Saabnut's restoration blog - Page 2 - Ex-500.com - The home of the Kawasaki EX500 / Ninja 500R
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post #26 of 56 (permalink) Old 3-6-2019, 1:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davenay67 View Post
The quote "Familiarity breeds contempt" springs to mind. I'm the same way. Knowing my bikes fairly well means that I stack parts in random corners and piles that only I understand. Each time I look in the garage I think to myself that I really should be more organized.

Great progress on the teardown BTW!
That's just with this particular build. My garage itself is actually very well organized. All my bins with my spare EX parts are all labelled and everything is stacked on up nicely on industrial shelving.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #27 of 56 (permalink) Old 3-26-2019, 1:51 AM Thread Starter
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Sorry about the long delay, some minor health issues came up which took my attention on top of my regularly busy schedule.

After I had the frame stripped down, it didn't take long to fix the bent parts on the frame. The most challenging one was the pancaked upper left radiator mount. If you look back, you'll see how bad it was. With some creative use of a hammer and a variety of punches, flathead screwdrivers and steel blocks as a dolly, I got it looking decent and plenty functional.



Rust is only on the surface and will come off when I get it sandblasted.

Next up was the steering stop. It's bent upwards quite a lot.



Thankfully, all I needed to do was make it flat, so I wasn't afraid to really wail on it. Here's how it came out.



Not perfectly flat, but doesn't need to be. It's functional and it generally hidden from view once it's all back together.

The last repair needed was to the right side fairing lower mount. I think it was actually old damage as there was no fresh damage on that fairing. It's also a really weird tab to bend, but it wasn't bad, so a couple minutes of hammering and bending got it back into shape. Don't have a before photo, but here's how it looks now.



A head on shot of the frame after straightening what I needed to and picking away a bunch of the flaking paint to expose the hidden rust.



More to come later this week!
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1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #28 of 56 (permalink) Old 5-31-2019, 1:32 AM Thread Starter
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Holy smokes it's been a while since I updated this thread. Basically, if I've had the time to post to this thread, it means I have time to work on the project instead. Finally getting a chance to update though. It's going to take several posts to actually catch up with the work I've got done. Right now in this thread, I'm at the point of dealing with frame rust. In actual time, I've already got the final coat of paint on the frame and it's mostly cured at this point.

One last thing to remove before cleaning was the steering head bearing races.

A long punch and hammer does the trick. It takes a while of tapping around and around in circles, but it's surprisingly not in there that tight.

With the lower race out, a socket with extension can be dropped in for the upper race. I used a 27mm socket. As I remember, it wasn't an ideal fit, a 28 or 29mm would probably have been better, but the closest I have is a 27 or 30 and the 30 was too big.


Here's the frame fully stripped down of every single bracket and bolt after removing the steering head races.


A few shots of the dirt and grime:






Check out the scaly rust and flaking paint.


You can really see the brown grunge on the bottom of the frame. Probably has never been cleaned before.


I then went to town on it with a toothbrush and diesel to break up all the nasty old crud. Once that as done, I hit it with the pressure washer. The end result was an admittedly still rusty, but otherwise squeaky clean frame. I thought I got pictures of that but I'll have to look around as they're not in the folder I would have put them in. Oh well.
More to come!

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #29 of 56 (permalink) Old 5-31-2019, 3:37 AM
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Any need for a bike frame shop to check for straightness? However, if the head is tweaked, it usually shows in slightly wrinkled metal and rust which follows cracks in the paint.

I finally figured out why I like Ducatis: With their exhaust note and dry clutch, they sound almost like a Guzzi!
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post #30 of 56 (permalink) Old 5-31-2019, 12:50 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by po18guy View Post
Any need for a bike frame shop to check for straightness? However, if the head is tweaked, it usually shows in slightly wrinkled metal and rust which follows cracks in the paint.
I have confidence the frame is straight. There are no signs of bending, buckling or warping anywhere near the head. All of the rust and paint flaking is old and from its life in coastal cities. I haven't actually measured it, but that's because I really don't think I need to. The impact got pretty well absorbed by the forks and triple tree. I've fixed another EX before with virtually identical damage and it rode dead straight with new forks and triples.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #31 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 1:20 PM Thread Starter
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I know it's been quite some time since I updated this, but I have finally found the time to sit down with my computer and do things like upload the remaining photos to my computer, resize them and put them up on the internet to link to here.


