Choises and regrets

Some years back I bought myself a bike, I had owned some 20 different bikes. Had a lot of fun with some 2 strokes, especially my Yamaha RD '75
Restored a few but was just looking for a BMW as a daily commuter.
Alas for me I couldn't find what I was looking for (or for the right price) and then I stumbeled across the Kawasaki 750 turbo, passion is no good when buying.
So when engaging the wallet, I shifted into trouble, lost control over my brain and bought her.
It had some lack of maintanance, that meant I had not my daily commuter but another 'project'

After about a year of hassle, new battery, new valves and minor head work, new clutch-plates (valves were 26 euro a piece, headwork 150 euro, clutch 80 euro, gaskets & Orings 189 euro)
And the turbo overhaul, send it out to the USA, Mike Chestnut of HPU, as it seems the best in rebuilding and upgrading the standard Hitachi HT-10B turbo that is used on this bike.
(1100 euro for Mike plus an additional 260 euro for our custom department)
I finished the fist round off with 2 Michelins Macadam tyres, price 285 euro the pair.
I then crashed my bike while testing because I hadn't dismanteled the brake system, just renewed the oil and checked it visualy, that'll teach me right.

First i had to decide if i was going to do this project. Not that it was my first time, but thatīs why i was doubting it.

The Kawasaki 750 turbo, has to do with passion for bikes rather than logical sense, that's out of the window when you have driven one. And I almost paid for that with my life

Basically the frame, suspention, geometry, tyres and brakes are crap according to today's standard.
That hadn't improved much by the lack of maintanance and the accident, although my engine looked like it had suffered most from the crash.

So i had to tear the bike down to know for sure, Frame bend, serious engine damage.

Noticed that all bearings on the right hand side were shot. Sidestands are a beatiful contribution to this. (and the climate here in the Netherlands) Just water that had been leaking in there for years.

So after some weeks of spending my free time on dismanteling my bike i found that after redoing my frame, i would have (almost ;) all parts i needed to comlete this job. Naturally without bushings or bearings, gaskets and O-rings.....

Brought my bike to a firm to get straightened, payed 340 euro, then to the enamelcompany, again after a bit of delay i could get my frame back :) plus 32 different parts....should have been 33 :( For a while i was considering a gloss black zinc (?), but to cut costs i decided for a powdercoatjob. 70% gloss. Thought for a while about the 85% gloss, but hey that was twice as expensive for only a slightly better look (approx fl1200,-), And i wasnīt planning on cleaning it that often... ;)

Anyway, i scraped as many black, metal parts together as i thought was smart, and now i know i should have taken apart even more..............like (more)parts of the brakes, and the lower front forks... And the best thing is, looks deeper black than new. Payed those people 195 euro

I wil have to redo most tread and it seemed that I losted one part from the back brake support plate(were the axle goes, was something inbetween ) but hey it was definately worth it......but still minor setback, gotta get me a new sleeve.

Luckely itīs not really summer overhere, because itīs a bare frame until this weekend.......and a long way until finished

Because i donīt have all parts ready lying around, nothing will be finished, i used the time to inspect all coated parts, tap tread here and there and repainting missed spots in the hard-to-reach areas of the parts.
Iīve got all bearings in now for the swing arm, and most of them are SKF bearings for about 1/3 of the Kawasaki price.

For the shock you need:
hK 2016 (1X) price 4.5 Euro needlebearing
hk 2020 (4X) price 4.8 Euro needlebearing
GEH 12C (2X) price 18 Euro a piece

they are a bit different, but will do the job just fine, even better because the dust seals now really fit

For the swingarm youīll want to get your hands on a few SKF bearings:
6203 (1X) price 5.5 Euro ballbearing a piece

hk 3025 (2X) price 6.8 Euro needlebearing a piece
didnīt buy a new axle here....minor damage, donīt know if there is an easy replacement.




and some 20/12 mm (external/internal) pistonpens for inside the new bearings as an axle, the other option is Kawasaki(they do also use pistonpens), but then you pay the 40 euro i did.)

Naturally youīl also need a lot of orings and seals, like NTN GD20x26x4 (6X) for the shocklinkage, but for most I ordered Kawasaki original parts.

