PROJECT Z400: HOW TO MAKE THE 09 SUZUKI BETTER, FASTER, & MORE FUN
It’s no secret we like the 2009 Suzuki Z400 (see test in our October ’08 issue). It is a slamming, jammin’, and heck of a good time off-road vehicle. With a new fuel injection system, revalved shocks and wider A-arms, as well as a revamped chassis, the ’09 Z400 QuadSport is the best it has ever been.
MAKING GOOD ENOUGH EVEN BETTER
Of course, who has to settle for good enough? When it comes to modifying their Suzuki, one place a lot of riders forget to look at is their local Suzuki dealership. Here is where you’ll find an extensive line of Suzuki approved accessories designed for your machine. They also have the advantage of being fitted specifically to your quad with the factory’s approval and support.
Here is a list of the 2009 LT-Z400 Genuine Suzuki Accessories that we installed on our Z400 Project quad. Extra protection was our first order of business.
To start off we installed a set of aluminum A-arm guards. These heavy-duty, lightweight, 5052 H32 aluminum guards help to protect your front A-arms. They do not require any drilling and bolt on easily. Price: $98.95
Next, we installed a full length aluminum skid plate. This item is designed to help protect the frame, engine and other components from damage caused by rocks and trail debris. The full length skids are lightweight 5052 H32 aluminum and provide a larger coverage area than the original skid plates. Price: $104.95
We followed this with the addition of an aluminum swingarm skid plate. Built from durable 3/16-inch 5052 H32 aluminum, this swingarm skid helps protect your drive train and rear brake disc. Bolt-on installation in simple and takes only minutes to install. Price: $104.95.
The last skid we installed was a rear shock link skid. This unit is also built of rugged 5052 H32 aluminum. It helps protect your rear shock linkage from impact and is a simple bolt-on installation. Price: $29.95.
If you race where there are a lot of rocks, tree stumps, or roots, you will need to add some extra protection to the bottom of your Z400. Your Suzuki dealer carries a wide assortment of skids that get the job done, and they have all been custom fit prior to the machine’s release.
To make our front end stand out and add a bit more protection, we installed one of Suzuki’s aftermarket front bumpers. This unit is built from 6063 T52 aluminum for light weight and strength. It bolts on in place of the stock stock bumper. Price: $129.95
A set of Suzuki RockStar Motocross race team graphics were also installed on our Project Z400. We wanted to give it a one-off look. This graphic kits is available from One Industries, (619) 263-9880, and really enhance the overall look of the machine for $89.95 a set.
While these were designed originally for the LT-R450 Suzuki, we liked how it looked on our Z400 too. We did have to trim the tank graphics to fit on the Z400 plastic, which is a bit smaller than the standard LT-R450’s.
Suzuki also carries their own vinyl graphics sets that are easy to apply and help protect the bodywork. You can choose from several graphic styles to match your Z’s fender colors, and matching seat covers are also available. Graphics kit: $119.95. Seat cover: $59.95.
The last item we installed on our Project Z400 was a Yoshimura full exhaust system. The Yoshimura Comp Series RS-2 stainless/aluminum exhaust comes with a stainless steel header pipe and aluminum silencer canister. You will need to drain the radiator and remove the lower right-hand hose to get the header pipe on, but the well documented instructions make this a simple, 30-45 minute operation. Although the ’09 Z400 uses fuel injection, we did not have to perform any fuel injection mapping changes, on our machine. We ran it with the air box lid installed as well.
Side note: Yoshimura says they will have one of their Cherry Bomb fuel mapping devices available for the ’09 Z400 sometime later this year.
We weighed both pipes and found the Yosh pipe to weigh in at four pounds less than the stocker. The RS-2 also comes with a built in spark arrester. Even with no changes to the fuel injection system, we found the Yosh pipe gave our machine a much stronger hit on the mid and top end. It came on stronger and felt like it pulled longer in each gear. This pipe combo gives the ’09 Z400 a much better power hit in all areas of the powerband. It sells for a suggested retail price of $595 for the complete system. With the addition of a 96 dB USFS approved silencer insert, you can also get this system’s sound down for sensitive ride areas. Contact Yoshimura at (909) 628-4722 or www.yoshimura-rd.com.
Our revamped Z400 ran stronger and hooked up better with the Yosh pipe and Dunlop tires and Douglas wheels we added to our project quad.
WHEELS AND TIRES
We mounted up a set of Douglas Ultimate Series wheels (800-racerim) with bead lock rears and their Ultimate series front rims. The Ultimate SC (Standard Center) is a DWT (Douglas Wheel Technology) alumiLite front ATV wheel and incorporates rugged rolled bead edges in a design that optimizes strength and minimizes weight. On the back, the Ultimate SC (Standard Center with Competition Beadlock) is among DWT’s most successful alumiLite ATV wheels. It incorporates integral reinforcing rings, integral beadlocks and a CNC machined finish. Retail prices for the Ultimate front rims is $106 each and $159 each for the rears.
A set of Dunlop radial Quadmax Sport (KT381, KT385) knobby tires were installed on the DWT rims. These new Dunlop radials utilize two nylon carcass plies and two nylon tread belts. The fronts and rears, combined, let all four tires function together as one system for improved handling.
The Dunlop Quadmax Sport front tire has a unique double-center rib design, which claims to provide traction in various types of terrain conditions, including cornering and off-camber situations.
A unique feature of the Dunlop ATV sport radial is its asymmetric tread design, which claims to maximize side and forward traction.
These tires also use a dual-compound construction, which features one compound for the tread and another for the sidewalls, which they claim results in better flex for bump absorption, cornering and traction. The tread pattern is designed for improved tread wear and stability. The low-profile rear tires also help to maintain a better contact patch and allow the ATV to stay low to the ground. Prices: Dunlop KT381 fronts—$59.95 each, Dunlop KT 385 rears—$60.885 each.
A set of Rockstar graphics from One Industries (619-263-9880) was installed on our machine and helped with the design appeal. At the time, they did not have a set for the newest Z400 plastic, so we adapted a set for the LT-R450 by trimming them down to fit. They should have the right sized graphics by the time you read this.
HOW DID IT ALL WORK?
We found our ’09 Z400 to be much quicker accelerating, and all-around better protected, with much improved hookup. The Dunlop tires will hold up to any track or trail abuse, and with their rolled edges and beadlock rears the DWT wheels have held up extremely well.
Our Yosh Comp Series full exhaust puts out much better power output and weighs less than stock. We did not even have to tamper with the fuel injection system to fine tune it, either. The amount of extra protection was first rate and nothing fell off, got overly dinged up, or gave us any problems. You will need to keep an eye on the rear swingarm where it contacts the rear disc brake rotor, as a heavy hit to the botttom of the skid can cause it to bend in towards the disc itself.
All in all, we liked how much better our ’09 Z400 ran, how much more protection we had, and how well the new Dunlop tires hooked up and the DWT rims hold up. We look forward to part two of our Project Z400, when we start experimenting with different gearing, some clutching mods, and a few suspension setups. Stay tuned.