So, where I had last left off was cleaning the frame. After I had accomplished that, the original intention was to strip the whole thing with a wire wheel on the angle grinder and similar on a Dremel, but it didn't take long to realize that was going to take forever, so I drove it down to the local powder coating shop to have them sand blast it. I could have had them powder coat it too, but that costs money and time and I really wanted to get it finished, plus tractor paint can be had cheap at the store and is quite tough, so that's the route I went.

Once it was back from sand blasting, I sprayed it with a few coats of self etching primer I snagged from work.


Now I can't remember if I waited a few days after priming to lay down the color or if I left it hanging for an hour or so and then painted it with the final color, but here's a picture of it with good old Massey-Ferguson Gray as the final color. Stuff lays down thick and tacky and takes forever to dry and cure, but it sure is tough in the end.

(Yes, all the bins off to the left are sorted EX500 parts and that's just part of the collection)
All those nooks and crannies were a hell of a challenge to get covered and not have any runs.
And for those wondering, yes I was wearing a full face respirator. I work at an auto body repair shop and have heard all sorts of stories about what happened to the guys in the old days who didn't wear any protection.

After moving it inside the garage for a good week to cure, it came back inside the house onto the carpet where it would be safe from anything happening to it until I began the reassembly process. Here it can be seen guarding the pile of new OEM gaskets in from of my coffee table.


Up next: Tackling the engine. It needed a lot of work.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #32 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 1:47 PM Thread Starter
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On to the engine. In a few photos back, you'll notice my whole workbench is covered it parts. That was a distinct lack of foresight as I had to clear everything off so I could work on the engine. Oops. First thing to do was clean the thing. Nothing worse than trying to work on a terribly grungy engine, which this was.

Engine before doing anything:


The area around the front sprocket is always a disaster on higher mileage engines:


The underside is also always a mess on higher mileage engines:

Note, the fresh looking dampness is from the diesel I was using to clean another part of the engine.

Halfway through scrubbing around the front sprocket. Lot of work with the toothbrush and diesel.


Once I had thoroughly gone over the whole engine with the toothbrush and solvent, it looked pretty good.


Oil pan is squeaky clean and always the most satisfying to get clean.


Left side vanity shot:


And a right side vanity shot.


Here is where the trouble begins. I had already intended on splitting the cases to replace all the bearings as the engine has just over 50,000 miles and I wanted it to be ready for the new owner while still retaining the original engine as here in California the engine serial number is tied to the title.
One the front sprocket was off and everything clean, there was very apparent damage to the output shaft. Note the extreme wear on the drive side of the splines as well as the splines at the outside end where the retaining plate resides.

Sorry it's a little out of focus. The wear on the main splines is easy to see. The wear for the part which keeps the retaining plate and the sprocket it is bolted to from sliding off is a bit harder to see, especially if you are not particularly familiar with how it should look. Basically, the inside edge right next to the groove in the output shaft should be 90 degrees square, like how it looks on the sprocket side of that groove. If you look closely, you'll see the retaining plate side has been worn to about a 45 degree angle, eating up more than half the meat there. I have never seen this happen on this particular engine. I do know what caused it. When my friend who owned it before replaced the chain around 45,000 miles or so, he set the tension far too tight (it was rock solid rigid with no weight on the bike). Over the course of close to a year, I kept bugging him about it every time I saw him. After a while, he finally gave it some slack, though it wasn't until I acquired it when I realized that the damage had already been done.

Clearly, the transmission needed to be replaced, so that was one more thing to add to the fairly long list of parts needed for this engine rebuild.

Up next: The engine rebuild process.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #33 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 2:32 PM Thread Starter
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I didn't get any shots of the teardown process on the engine as I was movin' and groovin' getting things done. Hands also get quite oily when doing engine work and I didn't feel like going inside to clean my hands every 5 minutes just to use my phone.

The teardown went fairly quick as I've done it plenty of times before. However, once apart, I needed to asses what non-standard consumables (things other than bearings, seals and piston rings) needed replacing. I already knew the transmission needed to be replaced, and I discovered a bad groove in the bearing race surface on the balance shaft, so that was added to the list. Aside from that, the rest of the bottom end was in decent shape. Crankshaft was good, so were the connecting rods as well as all the other smaller moving parts in the bottom end.
Top end needed a bit more. The intake camshaft had some pitting on one of the lobes and the associated rocker arm had similar damaged. Another rocker arm was beginning to flake as well, so I replaced that before it took out the camshaft. Two addition tappet screws had some funky pitting on the bottom, though the tops of the valve stems they contacted were fine. One of the piston wrist pins had some moderate grooving, so that was replaced. The bore for the wrist pin in the associated connecting rod wasn't perfect, but I couldn't find another rod in my collection which looked any better (or worse for that matter) or that had the same weight stamp, so I cleaned it up and called it good.

