1988 650sx - Black and Metal
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  1. #1
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    After much deliberation on starting a build thread, I decided at the near-end of my build I would create one. This community has given a lot of information, friends, parts, etc. to me so I am hoping to give a little bit back with this thread. If you see something here that interests you, I’d be glad to help if I can.

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  2. #2
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    Re: 1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    In the late summer of 2010 after my annual “Guys-Weekend” up north Michigan I returned home with a love for the Kawasaki 650sx, and $500 extra bucks in my pocket after I had graciously distributed some casino winnings to my comrades. Two of my close friends have 650sx’s and after riding them all weekend I decided it was time for one of my own.

    I picked up the ski from a guy who had it for one season and he purchased it from the original owners that bought it new in 1988. The ski was painted bluish/purple with an aftermarket intake grate, K&N flame arrestor, and red anodized 7-degeree bars. To build the all-around big water, small water, young rider, old rider, etc. ski that I wanted there was much work to be done.
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  3. #3
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    Re: 1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    Before the snow fell I rode the ski a half dozen times. It performed well and never gave me any hassle. On the last ride of the season in October the ski did bog down a few times after I subbed the ski a few times and filled the hull halfway with water.

  4. #4
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    Re: 1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    Teardown:
    The 650 would reside in my garage over the winter on a wooden off-road cart with gnarly inflatable tires to make the trip back to my shed if needed in the following year.

    I disassembled the entire ski and placed all of the parts, nuts, bolts etc. into little bags labeled accordingly. I took many pictures along the way so that reassembly would be easy in the spring. You can never take enough pictures, because the one you miss is always the one you need!

    The engine was placed onto a little wooden stand that made its way to my workshop in the basement of the house. Once the boat was torn apart I inspected it from top to bottom for structural damage. The front bumper was badly cracked on both the top and bottom layers, while the rear bumper was cracked straight through on the left corner. The hull had one large stress fracture on the right hand side.

  5. #5
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    Re: 1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    Engine Work:
    My initial plan for the engine was to make sure it would be reliable for the next few seasons, and get a little more power out of it if possible. A compression test led to the realization that 130-140psi just wasn’t going to cut it.

    Taking the engine apart revealed a few interesting things. The cylinder walls and head were in good condition. A flex hone on the cylinder walls was all that I needed. Upon reviewing the pistons however, the wear on the rear piston was excessive. While looking at them sitting on the bench I came to the harsh realization that I had one OEM Kawi piston, and one Wiseco piston; along with different wrist pins. Looking back I believe the weight different was about one ounce per cylinder!
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  6. #6
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    Re: 1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    At this point a whole new top end was needed; luckily BLRider was there when I needed him. He was kind enough to part with a silver cylinder setup with Kawi pistons and a PJS head. In the meantime I replaced the shaft seals and went through the bottom half of the engine to clean it up, also adding a crank case drain block off at the same time.

    An SBN44 Mikuni carb, new jets, spring, needle, etc. was waiting with a Westcoast intake, ProK flame arrestor, diverter exhaust main, and Westcoast pipe to be added when the engine was reassembled.
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  7. #7
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    Re: 1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    With the engine rebuilt and ready to go, plenty of snow still laid on the ground; good thing because I had plenty left to do.
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  8. #8
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    Re: 1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    The pump was taken apart and cleaned up with sand paper and polishing pads; I didn’t want to blueprint it this season, but will consider it in the future. The OEM impeller was replaced with a Solas 14/19 and the tail cone was replaced with a stubby Wet Wolf cone. I picked up a damaged R&D Toploader from John Zigler and TIG welded the crack, and then sandblasted the entire grate; aluminum bow eyes accompanied the purchase from John.

    For the ride plate I chose to make a 3” extended plate using a section from an OEM Kawi plate and TIG welded it onto my stocker. I also added ¼” skegs that are about 6” long. PrickOfMisery also hooked me up with another stock plate that was D-Cut. As I mentioned, this ski is for all-around use so I am keeping my options open on different riding setups.
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  9. #9
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    Re: 1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    The hull was flipped belly up and stripped down to the bare SMC. I had to make a few minor repairs to large gouges with epoxy and filler (aersol cabosil) from US Composites.
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  10. #10
    I dream skis EngineerJon's Avatar
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    Re: 1988 650sx - Black and Metal

    Time to Paint:
    I didn’t have any particular color in mind for the ski when I first started, anything but purple would be just fine with me. I have two good friends that own an auto body shop, but getting a commitment from them on painting my ski just took too long.

    I decided that the ski would be gloss black head to toe.

    The hull received three layers of DuPont Corlar epoxy primer. This is a high build epoxy primer that sands relatively easily and preps the surface for DuPont Imron Polyurethane. With the hull primed, blocked, and ready for the top coat I laid down three layers of high gloss black Imron. Each layer was wet sanded with 600 and 1000 grit within 48 hours after each coat, and then 600, 1000, 1200, and 1500 on the final coat with 3M Perfect-It buffing compound on a waffle style pad.
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