With 9400 miles on my front tire and about 4000 on my second rear...both were due for a changin´.
Holy crap! What a job getting the front wheel off was!!!
It isn´t just that !@#$%^& Kawasaki didn´t include a decent tool to loosen the front axle with...the gorilla they used to tighten it at the factory REALLY put some torque on it to boot!!!
By Kawasaki´s Service/Shop Manual, the procedure for front wheel removal is to remove the front fender...not necessary IF you can get the front of the bike high enough off of the ground (I removed it this time, won´t the next, will just use jack stands under the fork legs to pivot it up afte rthe rear tire is off). Then, after pulling the brake calipers, you are to loosen the RIGHT clamp bolts at the bottom of the fork tube and loosen the axle.
Well, considering that the right side of the axle requires a 22mm allen-wrench to turn it...which !@#$%^& Kawasaki didn´t seem to include in the on-board tool kit...that would have been a hell of a trick! Checking the LEFT side of the axle showed that ´all´ it needed was a 17mm allen-wrench to turn.
There is a tool in the tool-kit that will fit the axle-nut (left side) but there was no way I could have put enough torque on it to budge anything...but I tried with no luck.
I had already soaked the axle-nut with penetrating oil and ran out to Sears looking for a 17- or 22mm allen wrench without luck. What I finally found that would work was a metric bolt with a 22mm head. I stuck the head in the axle, clamped my largest vice-grips to the threaded shank and pulled...and pulled...and pulled.
What finally got it loose was pointing the vice-grips straight to the rear, 230 lbs. of me standing on the vice-grips...and bounching!!! Like I said...Holy Crap!!!
I also tried a 17mm-headed bolt in the left side of the axle...and managed to break the shank off of the Grade 8 bolt I was using...Yes Matilda, it was that tight!!!
When both sides of the clamp bolts were loose, the axle would turn within the fork legs slightly so I knew the axle had been torqued rather well. Also, when it finaly broke loose, I was able to remove it just using the bolt as a ´wrench´ so I don´t think that the slight corrosion I found was the problem.
Once the axle was out...and the swearing finished...the front wheel popped right out. The rear was typical for a chain-drive bike...
Remove the brake caliper, out with the cotter pin, off with the nut, poke the axle out to the left, drop the wheel, roll it forward to get the chain off, then roll it right out the back...easy!
Fortunately, I didn´t need 4 hands ot put it all back together again and I ´never-siezed´ the front axle nut so I don´t think I will have too much touble next time.
Have fun if you give it a try...