Project Full Circle:Ninja 650 gets a makeover

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by sailah, Nov 9, 2012.

  1. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    scored the bike!!! 2007 Ninja 650 with 12k on it for $560. Woot!! Time to start the real building now. It was obviously in a serious wreck, the forks are snapped off at the lower triple, header is smashed and the radiator is most likely knackered. Oh and the tank is seriously dented.:D But all those parts are things I would most likely replace anyways with custom parts. I inspected the bike personally and I didn't see too much wrong, no obvious frame damage, steering stem looks intact. Really excited to get this build going this winter.

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    I bought it from Copart auction which is like a salvage auction site. In PA you don't need a dealer license and sign up was simple. Since it was a local auction in Pittsburgh, I can drive over and pick it up. My final bid was $375, all the fees added up to $560 but still I think it's a fair price for a bike that I can probably recoup a little on by selling the stock parts for a few bucks. Maybe.:lol3
    #21
  2. ktmklx

    ktmklx Been here awhile

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    Good job on the score! BTW the red Ninjas are the fastest ones.
    #22
  3. LukasM

    LukasM Long timer

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    Great deal for sure, when you are done selling the left-over parts you will be money ahead! :clap
    #23
  4. sanjoh

    sanjoh Purveyor of Light

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    Dang, even came with a plate:clap
    #24
  5. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    I seriously doubt that:evil Every time I try and part a bike out I spend more time and energy going to the post office and dealing with idiots on ebay. Last year I (stupidly) bought a kx500. I realized I would never use it so I sold the whole thing on ebay. I sold the piston and cylinder to the top bidder for $0.99 each. The shipping to FINLAND was $43, which I charged him. By the time I ate the paypal fees and listing fees I should have thrown them in the trash. Oh and then he disputed the shipping and I ate that too. :bluduh

    For something like this bike, I'd just as soon give the parts away than try and make money on them, not worth the hassle. Hell I still have wheels off the FZ1, swingarms etc. I'm trying to emulate you Lukas you part-hordin' mofo!!:deal

    Got a rear KTM brake setup BTW? My local buddy here who I bought the forks off of has an 05 swingarm so I'm just going to take that. But I feel like I need to eventually buy something from you so we can make this an international build.

    BTW, I also am (hopefully:freaky) soon to be a 33% owner in a Aprilia Futura in Milan and you're the first person I am coming to see so look out:lol3
    #25
  6. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    This is the best pic though:lol3

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    Motor looks clean

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    And to think I paid $1000 for the stolen bike 3 years ago. Still can't believe I did that, and drove to NYC, and the NYC police were like "We really don't care unless someone died" when I explained to them with detailed emails with address, payment info etc.:huh
    #26
  7. Roadracer_Al

    Roadracer_Al louder, louder, louder!

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    Yeah, F'in' police. You can't get them to bust a verified bike thief, but damn, they care, a LOT when you wheelie past them on the freeway, though. :huh

    I did a lot of thinking on the matter when I was considering my own dirt Ninja. I came to the conclusion that I would need to extend the frame in order to move the steering head forward quite a bit to keep the front wheel from hitting the radiator.

    A word to the wise: if they hit hard enough to snap off the RSU fork legs (i.e. thick steel tubes), then there was a metric shitload (that's a technical term, don'tcha know...) of energy put into that frame -- I'd all but guarantee it's bent somewhere, and probably bent a lot. I'd suggest that you loosen the motor mount bolts and see if you can slide them -- don't take them out because the frame might go SPROING and you'll never get it back together... but it's a good test. Look for cracked/flaking paint.

    Also, check to see if the steering head bearing cups are ovalized from the impact. I did a job years ago for a guy that hit a curb and ovalized his steering head. I turned new cups, cut off the old ones, and welded them in place. Worked great.

    If you find it is bent, then it might actually be easier to either build a new frame from scratch or buy a straight used one... but you're just going to hack it up. Like me, you love your tubing bender - doing a whole frame from scratch ought to be good clean FUN.
    #27
  8. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    Easy money, and that's what it's all about:deal. Investigating a crime, well that sounds like a lot of effort.

