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Just got a 1982 550 LTD today. I don't know much about motorcycles as this is my first but I have heard that sealed batteries are better. Is that true? If so should I roll into the local shop and buy, to start a relationship, or order on line and pop it in myself. I am quasi mechanical but haven't worked much with engines. I am hoping to have time to tinker with this a little.

I would never take my car to the dealer to work on because I am a cheap. Is the same true for a motorcycle?

One last item I am thinking about is luggage. I love to lug stuff around and thought some hard sided cases might be good. Any advice on that. (sorry this just came to me and I haven't looked at the thread yet to see if it is there).

Thanks hope the year has found you well.

Adam
 

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Navy Vet Search & Rescue
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According to all the hype I've read the sealed, maintenance free, AGM (aka glass mat) batteries are better than standard batteries. I purchased my first, and last, just a little over 1 year ago. It cost me about 50% more than a standard battery does for my bike and only lasted one season and died this fall about 2 weeks before my riding season was over. I'm sure there are others that love them or have had good luck with them but I haven't.

As for taking your bike to the dealer that is up to you. I might consider taking my truck to the dealer if it's a computer or injection system problem, but would never take my bike to a dealer. I guess you can say I'm cheap too but I get enjoyment and a sense of accomplishment out of fixing my own things.

As for the hard cases or a luggage rack for your bike, ebay always has something pop up if you trust buying like that.
 

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Atom, Welcome to the forum and congrats on the new bike.

First I would recommend getting a service and repair manual the two biggest and best are Clymer and Hayes, with Clymer getting my personal recommendation. From there look and read about any problems or issues you may have. You know weather you can do the things that need done or not. The advantage with the books is they walk you through each step so it isn't nearly as intimidating as just being turned loose and having to do it alone.

As far as a battery personally I go down to the local Wal-Mart and pick them up there for $30.00. If it goes out in a year I'm only out a little cash but if I drop several hundred and it goes belly up, I’m out a lot more.

Good luck with the bike, post some pictures drive safe and have fun!!
 

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Riding every day!
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Hi Adam,

Ask the shops near you if they will even work on a bike of that vintage. Many dealers will not, but some smaller shops will. The question now is, will they know more than you, if you have a manual?

Ask around and see if any shops specialize in vintage bikes. I asked the service guys at the local Kaw dealer, and they gave me a name of someone who has a good rep.

The good thing is, the Kaw 4 cylinders are pretty robust, and easy to work on. Parts are plentiful on ebay, and even the dealers still have some parts.. If you are mechanical at all, then get a Clymer's manual and a Kawasaki Factory service manual and with basic tools you can do the majority of all repairs.

I also use a Walmart battery. Charge it up the right way from the beginning, keep the fluid up, and use a small "Smart" trickle charger and you should get 2-3 years out of it, probably more.

My good friend rides the exact model bike you have. He throws on a big set of leather saddlebags and thinks nothing of taking long trips around the country on it. He rode up Pikes Peak a few years ago, he's 65 years young too.

Have fun and good luck!
 

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The Cruising Gunsmith
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Just got a 1982 550 LTD today. I don't know much about motorcycles as this is my first but I have heard that sealed batteries are better. Is that true? If so should I roll into the local shop and buy, to start a relationship, or order on line and pop it in myself. I am quasi mechanical but haven't worked much with engines. I am hoping to have time to tinker with this a little.

I would never take my car to the dealer to work on because I am a cheap. Is the same true for a motorcycle?

One last item I am thinking about is luggage. I love to lug stuff around and thought some hard sided cases might be good. Any advice on that. (sorry this just came to me and I haven't looked at the thread yet to see if it is there).

Thanks hope the year has found you well.

Adam
Me too. JC Whitney sells some stuff at decent prices. I get my batteries from them, oil filters, windshield, etc.
 

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I Would Buy A Manuel First And Do Only The Items You Feel Comfortable Doing,the Other Items That Need To Be Done I Would Find A Decent Mechanic,be It A Dealer Or Private Shop.remember You Only Have Two Tires Under You,so If Something Goes Wrong,well You Know What Happens Then. AS FOR THE BATTERY I USE ONLY INTERSTATE AND HAVE NEVER HAD A PROBLEM,USUALLY LAST 2-3 YEARS.
 

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Go walk thru the nearby shops, you can get a feel for the type of place they are. Are you greeted at the door or ignored? Do they have older bikes or none?

This varies GREATLY depending on your area.

My town.....we have 1 shop (small town). They LOVE to work on older bikes and prefer them, they are always restoring some older bike or chopping one up. They KNOW their stuff and have 2 huge Morton buildings FULL of parts bikes. They charge a VERY reasonable $30 an hour and if it takes longer then it should because of their mistake......its on them. Oil changes for $7. Tires mounted for $30 (that was front and back). The changed all the bearings in my swingarm (KZ1000) for $100 (that was parts and labor). Replaced my chain and just charged parts ($55) cause it only took 5 minutes. They commonly will take parts off their own bikes for me (they ride what I ride) and order replacements to keep me on the road. I can kill 2 or 3 hours just chatting with them - SUPER guys.

Next town over......dont care about my old crap, only sell new stuff and cant be bothered to even talk to me.....they charge $75 an hour....but they aint getting a dime from me.

Find someone like the first shop and your set.

As for the battery.....I guess I dont have any clue, Ive only been riding for 6 months and my batteries are good to go so I havent bought any. If I needed one I would honestly go to my guys and ask them.....and simply order whatever they told me to. They are a father son team and have been riding all their lives, I trust their advice over anything I could read on the internet. To me experience trumps the WWW.
 

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Patriot Guard Rider
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It costs me more than $7 to do an oil change on my own bike. Even Delo 400 costs $10 a gallon. The filter (factory Mitsubishi Galant, I have a spin on adapter) is another six.
Thats the labor charge. This way you can bring your own or pick out from the many different oils they sell.

I usually buy my Castrol Act-evo there....they charge $3.50 a quart....I think. Then I believe they charge $5 for the filter.

They dont care if your bring your own or buy there....either way.
 

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Living Large-down from XL
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Thats the labor charge. This way you can bring your own or pick out from the many different oils they sell.

I usually buy my Castrol Act-evo there....they charge $3.50 a quart....I think. Then I believe they charge $5 for the filter.

They dont care if your bring your own or buy there....either way.
If they do decent work, you have found a rare gem at those prices, my friend! :biggrin:
 

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Patriot Guard Rider
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If they do decent work, you have found a rare gem at those prices, my friend! :biggrin:
They do awesome work. Another think I like is they REALLY like old bikes. They would much rather work on old stuff then new stuff.

They always have some bike they are restoring, the ride old bikes as well.

Real nice folks.
 
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