The Big Haul
After getting a motorcycle license back in May 2016 and riding the shit of out my recently aquired 2011 Suzuki TU250X for almost 8 months (and 3.5k miles) i had finally dicided to start a build project. Nothing too serious, just a machine for learning how motorcycles work in general and when the time comes - how to fix them.
Few month later i finally found a good bike for a reasonable price. While searching on craigslist my main goal was to find a running classic 1970s motorcycle (Honda,Yamaha, Kawasaki), under 500cc and under $1000. If you’re in the city (Chicago in my case) that might be problematic.
One day i came across a 1975 Kawasaki KZ400S with 11k miles on it. Decided to check it out and it seemed like a good fit for only $800 (box of new parts included, yay!). Previous owner had lost his garage space and no longer could keep the bike. After about 10 minutes of kicking it (it was cold..), we’ve got a winner!. Took it for a spin around the block. Done deal.
Nothing fancy though. Ripped seat, shitty paint job throughout the whole frame, tank and probably more. On the other hand, almost brand new tires, extra spoked wheel, new Mikuni VM32 carbs, extra clutch, box of parts (new drive chain, cam chain tensioner, cables, sprockets, full engine gasket kit, old carbs, etc etc).
Gasket kit will come in handy: there’s an oil leak from left cylinder head. So my goal was to get this bike cleaned and fixed up for the next season. Even though i still have my other bike, i feel like it would be really cool to get this 40-something year old machine in a decent shape and have it as a commuter bike. No cafe or bobbing this time. No particular plan either!
P.S. Photos of the bike look way better than in person.
That Sounds Interesting
Without a place to work on the bike i’ve found a “coworking” space for motorcycle enthusiasts in Chicago - Motoguild. They offer affordable winter storage or for some extra pay you can have access to forklift and full set of shop tools. I’ve attended some of their awesome classes in the past too (basic maintenance, bike build night and engine rebuild class). Highly recommended.
First things first, some inspection time! I need to figure out what needs to be done / fixed / replaced on the bike to make it clean and nice to ride. In other words, i have no idea what i’m doing. Figured it would be interesting to have a hobby that does not involve any computers, so fuck it - let’s do it!
Lots of brushed-on paint on parts. Looks like someone wanted to do a quick and easy paint job. That has to go. Ripped seat should be an easy fix. Not so sure about the tank.
Shitty paint again. Also will remove those bulky gauges and turn signals.
Leaky head. That’s the main trouble maker for now.
I kind of like all black style, just not how it sits right now.
Aftermarket 2-into-1 MAC exhaust system. It’s good enough, the trouble is that the kick start hits the muffler making it useless. I wanted to go with 1-to-1 kind of exhaust anyway. Maybe i can trade (or sell) MAC for some other part. We’ll see. Notice a small hand grenade valve cover on the wheel.
PO had replaced stock carbs with Mikuni VM32 with UNI filters. Will have to look into those and see if there are any problems. Throttle was tricky to handle at 1/4 so maybe there’s a leak.
Paint over chrome fender. Nice touch.
Started to remove all easy parts.
Did a compression test. First attempt was unsuccessful (throttle was closed), re-did and got about 115+ psi on both cylinders. About as low as the spec goes, but at least both are consistent.
I’ve been reading a lot of build threads on DoTheTon forum. Most of them start with a full tear down. Since i’ve never worked on the bike before i decided to go through everything “slowly”, clean up what i can, break a few things here and there :) It’s a learning experience after all.
Freshly painted logo at the shop.
Clutch cover appeared to have a small crack after i removed the paint. Not a big deal. Also first casualty - clutch adjustment cover gasket.
Those turn signals are enormous. Might as well use them as helmet hooks. Will be replacing with smaller ones from Dime City along with smaller tach and speedo gauges.
Everything is nasty.
Shocks need some cleaning love.