Here's a shot of the cases split not long before reassembly. All brand new bearings had been fitted for the crankshaft, balance shaft and connecting rods. Not cheap.

Note, if you will being replacing those same bearings, there is a procedure to reading the markings on the case, crank, rods and balance shaft to determine what size bearing is needed. Buy the factory (not Clymer, Haynes or whatever) manual for the EN400/EN450, which this motor is mechanically identical to (with a handful of exceptions) and read through the section on that.

Everything is in place and ready to go.

I've already loaded up all the bearing surfaces with liberal amounts of engine oil so it doesn't start dry. The other method is to buy engine assembly lube, which is either a paste or very thick oil.

One has to get a little creative when putting the cases back together to get it to sit flat. Yes, the empty can of refried beans is actually doing something important.

There are 4 main bolts inside the case and 8 outside making for a total of 12 bolts which need to be torqued down once the cases are back together. All 12 of these bolts are for holding torque on the crankshaft and balance shaft. Each bolt is numbered on the case, that's the tightening sequence, follow it up from 1 to 12. After that, the remaining m6 bolts can be tightened down. Don't forget about the ones on what it normally the top side of the case which won't be accessible until the oil pan is on and the engine can be flipped.
Another important note here is to make sure the transmission is in neutral, which is where it should have been before the engine was even removed from the bike in the first place, and keep an eye on the 3 shift forks to make sure they all line up. The cases won't sit flush if they don't, to say nothing of being unable to start the engine or shift the trans.
When you lay down the RTV on the mating surfaces of the cases, make it as thin as possible and follow the direction in the manual on where to and where not to put it.

Oh, and don't be like me and drop your 14mm socket down into the case and have to quickly pull the case halves apart to get it and put it back together before the RTV cures.

Once the case halves were back together and torqued down, it was time to reinstall the various tidbids on the bottom, such as the oil pickup, a couple of oil tubes and a few o-rings.


Look at that pristine oil pan.

Note, before reinstalling the oil pan, make sure the two o-rings between the pan and the engine are accounted for. In the previous photo,one is located above the oil pickup and the other is a bit lower than the first and to the right. The cross section the the o-rings is actually a "D" shape, with the flat side against the block the the round side towards the pan. Make sure they are in their appropriate seats in the engine case, they are easy to forget.

Up next: On to the top end.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #34 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 2:48 PM
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Excellent! It's good to see the continuation of this project. Love the paint, old school alkyd enamel, cheap and more than good enough. I spray painted a CJ-2a I once owned with fire hydrant paint that somebody gave my Dad. It's the same stuff. As you said, it took a long time to dry but it's very glossy and tough. I've still got a carpenter's box I use every day, that I painted thirty years ago with that stuff and the paint's still intact.

The new owner of that bike is going to be very lucky.
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post #35 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 3:13 PM Thread Starter
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Once the oil pan was on, I was finally able to flip the engine over.


First thing first though, the remaining half dozen or so case bolts needed to be reinstalled and torqued down. Make sure to leave the starter out until you are finished with the head. The main oil feed line for the cylinder head comes up out of the block directly underneath where the starter mounts and that line still needs to be installed. Also, keep something tied around the timing chain, it sucks when that vanishes into the engine case.

I hadn't done any work to the cylinder head at this point as I had run out of workbench space. With the bottom end together, I had the space back on the bench I needed to overhaul the head. Here is as it looked before any work was done.

It was all quite normal looking, nothing to be concerned about. Just needed a good cleaning.

Here you can see the entire valve train off, springs an all. The lapping plate is visible off to the immediate right of the head.

Note, I always like to keep the valves and rockers in an order which allows me to reinstall them in the same spot they came out of. It's not necessary, but a good habit as old parts tend to wear into eachother.

