Tag Archives: Yamaha

To forum or not to forum, that is the question…

I love doing my blog…don’t get me wrong. But it’s all a bit one sided don’t you think? I’m getting a lot of good feedback from people here and it’s much appreciated but I’m not naive enough to believe I’m a world authority on the AG200, and in particular the 3GX engine. Is it time to bring other views and ideas to the AG200 platform with a forum? There are issues with forums though, lets discuss.

There are some things I really dislike about forums and the people that run some of them. They always start off saying no advertising will ever be seen on this site…bla…bla…bla! And within a year or two there are adds all over the place! Or the one I despise much more is where people start a forum and wait for a couple of years for members to build up a body of knowledge and then they lock it up behind a pay wall.

From my perspective, there could not be a bigger insult to someone sharing their hard won knowledge to the world, particularly a forum where you are attracted to the site to share with brothers and sisters in a common area of interest. This “crowd sourcing” is a scourge in my opinion, especially when the “crowd” don’t know their making (sometime in the future!) a living for some other slacker!

So I’m not saying that if I start a forum that I wont explore ways to cover the upkeep and maintenance costs, I will. I spend enough time deleting the spam and trolls off this blog, I can only imagine the time needed to maintain a forum! I may look into advertising but it will be targeted and specific to the AG200 and the owners – no Viagra or Xbox adds! If I can’t target, I wont run adds, period. I wont lock up info behind pay walls, even if it’s posted on my forum, I don’t believe I own that info, the members do.

So, what do you all think? Comments? Suggestions? Let me know if you think this is worthwhile pursuing or not. I will of course continue writing up my blog entries, nothing will change on that front. I just think that we may be able to add more to the body of knowledge if others can contribute and have an easier way for people to ask questions and get answers.

And before I sign off for 2014, I’d like to wish all readers a safe and happy festive break. Take it easy, make sure you get through it so you can come back to read more enthralling content on the AG200!  🙂




Why the AG200? No really…why?

I have a bit of blog-burnout after the carb clean series, so if you’re looking for info and tips for the AG200 then you should move on to the next post! This one has little to do with Yamaha’s AG bike, it’s more about me and the answer to why? Why do I bother with the AG200?

A friend of mine (old time biker) told me once if you really love bikes you will love them all, and that if I really wanted to restore classics, then start with an AG bike because if you can get an old AG bike back on the road then you can get anything back on the road! He was right. I started working on AG bikes years ago and bringing them back from the brink always seems more fulfilling than other bikes.

The only way I can describe it is what I call mechanical sympathy or mechanical empathy if you like. It has effected me since childhood; I hate it when people abuse and neglect machinery. Silly huh? I understand that these things are just tools to get a job done but I have got to the point in my life where I stop trying to suppress things that people tell me are weird or stupid…when something is in your blood let it go!

I have empathy for living things too like most people, but unlike most people if I see a machine suffering it eats at my engineering soul! No one abuses machinery like farmers, and I pity any poor machine that falls into their hands! I get a pile of rubble off a farmer and re-task it to other areas, to other people who, even though they don’t treat them like I do, still give them a much easier time than their original owners.

Back from the deadTake the two AGs in my workshop at the moment…it’s like bringing back the dead! The later ’03 blue one on the right in particular is in diabolical condition to the point where I have put the engine aside for another day! I have another engine for it and I am slowly bringing it back to a point where I would be happy to ride it myself one day out into the bush.

I already have a friend interested in the machine and he takes notice of the project to the point where I hope he will take it on when I’m done. Life is slowly being injected into this bike part by part as I restore or replace them. It’s a cool experience that I find relaxing and fulfilling while not very profitable! But I don’t do it for profit, I do it for fun and strangely, I am slowly starting to build a small community of mates who sometimes enjoy the slow, two wheeled world out in the boonies.

I think a lot of us who are technically minded (three quarters of the world population can stop reading right here!) like to master something in their lifetime. I would like to master the AG200. I am a long way from it at the moment but it is something I enjoy working towards. Whether its the model history and the part changes between those models, the maintenance tips to prolong the service life, cheaper and/or stronger parts options than the Yamaha stuff or just the small mods to make it better at a particular task, I would like to be an AG200 Ninja!

Now, time to check back into rehab…



Carb servicing part 3 – cleaning

Now we get to the boring bit – cleaning! But in respect to a carburettor, it’s the most important part because if you rush it and cut corners you will be pulling the carb out of the bike again – I guarantee it! The hardest parts to clean in a carb are usually the ones that block and cause trouble in the first place. Take your time and get everything as clean as you can and you will have success. Let’s get into it…

OK…what will we need in the way of tools and consumables? I have already covered the screwdrivers required and what to watch for in relation to them.  You will need a can or two of carby cleaner, compressed air, a small brass brush, cotton buds, rags (preferably clean and white so you can see what comes off on them), your workplace needs access to strong light so you can see through the holes in the metering jets to make sure they are clean.

protectionAs for safety – I have already mentioned gloves, some eye protection is essential because you will be dealing with high pressure air and cleaners. I prefer the full face shields because I am ugly enough thank you very much and I don’t want to be made more so by high-velocity bike bits! Think about ventilation and air circulation as well – too much carb cleaner vapours are not good for health.

