1. Guest,
    We need good tech writers that are willing to help out here at ZL-OA. If you like taking photos of jobs as you perform the steps on your repairs, have historical ads/documents from old magazines, or any else you think belongs in the Technical Library than you might be able to help. Send a private message to Furchin, Mudrunner88, Chris, Jarney, Wuputt, or Markus56 and we can lead you in the right direction to get started.
    Dismiss Notice

ZL600 Engine swap

Reptar May 25, 2014

  1. Reptar

    Reptar Well-Known Member

    Hello all, hope all has been well.
    last time I was on here the mechanical seal went on my waterpump. I did not notice this until after a round trip to work, about 45 miles, when my valvetrain sounded funny. I bought a used waterpump on ebay from a ninja with low miles, and that did the trick. The most coolant contaminated oil would have hung around under the valve cover during those 45 miles, and I believe that was enough to cause some scratches to my cam lobes, which after my valve adjustment a few days ago, I discovered what those pits look like, only 4k miles later.. I'm not too happy. (they could have progressed from overtight valves too =/ or a number of things, but this is my best guess)
    Well I found a 95 Ninja 600 on craigslist with an engine code starting in ZX600A, and picked it up last night. All I know is that it has been in a shed for some years, after an accident, but ran well before hand. if the motor checks out, I may attempt to swap it into my zl, otherwise I may just move the head over. I'll try to keep you guys posted on my progress.
    And I bought a European Valve Cover from a 94 (i think) GPZ600 a few months ago, you can see how it looks on my bike below.
    I love the lack of those big reed valves. =D CAM00015.jpg CAM00016.jpg CAM00017.jpg CAM00020.jpg CAM00024.jpg CAM00025.jpg
    I will be parting out the remainder of the ninja when this is said and done, anyone here gets at the parts before ebay does.

    [edit- donor bike has about 20k miles, my ZL is almost to 40k]
  2. Reptar

    Reptar Well-Known Member

    Re: ZL600-ZX600 Cam/Head/Motor swap

    So the oil looks pretty dark, I hooked up a battery to the starter (after pouring a small amount of oil into each spark plug hole) and its clutch is functioning well. It looks like number one was flooded with gas after the petcock started to leak..
    No1 CAM00035.jpg No2 CAM00034.jpg No3 CAM00033.jpg No4 CAM00032.jpg
    The carbs look nasty, but other than the slides being gunky, the diaphragms look brand new. four of those new already cover the price I got the lot for :D

    The muffler was cut off and sold before the bike was left and forgotten, I'm not sure the person who constructed this monstrosity had drain plug access in mind when they constructed this mess

    And the cams that I wanted are in fact pitted as well, just not as badly. Maybe I will keep them and bring them into a shop, they don't look nearly as bad as mine do.
    CAM00029.jpg CAM00027.jpg CAM00028.jpg CAM00031.jpg CAM00030.jpg

    The gap on the exhaust side is fairly correct, but the intake side which should have less clearance, is about the same.
    Last edited: May 25, 2014
  3. Jarney

    Jarney Strip Warrior Staff Member Administrator Super Moderator Supporting Member

    Cool, good luck with the swap. Good pics and write up - keep it coming with your progress. Those cams definitely look better. Later.
  4. ssbn610g

    ssbn610g Well-Known Member

    The issue with scoring or pitting is how deep it goes. I am not sure of the hardening process for these cams but typically the hardness depth is around 6-8 thousands. Once you go through that, the cam can wear very quickly. Hope it all works out.

  5. Reptar

    Reptar Well-Known Member

    Anyone familiar with motorcycle cam work?
    I've thrown the idea around of polishing the ninja cams myself, but I'm not sure how much metal will have to come off to return a flawless finish. I believe even a thousandth of an inch off of a lobe could effect timing up to 3 degrees.. AND I don't know how deep the hardened exterior goes.. What I'm worried about is the new geometric relationship with the rocker, although I guess smaller reground cams would contribute even more stress... I just don't want anything to break. :D

    I plan to remove the head, check/regrind/lap all valve seats, guides and seals, clean and polish the head, hone the cylinder, and put in new rings.

