While I’m waiting for the parts  to come in for the Jet-Ski I’d life to provide a little insight to fellow readers about the safety of them. I have a lot of friends wanting to buy motorcycles and naturally they all want a 200HP crotch rocket that looks real cool, even though they have never ridden a motorcycle. As humorous as it is to watch them attempt to drive away from a dealership and plow into a bush, I never want to see anyone get hurt! So How do you know which bike to buy? Who can teach you the basics of safety? Well first I’d like to talk about safety and motorcycle classes. Louisiana has an excellent program that offers a basic motorcycle riding class every month to teach new enthusiasts the basics and proper operating techniques. Now this won’t teach you how to lean a “Busa” into a corner at 90mph, but it will help keep you planted on the street. You can sign up for $100 (this includes motorcycle rental) and once you have completed and passed the course you even get a insurance discount! They also offer an advanced course for the more experienced riders that what to improve their skills. Both can be found at: http://www.lsp.org/motorcycle.html. So, you’ve signed up for the class and you rode your neighbors dirt bike a couple times when you were a kid right?!? well lets pick that bike out!! (assuming you already purchased a helmet, gloves, jacket, and boots already.) I recommend a used 500cc motorcycle as your first bike, it will not be too powerful for you but, you will also not get bored with the power soon as you would with a 250cc bike. A used bike in the $1500-$2000 range is the best way to go in my opinion because it will not depreciate much at all if you want to re sell it and upgrade, and you probably wont cry when you drop the thing like you would on a Ducati 996!! Cruiser? Sport bike? Dual-Sport?? Which ever you choose, depends on your preference, but I can make some recommendations for each category: 1) sport bikes: Suzuki GS500F, Kawasaki Ninja 500R, and a Honda 599. 2) Cruiser: Honda Shadow VLX600, Suzuki Savage 650, Yamaha Virago 535, or a Kawasaki Vulcan VN500. 3) Dual Sport: Honda XR650L, Yamaha WR250L, Suzuki DRZ400M, Kawasaki KLR650. Theses are all great bikes that can be found for under $2000 in good running condition. My favorite place to find these deals is http://www.craigslist.org and of course http://www.ebaymotors.com    I hope this will provide a little guidance to any new motorcycle enthusiasts ..

The engine is out of the Jet-Ski, the damage has been accessed now it’s time to order the parts. When rebuilding an engine you want to replace all the seals and gaskets and bearings (if needed) while it’s out to ensure longevity of it. I am going to order a complete top-end kit, carburetor rebuild kits (to ensure I don’t lean out and burn another piston), new spark plugs, and new crank shaft seals. There are many places to buy these parts, I found that one of the best companies to choose is: http://www.shopsbt.com/mm5/merchant.mvc? I have ordered the parts, at a cost of $423, once I have received the pistons I am going to bring them with the cylinders to be bored and honed to my new engine can be assembled soon after! I have found that in Lafayette, La. Performance Cycles does excellent machine work and has excellent service, they normally do my cylinders for me and they will be handling the Jet-Ski cylinders too. I have all of my parts laid out on a work table and all of my bolts and nuts bagged and labeled to make the reassembly process much easier.

Lets get this engine out Pt 3

Posted: March 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

Now we have finally gotten the engine out of the Jet-Ski so it’s time to take it apart and access the damage! The first thing to do is to disassemble the top end of the engine and the first part to remove is the cylinder head. Luckily this ski is a 2 stroke and many of them are so, this will be a very easy task. The cylinder head is held on with 18 x 12mm nuts on top, you always want to systematically break them lose first in a criss cross pattern, once they are all lose, remove them and put them in a labeled bag. The cylinder head is off, and my middle cylinder looks badly scarred, so this will most likely need to be bored out.

Now The cylinders need to be removed to more accurately access all the damage to the top end. There are 8 x 14mm nuts on the base of the engine that need to be removed in the same way that the cylinder head bolts were. Now that they’re off and labeled in a bag, the best way to loosen the cylinders is to tap them at the base with a rubber mallet in several places. Do this only as needed until you can slide the cylinders off and the pistons are exposed. carefully place the cylinders on a shelf so they do not fall, treat the parts with care even if they have to be machined!!

Now that the cylinders are off you can really see the problem: The middle piston seized in it’s cylinder, partially melting it and ruining the cylinder. Unfortunately I am going to have to order a complete top end and have the cylinders over bored. You may be lucky and if you can feel the cylinders and there is not scarring, no scratched, and no damage, then it is possible to get away with a new hone and rings. You cylinders and pistons must be measured by a machinist to properly determine this though. I will be ordering my parts from http://www.shopsbt.com/ They have competitive prices, great service, and everything that you could need!!

Now that I’ve gotten the exhaust manifold and the carburetors off of the engine, it’s time to pull off the rest of the little things so I can pull it out and break it down! First I removed the starter motor cables. You can find the starter motor on the right side of the engine and simply unbolt the 10mm bolts holding on the red and black cables. Next, it’s time to remove the electric case connector. This is the wires that come from the front [alternator] of the engine. Trace the black wires that come out of the front to the black box in the back of the engine compartment. Once it’s found unplug the wires from the box and safely secure the wires to the engine. Believe it or not, it’s time to pull that engine out now! There are four bolts holding it in, one it each corner, once found just remove them all and put them in a bag and label them. The engine doesn’t need a life to pull out, I picked it up myself. This was tricky and if you don’t have a good back, Don’t do it!!! once the engine is out, put it on a table and get ready for the break down to access the damage.

Let’s get this engine out!!

Posted: March 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

It’s time we get started on our first project today! The 1997 Kawasaki STX1100 Jest-Ski needs an engine overhaul before the summer starts and, it’s time to get my hands dirty and the engine out. First off I secured the trailor with concrete blocks and a jack so it wouldn’t move while I was working on it. The seat can be removed by simply pulling the lever under the back of it which exposes the whole engine under it. Now that I have access to the engine I have to remove everything attached to it. First the air-box needs to be removed by pulling the bolts out of the top. next remove all the the small black lines connected to the carburetors and the 3 fuel lines attached. Remove the throttle cables and the six bolts on the base of the carbs to remove them. Now the fuel system is out of the way! That was quick, only took 20min! Next the exhaust system has to be removed by first removing the 4 bolts on the top of the exhaust silencer. It will simply come off after but you have to remove the hose attached and label it with masking tape and a sharpie to make re installation much easier! The bottom half of the exhaust has 8 bolts, remove them and put them in a bag and label it as well.

Exhaust and carbs removed

 

Hello world!

Posted: March 11, 2011 in Uncategorized

My name is Alex and I am creating this Blog for all you Do It Your-selfers out there! I restore, rebuild, and ride just about anything I can get my hands and I am here to share my knowledge with step by step instructions with pictures of all the projects that I tackle. I am 24 years old, and I grew up in St. Francisville, La. There wasn’t much to do in this little town and I passed most of my free time riding dirt bikes and motorcycles. I started restoring older Japanese and British bike with the guidance of my step father and he planted a seed in me that has violently grown! I currently ride a 2001 Ducati Monster 750 and a 1982 Honda XL500R, which I recently restored. I drive and wrench on a ’99 Trans/Am LS1 M6 (my new muscle car) and my current greasy project is a ’97 Kawasaki 1100STX Jet Ski which I am going to kick things off with by doing a step-by-step FULL engine over haul. Well thats enough about me folks! Please be patient with me, I’m new to blogging but I will have much to add to this blog soon!