Is there a flat rate manual for Japanese motorcycle repairs?

Discussion in 'Motorbike Technical Discussion' started by Biker Dude, Nov 26, 2009.

  1. Biker Dude

    Biker Dude Guest

    How many manhours of labor should it take to repair various items on
    Japanese motorcycles?

    I have several people who have asked me to rebuild carbs on their
    bikes. I need to have an idea of how long this will take.

    I have found an online source for Harleys, I do believe there's one
    for the Japanese bikes.

    Please help me if you can, thanks in advance.

    Biker Dude
    Biker Dude, Nov 26, 2009
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  2. I'd be really surprised if anything like that exists. I mean,
    manufacturers have their own rates and times, which they allow for
    warranty repairs and suchlike, but there are often dodges that
    mechanics evolve themselves in order to shorten the time (valve-shim-
    under-bucket changes and starter clutch replacement on some models
    spring to mind).

    As for rebuilding carbs on bikes; what carbs? What bikes? Slide carbs?
    CV carbs? Vees, inline fours, or what?

    The variables are immense.

    In addition, you can be sure it will take longer on older bikes than
    it does on newer ones, because fasteners will be corroded and stuck,
    or damaged where some donkey has had a go at it first (this holds good
    for *all* work), and once you get into the carbs a pound to a penny
    you'll find that the bike hasn't been used for a decade and all the
    fuel has turned to varnsh, meaning it'll have to be ultrasonically
    cleaned as well.

    So how long will it take? "As long as it takes".
    [email protected], Nov 26, 2009
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  3. Biker Dude

    Hank Guest

    Way back when I was a Honda parts man, the FRT was on the parts microfiche
    pages with the parts. It was what they paid for warranty work, about half
    what it actually took. We figured they let a little japanese guy do twenty
    practice runs with every power tool he could think of, fed him some uppers,
    then timed him.
    I used to double it for repair estimates and usually it was pretty close
    As for you doing "carb rebuilds" on other people's bikes with the amount of
    knowledge/experience evident from your many posts; NOT
    AND any FRT assumes a trained tech with proper tools, so , totally
    Hank, Nov 26, 2009
  4. Biker Dude

    Biker Dude Guest

    That's what I thought.
    Will do.

    May little corner of the world is filled with UJM (Universal Japanese
    Motorcycles) with clogged carbs. The sellers of such bikes are asking
    $600 - $800 and they mention that "it just needs a carb cleaning".

    If it is an inline four then carb kits are about $25 each on fleabay
    and the time to remove them from the bike, dissassemble, clean,
    reassemble, reinstall, adjust, tune, etc must be about 4 hours or

    Shop rates around here are about $75 per hour, times four is $300 plus
    $100 for parts so a $400 repair bill sounds about right. I could then
    approach the seller of the $600 bike and explain that it needs $400
    worth of work and I should be able to do that without offending him.

    If there is a stripped or corroded screw and/or there is also a need
    for a petcock overhaul then I could calculate repair costs at about
    $600. That's a big discount for a $600 bike and I would be confident
    in bidding it.

    What do you think?

    "Ta ta for now" - Tigger - AA Milne

    Biker Dude
    Biker Dude, Nov 26, 2009
  5. Biker Dude

    frijoli Guest

    Well you should be surprised then. They actually do exist.
    Almost all manufacturers in this context use them for their
    authorized repair shops. I have seen them for Honda and
    Yamaha, however they are all electronic these days.

    The flat rate only is a guideline, and typically is longer
    than an experienced mechanic will take, BUT he gets paid by
    the book, not how long it takes. Again, for authorized
    repair centers.

    I have know idea how to get a copy.
    frijoli, Nov 26, 2009
  6. Yes, I know that. I said that. What I meant was I really doubt an
    online version, covering all Japanese bikes, exists.

    Yes, again, that's what I said.

    I have seen them for Honda and
    Didn't know that, mind.
    Yes, I know. And in some cases, mechanics develop shortcuts.
    Nor I :-(
    [email protected], Nov 26, 2009
  7. I think you're living in a dream world. Here's why:

    Like I thought, you're talking about old Jap bikes. I spend half my
    life messing around with these things, in what I laughingly call

    A pound to a penny that these bikes will, like I said up there
    somewhere, have their own fair share of stripped and corroded
    fasteners. Have you ever tried getting a carb bank off an old 1970s/
    80s Jap four? Worse still, ever tried putting the carb bank back on?
    With old hardened carb stubs, inlet rubbers to the airbox which are
    perished and suddenly split, etc etc? And you think you can get a set
    of carbs off, completely stripped, cleaned properly, and replaced in
    just four hours? If you're very, very lucky, maybe. I'd double that
    time. If the carbs are really gunged up and need ultrasonic cleaning,
    you'll need to factor that in as well.

    You're talking about maybe having to spend half an hour with degreaser
    and a jetwash before you can even see the fasteners you want to undo,
    sometimes, and then when you have exposed them, they'll all have
    damaged heads.

    And as CS wisely says, the people you're working for will be back.
    Because even if you do manage to restore their carbs to pristine
    health, their old clunkers still won't work (air filter, plugs,
    battery, whatever) and it'll all be your fault because "it was all OK
    [email protected], Nov 26, 2009
  8. Biker Dude

    Biker Dude Guest

    Biker Dude, Nov 26, 2009
  9. Biker Dude

    M.Badger Guest

    Is that all it needs? is the question of the innocents....