    The other and more pricey option would be to have the cams welded on, then reground.. or just ground to the factory profile, but smaller
    unless I can find some great looking cams on ebay or something in the mean time... I don't even have the gasket kit yet

    A co-worker is suppose to lend me his leak down test set up tomorrow. Once I've tested the motor, and am sure the bike wasn't left in a shed because of a broken motor instead.. I will start taking the head apart.

    moar pics later

    so far the differences I have found between the motors are..
    in 88 they changed the crankshaft, but it is also used in the 96 ZL600.
    The head, but not the gasket. this is not on the 96 zl600 ( I think this is where the extra 10hp added in 88 is , but excluded from the eliminator )
    The coils, also used in the 96 ZL600.
    the oil line, random bolts here or there.. nothing too big
    Last edited: May 30, 2014
  6. Reptar

    Reptar Well-Known Member

    So I know the motor should be hot but I poured a bit of oil in each spark plug hole and tried a leak down test. After about 10 seconds, cylinder 2,3,and 4 started to blow by the pistons at a loss of 5psi per cylinder. And number one had a 10psi loss, but from the intake valves.

    I did find that I will need to swap two gears tops from my gearbox to the donor motor to make everything work. Moar to come
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
  7. Reptar

    Reptar Well-Known Member

    So I started to pull the motor apart, Three of the four rocker arm shaft keepers are nicked up a bit, the shafts look okay, so I plan to just get new keepers.

    CAM00166.jpg CAM00165.jpg CAM00164.jpg CAM00153.jpg CAM00152.jpg CAM00162.jpg CAM00156.jpg CAM00158.jpg CAM00161.jpg CAM00157.jpg CAM00163.jpg CAM00155.jpg CAM00159.jpg CAM00150.jpg CAM00149.jpg CAM00172.jpg CAM00148.jpg CAM00147.jpg

    What concerns me is the notches worn down on the back of the clutch basket and the side of the case. looking at the parts diagrams I don't think it was missing a washer of some sorts, but it definitely appears like the basket is contacting the case. Extra bits not cleaned up from casting maybe? if thats the case is the extent of the damage done? Everything else is looking quite promising so far.

    CAM00146.jpg CAM00145.jpg CAM00144.jpg CAM00142.jpg

    And does anyone have any suggestions in pulling this? I have a standard puller but it's useless unless I tap the two hole in the cover. I may have to do just that..


    I've been pondering some oil mods that some of you are doing to the big ZL's. I want this pup to last me a long time so any improvements I am able to make I am fully interested in. Anyone know if I could benefit from trimming up my oil filter bolt a bit for more volume/flow, as well as shimming my pressure release valve? or are these zx9, 10, & 12 mods only.. The part number for the valve is the same for the ZL9, so If I found a piston type valve for a newer bike that the rest of you can use, I should be able to use it too right?

    Still Much Much more to come.

    If anyone knows of any shafty (or not) swingarms that will fit my ZL6 frame with little to no modification that would be sweeeeeeet. I really would like a rotor in the rear. (or maybe a chain and a little extra height/oomph)
    ( I asked someone about this months ago and I measured my swingarm.. I think it was just under 300mm.. but for the life of me I can't find that thread!)

    Attached Files:

  8. Jarney

    Jarney Strip Warrior Staff Member Administrator Super Moderator Supporting Member

    I don't think I can help much with your questions on the 600's. Check with Furchin or jmassengill, they are more knowledgeable on the 6's. Great pics though and keep us up to date on the progress. Later.
  9. Trojan441

    Trojan441 Well-Known Member

    What happened to the project did he ever finish it?
  10. Reptar

    Reptar Well-Known Member

    I did not finish it. I got a turbo volvo and dove head first into those lovely swedes.
    I picked up a 2017 versys 1000 that I've been riding daily.
    I have a 90 volvo 240, and 06 XC90 projects that Ill pick up some speed on in the beginning of 2020.
    After that I'll be getting back to the old zl600. I still have everything in boxes just as i left it 5 years ago. wow does time fly.
  11. R. J.

    R. J. Supporting Member

    :hello: I thought that you got locked up or something. :laughing7:. Glad to here from you.

Share This Page