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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, For the last 9 Months I've been working on my 77 Ducati 500GTL. For the longest Time I didn't know the direction I wanted to go
with it. Restore it to original, just get it running and use it to beat around or make a cafe racer out of it. I finally decided after pulling it apart and polishing some parts that it needed to be a café racer project. The first thing I did was to make sure the engine was solid. After changing the points and some marvel mystery oil the engine came to life. Though the compression was down It was running. No oil leaks and running I was confident we had a winner. After about 30 min of running I check the compression at it was just about up to spec. I was very happy to see that. So Dis assembly began. Starting with the engine and before I knew it she was down to a bare frame. Lots of cleaning and replacing nuts and bolt was ahead of me. The first pictures are how I got her. She was rusty but complete. Ok the first day of working on her most of the day. I got the engine out now it's time to degrease the roller. 36 years of nasty grease and grime. It's like cement won't come off time for the pressure washer! lol. Someone left this poor bike out in the weather for decades. Lots of cleaning and polishing in my near future. Finally got the frame clean and stripped down. Its off to sandblast and paint. The frame will be metallic gold with black tank and seat. I'm not sure what style of tank and seat yet. The engine was the next target. Soda blasting and cleaning is the first thing then panting and polishing. I have about 15 hours into the engine and frame so far including checking all the things that were important (everything looked great inside the engine), paint, new gaskets and polishing all the aluminum. The engine came out very nice and just needs a few more things to be finished. Next all the small parts need to be blasted and prepped for powder coating. I never thought it would end It felt like I was sandblasting for a week lol Every nut and bolt ,brackets, hubs and rotors etc...
 

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I've never seen one of those before! Nice purchase! Please keep us posted!
 

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Um.... Why didn't you just post a pic of the finished bike? Anybody with google already knows the thing is "finished". Actually it's is a little insulting you just cut and pasted you intro from DTT into here.

The GTL is a shit bike. 35hp stock from a 500 para twin isn't exactly setting the world on fire. Plus you can actually hear the time bomb ticking as you ride it.

Im curious what you did to the engine to make it less "explode-y". I'm also curious if yours leaks oil anywhere.

The good news is that since it is Italian you ended up with good brakes and suspension for an old bike.
 

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Im curious what you did to the engine to make it less "explode-y". I'm also curious if yours leaks oil EVERYWHERE
fixed it for you.
 

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fixed it for you.
Thank you. I should have said everywhere all the time.


The worst part about this is despite the GTL being the largest piece of italian crap ever made (and I own a plastic tank ducati so that is a bold statement coming from me), I actually looked at one near me recently. There is a local guy selling one for a few hundred bucks - the chassis is near mint with 3300 miles on it but the engine is exploded both figurativley and literally (someone tried to fix a broken one and took it entirely apart, at least the crank is rebuilt). I saw one years ago with an xs650 engine swap, and I think the XS 500D was actually a copy of the 500 GTL that fixed all the issues like bad design and poor manufacturing, and the thought of stuffing one of those into the frame so I could have a good working motorcycle seems appealing. But then more kid's medical bills came in and I can't afford it again.

The thing that really surprises me is when the bike was new people actually raced them. Well maybe that shouldn't surprise me as much, all the the problems with the para twin 500 are neatly packaged between the front and rear engine mounts, otherwise the chassis is pretty good. Still I can't imagine paying for an engine rebuild every weekend.


and just so this post isn't a total waste, here is a pic of a 500 Sport Desmo that someone put a BMW/Rotax 650 single into. I honestly can't think of a better use of a ducati parallel twin chassis and a BMW 650 single, and it is way more impressive than a "manx style" tank and bubble back seat on a stock GTL :


 

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no but it should be.

if you have never read this - it pretty much covers the mess:
Ducati Disasters ? The Parallel Twins | Ducati News Today

I had a friend who had a customer with a 500 Sport Desmo. Bike was a constant headache for his shop. Somewhere I have notes of what he did to make the engine function like an engine. There was also a great article in Classic Bike last year about these and all the sorts of machine work you need to improve the top end oiling which really is an issue.

so yeah, explode-y sums it up.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Thank you. I should have said everywhere all the time.


The worst part about this is despite the GTL being the largest piece of italian crap ever made (and I own a plastic tank ducati so that is a bold statement coming from me), I actually looked at one near me recently. There is a local guy selling one for a few hundred bucks - the chassis is near mint with 3300 miles on it but the engine is exploded both figurativley and literally (someone tried to fix a broken one and took it entirely apart, at least the crank is rebuilt). I saw one years ago with an xs650 engine swap, and I think the XS 500D was actually a copy of the 500 GTL that fixed all the issues like bad design and poor manufacturing, and the thought of stuffing one of those into the frame so I could have a good working motorcycle seems appealing. But then more kid's medical bills came in and I can't afford it again.

