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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance's LiveJournal:

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Monday, February 6th, 2012
1:55 pm
Just getting better
Was super excited when my ignition switch, key, and gas cap arrived today for my KZ440 but that excitement vanished rather quickly.

Pieces and parts under hereCollapse )
Saturday, February 4th, 2012
6:39 pm
Big ol' slice of humble carb pie
Turns out carburetors not only regulate fuel, but humble the novice that works upon them. I was rather proud of myself for doing what I had done and, with my service manual arriving today and carb kits yesterday, I set off to work on taking them apart as much as I could without a ratchet set. After going through the manual though I discovered... there are many more than just the two jets I had found. Quite a few more actually. I saw that what I originally thought was the pilot jet was indeed the main air jet and discovered the main air jet is really the secondary jet. So! Where was the pilot jet? Digging some more I found it was under the plastic plug. I popped that off, changed its gasket, and paled as I realized the jet wouldn't budge. I didn't dare mess with it remembering what I had to do to get the main jet off, so I moved on. I removed the floats and float valve needle, drain screw (swapping out its O ring) and began to take it all apart once more until I got to what I found out was the pilot jet screw and its cover. It not budging and I not owning a punch I grabbed the dremel and drill bit once more and was able to free the cap.

Much rambles later I had it all taken apart as I could go...

clean carbs and trouble this way...Collapse )
Wednesday, February 1st, 2012
10:53 pm
Z440 carb update
Just a quick update from my earlier posting. Thanks to some wonderful commenters, I was able to not only get those two screws off the top of the carbs, but got those stuck-solid pilot jets out too!

The lower right hand one cut easily enough and came out nicely. The upper left hand though had to be ground off via dremel as slotting it didn't work, a bit too rusted. It would just break apart whenever I took any sort of screwdriver or flathead to it The remains are atop of the cover there in the middle.

and look! The pilot jets are gone too! Needlenose pliers and PB blaster weren't doing the trick and I had been given two options by my husband. Easy-outs, or buy new carbs. Me, being too bull headed to let a pair of stubborn jets get in my way, decided to try for the easy-out method. I slipped to the auto parts store and snagged an easy out bit and a drill bit matching the size needed and headed home. A moment of careful drilling, a couple minutes to let the jets marinate in some PB blaster, I held my breath and let the easy-out bit do its job. Both jets broke off but thankfully all I had to do was pull up gently as I was pulling the drill trigger and the rest of the parts came out.

Course I'm dancing like a pathetic girl would over a simple acheivement, but I'm rather proud of myself haha. Once my gaskets and new jets arrive, my carburetor will be like new. All clean, shining, and smooth operating. Gunna see if we can't take off the engine in a bit and give it a nice go through. I believe I remember someone elsewhere mentioning seafoam so I may run that through but until then, it's destributor cap off, spark plugs out,  a few drops of fresh oil in and crank it a couple times. Thanks guys for the tips, they've been absolutely wonderful so far!
Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
6:59 pm
KZ440 restoration job: Day 1
Hi! New to the group and most certainly new to what I've just taken on. I guess you could call me one of the idiots that thinks they ought to take on the tough stuff for their first project.

Bought a Kawasaki Z440-D LTD a couple days ago for a song and got it home. It's missing the ignition cylinder (has its coils thankfully) and a headlight is gone. The story behind it's been in a barn since 1987. The wiring harness seems in alright shape, no fluid in the engine and very little (very bad) brake fluid in the reservoir. The clutch case has a hole that has been JB welded shut (previous owner was a shiny fella, even JB welded one of the bolts!) so after chipping that away we got all of the screws off, including the stripped rusted ones. This is just day one so not much has been done, but here is the progress so far...

many pictures and information below...Collapse )

Monday, August 31st, 2009
2:23 pm
Need a Clue
Who has some clues for me about cracking a transmission?

The bolts are out. It has a couple of locating pins.

I cannot split the case halves. They're apart enough to weep some gearbox oil, but they really don't want to come apart any more. Part of my brain really (REALLY) wants to stick a flathead screwdriver in there and twist... but I've been at this whole wrenching thing long enough to know how (VERY) bad of an idea that is. I'm currently having at it with a rubber mallet... but wow, there's got to be a better way...

What's the Special Tool I'm lacking?
Sunday, July 5th, 2009
1:10 pm
1983 honda v45...still working
so, i was having a spark issue and narrowed it down to the pulse generator. i got the part and installed it. i pulled a plug and wrapped my hand around it and tried to crank it. i have never been so excited to be electrocuted.

after reinstalling the plug, i came to realize that the bike is still not starting. i have to go through the fuel lines and make sure they are not clogged by pulling them and checking for obstructions with a pipe cleaner.
anyone have any other ideas?

