My '79 GS550: Suzys wintertime build
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My '79 GS550: Suzys wintertime build

This is a discussion on My '79 GS550: Suzys wintertime build within the Project Builds forums, part of the Caferacer.net Forums category; Decided to make an account to share my build with you guys. (I've lurked for a while haha) One warning right off the bat, progress ...

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Thread: My '79 GS550: Suzys wintertime build

  1. #1
    Junior Member purpel's Avatar
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    My '79 GS550: Suzys wintertime build

    Decided to make an account to share my build with you guys. (I've lurked for a while haha) One warning right off the bat, progress may be slow and I suck at taking pictures while my hands are dirty, but periodically I will update on how its going. Tonight was the first crack at disassembly, and I made some pretty decent headway in only a few hrs. It was hard to stop myself but my back was getting sore because I haven't gotten a proper work table and bench in my shed yet.

    Although the weather has been fantastic I decided to call it a season with my last ride yesterday. I've had Suzy for 2 years now, my first bike and I've learned a lot riding her, but she needs some loving finally. This build has been on my mind since well before I bought her but when I laid eyes on the ugliness (mild ape hangers, rear backrest, huge plexiglass windscreen, highway bars and saddle bags) I knew I had found my bike. Time to bring the beauty out that lay beneath.

    First things I did was a tune up, new tires, brake pads, ripped off about 30lbs of junk and put new bars on. That's how I rode it for the 2 years. Now it will start to get interesting. Anyway enough flapping my gums, on to some pics:

    Still from a ride I did with my friend, shot in 5k resolution. Also shot a '32 Ford, I'll post up the video once I get it if anyone is interested.


    Day one


    After all the crap was taken off


    Next to my old mans bike


    The disassembly from tonight


    dirty! That old crusty harness will be redone


    Right side exhaust literally fell apart as soon as I undid the bolt tying it to the frame


    A few parts and an og repair manual that is awesome to have!


    The tank, looks good from far, but very pitted and paint peeling/rust on the bottom


    Carbs where refurbished internally, but I would like to pick up some larger Muni's or maybe a set from a 750 if I could find em


    A bunch of other parts, some will stay, lots will go!


    That's all for tonight folks , thanks for checking it out!


    P.S. Anyone got a tip/trick for getting the plastic/rubber intake boots off of the cylinder head? They are held on with Phillips screws that have seen better days and they are tight! Last thing I want to do is rip on them and break them off in the head.

  2. #2
    Senior Member hillsy's Avatar
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    You should first try a hand held impact driver (used with a hammer) for the intake rubber screws. If that fails, drill the heads off the screws, remove the rubbers and grab the screw stubs with vise grips (sounds primitive, but works most of the time). Failing all that, drill them out and use a (quality) screw extractor.

    Also, bigger carbs are not your friend - this ain't a Mopar.

    And I kinda like the way it is in the 3rd pic.

  3. #3
    Senior Member kerosene's Avatar
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    I like it with lo bars - except I don't get riding 2 yrs without a front fender. Dis-assembly for sake of dis-assembly always makes me feel worried but you have some other experience and 2yrs on the bike so I assume you have a plan that requires it. Share us your plan!

    My advise (on stuff like your GS that I do not know) is to ask questions about how to reach a goal (more performance) rather than assume with limited knowledge (I need bigger carbs) and then ask detail questions about that. Not aimed really at you - more of a general observation on how to get the best from the guys here who actually do know. wasn't there also a GS webpage that has all the tech info ever needed?
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  5. #4
    Senior Member 8ball's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purpel View Post
    .......P.S. Anyone got a tip/trick for getting the plastic/rubber intake boots off of the cylinder head? They are held on with Phillips screws that have seen better days and they are tight! Last thing I want to do is rip on them and break them off in the head.
    Like Hillsy said, use a hand-held impact driver. Then replace them with some socket head allen heads from the hardware store.

    And the site that kerosene is referring to is GSresources.net. There is a LOAD of info there!
    I always find a soap box useful to get on my high horse.

