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List of fixes I have to do, no experience

Discussion in 'Technical and Troubleshooting Torque' started by slygrog, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Hello there.

    I recently bought a Kawa GPz 550 from 1983 which was in great shape for the most part but needed a bit of attention in a few key areas. I'm now researching how much of that attention I can safely give it, and how much needs to be done by a qualified mechanic.

    Though I have been doing some reading (and a lot of YouTubing), I wanted to test my theories with you guys too.

    First up, fixes required:

    The mechanic who inspected my bike said the only critical fix up it needed was the replacement of the right hand fork seal (I am assuming doing both is not a dumb idea), but that the engine was also burning oil and the carbies could do with a clean/tune. Also, the leaking fork means there is fork oil on the RH brake calliper and so the brake pads (which are at 50% anyway) need replacing. There was mention of one gasket needing to be replaced (I think) but I believe that’s to do with the burning oil and is not a separate issue.

    Cleaning carbies seems like it's something I could do, albeit carefully and with some sort of record of what I took out of where. Replacing a brake pad (haven't really looked at the process behind this, but pads are cheap and I can't imagine it's the most difficult form of maintenance) strikes me as something that I can do myself too. Replacing the fork seals seems quite straightforward, though I keep seeing mention of ‘specialty tools’ that are required.

    Tuning carbs is not something I'm sure about--it seems quite important. And I don’t know why but my attempts to figure out the gasket problem have led nowhere, more on that when I have it.

    Am I off the mark on this stuff though? Most of it seems straightforward and possible with general tools, fork seals seems easy enough but requires a few special tools, and tuning carbs seems like something best left for someone who knows what they’re doing.
  2. Not at all, you'd be suprised how easy it all is.

    Carbys: Do one at a time, that way you have 3 correct ones to reference from.

    Tuning in it's most basic form will be cleaning, then balancing & setting the idle, also quite easy. Google "DIY Manometer" for the balancing, or find your self a set of vacuum gauges. From there you would be adjusting the jetting which shouldn't really be required unless someone has been messing with it in the past. If that's the case, I'd get some help with getting them jetted right, this can be hard even for experienced people.

    Burning oil is likely to be a different issue from the gasket, unless it's just leaking oil & not burning it?

    Burning oil would indicate a problem with either rings or vales or both & would require a top end rebuild. Not hard per se, but I wouldn't start there.

    Fork seals are pretty easy, provided it's just the seal & the stanchions (bits that slide in the seals) aren't damaged, If so, the only speciallty tools you'll require is a seal driver, which can be made from a suitably sized piece of poly pipe.

    Brake pads are easy, if they have been exposed to fork oil (or any oil!) replace them.

    Metal gear have good pads for around $25 per caliper, Ferodo also have good ones at around $50 per caliper. They're the only brands I've used, so can't comment on any others.

    At worst, you'll need to unbolt the caliper to change the pads, at best, just remove some pins & slide the old pads out.

    While you're there, grab a can or brake cleaner as well, the piston (s) will need to be pushed back in, in order for the new pads to clear the caliper, they should push in pretty easily by hand, if not, you may need to replace the caliper seals as well.

    You have an old bike, you will need to learn to do your own maintenance or spend lots of $$$ keeping it running! You're on the right track.

    Hope that helps.
  3. Brake pads are a piece of piss, took me a couple of hours but it was like 40 degrees, and I was also learning how to bleed brakes at the same time..

    Grab (read: google) a service manual so you know exactly what needs to be done.
  4. If i can replace brake pads, anyone can!!

    Metal gear is pretty good, delivered quickly, i'm happy with them on the across.

    Just make sure you don't squeeze the brakes when the pads and calipers are off.
  5. Farking hell you have a different definition of great shape than I do. I'll send you a photo of myself. Let me know what you think.

    More seriously, the engine burning oil is the biggest concern. The mechanic may have done a compression test, which was fine, so he is assuming it has blown a gasket between on oil gallery and a cylinder.

    Seems like a big call as there's a couple of other places I'd assume first, but maybe this model is known for it.

    Brake pads - Easy
    Fork seals - at the easy end of moderate.
    Carbie clean - moderate
    Tune - not hard, but need to know what you are doing and you need the right equipment.