Both front and rear sprockets were worn out bad. Tony (guy that runs Motoguild) asked to leave those as an example for classes :)
Cleaned up right cover. Haven’t learned how to polish/buff, so will revisit this part later once i have an idea.
Stator cover was a bit tricky to get off. After about 10 minutes of banging on it with a rubber mallet it finally gave up. Was welcomed with some funky-looking watery substance (that smelled like shit). Rusty and dirty, as Usually.
While trying to get the coil off the cover both of the mount screws snapped. Unlike most of other screws on the bike, these were too “soft”. Usually you just strip the head. Not with these guys. I’ll have to deal with this later.
Cleaner stator cover and engine guard rails.
Most of the paint removed. Not sure if i want to dissamble the shocks though. They’re pretty old, might as well find a replacement.
Toolbox and batterybox. Plenty of rust in there too.
Seat pan was all rusted out. Cleaned up and painted with appliance epoxy. Should be good enough.
More stuff to remove.
Everybody likes shiny things.
Ignition switch stays. But for the sake of learning, i will clean both gauges. Maybe even sell them if i dont fuck things up.
Cleaned and fixed the bent side stand. I almost felt bike’s falling a few times now. Turned out mount bracket was about 20 degrees bent (not pictured). In addition to that, there’s a crack in the bracket. Shrug.
I never knew the housings were made of aluminum.
Cleaned up left control switch just fine. Opened up right control switch and those pesky screws won’t even bulge. Oh well, I was thinking of getting a NOS replacements anyways.
Did the full cleanup of the tach. Pardon my claws.
Some nasty paint job right here.
Headlight bucket is next. Interesting fact, while i was working on the bike, i discovered a series of layers of paint on different parts. I still dont know what the original color scheme of the bike was. Colors so far: black, mustard and purple.
After cleaning and sanding i primed the headlight bucket. Not sure about the color yet. I really like the gunmetal color, although i’ll have to wait until all parts are cleaned and ready to be painted. This was a practice anyway.
What Have I Done?
Progressing over bike’s teardown i’ve asked myself a question: what have i done? Will i have the strength to put everything back together? Only time will tell.
Anyways, i got back together with my butt’s best fried - the seat foam. Visually, it was in a pretty rough shape, although i decided that it was good enough to reuse.
Aside from a crack in the left side it was good to go. Put some tape to keep foam in place.
Brand new OEM seat cover works its wonders. Looks good. Took about an hour to get it right.
I decided to go off track and clean up the chain guard. Just because. It’ll be eventually painted gloss black.
Just a pic of where the bike sits right now. Nothing much.
In the meantime i opened up the case. Was harder than i expected since most of the screws were stuck dead. Impact screwdriver to the rescue! To my surprise everything inside was clean. Will be checking clutch plates for the spec later.
I really like how the cover looks. Not going to polish it just yet, gotta learn how to do it properly on some other smaller parts.
Its a boy! With some help got the engine out of the frame. There’s no turning back now.
Lonely warrior (aka roller).
Wait until you see the other side of this disc. I’ll clean and repaint it.
Forks were paintbrushed before. I’ve tried my best cleaning them up but it looks like i’ll have to sodablast those to get into all nooks and crannies. Paint later? Damn, so many things to paint now…
More cleanup: headlight bucket bracket.
Damn you Washington D.C, delayed things a bit!
Getting fork stuff for cleanup. I wish someone told me (manual?) that fucking bearing balls will jump all over the the place as soon as i open the fork stem.
I guess it’s engine time. What’s missing in this picture is the dynamo flywheel. That fucker needed a special tool (aka flywheel puller) that i didn’t have at the time. Ordered ($10 or so) and with some help from Tony and magnificent impact wrench it came right off. Covered in rust and dirt of course.
It was in much worse state. Still, plenty of rust.
They call it elbow grease. Not the yellow-ish thingy, i’m talking about the clean surface.
Opened up the engine. Not bad. Now i know how tach works.
