Unfinished Business 3 – GSXR1000 K4 – Sorting Out the Basics

Scary Brakes

The first thing to do is to get the brakes sorted out. They were scary. The action was notchy and there was no initial bite. As we were all working from home by now due to the lovely COVID19 virus, I nipped down during lunch break to the bike and tried to strip out the brakes.

The front brakes were worn to the backing and glazed. The sliding pins were filthy, dry and a tad worn out. As there was no time to get a new set of pads, I took out my trusty flat head screwdriver and tried scoring the surface of the pad to give it some grip though they really needed a new set.

The Front Brake Pads
Close Up

I also took out a fine grain sand paper and lightly cleaned the pins. The calipers were filthy as well and out came the plastic brush and Contact Cleaner (I did not have a can of Brake Cleaner then) and cleaned it. I should dab a bit of copper grease on them but did not have them on hand.

The Filthy Sliding Pins

I went to the right caliper to do the same but could not loosen one of the caliper bolts. It seems to have seized. As the bolts seem to be made from aluminum or some mild steel, I backed off in case I strip the head.

The rear was worse. It was the first time I have seen brake pads that rusted over! I wish I had taken a photo of that. I did the same as with the front but knew that it was futile. There was minimal improvement after this effort.

I knew that it would be presumption to call on God’s grace and mercy to continue riding the bike like this. Though God did promise the following…

Deuteronomy 31:6
New King James Version
6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”

He did also say not to tempt the LORD your God:

Matthew 4
New King James Version

5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:

‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, ‘In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”

7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

So it is only wise to give a call to the workshop to see if they can slot me in for a pad change. Due to local COVID regulations, parts suppliers were not open for direct purchases and all that the workshop had was a set of Brembo front brake pads. $200+ for 2 sets….ouch! What to do but to bite the bullet? Well, at least now I can say with pride (and a lighter wallet) that “I have Brembo brakes”? The rear was replaced with an organic pad to my relief.

“Ouch!” said Mr Wallet

On the ride back, the brakes have improved but the action was still not smooth. I was starting to fear that the calipers’ pistons have to be replaced or the master cylinder’s as well. It was only solved after I changed the brake lines to my extended set to accommodate the Convertibars. I don’t see why that would make difference though. Perhaps the complete flush of the braking system was the real reason.

Engine Oil, Filter, Coolant, Harpic Toilet Cleaner!

Looking at the state of this machine, I think it was not difficult to see that the bike has not been regularly maintained. Needless to say, the engine oil and coolant has to be changed for a peace of mind.

I ordered 3 bottles of Belray EXS 10w-40 and brought out my extra oil filter from my previous K1.

Belray EXS. Good stuff
Oil Change

The coolant actually looked clean and the bike was not overheating (actually I noticed that the bike was a bit cold blooded – more on that in future posts), so I was thinking not to change it, but decided to do it once and for all. For the coolant, I ordered Engine Ice.

Mistake here. I should have release the coolant pipe on the LEFT of the bike instead

Since the fairings were off, I also brought out my trusty Harpic toilet cleaner and brush to work on the exhaust pipes. The stock GSXR exhaust was titanium and does not rust. The Yoshimura full system must be made from some type of steel and it looked corroded. It beats me why someone would spend thousands on an aftermarket system that is inferior to the stock one. Power gains etc….maybe if you are on a race track, but on the road. 170bhp is not enough? Really?

Before Harpic toilet cleaner power
After Harpic power

The exhaust looked worse than it actually was but it was just surface corrosion or rust. The Harpic cleaner did its magnificent work and with some scrubbing, the exhaust cleaned up pretty nicely.

Missing Butterflies?

Having ridden the K1 before, I know what a good running GSXR engine felt like and this K4 did not run was it should. There was nothing seriously wrong with her though and I thought that all she needed was some TLC.

Previously as I rode the bike home, I was wondering if I bought a 600 or a 1000. There was no mid range from the engine and twisting the throttle brought about as much thrust as a 400cc inline four. There was also a gurgling, burbling sound when I twisted the throttle.

The engine was also a little rough and my experience from the K1 told me that the throttle bodies were probably out of balance.

Well, out came my trusty carb/throttle body balancer and off came the airbox. I looked at the throttle bodies and something didn’t look right. Those from the K3/K4 were probably slightly different from the K1/K2, but they should not be too different right? Anyway I couldn’t put my finger on it and proceed to hook up all the tubes to start balancing them.

My dad came over to see what I was up to an then said “Son, where are the secondary butterflies?”

What? I straightened up, looked at the bank and looked back at him.

“They are there. See?” I proceeded to twist the throttle to show him.

“No no. The ones on top. See the little bar there? Where’s the butterfly valves?”

Huh? I looked at the throttle bodies again and then it dawned on me what was strange about it. The butterfly plates for the computer controlled ones were missing!

Missing secondary butterfly!

There’s nothing I could do at that point but to proceed with the balancing. I would try to find out why the butterflies were removed. My guess was that one of the previous owners must have wanted some additional performance gains. Expensive full system exhaust, power commander (not working btw…future post), secondary butterflies removed. Together, I think they kind of tell what the previous owner wanted from her.

The throttle body balancing did not go smoothly.

I was almost stumped by 2 things. The first was because the connectors from my carb balancer would not fit the vacuum hoses from the throttle bodies. The next was that I spent 20 minutes trying to find the adjusters to balance them!

The first was solved by my dad again coming out to see what was taking so long. When he realised the problem, he suggested that we go to the nearby pet shop to get the plastic connectors for those aerators for fish tanks. Those fitted perfectly.

The second was solved after I took a close look at the workshop manual. I assumed that the throttle bodies were not much different from the K1/K2 where we adjust the screws on linkages connecting the individual throttle body. However, it turns out that for the K4, there were individual airscrews for each throttle body that are used to adjust the vacuum.

After those were solved, the balancing proceeded without incident and finally I checked the throttle position sensor (TPS) since the tank was off and it was on the right mark on the speedometer (or so I thought….future post).

2 thoughts on “Unfinished Business 3 – GSXR1000 K4 – Sorting Out the Basics

  1. Sorry it’s beginning to look like a can of worms. But it seems like you got it all under control. Looking forward to your next update(s).

    1. Hi hi… I took a chance that she was generally OK and all she needed was some servicing and maintenance. It was generally the case though the next installment will reveal a costly and puzzling problem. Stay tuned for some detective work next round.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s