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Author Topic: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be  (Read 718 times)

Offline diggerdanh

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78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« on: Jul 05, 2017, 17:35:33 »

July 2014, ugh I cannot believe it has been 3 years, I bought a basket case 1978 KZ400 with a little over 17K original miles from a 17yo local kid who had bought it as his first bike to be a cafe project. It had run but he tore down the top end to fix some oil leaks and never got around to putting it back together. Everything was in a bunch of boxes and there were lots of baggies filled with nuts and bolts, some of them marked what they went to. He said he had the title but could not find it when I went to pick up the bike so I got the lot for dirt cheap figuring it would just be spare parts. I told him if he found the title to give me a call and I'd give him another $100. A few days later he called and said he found the title and a couple of other parts like the seat pan and some odds and ends.

I truly was starting with a basket case:


The tires were new though the rims were a little rough and the spokes were really rough:


The frame was in good shape with only a little bit of surface rust here and there:


Forks were dirty and tarnished but looked like they would clean up:


The tank had original paint and was in really good shape with some nice sun fading and only a couple minor dings. I planned on just using it as it was.

So what to do with it? I have a cafe seat and some spares from the previous KZ400 build. I know these bikes pretty well and have learned a lot of lessons so I ought to be able to build it pretty cheaply. So should I go cafe? Nope, let's build a scrambler. Kawasaki never built a factory enduro off the KZ400 platform (like a CL350/450) so I want to build one! I ought to be done before cold weather hits, right?



Offline diggerdanh

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Re: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« Reply #1 on: Jul 05, 2017, 17:52:08 »
So I ordered parts: every seal, bearing, etc. to replace the originals, dyna coil, new plug wires, new tires, new shocks,new grips, and probably some other stuff I've forgotten.

Painted the frame a nice semi-gloss black:


I know I was not going to be able to clean up the wheels and since this bike would see some dirt I didn't want to have to clean them if they did clean up so I went with truck bedliner on the wheels and spokes. The spokes are all ugly but seem to be solid. Primed first:


Not too bad - and now with new wheel bearings:


Parts started coming in:


New fork seals:


New tires:


New shocks (13.5" IIRC to raise the back end a little):


Added fork gaitors (actually rancho shock boots, they are cheaper than fork gaitors and seem to last longer):


Swingarm mounted:


New tires mounted:


New sprockets and chain and we finally have a rolling chassis:



It has only been a little over a month and I have made some good progress. This thing will be finished up in no time.







Offline diggerdanh

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Re: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« Reply #2 on: Jul 05, 2017, 17:56:13 »
A couple of months slip by (it is now November 2014) but it is time to get back into gear. I pull the bike off the bench and put the tank on to see how it may look one of these days. I put the engine on the bench and start tearing the top end apart.



And then winter hits... and then spring comes back along with all the yard/home chores that need to be done.

Offline diggerdanh

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Re: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« Reply #3 on: Jul 05, 2017, 18:07:42 »
Summer 2015 I find some motivation. The engine is getting degreased and cleaned.

This thing is filthy:


Most parts were too dirty for the parts washer so they got spread out in the drive and hit with engine degreaser. Getting better:


Much better:


Someone has been in here before... and with a die grinder! I'm a little worried but also a little excited at what this might mean.


I should have replaced this oil seal at the time. I didn't realize how bad it was. Lesson learned (I had to take the cover off and replace it later because it was leaking):


Getting closer:


A little bit of black paint on the barrels and engine is back in the bike:


It is only Aug 1, 2015. Now that I am on a roll I might have it finished before the end of riding season this year!


Offline diggerdanh

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Re: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« Reply #4 on: Jul 05, 2017, 18:15:12 »
Somehow a year passes... I really need to get going on this thing again.

So it's time to make a rock guard:


Mockup. I'll need a better solution than bungee straps to hold it in place permanently though.


Engine covers on, rock guard in place:




Time to get a battery box/electrical pan in place:


It is now November (2016) again. Looks like I'm not going to get it done to ride this year. But I'm still making good progress so hopefully I'll have it done for the spring.
« Last Edit: Jul 05, 2017, 18:19:17 by diggerdanh »

Offline diggerdanh

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Re: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« Reply #5 on: Jul 05, 2017, 18:27:51 »
Battery box/wiring pan mockup with cardboard:




The last bike I made the pan deeper than I needed. I'm not doing that this time.





Nothing fancy, just transferred the template to some lightweight scrap sheet metals, bent it up using some 2x4s and my vice as a brake, used some rivets to fasten it together and painted it. Attached it to the bike with P-clamps. I'll be using some type of side cover so there will not be much of it visible.

Later pic with pan in place:


Winter is setting in but this year I want to keep working on the bike. So I move it to the back room of my barn where there is a couple of baseboard heaters and I can use a space heater. It will be warm enough to work on cold days. And to everyone's surprise I did get a lot of work done over the winter (coming soon).


