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Concours Pre-delivery Assembly & Inspection

This little gem comes from Rowland Hill. Something most of us probably never knew even existed. Thanks for all the typing that you did on this job Rowland.

I have a Kawasaki Motorcycle Assembly & Preparation Manual dated December, 1995. I wanted to make sure my new-to-me 2003 Connie was put together properly. Presumably it applies to the post 1993 bikes. It covers most of the Kawasaki motorcycles sold at the time with specifics for different models when they didn't follow the general instructions. I am reporting in this post what it has for assembling and preparing a Connie for delivery, plus a little identified by FYI. I will refer to it as the A&P Manual. The A&P Manual is 123 pages, so I will be reporting the steps it has for assembling and preparing a Connie for delivery and not give portions of it verbatim (and violate the copyright).

Liability disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for maintaining your bike in accordance with your Owner's Manual and the Kawasaki Factory Service Manual. It is being provided to give owners and potential owners an idea of what is involved in the assembly and preparation of a new bike for delivery. I accept no liability for any use of this information. This information is provided on a "For What It's Worth" (FWIW) basis. You should use your appropriate year Owner's Manual and the Kawasaki Factory Service Manual (FSM) as the authoritative references for maintaining your bike. /End of Liability Disclaimer.

I have found two anomalies in my new-to-me 2003 Connie with 4,550 miles. Since the bike is not new, I don't know who may or may not be responsible for the anomalies and fasteners not tightened up to specification. Fasteners not torqued up to spec may be due to it's having 4,000 miles since the 500 mile check.

Where the A&P Manual refers to something in the Factory Service Manual, I do not include the service manual info, just the reference to it. I will refer to the Factory Service Manual as the FSM. My 2003 copy of the FSM has a basic portion which covers the early bikes with supplements for the 1989 and later models through 2003.

For your information (FYI), the Clymer Concours Service Manual is another available reference for information on maintaining your bike. It covers all years and is available from our own Concours aftermarket supporter Gary Murphy (Murph) at http://www.murphskits.com

There is a list of fasteners in the "Preparation" A&P manual which are to be checked. In my 2003 Owner's Manual, there is a long list of fasteners whose torque needs to be checked at 500 miles and then every six thousand miles thereafter. I would think that it would be a good idea to check them shortly after getting a new or used bike to prevent surprises. I will include the list from the A&P Manual and the list from my 2003 Owner's Manual (2003 OM) for the benefit of purchasers of used bikes which may not have an Owner's Manual.

The owner of a specific year model bike needs to determine the correct torque for the fasteners on their bike. FWIW, the only fasteners I have found whose threads are supposed to be oiled before being torqued are the connecting rod big end bolts.

So here it goes for the Assembly.

