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87 ex500
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
to start with, ive got an 87 ex500, with 27k miles on the clock, with nothing done except a gen2 CCT. it runs really well, but has what seems like the "typical" knock like sound at idle. My urge to 'tinker' is acting up, and from reading various posts on the forum, i understand that there are no real performance mods to be done (except the FOG airbox mod), but my question is this: I'm thinking of either acquiring a second engine/trans or just using my current motor, and cracking it open on the bench over the winter for a full rebuild- new bearings, piston rings, etc.... just replacing anything that looks worn type project; to bring the motor/performance back up to 'like new condition'.

I'm a mechanic of 26 years, and really want to rebuild a motor, but haven't found "the right one" (so i dont end up with and engine with no project to put it in). Ive googled around a little bit, but i havent really seen any 'rebuild kits' for our motors. I love the 500, and i plan on owning it for at least the next 3-5 years.

is this a reasonable expectation/plan in regards to parts availability? or are we past the point when "NOS" parts are readily available?

or should i just ride it til it dies and find a different bike to tinker on?

dont have a good day, have a great day!
 

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Moderating: Fair & Just
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7,609 Posts
I still think it's worth it in this day and age. I'm not really sure the one you have is in need of a rebuild. As far as I know all engine parts are available. You will want a Kawasaki Factory Service Manual (no substitutions) before doing this.
I say go for it! Even if you acquire a different used engine to rebuild.
 

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Fast Old Guy
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20,072 Posts
No “kits” are needed. You will need
1/2 mm os rings
bearings for rods and mains to suit the marking codes( this is why you need the factory manual)
a hone capable of rounding the bores, not just scratching them clean
a way to knurl your piston skirts.
ability to degree your cams.
new intake valves
valve seating gear.


ping me if you want details.
Fog

Fog
 

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2,597 Posts
hi, yes all engine parts are still available (gen 2) in some cases. the big question is does it need it. mine had 53k on it when I got it, I did some preliminary part strip inspection of the motor and found very little wrong with it. nothing worn out for sure, yes some bits were not as new but still well usable like the primary/cam chains.
other bits were changed as a matter of course like valve seals oil seals and "O" rings but nothing major. now 7years later it's still going strong with 89k on it.
rattle at tick over noisy when cold yeah sure, but still starts first time every time and is (touch wood) reliable, do I get the full HP out of it probably not do I still get the economy it had new I doubt it and do I have to nurse it and not thrash it absolutely but it an old bike after all.
my tutor (60 years ago) often said "if it ain't broke don't fix it" very true on the old EX it would be wise to update it though with a gen 2 flywheel and all the other stuff that fails on the gen 1.
just my opinion of course it's your bike and winters coming doing the engine is just more work if it isn't needed only by looking would you find out there is plenty of other work you will need to do to it.
 

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2009 Ninja EX500r
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277 Posts
to start with, ive got an 87 ex500, with 27k miles on the clock, with nothing done except a gen2 CCT. it runs really well, but has what seems like the "typical" knock like sound at idle. ......
That knock sound could be carbs out of sync. You say only thing done is the CCT make sure you have a gen 2 flywheel.

It would never hurt to have an extra engine as we go closer to the battery mandate and learn all the ins and outs of rebuilding these to keep them on the road if you love these bikes.
 

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87 ex500
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7 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
FlipFlop; not that I had any reason to doubt you, but I do believe the the sync was the knock issue... I synced them up, and almost immediately it started running better. Still have to ride it to confirm, tho.

Thanks all for the advice; looks like I'll keep my eye out for another motor/parts bike... I know the wiring is different between gen1 and 2- would it be better to look for a gen 1 motor and upgrade to the gen 2 cct and flywheel, or get a gen 2 motor and mess with all the wiring?
 

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I know the wiring is different between gen1 and 2- would it be better to look for a gen 1 motor and upgrade to the gen 2 cct and flywheel, or get a gen 2 motor and mess with all the wiring?
your under a misconception I think the gen1 and gen2 are the same so the gen 2 would be better the only extra job needed to fit the gen 2 motor is you have to use the gen 1 flywheel outer case. as it has two triggers fitted (the gen 2 has only one) so modify the flywheel and use the gen 1 case with wiring. that's it.

note, when modifying a gen2 flywheel to fit the gen 1 you only need to cut down the long trigger strip (same as gen1) because the gen1 motor has a two trigger case you just reuse it but of course using a gen 2 motor you don't have one so just swap it off the old motor.
 

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"I" would check the flywheel first and upgrade as needed. Then I would check compression. These are water cooled bikes and cylinder temps are more closely controlled. Thus, unless they have been raced or thrashed, the cylinders might be fine.
 

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87 ex500
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
your under a misconception I think the gen1 and gen2 are the same so the gen 2 would be better the only extra job needed to fit the gen 2 motor is you have to use the gen 1 flywheel outer case. as it has two triggers fitted (the gen 2 has only one) so modify the flywheel and use the gen 1 case with wiring. that's it.

note, when modifying a gen2 flywheel to fit the gen 1 you only need to cut down the long trigger strip (same as gen1) because the gen1 motor has a two trigger case you just reuse it but of course using a gen 2 motor you don't have one so just swap it off the old motor.
Awesomeness! Thanks for that info! I'll have to keep my eye out for a gen 2 motor.
 

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07 Ducati SS800 '95 Ducati 900SS/SP '19 Honda CBR650R
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is it worth 'refurbishing'/rebuilding the ex500 engine in this day and age? (2022)

Frankly, there is a (sad) alternative seen right here on EX many times before ......park the subject EX outdoors, behind the garage, throw a cover over it and forget its existence..../SARC.

Seriously.....ALWAYS put your best foot forward, make your best effort!
 
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we raced two EX's at Willow Spring for 3 years and my son-in-law won a lot of Mod Prod races on one of them. the only problem we encountered was the ignition box had a transister with long wires that cracked. We fix that challenge by getting a box from a 600 CC ninga.
 
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