1983 Spectre 1100 - Can I trust this bike? [Archive] - Kawasaki Motorcycle Forums

1983 Spectre 1100 - Can I trust this bike?

07-11-2012, 12:55 AM
Okay, I just purchased a 1983 Spectre 1100 with a Friendship sidecar. A set of Vetter saddle bags, trunk, and fairing were included which I just attached. (after purchasing a used set of brackets ($90), and fixing the fairing mount).
The odometer is at 11000 miles, but the condition of the bike would lead me to believe differently. Then again, it is 29 years old.

I believe I paid too much ($2700). I figure 2000 for the side car and 700 for the bike/vetter.
The sidecar needs:
reattach the carpet on the inside
New windshield ($200)

Bike needed:
New battery($60)
Air filter ($20?)

The bike starts fine so far. I have yet to take it out for a ride longer then the street I live on as I have yet to register it.

I am used to Harleys, though I have had Hondas, Suzukis, and Yamahas, but never a Kawasaki.

I do not see any gaskets leaking oil from the cylinders, but I suspect some may be leaking for the overhead cams on the left (sitting on the bike perspective).

I cleaned out the carbs to the extent of dropping the bowls and spraying cleaner through. This resolved the leaking fuel from the two on the left.

It seems to run a little rough but that may be the battery not being fully charged.

I will do a compression check tomorrow to verify that the rings are okay, as well as the gaskets.

Assuming the compression check is good and the battery is charged. If it is still rough running, what should I look at first to prevent having to push this bike home?
What can I look at to see how off the odometer is? I suspect it is not the original.

I intent to use this bike to go cross country next summer with my wife.


07-11-2012, 01:08 AM
Do the compression checks, 180 PSI is good for a new/rebuilt engine, put a few years on it, and it might be down to 140 or so. An engine will run at 100 PSI but produce low power.

Yoy might open up a CD sized right engine cover and see what's inside. Kawasaki was changing the pulsing(pick up coils) to a different type that moved the advance/retard of the ignition curve from a mechanical ignition advancer, to the type that was done electronically in the IC Igniter.

Here's how to check the alternator's output and how to replace it:

Alternator Testing For the Older 4’s(Z1’s,Kz 900’s, Kz1000’s,Kz1100’s ,GPz1100’s
And possibly the 750’s).

To check to see if the alternator is working you need to follow these simple steps:

1. Fully charge the battery as this will be the power source during this test.

2. Disconnect the Regulator/Rectifier at the plug that has the six wires in it.

3. Start the engine and let it warm to operating temperature.

4. If you're worried about overheating, position a large fan for cooling the engine.

5. After the engine has reached operating temperature, have a helper assist you, and using a multi-meter, read the output at the three yellow wires (or the alternator output wires)at the disconnected connector.

6. Raise the engine speed to 4000 rpm, and see what the three YELLOW wire combinations(or any alternator output wires) are(1-3, 2-3 & 1-2). The output will be around 50 Volts A.C.(Alternating Current). BE CAREFUL, AS THERE IS A SHOCK HAZARD HERE!!

7. If any of the combinations are low or non-existent, the stator(wire windings) are bad and must be replaced.
Some of the older Z1’s and KZ900’s were reported to be phase sensitive, so check the wire colors carefully.

8. Using an OHMETER, Check the three wire combinations again, looking for a reading of 0.36 - 0.54 OHMS. If the readings are above or below, the stator may be bad and need replacement. Also check from any of the three YELLOW wires to ground, this will show if arcing took place. Check only with the engine off !!

9. Before ordering a new stator, check the connections from the stator as there are electrical "Bullet" connectors that may be damaged or dirty.
Inspect the wiring for signs of shorting or overheating too. Z1 Enterprises, Inc. - Quality New Parts for Vintage Japanese Street Motorcycles (http://www.z1enterprises.com) sells replacement rubber grommets for the alternator output wiring, they get hard and could leak oil after a while.

10. Check the wiring coming out of the grommet as there have been situations where the wires were damaged causing a short(I.E. twisted together with insulation damage).