Current Mood: anxious
Saturday, June 20th, 2009
6:08 pm
1983 honda magna saga continues...
so i have been working on the bike since i got it two weeks ago here and there. changed fluids, plugs, battery, cleaned gas tank. went to start. it cranks, but won't turn over. OKAY. pull a plug and do the old fashioned spark test, no spark. have power to the coils, but nothing coming out. did an ohm check on the pulse generator, have 483 ohms out of one connection but nothing out of the other. the book says you need average 483 ohm from each connection, and if you don't you have to replace the pulse generator. the cheapest i could find was $82. if this doesn't get it going, i am also taking the coils in to get tested for $10 each. the test is a lot cheaper to replacing them without knowing, since each coil is $100.

once i order and receive the pulse generator i will have to remove the clutch cover and get my first look inside.

Current Mood: bored
Saturday, June 6th, 2009
10:27 pm
1983 honda v45
i don't know how to do a cut so i apologize in advance.

here's the bike before i loaded it:

i got home about 2 hours later and started tearing it down to get a better look:

i took the tank off and sealed it up so it's ready to clean tomorrow:

the only visible damage is this bent radiator fill line:

i was looking at how to get the carbs out and i'm not sure which is the best way? this side looks easier since there are no coolant hoses or goosneck in the way:

i saw some fittings on the handlebars and asked the guy what they were for. he ran in the garage and pulled out a windshield:


i was trying to get at the plugs but i don't seem to have the right socket for it, it seems the wall on all my sockets are too think. what special socket do i need to pull the plugs?
Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009
7:31 pm
you guys rule thanks for all the help. i will put some pictures up saturday in the evening because i pick up the bike in the AM.


Current Mood: tired
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009
9:32 pm
so i know i need to change out the coolant and clean the radiator, change oil, should i change the fluid in the forks(?), what else should i change? this bike has been stored for a year. what are some other things that i should do, like normal things you do to your bike after removing it from storage and preparing it for a riding season?


Current Mood: awake
Sunday, May 31st, 2009
1:25 pm
new to community and bikes in general
howdy doody from upstate ny. i see at least one familiar face from the lj garage forum, fourgotten, which is cool. anyway, i just bought my first bike yesterday for a whopping $400 dollars. i have never even been on a street bike, i rode motocross in recreation but that was almost 12 years ago. i have worked on a lot of cars but i decided i wanted to take the time out and tear down a bike with no real knowledge whatsoever, using mostly a clymer honda service manual.

the 400 dollar bike is a 1983 shaft-drive Honda V45 Magna 750. did i pick something a little harder to work on? maybe so. i don't expect to have a bike until next riding season anyway if i had saved up and bought something for a few thousand dollars. i want to be able to take the time and do a great job and i think $400 is a great starting investment to help me learn about bikes.

when i went to look at the bike i actually expected it to be in worse shape than it really is. it hasn't been started in over a year, so i realize the carbs will have to be worked over. i also did some research on common problems with this specific bike and i found a few things: a cam issue, cam chain tensioners, an oil pressure issue at idle (can be fixed with aftermarket oil pump), and that's all i can seem to find. beyond the fact that the bike is 26 years old and i will have to deal with 26 year old fuel lines and electrical wiring, etc., this doesn't seem to be too bad. seeing as how i plan on tearing it down anyway none of this is really too horrifying.

i don't know if the bike starts due to a lack of battery. the way i came to this bike is weird. guy got it from a neighbor, it was her husbands and he basically got it for free, he died and no one in the family wanted it so she just gave it to him, title and all. he pulled the battery, because he didn't expect to ride it since he had a bike and two other project bikes he was working on. they used to ride together until the guy got hurt at work. he knew that he bought the bike new and did regular maint. on it. i have the purchase receipt for the bike with the original owners address on it and he isn't lying, it's right down the street.

so i checked what i could. no grease rings on the forks that would indicate that they were leaking, no foul gas smell from the tank or any reservoirs. tires need replacing do to dry rotting, not a suprise, wheels didn't have any cracks or bends when i spun them. the paint was in great shape and the chrome and aluminum wasn't too bad, some pitting and a little rust.

so basically what i want to ask is should i even bother trying to get it to run before i tear it down? from a diagnostic standpoint i suppose it would be beneficial to listen to it run, but if i plan on dumping $1000 in parts, a lot of elbow grease and a ton of man hours into it over the next year, is it really worth it?

i'm going to get the bike next weekend because it won't fit into the bed on my s10, so i'm just getting ready for it's arrival, prepping my garage and trying to relocate things from a vehicle standpoint to a smaller bike format. thinking about picking up a bike stand before the week is out.

thanks for reading if you did, sorry it was so long!

