Suzuki GS550T complete re-build

Discussion in 'Old's Cool' started by D-Mac, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    January 24, 2012 (PART 1):

    Progress!! [in two posts]

    First: I replaced the wheel bearings and put the wheels/rotors back on. Here are final pics (yes….I know I haven’t bent the lock tabs down yet in case I have to remove the rotors again for some reason).

    Front wheel.
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    Rear wheel.
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    #21
  2. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    January 24, 2012 (PART 2):

    Part II: I finally got my brake calipers assembled today. You might remember that they were badly rusted and pretty much shot (frozen up solid). It took a while to finish painting and heat curing them. I’m still missing a bleeder valve for one of them (I could have sworn I had one, but it’s magically disappeared). I replaced the seals, dust covers, various rubber bits, o-ring, pads, shims, pins, and some of the fasteners.

    Supplies for the job.
    [​IMG]
    Here’s are the rear caliper parts during assembly. It went together easily enough once I got the pads oriented correctly.
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    Rear caliper assembled!
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    Front caliper. Piston back in place.
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    Other part of the front.
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    Front assembled!
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    The front one was tricky since the dust seal must go into a recess in the bore and another one in the piston. It took a while to get it in properly (thanks to photos and suggestions by “pete” on page 29 of his GS450 rebuild I was able to get it without too much frustration).

    The gold caliper paint is not a perfect match for the gold/yellow on the new rear shock, but it’s fairly close. The only other gold on the bike will be the trim on the paint job. Everything else will be black and polished aluminum.
    #22
  3. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    February 3, 2012:

    Carbs/Engine/Seat: It's time to ratchet-up this project!

    Last Sunday I opened up the carbs to have a peek. Yikes! Lots of crud/sand/varnish. We’re talking enough sand to make a little beach. Carb #3 was mangled inside with TWO broken float posts (!?) and gobs of JB-Weld almost everywhere in what looked like a blind-man’s repair (one of the main jets and needle jet were partially covered with it). I’m sure the carb could be salvaged, but I went ahead and ordered a $20 replacement carb body on eBay. Someone is selling a set of GS550 carbs individually for cheap thank God. On Tuesday I received the carb body and it looks perfect.

    All of the jets are STOCK despite the aftermarket pods and exhaust mods on the bike. Lean city. I’ll be ordering much “higher” mains and slightly “higher” pilots to start with. Carbs will be dipped and cleaned completely of course and all o-rings will all be replaced (along with the brass float seats, which I managed to mangle when pulling them out). So pretty much everything that isn’t aluminum gets replaced (sigh). Eventually I’ll tune the bike on a dyno to get it right.

    I've started the process of polishing the float bowls and tops. Before bit.
    [​IMG]

    A little carb soak and sand/polish later.
    [​IMG]

    BIGGER NEWS. After losing sleep over my FIVE broken exhaust studs on the head, worrying about a couple of torn carb air boots, and spending too much time wondering why the previous owner had disassembled the shifter mechanism on my bike (tranny problems?), I decided it was time to make another substantial purchase. Continuing to buy used parts piece-meal is getting expensive.

    So I bid on (and won) an auction for a spare engine on eBay yesterday – for under $100. It’s from a 1981 GS550 just like mine. The only catch is that I have to pick it up myself on Sunday……in Ohio (4.5 hours away). No broken exhaust studs and the plug holes are reported to be in good shape. Although I'm told it was a runner and has only 11,000 miles on it, I'll likely stick with most of my current engine and build off that one (since I know it really was a runner), swapping the head for the new one along with whatever other parts look best. We'll see. The new engine comes with carb boots as well, so hopefully I'll have four decent ones between the two engines.

    The new engine also comes with a complete frame. It’s not titled like mine, so I won't be using it on this project. Maybe I'll take the spare parts and try to build a bobber someday.....

