I apologize for what may end up being a somewhat vague “How-to” I am typing this from memory and sadly did not get the proper amount photo documentation. The blog is sprouting and this is but a sapling.
I am not responsible for any damage YOU cause to your machine OR yourself, use your head and other available resources if you are unsure about something.
This procedure should apply to most shaft drive bikes with a “through-the-swing-arm” drive shaft and is written to supplement a factory service manual. This procedure is listed in factory service manual maintenance intervals, on older machines it is HIGHLY recommended (Atleast on the KZ1300 by the gentlemen over at www.KZ1300.com) that this procedure be performed every time you change the rear tire. Now, the shaft joint is there to accommodate back and forth movement of the rear wheel as the swing arm travels up and down. Over time this back forth sliding of the shaft joint has a tendency to “shed” the grease out of the shaft splines and must be lubricated. The logic for increased interval on older machines and especially of the KZ1300 is this: Should this part be neglected and the need for a replacement arise there is no easy way to obtain one. New replacements are simply no longer available due to the age of the bike and due to the lower productions numbers of the KZ1300, it’s not hard to imagine that good condition used shaft joints are few and far between.
Items you will need:
Basic hand tools of course, including larger diameter sockets / wrench about 1″ or more for the rear axle. A solid large crescent wrench will work, just don’t hurt yourself or the axle.
A torque wrench
Jack stands (2)
25cc of a high temperature grease (People have suggested Honda Moly-60, the KZ1300 factory service manual states “a high temperature grease”, I myself used SIG-3000 Impact Grease. We’ll see how it holds up.)
Proper torque values for your bike’s rear axle, shock mounting hardware, brake caliper, etc. If you do not have service manual of some kind for your machine you should probably obtain one.
Put the bike on the center stand. This can actually be difficult depending on the bike, I just recently discovered the proper method to put my 720+ pound KZ1300 on the center stand by myself. Anyone can do it alone, even a 900+ pound Goldwing. Google it, if you are unsure, get a helper.
Before I got started with dis-assembly, I had drained the rear drive unit gear lube as I wanted to change it anyway. The bike was parked after a ride so it was nice and warm.
Place a jack stand just under the rear of the bike between the swing arm and motor on a safe location (frame or other suitable strong firm structure), the KZ has a bar running under the swing arm pivot where I placed mine. The jack stand is there to stop the bike from tilting a significant distance if weight is applied to the back of the bike while the rear tire or shocks are removed.
Remove extraneous items that may block access to the rear axle. On the KZ1300, the mufflers NEED to be removed. It is possible to remove the rear shocks and lift the swing arm up so the axle will clear the muffler but I DO NOT recommend it. My muffler has a large dent from someone (and I know who, bastard) doing this before I owned the bike. It was actually quicker to just remove the mufflers anyway. Additionally, I removed the hard bags and loosened the luggage mounting hardware to give me some more room.
Remove the rear brake caliper from the swing arm and from the rear tire brake rotor. Bungee it safely out of the way so that it will not fall and damage the brake line. If your particular bike is of the drum brake variety, remove the rear brake cable. Presumably the read brake hub will be able to pull out of the wheel hub later.
Now is a good time to place jack stand under the swing arm to support it after the rear tire or when the shocks comes off. Do not let the swing arm hang after removing the rear tire, this could damage the dust boot covering the shaft or universal joint.
Make sure the bike’s weight is not resting on the rear tire and that the rear shock is unweighted (just look over the rear end and picture in your head what exactly will happen when a shock removed, helps prevent surprises). Remove the lower mounting hardware from both rear shocks and loosen the upper hardware. Keep in mind the rear tire will drop to the ground if the shocks are holding it up and /or the shocks will likely have some tension. Remove the lower end of the shock from the drive unit and / or swing arm and rotate the shock back out of your way.
You should now be at a point where the swing arm is free from the shocks, the rear tire is ideally off the ground being held up but a jack stand under the swing arm, and nothing is blocking you from removing the rear axle.
Using a large socket and breaker bar or large crescent wench, break the axle nut lose. Be mindful of the forces your are applying to the bike to avoid shifting weight around (I like surprises but sometimes they are bad mkay?). You may wish you place a block under the tire if it is held off the ground by a jack stand or use another wrench on the other end of the axle.
Remove the axle nut and pull the axle out half way out, enough to remove any wheel spacers. Remove any wheel spacers noting their correct orientation.
Remove the rear wheel from the drive mechanism by sliding it away from the drive unit. The drive unit’s “teeth” should come free from the rubber cush drive in the wheel.
You should now have a bike without a rear wheel and a swing arm suspended in the air by a jack stand with a drive unit attached.
Support the drive unit (its heavy!) with one arm or have a friend assist and removed the bolts that hold it on the swing arm.
You should now have a drive unit with exposed drive shaft splines and a swing arm with with an exposed shaft joint with inner splines. On earlier KZ’s the shaft joint slides right out, on mine (82 and up) the shaft join is mounted to the end of the drive shaft so I did not remove it.
Clean up the splines on the drive unit and removed all old grease. Do the same with shaft joint spline.
Once they are clean, coat both sets of splines with a nice thick layer of high temperature grease. I also packed a bit into the back of the shaft joint as mine was still mounted. Factory service manual on my machine calls for about 25cc of grease, I probably packed more in there.
Reinstall the drive shaft unit while supporting its weight with one arm and bolt it back down. My drive unit splines resisted re-installation some due to the high impact grease. My service manual also did not specify a torque value here but I observed these nuts were only snug at removal.
Further reassembly is essentially reverse of removal (truth be told mine is still apart at the time of writing as I am waiting for wheel bearings)
Don’t forget to put gear oil in it if you drained it for removal!