My second VFR400R-NC30 project - Honda RC51 Forum : RC51 Motorcycle Forums
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post #1 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 04:56 AM Thread Starter
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My second VFR400R-NC30 project

I got my first VFR400R-NC30 back in 1999. From the first moment I sat on the thing, I knew this was the bike for me. Almost 10 years and 100.000 incredible km later, the bike was reconstructed in perfect condition and given NR750 like paintjob. After this, I decided to keep the bike not-operational, removed and cleaned all liquids and battery, did a long time store service and put it in my house, so I can have the delight of its presence.

But something was missing. The sound and feel, of the proper Honda Cam Gear Train 360 degree V4… So I decided to find another NC30, and make it my everyday operational bike. A greek expression says ''what the years fail to bring, a moment will'' and this was just the case for me. After sometime searching with no success, one summer day of 2012 I found the one. Cheap and in the condition I wanted, everything was there except for the engine. No time was wasted and the NC30 was in my basement for just 500 euros. 3 years earlier, in 2009, I had also bought a broken-crashed RVF, for even less money, and after having sold various stuff from that RVF, I had my money back and left with a good engine for free.

The NC30 was almost complete but didn't have an engine. The broken RVF had a perfect engine. So, the obvious plan was, to combine these two and make a fully nice and operational bike. Hence the project was named RVFR, because apart from the RVF engine, the VFR also had RVF rear wheel and RVF size linkage to the suspension.

At front the broken RVF, and behind the NC30 without engine.

So the plan was, to remove the RVF engine from the broken RVF frame and put it on the NC30. In order for this to happen, some work on the RVF engine had to be done, so that it will become compatible with the NC30 system.

RVF-NC35 and VFR-NC30 engines are almost identical, apart from 3 importand differences:

The RVF engine, has:
1. A single PickUp ignition system. In the image, there can be seen clearly, where the second pickup that VFR engines use, is missing.
2. Different ignition rotor, with other number of spikes.
3. An engine base, that is not used, by the RVF frame, but is needed in the VFR frame.

So, the VFR things were transferred to the RVF engine:
1. A two pickup VFR system was put.
2. A VFR rotor was put.
3. Spiral was constructed, so that the VFR frame will connect.

With these changes, the RVF engine was made a VFR compatible engine. In the image, you can see the different ignition rotors, on hand the RVF one

Last edited by TheCaracal; 10-07-2014 at 05:08 AM.
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post #2 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 04:57 AM Thread Starter
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An empty shell. This is where the RVF engine will get on, after a good cleaning...

With the traditional method of brush and heating oil, frame and everything around, were cleaned from stains and grease of decades… Then with soap and bath, most of the heating oil was washed away. For final cleaning a bath of water was applied for some time, until not a small iris was seen on the wet floor.

The full color and shine of the Honda extruded aluminum frame was again at its full glory.

After everything went dry, the engine got on the frame, or to be more realistic, the frame got down to the engine. At this stage, another RVF-VFR engine difference was found: The two engine bases, that RVF frame doesn't use, were not polished, so they were about 0.5mm more material. Result of this, the VFR frame to engine spacers needed a 0.5mm shaving of material, in order for the VFR frame to sit on the engine without tension.

After all bolts and spacers were secure fastened, all else got on the bike. Exhaust system, radiators, sprocket cover, all leads and wires, electrical stuff all except the regulator, new engine oil, engine oil filter and cooling liquid, all of them were on. The VFR started to feel so happy, that turned to the exit.

And at his point…here comes the pain… Carburetors… First of all, I saw sealant glue to the carb float chambers… OMG… A lot of bad words and courses were spelled at the time, for the criminal that did that… Anyway, after some time and very patient effort, all glue was removed, and carb components and passages were cleaned. But that was not enough; Rubbers seals were totally dried and were not able to stop fuel leaking any more… RIP seals… After even more patience, new seals were made, and the carbs were ready to find their way to the bike… And even this, took more patience too, because the engines inlet rubbers, were like wood dry… Carbs just didn't fit… A new set of rubbers, from the original VFR engine were used, in better condition, and finally the carbs were easily in place, ready to go.

All this carb work, seems just a paragraph here, but it was the projects bad time…

Battery fully charged and connected, ignition key to on, some fuel from an external bottle, and as soon the carbs were flooded, the engine was running nice and … angry! Maybe because it was sleeping for a long time, maybe because it was killed by the previous owner in a stupid-stupid crash, the engine was revving extremely pissed.

A very glorious time of every project, the moment the engine wakes up for good...

A lesson from Honda, how to use space and materials in the best way in designing a motorcycle engine, frame and all else subsystems, an image of technology and design wealth NOT seen anymore on modern production bikes, a time where all four japanese manufacturers didn't have the ''economy of production'' as a high priority...