The cylinder head after lapping. You'll note there's still a trace of the paint from the old headgasket on there. While the ideal would be to lapp it until that's gone, getting it to this point is fine. Scuffing from the lapping plate could be seen on all surfaces of the head, indicating it is flat enough for a good seal against the headgasket. A straightedge confirmed that.

Note, the valves are installed in that photo, though I had done the whole lapping process with the valves out. That's preferred as the lapping compound can be best cleaned out afterwards. Also, After the head lapping, I lapped the valves, installed new valve stem seals and reinstalled all the valves. This was just the first picture I got after tearing the cylinder head down.

Pistons were in good shape if not covered in a lot of carbon. A before and after photo.


Once the pistons were cleaned, I went about quickly honing the cylinders with an appropriate sized ball hone I had bought years ago for my first EX engine project. I got lucky and there was no pitting in the cylinder walls, which is not uncommon on the higher mileage engines. Now, technically, you're supposed to actually measure the cylinders to know if they are within tolerance. However, I have found that if you drop new, standard sized piston rings (or oversized rings if the last rebuild required boring out) and the ring end gap is within factory tolerance, that's just fine for a street ridden motorcycle. FOG has a while thing about knurling pistons and buying oversized rings and filing down the end gap. That'll be a personal decision you have to make if you decide to go that route.

With the ring end gap checked on all the new rings, they went onto the pistons, pistons went onto the connecting rods and then the dance of dropping the cylinder jugs onto the pistons while making the piston rings compress and play along with only 2 hands commenced. Took about 10 minutes of fiddling but all the rings eventually compressed, allowing the jugs to drop into place.

Note, don't forget to install the cylinder base gasket before dropping the cylinder jugs down. It's not fun when you need to do that twice because the base gasket is still on the work bench. Also, don't forget to put a thin film of oil on the cylinder walls before doing any of this.

Once the jugs are in place, rotate the crank several times to make sure nothing is binding up. There will be some resistance, but not much. If the crank is fighting you, a piston ring may have become damaged. Take it apart and inspect if so.

Then, set the engine to TDC (it's in the manual, which you should have read the engine section a great many times at this point). Setting the cams to the correct timing can be tricky, so expect to pull the cams several times to adjust the timing by a few teeth. It's important to stick your finger in the cam chain tensioner hole to push the slack out of the chain when doing this. If you don't, it could be a tooth off and you might not notice. Once the cams are set, lather all the bearing surfaces and the cam lobes with fresh engine oil to prevent a dry start and reinstall all the cam bearing caps. They're all stamped with a different letter and the manual tells you where they go, then finally reinstall the cam chain tensioner.


Once all that's done, set all the valve clearances. It's always easier on the bench than in the bike.

I don't have any photos of reinstalling the clutch assembly, water pump, or stator side of things. That's fairly boring and straightforward anyways, plus there's a hundred walkthroughs of those procedures floating around on the site.

Here's the engine ready to be reunited with the frame. The valve cover was looking rather sad from surface corrosion, so I used the best looking one out of my stock of spares and dressed it up with Toddlamps PAIR block off kit. If you want one, go to the For Sale section there, he still sells them. It's the best you'll find and I will shamelessly advertise his stuff anytime I get the chance.


Up next, the long awaited reassembly.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #36 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 3:16 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Excellent! It's good to see the continuation of this project. Love the paint, old school alkyd enamel, cheap and more than good enough. I spray painted a CJ-2a I once owned with fire hydrant paint that somebody gave my Dad. It's the same stuff. As you said, it took a long time to dry but it's very glossy and tough. I've still got a carpenter's box I use every day, that I painted thirty years ago with that stuff and the paint's still intact.

The new owner of that bike is going to be very lucky.
It's actually been done for about 3 months now and the new owner has very much been enjoying it. I'll get into that later once I finish going through the build process. It belongs to a friend, so I keep close tabs on it so the story isn't over.

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1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #37 of 56 (permalink) Old 11-30-2019, 9:43 PM
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Rest assured that Kawi never lavished anything near that level of attention on the bike! Good 'till 100K now?

I finally figured out why I like Ducatis: With their exhaust note and dry clutch, they sound almost like a Guzzi!
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post #38 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-1-2019, 5:08 PM Thread Starter
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Rest assured that Kawi never lavished anything near that level of attention on the bike! Good 'till 100K now?
That's the plan. Should only need routine maintenance for a good long time now.

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1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #39 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-1-2019, 5:41 PM Thread Starter
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With the engine rebuild complete, it was time to start reassembly.