    Al I hope you are wrong. I am really not interested in a custom frame at this point although I might just have to do that. I sounds like others have had issues with the fork legs limiting the steering arc. Cutting the head tube and stretching it would solve the problem but now you have an issue, if using the stock tank, of being in an uncomfortable riding position. Course you can solve this by scrapping the tank and moving the seat forward.

    I've done two of these builds now so I am aware of the numerous pitfalls that can mire a project down and cause it to go dormant because of the enormity of a problem. I don't want that to happen this time, so I am going to attempt to keep things as stock as possible where it matters. Your point about the frame being bent is a good one and something I haven't overlooked. It's just hard to see based on the limited viewing angle I had in person.

    I think the front wheel hitting the rad is an easier problem to solve. I could run split rads like a dirt bike, relocate the rad under the seat but now I am not going to be running a subframe tank. I have some offset triples that should get me a little more real estate. Honestly I had another look at the frame and it's actually a pretty nicely designed frame. I'm not sure I'm comfortable redesigning it without some engineering. Assuming the frame is tweaked in a couple places, I think that can be dealt with in situ. As long as the weld integrity is fine I'm cool with it. I have my welding handiwork holding my fat ass safely in the air in other places.

    I never knew that other guys had issues with the front wheel and the radiator. Maybe they aren't running a 21" front? JDRocks, what's the verdict on this:wink:
    #28
  9. jdrocks

    jdrocks Gravel Runner

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    i'm running a 19" front, but it's close to the inflated diameter of the 21", no interference problems when using the DRZ400S forks in the OEM Versys clamps, and that includes clearance to the radiator guard which is mounted about 15mm in front of the core. almost 12" of travel on the DRZs, and even using all 12, nothing touches.

    ktmklx is running a 21 with long travel USDs, the OEM radiator with his shop built guard, and i don't recall him reporting an interference issue.

    with all the nuances of fork length, diameter, offsets, steering stops, clamps, and clearance issues around the steering head area, the selection of the swap in parts for the front suspension seems to be the key to the viability of these builds.

    the wheelbase on my particular bike seems to be longer than some of the other numbers i've seen reported, but the handling is spot on, both gravel and pavement, with plenty of miles on both.

    these builds are sort of old news after three years. that said, i'm more convinced than ever that a custom build based on this ptwin platform is still the biggest bang for the buck available in the moto world using any reasonable cost/performance metric. it does help to be USA based, where all required used parts are dirt cheap.

    properly designed and built, these inexpensive ptwin motos will outrun a whole bunch of "DS" bikes found on the showroom floor.

    i do have a like new radiator/fan for sale if yours is trashed. also an ER6 tank.

    you do need to check that frame, but it's not difficult once you get everything out of the way.
    #29
  10. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    Thanks jd. I didn't have any clearance issues with the cbr and that rad and header combo was tough to get around. My gut tells me it will be fine. Steering lock is another issue I'll tackle when I get to it.

    I think you are right with bang for the buck. These bikes have everything you need as a base other than suspension. I'm going to attempt to add to the knowledge on this project by fitting a longer ktm swingarm. I had an idea to try and come up with a custom top shock mount that keys off the stock shock mount on the frame. Assuming there is enough room for the ktm shock, I could loan out the jig which would locate the shock mount and users could then weld theirs in and send it to the next guy. I could also machine up the swingarm spacers.

    I think I'll run into problems fitting the shock in the stock ninja subframe though. I suspect there will be cutting involved...
    #30
  11. Salsa

    Salsa Been here awhile

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    "Cutting the head tube and stretching it would solve the problem but now you have an issue, if using the stock tank, of being in an uncomfortable riding position."

    I made a new head crown and welded in front of the original one on a couple of dirt bikes. I moved it up or down to get the right height.

