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FZ600 Resto - the hotrod XJ

Discussion in 'XJ Technical Chat' started by Simmy, Aug 19, 2016.

  1. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    OK so it's not quite an XJ but other then the YX Radian, it's as close as you can get. I think it qualifies for XJ tech chat but if others think it belongs in "other bikes" I'm ok with that. I always liked the 86-88 FZ6 and thought they were pretty cool. At the time the FZR came along I immediately ignored the FZ as it became so instantly obsolete. I had an 89 FZR track only bike (my avatar) and just loved hammering on that thing, some of the best fun riding a bike I ever had. Now I'm older I really love the retro FZ600, I can't think of any other 2-valve air cooled bike with this much handling prowess, or at least potential handling prowess as any 30 year old bike you find is going to need work. Mine is no exception, when I got it home I discovered a few surprises. I actually bought it site unseen, a friend local to the sale picked it up for me. The registration showed 13 previous owners before me. One summer it changed hands 3 times. It totally amazed me how the bike stayed as original as it was. It even had the original Yamaha grips which were so worn the one side was loose enough to come of in your hand. Common rookie bike still had the original valve cover gasket now hardened up and leaking oil everywhere. The carbs were leaking fuel when left in prime and the exhaust pipe was leaking at the head. Broken fairing parts were in a separate bag. Front tire was leaking air. Tank was leaking and had goop applied on outside - this was holding tight for now. The fuse box has the main fuse and I think the headlight fuses relocated into individual fuse holders tapped in with home wiring marrets, cracks in the fairing from cranking fasteners tight without the spacers to prevent this.
    The good, as I said, pretty much as original as they come. Nice Corbin saddle, cool Kerker pipe, and it actually ran great. It was raining when I picked it up and the rear tire would break loose in 3rd gear and scream to redline, tremendous fun, a modern 600 I thought to myself would have me sideways and highsiding into the ditch if I kept on the throttle like that, ya this is gonna be fun!

    My goal was to ride it and fix the issues with priority one at a time. This started in November 2013 left side.jpg P1070611.jpg
     
  2. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    someone mounted a Corbin saddle. Magazines at the time described the postage stamp OEM seat extremely uncomfortable. I find the Corbint actually not too bad, certainly tolerable for the length of rides I'm planning for this. Corbin FZ600.jpg
     
  3. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    gas tank had hole repaired with epoxy. Was holding fuel when I first got it so this was a considered a lower priority P1070619.jpg
     
  4. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    Dual headlights to mimic the endurance racers was all the rage in the late eighties
    P1070620.jpg
     
  5. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    oil was freakin everywhere from leaking valve cover gasket.
    P1070618.jpg
    P1070618.jpg
     
  6. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    37,000 kms on the clock. The British seem to rack up more miles than typical Canadian bikes, Classic Motorcycle Mechanics say XJ600 motor good for 100,000 miles before needing serious attention.

    P1070617.jpg
     
  7. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    obligatory 16" front wheel common to mid-eighties sportbikes handles quicker than a shopping cart! Not so easy to find sporting rubber in 2016.

    16 inch front wheel.jpg
     
  8. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    I tore into the carbs to fix the leaking float needles only to find #2 carb had a broken float pedestal. The repair was somewhat interesting as someone had drilled holes in the mating pieces to hold it back in. Every fastener in these carbs was buggered by inexperienced hands. I sourced a replacement bank at the local salvage yard only to find #2 carb float pedestal broken again. This set were just repaired with Belzona. The repair seemed to be holding so I left #2 float alone, dismantled the other 3 floats and cleaned up the carbs as best I could combining the best parts from the 2 banks. #2 leaked on this bank when left in prime also. OK I thought, just don't leave it in prime, move on to the next thing. I then measured the valves and found them all in tolerance, 2 right on the tight end but still in tolerance. Synced the carbs and had it running pretty good.