Revisited the idea of drilling holes in the front brake disc. Measure seven times, cut once. I’ll be using a paper template to drill holes. This side of the disc was covered in rust. Turned out fine after cleanup, fresh paint awaits.
Opened up the brake caliper. Brake pads look very scuffed, that explains some minor damange to the disc. Fun part was blowing the piston out of the caliper’s housing. Some compressed air and the loud “POP!” later it was out! Everything is pretty much clean, although i could not come up with a rebuid kit. Caliper wasn’t leaking before, so it’s definitely good news.
I hope all that rust on magneto rotor will go away soon. Could have just kept it as is, but its always good to know how Metal Rescue works. My first try. I’ve got plenty of rusted bolts that could use some cleanup.
Previous owner included an extra clutch with the bike. I don’t remember if its a replacement or an old one. Decided that i can at least learn how it works on a spare before touching my working one. Pretty interesting: its a metal basket with a set of different plates. If you pull the clutch handle, metal rod with a ball on it’s end will push onto cover and make more space between the plates resulting in less friction and disengaging the gears. Then you stop moving.
I decided to take a look at the wiring harness. Like most of other parts on the bike, it was pretty greasy. Cleaned up a bit and discovered that a few wires were cut open, bent. Some burned connectors too. Hopefully i can figure how this whole wire nest works and fix.
February 16, 2017
Next, i’m dissasembling engine cylinder head and inspecting it for wear. Engine ran but unfortunately i did not have enought time to ride the bike as it was pretty cold outside. No smoke, pretty good idle.
Grease and gunk everywhere.
Camshaft. Words like SOHC or DOHC didn’t mean anything to me before i started working on the bike. SOHC - single overhead cam, a roller with lobes. With DOHC (doube) you get two. On bigger displacement engines its usually 2.
Camshaft removed. Gotta get a micrometer and measure everything.
This is the first engine i’m working on so it’s going to be a learning experience. Pistons dont look too bad. However, there seems to be fresh marks left by valves. I’m not sure if i will be able to keep the stock pistons. Also, unlike other engines i’ve seen (CB350/550), both pistons on KZ400 move to the firing position at the same time instead of one by one. I’ll be easier to fit new piston rings.
Both pistons have marks on the exhaust side.
I dont know what happened so will have to get the valves out, clean and check if they’re bent. This is definitely unexpected.
Valves. It’s hard to see on the photo but there’s a slight mark on the left valve. Looks like it was hitting the piston.
Right cylinder bore appears to have some scratches. Bore surface should be smooth but this one is definitely not. Not sure what my options are right now, either go with oversize piston or just hone it a bit.
Feb 17, 2017
While trying to figure out what to do about the engine bores and pistons (and who knows what else) i decided to do something else. Plus didn’t really have much time.
Starter rotor and other smaller parts turned out to be pretty clean after metal rescue. One thing about metal rescue - parts will turn black if you leave it for too long. Brushed some of that black cover stuff off. Looking good.
Got to prime the chain cover while the weather is warm. It was really nice out, i wish i had a bike to ride around.
Decided to paint the headlight bucket. I had a few cans of spraypaint with different colors (black, gunmetal). For now i’ll keep it black.
I had an extra side cover with a few broken pieces and cracks on it as a test bed for painting. My original plan was to paint all plastics and tank using Duplicolor Gunmetal rattlecan. I think it’s too light, i was looking for something darker.
February 18, 2017
Orbital sander produced a very trippy color palette.
February 23, 2017
Didn’t appomplish anything today. I spen almost 2 hours trying to get the cylinder off the engine. It’s just stuck. Gave up and decided to remove valves from the head. Again, no luck there as i need a special valve spring compressor tool. Sigh.
March 4, 2017
Engine teardown finally moved forward. I bought the valve spring compressor tool and was able to get 3 valves out. Last one had a stuck valve retainer that i couldn’t get out.
With valves and springs out i still have to get a tool to get proper measurements. Both exhaust valves hit the pistons at some point so i will be replacing them for sure. Intake valves looked fine, just lots of carbon buildup. Next step is to wash all of the gunk from the head and check if valve seats have to be re-cut.
