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Go Back   REVscene Automotive Forum > Automotive Chat > The John Norwich Riders Corner > Rider's Journals

Rider's Journals This section is for rider's and their journeys. Show off your bike, your build, or travel journals.

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Old 05-19-2014, 01:12 PM   #1
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320iCars Kawasaki Cafe Build

well, ive always loved motorcycles since i was a child. growing up i never really had strict rules in the household as my brother and i never really needed them to behave. one day when i was maybe 18 i went out to buy a bike and my mother stepped in and put her foot down. while i lived in her house, i will NOT own or ride a motorcycle. reluctantly i decided to obey, and the dream fizzled away.

shortly thereafter i moved out, but for the years to come i had always had my N. i didnt usually have passengers and i didn't really drink, so having an N didn't effect my life too much. but it did always stop be from getting my class 6, since the graduated license program for motorcycles differs so much between having your class 7N vs. your full class 5.

anyways, last summer i decided to buy a honda ruckus. i had liked the look of them for a while, and they seemed incredibly user friendly for the wrench monkey like myself. i rode it for a few months and modded it quite a bit, and eventually sold it for downpayment on my new focus. but it was too late, the seed had been planted.


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so i hummed and hawwed at the idea of getting my act together and buying myself a real bike. at this point i already know i am way more into the feeling and theatrics of driving far more than just speed. past cars ive had are an NA miata, smart car, and a mitsubishi minicab (550cc two cylinder van). so i knew that just picking up your standard r6 or something was not what i was looking for.

then of course my girlfriend walks into the picture. she has a gsxr-400 (build on here) and knew i had to get my ass in gear. went and passed my class 5 test with ease and started looking for a bike. and last week stumbled upon this beauty, and knew i had to have her.



well, i picked it up yesterday and immediately ripped into her.

1979 Kawasaki KH100EL.
- 16,900 km
- all original chrome
- 100cc 2 stroke motor, oil pump system
- almost all stock, except new turn signals and new bar


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Old 05-19-2014, 01:29 PM   #2
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so as i said, i wasted no time before dissecting her on the operating table. it has some recent work done like new tires, new gear oil, rebuild carb etc. battery was flat dead but its a kick start so whatevaaaa.

welp, might as well see if she runs. turn the key on, set the choke, and first kick she fired right up! completely smoked out my friend behind me who was working on his triumph of course. after about 10 seconds she sputtered down and died. spend the next half hour adjusting stuff but she wouldnt fire back up. nurse! hand the me the scalpel!


Untitled by 320iCar, on Flickr

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sit rep: i could see some particulate in the fuel filter, and the fuel had a slight yellow/amber colour to it. decided to pull the carb an check it out. itself is very clean, but once i took the fuel bowl off i could see sediment and fine particulate sitting at the bottom of the bowl. i knew then right away that clearly the gas in the tank was no good LOL. pulled the tank and drained it. i can see that the tank has been sealed before with what looks like a really thick white material. never seen it before though in a tank.

at this point i have figured out how god damn easy this bike is to work on. give me half an hour and some socket wrenches and i can have that thing down to a bare frame. i was contemplating cleaning it up and getting collector plates for it, but a bike like this is soo cheap to insure anyways, why bother? cut it up and have fun with it, and ride the balls off of it.

so i figured hell, lets make this a great looking cafe racer! here are the things i need to do
1) fix gas tank, make sure it has spark, get it running smooth
2) find or make a cafe seat pan, and seat
3) delete the battery, find a nicer oil reserve container
3) tuck wiring and hide electrics
4) tear down and paint accordingly

i already know what im going to paint it like as well. gulf racing motherfuckers! im pretty much going to model it after my giant road bike. more info to follow as things progress..


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Old 05-19-2014, 03:46 PM   #3
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run a capacitor instead of a battery. less weight.

a friend of mine was looking into it, i'll see if i get get some info from him.

he was going to do that on his XS400
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Old 05-19-2014, 10:49 PM   #4
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I've already googled the battery eliminators, and it's pretty much just a power cap in place of the battery. But what specs the cap will need to be i have no idea.

So i was looking into it and i had water in my gas tank and in the fuel bowl of the carb. So i spent the evening washing out the tank and the amount of SHIT that came out of that tank was appauling. Rust, dirt, even coarse grain sand (which was also rust). Someone in the past had sealed the gas tank and all the old beige rubber like coating just peeled and flaked out of it. So i think I'm just gonna leve it as is, get a new petcock and fuel filter and call it a day.
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Old 05-20-2014, 12:34 AM   #5
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fram g1000 fuel filter they're only a couple bucks and i think every lordco stocks 1-2 of them

used those on my GS400, they're small enough they can be tucked away and they're clear.. and cheap as borscht
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:24 AM   #6
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So cleaned up a bunch of the bike. Put it all together and still wasn't able to get it to start. I cannot check if I'm getting spark because the PO (or his mechanic) installed the spark plug so tight i even bent a wrench trying to remove it. The main problem is the carb started pouring fuel out of if once i hooked everything back up.