    Don
    #31
  12. sanjoh

    sanjoh Purveyor of Light

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    No clearance issues 21" wheel, wp43 forks

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    #32
  13. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    The guys at the yard were like wtf, an fj cruiser??:lol3

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    #33
  14. theWolfTamer

    theWolfTamer Lupie on a Mission

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    You know, you could just send me that FZ1 stuff if you need to get it out of your way. :D
    #34
  15. sanjoh

    sanjoh Purveyor of Light

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    Surely it's out of the FJ by now:evil
    #35
  16. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    :lol3 funny you should mention that I am literally 15 minutes away from heading to the storage unit for a little surgery. Tool box is packed, hope I didn't forget anything.

    I send some pics post-op:wink:

    I have done some major rethinking on this build I think you will all like the slight change in direction. Going for a rally fairing up front...
    #36
  17. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    OK so I'm officially underway on the Ninja. Apparently I wasn't stocked up on karma because I ran into my first little problem which I will detail later.

    Ripped the bike apart and brought back to the shop what I needed which was essentially the frame, motor, electrical and rear plastics. the radiator & header are both toast.

    Built a frame to hold everything up so it's not resting on the oil pan.

    [​IMG]

    I noticed an oil leak when I went to go see the bike at the salvage yard. I also noticed it was hit on the engine plate. I did think that possibly there was a correlation, and I was right, unfortunately. I put a straightedge on the block and it wasn't close, so I smacked it with a small sledge to see if I could straighten it out but the case cracked.

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    I'm debating what to do at this point. I really don't want to tear down a motor and replace the cases but I also don't think welding it or drilling & tapping are going to work either. It's a noticeable leak too and I think I made it worse:lol3 I think if I try and weld it, especially so close to that seam, it will be a lot of frustration for nothing. I found a set of used cases on ebay for $75 so I might just swap everything into those cases.

    Everything else on the bike looks great, it's actually pretty clean. The frame has zero indication it was hit there's no bent metal or flaking paint anywhere. I took off some motor mounts and the bolts went right back in.
    #37
  18. dentvet

    dentvet Long timer

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    forward on. If the bolt hole isn't stripped, i would keep going on your build. You don't have much to lose in trying to seal that crack with a quick tig zapp. All you did was stress relieve the area with your hammer.

    you might have to pull the engine down the line for something else so keep going on all the modifications for now. I bet it will leak less than your CBR did initially:D

    you might practice welding a bead on a spare/junk engine case to get the settings perfect. cases have some weird porosity/granularity going on, or so I have read.
    #38
  19. sailah

    sailah Lampin' it

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    Yeah the more I think about it I am going to try fixing it in place. Pulling the cases and swapping them is a bigger deal than I thought after reading through the service manual. There's lots of stuff that each case is machined specifically for and if I don't get a good match I need to get other bearings etc. Forget it, I'll just buy a new motor at that point.

    I do know my limitations and I think if I try and TIG that crack closed I'll melt the gasket and make the leak worse. What about drilling and tapping that part for a long thin bolt and cinching down on it? I think that would help the crack stop. Then just rough up the surface on all sides and JB weld the crap out of it using the steel stick stuff. I've had excellent luck with that previously to fix other leaks and this is a slow leak. Hell if it doesn't work it's not like I ruined anything:lol3

    [​IMG]

    Other than that little setback I am really excited about this build.

    I decided to leave the rear subframe alone for now. I will need to cut a couple tubes to clear the PDS shock but looks like I have plenty of room.

    [​IMG]
    #39
  20. Krasniewski

    Krasniewski I don't ride much.

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    Not sure on your state, but here in the People's Republic of California they check the engine number when you register a vehicle from out of state. No big deal, just good to know b/f you start melting that kind of stuff off.

    If you're going to JB Weld that thing anyway, then my vote is to Tig it as best you can. Preheat and use plenty of amps... keep the oil in and hope for the best. Somehow "it's JB welded to keep the oil in b/c I tig'd it" sounds better than "that JB Weld is there b/c there's a crack in the case, as well a bolt going through it to try to keep the crack from spreading"... just has a better ring to it. :D
    #40