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Topics - Laverda Dave

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Other Bikes / Porous wheels
« on: June 11, 2022, 11:22:36 AM »
This is not SOHC related but still has a Honda theme! Actually it’s a request for my 1999 VF800fi so four cams and not one :o

I’ve been having problems with the rear tire losing up to 10psi over 3 or 4 days. I originally put this down to a slow puncture/leaky valve but after changing the tire twice and four new valves later it is still doing it. I have tried everything from using a green anti puncture gloop in the tire to using rim sealer and nothing works. The tire fitter is sure the rim is porous as he has seen this before and especially with Chinese cast bike wheels. I bought the bike with the ‘slow puncture’ four years ago and have lived with it but now it’s become a pia when I use it for trips away.

I have bought a s/h VFR wheel from ebay, it has its original paint and is in excellent condition. The tire fitter has advised I seal the inner rim with anti-porous paint before fitting the tire and new valve just in case this wheel has the same issue.

Can anyone recommend a suitable anti-porous paint, all I can find is garage floor paint and I really don’t need 2.5 litres of the stuff at £50!
I know 1960’s Royal Enfield’s had a problem with porous engine castings and they used to seal the inner halves with a special paint although that was a high temperature paint and I don’t know what that was called either ::)

Any recommendations welcome otherwise I'll have to travel with my air compressor in tow!


Hi All.
I have just arrived home from visiting the Kempton Park bike jumble.
I noticed the stallholder there who I have bought TEC shocks from in the past (he's the southern agent for TEC and Bell). He still has some TEC shocks in stock for the CB400, CB500 and CB750, he has about 6 sets for the CB400 @£60.
His contact details are David Hunt, 01932 786030 (evenings and weekends or leave a message).
I have read a thread on here that TEC shocks for our CB's are out of stock via TEC themselves so here's a possible source.
PS- Do you know they are actually made in Australia, IKON maybe?

Out & About / London Motorcycle Show
« on: February 11, 2022, 07:56:00 AM »
Yes it's Showtime once more. The London Motorcycle Show is on at Excel this weekend beginning today. Lots of overpriced bargains no doubt.
Is anyone thinking of going? I'm going today to stand and gawp at expensive bikes I can't afford :o

Desperately Seeking!! / My next project
« on: February 07, 2022, 04:44:14 PM »
Hi All,
I've been thinking about what to do as a next project once I've finished rebuilding the Triton.
I'd like to do something a bit different to my usual of restoring a bike back to stock condition.
Having thought for a few months I'd like to build something a bit off the wall but not radical. To this end and having restored the CB250RSA previously that I've owned for 20+ years I thought I'd have a go at building a sleeper, in other words a CB500RSA. This uses a FT or XR SOHC engine slotted into a CB250RSA frame. It was a common mod back in the day to do this conversion.
My starting point will be to obtain a decent FT or XR engine and these are really hard to find. CB250RSA rolling chassis are much easier to find crashed, bashed, barn found or hacked about.
I've been looking on eBay for a while but engine wise there's nothing about other than bits such as crankcase halves etc
If anyone has a complete FT or XR500 engine laying around or knows someone who has can you let me know. I don't expect it to be perfect, I'd be stripping it down anyway but as long as the cam and head bearings are ok and no broken fins I'd be happy😁 

Other Bikes / Wankel Engines, a blind alley
« on: December 03, 2021, 11:45:14 AM »
This is a very good watch if you have 10 minutes to spare.

Other Bikes / How many volts are too much
« on: September 21, 2021, 07:40:59 PM »
Not sohc related but it is bike electrical related.
I was out earlier today on the VFR getting a bit of practice in for my IAM Observed Ride tomorrow. After 40 miles I parked up at Great Missenden for a cool down. When I went to restart the bike everything went dim and it refused to start, just the click of the solenoid. After a push it fired back to life as normal. I thought it was a classic case of a bad earth. When I got home I stipped the fairing off and cleaned up all the earth's and the starter motor feed.
The bike fired first time as normal. I then decided to check the voltage going to the battery from the regulator/rectifier. I am getting 18.5 volts something tells me this is way too much? From what I remember it should be between 14/14.5 volts.
Question is, is my rectifier/regulator faulty and would this cause the dead battery indication I had earlier even though the bike ran fine once bump started? It hasn't blown any bulbs either which I thought was an indication of a faulty regulator?
The battery though was warm when I got home but I thought this was hot air being blown over it as the bike was running between 90/100c due to heavy traffic.

Out & About / Kempton Park Autojumble
« on: September 10, 2021, 07:14:17 PM »
Just in case people are not aware but it's the Kempton Park Autojumble tomorrow and it's pay as you go and not a pre-booked ticket event.
I'll be aiming to get there for 9:30-10am if anyone is going. Weather looks good so any excuse for a ride out😊

Other Bikes / Oh dear, why did I do that.....
« on: June 16, 2021, 04:14:23 PM »
I went for a ride out this morning on the VFR before the storms arrive later on. I was supposed to be having an observed IAM ride tomorrow as well so thought I'd get some slow riding practice in, I can ride to a dead stop in traffic using the back brake and hold it but the IAM like to see you do a fiqure of eight from full lock and on a VFR with its weight being high up it does take some practice!