And another weekend has past, I mounted all parts that belong to the rear fender, because i bought some coppergrease a few years back, every bolt is mounted with the thread dipped in there :) while youīre at it why not go over the top ;)
Furtermore i went to the hardwarestore to buy for 5 euro worth of bolts that was about it oh and i inspected the electric wire, and it needs some work. no real work done but also no budget right now...

Another week has gone...weekend again, so i went out and got new steering bearings (i couldnīt get the bottom one of my triple tree clamp, so i went to the local blacksmith to see him heat the ring with an acytelene burner, great for the laque job ;(
Getting the new bearing on was a question of puttinī the old bearing on top, placing a pipe over it and hammer down. And for those who want to know, i used SKF320/28 X/Q (25 euro)and the Kawasaki#92047-017(36 euro), because it was the only one with a dustseal attached :) In this case no price gain, only quality.
The guys from the powdercoat didnīt use the wooden rings....so i had to scrape the inside clean before i could insert the new rings from those bearings.
Hell of a job, eventually I got a brainwave and went to a local petrolstation, inbetween the five-guilder-tools i found some grinding things that i could place in my drill...well that solved the powdercoat issue once and for all.
I also bought some contact spay (ran out) and cleaned the fuse box and cables out :) even the plastic looks like new.
Itīs handy to keep those things like coppergrease, lithiumgrease and vaseline(for rubbers) closeby or youīre not going to use it....thatīs my experience anyway,
So tomorrow iīm going to dismantle my new forks and rebuilt them.....I decided to go for the original forks, so that means some limitations in the way the bike steers, but ill do my best ;), the antidive will be used as a controlled oil flow valve (drawings to follow).
In practise this will mean itīs just blocking the passage way partly, so with the air suspention you can get a real controlled damping (I hope;) (drawings & picīs to follow)

Today i cleaned up most of the python (wiring loom) and retaped it all, so i went to the boat shop and got myself self-amalgamating-tape (i never use classic insulation tape) this stuff bonds when you strech it, the real hard part is to wrap it around the wiring when under tension, but when you get the hang of it, it looks real good, i guess itīs the same stuff the factory uses.
So go, go, go another trip to the store, get it itīs really nice stuff for your wiring.
And really started on the front forks, new bushings needed and some more........

Engine is towards a realiable shop (for the crank and mating of surfaces, i don't do that very well ;)

All non-engine-related-wiring functiones. Because the (future) bill of the engine, i won't go forward on the cosmetics right now.

This is the reason why it all happened, there is an article about brakes somewhere too.
The front brake assembly, but the dustseal is deformed, this has happened because some corrosion between the housing and dustseal pushed it out.
To me everything was funtioning, but because of the heat that developes in your front brake and the fact that the corrosion had made the piston fit 'tighter' than it should.....It blocked when i came into town driving 80 Km/hour.
A new set of rubber rings for the brake is only 10 euro, so 20 for the front system, and i guess i'm changing them every year for that price, because you can't see this form of deterioration without pressing the pistons out.

The left one is reassembeled again, for the right side i'm waiting for another piston from Massimo :)
Everybody knows that the brakes should be clean, but it's dirty and stuck, what now? Well, most people take a screwdriver and screw up the surface of their pistons in a lazy and brainless moment in time. Resulting in little surface damage that makes the brakes leak, block the piston etc.....
Just take em apart, you see it's not much parts, clean them in your favorite degreaser and don't even use scrubsponges to clean the pistons.......

To mount the brakes I had to rebuilt the forks first, so back to the store, to get me some new bearings oil seals (all Kawasaki original parts)and think about the antidive....
There are a few things that always make talk for weeks on the group when mentioned and suspention is one of those issues.
In the end I decided not to go for different springs (need to test that some more)
The total on new parts spent, 4 bushes 2 oil seals, 4 orings for the air support tubes was 106 euro
To remove the allen bolts I used a broom, placed one forkleg upside down over the broom stick and slammed the broom down on the ground(kawa special tool no:57001-183 and 57001-1011, for those who need official tools to do this ), now everything is kept in place by a wooden peg and it's easy to loosen the allen bolt.
Then replacing the bushes, see the picture, new bushing is almost in place, I'm holding in my hand the washers that come on top of the bearing and dustseal and then the old bushing to give enough clearance so I can use the forkclamp to press the new bushing in it's place. (can also be done with kawa tool 57001-286 )
Mounting forks and brakes (and getting the air out) is another story...that I might tell some time ;)