11. The sprocket cover will have to be removed to access the electrical connectors coming from the alternator, the left foot peg assembly and shifting lever will have to come off also.

Alternator Stator Replacement On the Older 4’s
Source for replacement Stators

A. ElectroSport - Motorcycle, Dirt Bike and ATV - OEM Quality Stators, Regulator/rectifiers and CDIs (http://www.electrosport.com/technical-) resources/diagnosis-center/fault-finding-guide
B. CUSTOMREWIND.COM (http://www.customrewind.com)
C. http://www.rmstator.com/index (http://www.rmstator.com)
D. www.regulatorrectifier.com
E. Oregon motorcycle Parts Home Page (http://www.oregonmotorcycleparts.com) (Rectifier/ Regulators Only)

1. If by testing either by checking the output voltage from the stator or by using and ohmmeter for resistance and the stator is determined to be bad, replacing the stator is not a difficult job.

2. The motorcycle owner should have on hand a replacement alternator gasket as it will tear on removal and leak if reused.

3. Put the bike on the center stand if possible and lean it to the right to minimize the oil volume that could come out when the alternator cover is removed.

4. Have selection of Metric wrenches and sockets along with Metric Allen keys to be able to accomplish this repair. ¼" and 3/8" ratchets and extensions may be needed along with Allen bits.

5. Remove the gear shift lever, the sprocket cover and possibly the left foot peg assembly.

6. A catch pan for what little oil will be lost should be positioned under the alternator on the left side. Newspapers will soak up any oil lost or some kitty litter will do as an absorbent.

7. Remove the alternator cover fasteners, some bikes use a socket head cap screw(Allen type) and others use the Phillips head type, the #3 screwdriver bit fits best for those. Use a small dish or can to collect the removed fasteners from the parts to prevent loss/damage.

8. The alternator stator is secured to the inside of the cover usually with three Allen headed bolts, Some bikes may have Torx style fasteners, Remove them and disconnect the three yellow wires that have bullet connectors on them from the bundled wires inside the sprocket cover.

9. If your bike has some color other than yellow for the alternator output wires, make note of what goes where as the older Kawasaki’s were phase sensitive in regard to the regulator/rectifiers.

10. When installing the replacement stator, clock or position the output wires and grommet so they fit into the small port under the alternator cover without being pinched or damaged.

11. Tighten the three Allen or Torx fasteners, securing the replacement stator to the cover. I like using the BLUE Loctite # 242 for hardware that can be removed with hand tools.

12. Remove the old gasket from the mating surfaces of the alternator cover and engine case by scraping with a piece of sharpened plastic like Lexan or Plexi-glass as these will not gouge the soft Aluminum Cases. Avoid using a metal gasket scraper for this.

13. Position the alternator cover, checking for pinched wiring and install the fasteners with a little silver anti-seize on the threads, tightening to the correct torque.

14. Connect up the output wires to the mating female bullet connectors and while you’re in there, check the routing of the wire bundle that runs through there.

15. Inspect for signs of heat damage to the wire insulation and vibration damage too.

16. The side stand switch, neutral switch, and oil pressure switch wiring are all bundled with the alternator output wiring running above and behind the engine output sprocket. This bundle runs in a channel as it goes up toward the various electrical connections.

17. The regulator/rectifier plug on the 80’s bikes usually has six wires in it:

A. One (1)WHITE with RED stripe, this is the bikes main power wire usually 12 gauge in size.

B. One(1) smaller Brown wire, probably 18 gauge or so, the voltage sense wire for the regulator/rectifier, helps keeping it from overcharging the battery.

C. One(1) BLACK with YELLOW stripe wire, part of the ground circuits, maybe 16 gauge in size.

D. Three(3) YELLOW wires, maybe 14 gauge in size, the alternator output wires going to the regulator/rectifier which converts the Alternating Current(A.C.) to Direct Current(D.C.) using rectification, producing the power to run the motorcycle and charge the battery.

