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Discussion Starter #1
Hey everyone! I've been reading this forum for a while now and have learned a lot from you all. I just bought a '95 ZX6R-F1, w/ about 6000 miles, from a friend who's taken relatively good care of it. However, the front brake was pretty squishy and fluid needed to be changed. Well, i've spent about two weeks trying to get all the air out of the system and have bled and re-bled the system (bleed valve and all the banjo bolts etc)....but I could never get a firm lever the first squeeze, and had to pump it once (or twice) to get a solid brake. I was pretty frustrated and bought a brake-bleed vacuum kit to help suck out all the air bubbles. What I found was a tiny air leak from the left side caliper bleed valve. It doesn't seem to seat down properly and is very loose (whole thing wiggles) when the valve is opened a crack. My question is: if I can buy one, will a new bleed valve likely fix this, or do you think i'll need a whole new caliper? If so, where should i look for a new one, besides a dealer, or is a Kawi dealer my only option? I looked on the buykawasaki.com website, but they don't sell calipers. Any help you guys can give me will be very much appreciated, and i'll finally be able to enjoy my new toy!
 

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I also have a '95 ZX-6R. When I got it the guy had replaced both front calipers with ones off an older ZX-9R I think. They worked but I wanted to get it back to original. I bought a pair of calipers off eBay and replaced the seals. They were like new. I also got the old original calipers with the bike. It turns out that they were O.K. just need some TLC. Anyway, you can get the bleeder valve from ronayers.com although I doubt that is the problem. You can get whole caliper but they are very expensive. Calipers come up on eBay every so often but only the '95-'97 are a perfect match.

I have never had any trouble bleeding the front. You might try putting some silicone grease on the bleeder and putting it back in. I noticed that mine were gunked up so I took them out and cleaned them up in ospho. There is a tiny hole on the side that tends to get clogged. When you bleed the brake pump the lever until it is firm and hold it down. Then just barely crack the bleeder, just enough to let the lever go down
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice, johnsey.... I originally thought that replacing the fluid and bleeding the lines would be like a half hour job (in fact, originally, it was).... But this turned out to be way more frustrating! I've bled brakes on airplanes with less trouble! I guess I can spare a little TLC for my new baby....Anyway, I'll give your tips a go and get back to ya!

Keep the g's on!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Not yet...one money-pit at a time! I've got about 70 hours flying two different versions, and they've served as my aerobatics training platform over the last three years. I can't decide which is more thrilling, though: spinning a vertical line straight down towards the ground or twisting the ZX6r's throttle through 10k RPM!

Keep the g's on!
 

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I tried to talk my wife into letting me buy a 108 horse Citabria to teach my daughter to fly in. She just laughted. Isn't it fun to ride a motorcycle faster than the airplane you fly.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Haha! Your wife must've laughed because she knew there was a 150 HP Citabria available with inverted systems! :) And it's funny you mention the bike being faster than the airplane: I bought the 6R from a buddy who owns a Stearman. We were out with friends the night i bought it, and he wouldn't shut up about his plane! All I said was "Well, my new motorcycle's faster than your airplane!" and he shut right up!

How long have you been flying? I've been flying about 4.5 years. Did you ever get to teach your daughter to fly? Too bad you couldn't get that Citabria.... I know of a pretty and relatively new one if you're still interested. The flight school i rent from can't afford the insurance on it anymore. After 9/11, renter's insurance pretty near doubled for them...really messed them up good.

Keep the g's on!
 

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I got my private ticket in 1969. I've only got about 300 hours. My daughter is 11. I want here to start when she nears 16. I am morbidly curious about the Citibria. I know it is more than I can afford but how much do they want. The reason I want an old 108 horse one is that they were usually much cheaper.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ok, I got the Citabria info for you...It's a 2000 7GCAA that was purchased new, and has currently about 400 hours on it - only some very minor hanger rash. It's located at KHFY. It was purchased with the upgraded wing spars (they're aluminum instead of wood) which increases max gross weight by 100 lbs to 1750 lbs. The engine is a 160 HP Lycoming (no inverted system...don't really need one - most aerobatics are positive g maneuvers until you start competing past the Sportsman level) and this engine/plane combo makes it feel like you're flying a rocket! I don't know what kind of prop is on it, but I think it's pitched for cruise performance. The transponder is Mode C capable and the radio is a Garmin GNC XL250 nav/com/GPS (with moving map display). There's the regular complement of other instruments (no artificial horizon). Anyway, I think the owner is asking $80K for it and is up for partnerships and/or forming a flying club. He just can't afford the insurance required for a leaseback to the flight school (right now, I'm not liking insurance companies because of this! This is the second plane I've rented that this has happened to!) I was interested in joining a club or partnership with him, as long as there are enough participants.

