1982 Kawi GPz-550 Cafe Build

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by HuckIt, Aug 21, 2021.

  1. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    Just remembered this detail from my '83 GPz-550 experience. With not many miles on it, I noticed the swingarm had movement. End result was that I replaced the needle bearings at the pivot. I was a Kawasaki tech at the time, so I replaced them under warranty.
    #21
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  2. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    Last night pulled the carbs to check the jetting and figured out I will need to go up on both the pilot and main jets for the new filters and header/can. This assumes I'll be able to find a 4 to 1 header, seems nobody makes them for the GPZ550's anymore. Research online suggests a header from a Kawi 400 or even early ZX600s should fit with minor tweaks to the hanger. Figure I'll keep looking for a few weeks and then bite the bullet and buy a new one for one of those bikes and modify it.

    Good news is I got the right size hoop in yesterday so got it fitted up and welded on.

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    After that had to make a couple simple brackets to mount the tail light to. Used some extra 1/2" angle that I had and welded it right to the hoop. The end result was a really good fit. You will have to ignore all the grinding marks, I'm a shitty welder so I have to do a lot of grinding to hide it. :dunno

    I will do some further clean up and maybe a little filler if needed to smooth it out before paint. Still not sure what I'm going to do there either; likely going to paint the back either the closest color I can find or black. Don't want to mess with trying to get the powdercoat to match.
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    #22
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  3. rokytnji

    rokytnji Been here awhile

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    Back in the 80's when I worked at dealership. The mechanics used to roach these engines doing wheelies.
    Seems these plain bearing sump motors get starved for oil.
    Just thought I'd let ya know.
    #23
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  4. motocopter

    motocopter Long timer

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    A silver colored hoop seems like it would be fine too.
    #24
  5. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    Re the rear loop:
    You can avoid damaging the powdercoat by attaching the loop without welding to the existing frame. Use solid stock and drill and tap for bolts that will be on the inner run of the frame tubes, under the seat. So long as the outer diameter of the solid stock is a good fit, there will be no slop. This will alos allow you to have the loop pwdercoated to match without having to take the whole bike in.

    EDIT: too late. It turned out nicely.
    #25
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  6. VX Rider

    VX Rider Long timer

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    PLUS
    I already suggested that method like THREE times...but...
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  7. Nathan_66

    Nathan_66 Been here awhile

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    Excellent job on the rear hoop, looks great!

    "This assumes I'll be able to find a 4 to 1 header, seems nobody makes them for the GPZ550's anymore"
    try asking the parts whores mofos on zrxoa.org and tell them some crazy dude Nathan sent you...bunch of good guys there who should be able to help you with this.
    #27
  8. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    In the end it just wasn't the way I wanted to do it - I have an idea in my mind of how I want it to look when finished and my OCD wouldn't have been happy with it bolted on. :beer
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  9. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    Thanks for the tip on the zrxoa.org, hadn't heard of that one before but will give it a shot! There is one on kzrider.com that looks promising but I'm waiting for my registration to get approved so I can message the guy.
    #29
  10. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    Spent today cleaning up a bunch of misc. parts and then tore down the forks to change the fork seals.

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    Someone had stripped out the lower leg retaining bolts so had to drill it out, and one leg was missing a washer between the seal and the retaining clip. Bushing are also worn so I need to order those as well, thought I would get by with just seals and oil and actually get to put something back together. Probably better as this will give me time to repaint the lower legs.

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    #30
  11. k-moe

    k-moe Long timer

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    That's absoultely understandable. Plus it takes a fair bit of work to hand-fit the ends so you don't see the joining line. It's a bit more tedious than grinding and polishing a weld until it blends.
    #31
  12. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    Not to mention the hoop had to be cut in the curvature in order to follow the seat contour. So then I would of had to fit an angled cut, and figure out an insert to bolt to that will go inside the hoop tube, around a radius. Just didn't make sense for this particular build.

    More hacking last night with a quick seat bracket, its now in the pile of parts to get coated.

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    #32
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  13. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    Got the seat pan fabricated which ended up taking way longer than expected. Turned out decent, once again my welding sucks but it will be hidden under the seat and behind a layer of powder coat :-)

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    And finished up:
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    Now that the last of the hard work is done, stripped everything down to drop it off at paint this afternoon. Bummed I didn't get it to this point early in the week so I could be putting it together this weekend, so will just have to go for a ride and sit by the pool and drink beer. :drink

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    #33
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  14. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    Figure I'd post this too in hopes that it will help someone else out. This was the first shock I can remember not being able to get the spring off by hand after turning out the pre-load. I didn't want to buy a $50 tool that I may not need for another 30 years so after some online searching came across this simple solution to compress the spring just a bit in order to get the lock collar off. Total cost was about $6 from Home Depot.

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    #34
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  15. 3legs

    3legs Real men ride sidecars Supporter

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    Powder coating hides bad welding even better than paint. Just saying :lol3

    Are you using a Mig or stick welder?
    #35
  16. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    I'm using a small wire feed, and I'm with you on the powder coating will hide more!

    Speaking of which, the shop wasn't very confident in matching it so the frame is getting some fresh gloss black powder. At least I don't have to keep trying to convince myself I liked the red frame
    #36
  17. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    Been playing with different paint colors with the wheels and maybe adding a side number plate. I keep going back to black wheels, just really think they will look the best. May also make a side number plate and paint it to match the grey stripe color that is on the tank and fender, and then add an 82 racing number to it for the year. Not settled for sure but I'm liking the color combo. Excuse the uber crude paint drawing....

    Black%20Frame%20and%20Swingarm%20and%20Wheels%20and%20Number%20Plate.jpg

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    #37
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  18. 3legs

    3legs Real men ride sidecars Supporter

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    I'm thinking outside the box here but I reckon a Kawasaki Z650 or Z900 tank would work. Something not so angular, however it's your bike so you don't have to listen to me.
    #38
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  19. KidKawie

    KidKawie Adventurer

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    A bunch of zip ties work to compress the shock spring.
    #39
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  20. HuckIt

    HuckIt Been here awhile

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    I'll have to keep that tip in mind. Reminds me of watching the guys on Texas Metal install a 28" (I think?) Chopper tire with zip ties. They used about 300 I bet for that monster tire.
    #40