18. Reinstall the sprocket cover, again checking for pinched wires before tightening. Install the shifter on it’s splined shaft checking for proper location, and the left side foot peg assembly.

19. Except for the minor oil spill and reluctant fasteners, it’s not a very difficult job to do.

A PDF download of the factory shop manual: http://www.kawiworld.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=77&Itemid=99

07-11-2012, 10:22 AM
Thank you Mike. I will start into this today.

07-11-2012, 12:56 PM
Cleaning Motorcycle Electrics

1. Get some of the De-Oxit electrical contact cleaner and figure on spending a good day going from the front of the bike to the back. It’s a plastic safe cleaner/preservative. Home of DeoxIT® and HAND-E-GLOVE® - CAIG Laboratories, Inc. (http://www.deoxit.com) is their website. It can be purchased at most Radio Shack Stores or any electronic supply places. Or use any plastic safe electrical contact cleaner(NOT WD-40 !).

2. On the older Kawasaki's, a majority of electrical connectors are inside the headlight housing requiring removal of the headlight, then the fun begins.

3. Do one set of electrical connectors at a time to avoid mixing up what connects to where. Usually disconnecting, spraying with De-Oxit and reconnecting is about all you'll need.

4. However, when encountering the green crud of corrosion, a brass wire brush may be needed on the pins you can reach.
Some 400-600 grit wet and dry sandpaper strips rolled into a tube should reach the male and female pins in the more difficult to clean connectors.

5. Smoker’s pipe cleaners, cotton swabs and wooden toothpicks work as cleaning aids.

6. Really small electrical connectors may require the use of a welders tip cleaning tool assortment.

7. Most pins in the connectors are coated with a thin plating of tin, and others may be nothing more than copper or brass.

8. If moisture is added, the resulting corrosion lowers the voltage/current being carried causing dim lights, slow engine cranking, slow turn signal responce and lower input voltage to the ignition coils resulting in weak spark.

9. The left and right handlebar switch pods will need attention too as they have circuit functions like turn, horn, run/stop, and start. The older Kawasaki’s have reports of the soldered connections crumbling, if your bike has this problem, just ask, as I’ve got a repair procedure for this.

10. Usually a spritz or two with actuation of the switch is about all needed for these switches unless corrosion is detected and then careful disassembly is required.

11. The ignition switch may or may be not sealed to allow spraying the internal contacts. I urge caution if attempting to open this up as springs, and ball bearings may fly out never to be seen again!

12. If your bike has the older style glass tubed fuses, I suggest replacing them as vibration can cause internal failure. AGX is the type used, and most auto parts stores can get them for you, along with boating supply stores.

13. Clean the fuse holder clips, looking for signs of overheating(discolored insulation, signs of melting).
I use metal polish on a cotton swab, followed by spraying another clean swab with the De-Oxit and then rubbing the inside of the fuse clip.

14. All battery cables must be clean and tight for maximum current transfer. Check the cables going from the Negative(-) battery terminal/post to the engine mounting bolt

15. Also the one going from the Positive(+) terminal to the starter solenoid and from there to the starter motor.

16. If any battery cable feels ”Crunchy” when flexed, replace it as possible corrosion is inside the insulation. Inspect all heavy duty battery cables and the smaller wire terminations(Bullet Connectors), for failed crimps, and those used in the electrical connectors, as they can fail over time.

17. Each "Bullet Connector" will have to be sprayed to ensure good connectivity, especially the ones going to the energizing coil of the starter solenoid.

18. The alternator output “Bullet Connectors” are usually behind the engine sprocket cover and will need inspecting and cleaning too.

20. The turn signal light sockets will benefit from a spritz from the contact cleaner along with the tail light/brake light socket.

21. Some brake light switches can be sprayed on the actuating rod, with the spray running down inside to the electrical contacts, others may be sealed requiring replacement if the switch is intermittent in operation.

22. Some people put the Di-Electric Grease on cleaned terminations/connectors, I don’t, as I’ve read/heard it can cause problems when it gets hot, actually insulating the connections, so the choice is yours to use or not.

