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Ok. There are learning experiences, and then there are humbling experiences. The difference, IMO, is your perspective...

I'm not a mechanic. Moreover, I have never really been mechanically inclined. However, when I bought my 2007 Bonnie Black and paid for the 500 mile maintenance, (+$175 parts and labor), I realized it was a great opportunity to learn something I've always been interested in and passionate about, and save some money. But I've never 'worked on' a bike, car, scooter, moped, skateboard, bicycle, or anything involving simple, let alone complex mechanics.......and this has never been as evident as it was yesterday when I attempted to remove my airbox, fit preds, and rejet my carbs.

But, thankfully, this does have a happy ending...

First things first. I have the craftsman yellow 1500lb motorcycle jack. Great reviews, and a great price. And the instructions make it seem idiot proof. Really made the job so much easier. I've never used a jack before, and while there were periods of alarm when the jack would lock into place and I thought it was falling to it's certain death, it worked like a charm. Practically invaluable for this job in retrospect.

Second, I was installing the British-Customs airbox removal kit, battery box, K&N pod filters, appropriate jets, and predators. But, as most of you know, it comes with no instructions. And while I have the utmost respect for Sean and the BC company, for someone like me, it was daunting not having those instructions on a Sunday afternoon. Especially since they are closed on the weekends (understandably) and aren't available for questions until Monday morning.
But I wasn't unprepared. Months of prep, which included reading through dozens of posts on this site, as well as asking questions of fellow members, and various websites (such as Brit-Iron rebels videos, and Dinqua's rejet guide) provided me with ample knowledge to feel at least confident I had the 'theory' down. Many thanks to everyone that helped, as well as the moderators for identifying the important info and helping guide me to the right info.

Now it just came down to the application.....
After hand writing down my own instructions based on the compilation of tips, tricks, and info I read, I began the process.

First, I wanted to replace my stock headlight with a High intensity bulb from newbonneville. Thought I would do this while the bike was cooling down. I'm not sure if anyone else has had problems with these lights, but after installation I thought it was on upside down.(I am almost 99% sure it was my error) The light shone at an odd angle coming out of the glass. I actually tore it down and tried to replace it a different way, but came up confused once again. I had bigger things to work on, so I finally gave up and put it off for another day....but I knew that it was a bad omen that I was having so much trouble with this simple project.

So, into the airbox removal I went. I found it so much easier to remove the original airbox after taking a side off. In fact, I don't think it would have come out without it. I also noticed that oil had collected inside the bottom of the airbox and had not filtered into the little plastic tube to which I'm almost certain it was destined. Hopefully the crankcase breather (great quality with this kit BTW) will do a better job.

I also wanted to share a tip I figured out yesterday that has to do with stripped carb screws. As we all know, the Phillips head screws are softer than a babies arse, and strip easier than Marissa Tomei in the Wrestler. So, while I attempted to avoid this problem with every effort, it occurred on the last underside screw of one of the bowls (Murphy, you bastard!!!:rolleyes:). Attempting to use vice grips (a common suggestion on this site) was futile as it could not grip as well as needed. A moment of divine intervention then inspired me to take my dremel to it, and cut a straight line across the screw head, thereby making it possible to use a flathead screwdriver to simply get the screw out. It seemed so easy I laughed when it was done. But, thought I would pass the tip along as it took a mere 30 seconds to do. (BTW, I did replace with the SS allen head screws from newbonneville)

After installing the K&N pod filters, it seemed to me they are running very close to the side covers, and I intend to cut vertical slots (thanks ggRat for the inspiration) to allow for more air flow. Don't know if anyone else feels this is necessary, but it was just my observation. Not sure how much obstruction of air flow it really causes....(let the opinions/arguements begin on the count of 3-2-1...!)

Sean (at BC) had suggested, with my set up, (airbox removed, preds) to run 140 mains, and 42 pilots and 2.5 turns out of the screws. While many have argued different set-ups, I installed this and found it to be spot on for me. I am not a personal 'on the butt dyno', nor do I have any experience with one and it's valuable results. But, I could tell at the first acceleration that the bike was running smoother than before. I also noticed a very noticeable increase in power.

