40k km run Karizma ZMR in poor mechanical condition: Restore or replace

Things started to go south when I filled more than necessary engine oil & rode the motorcycle for over 200 km at 80 km/h.

BHPian efuture recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Before starting, I’m putting up the latest picture of my bike. I washed it after a long time and it does look good with all plastic parts in place.

It’s a 2015 Hero Karizma ZMR V2 with a fuel injector and digital instrument cluster with close to 40,000km on the ODO. I did not service the bike properly in the last 2-3 years other than regular engine oil replacement. Due to poor maintenance and age, the bike is in terrible mechanical condition and needs a major overhaul.

This is partly due to my DIY engine oil refilling back in 2019. I filled the engine oil to more than the max limit and rode the bike on the highway for more than 200km at 80+km in full throttle even after the bike refused to move at low speeds. I took the bike to Hero service center the next day and they flushed the excess oil, and cleaned the air filter. But all the problems started from there one by one.

I took the bike to multiple Hero service centers and local mechanics, but after spending close to 20k, nothing worked and the bike was getting worse after every service. Pickup and throttle response was getting worse after every km and fuel efficiency deteriorated to 25kmpl. I’m getting an eye-watering 220 to 250km range for every 1000 rupees refill even when the bike is ridden at speeds less than 60 kmph.

I do not find any good bike similar to ZMR V2 for less than 2 lakhs presently in the market. Also, 2 lakhs for a 2-wheeler doesn’t sound good in my opinion. I’m in confusion about what to do with the bike – whether to completely restore it back to the pre-DIY era or replace it with something else.

A long list of issues is below. Looking forward to your valuable suggestions and service center reference in and around Chennai.

  • Heavy vibrations from the engine. Vibrations are felt heavily on the foot pegs, handlebar and feeling of numbness in most parts of the body even after a short 20km drive at low and high speeds. Case is even worse for pillion riders – completely removed engine from chassis and re-installed with new bolts at Hero service center & overhauled engine once in a local mechanic shop.
  • Very high engine noise.
  • Rattling noise from silencer/engine at speeds above 50kmph.
  • Poor acceleration during start and all speeds, literally have to shift down in some cases to pick up speed and acceleration on highways. Strange for a 20 bhp, 20 Nm bike.
  • Engine oil leak.
  • Top speed limited – Difficult and taking longer time to reach 3 figures.
  • Very low mileage – <25kmpl – very hard to digest after owing an electric bike which is literally free to drive in Tamil Nadu.
  • Tight clutch – replaced clutch plates twice, no help.
  • Hard gear shifts – hearing a hard thud sound for every shift.
  • Stuck gears – need to release the clutch and re-engage after a short throttle to shift the gears most of the time.
  • Engine not settling in idle – random RPM rise up to 1.8k RPM from 1k RPM.
  • Tight handlebar – hard to turn end-to-end in slow speed and in stationary.
  • Poor throttle response.
  • Tight throttle cable.
  • Hard front suspension and noise from suspension during braking.
  • Oil leak in the left rear suspension.
  • Zero spring action in rear swingarm – don’t know if it is only from faulty suspension.
  • Hard to move the bike in gear with the clutch fully engaged – a lot of rolling resistance.
  • Grinding noise from front to rear when the vehicle is moved in neutral – something is wrong with the chain and it is not aligned straight as well.
  • Front disc and brake pads.
  • Rear disc and brake pads.
  • Rear tubeless tyres to be replaced.
  • 75% of the instrument display is blank in artificial light. Numbers and texts are visible during daylight.
  • Lights need an upgrade.
  • Front left indicator and LED to be replaced – set. Indicators cannot be replaced separately. 750 rupees for one side – Trust me, Hero spares are not cheap.
  • Horn will act randomly sometimes.

The strange thing is the bike starts well in the very first ignition and runs even though the ride is very shaky.

I am thinking of the following options:

  • Completely restore the bike with all new parts at a Hero service center without worrying about the bills and keep the bike for the coming years till the FC expires.
  • Take it to a local mechanic and arrest holes here and there and hope it will run for the next few years.
  • Sell it for a few thousand and buy a 125 cc commuter with 100kmpl mileage for 1 lakh.

Here’s what BHPian TorqMaster had to say about the matter:

See if you can get a second-hand Karizma engine and plonk that in, should not cost too much money. Most of the issues you mentioned should be sorted barring the consumables like cables, suspension oil seals etc.

The hassle would be in getting the engine number updated in the RC book.

Here’s what BHPian saitvsk23 had to say about the matter:

Hi there. The ZMR V2 engine is one of the most potent engines from the Hero stable since the JV had ended. Also, the V2 ZMR was developed with inspiration from the flagship model of the Buell 1190 line (Hero MotoCorp had bought EBR-Erik Buell Racing in hopes of expanding tech and resources). So as a result, the radical design was disapproved by Karizma purists, but radical compared to today’s 250cc commuters which are priced at a perceived premium.

These are the plus points, according to me:

  • Your bike is a unique one. Styling-wise, too. If you’ll see, there’s nothing like it on today’s roads. It looks cosmetically well maintained, so that’s a plus for me.
  • It’s an agreeable fact that since the JV had ended, quality had gone down in Hero models. Since then like every other company does, Hero has kept improving their part quality, so getting new ones installed PROPERLY shouldn’t be a problem. Since the basic engine architecture isn’t a hard departure from the OG Karizma, workmanship too shouldn’t be a problem. For this, I’d advise you to find a reputed FNG who has some experience working on this engine. There is a similar thread in the motorcycle section. You can make out the costs from this situation.