I think I've covered about all of the electrical systems on the bike.........

“I spent a weekend going through every electrical connection and switch on the bike with a little scotchbrite pad and DeOxit - what a difference! Everything was brighter, gauge backlights, indicator lights, turn signals, I was getting a nicer spark, it fired up quicker, etc. Well worth my time. WELL worth it! “

From a forum member at KZrider.com (http://www.kzrider.com)

Why WD-40 Should Not Be Used On Motorcycle Electrical Items.

For many years, I was proponent of the use of WD-40 on fuse clips, fuses, switches and connectors. After hearing of other peoples experience with intermittent and sporadic activity, I shrugged it off as maybe they did something wrong in the application of the product.

It wasn’t until the time I rode my 1982 GPz1100 B2 model to downtown San Diego that I encountered the problems others had gone through.

After concluding my business downtown, I walked to where my bike was parked, turned the key to unlock the forks, and prepared to start the engine. The key was in the "On" position, yet I had no lights in the dash panel, the fuel pump was not running(I have FI), and the horn and tail light were not working.

Puzzled as to why nothing electrical was happening, I remember my earlier conversations about how WD-40 will over time become a non-conductor(more like an insulator). I had some pieces of 400 and 600 grit sandpaper in my tool kit and with them was able to scratch away the coating from the WD-40 on the fuses and clips.

After removing the insulating film, the bike started and ran like it should. Since that time, I’ve told people about the problem with WD-40. If you must use a contact cleaner, I recommend getting some "De-oxit" from Radio Shack Stores or any good electronic supply store.

07-11-2012, 12:58 PM
And, if while cleaning the handlebar switches, you discover failed or failing solder connections, here's a repair procedure:

Read this for a primer on hand soldering: http://technologyinterface.nmsu.edu/fall97/electronics/solder.html

Repairing Motorcycle Soldered Connections on the older bikes.

When repairing soldered wires on motorcycle switches or light bulbs sockets, have the following on hand:

1. A 25 Watt soldering iron or one that the wattage can be adjusted.

2. Rosin core solder of 60/40 type. SN60 or SN63 is preferred.

3. Rosin flux or soldering paste (Never use solder or soldering paste designed for plumbing work, as it contains an acid that will corrode the electrical joint, ruining it).

4. 91% rubbing Alcohol, or 70%. The lower percentage will clean up flux residue, but not as good as the higher percentage stuff. Acetone does a good job of removing excess solder flux too.

5. A cut down ½” paint brush, or acid brush for scrubbing the repaired solder joint.

6. Clean rags or paper towels

7. A damp sponge to keep the soldering iron tip clean.

8. Some “Solder Wick” a braided bare copper wire designed to collect heated excess solder, aiding in joint preperation, available at electronic supply stores.

9. Some wooden toothpicks.

10. Small Hemostats or clip on heatsinks.

A. Before soldering, “Tin” the soldering iron tip by plugging it in or turning the iron on, allowing it to get to operating temperature(2-3 minutes).

B. Unroll about 3” of solder from the roll of rosin core solder & then using a clean rag or paper towel moistened with Alcohol, wipe the unrolled solder, removing the finger print oils that will create a poor solder joint.

C. Apply a small amount of solder to the now heated soldering iron tip, wiping the excess off with the wet sponge, keeping a thin layer on the soldering iron.

D. The soldering iron is now ready for use, but before applying the heated tip to a wire, wipe the tip on the damp sponge, this removes any oxidized solder and makes for a much better connection.

E. If the joint to be repaired is grey in color or appears “Crumbled”, apply some rosin soldering paste or flux to the joint with a small toothpick or screwdriver, and then apply the soldering iron tip for a few seconds.

G. The fluxed joint should clean up, allowing for a better connection. If no luck, use the solder wick to remove all traces of the old solder by apply in it between the soldering iron tip and the bad joint.

H. Hemostats and clip on heatsinks will be used to prevent the wire insulation from burning, overheating & pulling away from the connection.