    FWIW I have cleaned, adjusted, synchronised and fettled carbs on many bikes.
    Bikes that have been regularly used are no real problem. The problem comes
    when they have been stood and the fuel has turned to varnish.

    Still not so bad providing they haven't been fixed. Thats fixed as in
    neutering a cat.

    First, the rubbers to the head and airbox -will- be a total twat. Second, on
    a real SOB some ****-knuckle will have had a go and as Mark put, will have
    bodged, blodged and bludgeoned them.

    So now, with skinned knuckles and at least one damaged airbox or head rubber
    to contend with, you have the carbs on the bench.

    You remove the carb tops and....Oh bollocks. One of the diaphragms splits
    where a previous monkey glued it in place.

    Next, you invert the carbs to get at the float bowl screws. At least one per
    carb will have mated intimately with the carb body, and the aforementioned
    pumpernaught will have destroyed the head on one other per carb.

    Finally, you get inside it. What faces you now is verdigris, blocked jets
    and gloop.

    You get the buggers clean. You replace any and all worn parts. You replace
    the rubbers and diaphragm at greater expense than you bargained for. Get it
    all bolted back on and discover the other reasons the bike was stood long
    enough for the carbs to varnish in the first place.

    If you are doing for yourself, because that particular model holds
    affectionate memories, then go for it. Otherwise, +1 for TOG, CS and Mark.
    M.Badger, Nov 26, 2009
  10. Christ, that made me laugh. :))
    [email protected], Nov 26, 2009
  11. I think that one reason why it's got a new battery is because the old
    one died because the charging system fritzed (as they were wont to do
    on Suzukis of that era) and that is why (as Badger amusingly put it)
    it was pushed into a shed 12 years ago.
    [email protected], Nov 26, 2009
  12. Biker Dude

    Biker Dude Guest

    Here's my other bike:

    This one begs the question "When do you fix it and when do you junk
    it?" And if you junk it do you sell it to a private party, a
    junkyard, or piece by piece on ebay?

    I am also tempted to title the beast and then sell the portion of the
    frame with the serial number along with the clear title to someone who
    wants to legally get his own homebrew bike up and running.

    All in all, I see many possiblities to traffic in shite old bikes and
    enjoy the ride. But it's about marketing and marketing is about
    taking your existing inventory and assets and then approaching the
    marketplace in the most adventageous manner.

    Off to Craigslist!!!

    Biker Dude
    Biker Dude, Nov 26, 2009
  13. Biker Dude

    Hank Guest

    Awww badger, what did you go and ruin it for him for! I think you have very
    accurately predicted the future for him! (Been there, done that, bought the
    Hank, Nov 26, 2009
  14. Biker Dude

    Hank Guest

    No, actually marketing is just about lying. Good luck with your newly
    discovered fast-track to riches. Don't forget to write us again when you
    make it big! <G>

    But it's about marketing and marketing is about
    Hank, Nov 26, 2009
  15. When it's worth fixing.
    When it isn't
    Quite frequently, for old classics.
    The Older Gentleman, Nov 26, 2009
  16. Biker Dude

    Biker Dude Guest

    Then tell me please, Fount of All Knowledge, is an '83 Kawasaki KZ550M
    with shaft drive an old classic?


    Biker Dude
    Biker Dude, Nov 26, 2009
  17. Absolutely not. Sorry. It's an old example of what was a pretty shit
    bike (apart from the engine) to begin with.
    The Older Gentleman, Nov 26, 2009
  18. Biker Dude

    M.Badger Guest

    'Tis just the way of SOBs.

    I'm currently looking at swapping an X7 for an XJ650. I have a real soft
    spot for XJ650s that cannot be rationally explained. The bike I'm
    considering has covered approx. 280,000 miles. It runs perfectly, burns no
    oil and there is -NO- bodging on it. It has been used pretty much every
    day. Subtle things like when the carbs were first rebuilt, the owner junked
    the cheese head screws for stainless Allen heads. The exhaust pipe is
    stainless, the rear fork is gusseted around the front bracing. It has
    always been fitted with either Hi-Flo or Emgo filters. 1500 mile oil
    changes, 3000 mile oil filter changes but it is really down to regular use.

    I'd far rather have that than one that has done 60,000 miles and spent half
    its life stood in a shed. I've spent far too much time trying to sort out
    bodges and the effects of not riding to be bothered.

    You've been there, I've been there. A well maintained SOB, maintained by
    someone who has been hit with a clue bat is far better than a low mileage,
    shiny but ultimately botched bike.

    Guess who has been coerced in to sorting out the carbs on a B12 that has
    been stood for two years. Oh I'm looking forward to that. At least the
    owner hasn't tried to sort it already, and he is a top bloke who makes a
    cracking cup of tea.

    It'll take a day to do the job properly. At workshop labour rates it becomes
    a non viable proposition for a £1000 bike. The bike is a MK1 B12 with
    20,000 miles(ish) and yup, the slow running circuits are choked.
    M.Badger, Nov 26, 2009
  19. A friend had one, long ago, and it was just about bomb-proof. Made a
    lovely whistling noise, too.

    Me, I always preferred the XS650 twin, again, for reasons that cannot
    be rationally explained.
    [email protected], Nov 27, 2009
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