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Old 10-13-2012, 03:17 PM   #1
FinestYearK OP
Rain, rain, go away
Joined: Dec 2011
Location: Tacoma
Oddometer: 40
FYK Gets a Kawi!

Mid summer I got bit by the UJM/early sportbike bug and decided to find a bike to ride and upgrade. The caveat: it had to be cheap. Really cheap. So a CL search commenced and three hours later I found a 1982 Kawasaki GPz 550 for sale locally. Talking to the owner, what was for sale was not a "time capsule" UJM as the picture in the ad suggested, but rather a ridable-ish '82 550, a parts '83 550 and a pile of parts and other junk. Take all or nothing. Drove over with some friends and loaded the bikes and parts into the truck. $600 including gas cost.

The bike was a 2-3/10 at best, but ran decently. I have begun un-wrecking the bike, as the PO as quite the tinkerer. It's a work in progress, as well as super-cheap transportation in the mean time.

The Good:
Bike runs/drives reliably enough to be my daily ride
No extreme leaks or rattles
Gets 52+ MPG with 70% highway/30% city driving
Lots of spare parts to work with/rebuild

The Bad:
Carbs dicked with by the PO, and leaking a bit
Paint and plastics are garbage
All seals or are old/hardened
Yoshi pipe drags when cornering hard

Upgrades and what I've done:
Stage 1 jets and NOS K&N filter
Fork seals - the bike came with progressive springs 10oz of 20 weight oil made a world of difference in handling
eBay's el-cheapo O ring chain
Brake pads, etc.
And quite of bit of general sprucing up, cleaning connections, etc.

What needs to happen:
New brake lines. The braided lines are about an inch too short
Full brake rebuild
Add some decent lighting - the "ultra bright" Sylvania H4's are not so bright with the ancient charging system
Head bearing repack or replacement
All engine gaskets
Valve adjustment
Make the center stand fit properly

If you've read this far, thanks for hanging in. I have questions for you gurus!

1) Brake rebuild kits: they're regular old Tokios. Where to find a good rebuild kit? How about lines?

2) Aftermarket lighting: what are the cheap options? HID? Running lights? 50% of my riding is at night.

3) Is running MMO (1/3 cup/change) a good thing?

Anything other tidbits of advice to make this last forever? My goal it to reach 100k miles. Should not be that hard as it's my main transportation. Rain, shine or snow it's getting ridden.

2006 Katana
1992 Shadow
1987 CBR 600 - Track and commuter
1984 Suzuki GS550es - Leaving the nest...
Cage: Land Rover Discovery I - the last "real" Land Rover
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:49 AM   #2
Beastly Adventurer
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Joined: Sep 2009
Oddometer: 8,487
I had my first street drag race loss to one of these on my 76 RD400 in around 1983. (nobody local could really ride!)What a great era and an excellent bike! If I found a mint one today I'd be very tempted to ride it everyday. Good luck with it!
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:02 AM   #3
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Joined: Sep 2010
Location: Tejas
Oddometer: 7,400
Nice little GPz
My Father was my maker. Poverty was my maker. Distrust was my maker. I have met them all my life.

IBA 22425
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Old 10-17-2012, 11:07 AM   #4
Gnarly Adventurer
Joined: Feb 2009
Location: dumfries scotland
Oddometer: 268
my first bike bike loved it to bits currently got a gpz550 a2 almost ready for the road roll on summer
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