It was acting like the fuel bowl float and needle were stuck open and it was overfilling. So i took apart the carb and inspected everything. All pieces were installed correctly and the needle and float seem to be in great shape. So tomorrow ill try again and start it but i am not expecting much.
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Old 05-23-2014, 01:41 PM   #7
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you may need to adjust the tabs on the floats. also check to make sure the floats... float... if they have a hole they will fill with fuel and sink..
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Old 05-23-2014, 04:07 PM   #8
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Lol first thing i did was check the buoyancy of floats lol. I wanted to adjust the tab on it that rests against the needle, but no where on the mikuni carb is a stamped part number, so i don't want to start bending metal to random angles. LAST thing i want to risk is stress facturing the tab.
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Old 05-23-2014, 06:45 PM   #9
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yeah, haha. i'll see if i can dig anything up
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Old 09-15-2014, 07:46 PM   #10
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sigh. too may projects, not enough time, too little money.... and the gf as ruined any working area i had by turning it into storage. so maybe this winter it will see love...

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Old 09-16-2014, 01:15 AM   #11
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sigh. too may projects, not enough time, too little money.... and the gf as ruined any working area i had by turning it into storage. so maybe this winter it will see love...
Spoiler!


will you part out gf so you can start the project?
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Old 09-16-2014, 05:32 PM   #12
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Old 09-18-2014, 05:02 PM   #13
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Couldn't take it anymore. Removed the seat and tank and drained it last night. Gonna re-line the tank tonight an order a cafe style brown leather seat tonight. Strip off a bunch of the accessories and start doing the simple things. Going to make an oil tank from a stainless bottle. Grab some LED lights to the rear and get rid of the huge stock rear light. I'll research the battery delete and relocate the key ignition.

Biggest problem is it not starting. Spark plug is seized in there and the carb overflows with fuel when I open the petcock. But the float and needle are operating as they should. No idea what's going on there...
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Old 09-20-2014, 11:15 PM   #14
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i have decided that this is going to be a budget build. no need for fancy suspension or new swing arms and stuff like that which is way beyond my level. this is going to be a build of backyard ingenuity and what i already have around the home and garage.

alright, so a bit of progress for sure. the tank was very rusty on the inside. i cleaned it out months ago and found someone had already lined it in the past but must have done a poor job of it. old liner was pealing out and falling everywhere. i had a can of por15 laying around so i lined the tank with it. what a difference! it came out fantastic, and now if you tap the tank, it sounds like its wrapped in dynamat or something. feels crazy solid. who knew just a coat of por15 could do such a thing..

image by 320iCar, on Flickr

image by 320iCar, on Flickr


so then i started thinking more about what i wanted to do for an oil reservoir. most people with kawi builds with similar years of mine just delete the whole oil system and switch over to pre-mix in the tank (as seen spoilered below) but i did not want to go this route for two good reasons. 1) i trust japanese engineers of the 70's, and 2) when the throttle is closed, no oil is delivered to the engine in a pre-mix set up. if you sustain long downhill speeds while engine braking, you will not be lubricating your engine. where as the oil feed style will lube the engine relative to rpm, not throttle position.

Spoiler!


i did however want to fab up my own container for the oil instead of the well engineered, but ugly oem unit. was going to go stainless but decided to go for a dark nalgene bottle. its clear so oil level is easily spotted, and due to size restriction it fit much better than other stainless bottles i found. tap in a drain at the bottom and a vent tube at the top and voila! easy peasy lemon squeezy

image by 320iCar, on Flickr

image by 320iCar, on Flickr

image by 320iCar, on Flickr


i also found these two LED license plate bolts. this will help clean up the rear a lot! the stock rear lights and stuff were bulky and ugly as hell. now i just have to find a rear brake like to match. i am happy with some of the random LED lights even somewhere like canadian tire sells, but the wiring suggestions on the back frustrate me. they are marketed as a "parking/brake/turn signal" light, but only have three wires connected to it. brake, turn and ground. no staff members could tell me if the running light is a different brightness than the brake light etc. but i digress.

image by 320iCar, on Flickr

i also found that even though the spark plug lead looked brand new, the previous owner must have only changed the wire and not the actual coil. upon further inspection i saw it showing some age. this may be contributing to my non-start issue.

image by 320iCar, on Flickr

stripped the bike down today as well. it was dripping a bit of oil, realized it was coming from inside the exhaust. sigh guess i gotta seperate it and hose it out or something.

oh, also this is now tonight ended.

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Old 09-23-2014, 11:31 PM   #15
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Looking forward to seeing where this goes!

