREAT. Really smooths out the bike at higher speeds.

I was worried about loosing too much on the low end going down 4 teeth, but that does not appear to be a problem. I'm a big guy (260 at least) and I really don't notice any difference from the line. I made sure to take the hills on the way home, even stopped on a few facing up hill to see if there might be a problem. Other than having to give it just bit more gas, it handled the hills just fine.

The difference is really noticeable at highway speeds. At 65 to 70 the bike is much smoother thanks to the lower RPM. Even in 4th at 65 I still had a little left to pass if needed.

All in all, this might just be the best mod I've put on the bike!

Doc
 

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So the 40 tooth on the back is just GREAT. Really smooths out the bike at higher speeds.

I was worried about loosing too much on the low end going down 4 teeth, but that does not appear to be a problem. I'm a big guy (260 at least) and I really don't notice any difference from the line. I made sure to take the hills on the way home, even stopped on a few facing up hill to see if there might be a problem. Other than having to give it just bit more gas, it handled the hills just fine.

The difference is really noticeable at highway speeds. At 65 to 70 the bike is much smoother thanks to the lower RPM. Even in 4th at 65 I still had a little left to pass if needed.

All in all, this might just be the best mod I've put on the bike!

Doc
ive been wondering about this..glad to hear it didnt make a difference at taking off and top end seems to be smoother,im thinking of maybe doin this myself..depending on if i keep my bike or not.
 
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