    Finally, my SEAT is done! Recall my mock-up from December?
    [​IMG]

    Well here’s the final product. In the end I cheated and bought one. Nearly twice the cost of making my own, but fiberglass just wasn’t something I wanted to mess with right now. It was my gift from my wife for Christmas, but due to a minor shipping fiasco it arrived a month late.
    [​IMG]

    Fitting the seat gave me an excuse to break out the angle grinder and make my first cuts on the frame (removing the old seat tabs that were in the way). I think I’ve come up with a good way to attach the seat and hide the battery/electrical stuff.
    Here’s a pick of the seat. It will likely sit a smidge higher on the rear and maybe a little lower on the front (if I trim off a bit where it meets the tank). At least I can start some fabrication work on the frame. It’s gonna take a while since I have to get a little farther into my welding class first. If only I had a plasma cutter and MIG setup. Hmmm………
    [​IMG]

    Later next week I hope to open up the new engine and start to prep the top-end for paint (and whatever else it needs). My engine primer arrived this week, so I’m hoping to get the engine done and painted within a month or so.
    #23
  4. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    February 11, 2012:

    Last Sunday I picked up a parts engine for my project. It ended up having one broken exhaust stud (owner said it had none), but that’s still a heck of a lot better than the five broken studs on my bike! Not bad for $80. The engine was still in the frame (not titled, so basically useless), but the ignitor box, full harness, and other tasty bits are still attached to the frame.
    “parts” engine.
    [​IMG]

    So much for the perfect head. At least this broken bolt is accessible.
    [​IMG]

    The plan: Keep my “main” engine in one piece for now (the one sitting on a bench in my lab) until I clean and paint the bottom end. Then I’ll remove the top end and replace it with the cylinder/head/valve cover from the parts bike (swapping out various internal components as needed – assuming that the pistons and cylinders match of course).

    Parts bike:
    With my plan in mind, I immediately tore into the “parts” engine and removed the valve cover, head, and cylinder. It was fun to finally get a look at this stuff. I checked the valves for the hell of it and discovered that ALL of the intakes and one exhaust were waaaaay too tight (at “0”). Not good. In fact, one intake cam has a small piece missing from it (shown below). I’ll probably toss it and use the one from my “main” engine – assuming it’s in better condition of course.

    Intake cam with a chip in it.
    [​IMG]

    I see lots of gasket scraping in my future!
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    The head was really attached to the cylinder. My garage temperature is 3F, so it took a little heat and some firm tapping to break it loose.

    Finally, the head is coming loose.
    [​IMG]

    Here is the head. One exhaust valve (not shown) looks funny – like it might be burned or something. I’m going to check to see if they’re leaking first. Then I’ll pull the valves (probably with the homemade tool or possibly the “shock” removal technique) and measure them. Seals will be replaced for sure. Hopefully the guides are ok, but I’ll check them as well.

    [​IMG]

    Of course I managed to mix up the buckets/shims when I flipped over the head to remove the carb boots. Oh well, I’ll be swapping intake camshafts anyway so I’ll just sort it all out later.

    Pistons. Cylinder has since been removed.
    [​IMG]

    Pistons look ok. I’ll have a better look once I clean the area and get the clips/pins out. Clips and rings will be replaced, and assuming the cylinder and piston-wall clearance are ok (I still need to buy a bore gauge) I’ll just re-hone the cylinders and replace the rings/clips. If things aren’t so good, I’ll check the “main” engine before I contemplate a re-bore on this one. One cylinder looks a little less than perfect, so we’ll see how it measures.

    ----

    Having a blast?

    I’m ready to repaint the valve cover and cylinder from the “parts” bike, and the carb bodies look pretty rough, so I figured I’d look into soda blasting. Harbor Freight had their 40lb soda blaster advertised for more than half-off this week, so I went to the nearest store to check it out. My rule for HF is that I’ll buy their stuff when all of the following apply: (a)reviews are good, (b)the tool won’t kill me if (when) it breaks, (c) the tool won’t be used more often than monthly, and (d) the tool is comparable in quality to alternatives that cost more than 100% more. Arriving at the store I noticed that their blasting cabinet was also extra cheap too, and even cheaper with their “insider club” price (costs $30 to join the stupid “club”, but the cabinet was an additional $35 off with a membership and I got a $10 gift card I could use immediately as well, so I went for it). Anyway, I walked away with the blasting cabinet for under $80 and the blaster for under $140 (including the extended warranty on them). Not much risk. The cabinet is actually pretty nice, and it only needs a light to make it functional. My compressor will have trouble running the blaster for very long, but I think I’ll be ok for short bursts. I put everything in my basement (too noisy and messy for my office). I’ll post pics as things go along.