What about an ultrasonic cleaner? Do you really need one? If you go and spend some bucks on a cleaner don’t think it’s going to do all the hard work for you. Cheap ones will do a reasonable job but only expensive, dedicated high power units will get them close to spotless. The cheaper ones like the one I use will get stuff reasonably clean but can’t go the extra mile with hard to move deposits. Do you really need one? No, not if you are doing just one carb. Just get yourself a couple of cans of carby cleaner and don’t be scared to use it.

Even if you do have a ultrasonic cleaner, if your AG is fumy and the carb was sucking a lot of oil vapour via the crankcase breather, a cheap ultrasonic cleaner may not get the job done. A solvent like carby cleaner will be needed to clean the baked oil residue out of the venturi of the carb. This is a good “tell” on the condition of your bikes engine; black oil residue in the main air-flow passage? You are probably going to have to do some engine work soon. But let’s get the carb sorted first.

carb bodyI separate the components into two groups; the main body parts, and the small, functional parts. I can place the carb body, float bowl, throttle shaft, cable bracket and other larger parts into the bath of my cleaner. You may have a different size and have to spread your cleaning out differently. I pour hot water into the in the bathbath and add a small amount of dishwashing liquid and set my heat on max (70C in my case) and run the ultrasonics for an hour. Sometimes I have to give it another thirty minutes or so but an hour usually gives me pretty good results.

small bitsThe brass brush will come in handy here. Use it to break up any caked on crud on the outside of the carb body. Pull the parts out of the cleaner one by one every 10 minutes or so and give them a bit of a brush if stuff is hanging on. Don’t try and jam the brush down the venturi if there is baked on oil, let the carb cleaner do that job later.

When the parts are done, you need to get them dry. If you live in Australia or another country with an excess of sunshine, get them into the sun and let them cook! after washIt won’t take long for the Aluminium and Brass components to heat up to the point where water won’t hang around them. If there is no sun to use, get them in front of a heater to dry off. Temperature and time is what you need to get them moisture free. Of course you can use compressed air to blow all the water out, which I do but I also like to heat it up as well. If you’re happy with just the air then happy days.

Choke & pilot adjNow that everything is relatively clean and dry, it’s time to get serious with the carby cleaner. Let’s start with the carb body. You have your gloves and eye protection on right? Give the carb a good blast with the cleaner and try and let the cleaner sit on the aluminium without evaporating. Lower temperatures will help here so try and do it out of daylight. Choke & pilot passLetting the cleaner soak into any deposits will help you a lot. If there is significant oil deposits in the venturi, use a rag covered finger soaked in cleaner to give the area a good scrub. Some choke pickupcotton buds soaked in cleaner may help in harder to get areas. Blast the whole thing with compressed air paying particular attention to the small passages leading to the pilot jet/bypass and choke plunger. Rinse and repeat!

In this photo at left you will see a view of the bottom of the carb looking into the upper float chamber – see the arrow at the bottom pointing into a large hole? That’s the float chamber vent. In some bizarre law of physics that follow the same laws as coat-hanger reproduction and socks always being odd, grass seeds accumulate in this part of the AG200 carb. Don’t ask me how they get there but they do!

Now onto the smaller components. With or without an ultrasonic cleaner, you now need to focus on the brass jets. They are the heart of the fuel metering function of the carby so they have to be spotless for it to function correctly. Clean all the brass jets until no more crud comes off them onto your clean rags. Soak them like I recommended for the body above.

Needle&emultion2Take a close look at your emulsion tube and look for the sixteen small holes (1) in the body of it and make sure they are all clean. Use the four holes on one side to line up with the four on the opposite side – light needs to shine through all eight. Have a real good look at the top of the tube (2) where the needle goes in and if you see any wear or elongation of the brass, replace the emulsion tube and needle as a set. Have a good look at the needle’s taper particularly at the upper end (3) and again, if wear is present replace the set as stated.

I probably should of left this to the next part of “inspection and assembly”, but like the rubber diaphragm mentioned in my last post, if you don’t want to pay the money for parts then this is the time you stop working on your carb and start looking for another one to clean up. The bike will run like a dog with these parts worn, and no amount of carb tinkering will get it to run right until you replace them.

needle valve+filterThe fuel needle valve is next…was it leaking fuel before you valve cleanstripped the carb? If it was, don’t chuck it out just yet. The rubber on the tip of the needle is very robust and I would suspect the valve body myself. This is a problem area on the AG200 because there is a filter gauze on top of the valve that you would of seen when you pulled it out of the main body. Without a proper fuel filter, anything that gets past the tank filter will accumulate here and can make a bit of a mess. Gently pry the filter off the top of the valve and soak the whole thing in cleaner or put it back in valve clean2the ultrasonic bath if real bad. Remove the O-ring if it hasn’t already disintegrated. I have found that sticking a cotton bud soaked in carb cleaner and rotate it in the needle side of the valve will nearly always get it working again. Physical wear is not really an issue with these valves because it’s rubber Vs brass, and the rubber is pretty tough. Corrosion is nearly always the culprit and once hit with some chemicals they nearly always work well again.

Soak the pilot, pilot air, and main jets in cleaner and blow them out. Make sure you can see through their metering holes and that there are no obstructions. misc partsDon’t go sticking things in the jet’s metering holes if they are blocked, be patient and soak them in cleaner and use compressed air – it will shift the deposits eventually. Don’t forget other brass bits like the throttle butterfly, choke plunger, pilot air screw adjuster and get them as clean as your persistence and patience will allow!

