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Welcome to my GPZ900R strip down pages

I bought my 33,000 mile 1984 A1 in June 1999, and everything was great till I went over to Assen with a couple of mates to see Foggy (and all the other Brits) kick ass. It was a really good long weekend away.........apart from the fact that the GPZ started to make a horrible grinding sound when you tried to start it.

I tried to ignore it, but we all know that doesn't work. Then I looked at my workshop manual, hoping it would be an easy job to do. Unfortunately it's not, it's an engine out, split the cases job......what a pain in the arse! I spoke to a bloke at Corby Kawasaki, hoping that he would tell me there was an easy way of doing it....there isn't. It seems that the only way of removing the starter clutch without splitting the crankcases involves smashing a hole in the top case with a 3lb hammer............bollocks!!! The noise got worse and worse and about a week ago I fitted a new Laser end can. I tried to start the bike and.....nothing, the clutch finally gave up. :o(

It was time for action. At first I thought about paying someone to do it, but it would cost a fortune, I tried to justify the cost to myself but couldn't. I've rebuilt loads of engines in the past (Although none with water cooling) so I'm more than able to tackle this job. The problem I had is other commitments, the combination of a job that involved long hours and a girlfiend with 6 year old son meant prime time for engine rebuilds was very scarce.

So this is the story of the engine strip and rebuild. (Oh and before anyone emails me, I did this at work, and was not wasting time at home that could have been spent up the garage!!!)

The First Evening (16/3/00)

The first evening was supposed to be purely removal of the fairing, the bike usually spends the winter in my conservatory and this year had been no different. The idea was to get the fairing off and take a few digital photos of the pipe runs at the front of the engine.

The fairing came off really easy, it's the first time I've had the fairing off this one. I did it a few times on my old A3 so this bit of the strip down was really easy. I was quite suprised how many repair marks there were on the inside of the plastic, at some time in it's life my GPZ has hit the ground pretty hard on it's right hand side.
I went up my garage with the intention of tidying up a bit, but before I knew it I'd sussed that I really needed some extra space so my KX250 was wheeled down to the house and the GPZ pushed up the garden. While I was up there, I thought, I might as well drain the engine, so a rad hose was disconnected and the cooling system was drained, then the sump plugs and oil filter were removed.

As you can see from the picture on the right, I couldn't help myself and ended up taking off the oil cooler, lower fairing frame and radiator. I'd forgotten just how much oil stays in an oil cooler after you've drained the engine, and ended up wearing most of it! This was as far as I'd ever taken a GPZ down before, everthing from now on was new.
I called it a day at this point, it was 10.30pm, the local chippy closes at 11pm and I'd still got to make my sarnies for work. The next chance I'll get to work on it will probably be a couple of hours on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday Afternoon (18/3/00)

The original plan was to drop the engine out without removing the carbs and airbox. First plan was to remove the front and top rear engine mounting bolts and pivot the engine on the bottom rear bolts. Once I removed the fairing I realised this wouldn't work as the front mounting lugs stop the engine moving forward.
I then had the idea that I could remove the rear bolts and pivot it on the front, so the couple of hours I had free on Saturday were spent disconnecting all the wiring, piping and stuff to allow the engine to come out. Time was short, but I got it to the point where the engine was ready to come out. The rear bolts were removed and the front loosened, and nothing.....well, the rear dropped about 10mm max. I wiggled it, pulled it, kicked it and verbally abused it but the bugger wouldn't shift.

In the end I admitted that Mr Kawasaki knows what he's talking about when he writes the workshop manuals, and when he says that you need to remove the carbs and air box he's probably right! The carbs and airbox were removed. I like the way the airbox has been designed so that it can be moved back in the frame about 10mm when unbolted to help you to get the carbs in and out. (Mind you it's still a pain in the arse of a job). I now had an engine hanging in the frame by a couple of 6" nails through the mounting points, time to ring a mate and see when he could come round and help.

Sunday Evening (19/3/00)

I had 2 hours spare, and Richard had agreed to come round at 6pm to help get the engine out of the frame and onto the workbench. 6.15 came and went, I was busy so didn't really notice till I checked my watch. He turned up around 6.30ish 'Sorry mate, I was bleeding the front brake on the ZX10 and didn't notice what time it was'. I know what it's like, a quick trip into the garage turns into a epic, and you don't realise the passing of time.
The engine dropped out really easily, mind you, getting it up onto the bench was a bit of a struggle.

I couldn't help myself, I had to take the camcover off, 'just to check the top end'. All looked sweet till I noticed the cam lobe on cylinder number one inlet. It looks a bit of a mess, but I haven't been getting top end noises. There isn't any heat discolouration either, I'll have to wait till I get the cam out to see if the follower had got similar damage.

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