It was a normal yet sad day for me at work when I decided to browse through gumtree looking for a glimmer of hope that will hopefully enlighten my sad, sad biking heart.
With only R9000 in a savings account which should actually have been used to lower my credit card debt I came upon an even sadder case than mine. A stripped down Kawasaki ZXR750 H1. A bike I almost bought years and years back but never did. Finally here was my shimmer of light.
After countless hours of negotiating, haggling and praying for all things to go well and hoping the bike was not on the Police radar, I managed to pry her away from the desperate owner. Here she is in her marvelous glory as seen below (well it is marvelous to me).
Ok, so enough of this pish posh sad sack shit!
I have two rules with this project which I WILL stick by.
- Work on bike only if I feel the need, no rush jobs
- Buy parts/service only if I have the money saved up.
Here Starts PROJECT K!
First thing to do was take stock of what I need to do first, when and how.
- I have two engines, one from the original bike and one imported by Engines4U
- The wire-ring loom is shot and need replacing
- The fairing needs a respray so this is where my mate Louis comes into play
- Need new exhaust and where another friend Raynard comes into the picture
- Headlights needs a lot of work, maybe replace?
- Shocks needs sorting out
- New parts such as coolant bottle/brake pads/chain & sprockets/front mudguard
- Replace carburettor as mine is fooked
- Paint frame and rims
Then off to painters to get painted in a lovely black almost satin finish. Boy was this a mission as the painter, although good, was your typical "I will do it right away and make it lovely" attitude which did not really go according to plan. The rims I took to Mag Workshop in Paarden Eiland which are really good, but unfortunately I never spoke to the owner but rather with the spray painter. He suggested that I give the frame to him to do at home. Big mistake as this took forever to do and was not completely finished (remember the quote i mentioned above). I suspect the paint will start to peal in the near future. So far it has not so lets hope. The rims were, well, not so lucky as they did not dry and I took it back and spoke to the owner who had no qualms about having them redone. They are now perfect and I thank him for that. The paint as I understand it, dries as time goes by and is a gel based paint which they use for industrial vehicles. So it should be good for resisting the stones and water that will be thrown at it in the future. Below is the frame in it's current frame of mind (don't pardon the pun) after the spray job. Just lovely, lets hope it stays that way.
Next the engine was taken to Rudi who is an excellent mechanic by my good mate Carl, who also helped me get it out of the chassis. Rudi's prognosis for my current engine was, all is in good order.
Right so as it stands, i am only waiting for the back wheel (rim) to get back from Rudi who is trying to get the racer of the broken wheel bearing out, which i broke. It's not an easy job and will require some arc welding on his side.
Also what I am waiting on now is the back and front shocks that was given to Martin Petzold and his guys. They are about 90% done, just making some new Adjustment rebound valves for me as mine was fooked. Below is the back shock and it is in shocking condition. The front forks had some water in them with both circlips rusted. MP Suspension striped them completely and refurbished what they could same as back shock. Soon i'll post the finished articles on here, but for now the old shocks.
Ok so today i got very lucky when I went to Mandy to fetch my Air Switch Valve and as i've hear the night before from her is that they have a set of headlights also. I did not have enough money on me to take both so I grabbed the headlights and what a surprise. They are basically brand new. I cannot find any scratches or cracks or even rust on them. They even have all the bulbs in. Brilliant. If i had to buy them from Ryan's or Motorcycle Hospital they would be over R1500, but got these for R900 and I am sure they would be in a much better condition than the other two places would have had.
Still waiting to hear from Martin Petzold regarding my shocks. Hopefully this week coming.
OK so i did not get a call from Martin P regarding my shocks last week but i did manage to get my back rim from Rudi or Rolf that is. I inserted the new bearings and she is looking fine and rolling like KY Gelly.
Just called Martin P and I can have my shocks by the end of this week which is awesome news. The bad part I am sure I will find out on Friday is, that it's probably going to break the bank some what.
So did some work on the bike today. Mainly respray the rims and front shocks due to small chip and scuff marks. Looking great so far, but my plan was to put the motor back into the frame. Unfortunately due to some cosmetic damages I have to wait to do this. Below are the shocks back from MP Customs which did a great job at a very high price of R4424, but definitely worth it. Thx Martin!
As can be seen above the spongy filter part that is attached or removed now inside the front sprocket cover. I am not sure why this is but will find out soon. It looks knacker-ed even after i washed it. The shocks however looks so much better compared to what they looked like before. The back shock is great now and the newly made rebound adjustment valves are fantastic.
Ok so I tinkered a bit today and shoved (not really shove) the motor back into the cradle part of the frame. Also not completely sure if I put the bolts in the correct order.
Some cosmetic spray work taking place, luckily not alot so all good. Next weekend assemble the rest of the frame and put the wheels back in. Not going to tighten everything as i want to remove the wheels in the future to do other stuff like working on the brake discs and so on. My very patient wife helped me put the cradle over the engine and then she slotted the bolts back in. Not really a one man job but very doable still.
