1987 Kawasaki KX250 low-key restore

Related:
Create New Tag

7/14/2020 9:28 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/14/2020 9:28 AM

Picked up this roach job a couple years ago and am tired of looking at it in the corner of my garage.

Photo

Due to how rare NOS parts are for this machine I'm not going all in on a showroom resto. Gonna hit the basics such as brakes (rebuild calipers/master cylinders/pads/pins/keepers), suspension (linkage rebuild, examine and repack swingarm), cables, and some basic motor work (replate cylinder, fix a few leaky seals).

Pipe is fucked and while I did find a NOS pipe it was nearly $500 with shipping. So I will try to heat and pop out the dents with a pipe repair kit I got from Oz.

Silencer was also completely fucked, but I found a good one on ebay. That one will be cleaned and repacked.

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

7/14/2020 9:31 AM

Got some new reproduction plastic, reproduction OEM graphics, Sudco PWK38 air striker knockoff, new air filter and some other odds and ends:

Photo

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

7/14/2020 9:47 AM

Clutch cover had a crack. Thought about tigging it but went with a thorough cleaning and JB weld. low-key resto, yo.

Photo

Photo

Photo

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

7/14/2020 10:01 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/14/2020 10:02 AM

few random pics:
Photo

Photo


Got some 1988 KX forks pretty cheap off Ebay. These have cartridge internals unlike the 87 units.
Photo

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

7/14/2020 12:08 PM

If it's half as good as that 89 125 you did it will still be awesome.

|

7/14/2020 12:27 PM

Nice....

|

7/14/2020 8:14 PM

Bike had very low compression when I got it. It ran but I could literally turn it over with my hand.

Found a sweet deal on a newly replated 87 cylinder and head ($150) and got a NOS Wiseco piston for $70.

I pulled powervalves from the old cylinder, cleaned them up real good and installed in the new cylinder.

Should be installing this on the engine soon, then I'll pull the engine, clean and paint black.

Photo

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

7/17/2020 8:12 PM

Piston and cylinder installed tonight. Thoroughly cleaned powervalves and replaced all seals before re-installing.

Next, gonna remove the engine and strip frame to clean and at least rattle can with identical OEM colors. Photo

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

7/21/2020 10:58 AM
Edited Date/Time: 7/21/2020 1:13 PM

Got the engine out and frame stripped down. Been cleaning gunky smaller parts today.

Before:
Photo

After
Photo

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

7/23/2020 6:40 AM

Found time to get the frame and swingarm power washed. Not super thrilled with just a rattle can paint job - the frame rails has a lot of little nicks and scratches that will probably show through with spray paint.

Probably gonna drop it off at Miller's in Lilburn for powder coating. Same with swingarm and subframe.

The wheels on this bike are just gonna have to suck. Found a rear wheel replacement though the spoke nipples are pretty rusty. The front rim is stained with red clay and I couldn't get that shit off even with a good soak with purple power. Can't justify dropping 800 in wheels even if I could find someone to make up a set (probably unlikely) and don't want to fuck with lacing new rims. Low key resto, yo.

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

7/25/2020 6:46 AM

fuck it, dropped the frame and swingarm off at the powder coaters.

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

7/25/2020 7:03 AM

Going to be sweet when its done tho 👍

|

7/25/2020 10:03 AM

queen of spodes wrote:

fuck it, dropped the frame and swingarm off at the powder coaters.

You will be glad you did... Rattle can ok for lite touch up, not full strip & refinish job. Low-key😘

|

8/10/2020 7:45 PM

nevermind the boots, they will be replaced with swipers per 87 oem.

Photo

Photo

Photo

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

8/21/2020 11:08 AM

Anyone happen to have leads on stiffer fork springs for 1988 KX250/500 forks? Racetech checked and have nothing not even close. 88's were one off forks, they got cartridge internals. 87 were standard. 89s of course had the amazing 46mm forks.