Finally, it's almost humiliating to acknowledge, let alone admit, that it took me the better part of 7 hours to complete the airbox removal, rejet, and replacing the exhaust. While I realize experienced people can do this in 2-3, I took my time and double-checked my work due to the limited confidence I had. At the end of the day, though, it was finished and for the most part everything was as it should be.

Starting the bike up, after my hands are bruised and exhausted, body is worn and dirty, and expectations are high but filled with self-doubt, was a moment of complete exhilaration...until the bloody engine wouldn't turn over. It was then that I realized after putting everything together, after hours of cranking, wrenching, screwing (the gf was NOT present) and torquing, I had forgetten to re-install the fuel overflow tube and fuel line to the petcock. Go F*n figure!

So, I get those two things in order....
.....and she turns over on the first push of the ignition button. The deep, low growl of the Predators put chills down my spine. It was only then that I began to see what everyone has been talking about for so long. It was quite an experience to know that, while it had taken me this ungodly amount of time to do, I finally had done it. After letting her idle for some time just to be sure everything was working properly, I took her out for a ride that made me feel the same way I did the first time I rode her....Fantastic!!!

Anyway, I realize this is long-winded and an unnecessary monologue on something that is common-place on this site. But I felt it necessary to process the experience, even if for no other reason than to reflect on a certain sense of accomplishment that escapes me from time to time in my life, as well as hopefully inspire any others to take on this task...because as the cliche goes, if I can do it, anyone can!

(Thanks again to everyone on this site for their valuable information, experience, and opinions. I honestly could not have done it without this forum)

Signing off -
a monkey that is slightly more experienced and greasier than he was before

(ps. pics will be coming soon)
 

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Discussion Starter #2
One final thought -

The Preds did not come with a side stand stopper, and I know that others have struggled to come up with a suitable solution for this. I find that I may attempt to modify the original exhaust's stopper somehow, but maybe there is a better way. Not sure if anyone had any thoughts.
Thanks -
 

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The preds have a metal bracket on the left hand silencer, onto which you can transfer the rubber stoppers for both side stand and centerstand. It works well, I will take pictures tonight.

Great post - just goes to show that it can be done! I know when you have never done any wrenching jobs like this seem daunting, but this just goes to show how with a bit of background reading first, and the support from this forum and our vendors, there's no reason not to try it. I like to see posts like this, where people dive in and have a try. You have provided some excellent tips in your write up. As for the time it took you to do it - well I started the same mod in November, and only tried starting my bike last saturday! :D

Anyway, I have exactly the same jet / screw settings as you, and like you my bike fired up first push of the button, I was so happy!
 

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WELL DONE!

I have to say you should be proud of yourself. I am not a mechanic but have rebuilt motors, restored a couple cars, do all my own repairs and work in the automotive industry and I was nervous when I did my ARK kit and rejet. It appears to be a daunting task despite that it is actually a simple task. My point is that you despite no mechanical background went at it anyways. Learn while you do.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks so much for the encouraging words guys. It truly is a learning experience.
After the last year and a half of owning a bike, I liken the experience much to a great romantic relationship. While it's going to take maintenance and tuning, when you're not "working," you get to enjoy the ride that much more because of what you've put into it.

Pun completely intended....
 

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Finally, it's almost humiliating to acknowledge, let alone admit, that it took me the better part of 7 hours to complete the airbox removal, rejet, and replacing the exhaust. While I realize experienced people can do this in 2-3, I took my time and double-checked my work due to the limited confidence I had. At the end of the day, though, it was finished and for the most part everything was as it should be.
Bonnie, My hats off to you for jumping in and tackling the job yourself. Regardless of how long it took to do the job, as long as you had fun doing it... There's nothing to be embarrassed about.

Cheers,
Chris
 

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The preds have a metal bracket on the left hand silencer, onto which you can transfer the rubber stoppers for both side stand and centerstand.
+1. I pulled the rubber stopper off my stock silencers in order to use on my predators. I tilted and cought one side of the lip of the stopper in the bracket and turned until the intire stopper was locked into place. Pretty simple really.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks - I'll be doing it when I get home from work. I had difficulty getting that b*stard out of the stock exhaust, but I'll work it out and put it on the pred.
 

