1973 Kawasaki F11 - Would like help and ideas with this poor old bike...

Discussion in '2 smokers' started by wolfbuzz, Jan 22, 2014.

  1. wolfbuzz

    wolfbuzz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Oddometer:
    175
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO, USA
    I have in my possession a 1973 Kawasaki F11 that is in good aesthetic shape, it runs, but needs some elbow grease in pretty much every other way.

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    All of the electrics are useless, the speedo doesn't work, the clutch lever is damn near impossible to pull, and I'm pretty certain everything that can be adjusted, needs to be adjusted.

    So, I ask for tips, tricks, and help as problems arise with this project. One Idea I've add is to attempt to convert the bike to a 12v system (it is 6v originally). Is this even possible? If it is, is it worth the effort? Is it possible to put a disc brake on the front wheel? My guess is that it would require a new wheel?

    I have the 3rd party manual, so I've got that going for me. As always, all and any help is much appreciated.
    #1
  2. MikeGayner

    MikeGayner Adventurer

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2014
    Oddometer:
    30
    Cool bike. Why do you want to convert to 12v? Why do you want a disc brake front? That would be way more work than it's worth unless you've got a good reason for it.

    Start at the top and work your way down - fix all those little things (the bike runs and looks great, you've only got little things) and enjoy the bike. Don't overthink it.
    #2
  3. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Oddometer:
    479
    Location:
    Elgin, IL
    Looks like the big brother to my KE.

    My bike is also a 6v system. For me the desire to switch to 12v is based on bulb/lighting/accessory availability. Bulbs are usually special order item and aftermarket lighting and accessories are all designed to work with 12v systems. I'd like to switch my bike to mostly LED lighting.

    I'm planning on doing a few longer rides this year and would like the ability to charge a GPS/Tablet and my phone. I don't know of off the shelf solutions that go from 6v to 5v. I'll be talking to an electrical engineer friend and see what ideas he has.
    #3
  4. Spikester300

    Spikester300 Roll Tide!

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Oddometer:
    135
    Location:
    Killen, Alabama
    Are the clutch and speedo cables any good? Take them off and lube them, look for kinks and grease the speedo gear in the hub. You can probably find a set of forks and front wheel assy. off of a fairly new bike like a 125 kids dirt bike or dual sport that has the same diameter fork tubes and just put them on, easy.
    #4
  5. wolfbuzz

    wolfbuzz Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Oddometer:
    175
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO, USA
    You're right in the sense I should probably just get the thing running well before I try to tackle anything... bigger. Look below for why I find a 12 volt system worthwhile, however.

    This is exactly why a 12v system is desirable. I would like to put LEDs in the guage cluster, LEDs for brake lights, and LED turn signals. PLUS, the headlight is shot in this thing and 6v bulbs have to be ordered special from overseas. If I can convert this F11 to 12 volts my life would be somewhat easier. This is not mention ease of maintenance later down the road.

    The speedo cable is held to the gauge cluster via electrical tape, so I'm somewhat certain I need to outright replace it. As for the clutch cable/assembly; I haven't even taken a look at it yet. I'll let you know what I find.
    #5
  6. ihatemybike

    ihatemybike Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2012
    Oddometer:
    479
    Location:
    Elgin, IL
    Pretty sure we use the same headlight. Special order, but not from overseas. They are still available aftermarket and from dealers. They are also used by many antique cars, trucks and tractors.

    Here's what I found when I had to replace mine.
    Headlight 6v 30w/30w - 4020 bulb

    Kawasaki 23007-055
    Harley 67717-59
    Suzuki 35121-29610
    Yamaha 498-84120-60
    Wagner 33-0120
    #6
  7. tano

    tano 69

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2011
    Oddometer:
    5
    Location:
    filthy state
    That's one sweet ride !! Good luck


    Tired of the rat race
    #7
  8. Mr. Carts

    Mr. Carts Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2010
    Oddometer:
    411
    Location:
    Cahuilla Mountian
    If it was at my house I would be ripping up and down the fire roads with a big grin.
    #8
  9. bogieboy

    bogieboy Long timer

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Oddometer:
    1,027
    Location:
    Clifton Springs NY
    I owned a clapped out f11 for a few months... Mine would scare the crap outta me.... Would lift the front end on a 2-3 shift if i powershifted it... Ended up trading it away for a 200cc 4t shortly after...LOL i never got to tear into any of the gremlins on mine such as all the wiring and stuff...
    #9
  10. XYooper906

    XYooper906 Adventurer

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2013
    Oddometer:
    32
    Location:
    Fayetteville, GA USA
    Kicking this old thread to see if you still have this F11? Have you made any progress with it?

    As far as the clutch is concerned, I know that I thought it was the hardest clutch ever when I was a kid. But I knew nothing about how to fix it.

    The F11 uses a plastic clutch actuator that twists in a plastic insert in your side cover. It is like a corkscrew. When I took mine apart, I found it worn and cracked. Try replacing both along with lubing the cable. Maybe a little silicone grease on it would help, too.
    #10