Back to the engine, i went back to 'the Doc' (he's about 60+ and all other mechanics that work there are at least 30 years in the trade)
He might not be cheap, but he knows what he is doing.
Anyway, he made me go back to the Kawasaki dealer to get some shell bearings for the crank (5X blue for the crank and 4X black for the rods, there was all kinds of crud in there, that scratched the bearings)
They were about 9 euro a piece, sounded ok but in total 18 pieces, 2 shells for one bearing :(
Plus, while i'm at it new chains, another fl250,- (115 euro)
And, well we'll decide later about the pistons (wear damage on the sidewall), first get the bottom end back together, but if i were you i'd change them...
Right, so after some checking the piston rings were at Kawasaki some fl50,- a set and the pistons.......now there is something fishy, normal size were also fl50,-, but first oversize are fl195,- a piece! F$#@% me, sound like Kawasaki alright.
I have to check what the toyota 4wd piston ring sets cost, but they almost fit ;)
I actually expected the original Kawasaki pistons to be 200,- a piece (knowing how overpriced parts like they can be on spare parts) But why are the non-oversized this cheap? It looks like regular piston prices to me ;)

Total cost of the engine, as for now
Including mounting the halves etc, (to make sure the crank is in perfect order i'd rather let somebody like him ('the doc') do it than me (or the kawasaki mech, as stated in so many mails is just another underskilled wrech monkey, sorry to say, that can't be trusted when it comes to more than switching a lightbulb) so he has to close the cases too.
And the total costs were: some 680 euro for engine parts (bearing shells, new pistons and rings, new gaskets and Orings)
Alas I changed valves last year (and did some minor head work) so I'm redoing that now.
And paid 760 euro for the renewal of my crank and closing the crankcase again, and welding some cracks on the crankcase.
Have assembled everything from the crack up myself(clutch, pistons, etc)
Thought about new, better rods, but that's out of the question, too long a delivery time. So I put the pistons on a digital cale to match the weight and polished the inside of the new pistons, so most oil will leak off.
Now I'm redoing the wiring of my engine, first to fail was the alternator, luckely for me I had bought a second one about a year ago.....paid 15 euro or so.
Repainted the cylinders, head and covers with VHT gloss black barrel paint.
My experience with this stuff is that it's a good paint. However degreasing is the difference between victory or failure with painting, so if you can get it degrease it with MEK otherwise choose a nicer degreaser ;)
Got a new Y-pipe for the bike (I'll show some pics of my old one too)
So it's all measuring and assembling for now.

Well, It seemed nothing was happening here, but I was just lazy in updating, had some other things on my mind, like sorting out a rally for this summer on a circuit...don't know what response I get.
Anyway back to the rebuilding bit, I have had some trouble with the fact that the former owner flattened the head a bit too much to my linking, I could alter the cam settings so the are still ok but decided against it, instead I ordered 8 kawasaki exhaust valve rubbers 86 euro, 2 new exhaust valves, 63 euro.
And I didn't do the headwork myself: another 114 euro.

Oh and I almost forgot, because I removed the head I held the aluminum exhaust mounting rings in my hands and decided to let them be polished along with the rear brake pedal.
Haven't got those back yet, always a pain to get those people do this for me, I'm such a small customer in their opinion, but they do a very good job.

The 'Vehikel' fair in Utrecht was heavy, haven't seen any kawa 650 or 750 four. Did see some Z900 and Z1000's. But I came there for one sole purpose: to buy 10X1.25 30 mm length stainless roundheads for the footrest mounting plates and nuts for the footrest themselves.
There is that little shop that is very succesfull in stainless on fairs throughout europe, and he knows his prices.
Anyway the picture explains it, this was the harvest on the fair, he didn't have the 30 mm so I had to settle for the 40 mm.
The price was 4.8 euro a piece ! Thats only 1 euro more expensive than the Kawa bolt, but it's stainless and I probably have to cut the 1 cm off.
The whole pacage as seen on the picture comes from 2 different shops on the fair and this brings the total on some 53 euro (excluding the fuel & ticket)

Now I have with, what I bought before, enough to redo all frame related bolts with stainless. It's already looking better.

Due to the loadingtime of this page I will consider splitting it up this weekend, between the working on the bike.