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Good for you for tackling this job!

Don't worry about how long it takes. I am mechanically inclined and it takes me a long time to do something that I haven't done before, because I work at it slowly and carefully and think through what I'm doing. I've had bad experiences with trying to rush things, thankfully not with the motorcycle.

I also walk away and take a break when I start getting frustrated with something. At that point, after I calm down, I'll try to think through the problem again.

A little WD40 might help with that stopper. I had a devil of a time with it too, half-expected it to break. I had ordered a spare in anticipation of that happening, but the replacement was bigger in diameter than the original so I didn't use it.
 

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it's almost humiliating to acknowledge, let alone admit, that it took me the better part of 7 hours to complete
It doesn't matter how long it takes.
It was a personal victory for you and that is the important thing.
This little victory will lead to others.

Be aware, you don't always win and how you handle that situation is the real test.

FYI: the bulb only does in one way. you cant get it wrong
drop the swing arm and the airbox comes out through the back.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
MES - thanks for the words of encouragement.
Yeah, I dropped the swingarm and attempted to pull the box out. But, there were two points at either side of the box that would not fit through the frame sides no matter how I finangled them...after tediously unscrewing the 10 or so screws on the left side of the box and pulling if off, the rest came out easy
 

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nice write up, is anyone using yamabond or permabond or hondabond on the pipes when swapping for new ones? just curious...
 

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I used a high temp silicone sealer called "ultra copper" for the job. Works just fine, and stops any troublesome leaks at the pipe joints.

Incidentally I took the side off the airbox when I removed mine, just like bonnieblack07 did. I didn't bother dropping the swingarm, I pulled the rear wheel and fender out, which is easy, and I wanted the back wheel out for some of the extra flappage that I added anyway, so that worked for me.
 

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It doesn't matter how long it takes.
It was a personal victory for you and that is the important thing.
This little victory will lead to others.

Be aware, you don't always win and how you handle that situation is the real test.

FYI: the bulb only does in one way. you cant get it wrong
drop the swing arm and the airbox comes out through the back.
+1 on that
That makes me think of my step son ,he worked for me when he started pulling wrenches He asked me how i knew how to fix his screw ups so good one day .I told him maybe because I had to fix my own over the years.A good mechanic screws up to but he can fix his screw ups quick so no one knows he screwed up lol.
 

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Sooner or later the luck runs out and then it's time to ruck up.
I loved that pic of sweat and the cam chain.
You know he didn't bargain on that, but you got to drive on.
Get 'er done
 

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The Preds did not come with a side stand stopper, and I know that others have struggled to come up with a suitable solution for this. I find that I may attempt to modify the original exhaust's stopper somehow, but maybe there is a better way. Not sure if anyone had any thoughts.
Thanks -
Don't know how many others came like mine, but my Predators not only did not come with a side stand stopper, they also didn't have a bracket welded to the left can so that I could transfer the stock stopper. I came up with the idea of gluing a wedge of rubber to the side stand, next to where it's bolted to the frame, so that it stops the stand from folding far enough to make contact with the muffler. Here's the pics of what I used to cut a wedge of rubber from and where I attached it to the stand. Don't know if it will stay very well, but I used industrial strength all-purpose contact adhesive. It works perfectly as it gives about 1/2" clearance between the muffler and where the stand was making contact with it. I'll see if it stays put or falls off soon. If it seems to work, I think it'll be a lot cleaner looking than having a bracket with a rubber stopper hanging off the bottom of the muffler.
 

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Good for you for coming up with a solution - I would be annoyed though. You might want to give Sean a call and tell him to exchange this silencer for one with the bracket.
 

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My Staintunes don't have a side stand stopper either, although they have one for the center stand. The side stand just rests on the silencer, doesn't seem to bother anything.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Balto -
I originally thought I would do this with my ceramic coated pred too, just let the side stand rest on it while riding. But, I became worried about vibrations and road bumps causing chipping, scratching, or denting. Not to mention, when swinging the side stand up after sitting on the bike, I cringed everytime I heard it make contact without the rubber stopper.
 
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