If you want a classic and inexpensive way to teach your daughter how to fly, get a Piper Cub! They loop and spin great, too!

Keep the g's on!
 

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Ouch! I think that one is a little out of my price range. The first time I got upside down was in a J3 I rented for 6 bucks an hour. I will probably end up with a 150/152. Sure would be fun to have a tail dragger.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
There's the option of the 152 Aerobat "Texas Taildragger" which have the main gear moved forward, nose wheel removed, and a tailwheel! Those are a lot of fun (aerobatic), relatively affordable, and easy to teach in. The spring landing gear make it a bit squirley on the ground, but it's not much different than any other taildragger i've flown.

Keep the g's on!
 

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I had heard of the Aerobat but not the Texas Taildragger. I have flown 140's. I bet the gear is very similar. Did you get your caliper problem fixed?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Well, yes and no to the caliper problem. I've removed the bleed valves and put teflon tape on the threads. I've tested with the vacuum pump and gauge, and the leak appears to be gone. phew. Now it's just a matter of finding time to rebleed everything again. I live in a ground floor apt, and with no garage, I pull the bike into my living room to work on. Requires more time to move furniture around than I've had the past week. I will certainly keep you posted, though. :) I was thinking of doing just what you did and pull them off and clean up the calipers really well, replace seals, etc... I'm sure it could use the tlc...

Keep the g's on!
 

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Not sure that this has any relevance to your problem, citabria, but I also had a problem w/my front brakes feeling squishy on my '95. Thought it might be the fact that the rotor was scored on one side, so I bought some steel braided lines and called it a day. That improved feel and performance, but my left side pads wore out before the right, again. After several false suggestions from mechanics on the subject, I realized that the caliper had been put together unevenly and the pads on the one side were not moving freely, hurting the performance and causing drag. Anyway, I guess the moral is I shouldn't have trusted anything to be perfect, even from the factory. Good luck w/your problem, I know how frustrating it can be.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
thanks for the tip, Weezy. I'm in the process of disassembling and cleaning the front lines and caliper system (it's a loooooong process since i can't find time to spend more than 30 mins or so on the darn thing). I'll be sure to keep what you've said in mind while I work through the problem. I'm a little worried b/c i've never rebuilt anything as important as brakes before (who needs brakes anyway, right?) and i wonder if I trust myself enough to fix it properly (since as you've alluded to, even the guys at the factory mess it up sometimes!) At least i've got all winter to work on it.... One thing i've noticed, too, is after i bleed and pump brake, it feels firm, but then if i spin the front tire, it really gets squishy again and i have to pump the lever to get a solid grip again. Could this be indivative of the problem you described?

Keep the g's on!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
you're right. the diagrams in the service manual don't look too complicated. I haven't bought anything yet. Do you recommend that i run to the Kawi dealer for them, or should my local bike-enthusiast shop carry these? Is it necessary to stick with OEM parts - even if they're more expensive?

Keep the g's on!
 

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You will have to stick to oem parts I fear. I got mine from ronayers.com for about 40% off retail. There are two seals on each piston. I, in hind sight, would just replace the outer ones as suggested in the manual. They are very expensive, about $3 a piece, if I remember correctly. I spent $50 just for seals. You will probably need to replace the o-rings that seal the halves together. Be careful with the back of the piston where it contacts the pad. It has some sort of soft material on it that is similar to brake pad material. It is very easy to damage. I found out the hard way.
 

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Citabria, it's hard for me to say whether your problem at the lever is the same as mine. My pads weren't releasing all the way because of a ridge blocking their movement, causing weaker lever response but never requiring extra pumps on the lever. It's really easy to tell if it's dragging though, with your calipers off and pin pulled out of the pads just move the pads back and forth in the space they would normally travel. If you have that ridge in there and the pads are getting hung up, you should be able to see it easily. I just filed it down and no more problem. Good luck w/your rebuild, have faith, it will work, and besides you always have a rear brake too:)
 
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