Phoenix or Frankenstein: basket case R1100GS

Discussion in 'Some Assembly Required' started by gofargogo, Apr 13, 2020.

  1. gofargogo

    gofargogo Lurker, mostly

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    Back in January, before everything went to shit, there was a CL add for a 1100GS parts “bike”. I had been looking for a spare set of wheels for my 1100, and here was a whole bike with an extra tank and extra engine for less than the price of one wheel. How bad could it be?

    Well....pretty bad. The condition of parts in milk crates and bins along with the picked over carcass of what used to be a GS told me the previous owner had gotten his money worth over the years. The odo had 130k showing and everything was covered in that distinctive, pervasive pale talcum like dust that anyone who has been to burning man knows you’ll never actually get rid of it. Nature’s glitter.

    Picking through some of the boxes showed me that the PO had a penchant for truck bed liner and massive mad max spikes, now corroded and pitted from sitting in storage covered alkali dust.

    Hmm. The smart man would’ve walked away. Even if there were enough usable parts to pencil out, every one would need to be scrubbed, sanded, neutralized, and then washed again.

    I’m never smart when it comes to dog pound motorcycles. Forlorn, and shut away in barns and soon to expire storage units, they lure me in with the siren call of what used to be. So many adventures, so many miles of joy. No well loved (well-ridden) bike deserves the ignominy of being shoved out the back of a pick-up at the junk yard.

    Also, my wife was out of town for a few weeks so I had some time to figure out a plan.

    IMG_1735.JPG
    #1
  2. gofargogo

    gofargogo Lurker, mostly

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    So of course I bought it, piled everything in the back of my buddy’s f250 and shoved it into the corner of my garage.

    I should state that I have a small single car garage that’s already full of half finished projects, house stuff that doesn’t fit in our too small house, and stuff I might need one day. Also, a basket case bike takes up waaaay more room that a complete bike. So when I say “corner” I really mean all the available space I had left, except for a narrow strip where I could wheel one of my other bikes for service, provided I kept the door open.

    That was January. Incidentally, when my wife called for our nightly chat and I told her about this “great” deal I found, her response was “of course you bought it. What are you going to do with it?” And I didn’t really have an answer.

    So for 3 months it sat. When the weather was bad, I’d pick through the boxes and see what I had. It seemed like the PO was reasonably well organized, there were actually labeled bags of bolts, and it might actually be sort of complete, if filthy.

    Now that we are in week...I dunno 20? Of quarantine, I decided that I needed a project. A useless project, not like getting the yard in shape, or repainting the western wall that’s peeling badly. No, I needed to reassemble this rat bike. Did I mention I have a perfectly serviceable 1100GS in the driveway? One that’s relatively clean and everything works?
    #2
  3. gofargogo

    gofargogo Lurker, mostly

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    Step 0 was clean the garage. I’m a slob, and easily distracted and until I got furloughed from work, I never seemed to have time to put things away. So two solid 12 hour days of cleaning and organizing got me enough space to begin the project. Of course midway through day one, while I had everything pushed out into the driveway, a massive rain squall hit without almost any warning. I consoled myself that it was natures way of helping me prewash everything. Thankfully, today turned up sunny and warm so everything that got soaked yesterday spent a nice long time out in the sun.

    Once I was prepared to get started, the first tasks were self-apparent. There was the nucleus of the bike, looking like what was left of a turkey on Black Friday, and then everything else.

    The story I was told was that the PO had used the bikes for years and years, but it had developed low compression. He bought a motor off of eBay, and stripped the bike. Then time passed, and he injured his back (or his leg, I can’t remember) and the project was moldering in storage. He was moving and getting rid of his storage unit so the “bike” had to go on the block.

    The nucleus, or carcass as I think of it, was the old motor, and the front frame, abs, triple clamp, bars, lights/dash and all the wiring. So my first step was to finish what he had started by removing the old motor.

    A GS in this state is incredibly awkward, and a pain to work on, especially as I discovered that it was still full of oil. So I cast around the garage for a solution and found a length of chain, some industrial webbing and my come-along. I rigged everything so I could hang the carcass from a beam and get to work.

    IMG_1751.JPG IMG_1739.JPG

    There were few connections remaining to the motor. The hall sensor, alternator, and oil cooler were still hooked up, so once I got the skid plate off and drained the oil, I set to work undoing the last few connections.

    It went pretty smoothly, except for the oil cooler line. In trying to break it free of the block I linked it, and then said f*** it and kept going. Eventually I got the flared fitting to break loose but only after doing significant damage to the fitting.

    IMG_1753.JPG

    Damn it.

    I try to not be ham fisted as a mechanic, but sometimes I get it wrong. I noticed a couple of things though. My running ‘98 has the same fitting on the block but has a hose clamp at the cooler. The donor motor has a different fitting on the block. Is this an 1150 motor?

    IMG_1754.JPG
    #3
  4. Beezer

    Beezer Long timer Supporter

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    1100 and 1150 share some parts but are different engines & don't interchange. 1150 has a six speed. 1100 has 5, trannys do not interchange either. nice pile
    #4
  5. PaulRS

    PaulRS Dutch fool

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    1100 and 1150 only differ in bore and can be easily interchanged.
    To determine what engine you got, look at the lower, aft part of the cylinder, where the chain runs, on an 1150 there's '101' cast in. (bore size).

