Kawasaki Versys Aluminum Swing Arm Upgrade on Er6N

Discussion in 'Technical' started by TonyBKK, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. FINALLY got around to installing the Versys Swing Arm on my ER6n-

    Was a bit more work than I expected on account of the terrible condition of the ER6n's swing arm shaft, sleeve and bearings. More on that later.

    First thing to do was cut the old chain-

    Remove rear wheel and rear brake line and caliper and detach shock from swingarm-

    Next step is to remove the Swing arm shaft and swing arm. Bolt came off no problem but the damn shaft wouldn't budge. Finally managed to hammer it loose and this is what I saw:

    Quite badly corroded... The shaft and sleeve had rusted together.

    This is a 2009 model ER6n! It only had about 9000km on the clock when I bought it. The service manual does not call for inspection or lubrication of these parts.

    In fact the service manual says:

    "Swing arm Bearing Lubrication
    NOTE ○Since the bearings are packed with grease and sealed, lubrication is not required."...

    I wonder if it was just a bad seal on my bike or if this is something that everyone should check...

    The swing arm shaft:

    The swing arm sleeve and seal-

    On the right side the collar and bearing were corroded:

    Removed the RH seal-

    to reveal the circlip and bearing under the collar:

    A bit of a mess. The swing arm was starting to rust and the ball bearing and needle bearing were contaminated-



    So, off to Kawasaki to get all new parts for the Versys swing arm:

    swing arm shaft and 20mm nut
    swing arm sleeve
    42 mm circlip
    1 ball bearing
    3 needle bearings
    2 oil seals

    Cost about 1800 Baht. The swing arm cost 7200 Baht. So you're looking at about 9000 Baht total if you'd like to install a Versys swing arm on your ER6n or Ninja 650R. Oh, I forgot- there are a few other parts as well- Versys rear axle is longer and you the nuts and bolts and plates for the chain adjusters. Also need a chain guard and a brake line bracket. I don't remember any more what I paid for those parts.

    I needed to visit Kawasaki as a special tool is required to install the needle bearings-

    They are super busy these days and told me the earliest they could install the bearings would be in a week. I said to hell with that- just give me the special tool and I'll do it myself :thumbup:

    Guess the sharing of tools is against policy so they were kind enough to install the bearings for me after all. Labor cost 160 Baht + tip! :mrgreen:

    I discovered when I went to install the Versys swing arm that it's wider than the ER6n swing arm and does not clear the right re****t on my bike, so I'll need to install some spacers.

    Can't wait to try it out and will certainly let you know how it goes.

    Let the Good Times ROLL!

  2. Looks good Tony! Look forward to hearing more about changes in the feel of the bike after you spend some time on it. Cheers
  3. An interesting mod, I admire your perseverance.
    For those of us uninitiated in all things ER6/Versys, what is your purpose
    and is there a real need to make this change?

    I am assuming this was rhetorical...?
    as it is hardly a multiple choice answer...

    Did you even bother to get Kawa to look into this or just put it down Kawa's build/price & TiT low expectations?

    Looking forward to reading how this improves the performance & ride.
  4. Actually I've learned that swing arm bearing corrosion is a problem that plagues a lot of Kawasaki models so I think it's a matter of poor design rather than Thai build quality or qc... You can be sure I pointed it out to the Kawasaki service staff and they took pictures and I gave them the corroded parts, so hopefully they will follow up on it, but TiT, who knows ;-)

    From another forum:

    As for the swinging arm bolt rusting/sticking onto the sleeve,,This is not an isolated issue, i did a bearing change on swinging arm on my OLD kawasaki zr750 And had the exact same issues as you, even the 750 has a grease nipple on the underside of the arm but is of no use as it only feeds grease to the bearings along the outer side of the sleeve...the inner sleeve and bolt get nothing A BIG DESIGN Fault...and gues what the old zr750 is a 2002 and the needle bearings and roller bearings and end seals are the exact same parts as on the 650r/er6 So much for them claiming they were a new design from the ground up, many many parts are common between the kwakers 600cc up....
    If you go to rider forums you`ll see my comments under "removing that big bolt" on the zr750 section....i had to take the frame down to the local exhaust shop and use the OA set to heat that baby out..