Here is shown my favorite way for mating the engine and frame. Rather than assembling the bike and rolling the engine in underneath with a floor jack and raising it up, I start from the engine and work my way out. I put the engine on a dirt bike stand and drop the bare frame right down on top of it. Incredibly easy this way.


The next things which need to get done are installing the front and rear suspension as well as the center and side stands. With this particular project, I was cleaning things as I got to them, rather than cleaning everything at once and then installing them. The rear suspension always gets the dirtiest due to the chain lube flinging off over time and sticking to everything.
Here is a before and after photo in one shot. It's the rear sprocket hub, the outside has been fully scrubbed while the inside is still soaking in diesel.


This was the aftermath from cleaning the rear suspension components:


Here is the rear suspension, side and center stands, upper and lower triples plus a few other odds and ends around the frame all installed.


I then tackled the front forks. One was in good shape, the other had busted tabs for the front wheel fairing, so I had to dig around in my stock to find a fork lower in good shape for that side, which I did have. The forks on these bikes are wicked easy to rebuild, so I think I had both done in an hour. I was excited to get the bike off the stand and on its own wheels finally and be able to send a progress photo to the future owner. I still had yet to install the drive chain or brake systems, but I could at least toss the wheels on and roll it around. This is the photo I sent:

Note, Yes, I know the front tire was technically installed backwards, whatever. Also, bonus points to whoever correctly guesses the name of the specific shade of green I went with.

A side by side comparison with my daily rider.


The new owner decided to pay a bit extra out of pocket to go with brand new exhaust. After much discussion, the 18" Delkevic ovals were decided upon. The showed up quickly in the main and they look to be very well made. When I finally got around to mounting them, they went on with little fuss.


I spent he next several days installing lots of little bits, most of it quite boring, so I didn't bother taking photos of much of that process, just a couple things here and there. One was this shot of the old thermostat housing assembly next to the new one. Yes, I could have cleaned up the old one and reused it, but it was all together easier to grab a good looking one out of stock to save time on cleaning.

Note, yes the filler neck wasn't installed yet, that went on later.

Last bit for this post. I was still in need of a seat and hadn't got around to buying one yet. Right at that same time, the tow company, which is owner by the same folks who own the shop I work at and share the same property, was clearing out all the old motorcycles in their impound yard. They had probably 30 back there, all having been there more than a year. They were rolling them out to put them on the flatbed to be hauled off for scrap. I had been eyeing a gen2 EX500 back there for the last year, so when I saw them rolling the bikes out, I took a look and sure enough, the 500 was in line to be tossed. I asked the lady who runs the yard and she said I could have it for free long as I got it out of their sight that day. Luckily, I had brought the pickup to work so it was not problem to bring it home. Mostly, it had the seat I needed.

It had been in a nasty front end wreck just like the bike in this restoration thread. But, it had around 10,000 miles on it, making many of the parts quite useful. Engine turns over, exhaust is usable, wiring harness was amazingly not butchered, radiator got used in this project as did the rear stainless steel braided brake line, one of the rearsets was robbed for this project too, plus a handful of other odds and ends.

Up next, more of the same, so stay tuned.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #40 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-1-2019, 5:42 PM
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Interesting. The remnants of the old head gasket in the center section of the mating surface indicate that the head was humped up in the middle. Definitely not a waste of time to do a good lap on this one. Nice work and great pics.

As far as dropping a socket down in the case goes, at least you noticed and retrieved it. You're doing way better than a lot of doctors with their surgical instruments.
post #41 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-1-2019, 6:04 PM Thread Starter
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Here are some shots of the odds and ends work I did for a while. As you can see, at this point in the project I've got stuff like the upper fairing stay on, center and rear mud guards, seat latch assembly, etc. Not thrilling stuff, trust me. Don't mind the poor lighting, it was late and the sun had gone down.


From the rear:


And up bright and early the next morning. FYI, date stamp on this photo puts it in the middle of July. So yeah, I waited a while to update this.