My previous attempts to remove the cylinder block were unfruitful so i decided to soak it with PB Blaster. Surely, after about an hour of waiting and light prying it came right off.
Gunky, but smiling.
Here’s the real problem. One of the cylinder bores has a bunch of marks on the surface, and they’re not small either. Bummer. Second bore looks pretty good and does not have any marks at all. I’ll try to find a local machine shop to take a few measurements and decide what to do next.
Looking way better now.
In addition to my issues with the cylinder block, i now have another troublemaker: cam chain tensioner rubber piece has slit off the metal frame. I was hoping to get it replaced without tearing into the bottom end. No dice.
Removed and cleaned pistons. These will have to be replaced.
Most of the bike looks like this now :)
March 5, 2017
Tried to remove the last valve off the head.
As you can see from the picture, the tool is now bent. It’s also a reason why i couldn’t remove the last valve. I use a heavy duty adjustable clamp (from the pic above) to get the job done.
Cleaned up camshaft surface and discovered a few scars. Man, this engine just keeps giving.
My next step is to split the engine case and replace the cam chain tensioned. I dont know what i will find in there, hopefully everything is clean and in good shape.
There are so many bolts and screws in the engine case i decided to mark every single one of them. I feel like it’ll be a fun puzzle putting everything back together.
March 11, 2017
Big day today - splitting my first engine case!
First, i continued to remove all top case bolts and marking them so they are all correct when i start putting the engine back together. I found that marking the case and then using it as a photo reference will definitely help.
Next, i removed the clutch basket and primary chain. It was a bit tricky due to lack of proper circlip puller, but i got it done. Clutch plates are going to be inspected and if they’re out of spec - replaced.
Clutch shifter mechanism.
Hooray, cases are finally split! Everything looks pretty clean to me, that does not mean that everything is in spec though.
Transmission, this is what makes your motorcycle move.
To replace the broken cam chain guide i need to remove this block.
Lower case. Havent found any broken bits which is a good news. Will cleanup all the gunk.
Bottom of the engine is always messsy, lets fix that! Most of the buildup should be fairly easy to remove, just takes time.
March 12, 2017
Turned out that the chain guide replacement part i had it not the one i actually needed. What a bummer. There wasn’t any engine work for today, so i decided to clean up the lower case.
Turned out to be nice. Next i decided to take a stab at side cover polishing.
Not bad either.
April 1, 2017
I’ve been out for work and other stuff so haven’t had any time (or parts) to work on the bike. However, just wanted to recap a few things for the future me if i ever get to work on another build.
- Don’t remove anything from the bike that does not need to be “fixed”.
- Fix only one thing at a time. I know, i know, but it’s so damn easy to miss this one. See #1.
- Have a list of shops that do specific type of work ready. Machining, paint, fabrication, engine, etc.
- Get ready to spend big $$$.
- Never give up.
I think winter is over and just got my TU250X back from storage, feels good riding again. My first thought was “fuck it, maybe i should just sell the kz bike”. On the other hand, i haven’t really done much (except for learning). Why not keep going? Good call. I’ll just do that. Done, $200 worth of parts is purchased.
May 17, 2017
It’s been a while since i touched the bike or done anything to it honestly. Been super busy with work, regular stuff. But it’s already half through the May so i’ve got to do something.
My original plan didn’t involve powder coating the frame. Well, since there’s literally nothing left of the frame why not freshen it up a bit? It’s all scratched up and probably still has an original paint.
The tank is all messed up from my previous attempts to strip the paint without any chemicals. Note the small area on the right: that’s the original metal based i’ve finally reached to. I like the metal color, although i would still prefer the gunmetal color palette, which is slightly darker.
Removed the cap and old rusty pins. There was plenty of junk in the petcock filter.
Back to the frame. Everything must go! Swingarm was a bitch to remove. Lots of pb blaster and with an impact wrench everything got off just in time.
