|1987 Kawasaki EX500|
| Having recently sold my ZX7 (March 2002), I thought the best thing I could do would be to buy another motorcycle. So I bought the biggest pile of junk I could find. Why? I guess I just like pain or something. Anyway this is it, a 1987 Kawasaki EX500. It's a 500cc parallel twin with a redline of 12,000 rpm. According to online sources it will run the quarter in about 12.7 seconds and has a top speed of about 120mph. Not exactly Hayabusa performance, but it should be $300 worth of fun.
Did I mention it's a big pile of junk? I knew it needed a lot when I bought it, but I am finding all kinds of things wrong with it. First of all, I need to get it running. The oil and coolant are mixing in the crankcase so I pulled the motor and took apart the top end. Thanks to Dan Rupnow for helping diagnose the problem. The head gasket and base gasket look ok but I ordered new ones (about $45) just in case. I also looked at the waterpump seal. That looks like the problem since it is all dried up and gross. I also ordered that seal ($26). The coolant never actually enters the block so I don't see how the problem wouldn't be solved after this.
| The motor also has another problem: one of the flywheel magnets is shattered. I am trying to make arrangements to get a used one online. Other than that and a broken turnsignal the electrical system looks good. Other problems: one of the forks has a bad seal, a mouse ate the air filter, one of the levers is broken, the gas tank is rusty inside and the plastic looks like junk. (3-20-02)
I started working on the bodywork a little. Willard Kind filled the cracks with body filler and I started to prep the plastic for paint. I just have to sand down some of the places where it is filled, scuff the original paint and coat the inside of the tank and it will be ready for paint. (4-1-02)
| This weekend I installed the head gasket, base gasket and water pump seal. I cleaned out the remains of the flywheel magnet and put everything back together. The hardest part was timing the cams, since I had never done that before. I also had to rig up a replacement for the metal coolant line that goes from the cylinder to the waterpump, since I had cut it to get the waterpump cover off. I am certain it would not have come off without cutting, since the line and the dowel pins for the cover were corroded into place. I plan on buying a replacement line as soon as possible.
I bought a Yoshimura pipe for the bike online for $25 plus shipping. The header was rusty and the can was scratched but I sandblasted it, painted it with barbeque grill paint, and polished the can. The can still has some light scratches but the pipe actually looks really good for a $50 investment. Since I had to remove the centerstand to install it and since it is a lot lighter than the stock pipe I think the EX500 lost about 10lbs. As far as weight goes, this bike is about the same as a new GSXR 750. (4-29-02)
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