    So therefore any riders out there with the 650r/er6n or similar, i urge you to get that bolt out now and grease it up, regularly.....if you are keeping your ride for long..
  5. Heh, heh, you'll have to define "need" for me :mrgreen:

    The stock steel swing arm on the ER6n / Ninja 650R flexes under heavy acceleration and hard cornering. You can feel and hear the chain trying to run off the rear sprocket with this happens. The Aluminum Versys swing arm is lighter, stronger and more rigid than the ER6n steel swing arm so should eliminate that problem. I'll need to measure but I believe the Versys swing arm coupled with ER6n shock raises the rear of the bike which will make it turn in quicker.

    I don't consider it much hassle or expense - I love to tinker and mod almost as much as I like to ride.

    I'm glad I did it or I'd have never discovered the corrosion in the bearings, shaft, sleeve and collar. Over time the bearings would fail and that could get downright dangerous!

    I'd suggest everyone pull that shaft and check for corrosion. The Kawasaki service manual doesn't call for periodic inspection or lubrication of those parts- I really think that should be changed!

    The ER6n/Ninja 650r steel swing arm weighs about 6.1Kg

    The Versys aluminum swingarm weighs in at about 4.9Kg

    Let the Good Times ROLL! biggrin.gif

  6. Tony,

    Good catch, looks like a failure of your seal. Just out of interest and it might be worth checking can the bearing seals be fitted the wrong way?
    This image you posted, the four marks on it may indicate it has to either face/face away from the bearing or is that from the collar?

    Im just in the process of taking the KLX apart for a good service. Check the photos out of the rear axle bolt and wheel bearing. I also had to drift the bolt out because of corrosion. I packed this wheel bearing full of grease a couple of years ago, if it was just left with the factory smear it would be ten times worse than this.
    Havent got around to the swing arm bearings yet, but I hope its not like yours. Grease, grease, grease and lots more of it.




    Im sure there will be a big difference compared to the steel tubular affair. Is the wheel base dimension any different?
    It looks slightly out of place compared to the stock item but im guessing your not doing it for cosmetic reasons :thumbup:
  7. Tony,

    in my past experiance, i had a new set of bearing seals fail after 6000 klicks on my R-1, And i am sure it was from taking the bike to these car wash or bike wash places and they were using a high pressure was gun, also I would do it at home with my high pressure wash gun, it penetrates the seals and starts to break down the grease. As you know my wheels are gold so i use to make sure they were super clean.


    Yours would have been from cambodia, they have the same principal as a car diff, when they are hot, and you drive into a creek crossing, they will suck in the water.
  8. Ok good point Frank with the power washers and you may well be right.

    Tony. See photo below. This is one of my swing arm pivot bearings. You can clearly see the corrosion, similar to yours. This is the lower part of the bearing that has corroded indicating water ingress which has over time caused the damage.

    I noticed from some of your photos also that the corrosion seems to be isolated to certain areas, ill bet this is the lower section of the bearing. This is only from 3,000 Km worth of off-road riding.
    The shaft that you pictured badly corroded, theres not much you can do about this. The manufacturers recommend leaving these dry as not to attract dirt, as there is no seal to prevent moisture/dirt getting in between the shaft/sleeve. Not sure what the coating is on these shafts, zinc or something, which is suppose to prevent this happening. The powder corrosion you are seeing is called Galvanic corrosion and is caused when two dissimilar metals come into contact with the aid of an electrolyte ie water and dirt and the lowest rated metal on the periodic table gets it first hence the cheap Kawasaki shaft with a coating not up to scratch . What I do is put a thin layer of Molybdenum grease which is similar to graphite grease and helps with friction and lubricates. It will attract dirt though and is why you have to checks them every year or so.

    Heres a photo of the torque link adapter bolt. I think you just have to live with these things and check and do maintenance as much as you can to avoid any serious failures. Luckily all these parts are relatively cheap to replace. And as Frank rightly mentioned earlier it would be wise to avoid high pressure water jets directed at these areas.

    Another photo of one of the bearing seals with corrosion at the lower area.

    A good clean inside and plenty of grease in there, not excessively though or the seal wont seat properly. Run the sleeve through it a few times to remove excess grease and fit the seals and slide the sleeve back and forth through the seals to seat them properly.