It was getting to the point where I was running out of mechanical things to do, so I had to suck it up and start on the body work, which is not my favorite thing to do. The obvious starting point there was the fuel tank. I swapped out the original tank for a 49 state tank of my stock supply. The big reason was because the tank I choose had already been stripped of paint years ago by the guy who gave it to me. Also, 49 state tanks are nice as they don't have the extra tubes for the California evaporative emissions junk which I was already removing off this project.
The downside to this tank was when the guy had stripped the paint, he did so with a flapper disk on an angle grinder. Makes for quick work of paint, but it left small gouges everywhere. I had to skim coat the whole tank. I grabbed a container of putty from work and went about it. I've watched the guys at work do their thing with bondo many times, but actually doing it yourself for the first time is a whole new experience. I learned a lot on just this small fuel tank. There's lots of things I would do differently, but at least I know now for future projects.
Here is a shot of the tank with a far too thick coat.


It took forever to sand it down, but I eventually got the extra off. I had to do a second coat, which went much faster and smoother and used way less putty. There were two dents in the tank, one came out perfect, the other I called it a day after the third coat on it and it still wasn't perfect but close enough. A few of the areas where the putty is wound up being high spots I just didn't sand down, but the new owner doesn't notice and doesn't care.


Here is the tank with a few coats of primer.

Note, the dark spots are dirt in the lens of the camera on my phone, not issues with the paint.

With the tank off to the side to cure for a few days before final paint, I got back to work on the mechanicals. Stripped and painted the header pipes, rebuilt the carbs, cleaned the disgusting airbox and FOG modded it, got more brackets on for things like the IC Igniter, rear turn signals, etc.
Here's a shot with the seat on so I could sit on it for the first time since taking the bike apart. It felt so good to finally see the project really looking like a bike again.


And a last shot in the setting sun. The wheels really do pop out in the sun.

Speaking of wheels, yes, that Saab in the background has real 2 piece gold BBS wheels with all the original center caps and were optioned off the dealer floor when new in 1988.

Up next, more of the same (again) and bodywork.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #42 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-1-2019, 6:11 PM Thread Starter
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Interesting. The remnants of the old head gasket in the center section of the mating surface indicate that the head was humped up in the middle. Definitely not a waste of time to do a good lap on this one. Nice work and great pics.
They all do that. They warp just a little once the stress is relieved from the head bolts holding everything in place. It's why it's so important to lapp the head and jugs every time the head is removed.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #43 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-1-2019, 8:25 PM
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Thank you for posting about this project. I have been reading with interest.

I love the idea of using tractor paint. I was actually thinking about doing my bike Ford blue or John Deere Green. That reminds me: what color green did you do the wheels?

Would tractor paint work for the fairings? Or is it something you would only use on frame/metal parts?
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post #44 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-1-2019, 9:04 PM
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I do enjoy this type of article keep it up. having done a few rebuilds in my time it is always interesting to see how different people approach the same job. and which part they seem more concentrated on doing in finer detail. the last one I did for example it got everything except the engine rebuild. compression was good it had no wear on either cams or cylinders so just got a valve grind lapped heads and jugs and rebuilt although I did replace the water pump seals.
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post #45 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-1-2019, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for posting about this project. I have been reading with interest.

I love the idea of using tractor paint. I was actually thinking about doing my bike Ford blue or John Deere Green. That reminds me: what color green did you do the wheels?
You've already answered your own question without realizing it

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Would tractor paint work for the fairings? Or is it something you would only use on frame/metal parts?
Tractor paint could certainly work on fairings, I didn't use it on the fairings as it would have taken forever to paint and dry. The general purpose satin white I picked up from Ace Hardware, on the other hand, laid down quick, easy and dried within minutes.

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I do enjoy this type of article keep it up. having done a few rebuilds in my time it is always interesting to see how different people approach the same job. and which part they seem more concentrated on doing in finer detail. the last one I did for example it got everything except the engine rebuild. compression was good it had no wear on either cams or cylinders so just got a valve grind lapped heads and jugs and rebuilt although I did replace the water pump seals.
I keep my eye out on craigslist for beat up old EX500's as it'd be cool to do another restoration like this again. There's a number of things I would do differently, but most of that is in regards to body work and paint.
I'm probably going to do another thread like this soon but specifically about the engine rebuild process. I've got a dozen or so EX engines underneath my work bench and all need a rebuild. I've got an early gen1 motor I want to prep for my daily rider for a few years down the road when I'll invariable need to pull the current engine out for an overhaul, so I'll do a series on that probably in the summer.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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post #46 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-2-2019, 6:04 AM
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Nice job

2006 Ninja500R Purchased new July 2006; 0 miles. Miles as of January 2019; 102,137. It's a GO bike, not a SHOW bike.
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post #47 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-2-2019, 10:18 AM
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That John deere green looks even better than I imagined it would!
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post #48 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-2-2019, 6:43 PM
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Setting the bike onto the engine is what Guzzi riders do. Especially the "spine frame" models which have a removable tail section and front sub-frame at the front of the motor, with the engine as stressed member. No way an average guy is gonna lift one of those lumps into place.

