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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Purchased a 1983 KZ1100 LTD model L a couple of years ago. It seemed to be just fine. However, "issues" started popping up. Little things, like "How did this oily stuff get sprayed on my left pant leg?" "Why is it taking so long for throttle response?" These things I ignored because it was riding season! One must ride when one can... Well, parked the bike and neglected to do anything for storage. About 2 weeks ago, I decided it was time to get the bike fired up. It started but it sure didn't like it. It popped, sputtered, and backfired into the carbs. No big deal. Drained all the gas from the carbs and tank. Fired it up again... not much better.... Got the old guy running and then I noticed oil pooling on the top fins on the left side of the engine. The cam plugs on that side were leaking. Anyway, the valve cover was pulled along with the cam plugs. Still waiting for a valve gasket and cam plugs. While waiting I thought it was a good opportunity to clean the carbs. Watched tons of videos on carb cleaning since I hadn't done one since 1982. Thinking I was well prepared I opened up all four carbs. The bowls all had mud like goo in them. But, there weren't any signs of varnish or crud in the jets or the fuel supply... Only thing that caught my attention was the make-shift fuel screens. Yikes! So, more parts on order. Valve cover gasket, cam plugs, air filter pods, carb holders, fuel screens, and all new fuel and vacuum lines. While I am still waiting for things, mainly the valve cover gasket, I changed out the primary wires as they are nearly 40 years-old too.... Down this rabbit hole until I find the rabbit!!!
 

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Next question is how old is the brake fluid..... you can stop there ;)
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I am also wondering about the cam plugs. I have two styles. There's the OEM rubber type and the billet aluminum aftermarket piece. It stands to reason that the OEM plugs should be just fine, as-long-as I install them correctly. I have had some feedback from other owners that they used the billet aluminum caps because they think those will have a less chance of developing leaks. I haven't decided yet. The valve cover gasket has not yet arrived so I have time to ponder....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Oh yeah, but if you want a bike to last...
Rubber cam caps last a long time. How do the billet aluminum caps seal?, with an o-ring or with silicone?
Yep, my thoughts too were about sealing billet aluminum. From the information I gathered, the caps come with o-rings and the metal surfaces are coated with a high temp gasketing sealer. One of the installations I read said they put the caps in and placed the valve cover back on (without a gasket) with the bolts finger tight. They let it sit overnight and the next day removed the cover, installed the gasket and torqued on the bolts. The author reported they had no leaks with this install.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Went back and read through the KZ1100 manual section 6 (p. 164) on the installation of the valve cover. The instructions say to apply a liquid gasket (silicone sealant) to the circumference of the cam plugs. I read that to mean the flat surface of the cam plug, which will come into contact with the valve cover gasket, remains dry. It would have been more clear if they said something easier to understand. Some posts I have read about replacing valve cover gaskets mentions applying liquid gasket all around the plugs and on some areas of the head seating surface. If I had read only the manual, I would not have concerns about leaks. COVID has trained me to read way too many conflicting sources of information.......
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Got the valve cover gasket installed today. Did it per the instructions from the manual. However, I'm delayed in starting the bike as there were interesting inconsistencies with the carbs. There was some odd modification made to the float valve screens which may explain some of the fuel delivery problems. Given what I found in the floats, I orderd carb kits that have the original design floats and screens. Also noticed the jets were original. When I purchased the bike, I was under the impression that the carbs were re-jetted to match the air filter pods. Since the kits have the main and pilot jets I'll replace those too. The fuel dlivery chain in completely flushed now. Replaced the fuel pet-**** too as the screen was looking funky. Should have the carbs completed in the next few days. If I ever get this thing started again, I will be hard pressed to sell it.:)
 

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You are in for a world of joy!
Very entertaining read and completely understand what you're up against having an old bike myself
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Depending where you bought your jets, the factory ones may be of better quality.
Did you check the valves while you had your cam cover off?
Did get factory jets and they were a wee bit more expensive than the others available. Had to phone a friend on the valve clearances. Read through the procedure in the manual and not having the right tools or patience, I got help.
You are in for a world of joy!
Very entertaining read and completely understand what you're up against having an old bike myself
Lots of time on this project. Even today putting on the valve cover was quite time consuming. As if a 66 year-old retired guy has better things to do,...... One thing about torque specifications.... I get it why guys strip out the anchoring points in aluminum engines. The valve cover spec is only 87 in-lbs. I used a 1/4 drive torque wrench and I had to fight myself not to crank on the bolts. Well, we'll see in a few days... If this baby does the arterial bleeding of oil out of those cam caps, my cute 1/4 drive torque wrench will be replaced with that nice 3/8 drive with the long handle....(lol)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Carb kits arrived about 11 today in our regular mail. A rather unexpected good thing in this adventure down the KZ1100 rabbit hole. I found two float valve screens jammed in the fuel feeds for 2 and 3. #4 did not have a screen.... Yikes! Went to all stop and flushed all the fuel supplies. Given one screen was found jammed in the float valve, I was concerned about the others. I blew compressed air and all kinds of carb cleaner through every thing that had a hole in it. Once I was convinced all obstructions were clear, the carbs were re-assembled and installed on the bike. I took an hour break to get some fresh air. I think I was a little stoned on the carb cleaner and gasoline. Got back to it, installed the gas tank and set it to prime. It was a good sign from the start as I did not find any gasoline leaks. Well, put the key in it and cranked it over. Had some cracking and popping but within a few minutes the bike was running good and it actually sounded like a Kawaski! Took it for a little test ride and the throttle had absolutely no lag. I forgot how well these bikes can run. I made sure all the cleaners were gone from the fuel system and returned to park the bike. I plan on checking it in the morning for any oil or gasoline leaks. I even left it on the side stand. I might get shot by my wife, but I may want to keep this one.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good news. 👍 I had no idea a screen could make it to the bowl.
The screen is on the inlet side of the float valve. The damaged screens I found were kind of jammed and crumpled in the fuel feeder lines. I am guessing they were original parts. But, it is so nice to hear that bike whistle without back or after fires....
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
This, I hope is the last link in the carb chain on the KZ1100. Once the bike was back together it ran okay. However, it wasn't long, when the bike was real warm, it started getting the cracking and popping of lean mix. Checked all the vacuum connections and the carb boots, all was tight. Sat down and read a ton more about the CV carbs. Looks like someone overlooked the air pilot valve (screw). Couldn't improve the mix with adjustments. So, carbs came off and all four pilots were replaced. Also, just to mess it up some, I put in the 4.0 pilot jets that came with the carb kits. Well, I rigged up a gas supply so I could tune in the idle on the bike. After screwing around with this many and that many turns, the best setting ended up being 1 and a quarter. That had the bike at 900 rpm with no bobbles, skips, crackles, or pops. The bike is close to a recommended setting for the pilot so I'm staying at this setting and running the bike. At a later date, not to far away, I'll take a look at the spark plugs and see what those tea leaves will reveal......
 
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