KAWASAKI ZRX1100 TURBO

Longer in the mak­ing than the Bible, this se­ries fi­nally sees light at the end of the tun­nel! Dowds, it’s over to you…

Classic Motorcycle Mechanics - - CONTENTS - WORDS AND PHO­TOS: ALAN DOWDS

Alan Dowds has some­thing to report (at last!)

It’s the be­gin­ning of the end for the ZRX project build now. With the engine in the frame, the Ro­to­box car­bon wheels fit­ted (see box) and some us­able stock (for the mo­ment) front forks sourced, it’s start­ing to look like a proper bike. And the next big hur­dle is be­ing jumped as you read this. I’ve fi­nally got hold of a turbo, and my pal James Mccarthy is lim­ber­ing up with his TIG welder to fab­ri­cate the nec­es­sary pipework to get it work­ing on the ZRX. He’s gath­ered up the stain­less steel parts re­quired, and once his fab­ri­ca­tion di­ary clears for a few days, he’ll whis­tle up the turbo man­i­fold, plenum cham­ber and in­take pipework in no time at all. James is a proper artist, and I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to see­ing what he comes up with for the in­stall. We’ve gone for a Borg­warner S200SX turbo in the end. Sean Mills from Big CC had one sit­ting spare on a Hayabusa man­i­fold and he’s do­nated it to the cause. It’s good for about 350bhp on a Busa, so

we should eas­ily be able to get our tar­get 250-280bhp from the ZRX1100 lump. Serendip­i­tously, it’s also the same brand of turbo as on my old Audi RS6 – that uses a pair of Borg­warner K04 charg­ers. So we’ll have a trio of Borg­warn­ers, pow­er­ing the Dowds house­hold! Next step is surely a Borg­warner on my Burgman 650 city hack… Last time, we’d re­ceived the Ro­to­box car­bon-fi­bre wheels for the ZRX, weighed them and then just drooled gen­tly over their su­per-light mass, gor­geous con­struc­tion and sweet fin­ish. Now, though, we had to fit the bug­gers! Had the Slove­nian wheel­wrights done a good job with the Zrx-spe­cific wheels? Well, yes, mostly. The front wheel fit­ted a treat, even tak­ing the stock old school me­chan­i­cal speedo drive. Half an hour had the old wheel out and the new Ro­to­box rim in place, wear­ing a smart new Pirelli Di­ablo Rosso Corsa: lovely. The back was a bit trick­ier though. I did that thing where you spend an hour faffing about with wheel spac­ers, ad­justers and brake brack­ets, get­ting more and more frus­trated and tired as it nearly-but-notquite all lines up. What’s wrong here? Well, the Ro­to­box wheels are for the ZRX1200 re­ally, al­though there seemed to be a con­sen­sus that they’d fit the 1100 no bother. But as Sean came to help out, it be­came clear that there was a cou­ple of mm clear­ance miss­ing. The 1100 rear brake mount and spacer is push­ing the ec­cen­tric ad­justers out of the swingarm. What to do? The good thing about hav­ing a pro­fes­sional like Sean about is that he’s seen this sort of thing a thou­sand times be­fore, and has no qualms about get­ting stuck in. So he whips the brake mount off, and heads for the lathe. A quick whizz round, and we’ve trimmed a cou­ple of mills off the brake mount. Five min­utes later, we’ve got the Ro­to­box wheel in the ZRX arm, ev­ery­thing lined up, and the job is a good ’un. Chain on and riv­eted and we’ve ticked another box on the list. Bike ig­ni­tion is one area mod­ern rid­ers don’t need to think much about. It’s in­cor­po­rated into the ECU, and with plug-top coils, and ECU con­trol, they’re re­li­able, pow­er­ful set-ups. And even a medium turbo tune can use the stock ig­ni­tion setup, with some fet­tling. But our ZRX has an old-school setup, and ad­just­ment or up­grad­ing is trick­ier. So Sean asked if we could sort out a Dyna 2000 ig­ni­tion sys­tem. These set-ups are pro­duced by the same folk who make Dyno­jet Power Com­man­ders, and the top folks at Dyno­jet UK let us bor­row one for the ZRX.

It’s a to­tal re­place­ment for the stock ig­ni­tion sys­tem, with up­rated coils for more spark out­put, plus ad­just­ment func­tions on the con­trol unit to al­ter the ig­ni­tion tim­ing to suit dif­fer­ent tunes. We’ll need a lot of con­trol over the spark once the tur­bocharger is run­ning, and the Dyna 2000 will give us that. Fit­ting is sim­ple enough. The kits are made to suit spe­cific in­stalls, so you get a be­spoke bracket for the ig­ni­tion pickup coils, plus a new crank ro­tor: a small wiring har­ness taps into the bike’s stock wiring har­ness where needed (for the tacho pick-up) and con­nects the Dyna 2000 con­trol box to the ig­ni­tion pick-up coils. The con­trol box it­self can just sit un­der the seat, or some­where else con­ve­nient, like a Power Com­man­der would, Vel­croed in place. The kit also in­cluded a new set of coils. These mini units bolt on un­der the tank where the stock parts are, as a straight swap. Dyna ig­ni­tion leads com­plete the in­stall, and these need to be cut and have the plug caps and coil ends crimped on to suit. Big CC had a spe­cial lit­tle crimp­ing tool that made this a breeze, but you’ll be able to do a de­cent job with some big crimp­ing pli­ers, or wa­ter-pump grips or sim­i­lar. A cou­ple of hours’ steady work, with the odd cof­fee break, and we had the Dyna 2000 set-up in place. Another step for­ward for the ZRX…

The orig­i­nal crime scene: yuck!

Ro­to­box car­bon wheel – yum.

Dyna 2000 ig­ni­tion mod­ule – proper kit.

There was much faffing at this point.

Stock pick­ups are junked for Dyna’s own set-up.

Ta-da! New sil­ver chain, Öh­lins, car­bon rim.

The good stuff: Three­bond sil­i­cone to seal the pick-up wiring into the cases.

New Dyna mini-coils bolted onto the ZRX frame.

Dyna wiring care­fully clipped along­side the stock har­ness.

Crappy old stock coils head skip-wards.

Mak­ing the con­nec­tor to the pick­ups.

Spe­cial tool for crimp­ing Dyna leads.

A bit of sil­i­cone grease in the con­nec­tor.

Pre-crimp­ing.

En­sure pins lo­cate cor­rectly.

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