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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone. So last year bought an 84kz550 for the wife. Unfortunately I discovered over winter it had a seized engine so now just wondering if a kz400 twin from a 83 will fit in the frame of the 550
 

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With a cutting torch and a welder anything is possible, but if you are looking for a drop-in fit, I think you will be disappointed. Even if it fit, you have sprocket alignment to worry about along with trying to match airboxes and electrics. Why not just look for another kz550 engine or rebuild the one you have?
 

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I appreciate that, but engine swaps where engine mounts have to be relocated is not cheap either. You might be able to raise quite a bit of cash by parting out your KZ550 (rare bikes = high prices for NLA parts) and using those proceeds to buy some other bike. Just kicking around a few ideas.
 

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Yes, the frames are different.

My experience with Kawasaki and most Japanese manufacturers, is that they re-use very few parts from other models.
They believe that each bike should be designed to be perfect for that particular engine, so that means a frame gets designed for that engine only. They don't want to waste money on building a frame that is too strong for instance or that holds the engine too high or too low.

To the best of my knowledge their design goals don't include making sure engine swaps can be done. Having said that, I think some of the very early, single cylinder dirt bikes had frames that could accommodate an engine swap.

Certain smaller items like the CDI, voltage regulators, cables, sprockets etc may be common to other models even on new bikes, but most of it is a clean, new design.

If you want to find out for sure, take a tape measure and start measuring the two frames. I think you will quickly find some pretty large differences.
 

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In short.....it is possible...most everything is possible having the money, the time, and resources,...... but very impractical as you would be going from a long crank engine to a short crank engine in a frame conceived for the long crank, not to mention the lower power..........It would be a lot less expensive, much less laborious, and w/out all the headaches included with a swap, simply getting a complete bike as intended from factory.......

.......and if the wife is not mechanically inclined, and agrees to ride by herself, she would be much better off with a more modern bike, like a Versys 650 or even a Kawi EX500....no offense,..... I apologize in advance for having said that...I may have been out or line.
 

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The 550 engine uses the same crankcases as both the 500 and 400 four cylinder engines.

Either of these should be a straight fit in your 550 frame without modification.

There is still the issue of carbs and electrics to consider. Chain alignment may or may not be an issue as it’s possible that they all used the same rear wheel.
 

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A swap between two 4 cylinder engines should be much easier.

Tracker99 says he has a 1984 KZ550. For 1984 Partzilla lists only one KZ550 and that model is a shaft drive LTD.
Tracker can you confirm yours is shaft drive?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok thanks
A swap between two 4 cylinder engines should be much easier.

Tracker99 says he has a 1984 KZ550. For 1984 Partzilla lists only one KZ550 and that model is a shaft drive LTD.
Tracker can you confirm yours is shaft drive?
It is not a shaft drive
 

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Ok, 1980 vs 1984 makes quite a difference. Glad to get that sorted out. Any more thoughts on what you will do?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Well I guess I'll pull the 550 out and see if the 400 fits in. Wich is the faster way to get it on the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
But this is way cheaper seeing as I got the 400 for 250. If if don't work out then I'll put the 400 together I suppose
 

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Partzilla does not show a KZ400 in 1983. They do show a KZ440 though.

Do you have the entire bike as a donor? Have you considered that the alternator output of the 400 may not be enough to run the wiring and loads of the 550?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Partzilla does not show a KZ400 in 1983. They do show a KZ440 though.

Do you have the entire bike as a donor? Have you considered that the alternator output of the 400 may not be enough to run the wiring and loads of the 550?
Nope but 0i do have everything from the 400 but the rims
 

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Partzilla does not show a KZ400 in 1983. They do show a KZ440 though.

Do you have the entire bike as a donor? Have you considered that the alternator output of the 400 may not be enough to run the wiring and loads of the 550?
I can’t imagine that there won’t be enough juice from the 400 alternator, why would you think that the 550 would require more?

I’m not doubting you but I’d see the loads being pretty much the same.
 

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I have no idea what difference there may be between the two alternators, or the loads which is why said "it may not be enough".

I recently learned that Kawi used a two wire alternator on some of its KZ's and three wires on others. These are just things that should be considered and investigated.
 
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