Carb bitsFor all the other parts, I suggest a brush over with the brass brush to clean them up. Bits like screws and their threads clean up well with a bit of a brush up. Try and keep carby cleaner off rubber parts like O-rings and the slide diaphragm. They don’t like it but it evaporates pretty fast so don’t get too concerned. Most of the small O-rings like on the choke plunger bolt, needle valve and on the pilot air screw adjuster will probably be stuffed, but I will discuss all this in part 3.

For now we are pretty much done with the clean. I didn’t get too detailed – it’s all common sense really. Just get things as clean as you can and blow it all out and you will be done. Next we will cover re-assembly and what to look out for and some other tips.



Carb servicing part 2 – disassembly

Now we have the carburettor out of the bike we need a nice clean work area. Some nice clean rags and a work space where small bits can’t get lost or roll off the bench. We also come to a dilemma in my normal, cheap-as-chips servicing guides – I use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean my carbs. Not that ultrasonic cleaners are that expensive these days, but I can understand if someone didn’t want to spring for one just to do a single AG200 carby.

After years of doing it with the basics, like carby cleaner and compressed air, I found that with AG bikes, the neglect has usually been severe. The built up crud from around twenty thousand ag-kilometers (equivalent to one hundred thousand normal Kms 🙂 ), and then getting chucked in the shed for 10+ years to let corrosion and old fuel do their work…well, sometimes carby cleaner isn’t enough.

It all depends on the condition of the carb. If the bike is running and is not too old then a bit of compressed air and carb cleaner may do the trick, but so many times I’ve had to remove the carb multiple times to get it right. I will admit though that was always with bikes that were really bad. What I like with ultrasonics is that you get it right every time. Its very effective when the carby is fully disassembled.

So all I can do is roll on here and show you how I do it and I suggest you get yourself a can of carby cleaner and access to compressed air if you want to do it without ultrasonics. Carby cleaner will still work well if you disassemble the carb like I do here and clean it all out and make sure any varnish, dirt and corrosion is removed. It may take a bit longer and you might have to be a bit more observant on your results but in the end you will get the same thing – a nice clean carb that works the way it was supposed to when it left Yamaha.

Throttle slide cover
Top cover

I will make a quick mention about tools; I have already done a post on JIS screwdrivers, you can get by without them and good quality screwdrivers (especially European ones) seem to fit reasonably well – just be careful and observant. If the driver doesn’t fit nice then try another. Screwdrivers for the slotted heads on the jets are a different story. Don’t tolerate a poor fit here; they are made of brass and there is a good chance they are effected by corrosion, varnish and/or caked on sediment. You will only get one chance with these jets. If you hack the slot on them you will be in a whole world of pain trying to get them out.


OK, the first thing to do is remove the top throttle slide/diaphragm cover. It pays to check this first because if the rubber diaphragm is split or torn then you need a new one and if you don’t want to pay for the Yamaha part then there is no point going on with the clean. So remove the four screws and remove the pressed steel diaphragm cap and slide spring. Slide the throttle slide and diaphragm assembly out and inspect the rubber closely. If it looks OK, store the assembly so it isn’t placing any weight on the diaphragm.

Needle bits
Needle bits

If all is good then you can proceed to disassemble the slide/needle assembly. Look down the top of the slide and you will see two Philips screws holding a metal plate. Have your wits about you when you remove the screws because there is a spring under it. Don’t get too stressed about how it all goes together because I will show all that in the re-assembly blog that’s to come, just make sure its all in bits so you can clean it up good. It also might be a good time to inspect the needle and take note of any wear because it will be helpful in diagnosing any running problems later on when its all back together. Cleaning will only do so much on the AG200, if the needle and emulsion tube are worn, the bike wont run well and you will have to replace them as a set. I will cover this after this series on carb cleaning.

Misc. bits
Misc. bits

Time to remove miscellaneous bits off the carb body now. Start with the three hoses if they are there – the fuel line, bowl drain and float chamber vent. Remove the idle control adjuster and spring and the throttle cable holder bracket.

Top jetsNow we turn our attention to the top of the carburettor. The picture to the left shows the pilot air jet (1) and the pilot  screw (2). If they look like they have corrosion issues (especially the jet) then a squirt of your fav. penetrate and a cup of coffee might be what you need! Otherwise just unscrew them and put them aside. Just be aware of the spring under the pilot screw when you remove it and down underneath that spring will be a steel washer and under that a tiny o’ring. These parts are tiny and like to flick away onto the floor or in other dark places never to be seen again so be on guard!

bowlNow we have a nice flat surface to stand the carb on the bench upside down so we can concentrate on the float and underside parts of the carby. Remove the float bowl drain screw first then the four Philips screws holding the bowl on. Remove the bowl and you should be greeted with something similar to as shown here on the right.

carb underside

A bit of a look in the bottom of the float bowl will tell you (if you don’t already know!) what sort of a battle you will be up against with the rest of the carb. Is there corrosion or just varnish or neither? While you are looking, remove the plastic shroud from around the main jet and the rubber plug from the pilot jet tube and the bowl gasket and put them aside.

