Kawasaki Z550F part 5: Back-end blues!
Classic Motorcycle Mechanics|November 2020
During lock down, our John had to tackle a few back-end issues with his on-the-cheap Z550F restoration…
JOHN VASSALLO


You may remember my last part ended in successfully fitting the carbs and its original air-box: some achievement for me, I’m telling you!

I was now hoping to be telling you about balancing them, but thanks to lockdown (you’re probably on catch-up with my articles) I couldn’t. This would have meant helper Dave coming over, which, of course, was not permitted back then.

This meant only doing jobs I could tackle alone. Firstly, prior to balancing the carbs, the engine oil and filter needed changing. Using my Lidl socket set I removed the sump plug (17mm), catching the oil in a plastic bowl I bought from Tesco – told you I’m a cheapskate! The oil was very black, but what else can you expect from a bike last used in 2003? The new stuff I’m using is Halfords 10w/40 motorcycle oil. I’m told car oil isn’t suitable and makes the clutch slip. To complement the fresh oil was a new filter from Z-Power (thanks Phil!).

Also from Z-Power came a replacement cover for that torn seat. I’ve never re-covered a seat before and really could have done with an extra pair of hands for this. Being in lockdown at the time, it was either do it alone or not just yet! Not wanting to wait, I went for it.

Carefully pulling out the old staples from the plastic base, the torn cover came off. The foam looked good enough to re-use. I then offered up the new cover, seeing how much extra material there was once centralised.

1/ Cheap brush cost a fiver at a bike show and has worked wonders!

Happy with the positioning, I stapled the front end to the base, nice and low so the fastenings were hidden by the fuel tank. Next were the sides. Correct tension on the seat cover here was essential. Not too tight, as I thought the weight of the rider might stretch it, making it look naff. This left the rear of the seat to sort… With only an inch or so of overlap, there wasn’t enough to reach the underside of the seat base, ruling out the staple gun here. So, it was glue time…

2/ And this is what they had to try and clean... along with some old two-stroke pre-mix. We'd go for new chain and sprockets instead, John!

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