Tuneup Tips for a Honda VTX 1800

Written by sean russell
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Tuneup Tips for a Honda VTX 1800
The Honda VTX 1300 uses a smaller motor. (motorcycle image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com)

In 2002, Honda Motor Company introduced the VTX 1800 cruiser motorcycle. Reminiscent of classic Harley Davidson styling, the Honda VTX 1800 was available with varying options that affected look and performance. The VTX 1800 was produced from 2002 to 2008. The 2008 VTX 1800 came in three models: the N or Neo Retro model, the F or sport cruiser model and the T or touring model. Following manufacturer recommend service and tuning tips brought the most out of these motorcycles.

Choosing a Model

Each of the three VTX 1800 models (N, F and T) available in 2008 offered the rider a slightly different experience. Each model used the same 1792cc liquid-cooled, 11.1 degrees C, V-twin engine and shaft-driven, five-speed transmission. The F model used smaller tires and a front suspension with 4.3 inches of travel, compared with the N and T models that featured 5.1 inches of front suspension travel. The F model also weighed 351kg., while the N and T models weighed 363kg. and 365kg., respectively. These small differences are noteworthy when tuning your VTX 1800.

General Service Tips

Honda recommends using genuine Honda parts, fluids and lubricants when servicing your motorcycle. Honda also makes tools specifically designed for VTX parts, specified in the "Tools" section of your service manual, for easier disassembly and reassembly. The VTX 1800 only uses metric bolts, nuts and screws, therefore metric tools are recommended. Install new gaskets, O-rings, seals or lock plates when reinstalling components that include such hardware. Lubricate components with sliding mechanisms before reassembly. Always tighten the larger or innermost bolt and nut first. Then tighten the bolt or nut diagonally opposite from the first. Follow torque specifications specified in the VTX 1800 service manual. Refer to a service manual for wiring diagrams when applicable. Be cautious of excessively overfilling or under filling your oil tank. Refer to your owner's manual engine oil capacities. For example, the 2002 to 2003 VTX 1800 required 3.5 litres of oil when drained without changing the filter and 3.7 litres of oil when changing the filter.

General Maintenance

The 2002 to 2003 Honda VTX 1800 service manual recommends an oil and oil filter change when the odometer reaches 4,000 miles, 12,000 miles, 20,000 miles and every 8,000 miles driven thereafter. You may replace the oil and oil filter as often as you'd like, but it is not recommended waiting longer than specified in your maintenance schedule. Replace the radiator coolant every two years or at 24,000 odometer miles, whichever comes first. Replace the brake fluid every two years or when the odometer reaches 12,000 miles, and then again at 24,000 miles. Inspect the brake fluid every 4,000 miles. Dirty brake fluid will look murky in the brake fluid master cylinder and reduce effectiveness.

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