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Downside to buying older bike with low miles?


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I'm looking at an older VStar. Very low miles. I know the tires will not be trustworthy, despite being garage kept. Recent oil change. New battery.

What else should I look out for? Any potential issues with rings, trannie?

Thinking out loud here... Appreciate your thoughts!

Thanks, David

 

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I bought my 85 ZN700 with 1k miles on it in 2009.  The PO died.  His 50ish nephew tried to get it running and keep it but gave up.  I think he attempted to clean the carbs.  Then I bought it.  It was running ragged on 3 cylinders.  I put a bottle of Valvoline Fuel Injection Cleaner in a tank and ran it through.  It then ran smooth on 3 cylinders.  After checking spark to the plugs, I removed the carbs and cleaned them but they were already fairly clean.  Then I finally realized one of the original plugs was dead.  New plugs and it ran great.  If you are the one starting it for the first time in many years, perhaps you could spin the engine on the starter a few times hopefully getting some oil up to the valve train before firing it up.  Maybe even squirt a bit of oil into the spark plug holes before spinning it.  My bike was a great buy in my opinion and has been reliable so far.  The biggest repairs have been stuff like fork seals and the speedo cable broke.  Nothing serious.  74hp in a 500 lb bike makes it a blast to ride around town.  

Edited by BlueSky
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Gentlemen, I appreciate your answers.

Guess, I was looking for something more drastic. Long term effects of an engine/suspension not being used but well kept. The owner made it clear that except for some minor cosmetic issues, the scoot is in good shape.  The bike was kept in garage, run/ridden occasionally, oil; changed, battery changed, etc.. I would "assume" (love that word) that he kept Stabil type products in gas as well. He says it runs fine. 

It would be my concern to purchase then find out a few months later that as I start riding the bike, it would end up being a wrong decision as things start to fall apart. I guess I shouldn't be worrying about this, it is a Yamaha after all....but I'm not able to get to the scoot with this covid crap in the way. Traveling isn't very smart right now, for me anyway.

Decisions, decisions....

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I'm a newbie type mechanic & have torn into my RSV multiple times learning and trying to get to the source of what turned out to be gunked up carbs on a 13-year old bike w/ only 21k miles.  That said, I would look at rubber bits for signs of decay.  Things like brake lines, fork seals, etc. 

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HIYA VAZ!!! Been a while,, hope all is well.. Rundown on restoring old bikes, at least from my past went something like this:

1. Never spin one up that has been setting unran for more then 5 years without prelubing the top end. By that I mean getting oil over valve train and spinning it up with a drill motor first.. I have seen wayyyy to much cam journal damage by not doing this. 

2. Regardless of how things look exterior,, give the fuel tank a very close internal look for rust. Look closely at the roof of the tank with a mirror and pen light.  

3. Check the fuel/air system/exhaust closely for mice damage including nest buildup in exhaust.

4. If she has CV carbs pull the slide diaphrams and look for cracks. 

Fingers are tired

Love ya

Me

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@cowpuchas a good point on looking for critter nests.  I had a few mice make a home out of my air filter one winter.  By the grace of god for some reason I looked before sucking those guys into my engine.

Edited by Pasta Burner
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As mentioned, all rubber is suspect not just the tires.

There is a big difference between low miles, recently ridden, and not started for many years. Use @cowpuc ideas if it has been sitting unstarted for a long time. If it has been ridden recently then just the normal checking changing of all fluids, especially brake and clutch. On a low mile bike if the owner says carbs just rebuilt, that is a red flag to say it sat unrun for a long time and the carbs gunked up due to improper storage. when they say just rebuilt they may be talking mileage, if it was last year then it is very possible they are gunked up again. Also if the carbs were gunked it may have been started after a long nap without lubing things first. This type of damage will not show up for a couple thou miles.

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One thing to look for is rust pitting on the front forks.  If they are pitted fork seals may not be able to seal.  Now I do remember that one of the rear shocks on my ZN700 had some evidence of leakage so I replaced them both.  I went to the on line Progressive catalog and selected some that had the correct length, eye size, and springs.  On some bikes they list shocks for that model but my bike was too old and/or too rare so I had to figure out what fit.  

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Thank you all. I hadn't thought of the rubbers beyond the tires. Yep...O rings and such might start leaking after being dry for a period of time.

That includes shock seals and such. 

I'm going to have to think some more on this. Thanks !

D

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