Father/Daughter rebuilding a Ninja - Kawasaki Forums: Kawasaki Motorcycle Forum
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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-03-2013, 08:07 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Pullman, WA
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Father/Daughter rebuilding a Ninja

Well, for her senior project, my daughter wants to rebuild a Kawasaki Ninja. She's always wanted a motorcycle (ever since her uncle took her on rides when she was 5 yrs old) and for as long as I can remember she wanted a Ninja (not sure why, since her uncle's bike is a Suzuki).

Anyway, we've finally got the money saved to give this project a good start (if not see it all the way through to the end) and are shopping for a bike.

Preferably, we need one that's been damage, has issues, but the engine still works (since this is the one part I am not confident I can help her fix).

Some questions as we begin this project:
- What are some of the issues we should look out for as we shop around?
- What size of bike should she start with? I am assuming a 250 or 500, but they are hard to find as project bikes. I am seeing a lot of 600/750's. Can we get a larger bike (like a 750) and put a smaller engine in it (like a 500).
- Besides the engine, what are some things you would avoid? She is looking at getting her hands dirty (she even wants to rebuild the engine), but realistically, you can't do everything this summer. She wants to be able to ride it to school this fall and next spring, so she's got about three months to get it working.
- Besides the bike and a helmet, what equipment should we look at getting her? She is planning on taking a rider safety course at the end of the summer, anything else we should plan on?

Thanks, and I plan on keeping a running commentary as we get going, including more questions. Thanks for all your (future) help!
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-30-2013, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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OK, we have the bike, it was wrecked and has been sitting for three years. Hopefully we can get it running without going to a mechanic.

It is a 1990 ZX7 (so a little bigger than I originally wanted) and she is really excited to get it running and riding. She is currently zipping around on her mom's Honda Rebel 250 (but she really wants the crotch rocket).

So far, we have drained all fluids, replaced oil and radiator fluid, new battery. We have the carbs partially torn apart (I think) so we can clean them, and we have a new fuel filter, new air filter, spark plugs and carb kits (so all the easy things can be fixed).

We do not know much about motorcycles (we are learning as we go) so we have a few questions:
- What exactly does the carbs consist of, when they say clean them? We took the caps off and the air filter off, and have this valve section that I can see opens and closes with the throttle. There is a thin pin with a plastic piece that fits inside a plunger. Is this the parts we need to clean? Or do we need to take off the metal cylinders and clean those? If so, how do we do that? The repair manual we got with the bike is ... less than helpful in many areas.

- We can get the bike to turn over, but it does not catch or start. It was suggested to check the carbs and the spark plugs (hence the cleaning and changing). Are there any other ideas that it may be that we should be aware of?

- The current goal is just to get it to start. Are there any issues we should look for when it is running that would indicate something we need to fix? I'm hesitant to touch the carbs since we didn't want to do major engine work, and I'm worried we might put something back together wrong.

Thanks for any help!

Oh, and some pictures of the bike:
Starting work

Carb disassembly

stokerd is offline  
post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 10-03-2013, 10:49 AM
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Join Date: Oct 2013
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Wow! You do like a challenge! Congrats to the both of you. Cleaning carbs basically consists of cleaning out the jets and fuel bowl. Old fuel will varnish and plug the small orifices of the jets and the float needles. The upper vacuum chambers you show n the PICs rarely go bad, so just be very careful that you don't damage the diaphragms! he carbs are referred to as constant velocity which means that the air flow through the butterflies, creates a negative pressure above the diaphragms, which raises the pistons ou show in your 2nd carb PIC. The lifting piston is connected to a tapered needle which rides in the main jet. This controls all off idle operation. Looks to be a bit difficult to get to the float bowls, but, after sitting for years I'm convinced that it will be necessary to get to the jets and clean them right. After reassembly I'd suggest running some Sea Foam / gas mix through them. It's a great cleaner and prevents the fuel from absorbing water between rides and longer term storage. Todays ethanol fuels will absorb water and deteriorate in weeks. I run in it my KZ650, VN800 and other bike (Hayabusa). Write back with your questions and I'm certain that we can walk you though most of what you need. I hope you've invested in a detailed manual!
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