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

8/21/2020 12:18 PM

I have seen many sets of the awesome 89 forks/ front ends for sale cheap, mostly 500 guys that upgraded their front ends...maybe better to look for complete 89 front end? Those 89 forks were really good back then... likely still good for most of us... I was able to get stiffer springs for my 89 KX250 from race tech...just a thought....

|

8/21/2020 12:28 PM

Unfortunately I have already way overspent this build including getting the '88 forks (at the time I was not able to locate a full set of 89 46mm forks + triples for a reasonable price). So swapping to yet another set is not an option for me. Maybe the next owner can do that.

Hoping someone can assist or give some leads on 88 KX springs. Progressive lists some, but they show them for a zillion 80s models forks. Per their specs their springs will be too large (OD) for these 88 cartridge forks.

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

8/23/2020 5:54 AM

queen of spodes wrote:

Anyone happen to have leads on stiffer fork springs for 1988 KX250/500 forks? Racetech checked and have nothing not even close. 88's were one off forks, they got cartridge internals. 87 were standard. 89s of course had the amazing 46mm forks.

Hit up cannon race craft they made some for my rm125 that weren't available, either send them your springs and tell them what rate you want or just email them the measurements and they'll make them whatever rate you want, only charge about 159

|

8/23/2020 6:48 AM

Did more research, the XR400R fork is 43mm cartridge. It uses a 470mm x 36mm OD spring,

The 88 KX250 has 549mm x 35.9mm OD.


Could probably make the XR400R springs work with a simple 80mm PVC spacer. RT sells the XR400R springs at 129 + ship.

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

8/24/2020 6:34 AM

Photo

Photo
|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

8/30/2020 8:18 PM

Photo
|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

8/31/2020 4:33 PM

Race Daytona vintage SX on this in Feb so I can low key roost it. Just kidding, new years resolution is not going in women's practice anymore.

|

9/3/2020 9:47 AM

KDXGarage learned me on the '88 KX triple clamps today. The 125 (the clamp I bought as a "KX250" clamp) has the one piece handlebar/clamp design. Same year KX250/500 has a separate bolt on handlebar clamp. Rake/trail differs between the 125 and 250 as well.

Found a cheap and clean KX250 clamp on ebay and waiting for that to arrive now. Will need to move my new stem bearings over or maybe just get new stem bearings and sell the 125 clamp as restored.


|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

9/3/2020 10:19 AM

soooo crazy, I have that EXACT red shop rag, I mean, what are the chances of that?

|

9/5/2020 12:34 PM

Talk about "A White Unicorn" , no ones ever going to accuse you of picking easy bike models to restore.

|

Yeah, I have no clue !!!

9/6/2020 6:21 AM

Just saving this one from becoming White Claw cans. Not much more than that. Parts are next to impossible to locate for this one-year generation KX250.

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

9/6/2020 7:17 AM

queen of spodes wrote:

Just saving this one from becoming White Claw cans. Not much more than that. Parts are next to impossible to locate for this one-year generation KX250.

For sure, the 88 is the Chinese pitbike of KX250s. Hard to get parts for. Always looked a little "off" to me

|

9/10/2020 7:20 PM

Not good
Photo

Boyesen still makes a RAD valve for the '87 KX250
Photo

Waiting on a fork rod holder to arrive, then complete fork restoration (new bushings, seals, stiffer springs and 5wt oil). She's not much to look at, but will eventually make someone a nice vintage racer
Photo

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto

9/11/2020 6:50 AM

The best vintage restores are mechanical only... then you can ride/ race it without worrying about everything.... ride it/ race it... get it out of your system... then You can make it look pretty when done...keep up the good work...

|

9/30/2020 7:03 AM

I'm really smart and misplaced the head stays when I took the bike apart 2 years ago.

Anyone happen to have a set laying around?

|

Ride like a girl!!!
2016 KTM 500 EXC-F
Current project: 2007 Kawasaki KX250-R7 retro build
Current project #2: 1987 Kawasaki KX250-E1 rider/racer resto
1989 KX125 resto
1987 RM250 resto