    Quote Originally Posted by roccitycafe View Post
    .... same thing with furniture, it doesn't have to be straight or not wobble, or keep thing from rolling off it, or not collapse when sat upon, it's personal taste man... if I want a dining room set that endangers the life of my dinner party guests, then it doesn't need second hand approval

    My GS550 Build Thread

  6. #5
    Junior Member purpel's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice on the screws, I'll give it a whirl. Vise grips where my next step but I wanted to avoid that route if possible (done it before!)

    As far as the carbs go, the repair manual (from 79 easily) actually has a fair bit of info on performance mods and it says how the stock carbs are quite inadequate. I'm currently looking for a big bore kit, and cams. I'll be doing my own port and polish as well and making my own exhaust and putting on some nice foam filters so more fuel is going to be a must!

    Stock it was nice, but really rough around the edges, so it needed a resto... and since its not exactly a rare classic it will be a resto mod.

  7. #6
    Junior Member purpel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kerosene View Post
    I like it with lo bars - except I don't get riding 2 yrs without a front fender. Dis-assembly for sake of dis-assembly always makes me feel worried but you have some other experience and 2yrs on the bike so I assume you have a plan that requires it. Share us your plan!

    My advise (on stuff like your GS that I do not know) is to ask questions about how to reach a goal (more performance) rather than assume with limited knowledge (I need bigger carbs) and then ask detail questions about that. Not aimed really at you - more of a general observation on how to get the best from the guys here who actually do know. wasn't there also a GS webpage that has all the tech info ever needed?
    The old fender was rusty as hell, and I really only ride on paved roads in the sun. It really never throws anything at me, and I was far from worried about the paint chipping!

    The plan as for aesthetics will remain a surprise as it does change here and there (I have a few schemes in my head regarding paint)

    Like I said in the above post, trying to squeeze out a bit more power, big bore kit was up to 590cc. If I can find one remains to be seen. I went up a size with the rear sprocket to give me a little more pep around town.

    I also work on aircraft for a living so I will be using some of the knowledge gained in that area to influence certain design elements on Suzy.


    and thanks for the link 8ball!!

  8. #7
    Senior Member mlinder's Avatar
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    GS650/Katana 650 top end fits with a slightly thicker base gasket. You want more power, that's the way to do it.
    Go from 49 horse to 71 horse instantly. That's assuming everything else is in perfect working order.
    http://quiterandom.hubpages.com/hub/...sic-motorcycle How to buy a used bike
    http://quiterandom.hubpages.com/hub/...the-Cafe-Racer How to build a cafe racer

    It's like a Machiavellian 4-volume trilogy based on Hamlet senza misura with an ego-maniacal downs syndrome kid reading from a Rube Goldeberg-esque kindle.

  9. #8
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    taking the bike apart was completely foolish, unless you plan on reassembling it as a stocker with those shitty clubmans again. Whenever you are making upgrades to a bike it is always best to have the bike as assembled as possible so you can measure and check for clearances and alignment. For instance Some GS550s were drum brake rear (like ytours), a meaningful upgrade would be a disc brake rear off another GS550 or GS750. However, how are you going to know if the parts fit or the chain and shocks align if the bike isn't assembled (for a rear disc upgrade you would want to swap out the swingarm so you get the proper brake arm mounts). It just looks like you are working agains your self if you create problems you won't discover til the reassembly phase (after you have painted everything).

    The custom areas you are going to wish you had an assembled bike to mock up are:
    - rearsets
    - Any bodywork modifications
    - Any suspension modifications
    - Any brake modifications
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Geeto67's Avatar
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    oh, and one more thing....most of the fastners on your bike are Japanese industrial standard (JIS) and not phillips. Using a phillips on a stuck fastner will cause it to cam out and ruin the fastner.

    here is the difference:
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    buy yourself a proper set of JIS screwdrivers, you won't regret it. Also get one for your impact driver (not an air tool, the old fashioned hit it with a hammer impact driver).
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.
    - Samuel Beckett
    A tool is just an opportunity with a handle
    - Kevin Kelly

  11. #10
    Senior Member drgonzo's Avatar
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    That's good info. I never knew there was JIS.

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