Kawasaki z1a Restoration work

Update January 2019

With my GPz1100B2 now running and registered,  I’ve decided to pull my finger out and get the z1A finished! I took some time to inventory the items needed to complete the frame and engine assemblies.

Currently I have a nearly finished rolling frame, it needs brakes fitted and bled, check and cleanup the engine mounting parts, grips, footrests, paint job and finally an exhaust system.

The engine work is my first project, I will be stripping down the partially assembled engine to make sure all the gaskets and seals are present, checking everything else that needs doing and then assemble it in one go. Then I will bench start it prior to fitting it into the frame, that means I need to make an engine stand for it.

Updated January 2016


I purchased a 1974 z1a for $1400 many years ago, the engine had been removed form the frame and when I went to pick it up, the owner gave me 2 other junk engines that were lying around. The frame had no rear shock absorbers and needed a ring job, frame/body rebuild and engine rebuild. It was also painted flat orange!

I stripped it down and started on the custom/factory rebuild stage and then stopped to rebuild my crashed z900. The z1a has sat for a few years but I now have a bit of free time to rebuild it while I was working on my book and needed photos for the re-assembly section.

<TODO – post picture here of current state>


Status Update

I’ve finally been able to secure 1st oversize rings and the Tacho worm drive shaft so the engine is now ready to be completed.

The z1a has had a few odds and ends purchased recently (end 2014) to get it complete (rolling frame) and I looked back at the engine recently and have decided to actively follow up on the 1st oversize rings. During a test assembly, the tacho drive piece broke, it appeared to have a small piece of metal wedged under the shaft from when the head was cleaned up so I now need to source another one. I will do a re-inventory of the bike and make sure all the parts for the frame are present ready to just drop the motor in and fire her up. More updates later in February 2015.

Currently I need to evaluate the cost of:

  • Body kit or repaint existing body parts
  • 4 into 4 exhaust or use existing drag pipes.

Recently (September 2014) I did an inventory of what needs to be done and decided the parts list was quite small so started hunting the parts to get it to a complete rolling frame with as much factory original parts as possible. In the process the custom bits are being removed.

Parts needed

  • Engine Parts
    • 0.50″ ring set – Purchased!
    • Head gasket – Stock.
    • Snap rings for the pistons – Stock.
    • Purchase cylinder head nuts – Todo.
    • Maybe fit new clutch plates – Some In stock – need more.
    • Engine Oil.
    • Tacho drive shaft – Purchased.
    • Engine mount kit – Double check bolts again.
    • Test coils and see if replacement needed.
  • Body Parts
    • Check switch gear and verify they are acceptable to install
    • Select final colour for 1974 z1A Model
    • Purchase a 4 into 4 exhaust system.
    • Grips
    • Instrument shells (need Black).

Rolling frame reassembly steps

Need to document the reassembly of the frame with pictures

  1. Double check bare frame.
  2. Fit engine into empty frame (engine mounting kit needed if parts missing).
  3. Fit swingarm and rear shocks.
  4. Install Centre stand, spring and side stand.
  5. Fit rear wheel and brake system.
  6. Lift onto centre stand and fit front support.
  7. Install forks and front end components.
  8. Fit wiring harness.
  9. Fit inner guard and rear guard.
  10. Fit rear tail piece/wiring and foot pegs.
  11. Install bars, instruments and switchgear.
  12. fit front wheel.
  13. Install brake lines and master cylinder.
  14. Fit front mudguard.
  15. Fit exhaust.



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