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Author Topic: 1979 KZ400 (And KZ440, now powered by Mikuni)  (Read 28017 times)

Offline BLSully

  • Posts: 177
1979 KZ400 (And KZ440, now powered by Mikuni)
« on: Oct 11, 2012, 14:37:05 »
Hey all, I've been a member a while, and been looking for another KZ even longer for a play/project bike. Recently ran across a KZ400 in good-not-great cosmetic condition, not running, but with LOTS of new parts on it. I bought it for a $500, which is maybe a bit more than it's worth, but I felt it was a solid base that wouldn't require major work (I don't have the advantage of having a blasting cabinet, welder, drill press, and lathe in my garage ;) )





Priority #1 is get it running. The carbs are kinda nasty...not horrible, but very oxidized and pitted from sitting dry. Also someone apparently decided it'd be a great idea to yank the starter jet out with pliers. Thankfully I don't think it will effect the performance of the carb at all...it's just ugly and sad :( The nice part, is there are brand new pilot and main jets, and new pilot needles in the carbs already, so it looks like someone had started going down this path....but didn't do a good job cleaning out the carbs themselves.


Since I am lacking the bits needed to clean the carbs though, I started "digging" to figure out what else might need attention before making the little twin run. Started by stealing the Vulcan's battery and hooking it up to make sure the electrical system worked. Starter seems strong, lights all work except for what seems to be a burnt out 'running light' on the left. Turn signal works though so I'm guessing it's just the bulb. Brake switches front and rear work, and the turn signal relay is one of the new parts on the bike.


This is pretty much how it's sitting right now. I work too much to have much time in the evening to work on the bike...but I've tinkered with it....the huge ugly crash bars are gone, and I've tried to bring back some of the chrome with NeverDull, but a lot of it is too pitted to come back properly. Powdercoating time it is!

I've honestly been spending most of my time thinking about how things are going to work. I'm a long ways from clip ons and rearsets, but if I think about it now, the execution later should be less trial and error  ::)

« Last Edit: Apr 09, 2013, 00:17:42 by BLSully »
'05 Vulcan 1500 Classic - Daily rider.
'79 KZ400 B2 - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=42063.0
'80 KZ440 - Actually runs.

Support these guys: www.power-barn.com www.dimecitycycles.com

Offline CafeRacer650

  • Posts: 353
  • Dream it. Build it. Live it.
Re: 1979 KZ400 Resto-caff-something-or-other
« Reply #1 on: Oct 11, 2012, 14:43:31 »
Hey man!  Very glad you finally found another KZ after such a long time.  I look forward to riding together again... Next year maybe? Fingers crossed. :) 
Motorcycles are my personal art medium!
"Jellybean" Cafe Build - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=41186.0

Offline BLSully

  • Posts: 177
Re: 1979 KZ400 Resto-caff-something-or-other
« Reply #2 on: Oct 11, 2012, 17:31:18 »
For what it's worth, this is roughly the direction I would like to go with this build... It's more 'racer-ish' than cafe I suppose...but I don't want to pigeon-hole the genre of the bike.... I like this bike, and I would like to generally emulate the look. He went a bit further in simplifying the electrical....it is only kick-start. I'm too lazy for that...the electric start will be staying :)

Otherwise, this is a clean bike, a nice simple build, and not overtly flashy. Most of all I appreciate the use of the stock body pieces....tank and tail. It still /looks/ like a KZ400. I believe the only frame modifications he did was to slightly chop the rear, bringing the tail forward a few inches so the solo seat would look proportionate.

http://www.armbell.com/kz400/viewtopic.php?t=3429&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=36&mforum=kz400

This is not my bike....just inspiration
« Last Edit: Oct 11, 2012, 22:14:05 by BLSully »
'05 Vulcan 1500 Classic - Daily rider.
'79 KZ400 B2 - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=42063.0
'80 KZ440 - Actually runs.

Support these guys: www.power-barn.com www.dimecitycycles.com

Offline TricDick

  • Posts: 118
Re: 1979 KZ400 Resto-caff-something-or-other
« Reply #3 on: Oct 11, 2012, 21:46:47 »
Thats badass, nice work!

