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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've got an old Z500 that I'm trying to get back on the road, and I have a relentless leak from the valve cover.

The original gasket has long since disappeared from existence, and there is now a layer of the red RTV sealant on there, which doesn't want to seal.
I have cleaned the mating surfaces with a stanley blade, and reapplied the sealant a couple of times, but I'm still getting leaks.

I'm tightening the valve cover down while the sealeant is still fresh.
Should I be doing this, or waiting for it to semi-set?

A new gasket is out of the question as the local Kawasaki shops wants $100+ for a new one.
 

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Put what part of the world you're in, in your User CP, and more people may be able to help. Your valve cover gasket and half moons are the same as for the KZ550/GPz550/Z400, so they shouldn't be hard to find at all. Ebay is often a good source, and if your local dealer isn't looking at the head gasket instead of the valve cover gasket, he doesn't deserve any business at those prices. :tongue:

If you need to make one, just get a sheet of gasket material, put a light coating of oil on the valve cover, and press it down to the gasket surface. Now you know where to cut. A cheap set of punches from the local Harbor Freight or equivalent will make short work of the bolt holes, and you're good to go. Oil the surface of the head before putting the gasket on, and the gasket will usually come off with the valve cover the next time, thus negating the need to make another gasket.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The half moons are still fairly well intact. I think the problem comes from scoring on the mating surface of the valve cover, and that the valve cover/head appears slightly warped when putting them together (bike still runs, not spending $$$ on it).

I did confirm with the dealer that it wasn't the head gasket (that was $130).
That's the problem with getting parts that haven't been made in almost 20 years. The dealer can't get any pistons for it - stock or oversize, and a seat would cost over $1000 if I wanted to replace mine which is starting to rust underneath.

Sadly, these don't seem to be a popular/long lasting bike around these parts, so even spares from a wreckers are hard to find. I know of only 2 others in Perth (1.5 million ppl), and I think they're the later 550cc models.

I might try the cutting out a new gasket then.
Should I be using the cardboard or rubber material?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Read the first line of my original post - "old Z500"

It's a 1980 model if you must be exact, but I seem to recall they only made the 500's from 1979/80 to 1982/3 without any changes. Further more, it's 497cc if you don't count 28 years of wear on the internals.

No donut for you Mr. A2.
 

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Since you're in Australia, I'll make you a deal. You find me some KR250 parts, and I'll find you some Z500 parts. ;)
 

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I might try the cutting out a new gasket then.
Should I be using the cardboard or rubber material?
Forgive me for not being certain whether you are referring to actual cardboard and rubber, or the cardboard consistency gasket material.

While greased cardboard may work temporarily in a real pinch, try to buy a roll of gasket material from almost any auto supply store. If you can't get punches for the holes, as mentioned earlier, an x-acto knife will work with a steady hand. In the US, a roll of gasket paper to make a gasket the size you need wouldn't be more than $6-8. I've tried making some gaskets out of old tractor tire tubes in the past, but they never really worked well. Never tried buying a roll of new rubber to make the gaskets from. I've thought of trying the cork type gasket material, but never needed to.

One note of caution, don't use the bride's dining room table to cut out your gasket on. Don't learn that lesson the hard way. Maybe I should post that to the "lessons I've learned" thread?
 

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One note of caution, don't use the bride's dining room table to cut out your gasket on. Don't learn that lesson the hard way.
Man. I read this, then I looked at your avatar. Then I just about blew coffee out my nose. You do everything the hard way, don'cha? :biggrin:
 

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The Cruising Gunsmith
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I'm tightening the valve cover down while the sealeant is still fresh.
Should I be doing this, or waiting for it to semi-set?
Clean both surfaces DEAD CLEAN and wipe with acetone. Apply 1/8" bead of black ultra high temp RTV gasket sealer and assemble the pieces. Insert the cover bolts and only tighten FINGER TIGHT until you see the RTV just start to squeeze out of the edge. wait 1 hour, tighten a bit more. Let cure overnight and tighten the cover.

BTW, I make my valve cover gaskets out of the gasket material they sell at Pep Boys (rubberized fiber material, 1/32" thick). Works great.


A new gasket is out of the question as the local Kawasaki shops wants $100+ for a new one.
Yeah, they wanted $85 for mine. That's why I made mine.
 

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Vintage bike addict
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Guess I'll buy some gasket material and have it on hand. No way I'm paying anywhere near $100 for a gasket.
 

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Eddie Lawson is God!
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Silicone has NO PLACE in a motorcycle motor, and those that use it are INCOMPETENT HACKS!
In MY SHOP, if I saw that the mechanic would be beaten to death on the SPOT! On a Z of any type, the ONLY place to use RTV is on the cam half moon seals at the ends of the cam cover. With four NEW SEALS and a new gasket in hand, and the head surface IMMACULATE, lay a 1/8 line of RTV in that area. Using the index finger, schmeer it into a THIN coating and reassemble the parts as required. The area covered is only the absolute ends of the head.

It is also used to seal intake manifolds to the cylinder heads in a similar manner. Yamabond is used to seal engine cases together. Yamabond, Kawabond, Hondabond, whatever Suzuki calls it and Harley-Davidson Case sealer are the same exact stuff.

Not to be rude, Have you ever noticed I don't EVER post about having mechanical problems? Because I don't have any. Because I maintain and repair them correctly. I also use new consumable parts when required. Parts are not expensive, you need to be a better shopper.

MY RELIGION is the internal combustion engine. My ART goes 150 MPH. My garage is my church.
 

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Have you tried Z1 spares in wollongong ? Allan has a pretty good range of Z spares and his prices are pretty fair.
Cheers
Tony
 
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