Monday, June 7, 2010

A Starter Bike For A New Rider.

Being a good friend to those who take the time to get to know him, Jimmy Jam will go the extra mile to help out a person he likes. And J.J. isn’t the easiest guy in the world to get to know. When we first met, I thought he was one of the biggest Jack Asses I had ever laid eyes on. Good thing that didn’t stop the relationship though, because he has turned into one of the best people I have had the pleasure of knowing. Under that hard as nails exterior and somewhat dickish personality, beats the heart of a pure humanitarian. I mean dickish when you first come in contact with him, he warms up after getting to know him for a while. He is always the first to help someone out or first in line for any charity or benefit that comes along.

He was in full swing again this weekend when a friend at the gym wanted to locate a starter bike and learn to ride. She didn’t want to spend too much on a bike and J.J. almost immediately came across a Kawasaki LTD440 that fit the cheap part of the criteria. He checked out the bike, it has a couple of issues, but it is serviceable. He made a deal and we brought it home yesterday. The guy he bought it from stated he was not a bike guy and it showed when we started to put the 440 under the harsh white light.
J.J. said the bikes electrical seemed a bit weak and may have a charging problem. So this is something we knew going in. It was going to need a new battery or a good charging at the least and maybe a stator at the most. He said the bike seemed low on power when he test rode it and the lights and signals where not working or were very weak. Well we found out what was robbing the engine of power shortly after getting the bike home. The little fella had a nice little layer of oil all over the engine. The previous owner attributed that to taking the oil filler cap off while the engine was running and oil sprayed all over everything. It was like he took a weed sprayer and filled it with 10w30 and misted the plant with it. This seemed a bit odd to me, I have had all sorts of covers and parts off various engines while they were running and have yet to coat engine like this one was.

The seller said repeatedly he was not a motorcycle guy and came to own this particular steed because a co worker owed him money and paid him in Kawasaki. He took it upon himself to pull a little maintenance and so he changed the oil and filter. He neglected to consult the sticker under the seat that spells out the fluid levels on this model. The oil sight window looked like the engine may have a little bit too much oil in it. After draining a quart out, the window had no visible indication that any thing had changed. We began thinking that maybe the window was cloudy and would not give a good look at the oil level. We then decided to drain the bike and refill it using the three quarts Kawasaki called for. After draining four quarts, we could see the oil level in the sight window indicated the bike was now at it proper level. That would explain the sluggish engine performance.
I have seen an engine now and then, filled with a half a quart too much, and one or two with maybe a quart too much oil. Four quarts is a quantum leap, perhaps he thought this bike had a 440 out of a ‘69 Super Bee. But that wouldn’t make sense either, because a Dodge 440 takes six quarts of oil and this bike had SEVEN. When you buy a old bike a lot of times you are taking a shot in the dark. Well at least everything is well lubricated now. Jimmy is sorting out the electrical system as I write this post, and I will giving the carbs a good going over later this week. All in all, this should turn out to be a nice little starter bike for someone who would like to join us all in the riding community. Jimmy is doing all this labor out of the goodness of his heart and the chance another will be bitten by the biking bug. Besides the riding itself, motorcyclist as a group are breed that are given to helping one another out. Whether someone is stranded on the side of the road, needs help with a repair or modification or as in this case wants to join the fray. It is this mentality that makes me proud to part of the motorcycling community.

Till Next Time..................


Grumpyunk said...

Seven quarts. Wow.
I've overfilled a little bit while out on a trip & Kawasaki site windows are just a sucky idea to begin with. Never understood why they couldn't put a dipstick on them.

Will be a nice little bike when you guys are done with it.

Gymi said...

Had the sight window on the ZRX and now with the FJ. I wish they would use dipsticks too. With the FJ, you almost have to get on your hands and knees to see it.

The little bike is really not too bad. Got the carbs apart and the slide boots are shot, but everything else looks good. Should be running like new soon.

Robert Wilson said... ever get it running and is she part of the brotherhood of two wheels now?

Gymi Kroeter said...

Yes she is Robert, and the person she was resurrected for is still enjoying her company.

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