Float removalGet yourself a fine pin punch and lightly tap out the float pivot Needle valveand remove the float and the needle from the needle valve assembly. I have read so many horror stories about Mikunis and their float pivot post breakages. I have never found one in an AG200 to be that tight that it causes issues, but be careful with it and if tight, relive pressure on the post by laying it on a solid surface. A single Philips screw fastens the bracket that holds the rest of the needle valve assembly into the body of the carb. Sometimes the needle valve needs a bit of persuasion to come out because of the rubbish that can accumulate on the filter on the other end of the valve, a bit of penetrant to soak down onto the o’ring can help things out here.

Remove emulsionTake a look down the pilot jet tube and see how bad it is down there. If there is a lot of crud, try to get as much of it out as you can before attempting to remove the pilot jet. Some carby cleaner and compressed air should do the job. When you have it as clean as you can, put a good fitting slotted screwdriver down there and undo the jet. Now do the same to the main jet using a larger slotted driver and also remove the brass washer under the jet. After you have done this I use something plastic like a cheap pen case to tap the emulsion tube out through the top of the carburettor.

Now we could end it here and say the disassembly is complete and cleaning can commence, but I will give the reader the option of removing the throttle butterfly and shaft assembly. I often wonder if Yamaha ever expect it to be removed with the pressed on cap over the end of the shaft, but if the job is to be done properly then it should be removed and cleaned up. Having said this, I have left in place to do cleans where the carb is in pretty good condition. There are no air or fuel passages involved with theses parts so If the bike doesn’t run correctly it will be related to another area of the carburettor. I will leave it up to the reader on what they want to do but I will document the procedure below.

Shaft capIf you look closely at the photo at left you will see where I have the screwdriver placed to lever off the shaft cover. There is a nib in the alloy casting of the carb that will allow you to use as aShaft E clip fulcrum of sorts to lever the cap off. under the cap is an E clip that can be removed along with a fibre or plastic washer. There are rubber seals at each end of the shaft that fit into the carb casting, keep an eye on them. If they don’t want to come out while the shaft is still in place then leave them until you slide it out.

ButterflyFor the shaft to slide out, we now need to remove the two Philips screws holding the butterfly to the shaft. The brass butterfly plate passes through a slot in the shaft and is a pretty tight fit soThrottle shaft be patient removing it so you don’t damage (especially the edges) it. Take note of its orientation to make it easier for you to re-assemble. Be careful the return spring doesn’t skewer you when you slide the shaft out and watch for the seal on the spring side of the shaft.

bitsThat’s it! Full disassembly is complete. We now have a heap of bits ready for the ultrasonic bath or the contents of a carby cleaner can! My next instalment will go through how to clean it all up.



Carburettor servicing part 1 – removal

If you manage to find yourself an old AG200 that has been lying around in a shed for a year or two and you want to try and get it going, take my advice – don’t bother! Not until you have cleaned the carburettor out anyway. Unless the farmer who owned it was a maintenance ninja (um…yeah) and drained the fuel out before laying it up in the shed, then the carb will be a mess and even if you do manage fire it up, it will suck all sorts of rubbish into the engine. Read on AG200 ninjas…

Float bowl drain
Drain float bowl
Choke plunger
Remove choke

First thing to do obviously is to remove the carb from the bike. Lots of bits can be removed to help in this so start with the fuel tank and the seat. I also like to remove the exhaust system. You can do it with it in place but it’s a pain. Another thing that makes it way easier when its out of the way is the rear shock and spring assembly, but unless you are doing a full strip down then leave it in place.


Cable removal
Throttle cable
Front manifold
Front clamp

Before removing the carby, I like to release the drain screw on the bottom of the float bowl to remove the fuel (if any) that may be left in it. It will save you getting covered in fuel when you remove the carb from the bike and you can let it drain while you remove the other bits. Place something under the bike to catch the old fuel. Stale fuel stinks and the smell lingers and seriously does not agree with me.

Rear manifold
Rear clamp
remove carb

First thing to remove is the choke cable and plunger. A 14mm open end spanner will help you with this. Then remove the throttle cable using a 10mm spanner to loosen off the adjusters in the bracket assembly.

Loosen off the two clamps holding the rubber manifolds on at the front and rear of the carb. Pull the carb to the rear to release it, the rear rubber manifold is a lot more flexible than the front so you can mash it up a bit to help get the unit free and out of the bike.

On the bench

When removing the carb, take note of where the overflow hose is routed and its relationship with other wiring that lives near it, It may help you getting it back together neatly without kinking hoses and so forth. You might want to stuff a rag in the inlet manifold while doing this work too.

There we go, part one down and the carb is out and on the work bench. Keep an eye here to read about the meaty bit of stripping down the carb.




Lessons learned…

I’m 44 years old this year, you would reckon I’d learn. But as they say on all those dodgy Ebay listings; “My loss is your gain” – yeah right mate! Hopefully someone will get something from this though, as we get older we get complacent and we shouldn’t. Usually we don’t bend, bounce and stretch like we used to and when we do real damage, you don’t heal like you used to, and it seems like we are never the same years after recovery. We also have responsibilities like people who rely on us to be bread-winner and other social moulding!  Anyway…on with the lesson…

It has been a while since I had been on an outing on the AG, I had a few new bits on my test mule and I was interested to get a ride in to see how it changed the bikes feel, if any. It has been a cold winter in country Victoria this year, some would say unseasonally cold but they would be young folk and those with short memories; these are the winters we used to have when I was growing up on the farm in the eighties. Puddle freezing winters! Fourteen years of warmer winters and low rainfall can make people forget, but I digress.

