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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:07 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:26 am
Posts: 12
Location: Franklin, NC
Hey all, figured I'd hop into this forum and start a project thread to keep up with my progress on my bike and solicit advice and information.

I'm new to the board, new to Triples, new to 2-strokes, and relatively new to motorcycles in general. I've rebuilt a couple bikes so far (1978 GL1000 and a 1985 K100RS), and now this H2 has made it's way into my shop.

I finished up my K100 project a couple weeks ago...Dad and I took that and my GL out for a chilly Christmas ride up here in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina.

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And I got the H2 on the lift and started tearing into it.

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Before I pulled the motor, I had tried kicking the motor over. I could feel resistance in the kickstart, but it wasn't actually turning the motor. I pulled the clutch cover off to find that when I was kicking, the clutch was just spinning and dragging a little. Come to find out, the clutch had been assembled with only 5 steels and 6 frictions. That explains that.

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Pulled the motor and opened up the top end to find brand new 71.5mm Wiseco pistons and freshly bored cylinders. This motor has not been run since whoever did the work putting these pistons in.

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With some help from a triplestuff video, I disassembled the motor and split the cases.

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Luckily, everything inside looks pretty good. The dogs are in good condition, and I don't see any excessive wear on any of the gears. The odometer only shows 6500 miles, but this also isn't the original engine. The frame number is a late production '72, and the serial number on the top case is a mid-year '73. I have no idea if the transmission guts are original or not, but they're in pretty good condition (at least visually) so I'm not that worried.

I sent my cases, cylinders, heads, and covers out for vapor blasting and picked them up yesterday. The results are nothing short of amazing.

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My only real concern motor-wise so far is this corrosion on the center head. I am lucky to have found a friend in Ed Johnson of JVE, LTD in Greenville, and he recommended that I get the sealing surface back to flat and just smooth out the pockmarks in the combustion chamber to combat hot spots and detonation.

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The right cylinder also has a couple broken fins, so I'll probably keep an eye out for a replacement, but this one should work okay for the time being.

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And now we're down to the frame.

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Next up is a crank rebuild. That, I'll be sending out to Charlie Smith in Maryland. His pricing isn't too bad, and turnaround times are fairly quick. Just need to fill the piggybank a bit before dropping that in the mail.

Honestly, to my untrained eye, the crank looks okay in it's current condition and the bearings seem smooth, but it has been run, and I figure I might as well spend a few bucks to do it right while everything is apart rather than have to pull the motor right back out.

I'd also like to do some port work on this motor, but the only porting I've done before has been on Volvo stuff, and while I got decent results, that's a whole different animal than 2 strokes. I'll be spending a bit of time learning about what I need to do before I start cutting. I've found a few resources, but if anyone has advice to offer, I'm all ears. I've also run across rumblings of lifting the cylinders in conjunction with porting and larger carbs...I have a LOT of learning to do.

Here soon, I'll be turning my attention to the suspension. Since this isn't a numbers matching bike, I don't feel bad about doing something besides a concours restoration, however, I don't really want to cut anything off of the frame or hack it up, since someday down the road, someone might want to restore it, and they're not exactly making any more of these.

I'd like to swap the front end with something more modern. Unsure what yet, but the biggest goal is to get modern (or even semi-modern) brakes with a laced wheel. I looked at the parts needed to add a second caliper and rotor to the stock forks, and for that price, I might as well swap front ends.

Out back, I haven't decided whether to retain the stock wheel and drum brake or not. I'd love to make enough power with this bike to need a larger tire, but I also realize I shouldn't go throwing a wider rim and tire on for no reason or without planning.

Anyhow, sorry for the wall of text. Hope you enjoy following along!


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:57 am 
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Joined: Wed Jun 08, 2011 11:34 pm
Posts: 8147
Location: North Central NC
Those fins can be repaired by someone who's good with TIG and filler rod. Then you can grind them smooth and they're hardly noticeable.

If the crank has original seals, you're not wasting your money on Charlie.

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If it surges, that's normal, upshift.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 07, 2011 6:36 am
Posts: 2370
Location: Dandridge, TN, USA
There is info on more modern brake fix that is in expensive, performance enhancements (including porting, bigger carbs, lift) at http://kawatriple.com/index.html

Don't be too quick to change tire size. An 18" front would be a plus.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 12:21 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:26 am
Posts: 12
Location: Franklin, NC
Jim wrote:
Those fins can be repaired by someone who's good with TIG and filler rod. Then you can grind them smooth and they're hardly noticeable.

If the crank has original seals, you're not wasting your money on Charlie.


Indeeed it does. Given that I have zero history on this bike, I'm approaching the motor with an abundance of caution...if I can do it right the first time around, there's no sense in having to do it twice.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:45 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 05, 2017 5:26 am
Posts: 12
Location: Franklin, NC
Not much to offer in the way of updates.

I did source a GSX-R 600 front end to swap on. Since this will go on without altering the frame I'll give it a shot and see how I like it.

I went back and forth a bit on bracing the frame, and then John Aylor chimed in on a BookFace discussion to offer his opinion. Given that cutting on the frame would wreck any collector value down the road, John believes that many of the complaints about H2 handling can be addressed with a few simple improvements, notably tapered steering bearings, bronze bushings in the swingarm, custom or tunable front suspension, and better rear shocks, all while being careful to keep rake and trail in check.

So that's what I'll do. I'll put this back together with upgraded parts, but avoid adding bracing to the frame.

Who knows...just because this isn't a numbers matching bike doesn't mean someone won't want to restore it down the road.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 9:58 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 29, 2016 4:32 am
Posts: 323
Location: Indianapolis, IN
Get the rake to 25 degrees and the trail to about 100mm and you will like it. Either lower the front or raise the rear or a bit of both will do that. Little longer wheelbase on the H2/A models wouldn't hurt either.

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1974 Kawasaki H2B 750, 1981 Yamaha XV750 Cafe, 1983 Kawasaki KZ1100 Spectre, 1986 Kawasaki KDX200, 2003 Honda XR100, 2004 SDG140.


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