Anyway, after the 90 mile ride the fuel light started to flash so I thought I'd fill up ready for the early start in the morning and that's when the trouble started.........

I pulled into the Shell garage and thought I'd treat the bike to a tank of V-Max to give the injectors a clean. I don't normally use super unleaded so pulled up at the normal unleaded pump. Next to the green unleaded pump nozzle was the v-max nozzle so with my crash helmet still on I filled up having looked at the price of £1.48/litre which is about right for V-max. After filling the tank with 15 litres of fuel I paid and left. The bike died before I even got to the end of the forecourt. After checking the usual things I took my lid off and smelt the fuel in case it was off and this is when I heard a large penny drop...... I had filled up with diesel :(, how could I have been so stupid >:(. If I had taken my lid off I would have smelt the diesel straight away when filling up. I ended up pushing the bike the two miles home complete with jacket, lid and wearing armoured jeans, I was in a walking sauna suit :P

Having never, ever done this before in 40+ years of riding and driving I felt like a complete idiot (amongst other more suitable descriptions!). I am now left with 15 litres of top-rated prime diesel in the fuel tank although my neighbour will have it if I can drain it down.
Question is, if I drain the fuel from the tank will I require a new fuel filter as well and will I have to drain the fuel from the fuel rail/injectors (its fuel injected). Having read the Haynes manual, if I need to work on the fuel rail I will need to remove the complete fuel injector system from the bike and if I disturb the fuel rail I will have to renew all the rubber seals between the rail and the injector bodies, this is starting to get expensive! I hope that by draining the tank, refilling with 5 litres of petrol this will be enough to get the engine started. Maybe I should remove the spark plugs and turn the engine over to purge the diesel from the fuel rail and injectors, its got to be easier than taking them off?

Does anyone have any ideas of the best way forward to help the Ruislip village idiot please!

Other Bikes / Pilot Jets
« on: May 21, 2021, 02:47:58 PM »
Apologies if this has been asked before but I did try a search and found nothing so thought I'd ask the experts for some advice........
So, the Kawasaki Z400J had been sitting unused and full of fuel in the carbs for 39 years. I stripped and cleaned the carbs and bought new Keyster kits although I cleaned and used the old jets in the end. The carbs were cleaned four times in the utrasonic cleaner using ali and zinc cleaning solution.
Back on the rebuilt motor and it refuses to run unless on choke, turn off the choke and it dies. It also hangs on the throttle when revved. This points to a classic pilot circuit blockage or an air leak (or both). I have now replaced the inlet rubbers as they were a bit hard. The new parts are pattern carb to cyl head rubbers and new carb to airbox rubbers so they should be good and have no air leaks but still the problems persist. 
It looks like the carbs will have to come off again for another inspection and clean :(. When i inspected the pilot jets I could not see right through them although the holes on the sides were clear. I passed a carb cleaning wire through the jet but it stops dead halfway up (just beyond the holes in the side of the jet). This applied to all four pilot jets so I thought there is a deliberate factory set restriction at this point? Is my thinking correct or should the drilling in the jet be clear from top to bottom and what I though was a restriction for fuel metering ids actually crusty old petrol deposits that needs clearing out?

Other Bikes / Crankshaft oil seal fitting
« on: April 17, 2021, 11:05:54 AM »
Hi All,

A quick question........................

I ordered a complete seal kit for the Z400J and this included the two crankshaft oil seals.
I fitted the seals and all appeared to be fine, crackshaft turned, the lip was properly in place so I bolted the two crankcase halves together.  Skip forward a couple of hours and the tidy up and I noticed the old crankshaft seals had a ridge around the outside of the seal (as do Honda seals) to fit inside a machined groove in the crankcases. The new seals didn't have the ridge.

Question is do you think the new seals are OK? They are from Wemoto and they are a reputable company. The seals are Japan made. I really dont want to take thje engine apart but then again I dont want the new seals to blow under pressure.

What does the forum think....?

Misc / Open / Lifespan of Hondabond
« on: March 16, 2021, 05:32:28 PM »
Is it just me but why does Hondabond go off so quickly in the tube when only a bit is used and the lid is put back on :(. I've just been to the workshop drawer to get the tube of Hondabond out in preperation for the return of the Z400 engine cases next week and it's gone rock hard! I only opened it three years ago to do the RSA250 cases and hardly any was used. At £18 a tube it's very expensive to use only a thin smear and then find the rest has gone off.
Has anyone got any tips how to prolong the shelf life?