This post might be detailed, but here’s what I think the problems come from. I’ll be listing them in order.

  • Heavy Vibration from the engine – the engine is feeling stressed. Maybe the resistance is from the inside. All the improper lubrication might have caused major abrasion on critical working parts such as the cylinder block, crankshaft, etc.
  • Very high engine noise – once again there is resistance against the working of the engine internals. Please take a thorough look at the internals, and replace them thoroughly.
  • Rattling noise from silencer/engine at speeds above 50kmph – Vibrations from the engine are passed on to the silencer mount point, which causes this. Improper connection at the cylinder head also has a part in this free movement.
  • Poor acceleration during start and all speeds, literally have to shift down in some cases to pick up speed and acceleration on highways. Strange for a 20bhp, 20Nm bike – once again, the internal resistance rears its ugly head.
  • Engine oil leak – a particular level of working pressure inside the engine has to be achieved for all the fluids to flow naturally. Improper engine oil levels might be the cause, causing the excess pressure to leak and bring the oil out with it. Faulty/failed/degraded gaskets might be the issue too. Pls get it checked.
  • Top speed limited – Difficult and taking longer time to reach 3 figures – internal resistance is high, pls don’t run the bike for longer periods at this stage. Get it checked asap.
  • Very low mileage – <25kmpl – very hard to digest after owing an electric bike which is literally free to drive in Tamil Nadu – Same. Since internal resistance is high, the engine is taking in more fuel to produce the required power, as opposed to the efficiency figures it was originally designed for.
  • Tight clutch – replaced clutch plates twice, no help – clutch springs need to be torqued to the spec. Pls get it checked.
  • Hard gear shifts – hearing a hard thud sound for every shift – gears inside the gearbox are not aligned properly since this is a constant mesh gearbox. The gears are in continuous contact with each other for power transmission. Pls check the gear lever mechanism also. This also plays a crucial role in moving the gear rows.
  • Stuck gears – need to release the clutch and re-engage after a short throttle to shift the gears most of the time – there might be an issue inside the gearbox with the dog clutches. These are present between each set of gears and help in selecting each speed. Pls get them checked.
  • Engine not settling in idle – random RPM rise up to 1.8k RPM from 1k RPM – again, the ECU is trying to modulate the speed of the engine at a constant speed, but the internal resistance comes into play and the engine is working at random RPMs.
  • Tight handlebar – hard to turn end-to-end in slow speed and in stationary – pls get the cone set bearings replaced. They are situated under the triple tree.
  • Poor Throttle response – pls get the throttle body cleaned and pls get the injector cleaned too. See that the injector is cleaned carefully because these Keihin replacement units cost a bomb.
  • Tight throttle cable – pls check the mechanism beside the right-hand switchgear. WD40 will help a lot.
  • Hard front Suspension and noise from suspension during braking – the oil inside the front forks may have done its job, and a replacement is pending. Requires an overhaul along with fresh fork oil.
  • Oil leak in left rear suspension – Hero uses GRS units which were first introduced on the Hunk. It’s a proprietary technology, so chances of a rebuild are less. Buying a new one, or replacing the entire set with a similar gas-charged set from Endurance might be the solution.
  • Zero spring action in rear swingarm – don’t know if it is only from faulty suspension – faults point towards a bad suspension setup.
  • Hard to move the bike in gear with the clutch fully engaged – a lot of rolling resistance – internal resistance.
  • Grinding noise from front to rear when the vehicle is moved in neutral – something is wrong with the chain and it is not aligned straight as well – pending wheel bearing replacement.
  • Front disc and brake pads – consumables, replace. Check for scouring marks on the disc. Replace if present.
  • Rear disc and brake pads – consumables, replace. Check for scouring marks on the disc. Replace if present.
  • Rear tubeless tyres to be replaced – pls stick to stock size.
  • 75% of instrument display is blank in artificial light. Numbers and texts are visible during daylight – you can get the LCD unit revamped at a meter console repair shop. They exist, and you will find them.
  • Lights need an upgrade – Phillips/Osram H4 bulbs will do the trick.
  • Front left indicator and LED to be replaced – set. Indicators cannot be replaced separately. 750 rupees for one side -. Trust me, Hero spares are not cheap.
  • Horn will act randomly sometimes – either switch issue in the switchgear or the wiring issue. Some horns use a relay to be activated. I don’t know if the V2 ZMR uses a relay, but pls find the weak point and get it replaced.
  • My 2 cents: keep the bike, get the work done, enjoy the bike for decades to come. Spending 2+L on something similar and getting disappointed is surely a waste of money and peace. Spend on the bike, keep it with you, hand it off below to a budding rider, and be happy.

Here’s what BHPian Gypsian had to say about the matter:

Pouring excess oil into the engine will invite more air into the engine chamber. The air and oil mixture, along with the fast rotating crankshaft will produce a foam-like substance which degrades the lubricating capacity of the engine oil at a large scale. Consequently, due to the inefficient lubrication, the engine temperature will start to rise and the high temperatures might cause an engine lock, which is why your engine is resistive while you throttle.

I suggest a complete overhaul i.e. crank resetting, new cylinder kit and head valve re-setting at a proper lathe. If a proper mechanic handles the overhaul job, I’m certain it will be as good as new. Don’t opt for reboring as no lathe guy will set perfect clearance. Do change the timing chain.

Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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