I'm riding it

After a year and a half of work, I'm riding my Kz, and have put about 1600 miles on it. There's still a bit to be done mechanically, and a fair bit to be done cosmetically, but i'm definitely over the hump.

1975 Kz400 Once I got my tank back, painted Insignia Blue, I needed to get a petcock. The first one I bought off ebay was mislabeled, it was not for a Kz400, but rather it's evil sibling, the Kh400/S3, a nasty 2 stroke that Kawasaki made in the days. In an odd twist, when I resold it properly labeled, I made more than my original money back.

Eventually I got the proper, non vacuum petcock, which was in not so great shape. It leaked like a sieve when I first hooked up, and tearing it apart I saw that the four hole gasket had big grooves in it, and the other gaskets were showing their age.

I tried to make my own out of gasket material, but the stuff I found at the auto parts store was too thin, and I just couldn't cut it neat enough. I asked my bud, who had friends who did marine engine rebuilds, and before you knew it, I had new petcock gaskets, a JB Weld sealed bowl, and a missing screen, which were terrible anyway, and not a big deal since I was using inline fuel filters.

So, I hooked it up, tightened it down, had some leaks, tightened it down again, cut plastic fuel line, and eventually was able to get fuel to flow. But, still no start.

I checked the plugs while cranking it, sparks! I sprayed starting fluid into my unifilter pods and cranked it, and was rewarded with a slight cough that sounded like ignition! Woo-hoo, it had the potential to run. Since I had spark, I figured it was a fuel thing, so I took off the carb bowls.

Aha, the right bowl was dry as a bone. The left has varnishy old gas. With copious amounts of spray carb cleaner and some tiny screwdrivers, I cleaned out the needle valve, pilot jet, slow jet, main jet, and all the little passages I could, and then repeated for the other carb. Reattached everything, opened the petcock, waited a few minutes, then whirr, bah-bah-bah-bah-boom, I made our two year old cry, but it was running.

Once I got it running, I had some paperwork hassles to get a title to it, so I could insure and register it, and get it on the road. Then, a few weeks of riding around the neighborhood, to get used to it, and get the idle were I needed it. Finally, off to the highway, so I could take it work.

My first 400 miles were pretty nerve-wracking, trying to concentrate on safe riding while keeping it pointed in the right direction without getting killed. I did end up with a nice walk one day, the petcock was leaking a bit, so there was no difference between reserve and regular. Oops. I took it apart again, and ever so slightly bent the compression washer a little bit more, which ended the petcock leak. The right bowl is leaking a little, so now I turn off the petcock on a short while before I stop, to drain it a little. I need to either adjust float levels, or try a different float.

Next up is mounting a luggage rack, painting a trunk insignia blue and installing a new lock, attaching the trunk to my rack, and painting my side covers to match, and probably touching up the tank.

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