1999 Vmax

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Sep 3, 2021
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Hi, I’m new here and I’m potentially going to trade my foxbody for a Vmax. It’s a 99 with just under 20k miles. I don’t know anything about these bikes but they are damn awesome. He claims it takes a second to get to the correct idle on warm up. Says he’s a Harley guy so he doesn’t know about the VBOOST. Says it has no problem starting. Claims it doesn’t slip out of second gear. I don’t really want to end up having to dump any extra money into it. The seats a little ugly but that doesn’t bother me too much as I’ll probably replace it for something more comfortable. Any help would be appreciated. This probably isn’t the correct forum but I wasn’t sure where to put it. Thanks.


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Well-Known Member
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Mar 25, 2011
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Miami Florida
If you buy the bike, be sure to add your location in the area below the avatar. Help working on it is probably close-by.

(76) New Vmax Owner FAQs....new members please read! | Yamaha Star V-Max VMAX Motorcycle Discussion Forum (vmaxforum.net)

This will help you to understand common issues with the bike. It also contains lots of info on operation, oil used, and more. If you read and digest this thread before you look again at the bike, you will be 'way-ahead on what to look-out for.

20K miles is nothing for these bikes. It appears to have been cared-for. The seat bolster is an easy job for a local upholstery shop, if the front and rear seat sections are OK. Corbin has a few different models for this and you might as-well get acquainted with the Chief Enabler here, Sean Morley [email protected] He is a resource for anything you may consider. There are others on-here who can also help with used parts (CaptainKyle, he also paints, but is recuperating from eye surgery, [email protected] ) and service for carburetor work dannymax, use the member locator at the top of the page to PM him. This is a pretty-active site for working and troubleshooting on the bike. You have a 'good year,' you have the newer CDI box (1990-2007) and the better, larger fork downtubes/sliders (1993-2007), front calipers [two-pairs opposed pistons each caliper and large rotors], and numerous smaller improvements.

A dirty, rusty gas tank will have you needing to clean your carburetors, and to somehow decide what to do to remove rust or deposits from your gas tank. Cleaning the carburetors is more-than the 'shotgun' or the 'peashooter,' two stop-gap "I don't wanna remove my carburetors from the engine" methods of trying to clean the jets and passageways, especially the pilot jets, easily clogged with sediment and rust. Look into the gas tank neck with a powerful flashlight. If you see shiny metal everywhere you look, you're in-luck. Tanks were not coated with liner material from the factory. No shiny metal on the gas tank floor and sides, means you will be fighting a futile battle against deposits clogging the carburetors because the crap from the rusty gas tank will continue to impede proper carburetor operation. Getting your carbs serviced off the engine, and returning them to service without cleaning the gas tank is a waste of money. They will soon clog again. The 'search' function on the forum helps you to find info on things like removing the gas tank, cleaning it, and getting it back installed, or other questions you may have.

If you take some time to read in the sections devoted to Generation 1 VMax maintenance, the areas where you see the most complaints are carburetion and electrical. Properly serviced, and maintained, you should be able to use your bike as an everyday transportation. There isn't anything that you find on your bike that hasn't happened to another member here, before.

If you buy that bike, you need to download this and to print-out a copy, and put it in a 3-ring binder: VMX12- Service-Manual.pdf (vmoa.net) The shop manual is your resource to anything on the bike. take some time to read the entire thing. Info is scattered about. The first pages are devoted to yearly updates, before you get to the chapters on engine disassembly, electrical, chassis, carburetion, cooling, etc. In the back are electrical diagrams, cable and hose routing, nut/bolt sizing and torque values.

About that 2nd gear, this is a 10 second quarter mile bike in the proper hands. Most riders will probably be more-like 11-1/2 seconds. VBoost is a lot of fun, and it starts below 6000 rpm and the bike pulls noticeably harder as you pass 7500 rpm. If you're gonna have a 2nd gear problem, the bike will probably jump out of gear before it hits 6000 rpm. There is no rev limiter on a stock bike. A DYNA or an Ignitech CDI box has a rev limiter capability. Running it up to say, 7000 rpm in 1st, shifting to second, and grabbing a handful of throttle may lift the front wheel off the ground, and if the bike is gonna jump out of gear, it's going to do it then. If the bike reaches VBoost in second gear and stays in gear to 8000+ you don't have a second gear issue.

The bike appears to be relatively stock, a good thing. The new owner questions, answered is a great resource. Read it thoroughly before you go to see the bike again.

A good set of tires and brake pads (HH-friction grade pads I like) will help greatly. The #1 change/modification I'd consider if you want to own this for years, is to buy a replacement rear wheel in 17" or 18" size, and to install radial tires. Especially at higher speeds, the radial tires gives you much-more confidence in operation. You can use the 'search' function to find info on those sizes of rear wheels. Just be sure that you use the same type/brand & rubber compound tires front and rear. Fail to heed that and you could end up with an evil-handling bike.

Check the front fork air pressure in the schrader valves on top of the downtubes, the correct range is a nominal 9-15 psi for a stock front end. Many people add Progressive Suspension fork springs, these do-not need air. However, the bike will handle entirely differently if it's an OEM front end, with air in the forks compared to no air. If one of the downtubes shows evidence of a leaky fork seal, or both, the forks won't hold air. If the downtubes have chips in the chrome, where the fork seals operate, replacing the seals without replacing the downtubes will soon ruin the new fork seals. New dowtubes will run ~$400 the pair, use OEM Yamaha fork seals, and the proper amount and viscosity of fork oil. Look at the Race Tech site for info on this. If you decide the bike needs it, we'll direct you to Sean Morley's youtube video about fork maintenance, "so-easy my daughter can do it!" She's pretty-young in the video.

Let us know what you decide.
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Well-Known Member
Jun 30, 2021
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1. Check everything yourself.
2.Pay some mechanic to check.
Either way you can buy a bad bike, but in first case you'll blame yourself, in second you'll blame mechanic. Good luck! ;)