Offline diggerdanh

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Re: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« Reply #6 on: Jul 06, 2017, 10:49:02 »
Dec 2016 and I'm still chugging along. My initial impressions were correct, most of the parts were there, but man a lot of this stuff is just not in good shape. The left and right hand controls have some serious corrosion on them, the master cylinder is junk. I've already replaced every seal and bearing. It needs all new cables. I'm trying to keep this on a small budget but I have bought so many new parts and have yet to spring for the expensive stuff, a lithium battery, carbs, and having the exhaust fabricated. I want to go with high pipes, something very similar to the old CL350/450. I need to start trimming expenses where I can.

First cost cutting move, and it turns out probably not a good one, is going for a pair of cheaper universal handlebar controls from Ebay. These things were really cheap.



They wired up okay and work okay so far but they are made of thin cheap metal and one of the housings cracked on my probably 10th time of removing/reattaching them. I used some epoxy to put it back together but I'll eventually look to replace them. I'd like to buy the stock reproductions but I didn't want to spend $50/ea at the time. I cannot recommend them and would not use them again, they look okay and function okay so far though.

I also need a new master cylinder and clutch perch. I could have opted for something off a later model ninja but I went for a cheap set from ebay. I wanted something with an integrated brake switch so I could get rid of the splitter on the forks and a single stainless braided line from the MC to the caliper. So that limited my options a little. I later discovered that there are banjo bolts with an integrated switch - another lesson learned for the future.







The factory wiring harness was in pretty good shape, not hacked up at all. I stripped off most of the tape and began getting it in place and wiring up the controls.





It took quite a bit of work with a multimeter to figure out the wiring for the controls and lots of examining the stock wiring diagram but I eventually figured out how to wire the controls into the harness.




« Last Edit: Jul 06, 2017, 10:50:46 by diggerdanh »

Offline diggerdanh

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Re: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« Reply #7 on: Jul 06, 2017, 11:01:55 »
Still moving on with wiring. I'm going with a smaller lithium battery so I want to upgrade the reg/rect to make sure it doesn't overcharge my expensive battery. For the last bike I purchased a reg/rect from Rick's Electrics and it has worked well for several years. This time I purchased one from our buddy at Sparck Moto. It went in easily enough and has worked in the short test/tuning rides that I have done so far. Along with that I upgrade I ditched the stock fuse box and fuses for something a little more modern. I went with a 6-way fuse block though I only have 3 fuses, I may need to use another slot later and the extra slots allow for carrying onboard spares.





Everything is starting to find its home. I'm using a small ATV battery (swiped from my son's LT80) in these pics for testing.



Reg/Rect installed underneath the tray:










Offline diggerdanh

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Re: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« Reply #8 on: Jul 06, 2017, 11:21:37 »
Single stainless braided brake line:






I also ground off the rivets holding the front fender to the support/brace - you can see in the above pic. I'll be using something else for a front fender. I found an NOS universal fiberglass fender from the 80s still in the plastic that looked great after a couple coats of paint. Drilled some holes through the brace, added some rubber washers for spacers to give it a little more gap than the stock fender. Looks good.





I also found a plastic fender that looks okay but I do not like it nearly as much as the front one. I used parts from a couple of lights that I had sitting around to build one tail/brake light. Not sure of the manufacturer of the lens/housing but it was on my Dad's 72 Triumph when he bought it. It wasn't original but it did say "made in France" on it. I tucked in some turn signals, just rear of the shocks, mounted with some angle brackets to the inner fender.





Added an LED bottom mount headlight. So this bike has a little old, a little new. I'm cool with that. I made a small bracket from some scrap steel to mount to the holes where the splitter used to mount. The only issue I have now is what to do with all the wiring that used to sit inside the old headlight bucket.



It's starting to look like a motorcycle. I have to admit that I did sit on it at this point and make vroom-vroom noises... okay if we're being truthful I'd done it before and have done it since too.


Still going with wiring and lights. I cut down a pair of old headlight ears and painted them black to mount the front turn signals on the forks.







Offline diggerdanh

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Re: 78 KZ400B1 Scrambler To Be
« Reply #9 on: Jul 06, 2017, 11:36:42 »
New 2.5" mini gauges with integrated dummy lights. I used the same pair on my 76 KZ400 so I had an idea how to wire these things up.



Everything works! Only issue I have is that I bought the tach and speedo from two different vendors saving myself several dollars. I assumed they would be exactly the same but you can see that the lighting between the two is quite different. In reality it does not bother me much. If I ever rode it at night it might but I usually don't ride at night.



Headlight works too:



I used a combination of the stock gauge bracket, highly modified, and the small brackets that came with the gauges to mount them:



Stock seat pan, modified a little at the rear by bending it down and filling some of the gap so that it matches the frame better. And added some MX style side-covers. I wasn't sure if I was going to use the stock side covers or go with something like this. I think the bike looks slimmer and little more off-roady with these.







More sitting and vroom-vroom sounds. I've got the stock headers on for now but that's now where I want to end up. Time to do something with this seat. For my 76 KZ400 I kept the stock seatpan, shaved down the foam and added a cover from a leather coat. It turned out pretty good. I think I'll do something like that this time around too. If it doesn't work out I can always take it to a professional. Only issue is that the foam from this pan is long gone. Guess I need to turn to YouTube to figure out how to do this stuff.