    carbs nearing completion.jpg

    carb repair to original carbs.jpg
     
  9. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    I still have the original forks from my 650 Seca sidecar, http://www.xjbikes.com/forums/threads/highly-modded-650-seca.85760/#post-505494 which have Progressive Suspension springs in them. I tried fitting them into the FZ forks. Although they're both 36 mm fork tubes the 650 Seca springs were a smaller diameter and I didn't like they way they fit the FZ. I stuck the mushy FZ springs back in for now and put fresh 10 wt oil in them. Next I got some SS brake lines off ebay and installed them. I haven't installed the rear line yet as I'm planning to do it when I disassemble all the rear swing arm and shock linkages for inspection and re-greasing, likely this winter. I hated the faded red paint especially on the tank so I bought a roll of vinyl adhesive and just cut all the shapes to cover the red Yamaha decals. From a few feet away it looks like it came that way. I've actually had people ask me if it's a European grey import or something. Really easy to make any old Yamaha look different from the crowd, and its easily reversible, just peel it off and the Yamaha decals are still intact underneath. Last week I hoped to take it drag racing matched up against a friends stripped down wing doing mid 13's. Sounded like a fare match, however one block from my house it died and I couldn't get it restarted. I've just bought a 3rd bank of carbs and plan to restore this bank to perfection before remounting. I also just replaced the rubbers between the airbox and the carb inlets, mine were hard as rock and impossible to seal up. The replacements off ebay are supple and sealed up nice. Also replaced the valve cover gasket and the gas lines.
    It's a fun bike, once I get all the little bugs worked out I'm hoping to regain the reliability. This is how she looks for now.

    Photo242.jpg

    Photo242.jpg
     

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  10. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    Photo243.jpg
     
  11. chacal

    chacal Moderator Moderator Supporting Vendor Premium Member

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    VERY good looking bike!
     
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  12. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    thanks chacal, unmolested FZ600's are becoming rare. Some of them which come up for sale around here look completely knackered after being passed from one head-banger to the next. I bought all the remnants of another FZ which was parted out. The kid bought it as his 1st bike, apparently there really wasn't much wrong but he thought he was going to restore it. He tore everything apart before realizing he lacked the skills to put it back.
    Lower fairings are almost never seen, mine have been repaired it appears more than once. Airtech sell fiberglass replacements pretty reasonably priced.
    Classic Motorcycle Mechanics are currently running a series of articles restoring one for the race track. Apparently there is a vintage class in the UK where these XJ powered FZ's are the class overdog. If any UK listers are aware of this I'd be curious to learn the rules. Vintage rules in Canada I think group them into Period 4 which already allows FZR600's.
     
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  13. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    Another thing I had to fix was the broken exhaust stud in the picture. It was broken off and missing the nut. I was lucky to have enough thread left to tighten 2 nuts together, then I just screwed it out with a wrench.
    I picked up another exhaust where I bought the 3rd set of carbs. It looks like the OEM 4-1 but has a shinier Yoshimura can. It looks better than the Kerker.
    I know the Kerker works well so I'll get the new carbs set up with it. Then l'll see which one runs better and go with it.
    The parts I bought from the kid came with a 4-1 of unknown origin, it attaches by springs & ferrules which I didn't get with it.
    Among his parts was a brand new OEM crank cap which replaced the scratched one below.
    What appears like rust on the frame was just motor oil and dirt.

    P1070608.jpg
     
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  14. k-moe

    k-moe Pie, Bacon, Bourbon. Moderator Premium Member

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    A long, long, time ago the FZ was on my radar. I passed because the magazines all called the engine buzzy. Never listen to magazines about what's buzzy and what isn't; you pass up good stuff that way.
    Nice resto.
     
  15. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    Here is a pic of the original airbox to carb connectors. They were hard and not sealing to the carbs. The motor was likely sucking unfiltered air for some time which is concerning. I was able to find used replacements off ebay, the seller said they were still supple and lucky for me they were. The airbox came right out even with the carbs still in place.

    carb to airbox connectors.JPG
     
  16. DrewUth

    DrewUth Active Member

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    Has anyone ever come across an FZ400? An old guy I used to work for had one (along with a matching FZ600 like this one), and I have always wanted one of those.
     
  17. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    Yes I read the FZ600 was basically an FZ400 with the XJ/FJ600 stuffed in. I have never seen one in the flesh. Lot's of FZR400's in Canada but they're just mini FZR600's with aluminum frames. Have a look at this youtube series. I'd still rather ride the FZ600 with the grunty long-stroke XJ mill.

     
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  18. DrewUth

    DrewUth Active Member

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    I've just always had a thing for smaller motors. Feel like superman when you wring them out. Why I still love tearing around an MX track on a hot 125 every once in a while.
     
  19. Simmy

    Simmy Well-Known Member

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    I hear you Drew. I recently sold my Yamaha MT-01 which was a gigantic 1670 cc sport bike. I regret it only because it was so rare and so very very cool. There comes a point when too much motor delivers diminishing returns. I can wring the stuffing out of this FZ.
     
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  20. specialk

    specialk Active Member

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    Almost a third of the displacement and suprisingly the fz600 has almost the same 1/4 mile time. I'm sure the torque figures are heavily swayed toward the MT01 though.
     

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