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454 LTD Build

17591 Views 57 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  MadKat
Hey guys,

Still working on my VN750.

Just got a bunch of supplies and parts in the mail. Hope to have an update on that one soon.

I recently picked up a 1989 Kawasaki 454. It's old and beat to hell and it's going to be a fun project. I would like to start a build log, and wanted to know if y'all would be okay with me posting in the builds section or if that would be considered in bad taste.

The 454 was produced for 5 years before being reintroduced to the market as the Vulcan 500. She's basically a baby 750 and I'm pretty stoked.

Anyways, let me know! Thanks.

Edit: Here she is! Lets get this party started.

She came with a pile of parts. She seen better days.
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Do it up.they chop well

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I believe I've answered your question.
We need photos by the way....

that's all I'm gonna say about it! >:)
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just wait till I start my ironhead thread

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I love this place haha.

Doc, you've been around long enough you can get away with it!

Alright gentlemen, pictures and updates by the end of the day.
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454 LTD

My first Kawasaki was a 454 LTD. I really liked that bike.
Moved the other girls around and got her set up.
First step, clean her good, take inventory of whats there
and whats not, look for broken / missing parts, etc.

Stripping her down so I can get in there and clean

Using the ol dremel to scrub some rust spots off the frame.
Not too worried about cleaning up the shocks, theyre getting replaced.

Wait a minute..

Free tools, score!

Mufflers off, Center stand off, Battery box out, Tail subframe off
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I want to do a rear end conversion similar to this,
chop the sissy bar, mount a Softtail seat, swap the shocks.

And I want to do the bars like this one here

Plan to weld these to the stock headers and use black header
wrap for most of the pipe. Probably leave about 6" of chrome
and the fishtail poking out the back.

The front end is right trashed. Need a new instrument panel,
ignition, keys, etc. Im going to focus on getting the engine
running and making sure the bike turns over and such first,
but long term ill be replacing the bars, grips and mirrors.

Im also considering doing a front end swap. The forks from
the 1986 VN750 are a direct bolt on. I think Im going to swap
the forks and front wheel so I can get that dual front disk.

Plan is as follows:

1) Clean the bike up and down all over.
2)Pull the carbs and have them sonic cleaned / rebuilt.
3) Replace all the fuel / air lines and coolant hoses.
3A) Coolant reservoir is missing and needs install.
4) Flush the oil and coolant system.
5) Change the spark plugs.
6) Install K&N filters
7) Inspect and repair / replace wires as needed.
8) Replace the electronics (Regulator, Relays, etc).

Hopefully at that point she will turn over and then I can proceed with
other parts of the build, like the front / rear end, etc.

Heres how she sits currently, Ive sprayed her down with a 50/50 mix
of CLR and Water and scrubbed a lot of spots with a wire brush. After
I verify the engine is running and take of all of the above, I plan to go
ahead and paint the frame and engine.
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I don't understand why anyone would rebuild a Kawasaki . they are junk.I'd make a digger outta a Vespa.or be chopular and weld up a hardail Honda rebel.all kidding aside,I've seen a lot done with Kawasaki twins.good power for the size.

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lowered shocks in rear,cut off frame about 2" past shock and fab a small fender mount and a bobbed rear fender,solo seat...or cafe racer...

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Hahaha okay Doc! The Vespa would probably have more power...

All jokes aside, there are two main objectives here.

One is to maintain a decent budget. My first thought was the same as yours - chop frame, chop the fender and mount a solo seat. That's how my 750 is! But I really like the look with that soft tail seat and it requires a lot less work and a lower budget. With the condition of the forks, I'd rather put that time and cash into rebuilding or swapping the front end.

The second point here is that this is going to be a gift. I'm going to give it to my little brother. He needs a little more time to mature before he is on two wheels, but I'm proud of him and he is doing well and has developed respect for the road in the last few years.

I want it to be badass and be reliable and fun to ride, but I'm not intending to throw in as much time and cash as I have on the 750, knowing that it's going to be a gift.

If he decides to do a hardtail or Springer conversion later I'll be glad to help and it'll be a good opportunity for him to learn some wrench and fab.

And I figure.. The 454 won't have him puttering in the slow lane, but he don't need a 1200 for his first ride..
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Loads of great ideas Madkat, keep us posted with the progress :)
I like the softtail seat as well and I like your plan

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Hey guys! Been a little crazy with the Holidays and all.

Was supposed to drive to a nearby city tomorrow night to pick up a set of nice forks from a 1986 454, they were really clean and rebuilt, and the guy loved his 454.

Then I found out that one of my supervisors had an old VN sitting in his garage and he was looking to sell it. SCORE. Shes an old project that kinda got left behind, out of the DMV, shes perfect for a parts bike. VIN Shows that she is a 1986 VN750!! The front end looks beautiful.

Plan at this point is to buy the 86 VN750 from him, pull the front end and do a direct swap. This will fix multiple problems. On the 89 454, the front forks are rusted and pitted, the seals are no good, the harness is chewed up, ignition is busted, Headlight rusted out, and its only got a single caliper being a 454.

I can fix all these issues in one fell swoop with the front end swap, and gain the dual disk setup that I wanted to have on this bike. Theres an added bonus of having a bunch of spare parts for my 1987 VN750 thats been going on in my other build log for quite some time!

More updates and pictures soon. Also, if yall are looking for any parts, let me know and Ill see if I can pull them from the donor bike and ship em out your way. Discount pricing for my fellow VN fanatics.
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Awwwww yea.

David, you are the man. Trailered the 86 VN750 over to my pad today, and I am super excited.

She came with a box of random parts that I havent really dug through yet.

Looks like this was a project that got abandoned by a buddy and ended up in the garage kinda getdown. At one point there was an Ear Shave done, shes got pods and the reed valves were in the box of random parts. The front end is BEAUTIFUL.

Looks like the brakes were recently serviced. The master cylinder is empty, and she has steel braided lines. The calipers look nice, but I havent looked too close yet. The rotors have see better days though. I will probably end up taking advantage of the brakes being empty and do a rebuild / new pads before filling her with fluid.

The goal here is to do a front end swap from the 86 VN750 to the 89 454. Forks and all should be a direct bolt on. Theres a LOT of stuff on the front of the 454 that needs rebuilt / replace, and this will solve most of it at once.

Spent most of the time today cleaning and organizing the garage, hope to have some wrenching updates soon. Also, if any of yall are looking for parts that you want me to yank off the 86, let me know.
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Nice one Madkat ... pretty clean looking Donor bike, I'd be tempted to fix that one up too lol

I thought the engine on an 86 would be black. That is the first blue vn750 I have seen.

Ride Safe
I thought the engine on an 86 would be black. That is the first blue vn750 I have seen.

Ride Safe
Only the 1985 had the black motor. That blue isn't stock, it was painted.
There was however a blue model, can't remember the year. Had the chrome side covers.
the 86 still had the black wheels

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