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Author Topic: '81 KZ440 LTD "Whatchamacallit"  (Read 2113 times)

Offline dbg326

  • Posts: 32
'81 KZ440 LTD "Whatchamacallit"
« on: May 21, 2013, 13:31:00 »
Hey guys, just thought I'd share my first project/bike.  I bought it off one of my father's colleagues who was getting out of riding.  According to him, he had started on the bike, commuted on it for a few years, then passed it along to his son, who used it for the same purpose, and then it found its way back to his father. 

Anyways, I picked it up for $450.  It runs, but could stand to have a tuneup.  To this point I've tossed on a quick rattlecan job, and some flipped euro bars to get rid of the stock mini-apes.  As you can see, I've got some clearance issues with the stock brick of a master cylinder, and am waiting on a Nissin unit with a remote reservoir to replace that.  I may need to rebuild the front caliper as well, but was wondering about a double disc swap from a KZ1000, as there appears to be mounting positions already on the forks. 

Anyways, other than the mechanicals needed to get it on the road, I'd like to do something about the dreaded step-up seat.  I've seen a Suzuki Savage conversion that kept the original cruiser frame, but just added a solo seat, and fabbed up a rack to sit on the rear fender.  (Can be seen here:    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=854669 ).  With my almost non-existent fabrication ability, that seems like it would be a decent solution, as opposed to the usual reworking of the frame on these LTDs. 

Hand in hand with that, the high stop light has to go.  I'm not sure if I want to replace it completely, or just mount it in the stock location on the fender (presently missing). 

Anyways, what's a thread without pics? 












Here you can see the clearance issues caused by the brick of a master cylinder.


Full left lock, and the bars clear the tank!


Offline M.B Co

  • Posts: 614
Re: '81 KZ440 LTD "Whatchamacallit"
« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2013, 10:05:05 »
Decent start. Get her cleaned up and fix and few things and ride.

I'm also building a LTD. Attempting to remove all signs of an LTD with keeping the frame the same.

Offline dbg326

  • Posts: 32
Re: '81 KZ440 LTD "Whatchamacallit"
« Reply #2 on: Jun 30, 2013, 16:00:16 »
I've been doing a little work, mostly cleaning it up a bit, but ran into a snag.  When I put on the flipped bars, I knew that I may have to reroute the cables.  However, I made an attempt to simply adjust the clutch cable.  While it is in spec as far as travel goes, when I drop it down into first from neutral (engine off), and try rolling it forwards with the clutch lever in, it feels like the I'm turning the engine over, as opposed to free wheeling.  Is this just a matter of further adjustment, or is my clutch completely shot?

Thanks to a snafu with my employer, my direct deposit still isn't set up, which has put a kibosh on ordering parts until I can get my checks transferred.

Offline Nebr_Rex

  • DTT SUPPORTER
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  • Posts: 871
Re: '81 KZ440 LTD "Whatchamacallit"
« Reply #3 on: Jul 01, 2013, 00:23:36 »
'How' did you adjust the clutch?

Offline dbg326

  • Posts: 32
Re: '81 KZ440 LTD "Whatchamacallit"
« Reply #4 on: Jul 01, 2013, 00:39:20 »
I used the main adjuster on the cable, the one that's situated near the downtube.  I didn't mess around with the fine adjuster near the lever, or the locknut/screw situated behind the side access cover.

Offline Nebr_Rex

  • DTT SUPPORTER
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  • Posts: 871
Re: '81 KZ440 LTD "Whatchamacallit"
« Reply #5 on: Jul 01, 2013, 02:27:18 »
Start by tightening up the adjusters on the bars and frame.
This will give you the most amount of cable sticking out the sheath.
Then go to the one on the sprocket cover.
Loosen the lock nut and back the screw out.
Run screw back in until you make lite contact and back it out 1/4 - 1/2 turns.
Then the one on the frame, lengthen it out and back off 1/2 turn.
And then finally the one on the bars.

Offline zap2504

  • Posts: 363
Re: '81 KZ440 LTD "Whatchamacallit"
« Reply #6 on: Jul 01, 2013, 15:23:17 »
"Hand in hand with that, the high stop light has to go.  I'm not sure if I want to replace it completely, or just mount it in the stock location on the fender (presently missing)."

Depending on the look you are trying to achieve, a low-cost fix is fairly easy. You can look for a replacement 440 LTD rear chrome fender (it is only the visible half though, so would be very visible if you did a seat modification), or a cut-down Sportster rear fender (would also replace the plastic inner fender). You can re-mount the stock LTD tail light or look for an early '70s KZ400 tail light (a similar vintage Honda CB tail light might also work) with the longer black metal support bracket so it would not look so much like a chrome snorkel.

I think that the KZ440s with a lowered handle bar look funny if the foot pegs/controls are not moved way back and seat raised (to provide a better ergonomic fit and look more like a proper cafe), but it's your bike. I have actually thought that the standard LTD foot position would lend itself to a kind of '60s H-D Electra Glide look if a much higher/larger solo seat were mounted (maybe with rear luggage like a police version) and a taller/flatter handlebar.