The following is an article printed by Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine. The purpose of this addition to our website is to introduce another perspective on this modification.
A Pod Removal Primer for the Virago.
CALL THEM BUG EYES OR CALL THEM PODS. Many people just call them ugly. The air cleaner covers on Viragos are hard to ignore. When we found a link on the Virago Owners Club’s (VOC) home page (http://www.xtalwind.net/~virago/)labeled “Air Filter Conversion,” we immediately surfed over it to check it out. What we found was an interesting – if somewhat spotty in places – outline authored by A.J. Mei (VOC International Membership Director) describing how to remove Virago 750 pods. With our curiosity piqued, we decided to follow the instructions to see what we would learn, and transmit our newfound knowledge, complete with photos, to our loyal readers the old-fashioned way, on paper.
Before we delve into the modification, we need to state the obvious but requiste cautions. This intake reconfiguration removes portions of the Virago’s intake system, and depending on installation method chosen, permanently alters some parts in a way that would require the purchase of new parts should the need arise to return the Virago to stock form. Altering the intake system may void Yamaha’s warranty. By altering the intake system and removing some of the federally mandated pollution controls, a modified Virago may not pass if subjected to emissions testing. The modifications described in this article apply to the Virago 750 only. The modification of a Virago 1100 will follow a similar process but with important differences that, since we didn’t have access to an 1100, Motorcycle Cruiser have not investigated. Check the VOC Web page and proceed with caution. Phew.
All you need to become pod-less are an air cleaner with a mounting bracket, a 10-inch length of radiator hose, 3M weather-stripping, auto-body repair tape, and about three hours of free time.
The first step in any modification is the gathering of the necessary materials. We started with the drilled disc air cleaner (Custom Chrome Part number 12-025, $26)featured in the VOC page, but ended up using a chrome teardrop air cleaner(number 12-020, $99) for aesthetic reasons. A 10-inch piece of 2.0-inch OD radiator hose will suffice. However, hose part number 71387 ($9.50) at Super Trak auto parts stores works perfectly. The hose has a bend that snugs into the airbox and lines up correctly for the new filter mount. Auto body repair tape should be used to cover any extra holes in the air cleaner backing plate. A 5x20mm bolt and lock nut-or two-will hold the air cleaner to the bracket. The assembly stays air tight thanks to 3M Weather Strip Adhesive ($4). (We used yellow for photo purposes, but other less obtrusive colors are available.) Two 1/2-inch copper pipe caps seals the fresh air induction pipe next to the exhaust manifold. Basic mechanic tools plus a matt knife, a drill, and a service manual (a must for any modification or maintenance project) complete the list.
As with almost any work on the intake system, begin by removing the gas tank. Remove the right pod starting with the two allen bolts attached to the horn bracket and frame. Next, remove the boot from the frame with a No.2 phillips screwdriver. One of the interesting features of the Virago is that the frame’s large backbone doubles as the airbox. Take a moment to look it over. Remove the 10mm bolt securing the chrome cover of the left pod and tilt the cover up from the bottom to expose a nest of pollution controls. People who call this a fake air cleaner are technically incorrect since the black plastic box filters the drawn air into the exhaust system.
Disconnect the small vacuum hose that attaches to the gulp valve and trace it to the front carburetor. Remove the hose from the front carb and cover the nipple with the cap from the rear carb’s nipple. Separate the hose you just removed from the carb from the plastic “T” connector. Remove the spring coiled around the hose still attached to the “T”, and slip it over the hose you just separated from the “T”. This hose should now be attached to the nipple on the rear carburetor. The open end will connect to the petcock’s vacuum connection when the tank is reinstalled.
Remove the two hoses from the chrome pipes going to the exhaust ports. Now you can finally remove the two allen bolts holding the pod backing plate in position. Next, you remove the pipes from the fresh-air induction system. The pipes are held in place with a hose clamp on one end and an allen bolt in the middle. Loosen the hose clamp and carefully remove the allen bolt. Once the pipes are removed, re-torque the bolt, which secures the side cover. Repeat for the other pipe. The half-inch copper caps were created to close off household water pipes and, consequently, aren’t very pretty. Having them chromed will help, but removing the induction system’s inlet from the head itself would be a more visually pleasing method. When we find a better plug, we will print a follow-up. The copper caps fit snugly over the inlet and should be tapped on with a dead blow hammer. The caps stay in place thanks to an interference fit, which means the cap and the inlet will interfere with any attempts to put the system back to stock.
Using the stock allen bolts and the right side pod’s frame mounting points, mount the bracket that came with the drilled air cleaner with the bend in the center of the bracket to make the ends spread to cover the mounting holes
The radiator hose you purchased for this modification influences your next step. If you were able to find the number 71387 radiator hose, measure from the end that has a two-inch straight section before the bend and cut the hose to about 10-inches in length. Insert the short straight section fully into the airbox/frame opening (about 1.3 inches). Rotate the hose until it lines up under the center of the bracket. If you are using a straight hose, remove the boot to the pod backing plate and cut it just behind the third ridge. Now slide the hose as far as it will go into the boot. Mount the boot to the frame and rotate into position. From this point on, this configuration follows the same steps as the hose method.
Punch out the outer-most of the pre-formed holes in the filter backing plate. Slip the backing plate cover over the hose and wiggle it into position. Rotate the backing plate until the mounting hole lines up with the bracket’s hole and bolt snugly. With a light colored grease pencil, mark the hose where it sticks through the backing plate. Remove the plate and the hose and cut the hose 1/4 inch longer to give yourself some room to glue the hose to the plate. Remount everything to make sure they fit together. Note the position of the hose for the final assembly.
Copyright © Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine – February 1998