    Hmmmm. Baking soda. Should I blast parts with it OR buy 20 gallons of vinegar and make the biggest “volcano” of all time!? [​IMG]

    Cabinet. [​IMG]

    Set up. [​IMG]
    #24
  5. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    February 17, 2012:

    Today was pretty productive. Rather than work at home, I decided to drive in to the shop where I’m taking my motorcycle service courses. They have lots of tools I don’t own and guys who know a lot more than I do.

    I started with some engine work – all on my “parts engine” since I have the head/cylinder removed.

    After hitting my broken exhaust bolt with some PB blaster (more on that later), I removed the valves from the head. The guys at the shop thought the valves looked really good, but since I’m planning to soda blast the head, they agreed that I should remove them first. I’d never done this before, but it’s REALLY easy with a good tool. It would be easy enough to make one myself (as many have done), but the shop has some good sets. Some pics….

    Valve removal tool (parts are from two different sets).
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    One valve and some of its components (keepers, valve, springs, top piece).
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    Here’s the head with valves removed.
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    Some of the valves would have been open when the bike was put into storage, and those ones have some minor pitting/rust. I think I might re-cut the seats (really just lightly do them to remove any crud) and then lap them. Normally, I wouldn’t bother, but the shop has several cutting machines and I’ve been offered a chance to learn how to do it (and it’s free). On closer examination, one valve looks like it might be cracked, so that will need to be replaced. The guides will be checked (I’m pretty sure they’re fine), but the seals will be replaced before reassembly.

    Next it was on to checking the cylinders. Using my trusty micrometer set and a borrowed bore gauge, the cylinders were all within spec (all measurements at least 20-ten-thousandths or more below the service limit, which is quite good). The walls are OK, although there is a little buildup above the ring lines and some minor build-up/rust from where the rings on each piston were sitting for so long. I’ll hone them, re-measure, and then decide if it’s ok. Worst-case-scenario I have another cylinder from the other engine I can use before I would have to consider a re-bore. I think it’ll be ok with just a little honing.

    Next up, I tackled removing the swingarm bearings. I had tried it at home, but my drift wasn’t “beefy” enough and I had trouble getting it into position. After setting up the swingarm in a vice and applying some heat, I was able to get them to drift out quite easily. Sweet. Again, I could probably have left them alone except that I’m going to powdercoat the swingarm. The left one was in worse shape – likely from being leaned over on the sidestand and collecting more moisture over the decades.

    Swingarm bearing removal setup.
    [​IMG]

    Top done – bottom still in at this point.
    [​IMG]

    Finally, I tackled the broken exhaust bolt sticking out of the head. My plan for the day (after repeated PB blaster and heat treatments) was as follows – in order:
    (1) Vise grips to the max
    (2) Weld nut or metal bar to “stud” and try to turn
    (3) Cut off stop and use left hand bit on a milling machine
    (4) Continue drilling with larger bits and then use the largest EZ-out possible (after drilling all the way through to the end of the bolt)
    (5) EDM (if/when the EZ-out broke)

    One of the shop guys gave the vise grips a shot. Then another guy tried. Neither could get enough ‘bite’ to break the “stud” loose. As one of you reported to me, this one looked pretty terrible – likely YEARS of repeated exposure and corrosion, so I wasn’t hopeful that vise grips could work.

    Then I gave the grips a shot. First, I gave the stud a firm smack with a hammer (I’ve heard that can help work things loose). Then I filed the sides a little to make them squarer, and smeared on a little grinding compound for better grip. Next, I cranked the grips down as hard as I could and used every ounce of strength I have to lock them on. Then I turned it HARD. Nothing. The grips had slipped again.