    The oil cooler line to the engine differ, the one you wringed is the old, non thermostat version.
    The other, with the 2 bolted flange has a thermostat below that flange.
    That thermostat entered service around '97.

    Great project. :lol3

    Paul.
    #5
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  6. JimVonBaden

    JimVonBaden "Cool" Aid! Supporter

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    :nod

    As for the project. You are jumping in the deep end, but this should be fun to watch. I have done two 1100/1150 projects, and am in the middle of a third now. But none of mine started as literal basket cases.

    The farthest down I have had mine is this:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    #6
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  7. gofargogo

    gofargogo Lurker, mostly

    Joined:
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    Some investigation, ie reading the part numbers off the cylinder, leads me to believe the new motor is an 1100 so I’ll keep going.

    Given that the oil cooler lines on both engines are shot, I’ll need to find some replacements. I suspect I’ll need a new oil cooler too because I don’t think there is a version that has the thermostat at one end and the flare fitting at the other.

    Which leads me down the rabbit hole of: do I build this back to stock or build a scrambler and run r1100r coolers?

    Given that I’m out of work and on a very tight budget, rebuilding the stock bike would probably be cheaper, but I’ve always wanted to make a super stripped down version of the oil head GS. Maybe this is my chance.
    #7
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  8. navi

    navi Been here awhile

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    this will be fun .... lucky for you
    #8
  9. davide

    davide Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    #9
  10. AdamChandler

    AdamChandler Ascending n00b

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    "Some Assembly Required" is an understatement. you're brave to take this one. I wish you all of the luck.
    #10
  11. gofargogo

    gofargogo Lurker, mostly

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    Thanks!

    I’ve re-engined a GS before (see: https://advrider.com/f/threads/the-mystery-of-the-disappearing-cam-chain-tensioner.901745/ )

    But it’s been seven years and that bike was a complete runner when I started. This will be a bigger challenge, and I fully expect for it to go sideways a few times before it’s done.
    #11
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  12. BJMoose

    BJMoose that trick never works Supporter

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    now that you have our attention... Good luck and god speed.
    #12
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  13. GotFog

    GotFog Been here awhile Supporter

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    Do it.
    I am always a sucker for a good 1100 love story.
    Wishing you all the patience and success in the world.
    #13
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  14. JMforPres

    JMforPres Long timer Supporter

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    :lurk
    #14
  15. BCBackRoads

    BCBackRoads Travels with Gumby

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    I'll be watching as well. I haven't done a restoration yet but I'm thinking of finding a project. My 1150 is running great and I need something to tinker with. I'm not sure I would take on a true "basket" case like yours so it will be interesting to follow along. Good Luck.
    #15
  16. Krons

    Krons Been here awhile

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    :lurk
    All the very best to you. May your luck be high and frustrations low.
    #16
  17. gofargogo

    gofargogo Lurker, mostly

    Joined:
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    I spent most of yesterday on a socially distanced, mental health ride so very little got done in the shop. I was also trying out my new AGV Sportmodular, so I needed to put some time and miles on the bike to get a good test.

    I did manage to remove the Hall Sensor. I was hoping the PO had updated the part with the better wires, as there was on HES in a bag marked “bad” but no luck. It looks like completely stock wiring. I’ll install it on the new motor, and assume it works for now.

    I’d never pulled an HES before. I’ve been lucky I guess, as this is the fifth GS I’ve had and none of the other ones failed. But I was surprised by the oil line that runs in front of the alternator belt. I guess you don’t have to drain the oil before removing that pipe? It seems like an unfriendly design choice to have to open the oil circulation system to remove a belt.
    #17
  18. gofargogo

    gofargogo Lurker, mostly

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    I’m fighting the urge to blow everything apart and detail every piece. There’s an OCD part of my brain that wants to make everything look like new, and I suppose if I had the budget, I just might give in. But due to the truck bed liner, and tenacious playa dust, I’d never get everything clean enough unless I had a parts washer and blast cabinet.

    There’s a choose-your-own-adventure aspect to a project like this. I keep looking at other build threads of GS based scramblers and scratching my chin at what I’d need to buy. I’d really like to go with a simple round headlight, and minimal gauges at the least. But the GS is a platform that makes those changes difficult, and expensive. Of course the other issue is that I don’t know if this bike will run, or where the pink slip is. So getting deep into a custom setup may be a fools errand.

    I think that for now, I’ll put it together as a stock bike, make sure it works, get the paperwork issue solved and then, depending on my work/money situation, blow it apart again and build the scrambler I’ve always wanted.
    #18
  19. Callisto224

    Callisto224 Long timer Supporter

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    Send that bad HES to GS Addict and have it rewired. For all the work you're going to do, you don't want to replace the HES afterwards.
    #19
  20. gofargogo

    gofargogo Lurker, mostly

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    Good point. I was just looking up his info this morning. I'll probably send him both so I can replace the one in my other GS too (which has 71k on the original HES, afaik)
    #20
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