I finally figured out why I like Ducatis: With their exhaust note and dry clutch, they sound almost like a Guzzi!
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post #49 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-2-2019, 9:14 PM
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That is looking really good! I'm interested to see how the paint colors will look on the finished product.
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post #50 of 56 (permalink) Old 12-3-2019, 1:42 AM Thread Starter
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At this point in the build, I was a few days away from the first start of the engine since the rebuild, so it was time to paint the fuel tank. I went with a rattle can satin white. Now, for those of you who are not familiar with painting, black is the hardest color to lay down as the tiniest imperfections are glaringly obvious, while white is the complete opposite. Flat colors are obviously easier to do than gloss, but I didn't want the paint to look totally half-assed as most rattle can paint jobs do, so I went with a medium gloss satin.
The lighting isn't great, but you can see that after several coats of paint and a round with rubbing compound and a buffer, a rattle can paint job can look quite spiffy.


The new levers then showed up in the main. I was contemplating going with green levers to match the wheels, but the new owner and I decided against it as we weren't going for super flashy, so I just got plain black for the aftermarket levers. I found the levers to be far too short and stubby, but the new owner is quite short, so they were perfect for her.


The only new thing going on in this photo is the repaired wiring harness draped over the seat, ready to be installed.


Once the harness was in, I moved onto the more of the wiring system; the handle bar controls, ignition switch and regulator/rectifier (R/R for short). There was nothing wrong with the ignition switch, so that got a quick bit of lubricant and went on. The controls worked as well, but had seen better days and there was some minor damage on one housing and the switches were gummed up. After rooting through my stock of switches, I waved my magic wand and took the best parts and had quality, functional controls.


For the R/R, I had purchased one of Ducatiman's Mosfet kits with the now standard option of an extra long loom for a tail mount (prototype for the tail mount was first tried in my daily rider). This I did a bit differently than in my daily rider though. In my EX, I drilled a hole through the frame and rear mudguard, ground off the strap tab for the strap that holds the tool kit and ran one bolt through the new R/R. Wanting to find a way which didn't involve any modification to the frame, I tried out mounting it through one of the mounting holes for the rear mud guard. It almost fit, the last cooling fin was barely hitting the mounting boss for the rear grab handle. I know these things run quite cool, so I figured lopping off one cooling fin wouln't adversely affect it. That got the clearance I needed and no modification to the frame, the only other thing I needed was a longer bolt. The irony here is that I had already chopped off the strap tab on the frame.


Continuing on the electrical train, I got to work on the cluster. This bike had suffered from an occasional lazy tachometer and sometimes non-functional temp gauge. I had actually pulled both from a low mileage cluster a couple years before and set them aside for the then-owner of the bike, but never got around to installing them. I had wisely wrapped them both in shop towels, so they were still dust free. Now, I'm not positive the issue was actually in the cluster and not elsewhere in the electrical system, but it certainly didn't hurt to swap them out and cost me nothing. I wanted to lube the moving part in the speedo anyways and clean the dirt oily film off the inside of the lenses, so apart it came. Yes, I could have swapped in a whole good, low mileage cluster, but I wanted to keep the mileage accurate to the chassis. I also swapped the cluster base plate as it had a broken mounting tab from the accident.
Here is a progress photo:


Wasn't long before I had the full cockpit assembled and ready for the initial run-in of the engine. The upper triple and risers were matched to the frame, just like the early US model silver frames (European GPZ's had silver frames for the full gen1 run). Oh yeah, somewhere along the way I got the front and rear brake systems mounted, plumbed and bled, plus the speedo cable. Drive chain also got installed at the same time when the wheel was off to get the brake rotor installed.

Note the solid brass bar end weights. Those were used and off a 250 and I found them on ebay for about 4 bucks, dirt cheap for solid pucks of brass, let alone quality machined chunks of brass.

Up next, actually body work this time.

1990 EX500 - 145,000 miles as of November 25th, 2019
1993 Ducati 900SS - The real canyon carver
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