    Come on you #^@%@#&*@#ARGH!!
    [​IMG]

    I tried one last time and then a miracle happened. The fastener MOVED! Just a tiny amount, but I saw it. As others on the GS forum have reported, there is NOTHING like the wonderful feeling of seeing one of these “studs” start to back out.
    Still, I wasn’t out of the woods yet. I had a few tense moments while I thought that perhaps the stud was simply twisting off (again), but as I continued to work it slowly back and forth (with LOTS of PB Blaster) it became clear that it was really coming out. I took it very slow, and only turned it farther when it felt nice and loose. After about 30 minutes, I worked it free. I think the threads are still good too.

    FREE AT LAST!!!!
    [​IMG]

    Later on, I got home decided to remove the pistons from their connecting rods. It went surprisingly easy. After removing the clips (yes, I will certainly replace them), I was able to push two pins out by hand, and the other two required only the slightest push/nudge with a socket to remove.

    Piston #4. All are dirty, but look good. I’ll measure them to be sure. I’ll be replacing the rings of course.
    [​IMG]

    All in all it was a good day. I will likely be soda blasting and removing gaskets soon.
    #25
  6. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    February 17, 2012:

    I spent some time this afternoon cutting off and grinding down some of the various frame tabs I no longer need (ones holding on the side covers and helmet lock; I still have the ones from the battery box, air filter, and rear fender to go). It's the most time I've ever spent with an angle grinder. The results aren't perfect, but close enough (I'll sand them a little to help things along).

    If you're nervous about angle grinding, DO NOT read the following article......Yikes!

    http://www.head-face-med.com/content/4/1/1
    #26
  7. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    February 28, 2012:

    Another burst of progress is coming soon. Until then, here’s what I’ve been working on.

    I’m in the process of cutting off and grinding down the various tabs on the frame. I decided to leave the centerstand tabs on the frame in case I want to put it back on later. All of the other tabs for the side covers, battery box, rear fender, and air box will be removed. I also visited a local steel supplier and ordered the correct steel tube to build a rear hoop for the seat. I’ll try getting it bent at a local muffler shop. To make it look nice I plan to fit it to the frame with a small insert going into each side (rosette-welded on) and then I’ll weld all around the point where the frame/seat tubes meet.

    Early in the “frame improvement” process…..
    [​IMG]

    I also soda blasted the outside of the cylinders. Worked well – not perfect, but it got most of the crud off. I’ll scub them thoroughly and rinse before priming and painting them (black). Then they’ll be honed.

    Pistons are cleaned up. Rings will be replaced.

    Now that the calipers are done, I tackled the brake master cylinders. Ugh. They were BAD. Here’s a couple of pics……
    Hmmmm….this doesn’t look good.
    [​IMG]

    That brown sludge is old brake “fluid!” Lovely.
    [​IMG]
    Needless to say, they will be rebuilt.

    I spent a lot of time yesterday placing more parts orders. My biggest set of orders to date I think. Among the bits that are coming are….

    Engine: Final fasteners I need along with other bits for the cylinder and head (valve guides, o-rings, $$$ head gasket). I also bought a lot of replacement parts for the cam chain tensioner.

    Carbs: I ordered a rebuild kit for each carb as well as the little rubber plugs and misc other things not included. I also ordered an o-ring kit+fasteners for the carb intake boots. Then I went all out and ordered the closest Stage 3 Dynojet kit I could find (for the ’82 GS550, which shares the same engine and carbs).

    Body: I ordered replacement fasteners for the gas tank. Still need to get a new petcock.

    Headlight: ordered all of the rubber grommets and fasteners to rebuild it.

    I also priced tires, but didn’t order them yet.
    #27
  8. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    March 4, 2012:

    Time for a little update:

    I spent a little time this week soda blasting the outside of the cylinders. These will eventually be painted black.