A bit of fine weather enticed me to load up my trusty Falcon ute and do a trip out to the family farm. There I unloaded and my brother and I decided to go for a bit of a squirt around the farm. Usually I use the farm as a base to unload and hit the back roads as the recreational registration allows me. So it was a bit of a warm-up around the farm before I hit the back roads to do some exploring and AG-testing. Didn’t get to that second bit though…

Problems can arise when the risk factor goes up. Of course I had a helmet, goggles, jacket and gloves on but didn’t bother with boots or any leg protection – I was just blasting around a paddock after all. I could argue that this thinking was sound until I decided to have a ride around some dam banks. This changes things completely. The risk goes up and the probability of things going pear shaped go up with it.

The banks were steep and covered with high weeds where in places you didn’t know what was under them and you couldn’t judge the terrain. But I went barrelling on in, confident I could handle a few mounds of dirt. I got to the top of a bank and the bottom of the AG hung up and I lost traction so I thought I would roll it back a bit so I could get a run up to get over the peak of the bank. Before I could even mutter the magic “F” word (Forheavensake!), I was watching myself in slow motion falling over and down the bank on my right side, with the AG following me down!

My right elbow hit first and there was an almighty snap. Ok…my first broken bone! Then the AG came down on top of me and my right foot told me in no-uncertain terms to get this 100+ kg blue, steel pig off it now. After all the sound and motion stopped, I decided to do an audit (as you do when your an engineer 🙂 ), I twisted the right forearm and awaited a new dimension in pain to come from at least one shattered bone. You could imagine my relief when no pain came but I noticed an old, dry branch smashed to bits under my arm! The snap didn’t belong to me!

I now turned my attention to my foot which was still stuck under the right side engine case. The bike was laying down on me past the horizontal and had me pined under it via the said foot. Help was needed to extract myself and this came in form of a brother (also AG200 mounted) who couldn’t stop laughing! We managed to free myself from the situation and it was great to see that I had broken the fall of the bike and it had escaped any damage whatsoever!

AgfootI have had some monumental get-offs in my riding career. Hitting trees, end of main straight high-sides, low sides, but I have never done myself much damage. A bit of bruising here and some leather burn there. I guess I have been lucky. Once again I escaped with a pretty ugly looking foot, bruised elbow and a trip to the chiropractor to give my neck a tweak, oh and those unmistakable facial expressions and body language that health professionals can display to make you feel like a moron without saying a word!

Getting older makes you wonder if it was luck. If I was lucky I wouldn’t of crashed! Sometimes you have to make your own luck, or at least give it a bit of a hand. I could of avoided the damage of this accident if I had followed one simple rule – avoid any technical obstacle with the gear I had on…not perfect but the chances of me having this accident would of reduced to nearly zero if I had stayed away from the dam banks.

And it then makes me wonder about the AG200. If I was on my TTR250, I probably would not of had this accident and even if I did I probably would of had on my full suit of riding gear. I guess it comes back to staying within the AGs capability parameters. I shouldn’t of been on that bike in that location. I ride the AG to get me to places out of the way, economically, quietly and reliably. Doing this stuff on the AG is not dangerous, but it can increase the odds of something going wrong.

So to end the sermon, ride within you and your bikes means. Wear your riding gear. Most importantly in my opinion, use your brain. If you’re by yourself and/or a long way from home, think about your surroundings; do you need to go this fast? Do you need to be on this wet road? Do need to pull this mono? Do you need to do this power slide? Pick your time and place to have fun, and when it comes to the AG, ask yourself if you need any fun! Or is the destination the goal?



AG200 brake shoes

If you asked me if there was one (there are many!) good reason why to choose the later, electric start AG200s, then it would be because of the larger front wheel and brake. The advantages of the 21″ front wheel won’t be discussed here but the larger front brake and the brake shoe options will be the topic for this post.

Tell me a motorcycle that has a smaller front brake than the back? No idea? Well I can tell you one – the early, 6V, non-electric start AG200. What a gooba of an idea! The wheel and brakes were lifted directly off the AG100 two stroke which in itself was under braked! The shoes were a tiny 110.0 x 25.0mm. One word comes to mind; “inadequate”! It’s one of the few brakes I’ve used on a motorcycle were when you use them you want to put your feet down to give them a hand!

This poor excuse for a brake was used for over ten years by Yamaha on the AG200 until around 1997 when they decided to upgrade the front end with the larger wheel and brake. We now had a whopping 130.0 x 28.0mm brake, we finally caught up with the rear as it has the same dimensions!

So if the dimensions are the same you would think the shoes would be the same right? Well they aren’t, they couldn’t get this right either! But I will excuse Yamaha for this engineering oversight because the front wheel came later and they couldn’t foresee the issues that arouse. Even though the shoes have the same dimensions, the rear units have too much meat on the inside casting to clear the speedo drive housing on the front backing plate. So even though the shoes should fit, they don’t. Two separate part numbers.