    You can see the thin coating of moly grease on the shaft. Not sure if you can see from this photo but theres pitting on the shaft from the corrosion mentioned earlier.

    Job done and ready to assemble, great fun

    Did they use and assembly or jointing compound when the new bearings went in? again you have two different metals being in contact with one another and jointing compound will prevent galvanic corrosion.

    Aqua Lube, this stuff gets used offshore for ROV's diving to 9,000ft. Lubricates, seals and keeps out water also good for preventing corrosion. Its heavy duty though and I would only use it for static purposes ie the face seals of swing arm bearing seals.
  9. Over a kilo of unsprung weight lost, thats fantastic as losing unsprung wieght is not easy to do and is the best kind to lose. Plus the new boxed aluminum is for sure torsionally stiffer and its a win win. Good call Tony.

    Rhodie - This mod is really only going to pay off for a decent rider on a track ridden bike. One used for tooling around the Mae Hong Son loop the benefits would hardly be realized by the rider. Keep in mind not all track ridden ER6's do this mod either, most classes would not allow this type of mod unless run in a series or class that allows EXTENSIVE modifications.
  10. But does this not raise the rear end? If so, raising the rear end, is not a win-win in terms of turn in and straight line stability.

    Did you use the same Er shock?
    What is the change in height?
  11. 267404=2983-ER6nVersysSwingArmPicSSR.
    I should have measured the seat height before I made this mod, but yes, the Versys swing arm should raise the rear which is a GOOD thing as raising the rear will shorten the rake and the trail which will make the bike more agile (and yes, if raised too far can make the bike less stable).

    The rake of a stock ER6n is 24.5 degrees. Most sport bikes have a rake closer to 23 degrees. My geometry is pretty rusty so I'm just going by feel, but ideally I'd like to drop the front and raise the rear enough to get the rake to about 23 degrees.

    I've got the ER6n YSS rear shock and I also picked up a longer Versys height adjustable YSS rear shock so I'll play with both to see which one give me the best results. Swapping the rear shock on the ER6 is a 5 minute affair :)

    Ride On!

  12. Here's some scanned pages from "Sportbike Suspension Tuning" book to help you troubleshoot when you try your bike out at the track.




  13. Good stuff Johnny! Worth printing out and taking to the track! Cheers! Tony
  14. Tim Stanley and I have been thinking of doing this to his ER, hence my height questions.
    Looks like some before and after measurements are in order so that we can achieve the desired rear height.
  15. Well, my two satang- before you mess with the swing arm, you should determine and define exactly what it is you wish to accomplish.

    What's the reason for changing the swing arm? Performance? Looks? Other? Do you want to change the geometry of the bike or keep it where it's at now?

    Before changing the swing arm one should upgrade the rear shock. There are many aftermarket options, some of which include the ability to adjust ride height.
  16. Have you tried it out on the track yet? Just out of interest, I was looking at racing ER'6s on the internet and saw one being campaigned by McKinstry racing in Ireland and it has a big alloy swinging arm on it, perhaps from a Versys? I also read somewhere that a few guys have been fitting the front forks off the ZX6R.
  17. Wanted to hit the track yesterday but MAD rain in the Big Mango spoiled that plan. Next chance I'll have will be Tuesday.
    Yes, the ZX6R fork swap is a popular mod for the EX650, but sourcing ZX6R forks here in Thailand is ridiculously expensive...
    Next time I go back to the US I may try to bring some back with me.
    Ride On!
  18. While making the bike more agile and turn quicker with a jacked up rear end you will loose some stability around fast sweeping turns.
    Under full throttle with it banked over they can tend to shake there head a little more.
    It all depends on the nature of the tracks you use.

    Interested to see how it feels when you try it out.

  19. Even if it just making it lighter, is a big bonus for any track addict.
  20. :thumbup::thumbup:very nice project! i like!
  21. Can you tell me how much wider the versys svingarm is ?
    I have mounted a ZX6R 2010 frontfork, whit wheel and breaks.
    But i will have the versys svingarm on, in hope that i can get the rearwheel on from ZX6R 2010, because i wont to put on PVM magnesium wheels on it and they dont make them in ER6 size :-(

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