    Prepped for blasting
    [​IMG]

    After blasting them, I realized I needed to remove the base gasket. I should have done this first because it was ridiculous and it took something like a dozen applications of gasket remover to get it off. I still have a little left to remove, but the end is in sight (at least for this piece – I also have gaskets to remove from the cylinder head, valve cover, and breather cover too!)

    Gasket remover soaking.
    [​IMG]

    I decided to tackle the carbs this weekend. I pulled the diaphragms and jets a while back, so I started by separating the bodies from the bank. The rails will be sanded and painted silver. The carbs will be left natural (bowls and tops shined up).
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After removing the various fuel/vent tubes and enrichener devices, I soaked each of them in Berryman’s cleaner for 25 minutes.

    After cleaning. Yes….there are 5 carbs in this photo. The one on top in the bag is my original #3, which has broken float posts and other damage that I decided was just too bad to use. It was replaced with a carb one off e-Bay.
    [​IMG]

    While the carbs were soaking, I dug out my new supplies. (forgive the excessive detail, this is for my own records as much as anything else:
    [​IMG]

    Used (so far) from the rebuild kit:
    [​IMG]
    #40 pilot jet – same as stock

    Fuel mix screw/spring/washer/o-ring – same as stock (turned 2.5 turns out)

    #150 air jet (goes in the intake end of the carb) – same as stock

    Float seat/o-ring and needle (I took the little screen off the original seat, which was otherwise destroyed when I had to violently pull on it to remove it from the carb).

    I also used the large snap-ring and spring from the rebuild kit when replacing the jet needle (below)


    Parts used from my Dynojet kit (Stage 3)

    #155 main jet (richer of the two they give you, but recommended since I’ll be running aftermarket exhaust and K&N pod filters)

    Jet needle/washer/e-clip (with stock spacer)– e-clip set to position #4 from the top (again, recommended by other GS owners)

    I also drilled out the slide hole on each slide a 7/64 drill bit. In a moment of stupidity, I broke the bit that came with the jet kit because I didn’t realize at first that the slide holes are on an angle. Oops. A new bit later (and an excuse to buy a better drill), and it was done.

    The hole that I had to drill-out (make larger) is the smaller one shown. The needle projects out of the larger hole.
    [​IMG]

    There is a snap ring (not shown) that fits all the way down inside the slide to hold in the needle in place. Getting it out was rough, until I hit Sears and found a set of snap ring pliers that was able to reach inside.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #28
  9. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    March 4, 2012 cont....

    Carb rebuild/mod continued…..

    Original jet needle
    [​IMG]
    New needle
    [​IMG]

    I also bought an o-ring kit from cyclerings. This includes all of the hard-to-find o-rings for these bikes. It’s very well organized. Check out the old/new rings for the choke. About time these were replaced!
    [​IMG]

    It wasn’t all good though. At one point I somehow managed to spray carb cleaner directly into my EYE while spraying the tiny passages to make sure they were clear.
    OUCH OUCH OUCH.
    [​IMG]

    Here’s the offending cleaner. NOTE: I was wearing safety glasses (foreground) at the time of the “incident.” They slipped a little off my nose and the cleaner bounced around inside the carb and came in from the side – directly by the glasses and onto my eye with a lot of pressure. 15 minutes of rinsing by staring at the shower head and everything was OK.
    [​IMG]

    Done for now. I still have to polish the float bowls. The rubber plug covering the pilot jet came from yet another supplier.
    [​IMG]

    NEXT UP: This week I plan to finish the carbs, rebuild the master cylinders, and hopefully (finally) paint part of the engine. I’m now thinking to paint the lower engine black (except for the polished case covers) but do the head and valve cover in silver.

    I picked up a tube for the seat hoop. I have to bend it and weld it on. Once that’s done I can begin to build the new battery box and places to hide the other electrical components.
    #29
  10. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    TODAY!

    I was a little all over the place with my plan this week.

    My first attempt was to rebuild the master cylinders.

    The rear didn’t happen because I discovered that I was missing some key parts. I ordered the missing stuff, but it hasn’t come in yet. You might recall how bad it looked from a few posts back.