The little V4 cam gear train FACTORY with incredible quality of manufacturing and excellent performance, is hugged by the beast frame (7% less rigid than the RC30 says Honda), with which they co-work for strength rigidity , and all the other subsystems find their way to the design without feeling out of place or not carefully designed to be there.

A piece of art.

Last edited by TheCaracal; 10-07-2014 at 05:15 AM.
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post #3 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 05:00 AM Thread Starter
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After that, all is left, is final assembly and the usual goofs that come out on first test rides.

Tank was put corectly


and finally the regulator was put to a new easier to assemble place, wires were made, and the tail in place.

First test ride and the results are tragic...

---Motorcycle steers left and right like drunk. Feels like the swingarm is loosely in place…

---Gear change lever is too high.

---Sometimes all electrical goes dead and everything stops. A real black out in other words.

---Drive chain is such a warn out, that the whole bike goes up and down as it moves.

Back to base, and everything is checked.

For ''drunk'' steering, the reason was a poor spherical join of the steer stabilizer. Stabilizer was removed, no need for stabilizer in everyday use anyway…

Chain and sprockets were changed with brand new, given with the VFR from the previous owner.

Gear lever, lowered.

As for the electrical black outs, a wire in the key switch was found cut, inside the plastic cover, just the copper! Soldered and problem was eliminated.
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post #4 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 05:01 AM Thread Starter
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In the months that followed, more were corrected, one at a time:
---New EBC HH pads, front brakes overhaul and cleanup, Dot5.1 fluid.
---All fairing bolts were replaced with allen 5mm for easy access. Quick turn bolts on side fairings from Yamaha R1, also allen 5m.
---Spark plugs replaced with new ones.
---Carbs were found with some errors that caused not perfect performance of the engine and high fuel consumption. Too large main jets and reverse order 132 front and 130 rear, they were changed to 118 front and 120 rear and the performance became very linear and less dramatic. Fuel consumption is now very good. On city streets, on low speeds, VFR delivers 23.5km per litter of fuel.
---All key locks (that had different keys) were replaced, now ONE key for all.
---Valve clearances were fixed, all inlet valves were found .10mm (out of range). Carbs synchronization was also performed.
---Front wheel bearings were replaced with new ones, as the old ones were damaged.
---HRC like derestrictor removed and instead a veer simple re-wire in the ECU plug was made to produce the same result
---Exhaust sounds like RC212V. Which is nice at times, but produces too much noise and bothers people. Not a nice thing to do. I tried a dB killer and it works.
---1mm spacers to the jet needles, to improve even more the linear performance of the engine on middle rpm.

End of summer of 2013, the Rectifier-Regulator died, and was replaced. The generator was also re-wired to be sure, by a friend of mine.

The VFR runs like a dream, travels fast and relatively economic, and in everyday use is easy and fun to ride. And that cam gear train V4 engine sound…

Thanks for reading

Last edited by TheCaracal; 02-09-2015 at 03:21 PM.
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post #5 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 05:09 AM
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Very nice.

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post #6 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 07:49 AM
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Very nice work.....keep the pictures flowing!

You should consider a CBR600RR upside down fork mod someday

My Öhlins Project:
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Congratulation to MakisRC51 for winning the 2014 Bike Of The Year Contest!
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post #7 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 10:01 AM
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cool beans

1986 Honda Interceptor...learned on it
1988 Yamaha Radian...wheelied on it
1990 Yamaha FZR...friend totaled it
1997 Honda Shadow...wife stole it
1998 Yamaha YZF...noob tree'd it
2002 Honda 954RR...just sold it
2005 RC51...finally found it

...if I stop runnin' the evil little clowns will get me!
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post #8 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 10:03 AM Thread Starter
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Front rides excellent as it is. In perfect ballance with the rest of the bike.

No way I would spend money, to fix something that doesn't need fixing, to spoil the bikes balance, spoil the bikes appearance with the CBRs 3 spike wheel , spend more time and money to make them work (with almost certain result: inferior balance to the original), increase the unsprung weight with the USD, almost certain key and stop problems, and all of these for what?

Increased rigidity, which is not needed for street use?

Sorry been there, done that (on another bike) , terrible idea, loose-loose situation 100%
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post #9 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 01:06 PM
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I LOVE the NC30, one of my favorite bikes of all time. Great work on the rebuild, it looks amazing. Nice pictures as well.....the only thing that made this even better was the fact you took a picture at the Thermopylae monument.


Thanks for posting this thread, i really enjoyed reading through it.

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post #10 of 27 (permalink) Old 10-07-2014, 02:58 PM
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I have been looking for years to purchase a rvf400 (nc35).
Can you assist me? I dont care if the bike is in great shape or if it needs to be rebuilt. I cant find these bikes in the united states and I am growing old! (31) haha
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