AG200 brake shoesCheck out the photo; The front shoes are on the left, the front, pre-electric leg AG200 is in the middle and the rear is on the right. Notice the front has less material in the alloy casting to clear the speedo drive? And you can see that there is a significant upgrade from the old front brake to the new one.

But hang on…if the back don’t fit in the front, do the fronts fit in the back? Do we only need one set of shoes for the AG200? Yes we do. The brakes on the left hand side also fit in the back just fine so we only really need this set of shoes for either end of the bike.

Now that we know what fits we can order a set from our friendly Yamaha dealer right? No…no we can’t/shouldn’t! I won’t even bother listing the Yamaha part number because the last time I went to a dealer I got quoted $75 for a set. This really is crap! And the dealer may not be the one blamed here, he is just trying to make a living (I hope). This is what happens when an importer/national distributor gets greedy. Setting a price that the market will bare rather than what is fair and reasonable. But that’s another blog…

So by all means, give your local dealer a call. Just make sure you’re sitting down when he gives you a price! I feel that no more than $30 should pull it up and you can get them cheaper again if you are prepared to dig a bit deeper. If you want a name brand, after-market set of shoes like Ferodo (FSB733), EBC (506) or SBS (SBS2034) then around the $30 should be about right.

Searching for after-market stuff for the AG can be a minefield because most of the after-market stuff is manufactured for the high volume markets that just happened to not have the AG200 on their model books (like the US). What can also make it difficult is that some higher selling volume countries did get the AG200 but only for a year or two (like the UK). This means they may have a listing but it would only be for the earlier bike, with the smaller brakes discussed above.

Luckily, Yamaha were well known for sharing a lot of consumable parts between models. This helps us to find bits for the AG without getting hammered by Yamaha Australia , who think we are all morons and will just pay up. Come on guys…I can buy Chinese shoes in one-off purchases to suit the AG200, out of the USA for $13. The AG200 is a 30 year old design and this part number goes back even further. My guess is it cost Yamaha $5US to get these things made and they pass them on to us for $75…is that fair? Like I said…its another blog!

Anyway, I need to get off my soap-box and give you some useful information. Download the Ferodo PDF listing here and check out page 382. You are looking for part number FSB733. This will give you Yamaha equivalent numbers and other manufacturer cross reference. Page 154 will give you the fitments from other Yamaha models and even other manufacturers. This may help if you want to keep an eye out and gamble on buying some old genuine stock that might be going cheap on Ebay or some other location.

I’m getting hints that Ferodo’s part FSB947 is also a replacement for the AG. Page 486 of the catalogue if you want to check it out but I haven’t tried them yet so can’t guarantee their fitment. Will update here when I find out. What I do know is that the FSB733 does fit and I am using them in AG200s now.

Of course the other manufacturers list in this Ferodo catalogue have their listings and information too so there are other potential information sources as well but from the ones I have looked at so far, I have found the Ferodo one the most informative and helpful to date. I will keep up the hunt and if I find something more useful to the AG owner in the future I will make sure to post it up.

There is the other reason I have gone with Ferodo; I can get them, they are a reasonable price, I have used them and they work well. I will be keeping an eye out for any other option though and will update when I get more info.



The competition…

I refuse to use the H word in this post! I know, I’m acting like a school kid when the new 80cc motocross bikes were released every year! Everyone has their brand loyalty and preferences. Like it or not though, competing models effect each other and improve the breed, therefore competition is good. It also makes me fear for the AG200 now there is competition in the class from every manufacturer, and all of them crush the Yamaha on specs. Will Yamaha respond and make their competitor better, or get sucked in and destroy pretty much exactly what the farmer wants? Time will tell.

CT200 page1So anyway, here is the mighty H…Hon…CT200! I am not up with the specifics of the model years like when it first came out or the updates over the years. I do know it was there for most of the 80s and 90s and kept the Yamaha honest. It’s biggest innovation over the AG200 was the auto clutch but even though the sales guys would of pushed the feature, I’m not sure how many farmers were really swayed. If it was such a winner then they wouldn’t of replaced it with the fully manual CTX200 at around the turn of the century huh? They also had electric start a long time before it was available on the Yamaha.

CT200 page2The real cracker from Hon…Hond…was the CT125. Why? From my research it was released around 1975~76, years before the AG200. Why is this significant? I reckon that the CT125 was the AG bike that made Yamaha pivot from two strokes and focus on a four stroke ag bike. As discussed in my “Origins” post, I think that emission concerns from the US helped in the creation of the AG200, but I reckon the little CT125 might of had them concerned as well.

CT200 page3Check it out here (brochure below), it’s a pretty basic thing really but when you think about what it replaced on the farm at the time, it was a big step. The CT90 and 110 were the main-stay in two wheeled AG bikes before the onslaught of the ATV from all the manufacturers. Have a good look at an Australia Post “Postie bike” and imagine riding that thing on a farm that was either wet and muddy or hard baked and rough as guts!

Yes the AG100/175 was around, and the KV100/175 from Kawasaki and the TF series from Suzuki but when I was growing up, most farmers were on red posties! They traditionally leaned towards four strokes and the big “H” sold zillions of the things and were gladly destroying farmer’s spinal health all around the country!

CT200 page4So I think that the the CT125, although primitive and gutless, may of marked the beginning of agricultural enlightenment of two wheeled AG bikes. Emerging from the dark ages perhaps? We weren’t quite there yet but the AG200 and CT200 a few years later probably marked the point where the Japanese manufacturers got serious about what farmers rode on the farm.

