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New Hope for Steam Power: Restoration to Fabrication

Posted January 08, 2010 12:22 PM by Old_School

In the last installment of this series, I described the acquisition of my test vehicle: a wrecked Kawasaki KZ400 motorcycle. Now that I have a (semi) decent starting point for my steam-powered project, I can begin the breakdown of what needs to be done.

Motorcycle Restoration

I have some prior experience restoring old motorcycles, so my first step was to strip down, clean, and take stock of what I had to work with. The frame had taken a bit of damage as a result of the accident and could never safely be made road legal again, but thankfully the major parts were all reasonably straight and un-seized. I tore the major bits apart and scrubbed the muck and old paint off, replaced missing fasteners, and ordered a new set of tires. I settled for a pair of cheap Dual-Sport rubbers by Shinko, mounted them up, and within a week it was starting to look like a bike again.

Engine Acquisition

The next step was to acquire a usable engine to convert for the project. I don't have the skills to manufacture parts for a multiple-cylinder engine, so I made a visit to a local motorcycle graveyard and liberated a seized single-cylinder Honda XL185 engine from a storage shed. The engine had essentially been ruined by being run without oil, so the piston and its pin were welded to the conrod, although the crank bearings were still good. I was able to remove the bad parts and buy replacements from eBay.

Fabricated Parts

While waiting for them to arrive in the mail, I lined up the drive sprockets and made some custom motor brackets out of steel plate and angle iron. Rounding everything off with an extremely well-weathered gas tank from another junkyard, the project was beginning to take shape.

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Guru
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#1

Re: New Hope for Steam Power: Restoration to Fabrication

01/09/2010 7:13 AM

Excellent, I await further installments with eager anticipation
Del

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Guru
United Kingdom - Member - Indeterminate Engineering Fields - Control Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: In the bothy, 7 chains down the line from Dodman's Lane level crossing, in the nation formerly known as Great Britain. Kettle's on.
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#2

Re: New Hope for Steam Power: Restoration to Fabrication

01/11/2010 5:08 AM

Good stuff. This may be of interest too.

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