  • Open crate. Open parts packages and inventory loose parts. In 1995, loose parts included the front wheel, front fender, speedometer Gear housing, windshield and trim, steering head stem cover, saddle bag mount side covers, rear luggage carrier and cover, left and right air scoops, fairing trim that goes along the trailing edge of the fairing from the mirrors down to the bottom rear corner of the fairing, plus various fasteners, clamps, etc.
  • Installing the front wheel requires removing one of the front brakes to get the wheel into place. Install front wheel, brakes, and fender per the FSM, torque the front fender, axle nut, axle clamp bolts, and brake caliper bolts to the FSM figures.
  • Remove the steering head stem nut and discard the bracket used to secure it in the crate. Install the stem head nut and washer torqued properly. Install the handlebars properly torqueing the six bolts. Install the stem head cover.
  • Speedometer Cable Routing - Run the speedometer cable outside of the front left brake hose, through the clamp at the rear of the fender to the speedometer sending unit. The picture does not show the cable going through the wire bracket just behind the fork leg. The Clymer manual says that the cable should go through the wire guide on the front of the brake union at the top of the individual front brake hoses. That makes sense. I'm not aware of anything else which might go through there on a stock bike.
  • Install the windshield by starting the four shorter 16 mm long screws and plastic washers in the top outer four holes. Then start the six longer 20 mm screws and plastic washers in the lower six holes. Just get the screws well started. Don't tighten them until all are in and the windshield trim is positioned, then start tightening them in the center and alternate sides as you go up higher.
  • Install the rear luggage carrier and cover.
Preparation
  • Battery - The A&P Manual says to cut off the plugged end of the battery vent hose. It should be routed per your Owner's Manual or the FSM. On my 2003 it was routed between the tire and the swingarm, bad. On my 2003 the owner's manual shows a label under the right side panel which shows it going down and forward through the hose guide below and forward of the battery and then down below the bike. The FSM shows the same thing.
  • The A&P Manual says to drain the shipping oil, taking out the two drain plugs and oil filter. My 2003 Owner's Manual shows the procedure and says 22 ft-lbs for the drain plugs and 14.5 ft-lbs for the oil filter bolt. Install the drain plugs and oil filter and torque properly. Add appropriate amount and type of oil. When the filler cap is replaced, ensure the O-ring is OK and properly positioned. As usual, check the oil level again after the engine has been run and is warm per the Owner's Manual
  • Check the final gear case oil per the FSM. FYI, my 2003 OM also shows how to check it.
  • Check the brake fluid reservoirs (handlebar and rear brake) and top off as necessary with approved fluid. Operate several times and bleed if necessary per the FSM. Adjust the lever and pedal per the FSM.
  • Check the clutch fluid reservoir and top off as necessary with approved fluid. Operate several times and bleed if necessary per the FSM. Adjust clutch lever free play per the FSM
  • Add fuel and operate the fuel valve, if it has a sediment cup, empty the sediment cup. FYI, my 2003 Connie does not have a sediment cup as part of the Fuel valve. It does have drains on each of the carburetors. See your FSM.
  • Adjust the throttle grip free play per the FSM.
  • Rear Shock Air Pressure and Damping Adjustment - FYI, the rear shock air pressure has been reported to be all over the map on both new and used bikes. It is checked and adjusted at the air pressure fitting under the right side cover. The A&P Manual, the FSM and the 2003 OM all say not to use a regular tire gauge for checking the rear shock pressure. My 2003 Connie tool kit has a Japanese gauge which resembles but is not the same as a standard US pencil tire gauge. Some people purchase the Progressive Suspension shock pump/gauge which goes up to 60 PSI. A friend loaned me his and it is a slick piece of equipment with a circular gauge with two PSI per marking increment. I am going to get one. All three manuals say to check the rear shock air pressure while the shock is "cold (room temperature)". I check mine while the engine is warming up. Murph's side panel hand screws make it easy. Otherwise, you need a # 3 Phillips screw driver. The FSM says 7.1 PSI for an average build rider, the 2003 OM says 14 PSI for a 150 lb rider. I guess the FSM's average build rider is pretty skinny. For a rider with load, or with passenger with or without a load the FSM and 2003 OM both say 28-50 PSI. The shock damping can be adjusted from "1" to "4". The FSM and 2003 OM both suggest "2" for a starting point and going lower for a "soft" ride and higher for riding with a load, high speed riding, or with a passenger.
  • Tire Air Pressures - FYI, these have also been reported all over the map with new and used bikes. I'd recommend checking them before a test ride. If you don't want to risk offending the dealer or owner, you can consider going out of sight around the corner and then pull off the road and check them. With the stock tires, for US, Canadian, and Australian bikes, the FSM says 36 PSI front and 41 PSI rear. My 2003 OM says 36 PSI front and 42 PSI rear. According to the FSM, other than US, Canadian, and Australian get 36 PSI at both ends up to 215 lbs of load and 41 PSI in the rear for over 215 lbs load. See your owner's manual if you have the stock tires or the tire manufacturer's recommendation for the tires on your Concours.
  • Headlight Aim - There are horizontal and vertical adjusters. See the FSM or your Owner's manual.
  • Cable lubrication - Throttle cables and Choke cable
  • Lubricate pivot points with Motor Oil - The A&P Manual says the Center stand, Side Stand, Clutch lever, Brake lever, Brake pedal, Shift Pedal. The FSM adds the Rear Brake Rod joint and shift linkage.
  • Lubricate with grease - The A&P Manual says Throttle Inner Cable Ends, Swingarm Pivot, Suspension rocker arm pivot, Steering Stem bearing, Speedometer inner cable (lower end). The FSM adds the Handlebar Throttle Grip Portion and Throttle Inner Cable Lower Ends. FYI, the rear Uni-Trak has zerk fittings including two upper ones behind the mufflers. Some people use a flexible grease hose with an angled grease hose end fitting or install angled metric zerk fittings at the upper positions so that they don't have to remove the mufflers)

List of fasteners from the Preparation section of the A&P Manual: Some of them may not be on a Connie. As you can see, there is quite a list of fasteners to be checked before the delivery of a Connie. Refer to the FSM for the appropriate torques.