Some info on the bike.
Everything is old and greasy.
Frame and tank are dropped off for the powder coat. Cylinder and head are off to get a fixup from the machinist. Hopefully i get start assembling the bike in the following month.
May 25, 2017
Got the frame and tank back, looking good! Powder coating does its magic, never thought 40+ year old frame would look like that.
Brought back everything back to Motoguild. Waiting for reassebly.
July 6, 2017
Been busy with work and stuff, so very little progress over time. But things are moving forward, slowly.
Caliper blasted. There are no rebuild kits available on eBay, so i will just try to clean everything as much as i can.
Brake rotor and caliper painted. I initially wanted to drill holes in the rotor, oh well, maybe next time.
Cylinders and head are finally back from the machinist. 0.5 mm overbore and new valves/springs/seals/etc. It’s time to put this engine back together.
Also, my other bike died on me the other day. Turned out to be a bad battery. Well, i guess a pretty good one, it’s been in the bike since 2011. Fixed and back in business.
July 11, 2017
Got most of the paint off the rear rim off. It looks alright now.
Cleaned and regreased wheel hub.
July 12, 2017
Started to put this thing back together. When i dropped parts for the powder coat i completely forgot to remove one bearing race from the triple tree. It was a total bitch to get off. Also worked on getting new stem bearings installed. Bit of pain to get them seated.
July 18, 2017
Today was a good day, it’s a roller!
July 23, 2017
Put new shocks on. Installed the brake pedal. My progress is pretty slow as i’ve put all the small bits and pieces in bags and completely forgot what goes where.
Discovered a few holes on the bottom of my tank. Shit, this has to be welded. These holes are the aftermath of media blasting.
August 19, 2017
It has been busy past couple of weeks: big move to Logan Square, i also turned 30! This kz400 was “supposed” to be own present, but whatever, it’s going to be done when its done. Anyways, back in the shop, tearing into the last part of the engine i havent touched: the balancer.
I have waited for a while to get in there since the only thing that holds the engine reassemble is the broken cam chain tensioned. Few months back i discovered that the part i had on hand was the wrong one, well i ordered a new one based on the OEM number off the ebay.
Chain tensioned is being held in place by a pin, which was unfortunately stuck. No movement at all. So i had to remove the whole balancer to get to it.
Also checked out the surfaces. Turned out few of the oil passeges were clogged with some gunk.
Got the motherfucker out.
Well, that part i ordered - someone sent me the wrong part. Part number matches on the package, but it does not look anything close to what i have. Bummer.. In the meantime, this is how you store the bolts so you know the exact place they came from.
August 27, 2017
Low end reassembly time. Got to clean the other half of the bottom end. Should have done that long time ago. On the other hand, next time i will just vapor-blast the whole thing, i’ve spent so much time just getting rid of all the gunk.
So far, i went through the whole engine.
Installed a new cam chain tensioned and getting the balancer reassembly figured out.
August 29, 2017
Well, i fucked up. Again. Put new chain tensioned and finally figured out how to reassemble the balancer. Now, i have 2 manuals on hand, original and clymers. While i was torquing down the balancers, one of the bolts snapped. Checked clymers, it had torque spec listed as about half of what’s the orinal has. WTF. Specs for the rest of the bolts are pretty much the same.
Internet suggests helicoil or timesert. I’ve done none of that before. Time to find an engine mechanic to figure this out.
December 18, 2017
It’s been almost a year since i got the bike. Time flies. Haven’t done much once i got stuck with the stripped thread on the balancer. I ordered the Helicoil kit back in October, got it, but the inserts were too short. So i hunted down a 3x size inserts on Amazon, which were sold from Japan and had to wait a few weeks. Work and wood projects got in the way, but i’m coming back to this pile of metal again.