    Although the front one didn’t look as bad, one quick look at the master cylinder and I knew I’d be rebuilding it. Check it out.
    [​IMG]

    Here is a pic from the end of the rebuild. I replaced everything – piston cup/spring/plunger/boot, cleaned the cylinder, and lubed it with fresh brake fluid.
    [​IMG]

    ----
    Then it was back to finish up the carbs – starting with polishing the float bowls. I did the usual sanding, but put a little more effort into it since the bowls are small and easy to work with. I went with 220/320/400/500/1000/1200 wet paper and then over to the buffer. I’m pretty happy with how they came out. Not perfect, but shiny.

    This is before final polishing too.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    After cleaning the bowls, I checked the float measurements (only 1 was off), replaced the gaskets, and reassembled them with the new allen-head fasteners that arrived last week (plus a little anti-sieze of course).
    [​IMG]

    I decided to clean and paint the steel brackets that hold the carbs together. As others have experienced, the clear coat turned yellowish when curing it in the oven. Good thing they’re small parts.
    [​IMG]

    All of the o-rings for the fuel/vent tubes between the carbs were replaced.

    It was a little tricky getting everything lined up properly for reassembly. I didn’t have as many pics as usual because my phone died when I took them apart. Anyway, here are a few pics of the finished carbs. I still need to do a quick “bench sync” but everything seems to function correctly. I also need to check over and clean up the rubber intake boots. Although I have a lot to pick from (2 sets) most of them are pretty beat up and clogged with all sorts of sealants (in place of the correct o-rings, which I have), so I might end up replacing one or two ($$$). We’ll see.

    Carb bank!
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    ----
    On Wednesday I took my tubing to a local fabricator to have it bent for the rear seat hoop. I should have it back this week. I’m looking forward to fabricating the new battery/electrical holders. I’m definitely in over my head with this stuff, but I’m sure I’ll learn a lot.

    ----
    I spent some time scraping off more engine gaskets off this week. I’m still working on the old valve cover gasket, which is glued to the head and needs a few more hours of gentle scraping.

    ----
    The cylinders are almost ready for paint. I just need to give them a final cleaning (after removing the base gasket they got all dirty again). Then I’ll wipe them down with acetone and then shoot them with engine primer and black. Can’t wait!

    ----
    I dug out my spare cam chain tensioner and pile of tensioner replacement parts. I might tackle that this week too.
    #30
  11. MacNoob

    MacNoob piney fresh

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2010
    Oddometer:
    1,776
    Location:
    The mosquito-y Center of Canada
    Great photos, nice detail... I'm in.:lurk
    #31
  12. Wolfgang55

    Wolfgang55 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2006
    Oddometer:
    3,552
    Location:
    Next to Rio Bravo
    This is good already, keep up the good work.
    #32
  13. vtwin

    vtwin Air cooled runnin' mon

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2005
    Oddometer:
    7,790
    Location:
    NorCal
    Nice work! My engine color combo is opposite of yours, black head/jugs and silver lowers, looking forward to seeing how yours turns out.
    #33
  14. Suzuki Phil

    Suzuki Phil Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2007
    Oddometer:
    651
    Location:
    Simi Valley, CA
    Nice build. I have a 79 GS550E and was wondering where you bought the rear shocks?

    SP
    #34
  15. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    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.
    #35
  16. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    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….
    [​IMG]

    After cutting….
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    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.
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    Ugh. Tank must have been leaking. Still gotta tackle that.
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    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.
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    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.
    #36
  17. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    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)
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    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!
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    After!
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    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?
    #37
  18. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    648
    Location:
    usually the garage
    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.
    #38
  19. D-Mac

    D-Mac Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2007
    Oddometer:
    613
    Location:
    Mid-Michigan
    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)
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    Option 2: BLACK paint + polish (this engine is basically identical to mine although the bike frame/tank/seat are totally different).
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    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.
    #39
  20. Scrivens

    Scrivens Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    648
    Location:
    usually the garage
    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:

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    All alloy bottom end:

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    #40