Offline BLSully

  • Posts: 177
Re: 1979 KZ400 Resto-caff-something-or-other
« Reply #4 on: Oct 17, 2012, 21:28:31 »
So yeah, I work a lot. Not much happened to the bike yet so far, but I've been tinkering for an hour or so each evening when I get home. I read http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=20130.0 a few nights ago, and got the itch to try my hand at polishing. My budget at the moment is extremely limited, so I'm trying to satisfy my desire to work on the bike with labor intensive things that don't cost much  8)

Most of the metal on this bike is in really good shape (underneath the dirt). Aluminum has the usual dings and marks from bearing extractor tools, but no really deep gouges. The chrome is definitely in poorer shape....it's pitted enough I'm not sure it'll ever really come back to a decent shine....but that's what powdercoat is for right? ;)

Anyhow, I've never taken anything abrasive to metal like this before, so I spent about an hour with 180 grit on the sprocket carrier for the KZ. After a good degreasing, I slowly went around the outer edge, taking down the metal. The entire piece originally looked like the bearing "housing" at the top of the photo. I do think I need to get some 120/150 grit to get some of the more stubborn pits out. They're not really visible in the photo, but you can see them if you're looking at the part up close, and that bothers me.... so I'm gonna work a bit harder on getting it as perfect as possible.

I'm not going for a mirror finish....just a nice "shiny brushed" look. We'll see how it turns out. Like I said, this is my first attempt at polishing, so I'll probably stop when my eye says "ooo I like that" ;) I've tried to follow the advice from the thread and keep all my motions in the same direction ("around" the piece). I will add that I didn't believe that such coarse grits would be necessary at first, and started with 320.... that didn't last long. I changed to 220, and then when I realized I needed to get even more aggressive, I cut up some 180 sanding pads i had. starting with 120 really wouldn't have been a bad idea  :P Oh well. I didn't ruin anything yet :D

'05 Vulcan 1500 Classic - Daily rider.
'79 KZ400 B2 - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=42063.0
'80 KZ440 - Actually runs.

Support these guys: www.power-barn.com www.dimecitycycles.com

Offline BLSully

  • Posts: 177
Re: 1979 KZ400 Resto-caff-something-or-other
« Reply #5 on: Oct 19, 2012, 11:42:27 »
No work on the bike, but I did manage to get something fun for it!

A "new to me" set of VM30s to replace the stock CV carbs. Paid a little more than I wanted to, but saved a bunch vs buying new ones, even if I end up having to buy some jets. Just need to order plunger chokes and new cables from DCC. I'd like to get these on the bike and try to get it running before i really tear it apart and make sure I don't need to do any major mechanical work to the motor to make it rideable.

'05 Vulcan 1500 Classic - Daily rider.
'79 KZ400 B2 - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=42063.0
'80 KZ440 - Actually runs.

Support these guys: www.power-barn.com www.dimecitycycles.com

Offline CafeRacer650

  • Posts: 353
  • Dream it. Build it. Live it.
Re: 1979 KZ400 Resto-caff-something-or-other
« Reply #6 on: Oct 19, 2012, 12:20:26 »
SCORE!! :)
Motorcycles are my personal art medium!
"Jellybean" Cafe Build - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=41186.0

Offline Nebr_Rex

  • DTT SUPPORTER
  • *
  • Posts: 871
Re: 1979 KZ400 Resto-caff-something-or-other
« Reply #7 on: Oct 19, 2012, 19:53:53 »
No work on the bike, but I did manage to get something fun for it!

A "new to me" set of VM30s to replace the stock CV carbs. Paid a little more than I wanted to, but saved a bunch vs buying new ones, even if I end up having to buy some jets. Just need to order plunger chokes and new cables from DCC. I'd like to get these on the bike and try to get it running before i really tear it apart and make sure I don't need to do any major mechanical work to the motor to make it rideable.


Are they 2 stroke or 4 stroke carbs?

Offline BLSully

  • Posts: 177
Re: 1979 KZ400 Resto-caff-something-or-other
« Reply #8 on: Oct 19, 2012, 20:14:27 »
Ooo...have to be honest I didn't know there were 2 stoke and 4 stroke versions of the VM30s... how would I go about finding that out?

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

'05 Vulcan 1500 Classic - Daily rider.
'79 KZ400 B2 - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=42063.0
'80 KZ440 - Actually runs.

Support these guys: www.power-barn.com www.dimecitycycles.com

Offline Nebr_Rex

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  • Posts: 871
Re: 1979 KZ400 Resto-caff-something-or-other
« Reply #9 on: Oct 19, 2012, 20:29:11 »
The big vent hole that goes back to your jet needle and needle jet,if it is restricted with a piece of brass with a small hole =4 stroke, just a hole drilled the casting about 1/8 in.,2 stroke.