I have never done Helicoil before, so i decided to practice on a block of wood. The instructions on the package seem to be pretty straightforward: drill the hole with a specific drill bit, tap it and then work the insert into the drilled hole. Worked fine on wood :)
Next, i needed to dissasemble the balancer once again, since you can’t really drill through the assembly. This was a bit tricky because the base of the balancer has a metal dowel. Took some time to remove it, but it worked.
Finally, i managed to drill the hole and install the insert. I must say this whole process was a bit intimidating because i’ve only got one shot at this. Everything went well (i think), so we’ll see if it works out.
January 14, 2018
Lazy sunday. Finally done with the bottom end guts.
Cleaned up the case a bit, there was a bunch of gunk that i’ve missed since the last cleanup.
January 15, 2018
Nothing special today. Just getting rid of old stuck gaskets that i somehow forgot to remove.
Also, i dont know what happened, but i found out the front piece of the lower case got chipped. :(
January 17, 2018
Didn’t do shit.
January 28, 2017
Busy sunday at Motoguild.
Cleaning session continues.
February 3, 2018
Finally finished with the old bottom end gaskets. Onto next chapter.
February 6, 2018
Putting the bottom end back together didn’t happen. Only stopped by at Motoguild for 2 hours, got the transmission setup, cleaned the case (more junk), located and cleaned the case bolts. Also, new oil seals!
February 10, 2018
Busy day today. Finally got the bottom end together.
Rebuilding clutch. New springs, friction plates.
February 11, 2018
Working on the left side today. Cleaned up the starter motor, rebuilt and installed the starter clutch / magneto.
Looking nice and shiny. On the other hand, the starter motor chain looks very loose, might want to replace it. Starter was working alright before i tore down the engine, so im not super concerned about it right now.
February 12, 2018
Installed the contact breaker / timing advancer. Right side is pretty much done, just need to set timing once i finish with the top end. New allen bolts!
February 13, 2018
Nothing special today, just cleaning up the top rocker box and other small stuff. Steady progress though.
February 17, 2018
New oversize pistons and rings are in! Fresh gaskets and seals everywhere. Made a good progress today. Almost done with the top end, just need to set cam timing.
February 18, 2018
Worked on the ignition timing today. All is left to do is to put a new top end gasket and torque everything down.
February 20, 2018
All torqued down and ready to be put in the frame! With one small problem - the exhaust header studs are missing. I guess they were removed by the machinist.
February 26, 2018
Painted the engine mount brackes, did some work on getting the chain tensioner back onto the frame. The tensioner mount threads seem to go bad, so i spent some quality time getting them tapped.
February 27, 2018
Didn’t do much today. Got the new exhaust studs in, aquired the second brake caliper for the rebuild and tried my hand at polishing the sidecovers.
February 28, 2018
Put the cam chain tensioned back on, got the engine ready for the install. Well, that did not go well, freaking thing won’t go in there easily. Removed the exhaust studs to get a bit more clearance. Still no luck. Will have to try again tomorrow or in a few days.
March 4, 2018
The engine is back in frame! Great success. I must say, though, it was a tough job, got a few scratches on the frame in the process. But hey, we’re moving forward now. Next, get the coil, carbs, exhaust, some electrical and try to get it started.
March 5, 2018
Got the new coil sorted out. Another hour spent on cleaning the damn stator. Rusty and dirty, and as usual i should have done all this stuff before beginning the rebuild.
March 6, 2018
Almost done with the stator, the store didn’t carry the screw i needed (M5x8) so i’ll have another good source of metric bots. Checked the resistance - all in spec.
Started on carbs. These Mikunis VM32 were not that bad, just dirty outside, insides looked pretty clean.
March 7, 2018
Finished with the stator, new gasket and bolts. Carbs are clenead and installed. Just need to get a new hose clamps, the old ones look junky. Also, i bought a set of new control switches, they are a direct fitment over the original ones.
March 11, 2018
Small progress today: cleaned up and fitted the exhaust headers. These are off eBay. I’m thinking to go 2-into-2 setup, the previous owner had 2-into-1 MAC exhaust, which i might still use if i dont find a pair of good short mufflers. Started on brake lines and switch, it was nasty.