I. Apply a small amount of flux to the joint to be repaired & then a very short duration of heated soldering iron tip & solder(like a few seconds or so).

J. Clean off the repaired joint with the brush & rubbing Alcohol or Acetone, the newly repaired joint should appear clean and bright, almost as if it were polished, with no voids or holes.

K. When repairing the bad or "Cold Solder Joints" (as the Electronics industry calls them), it takes really no special skills, just patience, and a place to work(along with the mentioned tools. You've got to be sober, and not stoned, as the soldering tool can be at 700 F, possibly giving the impaired bike owner severe burns.

L. If you have fine muscle control problems, have a friend do the soldering for you. Moving a wire before the electrical joint has properly set up, can create "Cold Joints" too. If possible, practice on the bench top with some scrap wires before attempting repairs on the bike.

M. This information comes from years of missile test cable and equipment assembly, when I worked at General Dynamics/Convair Division in San Diego California, on the BGM-109 Tomahawk and later on the AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missile. This was from 1983-1993. The company had a week long soldering school, where you learned to solder meeting “Mil-Spec” standards.

07-12-2012, 05:45 PM
Compression is 155 - 160 for all four cylinders. Stator is good, Rectifier is bad. One is on the way. Petcock needs rebuild. kit is on its way. Cleaned majority of contacts. They were pretty clean, not much corrosion. Bike runs well, but starts to run rough after 15 - 20 miles of driving, which led me to the rectifier. Thank you for the input.

07-12-2012, 06:11 PM
Glad I could be of help! Another very knowledgeable forum person is "Kopcicle", he has rode/repaired many of the "J" engine cop bikes many people buy and covert to "Chopper's and Bobber's". These are oil burning bikes, but are like the "Muscle Cars" of the 70's.

The Old 4 Cylinder Dinosaur

Many of you, who are owners of older bigger 4 cylinder Kawasaki’s, may have noticed when out for a ride for a snack or a “Cold One” how a crowd will gather next to your bike.

Statements will be made about how they had one, or their Fathers, Brothers or Uncles owned one and how fast it was, and how for the most part, the newer, faster, sports bikes on the street tend to be ignored when you drive up on your “Dinosaur”.

Sure, the older bikes cannot compete with today’s motorcycles in handling and acceleration, but they can sure turn heads when they rumble down the streets exhausting through a nice 4 into 1 collector.

If the owner of a new sport bike wonders why the interest in your bike, ask him/her in 20-30 years will his/her bike attract as much notice as your’s does today? Our older bikes are like the “Muscle Cars” of the 70’s.

Mtbspeedfreak wrote:
I cannot believe the number of compliments I get on my bike! Random guys (mostly ) who roll down a window at a stoplight, guys at the muffler shop, hanging out at the motorcycle shops around town.

Heard quite a few stories- "I wanted one but my GF said no, glad I listened because I married her" and the occasional "a friend of mine was killed on one..." Pull up to bike night and the Harley guys will come over, the occasional crotch rocket riding squid will mumble a compliment under his breath, and sure I get a lot of "why do you ride THAT old bike?!?" Truth is, I quite honestly wouldn't trade it for nearly anything!

Sheldon bourgeoi wrote:
I must admit, it is a pretty good feeling when you park your bike at the local stop, and people come up to it to have a look. It's even better when your getting gas, and some middle aged guy comes up to you "reminiscing" about how he had the same bike back in high school. Then, as he walks away to leave, he hands you his name and phone number on a piece of paper, then tells you to call him if you ever decide to sell it. That's happened to me more than once!
Steel Panther wrote:

The old inline fours are cool. They are my favorite bikes. The ol' Z1R with a good exhaust, made music, not noise. The vertical twins are pretty cool too. Every once in a while I'll stumble across a gem someone has preserved or restored. They always draw my attention. Cool thread, brings back memories.

I was told I could never sneak up on anyone on my bike.
Nothing can quite compare to the sound of a big, 4 cylinder Kawasaki, getting it’s act together and moving on down the road…

07-12-2012, 07:45 PM