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Finally got everything done on my to-do list for the Mrs. today. Could spend some time with the new bike and was inspired by your videos. Feel bad its been sitting in the garage gathering (saw) dust for weeks.

Anyway - in case it helps someone else - here's my impression of removing the backwheel to inspect the splines.

Absolutely get a wooden plank under the center stand, give you that extra clearance to remove the back wheel. In my case I used a old 2x12. Couldn't for the life of me get the stand to engage on top of that at first, felt like I was trying to lift the back of the bike. The solution was to first roll the back tire up on top of another 2x12. Then pop the bike up onto the centerstand. Once up on the stand you can easily remove the second 2x12 that was under the back tire. Doing it this way you're not lifting the back of the bike that extra 2 inches. Lastly attach a ratchet strap to the front wheel and hook that to the center stand. Working on this alone you don't want the 500lb beast falling over.

Next undo all the bolts for the shocks. Pull both shocks off. Keep in mind where all the nuts and washers are. I bagged everything up into plastic ziplock bags I had laying around the garage. Labeled everything with blue painters tape just in case. Jammed a 4x4 scrap under the backwheel during this process so it doesn't suddenly drop the swingarm when you get the shocks off.
Tire Automotive lighting Automotive tire Wheel Fuel tank


Undo the bolts for the rear brake actuator rod and the rear brake pivot arm. Again bag these up.

The real challenge was getting the axle bolt off. Its a castle nut with a stout cotter pin. Got the pin out easy. Socket on the breaker bar, step on the bar. It just turned the axle in the frame and didn't actually loosen the bolt. Tried one hand on the breaker bar and the other hand on a wrench on the axle itself (meanwhile gripping the tire between my knees). No luck there, and pulled a muscle from this whole goofy stance.

Finally - put a 17mm wrench on the axle (right side) of the bike, and jammed a soft scrap of wood between the wrench and the lower right shock mount. So now turning the castle nut might still turn the whole axle but the other side axle will be jammed in place. Step on the breaker bar again and it pops the nut loose. Phew. Tough work without an extra set of hands.

Here's the moment of truth. Bike was so cheap that if I opened this up and saw ground down spline teeth, might not be worth fixing. Roll the rear wheel out and see plenty of grease on the splines. Not sure if this is moly - it looks a lot like Park Bike tools PolyLube. Better than nothing. I have a little jug of Loctite LB 8012 (Formerly known as Loctite Moly Paste) - wondering if this would be the right kind of grease for these splines. "Contains 65% molybdenum disulfide". Or maybe just leave what's on there? Bike is from 2002 so at some point an owner in the past put some work into this maintenance.
Automotive tire Wheel Motor vehicle Automotive design Rim


Also found hair inside the final drive, and a dead spider and some webbing. Teeth all look good though. Pulling the final drive was a bit of a challenge - the four 12mm bolts that hold it on are a little tough to get a socket around due to the thickness of the swingarm. Best to use a socket though, I tried an open wrench and it slid a little - don't want to round these off.
Sleeve Wood Metal Leather Publication


At this point I haven't pulled the shaft out, wondering if I should do that and check the grease situation up under the boot.

So back wheel is off and should probably get a new tire. Nice Metzeler but 2011 manufacture date, and tire doesn't seem to have any yield or stickness left. Maybe the mechanics shop will give me a discount if I just bring the wheels themselves in.

Once again many thanks to this forum for making all this possible. I probably wouldn't have had the confidence otherwise.
 

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A bit late on the reply here. Wife has been traveling for a few weeks, so it was just me and my two young teen sons for the holiday. I had all these big plans to spend time wrenching on the bike during winter break but no such luck.

Good news is - got both new tires on (Dunlop 404s). Our local bike shop here (Bikes Built Better) puts them on cheap if you bring the wheels to them, and they also get you a discount ordering tires through them. I found a few places online that you can get the tires slightly cheaper, but the reviews say they'll send you old tires. Previous pair on my bike were cracked up Metzlers from 2011. New ones are bright and squeaky still.

Thanks again to the Checkered Floor Garage for the walkthroughs on how to get the wheels on and off. Funny thing is - putting the front wheel back on I initially didn't get the speedo lined up correctly with the tangs (even after watching the video over and over). Started torquing the axle nut down, got to about 20 ft/lbs and the wheel suddenly doesn't turn easily. Thought maybe the brakes were the culprit so popped those off. Still no turning. Redid the axle and nut and made sure everything was truly lined up. Took 43 ft/lbs no problem and still spinning.

Might try for a full oil change today, have a Bosch filter lined up. More luck with this bike - stopped by Advanced Auto parts to get a filter wrench. Worker recommends the adjustable one, even though it was more expensive. Cashier rings it up and the wrench is only $1.05. Said I got the deal of the century. Got out of there quick in case they wanted to reconsider.

Some questions for the longbeards here. I've so far got every accessible final driveshaft spline coated with Moly, but according to this diagram:
42034 COUPLING,DRIVE SHAFT, 42034-1035
Looks like it hides another spline, and the only way to get at that spline/coupling would be to pull the entire driveshaft out the front (as Spockster mentions above) and take the shaft itself apart, I'm guessing?
Is this something we want to worry about? Figure while I have wheels off might as well see this through.

Another issue - turning the front wheel on or off the jack - front brake pads seem to scrape a bunch. Wheel still turns easy enough but what a racket. Maybe they're just old and dirty? Maybe the rotors are tweaked? Noticed the brake fluid looks like maple syrup so after flushing that might come back to the calipers themselves. Probably clogged with asbestos dust or something. What's the opinion on something like EBC non-asbestos organic brake pads? Worth the price upgrade?
 

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EBC it shall be then. If nothing else, replacing them gives me an excuse to thoroughly go over the front calipers.

Fresh oil change - old oil was a rich frothy cappuccino. New stuff (the Motul 7100 10w-40) is like a fine red wine in comparison.

Looking for another set of ears to listen to the motor - does this cam chain sewing machine sound like a regular VN750? Its pretty loud when standing right next to the bike (also in a small garage for the echo). Wondering if the manual cam chain tensioner conversion should be on the agenda. Bike is just at 11,200 miles.


Lastly - idle is fine, got it warm enough to get the choke off. But with choke off, blipping the throttle is getting some poppy backfiring in the pipes. Guessing a lean condition, has the V&H pipes unbaffled at the moment, so maybe never tuned right. Also noticed the smog system tubes have some cracks, wondering if that would lead to the backfiring. Earshave is on the horizon, but hoping to actually ride the thing soon.
 
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