  • Cooling System Drain Plug
  • Spark Plugs
  • Engine Drain Plugs
  • Engine Mounting Bolts
  • Engine Bracket Bolts
  • Exhaust Pipe holder nuts
  • Oil filter mounting bolt
  • Brake disc mounting bolts
  • Brake hose banjo bolts
  • Front fork clamp bolts
  • Brake caliper mounting bolts
  • Clutch Hose banjo bolts
  • Front Axle nut
  • Front axle clamp bolts
  • Front fork top bolts
  • Fuel tap Mounting Bolts or Nut
  • Handlebar mounting bolts
  • Steering stem head nut
  • Footpeg mounting Bolts and nuts
  • Brake pedal clamp bolt
  • Shift pedal clamp bolt
  • Rear axle nut
  • Uni-trak rear Suspension Arm and link Nuts
  • Check that cotter pins or safety clips are in place, properly installed in good condition.


Test ride and correct problems. I have added a couple of items. FWIW, it looks like the items down through "No exhaust leaks" could be checked with the bike on the center stand.

  • Headlights - high and low beams and high beam indicator - FYI, with the ignition on, it should be extinguished before engine start and illuminated after the engine is running.
  • Neutral and oil pressure warning lights
  • Brake Light - both bulbs - Front Brake and Rear Brake
  • Turn signals
  • Hazard lights
  • Horn
  • Tail lights - both bulbs
  • Steering - free from lock to lock
  • Throttle works without binding as the handlebars are moved from lock to lock
  • Fork lock
  • Parking light
  • Choke works properly for starting engine
  • With engine running, no rpm variation as steering is moved from lock to lock
  • Engine handlebar kill switch works
  • Engine shuts off with ignition switch
  • With engine running, side stand safety switch works
  • Gauges - Fuel, Tach, & Temp
  • No fluid leaks - Brake, clutch, coolant, fuel, oil
  • No exhaust leaks. FYI, it would seem that you would need to have at least the belly pan off to really check this
  • Brakes work smoothly
  • Clutch and Transmission - all gears, shift out of and into neutral
  • Front and rear suspension work properly
  • Speedometer


For the 500 mile and 6,000 mile interval checks, my 2003 Owner's Manual includes the following list of fasteners. It says to check with my authorized Kawasaki dealer for torque values. FWIW, I bought a copy of the 2003 Factory Service Manual so that I could look the torque values up myself. I plan to copy the Owner's Manual list to a page in the back of my maintenance log book along with the torque values to use when I do maintenance. Clymer's manual also has a lot of torque values, but I haven't checked them against the FSM.

  • Front fender mounting bolts
  • Front fork clamp bolts
  • Clutch lever pivot bolt
  • Clutch master cylinder clamp bolts
  • Handlebar Mounting bolts
  • Steering Stem head Nut
  • Muffler Mounting Bolts and Nuts
  • Front Axle Clamp bolts
  • Front axle nut
  • Caliper Mounting bolts
  • Engine mounting Bolts and nuts
  • Side stand bolt
  • Pivot Shaft Nut (Swingarm?)
  • Rear shock absorber mounting bolts and nuts
  • Final gear case mounting nuts
  • Torque link nuts
  • Brake Master Cylinder Clamp Bolts
  • Brake Lever Pivot Bolt
  • Rear Axle nut
  • Muffler Connecting pipe clamp bolts

It sure looks like it's important for the person doing the maintenance on a Connie to have an FSM or both the FSM and Clymer's manual (my choice) and a good set of tools including torque wrenches.

Article By: Rowland Hill

March 2005

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