Posted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:16 pm
Title: Report: Installing the OEM frame sliders
|ATG (guest) |
|Mon Jul 29, 2013 10:16 pm|
|Report: Installing the OEM frame sliders |
Kawasaki calls its sliders the "engine/cowling guard", part# 99994-0355. I paid about C$350 for mine. In the States you can order the slider kit for US$220 from Powersports Warehouse. (They wanted about $80 to ship to Canada, and I didn't feel the difference was worth the hassle.) Yosh sliders are less expensive, but be aware they reportedly don't fit the ABS-equipped 300.
Sliders sound pricey at first, but a buddy who recently forgot to put his kickstand down paid about $120 for a new clutch lever, new shifter, and footpeg (the feeler snapped off the footpeg). In a lowside, bikes seem to want to flop over at the end and destroy mechanicals and plastics on both sides. When this stuff happens, sliders suddenly start to look downright economical. The Kawi sliders may be big ol' fat things that stick out a lot, but a web poster who dropped his 300 after installing them reports he had no damage at all.
Tools I used:
- (two) 14mm sockets (one for the ratchet, one for the breaker bar).
- swivel joint (to put on the ratchet or breaker bar as required).
- 3" ratchet extension.
- 10" ratchet extension (you need this for oil changes anyway).
- breaker bar (mine is about 24" long, and loosened these bolts easily).
- a torque wrench that goes up to at least 51 lbs. (I used a cheap beam-style wrench, and it worked fine for this).
Here's a post by someone who installed the sliders:
You will notice that he has removed all the forward fairings. this is necessary, and something of a mini-project all by itself, at least the first time you do it. You might want to check out my post about removing and replacing the fairings:
The poster has the bike up on front and rear stands, and the instructions that come with the sliders advise using a jack to support the engine. Some folks may not have these, so to test the simplest possible approach I installed the sliders with the bike on the sidestand, and the engine unsupported.
To freeze the bike in position I put it in first gear, and tied something around the front brake lever. (Some folks also like to tie the kickstand to the front tire, just to ensure the bike doesn't shift forward and collapse the kickstand.)
The poster removed the four screws holding the radiator to get more room to work, and I found myself doing the same. I left the radiator hoses connected. It only takes a couple of minutes to remove these four screws, and perhaps five minutes to put them back in later, so it's worth doing. If you drop a nut, which is very easy to do on this job, you'll likely have to loosen the radiator to retrieve it anyway.
There's nothing conceptually complicated about removing five original bolts and replacing them with bolts that come with the slider kit. However, this is a slow job because it's hard to reach the nuts, which are located on the inside. When breaking the bolts loose I used the 10" extension, reaching through from the far side to freeze the nuts. I also used this approach for two of the nuts when torquing.
When torquing, I was able to reach two of the nuts with the ratchet by coming in from the front, above the loosened radiator. (I don't know if a 14mm box wrench would have worked for these nuts, because I discovered I didn't have one in my set.) Torquing with a ratchet holding the nuts caused the ratchet handle to wedge up hard against the bike frame, but I was able to knock the handle off the socket with a piece of wood and a rubber mallet.
It would have been nice at times to have had some help. Because I wasn't using a jack to support the engine, the motor did move very slightly when the original bolts were removed. By sitting on the floor and putting one knee under the motor to lift while also pulling with a free hand on a bracket the bolts go through, I was able to realign the holes and slide the new bolts home without forcing them. Some bolts went in easily, others took some finagling and patience. (A simple, cheap way to support the motor might be to place blocking + a pad under it, then let a bit of air out of the front tire until the blocking won't move anymore. The goal is just to keep the motor from settling, not to raise it or lift the bike.)
Also, when torquing some of the bolts I found myself draped over the bike, pulling 51 lbs from an awkward position with just the strength of one arm. Good thing I lift weights. With a helper standing on the far side freezing the nut, anyone could torque those bolts comfortably and with no difficulty.
One commenter said he cut the fairing holes with a 1-1/8" hole saw, but given the amount of filing he had to do he would use a 1-1/4" saw if he were to do the job again. I took that advice and used a 1-1/4" saw, but found later that the smaller saw would have worked fine because the slider supports were perfectly centered in the holes. I didn't do any filing at all. Even a 1" hole would have been enough. Anyway, it's not worth worrying about the size of the hole. The sliders visible on the outside of the fairing are considerably bigger than they appear in photos, and totally cover the hole. If there's a cosmetic issue (other than the size and look of the sliders themselves) it's the gap between the slider and the fairing. But this gap is only really visible when sitting on the bike, and if I find it bothers me I'll make a filler piece out of soft black foam. So far, when riding, I've totally forgotten the sliders are even there, and I never study their appearance.
Yes, it was a simple install, but it took many hours and everything was a bit of a fight. (It didn't help that I was working alone in the half-dark of an underground garage.) Plan on spreading it over several sessions, especially if you haven't tried removing and replacing the fairings on the 300 before.
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