You're getting me thinking... I've never worked with a two stroke before...
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Old 09-24-2014, 02:06 AM   #16
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other than a lawn mower in 9th grade automotives, neither have i...

anyways, finished up the rear brake light setup. got a little practice with my new soldering iron. heat shrunk and wrapped in electrical tape. first light shows the running light w/ the single white LED for the license plate that will be mounted beneath it (and doubling for a semi rear fender) and the second light is the brake. doesn't show well in iphone pics but it will give you an idea.

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Old 09-27-2014, 06:06 PM   #17
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keep working on it every night. bit by bits its getting done pretty quick.

chopped the front fender up, now proper cafe style!

image by 320iCar, on Flickr

roughly started mocking up my cafe seat. that was last night but i shaped it way more than that since then. also chopped another two or so inches from the front once i mocked it up on the bike.

image by 320iCar, on Flickr

sanded and primed the tank. got a bit of body glaze to fill in the chips that the tank has gotten over the last 35 years. gonna wet sand and prep later tonight

image by 320iCar, on Flickr

and here is a snap of the front and rear fenders after being sprayed blue. gotta still wetsand and clear coat of course, but thats not for a while. gotta cure and dry for a day or two

image by 320iCar, on Flickr

in other news, i couldn't wear my icon textile jacket for a cafe racer like this. it would be an inexcuseable fashion faux pas. so randomly i saw on CL a good genuine leather jacket that was virtually brand new. shoulder pads and built in armor all for $75. score!

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Old 10-02-2014, 12:01 AM   #18
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weather has slowed me down a fair bit, but things are slowly getting done.


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Old 10-04-2014, 07:42 PM   #19
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so i have a new battery and fuel petcock on order. also picked up some new boots and a new helmet. i need to pick up another helmet for this bike but they are back ordered so that will wait.

started wiring up the lights and did a system check. headlights werent turning on, and when i flicked it to high beams the blue light on the dial didn't light up. so im assuming the bike has to be running for the headlight to turn on?


painting still needs to be done. some black pin striping on the tanks and stuff and doing a bunch of clear coating. the paint on the rear fender which is hidden also totally eff'd up. its plastic, and i used proper paint but painters tape peeled it right off. so i guess add that back on to the list.

i also relocated my ignition switch from next to the dial to down near the tank. fits perfectly and looks great!

Untitled by 320iCar, on Flickr

Untitled by 320iCar, on Flickr

Untitled by 320iCar, on Flickr

you will notice on the ignition barrel there is off, then two dots, but no words to describe what they do. i naturally assumed it would be like a car. off-acc-run. but out of my curiosity i went and looked on my girlfriends bike... you can see how it shows off-run-park. so now im thinking well fuck, is the reason my bike would never start is because i kept turning my key to park, instead of run? i dont have the handbook or anything for this bike so i have no idea which is which. the running lights (aside from headlight) turn on with either dot

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and obligatory pic of girls bike. can't wait to start riding it.

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Old 10-04-2014, 11:42 PM   #20
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Nice job on the ignition relocation. How'd you mount it? I need to do something similar.

Also, are those clubmans? or upside down bars? Asking because I have a set of clubmans sitting around in my parts pile if you want em!
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Old 10-04-2014, 11:58 PM   #21
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They are aftermarket bases but I'm not sure exactly which ones. They could be flipped aftermarket ones but either way it's a huge improvement over the stock ones I have in a junk pile lol.

The bigger issue will be trying to figure out a custom rear set to make the ergonomics far better. Right now it's sit up crazy straight and will look funny. But rear brake will be odd to set up with the oem exhaust.
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Old 10-05-2014, 10:14 AM   #22
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There's a guy on DTT named "Viet" that sells universal rearsets made in Vietnam I always thought they were a good deal. ($50-75~/set). Then you can get metal rods and cut/ tap & die them to size.

Regarding the cans, I'm a big fan of shorty mufflers myself :P
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Old 10-05-2014, 11:38 AM   #23
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Sadly it's not so easy. It's a 2 stroke so it needs a properly engineered exhaust. But whatever bike I get as a bigger bike will for sure have. Shorty yoshi or something
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Old 10-05-2014, 07:25 PM   #24
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i don't trust the old tumblers, i would have a lanyard to clip onto the bike for the keys so if they bounce out you're not missing your keys when you go to park haha.

for the ignition positions, try googling for pictures of the factory ignition in better condition, or an FSM.
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Old 10-09-2014, 05:32 PM   #25
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^^ genius idea about the short lanyard. there is even a convenient mounting place for it. done and done.

my knee is acting up from over work, so today is a rest day for sure. could only sit on the couch for so long though. finished the tank and front fender, painted the rims black (going to keep drums and spokes silver) and did a first coat of white sidewall lettering. still need to polish up the rest of the aluminum with some steel wool. not really polish, but take away the oxidation.

so close i can taste it.

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