March 14, 2018
Cleaned and stripped paint from the master cylinder. It did not look great so i decided to paint it. Started planning on control cluster, will need to fabricate the ignition mount somehow, this should be fun. Cut open the wiring harness. Oh man, i dont know what to say, getting it in the good should will definitely be challenging.
March 18, 2018
Decided to paint the master cylinder. Also rebuilt brake caliper is back on the bike.
March 19, 2018
Mufflers, front fender and carb filters have arrived. These mufflers are nice, a direct slip on, however i learned that one of my exhaust headers is a bit bent, will have to figure out how to make it even with the second one. The front fender i ordered if off from 1979 kz400 instead of 1975, so the mount bracket is shorter and also riveted onto the fender. Had to drind those rivets down. Bolt holes still fit with my old braket so that’s good news.
March 20, 2018
Didn’t do anything today. Just a pic of a painted master cylinder.
March 21, 2018
Got new control switches installed. These are niiiice, almost exact replica. Other than that did a bunch of small stuff, synced carbs, etc.
March 25, 2018
Adjusted valves. Kind of hard to do with the way how the valve adjuster screws are setup. Will have to do that again after i fire her up. Put the oil in, checked clutch, Getting the electrical setup to get everything going. Exciting times. Also, some of the valve caps are messed up, need to get a replacement.
March 28, 2018
Today is the day! She’s alive. I finally did it. Put some fuel in, pressed the start button and she started right up. I’m excited!
April 1, 2018
Not much progress today. So the fender mud guard that i bought some time ago did not come off of 1975 kz400, but from 1977. Turned out the shape and mount holes are completely different. I decided to cut it a bit and make it work with existing mount points. Fixed for now. Oh and i have to paint the fender soon. Also working through getting the rear light back on: the stop signal and blinkers.
April 3, 2018
Got new valve caps on, these are huge comparing to the old ones. Messing with electrical setup. I’ve got Rick’s regulator/rectifier combo but before i chop the old setup just need to make sure all charging system components are actually working. Tried new mufflers on, what a nice growl. Also, the parts bin is almost empty!
April 4, 2018
Got the battery box back on the bike. That thing is wicked. I might make a new box after i finish the build, but for now it’ll do. Mufflers are back, adjusted the carbs and idle, all good there. New mufflers are real nice but it looks like the left one is a bit longer and has it’s throat angled a bit different. Fuck it, im fine with that for now.
April 7, 2018
More work on electrical. Fitting the new tail light, looks nice, although im not sure about the lenth of the rear fender. Cut it or not? Not sure. I’m getting closer and closer to the finish line.
April 8, 2018
Sorted out all electical stuff, need to get the new gauges hooked up next time. Was cleaning up the front fender (too much rust) and fitting the new headlight bucket and gauges. This one is pretty bright although i need to figure out the deal with the new headlight bracket. It does not have any mount points for turn signals. Other misc stuff. Slow and steady progress.
April 8, 2018
Welp, the paint color for the side covers is definitely not the “charcoal metallic”, it has some green to it. This is the second time i picked up the wrong can.. Maybe i’ll just go with black. Drilled the mount points for the turn signals, i think it’ll work fine. Labeled all the electrical, ran a quick electrical test on the new controls and tach gauges, they look great with the backlight. Everything works so far.
April 21, 2018
Chopped the rear fender and getting ready to paint the front fender. Had to clean it up with a wire wheel and sand down all the rust spots. Also, the engine does not run well on the left cylinder and developed some leaks…
April 22, 2018
More fucking around today. The engine is leaking, this sucks. Found two small leaks from the valve cover and another one somewhere in the head, could not locate it yet.
April 28, 2018
Finished the front fender and rear fender/lights. Freshened up a few connectors that were either burned or corroded. I feel like i’m getting closer and closer to the finish line, althought still need to sort our a few things like engine leaks. Tried my hand at making a custom ignition switch bracket. We’ll see how it comes out.