Other Bikes / Piston ring orientation –use again?
« on: March 11, 2021, 10:59:00 AM »
Hi all, I’m looking for a bit of advice regarding the piston ring orientation on the Kawasaki Z400j I am currently restoring for the BIL.

When I removed the barrels during the strip-down I made sure I didn’t disturb the rings or pistons. Once the barrel was off I took notes of where each piston ring gap was in relation to the piston. I was a bit surprised to see nearly all the ring gaps were very close to each other and in one case, the gap for the top and second ring were virtually on top of each other!

The engine has 380 genuine miles from new and has never been apart, I can only assume this is how the piston rings were installed at the factory unless the rings move in service although I’ve never seen this happen before.

So, the question is and bearing in mind there are still feint honing marks on the barrels, can I reuse the original rings and before replacing the barrels re-orientate the ring gaps to what they should be at 120deg intervals (but not directly above the gudgeon pins) and with the gaps of the three piece oil rings spaced at 20mm apart? I really don’t want to fit new rings as that will mean a hone and these rings are impossible to get!

Any advice or thoughts welcome  :)

CB350/400 / Unusual 400/4 for sale
« on: February 25, 2021, 11:38:43 AM »
From this month's Classic Bike. Who made electric superchargers?
I wonder what it sounds like!

Project Board / Source of quality gasket kits
« on: February 16, 2021, 09:23:59 PM »
Can anyone recommend a supplier of a quality engine gasket kit such as Vesrah, MP or Athena? The kit I need is for a Kawasaki Z400J. I have now been scammed twice on flea bay. The first was for a full 'new' Vesrah kit. When it arrived it had clearly been opened and the only gaskets left were the barrel, head and rocker cover. When I contacted the shop they just said 'on the mechanic must have opened it and put it back'. I got my money back. Second incident was a shop selling a MP kit with the tag line 'what you see in the photo is what you get'. What I got was a Chinese made High Level kit. When I contacted them I was told 'We send out what we have in stock. All our kits are OEM and made in the same factory as the originals'. Utter BS >:(. I'm still waiting for my money back and now threatened them with trading standards. Every seller on eBay is doing the same, showing a photo of a MP kit but when you ask if this is what you'll get the answer is always a no!
So, can anyone recommend a seller who sells decent kits?
Wemoto are still waiting for Athena kits they ordered in November, they know where they are but couriers are refusing to ship them from Europe.

Other Bikes / Kawasaki Z400J1 Restoration
« on: January 12, 2021, 12:50:54 PM »
Hi All,

Well, now that I'm locked up again for the foreseeable future and unable to continue with my volunteer tour guide work at the Battle of Britain Bunker and the Bee-keeping is now also in hibernation I needed to look around for something else to do. 

The Triton rebuild I have previously posted about has now come to a complete stop due to being unable to rescue the parts I have in for chrome and zinc plating (it’s been 11 months now), and I need some serious machining work undertaken on the barrel but I am unable to visit the engineer to discuss the work.

My Brother in Law who lives 90 miles away wanted me to finish off getting his inherited 1981 Kawasaki Z400J1 running. As I couldn’t go there he sent the bike up to me via a courier.  I’ve posted previously about this bike and its history via another thread:,21367.0.html

When I put the bike on the bench I could see it was in a bit of a sorry state cosmetically. I thought Honda frame paint was thin but Kawasaki took it to another level, it’s not even tissue thin, it appears to be one very quick pass of a spray gun and that was it. The rust is actually coming up from below the paint and causing the paint to flake off in large patches. The engine paint is also really poor, bubbling and blistering and just falling off when I tried to clean it with soap and water with a soft brush.

What with all the above and rear shocks that were so rusty on the piston rods there was no oil left inside them and the petrol tank having serious rust issues on the seams and the same with the front mudguard it was time to bite the bullet and strip the bike. So the BIL has decided to go-ahead with the restoration in memory of his late father who purchased the bike in Guernsey whilst on a week’s holiday (PX’d a 250 Superdream for it). It’s a great shame the bike has ended up in the condition it’s in considering it only has a genuine 350 miles on it, it was never fully run in!

So, the engine is now partially stripped down as far as the crankcases, this will make it light enough I hope to enable me to lift it out of the frame. I have labelled, bagged, taken photos and made copious notes of everything as I’ve stripped it. I will repaint the cases and get the frame and all brackets etc powder coated. I’ll send the zinc and chrome parts off to Allen chrome in Hull as he seems to get some good reviews by forum members so worth a try.
My first impressions of the bike are it’s so heavy and over-engineered! The rear shock mounting bolts for example are 17mm, Honda 400/4’s are 14mm, the castings are also a lot thicker and heavier, the cams also have separate bearing caps and a cam cover! 

I know it’s a Kawasaki and not a Honda and it’s got two cams and not one but I guess it’s always good to read about a restoration in the winter to keep us all going. And remember, this is the bike Kawasaki thought would be a successor to the Honda 400/4.

I’ll post progress photos as I go along, here some for now.


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