PDF of brochure

Then ATVs came along and nothing much has happened in the thirty years since! Will there be a Medici moment for two wheeled agricultural motorcycles? Some would say that we have one at the moment with a choice from all 4 manufacturers. But a peek in the doors of motorcycle service departments around the country will quickly show that slapping a few racks and wide stand feet on a trail bike is not really the answer.

But that’s a topic for another discussion; the future (if there is one) of this style of motorcycle. For now, enjoy the sales brochure of the CT200. Update! Here’s a a few CT125 brochure pages to chuck in as well…









Fork servicing part 4, alternative parts & tools.

Oh no…not more fork stuff from this clown! Yes but there is nothing more about working on them. This is about the parts used in them and what we can use from other models and other manufacturers. I also have a few tips on tools…lets take a look…

First of all, here are some dimensions that might come in handy if you are researching fork info for this bike. The inner tube is 35mm in diameter, this is the inner measurement for the oil and dust seal. The outside diameter of the oil seal is 48mm. The dust seal has an outer diameter of 48.5mm I presume to help with the interference fit in the fork because of its smaller thickness compared to the oil seal.

Some of the other Yamaha models that use the same seal are; YZ100 ’80-’81, DT125 ’82-’83, IT125 ’81, XT125 ’82-’83, RT180 ’90-’93, XT200 ’83, RD250 ’78-’79, RD250 ’76-’79, TZ250 C-D-E, XT250 ’80-’83, RD400, XS400, SR500, XJ500, XS500, XV535 ’88-’92, TZ750 (!!!). Some alternate Yamaha part numbers for the oil seal are; 10V-23145-00, 38W-23145-00, 1UA-23145-00, 29L-23145-00. Don’t quote me on all this, it’s just what I have found while cross referencing stuff. There is no way I can confirm this 100% because I don’t own or have serviced all these bikes. What I do know is that the YZ100 does fit.

As for after-market suppliers, some don’t even have a listing for the AG200 but you can go on the dimensions – Fork oil seal 35x48x10.5mm (35x48x11mm is also fine) ARI has a listing as ARI.003T, Vesrah – AR-3506, Emgo 19-90134 and Allballs 35-1011. The dust seal is a bit more complex because some hang up over the fork tube so it’s hard to say what their correct height is. The factory dust seals measurements are 35×48.5x5mm. ARI do a listing of ARI.049 but I notice the thickness is larger (8mm) but this may be because the design is different like the Pyramid Parts seal that I have tried and discuss below. Allballs do a kit listed as AB55108. I have never ordered any of these parts or kits except for the genuine parts and Pyramid, so do some research of your own if you’re going to go your own way.

Fork seal kitI have checked a lot of the after-market companies and their listings and have found a supplier called Pyramid Parts that sell a kit that is quite good quality. Their product code is F&D 013 & 066. They don’t have any listings for an AG200 but, as stated above, I do know that the 1981 YZ100H has the same fork seal dimensions as the AG200. I have purchased a few of the dust/oil seal kits and they work well. In fact, I think they are better than the genuine items. I haven’t had them running for extended periods as yet but the oil seal has a tension spring on the upper and lower lips while the dust seal has multiple lips that should work much better than the original.

Dust seals compThe only hitch is that your fork boots may hang up on the top of the dust seal when you lower the boot down on it. I have installed two sets of these seals so far and this only happened on one installation and only on one leg. I still managed to get the boot down OK and fastened the lower section of the boot with a cable tie. I suspect it was just the boot in this situation (it was a bit wonky). You can see in the photo here that the after-market dust seal on the left sits up higher on top of the fork, while the original dust seal on the right sits down in the outer fork housing flush with the top.

The YZ100H were shipped from Yamaha with fork boots but maybe it was a different design to the AG with more room at the lower section of the boot? Or maybe its just a oddity of the the after market? It is a much better dust seal than the genuine AG item, to the point where you could run the forks without the boots if they are damaged. So this kit is good for a few reasons – if your boots are wrecked, leave them off and just use this superior dust seal. If your boots are OK then you have the protection of them AND a better dust seal – you cant loose.

Fork seal kit#2Pyramid Parts has a shop on ebay Australia that sells these seals at $25.00 for a kit. It’s cheap and even comes with a little tube of assembly lube which is cool. Just be aware though, his feedback is poor because he is sloooow! You will be waiting for two weeks to get anything out of him but that is my experience of anything out of New Zealand. You can’t rush these Kiwis! 🙂 He says it’s Australian stock but from the mirth of his feedback I find it might be stretching the truth a bit. But who cares? You want stuff cheaper then something usually gives, in this case it’s the delivery time. Maybe I should do a bulk purchase from the company via their website and sell them myself? let me know what you AG200 owners think about this and I may start my own AG-only parts thing up.

Fork circlipIf your forks are full of water, which is pretty common, then the oil seal retainer clip will be in pretty poor condition and I strongly recommend replacing it. Any old garden variety bearing shop should have, or can order in, some internal circlips to do the job. Just ask for 1.75mm thick by 52mm internal circlip. Make sure they are seated correctly in the groove and they will do the job fine. You can get stainless ones too ($$$) but if you maintain your forks you shouldn’t get moisture past the dust seal. You will need to update your tools, a proper set of circlip pliers will be needed of course.

