As promised, I stripped the VTR of its bodywork and gave it a wash. Here's the VTR, sans bodywork, ready for soap and water:
The engine got an application of foaming engine cleaner while I paid particular attention to the area near the counter-shaft sprocket. It appears that years of accumulated chain lube and dirt have made their mark:
That's the inside of the counter-shaft sprocket cover. I started out with a putty knife and then graduated to a toothbrush and Simple Green. Fortunately, the grime was still pretty soft and came off easily. Here's the corresponding picture showing the location of the counter-shaft sprocket cover:
If you look closely, you can see that the heat of the engine has caused the grime to creep downward from the counter-shaft sprocket towards the protrusion in the case for the shift shaft. This is what lead me to believe that the shift shaft seal was leaking. The chain guide, on the swing arm, (just visible to the right of the counter-shaft sprocket and partially obscured by the frame) was also quite messy. It's going to take a couple of clean-ups to get everything free of that greasy paste.
In an effort to keep wiring, and other items that don't enjoy a thorough soaking, mostly dry, I used a small sponge and a bucket of hot water (with car wash soap). That kept pools of water to a minimum and still enabled me to wash/rinse away years of accumulated dust and dirt. I used a direct application of Simple Green and a wheel brush on the wheels and tires. I've found that Simple Green does a nice job of cleaning road grime and brake dust. I also try to shy away from harsh chemicals because the run-off drains directly into a retention pond.
After allowing the VTR to drip-dry, for the most part, I used compressed air to finish the job. I'm glad I did because even though I tried very hard not to soak wiring and electrical connectors, I noticed that the junction point, for the tail light and rear turn signals, was very wet. Several blasts of air, from the compressor, resolved that. Here's the VTR after being dried off and having the bodywork re-hung. I also took the opportunity to give it a quick polish (I'm partial to Zymol but that's because I've had a bottle for years):
Afterwards, I took it for an extended cruise around my township. I did this mostly to become familiar with the bike as well as to ensure that I hadn't caused problems from the wash/soak. I'm glad I did because I discovered that the throttle cable adjuster was loose at the carburetors. It actually slipped out of the bracket. This caused a lot of slack at the throttle grip but I was able to ride home and fix it. VTR250: Reporting for commuter duty!