May 1, 2018
More of wiring nonsence.
May 8, 2018.
Wiring was done, forgot to take the pictures. Opened up the head cover that was leaking some oil. Applied some silicone to the o-ring to make sure it seals alright, also retorqued the head. Getting tired of this project..
May 9, 2018
Patched up cracked clutch cover with JB Weld. Installed the new gas cap, started on side covers, they’ll need a fresh coat of paint. Finished with ignition switch fabrication.
The Unfortunate End
August 10, 2018
While i was really close to finish up the project and get the kz on the road, MotoGuild was preparing to move into a bigger and nicer space over the course of June and July, so i was really excited to get back to wrenching. New location was scheduled to open in mid July and conveniently located only 10 mins from my home. Then something terrible happened - fire…
On July 12, 2018 MotoGuild got caught on fire from a stolen and torched car that was parked right next to the building. All new buildup, equipment, bikes and the building itself got seriosly damaged. What a terrible and unfortunate turn of events for a private business owner and the Chicago motorcycle community as a whole.
Long story short, all stuff had to be moved and i stopped by to check on my project. I honestly had no expectations and thought it was all gone. Well, the bike was not physically damaged (could not start the bike thouhg), although completely covered with soot and dust from the firefighters, it did not look good at all. Flash rusted, even the brand new parts rusted too. Real bummer.
I’m putting the project on hold for the time being due to lack of time and a space to wrench on. This is not the end like the title says, i will try to resurrect the project when i have a chance.
List of things done to the bike just to keep the record:
- Frame and gas tank blasted and powder coated.
- Seat reupholstered with new OEM-style vinyl cover.
- New rear shocks.
- New tapered stem bearings.
- New aftermarket handle bar controls (left and right), OEM style.
- New aftermarket speedo and tach gauges (dime city).
- Cylinders bored up 0.5mm and honed.
- New oversize pistons and rings.
- Cylinder head overhauled with new valves and valve springs.
- New camshaft chain and tensioner.
- Cam chain tensioned cleaned and readjusted.
- New engine seals (for the most part).
- New top end bottom end gaskets.
- Engine cleaned and degreasead completely (inside/out), looked pretty much new.
- New rocker cover bolts.
- Stainless steel bolts set on the engine covers.
- Carbs cleaned and synched. New air filters.
- New tach and speedo cable.
- New ignition coils, spark plugs, points adjusted.
- Used 2-into-2 exhaust headers, polished and cleaned
- New tapered mufflers
- New read sprocket and chain
- Wheels cleaned up, paint removed, bearnings greased
- New headlight (full assemble)
- New small turn signals (not-leds) on front and read
- New rear stop signal (smaller)
- Front fender cleaned and painted, read chopped a bit and painted
- Brake rotor cleaned and repainted (still in spec).
- Brake caliper stripped down, cleaned, repainted and rebuilt.
- Forks repainted only (no leaks).
- Flywheel (charing system) / starter clutch has been de-rusted and rebuilt.
- New starter motor chain.
- New tank gas cap and seals.
- New clutch friction plates, springs and drive chain
- Starter motor cleaned and tested - all good.
- New exhaust header bolts.
- Charging system went throught and cleaned up.
- New horn (old one gave up).
- Brake master cylinder cleaned up and repainted.
- Electrical system is original, inspected and tested.
- Purchased Rick’s regulator/rectifier combo, haven’t installed.
- New battery (obviosly).
- Fuel petcock cleaned and tested.
- New oil and filter.
- New oil drain bold and gasket.
- Used and polished stator cover (i messed up a stripped thread on old one).
- Stainless steel brake lines (not installed).
- Used side stand cleaned and repainted (old one had a crack).
I’m pretty sure i’m forgetting lots of other small things and bits here and there. Overall it has been a pretty intence project for me as i have no prior mechanic experience and just picked up skills along the way.