Right, here's the OCC/Jesse James chop... no seriously it does look like one, eeeuw. Soon I'll change that. Took me the whole day doing that as i basically had to do most alone. Petro helped with a few things. It was also fairly cold out and very rainy which made things go slow in my movement department. Anywhoo she looks good methinks. I was not sure about painting the swingarm spindle/bolt red but i must say it looks really good.
Great news as i have the bike back with as i understand it from my friend Reynard, a limited edition pipe. The badge (new design) is coming later but for now here she is... Just fookin lovely.
Reynard also fitted the crash bobbins as he had to do a little work on them to fit. Thx bro and thx Berserker Exhaust.
OK back from holiday up North and i gotz busy with some spray work on the bike. I sprayed the brake discs and calipers black which i baked in the oven for 30min at 90degrees. Not sure if it helps or if the seals in the calipers could have been damaged. Will find out later i suppose when I try to brake and the fluid comes pissing out.
Here is the bike on the side as this was the only way to get the brake discs or atleast the wheel off. Luckily for me my ferocious "watch cat" was on duty so nobody dared to come close.
Calipers painted and looking lovely. Next I will paint the "Tokico" lettering red as this will tie in with the fairing later on and one red part i painted a while back. Breaks the black dominance a bit. Almost like the country I live in.
Next step is to get the fuel tank cleaned on the inside and epoxy coated to guard against rust. Then when i have the money take it to Rudi to get it started and the loom sorted out.
Slowly things are coming together, so here's the calipers on the bike and the radiator and oil cooler back in place. Next up the clocks and headlights.
So let's take stock of what is still needed.
3. low/high beam regulators. Fuel pump / relay
5. Right side rearset with brake lever
6. Windscreen (have a seller)
7. Mirrors (have a seller)
8. Front right/left indicators (have a seller)
Apart from that spray paint the plastics and clean / coat the fuel tank. It's coming to an end but so is my money it seems. I will soldier on though.
OK, so i bought a front paddock stand to get the forks out and take it back to MP Customs to have a look at the leaking pre-bound adjuster and left side fork seal. Hopefully they will get on it quickly and i can have it back by up coming Friday as i do not want the bike to stand like this. Besides i need to make a bed frame which will need space and with the bike taking up said space it's going to be a pain.
UPDATE: A few hours later and Martin had a look at the seal for the pre-bound adjuster which he replaced and the left forks oil seal he recons looks good, just that they are old forks with slight pit marks which will cause some oil to leak. Assembling them tomorrow (Wednesday night) after work.
Been a while since i had an update but here it is. Thomas in England got me a pair of vacuum hoses (pre ram air) and the left rear set which he will bring down sometime.
In the photo below i attached my new shorty lever which arrived after 3 month long wait due to the post office worker strike. Reynard ( www.scorchdesign.co.za )sells them for a good price. Petrol tank handed in to get cleaned inside.
Also my hugger and the plastic holder unit was sprayed by Clayton's brother, Keegan who did an excellent job. It looks amazing also did some plastic welding on the right rear indicator.
Next up will be a visit at Rudi's to get her started up.
Oh and the flasher unit that i bought on ebay finally arrived.
Ok so i got the bike back from Rudi who had lots to do but did an excellent job at rewiring most of the wiring loom and got the electrics sorted out. I also had to buy some parts like a CDI/Solonoid/Wiring loom and clocks/rev counter as mine were shot.
Hopefully these up coming weekends i will be able to start her up for the first time. Just trying to track down HT leads and sparkplug caps as mine are old.
Also need to bleed the front brakes which proved to be a bit of a mission so far.
She's alive. Next up will be to start her up with petrol and let her run for a while. The also on the same day get the front brakes sorted out. So far no oil or coolant leaks which is a good sign.
As money is short in supply now ill have to wait a few months and then acquire the alternator regulator which is going to cost a bit of money. Luckily i know someone that may get me a new part for a good price. Hopefully the alternator works.
Managed to start the bike fairly easily using petrol and one can hear the carbs needs some tuning which we will try in coming weeks. The smoke is from some oil we dropped on the headers so nothing to be worried about.
Front brakes are working, bled them two days ago. Brakes feels very strong, looks like the braided hosing works well. Just one concern is that the pistons inside the calipers are not fully adjusting or releasing once the pressure on the brakes are released. Will look into this some more.
Next up I will swop out the Kwackers front tire with the one on the VFR800 as they have exactly the same tyres on. Will be putting new rubber on the front for the VFR800 so at least both the tires on the Kwacker will be fairly new.
Ok, so i did some cosmetic work to give her a kinda 80's GrandPrix feats V8 muscle car look by painting the wording on the tires. Methinks it looks great. Also repainted the Tokico working on the calipers to red as the white was shitty.
It's been a while but here's some more to read.
Bike is back from Rudi and he ran it for a while, set the carbs and ran it through the gears and all is peachy. My job now is to hook up the fuel lines and ride the bike.
