Kawasaki KZ650 cafe-racer. Carburetors. Part 3.

I am used to buy OEM parts for our projects from USA, thus when I decided to order new carburetors’ manifolds I found that only right carb holders are currently available.  After some thinking I decided to try aftermarket manifolds, a set made by TourMax (company that states Japan as a country of origin on packaging of its products). Earlier in my repair practice  I have positive experience with their products. Their set of manifolds for KZ650 with VM24 carburetors has code CHK-2. I ordered this set of manifolds on German ebay and was quite accurate to chose seller who not only hase a lot of positive feedback, but who also clearly stated in item description TourMax as manufacturer and CHK-2.  Parcel arrived and at first glance its content looked good. However, as I wrote I used TourMax products earlier, so I know how their packaging looks like and their logo as well. The box I received was made in  TourMax style but has no Tourmax logo nor “Made in Japan” statement on it.

Manifolds were quite soft and looked good until I take a closer look on vacuum gauge attachments.

That was clearly a moment for “Holy Moly” exclamation.  Just take a look at this picture:

Only one attachment looked as it should look like. Three other were different from it and from each other, and seemed to be made by drunken turner in tenth shift. Sure, one may say: “what a problem, just round the edges and let it be”. My answer will be “Nay”. It’s clear that these parts never seen Japan even in their deepest dreams. And if manufacturer, whoever he was, managed to make such simple work so poor, guess what he could use instead of proper rubber compound.

So we wrote email to seller and in result got complete refund, apologies and some explanation:

“Our wholesaler told us that these parts have been sold out at Tourmax for 5 years. We did not notice that because we order parts from our wholesaler with the same article number. But at a lower price.”

I’ve made some additional search and it might be true that TourMax does not manufacture manifold any more. So as it’s said on the only one page of TourMax website dated by year 2016: “beware of imitations”.

After such experience I wanted no more experiments, so I looked for OEM manifolds again. Turned out. that left manifolds (part number 16065-046) still available in Europe. So I ordered two of them from European source of OEM parts and two right manifolds (part number 16065-047) from USA. Thus in result I’ve got right set of carburetor manifolds, even if it turned a bit pricey.

OEM parts are OEM parts, what else could be said? In case of manifolds, however, I could say that OEM are softer than those of “pseudo TourMax”.

To those of you who traced new manifolds on ebay here is my advice: take a closer look at manifold mounts on a lot photos. If strips of white metal around the holes are wider than traces of  factory countersink you may see on photo below…

… it’s likely that manifold was installed before. I saw a couple of such manifolds on Ebay. However it’s up to you to decide, if they are still may be  counted for new…

To finish work on carburetors I ordered some set of parts form Z-fever. Between them were five rubber cups for vacuum gauge attachments.

Why five if there are only four manifolds? I am about to use manual fuel petcock, so I need fifth cap to cover vacuum port on second carburetor.

Most of modern carburetors have fuel tees and fittings of similar design: they could be made of plastic or aluminum but they have a couple of O-rings on legs that fit into carburetor body. Situation with old Mikuni is different: its tee and two fittings that connect carburetors 1-2 and 3-4 covered in solid rubber. I saw the same design of tees  on later Mikunies, and they all have same flaw: in time rubber dries and cracks. This issue could be fixed only by parts’ replacement. Tee and fittings of my VM24 carburetors still look good and seem tight, but I won’t take a chance of fuel leakage. so I decided to replace them.

No wonder that original parts are not available for a long time. Fortunately, the tee and fittings used in KZ650 carburetors (part numbers 92005-1010 for tee and 92005-1009 for fittings) were also used in Z1R and KZ1000. thus there are a choice of decent aftermarket products.  Sure, as soon as I detected that PMC makes tees and fittings, I ordered them.

They are made of stainless steel.

Here are some close photos to give you an idea about quality. They are very accurately machined and tee neatly welded from two parts:

Dimensions completely correspond those of OEM parts. I shot some photos to demonstrate this:

Hope soon to proceed to carburetors assembling.

 

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