Current Mood: busy
Monday, March 30th, 2009
3:16 pm
Spring Polishing Bike Chrome & Removing Rust
Don't know about you but it' that time again to wheel the old beast out the shed and get her polished up for a couple of spring runs. I was planning of getting my chrome all re-done last winter (www.ashfordchroming.com) but with the credit crunch, baby on the way that just didn't get done! That said found some info on how to remove rust from chrome and get it gleaming using stuff from the kitchen cupboard! Some of the tips work a treat some I was not too sure about (Baby Oil?!!)

Anyway the old bike is looking tip top again - Oil Change and a New rear Tyre and I'll be set for a couple of spring runs before summer kicks in

Happy Biking


8:43 am
Striple owners!
1) When you change the oil filter, watch out for the radiator hose. it's close enough to the filter that any tool used to remove the filter, just might pull the hose almost off. I was shocked to find fluids under Banshee, but figured it out and remedied the situation.

2) Triumph has apparantly created a bike that requires no air filter. Looking through my manual, I found the intervals for changing it, but no other mention of it (as in how to do so.)

3) Edges of the fasteners for the gas tank are f*ckin SHARP! Still waiting for the bleeding to stop. Oh well, the bike godz got their sacrifice.

Now to send a note to Triumph and ask about that air filter...
Wednesday, October 15th, 2008
1:17 pm
Latest Project
For the last year or so a couple friends of mine have been trying to get me involved in vintage motocross. Of course not having a vintage-legal motocross bike has been my biggest deterrent. Well that and my experience racing motocross, back in 1990, was less than pleasurable after I crashed my brains out attempting to clear a double (jump). Click here for the rest and pics.Collapse )
Sunday, October 12th, 2008
12:53 pm

Hello everyone!

I just found this brand new website that allows anyone and everyone who loves motorcycles to join and hang out. It's a social network, meaning everyone has their own page where you can upload photos, videos, and connect with other bikers around the world. Like I said, it's brand new so there aren't many people yet, but the more people that join, the better! Especially you guys because it would be awesome to have a section on motorcycle repair and the like!

So come on over and check it out. Chances are, you'll fall in love and have a great time!

See you other there.

Thursday, August 14th, 2008
11:19 pm
'83 GS550L carb woes...
Buddy of mine made a deal... I clean his carbs, he gives me a phone for my girl... sounds like a good trade (the work for the phone, not the phone for the girl... though, that might be a good trade too... *ducks away from woman fists*)
symptoms and attempted resolutionsCollapse )
Tuesday, August 5th, 2008
12:13 pm
Troubleshooting step 3: Does it have gas?
Went out to test-ride a buddies '82 XJ750J (Maxim) last night.

We got her out and kicked her over and she started but very quickly stuttered out and wouldn't start again. I looked into the tank and could see fuel sloshing around down there (way down there, but still down there).

We rolled 'er over to the front of the shop and I got my jumper cables out to get 'er hooked up and started and then he got 'er running.

I got 'er to go about 100 feet and then she died.

Rolled 'er around to the shop again and he started working on getting 'er running. I looked down the left side of the bike and noted the fuel filter. The empty fuel filter. Turned the petcock to "PRI" and noted no change.

"Are you SURE that there's fuel in this bike?"
"Yeah. Look! You can see a bubble in the fuel filter."

You COULD see a bubble in the fuel filter... but it was a bubble in the thin ring of fuel at the point where the filter was sealed. Oops.

Half a gallon (and some clutch adjustment) later and she was zooming around...

Now we just need to get 'er titled, re-do the front brakes and she'll be ready to sell!!!!

Speaking of which... anyone need a project bike or 10?
Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008
10:25 pm
One of the things keeping me occupied while I can't ride...
Want to learn a little bit about fixing your bike? Especially the little tips and tricks that make things easier?


There are 5 episodes so far. Also available as a podcast in iTunes at

Yes, I know my powers of description suck. Just watch the videos.
Friday, May 23rd, 2008
7:52 am
Sportbikeparts.com SUCKS
 Never buy from e-bay seller sportbikeparts.com!

After two weeks they won't reply to e-mail, but they cancelled my request for money (refund on useless charging rotor), so I know they're there.

So, That's my flame.

I was going to leave Negative feedback, but I haven't figured out how to fit it in one line...
Thursday, May 1st, 2008
8:45 pm
Reputable Repair shops in North-Central MA?
Yesterday my insurance company finally came to check out the damage to my bike.  So now I need to start thinking about a place to get it fixed.

I haven't checked the yellow pages thoroughly yet, but it doesn't seem that there's very many places near by to get the repairs done.

I wouldn't mind doing the wrench work myself.  Just that I wouldn't know where to properly dispose of all the bits needing replaced.  Plus I doubt that my insurance company would be all that amicable to me doing the work myself anyway (haven't asked yet).

Central Mass Power Sports is probably the closest Honda dealer to me.  However, I don't recall ever hearing anything good about them while I was stationed out of state.  Does anyone know if they've gotten any better since moving to their new location?

Thanks in advance.

x-posted to motorcycles
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