It had to be done ……… but

Aprilia Caponord ETV1000 Rally-Raid valve service and cam covers replacedAs I sit looking at the vast expanse of white in the WordPress editor window, fingers poised over the keys and acutely aware of the aches in my fingers and wrists and subtle waft of soap barely masking the hint of worn out engine oil clinging stubbornly to the creases  in my old hands, I think to myself ….. aaagggghhhh why did I bother!

Yes, another Caponord service is over – with a valve check. Don’t get me wrong, everything went well, couldn’t have gone better in fact. Air/Oil filters and engine oil, plugs, hoses, fuel tank drain lines etc … are just perfect … but this time I had to fight my way in to check the valves, last done sometime when Crackerjack was on black and white TV’s – or so it feels.

Don’t get me wrong it’s not a hard job, just a fiddly one, especially the front cam cover bolt beautifully obscured by the coolant thermostat, oh and the buggeroo of a screw at the front of the cam cover, behind the radiator and below the finger shredding plastic mount for the front coils … otherwise, all good.

It’s none of that that bothers me in reality. It’s the fact that when you get in and measure the valves after what seems like way too many miles since the last visit, they’re all bloody fine! Couldn’t just one be out, just one require a shim change just to make the whole visit worthwhile – please! Oh well, I guess I had to console myself with fitting the powder coated cam covers and savouring the moment in the golden hour at the end of a beautifully warm day. 

Service time over

Empty tank makes for light work!Service time is over for another 6,000miles. I decided a couple of years ago to extend it from the original 4,650 miles due in part to the well documented stability of the valve clearances and because I’m using the long oil filter and a decent branded oil. Whether I’m being realistic or foolhardy for extending the interval only time will tell.  😕

Valve clearances were all in spec but on the tight-side, so no need just yet to use the new Hotcams shim kit, but next time I’ll change all the shims by ±0.025mm to shift the 0.13mm ...... getting close to the limitgap back into its mid-range. That should see the valves good-to-go for at least another 50k miles. Everything else was absolutely fine, with just a slight tweak of the CO to lean out the idle.

The rest of the bike was given a thorough check over and happily all bearings and seals are fine, a squirt of grease in the rear suspension linkage keeping that nice and smooth. The drive chain and sprockets were cleaned and checked and after 33,333 miles (yes, that’s a genuine number!) they’re still good ….. This is the highest mileage I’ve EVER had from a drive chain. DID ZVM2 chain rocks!

Air filter frolics

Athena CA8925 air filter to replace Aprilia AP8104169I mentioned recently that I’d ordered a batch of air filters made by Athena in Italy. They’re a direct replacement for the Aprilia AP8104169 one and the only obvious difference is the black foam material instead of orange, and that’s fine and dandy with me. However, on stripping out the old filter I noticed for the first time (that I can recall!), it has a code on the end …. hmmmm ….. could it be a viable manufacturers code I wonder?

Hmmm what's the code mean then Sherlock?A few minutes on the web confirmed that the number is definitely a manufacturers code – not Aprilia, but FIAAM. A bit more digging unearthed a total of three cross-referance numbers. Tecneco AR9474PM, FRAM CA9474 and FIAAM PA7301. The downside? All of them seem to be obsolete, with FRAM/FIAMM saying they went out of production in March 2012! Buggeration ……

But … one of the sites I found listed a filter that is an almost identical footprint to the OEM one:-

Aprilia OEM          210 x 140 x 30

FIAAM PA7180   212 x 140 x 60

Now a 2mm length difference is peanuts – the OEM one can be stretched/compressed by 10mm easily, the problem may well be the height, at 60mm it’s double the OEM filter. So to try to find out I took some pics of the airbox with the OEM filter in and had a play in Photoshop. Here’s the outcome.

Photoshop airboxThe vertical lines show where the filter ends or interferes with the frame or lid. As you can see, the 60mm high PA7180 will squash in at the ends …… will this be enough to restrict air Athena box label for the Capoflow, or will the greater surface area of the larger pleats compensate? Answers on the back of a crisp £20 note if you please! 😀

Next time I’m passing a motor-factors, I’ll order one and have a play. At £4.68 each they’re half the price of the Athena …. and that brings me nicely back onto track, the new Athena filters that turned up today. What are they like then eh?Embossed pleats

Well, dimensionally it’s an exact copy, so the fit is absolutely fine. One nice touch is the embossed pleats. It keeps them evenly separated for better air flow unlike the OEM element that is simply made of folded paper where the pleats can collapse onto each other. The bottom line is that it fits well, looks better constructed and is substantilly cheaper than OEM (€8.35 each from Germany) …… oh and it comes in a nice shiny box!

Santa and his sack of Capo goodies

Ho, ho, ho ... dashboard inlay for MrB!!!!!I’ll start off by wishing you all a hearty Merry Christmas and a very happy New Year wherever you are on this wonderful globe of ours. For the Capo and I, it’s proving to be an extra special one this year, with Santa dropping off a few extra goodies for the riding-year ahead.

The dashboard has been especially good, and so merits the star prize of a new OEM quality inlay with all the new graphics in place. So as I write, the old one is on its way to Lockwood International Ltd in the UK to act as a template,  meanwhile the plastic chassis has been Finished inlay templatecleaned and preped ready for the big day. Like a kid on Christmas morning, I’m all on edge – and I’ve got to wait at least three or four more weeks yet before it’s installed!!

Probably the most needed bits are for the (very) overdue service. Yes folks, I’m hanging my head in shame as I admit that the Capo’s mileage overran a tad ……. a couple of thousand tads give-or-take! Now I’m waiting for a few packages to arrive for this truly international service to take place – Hiflo HF564 oil filters and ‘O’ rings from the UK, Hotcams valve shims from the USA, Athena air filters from Germany and 15w50 engine oil from Italy. Cosmopolitan or what!

That just leaves the parcels snuggling together under the tree …… a Shoi Neotec or a pair of socks? Slippers or a slipper clutch? Hmmm ….. roll on tomorrow!! 😉