What about fork oil? Fork oil is hideously expensive for what it is. I pay well over $20 for 500ml. It’s too much I reckon. I have read around the web that a lot of people use Auto Transmission Fluid. Never tried it myself but I can understand why people would. I will stick with the proper stuff with my bikes but I can’t see how ATF would hurt on our more lowly steeds. It is just hydraulic fluid after all. The AG needs 15wt oil and I’m not sure of the viscosity of ATF, some say between 7.5 to 10wt so you may find the forks a bit quicker on the rebound action but what the heck…my view is that use proper fork oil if you can but if its a 100km trip to get it and/or you have a heap of ATF hanging around your workshop then give it a go.

Alternate oil seal driver!While we are on to alternate parts, here’s an alternative oil seal driver! The cam-chain side camshaft bearing in the AG200 is an alloy bush which I chuck out in favour of a roller bearing. It fits very neatly on top of the oil seal and does a good job of getting the seal in even. I will document this mod in an up-coming post so you too can get your very own, genuine Yamaha fork seal driver!

In my fork repair posts I also noted that you need to weld a 19mm bolt into a socket, well Fork damper holderthere is a cheaper way of getting that tool into your AG200 toolkit; just weld a 19mm bolt into a piece of pipe or on the end of piece of steel bar – what ever you have lying around really. Weld another piece of pipe or bar at 90° on the other end to make a big long T-bar tool (check out the “damper rod T-Bar tool” in the Yamaha service manual). Many moons ago I did this to get the forks apart on a road bike and it worked a treat so it will do the job for the AG. The bolt into the socket tool mod isn’t that expensive, but acquiring the 1/2″ extension and T-handle can add up. Just make sure the length from the bolt end to T-handle is around 55cm or longer to reach into the fork properly.

So there you have it…I don’t think there needs to be any more info on AG200 fork maintenance. We are done.



Rego options.

Here in Australia we have a few options to legally ride our AG200 off private property. If you get caught riding an unregistered AG (or any bike) on public roads, state forest or any other place not deemed private property, the fines are steep. No registration means no insurance and in an increasingly litigious country, no rego is becoming frowned upon and people are getting stomped on hard when caught. Here is how you stay within the law on an AG200 in Victoria, Australia. I’m guessing there is not much difference in other states.

Full road registration: Ever wondered why the Honda postie is so popular here in OZ? Why do silly, grown men and their mates go away on silly, boozy trips and travel huge distances? I can give two reasons. One is shown here. As of the date of this post, the rego for an AG200 is $463.40 and that is just for renewal, add quite a bit more to rego one from scratch. The postie is around $100 cheaper to get on the road than the AG200 while the second of the reasons I alluded to above is compliance.

There are issues with most AG200s in Australia. To get full registration to legally ride anywhere in the country, the bike needs to have what we call compliance. Before the manufacturers are allowed to sell a vehicle for use on our roads, it has to go through a comprehensive test so that it complies with our rules.

Get out there and ride!
Get out there and ride!

Early iterations of the AG200 all had this “compliance plate” riveted to the head stem but as time went on and registration options (see below) became available, Yamaha imported a version that didn’t have compliance to ride on Australian roads. As farmers were the largest buyer and they rarely left the boundary of their property and when they did they had this new (cheaper) option of Farm reg., then they started to move away from the dearer complied version.

So yes, that means that Yamaha sold two versions of the AG200 for quite a while. A complied one and a non-complied one. Not many bought the complied one because they were dearer by a few hundred dollars and that’s why a fully complied, late model AG200 is quite rare.

Farm Registration: Is probably not much use to most readers. You have to be a primary producer, no built up areas and venture no more than 25kms from your farm. Pretty limited really, but if you are a cocky and don’t stray too far from home then this would be a viable option. A lot cheaper than full rego too but I didn’t quiz Vicroads on the exact rates.

Club Registration: This is another option which is barely worth mentioning but here we are. If you can prove you are a member of a relevant club(!) and your vehicle is 25 years old from the time you apply for the permit then you have transport! Well, not really. There are restrictions on this option that may make it unviable for your use.

Recreational Registration: This is the option that I use to date. You can only use the motorcycle away from built up areas and on secondary roads. No load carrying which is a bit of a bummer though. With the carrying capacity of the AG it seems a shame not to be able to use it and go away for multi-day rides but unfortunately it’s a no no under this rego option. The main advantage (other than cost) of this is that your bike does not have to be fully complied for road use in Australia. So even though you are limited to what you can do in comparison to full registration, you can get out there and do most things.

So in general, to get around all the rego restrictions you will have to drop the coin for the full rego assuming you can find a fully complied AG200. I might have an alternative to this complied bike issue though, so watch out for an up-coming post on how to get an AG200 fully complied on the cheap.

It won’t change the fact that you will still have to drop a significant amount of money on the yearly registration fee that may be more than the bike is worth! How much do you value your AG adventures? I’m trying to get my head around this one as we speak so we will have to work this out together. *group hug*

Of course, if you don’t live in Victoria your laws will be different but not by much I would imagine. Anyway, go and check out the relevant agencies in your state for more info.

Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania, West Australia, Australian Capital Territory, Northern Territory,