I've meanwhile bled the back brake and this is working fine. Changed over the old back sprocket for new one, added the chain and all is working as it should.
Indicators are working fine but the oil light is still dead when switching on the ignition which is weird as it was working fine. There's definitely oil in the bike so it may just be a oil light switch or maybe even a blown light bulb but this i checked and does not appear to be the case.
I also ordered the low/high beam relay's for the headlights, bottom fearing cowl and top covers for the fairing and some stickers fro the bike from Germany. The Germans are awesome concerning this as their stuff arrives here very quickly and always arrives (touch wood)
I also have to order the slave clutch cylinder seal as mine is bust. Once i have that i can get the clutch system bleed and I can start thinking of riding the old girl.
Stop your grinning and drop you linen! Finally i have something to post. Basically i've either been lazy or nothing really to say.
The bike starts and idles really well. Blipping the throttle she does take her sweet ass time but that can be sorted out, reckons Paul my bike mech bru.
So the issue we've been having so far is that the 4pot calipers i bought with the bike i cannot seem to find any seals for. I've bought 24 seals already from Kawasaki but i can only use half of them. So i bought another set of calipers 6pots but had to buy the front end also (from a 2005 ZZR600 methinks) as it looked like the calipers will not fit on without some modifications.
SO currently i have a decision to make, do i fit the front end from the ZZR600 or try and make a bracket that attaches the 6pot calipers to my current ZXR shocks. Paul recons we go for it. See image of front end. Also included image showing the differences in the shocks.
Now in the meanwhile I had the plastics repaired and prepped so I need to fit those sometime to see how it will look and what needs fixing if needed, also to take it to the spray painter to paint. Below I fitted what I could as best I could. Some plastics are not lining up perfectly. Will have to work on this. Also fitting the screen seems to be a bit more problematic. Will keep at it.
Then Clayton's brother Keegan helped me out again with prepping the fuel tank and Geez Louise what a job it was. KEEGAN YOURE A LEDGE BRU!!!
Have a look at the work he put in. I have many more images
This is what it looked like as seen above ... then
Dents had to be removed so he had to use body putty...
Then after that lot of work, the final product...
Look Ma, i can see the trees.
As i have said, WHAT A LEGEND he is...
So next report i hope will be of the bike running and i'm on top riding it some distance without it exploding.
The DAY has arrived.....
Next step is to get the body kit on, spray painted and then sort out niggly things like carb adjustment if needed, get the airbox on and bike buttoned up...
BIG UP to Paul from TQMotorcycles for helping me get the brakes sorted and bike running...
SO just got the bike back from Paul where he had to fix the waterpump which is not designed to be taken apart. He used three samples to make one working one. ONCE AGAIN Master Paul did his magic. No more leaks of any kind as he also fixed the clutch push rod seal leak. The bike sounds and runs better now also. Not sure what else he did but it's better. Will ride it for atleast 3000km then have the carbs adjusted...
Following weeks I will take it to my buddy Francois to get the R/R sorted.
The plastics are currrently with Zandri (Cane Industries) being prepared for painting. It appears not all the old paint was removed as per All Plastics quote. Some images of the prep work.
SO hopefully in next 2 weeks i will have the plastics back nicely sprayed. Then Paul and I will line them up and attach to the bike, button up things.
Roadworthy, police clearance will be next and i have a plan here also. SO hopefully by end of May she'll be road legal and riding.
Ok so here's all the sprayed panels/parts. They look SUPER good, just picked them up from Zandri.
Also this past weekend worked on the charging system, alternator R/R with Francois. We could not get it working but have a better understanding, will hopefully sort it out coming weekend.
But first have a look at the sprayed panels, damn they look good. Thank you Zandri.
Latest news is as follows. R/R is installed and it looks like it is working as it should. I have not ridden the bike far to test this. Will see in due time. Thx to Francois for sorting this out for me.
Then the fuel tap did not seal or stop the fuel as it should and after opening it and some adjustments it is now doing what it was made for.
Paul and myself fit the panels in the next two weeks and then it is only sorting out the licensing.
Here's some images.
Just a quick zip down the road with spidey as company...
Bought an extra right hand side panel plus top part of the fairing as my parts weren't fitting well, As you can see it fits really well now. Just need it sprayed and refitted. Also getting my front mudguard that Luke brought back from Holland for me. Thx again Luke. Extra panel is leaning against the wall.
Latest photo's of the bike as it's basically all complete. Done all the police clearances, micro dotting, bike weighed and forms filled in now just waiting on licensing forms so i can get it roadworthy and licensed.
I found out that the radiator fan is not switching on as it should, will put a manual switch on so long and maybe replace the radiator fan switch at a later stage.
Bike is now finally in my name, fully licensed and running well. Still a few small things to do but overall the Project has come to an end. I'll update as I go along with regards to problems, enhancements etc.. but as for Project K, it is officially finished...
Till later ....