FYK Gets a Kawi!

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by FinestYearK, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. FinestYearK

    FinestYearK Rain, rain, go away

    Dec 22, 2011
    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 [​IMG] 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.


  2. Navin

    Navin Long timer

    Sep 22, 2009
    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!
  3. perterra

    perterra -. --- .--. .

    Sep 6, 2010
    Nice little GPz
  4. jings

    jings Been here awhile

    Feb 26, 2009
    dumfries scotland
    my first bike bike loved it to bits currently got a gpz550 a2 almost ready for the road roll on summer