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Old 03-10-2012, 07:25 PM   #31
MacNoob
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Great photos, nice detail... I'm in.
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Old 03-10-2012, 09:08 PM   #32
Wolfgang55
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This is good already, keep up the good work.
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Old 03-11-2012, 08:10 AM   #33
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Nice work! My engine color combo is opposite of yours, black head/jugs and silver lowers, looking forward to seeing how yours turns out.
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Old 03-11-2012, 07:16 PM   #34
Suzuki Phil
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Nice build. I have a 79 GS550E and was wondering where you bought the rear shocks?

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Old 03-11-2012, 09:42 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Suzuki Phil View Post
Nice build. I have a 79 GS550E and was wondering where you bought the rear shocks?

SP
I bought them on e-bay (search for the name and you'll get a hit). They're Chinese knock offs for about $90, but I hear they are as good as the stockers (and my originals are in rough shape). They seem to be a touch taller than stock but they fit. I haven't had them on the bike yet to see how they feel/look.

I'm planning to take mine apart in a few weeks and I'll post any observations about them.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:43 PM   #36
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3/25/2012

It’s been a couple of weeks since my last update, but progress is still creeping along.

I finally got around to getting the rear tube bent for the seat. By buying 2’ of tube myself (matching the dimensions of the stock frame) and having a fabrication company bend it for me, I spent less than $20. Perfect fit too. Since I have an “extra” frame that came with the spare engine, I decided to test fit it to that one first before chopping the “good” one. A couple of pics….

Before….


After cutting….



My seat is a very tight fit over the frame and I want part of the frame to be visible, so I cut some wood and figured out that it looks/fits good if I lift the base on the seat about ¾”. I’ll be welding some tubing so that it fits properly and is supported. Then I can just fasten the seat base to the frame. I’ve also cut some sheet metal to enclose the battery under the hump. Here is the actual cut and mocked-up.

More pics. I will be raising the back of the tank up a little so that it lines up better with the seat.





Ugh. Tank must have been leaking. Still gotta tackle that.


I also managed to drive out the top steering head bearing race, but as some of you know the bottom one is tough to reach. After struggling with a piece of bent threaded rod, I’ve decided to weld a bead around the lower race. If it doesn’t fall out, I’ll at least have something sticking out enough to reach with a drift.

Top race.


I’m planning to TIG weld everything for the frame where I’m taking a welding course. It’ll take a few trips back and forth before it’s done.

I still haven’t painted the top end of the engine yet, but final prep is basically done (one final acetone wipe and I’m ready to shoot). Hopefully this week.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:30 PM   #37
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FINALLY, I have a little engine paint to show you.

Just the cylinders though. Work has been nuts lately.

The prep was as follows (in some cases there were repeated cycles of these steps):

Washed part in soap/water
Masked off and soda blasted
Neutralized part in weak vinegar/water solution (twice)
Dried with compressor between cleanings
Scrubed and dunked with HOT, de-ionized water (multiple times) and re-dried
Scrubbed with bottle brush and parts cleaner to get everything clean in the fins
Cleaned EVERYTHING carefully with acetone and cotton swabs of various sizes until the swabs came out white-as-snow.
Masked off delicate parts
Sprayed with VHT engine primer (2 light coats)
Sprayed with VHT black engine oxide paint (2 light coats and 1 medium coat + touch-up)






Whew! I accidentally masked off too much on the bottom, so some of the bare aluminum sticks out. I’ll wait a full week for the paint to dry and then re-mask, prime+paint the missing spots. I didn’t sand much, so there are a few nicks and bumps here and there from the years of use (and abuse).

I’m VERY happy with how it came out. The paint is a duller, sort of cast-iron black. It looks retro and fits the bike well. It also hides the flaws nicely and goes on easily. In a few tests, it seemed to “stick” well. With curing it’s supposed to be very gas-resistant too.

Polished the breather cover too.

Before……yuck!


After!




I’ve gotten a LOT better at this since I did the side covers. I’ll have to re-do those someday since they look dull in comparison to the carbs/breather. Oh well, I guess I’m climbing the learning curve.

**Now for my dilemma*** I am certain that I am painting the bottom-end black and keeping the side covers polished. Cylinders are black.

I recently decided to shy away from blacking out the top of the engine and was leaning toward painting the head and valve cover “universal aluminum silver” instead (I have the paint). I think it looks a little “top heavy” this way, but others I’ve shown mock-ups to thought it was great. Silver-color would also be more forgiving against chips and scrapes (since the layers and aluminum underneath are pretty much the same color). That said, I started thinking today about going back to my earlier plan and going all black on top too, except for the breather cover (polished), various fasteners, side covers, and the chrome cam covers parts on the ends. The chrome bits would really “pop” that way I think.

Decisions…..decisions… Thoughts?
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:35 PM   #38
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The double-knocker heads on those bikes are very nice looking (similar to the CB450) and you'd lose the detail if they were blacked. A classy twin OHC head is a good bit of eye candy for a cafe bike. I'd do the rest of the engine in silver and satin chrome those cam end cover plates; black barrels will go well with that for the classic look. If you are going to use anything other than chrome pipes though (black or wrapped) then a full black engine is probably more fitting.
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Old 03-30-2012, 08:54 PM   #39
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I managed to find pics of the two engine paint schemes I'm considering......

Option 1: SILVER/BLACK paint + polish (my black paint is not this shiny, but otherwise it would be identical to this engine)



Option 2: BLACK paint + polish (this engine is basically identical to mine although the bike frame/tank/seat are totally different).


I think Option 1 looks better if I only consider the engine, but Option 2 might look better when the bike is seen as a whole. Not sure though....

I will be using a chrome exhaust similar to the pics. Carbs and forks are polished. Frame and tank will be black with gold trim.
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Old 03-31-2012, 05:59 AM   #40
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The black top on the 650 makes the engine look a bit 'short'. The silver head looks better to me, but I'm old school - I prefer the alloy main cases as well. I blacked the barrels on my W800 and you can see how it changes the focus:





All alloy bottom end:

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Old 04-01-2012, 07:17 PM   #41
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My hats off to you,what an incredible amount of work for a Suzuki 550!

I sure as heck hope you love the finished product.
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:27 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scrivens View Post
The black top on the 650 makes the engine look a bit 'short'. The silver head looks better to me, but I'm old school - I prefer the alloy main cases as well. I blacked the barrels on my W800 and you can see how it changes the focus:





All alloy bottom end:
Nice bike!
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Old 04-03-2012, 06:28 PM   #43
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My hats off to you,what an incredible amount of work for a Suzuki 550!

I sure as heck hope you love the finished product.
Me too! I try not to think about how much $$$ I have tied into this crazy project (and how much I still have to do).
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Old 04-05-2012, 08:40 AM   #44
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Bet it's not as much as a new Skuzy GSR 4cyl........

It'll look a heap better too.

Doing a good job mate, well done.
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Old 04-05-2012, 02:54 PM   #45
civhatch90
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wow very good work! I'm sure it will look awesome when done. Did you give any thought to wire spoked wheels?
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