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-   -   1978 Kawasaki KZ400 Resurrection (http://www.tacomaworld.com/forum/motorcycles/283626-1978-kawasaki-kz400-resurrection.html)

Maticuno 06-24-2013 02:29 PM

1978 Kawasaki KZ400 Resurrection
27 years ago, someone who owed my dad money gave him a 1978 KZ400 with 11,000 miles on the odometer. The title was lost in the process and my parents, who had me to raise, just covered it and put it in the garage. 8 years ago, I pulled it out, cleaned it up, and got it running. Due to complications with registration and other priorities, I lost interest and put it back in the garage. Now, with more knowledge, tools, and skills, I have a renewed interest in bringing this classic beauty back to life.

To get it road worthy it needs:
New tires
New Battery
Left side cover
Rebuild carb with new slide diaphragms
Front brake master cylinder

I think I can have this thing saving me gas money on my commute for less than $500. Here's a picture from my first attempt 8 years ago.


BTR 06-24-2013 06:08 PM

nice I have a 77 kz650

oldtimertoyota 07-04-2013 10:22 PM

Nice classic styling, looks great! Now don't put all your effort into it until you get the title issue figured out.

Maticuno 07-05-2013 10:13 PM


Originally Posted by oldtimertoyota (Post 7120378)
Nice classic styling, looks great! Now don't put all your effort into it until you get the title issue figured out.

Definitely not sinking funds into it until it is registered in my name. Right now I'm waiting for my radiator to arrive so I can fix my Tacoma so I can go pick it up from my parents' house and take it to highway patrol to be inspected. I could technically inspect it myself, but that would be unethical.

mdcmn7 07-06-2013 05:09 AM

Best of luck on the resurrection. I had a 1975 kz400 I got for a few hounded buck out of an airplane hangar looked almost exactly like yours. Rebuilt it from the ground up, it was an awesome little bike

Years ago there was a forum like this one for the kz, search the net for parts, they are still around. It gettng a little harder to find

Best of luck with the build

Petrol 07-06-2013 05:35 AM

Nice KZ. Those 1970's Japanese vertical twins where good simple machines. Everything you need and nothing you don't. Amazingly reliable even today. I had a 74 Honda CB 360 with drum brakes! Those variable venturi carburetors are great when they work but suck when they don't. You might want to look inside the gas tank and see if you have a rust issue. You don't want to get those carbs fixed only to dump rust back into them from the tank. Good Luck and a Cool 70's machine!

Maticuno 07-30-2013 10:24 PM

All loaded up and ready to be brought home!


Petrol 07-31-2013 05:10 AM

That pic brings back memories. The vinyl...oops Naugahyde, seat with the pleats that hold water until you sit on it. The folding kick-start level with the rubber cover that is lost in the woods the first time you use it. They are surprisingly fun and simple machines. Good Luck.

2013TuRD 08-01-2013 12:29 PM

Back in the day me and my friends referred to that particular Kawi as a pickle, probably because of the old Arlo Guthrie song. Great bike, nice and simple.

You should include all new non metallic brake parts, keep only the metal bits. Safety first.

Expect to rebuild the carbs. Can't remember if those had a vacuum petcock, if it does, you'll likely be rebuilding that too. Look for rust in the gas tank, if found, look for a product called Kreem to seal the inside of the tank before the rust goes into the carbs.

Expect the fork seals to leak at that age, so new oil and seals in the front, and you should probably put new shocks on the back.

Points and condenser? I can't remember those having electronic ignition. Add fresh spark plugs as well. Maybe plug leads. Don't forget to check the valve clearances.

Best of luck with your resurrection.

Petrol 08-02-2013 05:17 AM

I'll second the advice on the gas tank. Rust is common in all old Japanese gas tanks.
Yes to points and condenser. The points are driven off the end of the overhead cam, there's a plate on the side of the head that's removed to access the points. If the bike was in running condition when it was parked the points will likely be OK, I might get everything else right (gas tank & carbs) before I replaced the points. Keep us up-dated, that's a good project.

Maticuno 08-19-2013 05:39 PM

Stripped and ready for cleaning/new parts.


mdcmn7 08-19-2013 06:49 PM

Lookin good

Maticuno 09-14-2013 07:18 PM

To any of you who own something classic or clad in chrome, you need to try this. I didn't believe it when I first heard about it, but I'm glad I did. If you need to polish your chrome parts, the cheapest, most effective method is a folded up and wet piece of aluminum foil. The foil is softer than the chrome, but harder than the rust. As the aluminum/rust combine, it creates a paste which helps polish even more. Just make sure to keep the foil wet with water, and wear gloves as the paste takes days to get out from under your nails.


Petrol 09-15-2013 07:37 AM

Never heard of that trick before but it looks like it works! Good job.

Runn0r 09-20-2013 09:06 PM

I love old resurrection bikes. There was no surge like the 70's and 80's Japanese imports. There were so many models from so many companies at so many sizes.... all of which were superb quality. It looks like you have a good ride there. Just go through every bolt and nut to make sure you are safe at 50mph. Oil it up and test it out, you will have a retro ride like no other. Bikes like this are pure, I love the old ATV's too. The Honda ATC70 for example. Simple small engine genius design built to Mil-Spec quality.

ToyotaKTMracing 09-20-2013 09:11 PM

I love these type of vintage bikes :popcorn:

Maticuno 10-14-2013 03:40 PM

New tires mounted and balanced, front installed.


Maticuno 10-23-2013 08:05 PM

Rear wheel now installed along with the new chain. All I need are some new rear shocks and I'll have a rolling chassis again!

Maticuno 11-05-2013 07:04 PM

Got some new bolts for the new carb boots and reassembled almost the entire bike...at least enough to test fire the engine. She's idling a tad rough, but revs just fine. I think running a full tank of brand new gas through it along with an oil change will help. Now I am just waiting for the new rear shocks and front brake master cylinder before it's road test time.

68dave 11-06-2013 09:16 PM

Nice project. I love those old Kaws, i have a 76 900 and a 78 1000 sitting in the back of my garage.

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