The thing that really surprises me is when the bike was new people actually raced them. Well maybe that shouldn't surprise me as much, all the the problems with the para twin 500 are neatly packaged between the front and rear engine mounts, otherwise the chassis is pretty good. Still I can't imagine paying for an engine rebuild every weekend.


and just so this post isn't a total waste, here is a pic of a 500 Sport Desmo that someone put a BMW/Rotax 650 single into. I honestly can't think of a better use of a ducati parallel twin chassis and a BMW 650 single, and it is way more impressive than a "manx style" tank and bubble back seat on a stock GTL :


First of all the bike is not finished. I reposted this on this form because I had built a CB750 a few years ago and posted it here and met some nice people one of the guys I met shot me an email and encouraged me to post it here too. Sorry if your offended that I posted it in a couple of forms. Seems like your just a hater. I really don't care if you like my "manx style tank and bubble back seat" I have over 150 Hours into going through this bike, sanding, cleaning, polishing, gold leafing etc... so your comment about a tank and tail on a stock bike is idiotic. Seems like you never restored anything. You don't have to Fabricate a custom frame(which I have done on other projects) or add big carbs and engine parts to make a bike worth working on. My bike has over 10000 mikes it does not leak oil and runs great. It's a fun little bike to run around no one said it was the most high performance motorcycle out there. I put over 500 miles on it prior to tearing it down. When the engine was out of the bike I went through it. If you want to know how to make one of these run read some articles by Chris Bushell. Apparently your a Ducati expert. So I'm sure you know this already in late 1977 and 78 Ducati redesigned this engine. Engines with serial numbers 501656 and later are the ones redesigned. This means that my engine has the later type of cylinder head gasket, improved primary gears and most importantly the later type of conrods and crank. This means that my big-end shells are the same as 620 Monster ones. Maybe you should just take over this thread since you already know how crappy it will turn out.


 

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I have no problem you post on a lot of forums. I find it a little disengious that you literally just cut and pasted what you posted a long time ago and reposted it here. Each community is different, but one thing we push for is actual participation. If you are just going to phone it in...well....Maybe I wouldn't have objected it had I not been reading the same thing somewhere else yesterday.

Seems like your just a hater
jury's still out on that one but as a personal rule I am deducting 50 IQ points because you use the term hater. And to be honest I was willing to give you a little more credit than most because you are a sign painter and I used to be one.

I really don't care if you like my "manx style tank and bubble back seat" I have over 150 Hours into going through this bike, sanding, cleaning, polishing, gold leafing etc... so your comment about a tank and tail on a stock bike is idiotic.
I was poking a little fun. Lighten up. 150 hours? is that all? ok, you got a set of rearsets, some shocks, and a clubman bar too, but please enlighten me - aside from cosmetics what have you actually done mechanically? I am genuinely curious about that because the only reason I haven't ever bought one of these is because everyone I know who has had one, or worked on one, or stood near one had nothing nice to say mechanically about it. That is the one thing I have found missing from all your posts on all the other forums, you say "I opened the engine up, it looked ok, now let me tell you how I mounted this seat" (I'm paraphrasing here for illustration so don't wad your panties about being misquoted).


My bike has over 10000 mikes it does not leak oil and runs great. It's a fun little bike to run around no one said it was the most high performance motorcycle out there. I put over 500 miles on it prior to tearing it down. When the engine was out of the bike I went through it.
Good to know. A fact that is absent all your other posts on other forums.

If you want to know how to make one of these run read some articles by Chris Bushell


I have. I don't own one so it's all theory for me at this point.
Apparently your a Ducati expert.
Never said that. I own a ducati and it, like anything else italian I have ever owned has caused me no end to problems.

So I'm sure you know this already in late 1977 and 78 Ducati redesigned this engine. fff Engines with serial number 501656 and later are the ones redesigned. This means that my engine has the later type of cylinder head gasket, improved primary gears and most importantly the later type of conrods and crank. This means that my big-end shells are the same as 620 Monster ones. Maybe you should just take over this thread since you already know how crappy it will turn out.
Redesigned does not mean improved. A lot of the flaws with these bikes were flaws in the workmanship more than the design and that didn't change until cagiva bought ducati in the 80's. Sure a lot of things were changed but NO version of this bike was the pillar of reliability. Don't get me wrong, the changes help, but are they enough?

Maybe you should just take over this thread since you already know how crappy it will turn out.
Actually if you look back I posted one of your "closer to done" pics and actually complimented you on it (as much as a compliment you are going to get from me anyway) So maybe you should pull whatever is lodged firmly up your ass out and relax. Maybe you should not try and "surprise" a new audience by pretending a build is happening now for a bike you bought and started working on back in june (and was working on it for 9 months then).
 

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He's right, they did try to remedy some of the issues post 1977. But The cases cracking is a well know issue and it happens regardless of year. It is because of the shitty casting, machining, and assembly.

Don't get me wrong, unsorted bevels of the same years aren't a treat either. It is just people invested in them, built an aftermarket, and now they are real collectible. They are also drop dead pretty in stock form so that doesn't hurt either. the 500 GTL had such a bad rep nobody felt they were worth saving. There is almost no aftermarket and even now - a project is cheaper than a honda project in worse shape.
 

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Damnit....I posted my project on 3 sites, copied and pasted the hell out of it too. Plus I haven't updated it in forever.
Just one more fuck-up I wil have to live with. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
I have no problem you post on a lot of forums. I find it a little disengious that you literally just cut and pasted what you posted a long time ago and reposted it here. Each community is different, but one thing we push for is actual participation. If you are just going to phone it in...well....Maybe I wouldn't have objected it had I not been reading the same thing somewhere else yesterday.



jury's still out on that one but as a personal rule I am deducting 50 IQ points because you use the term hater. And to be honest I was willing to give you a little more credit than most because you are a sign painter and I used to be one.


I was poking a little fun. Lighten up. 150 hours? is that all? ok, you got a set of rearsets, some shocks, and a clubman bar too, but please enlighten me - aside from cosmetics what have you actually done mechanically? I am genuinely curious about that because the only reason I haven't ever bought one of these is because everyone I know who has had one, or worked on one, or stood near one had nothing nice to say mechanically about it. That is the one thing I have found missing from all your posts on all the other forums, you say "I opened the engine up, it looked ok, now let me tell you how I mounted this seat" (I'm paraphrasing here for illustration so don't wad your panties about being misquoted).




Good to know. A fact that is absent all your other posts on other forums.


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I have. I don't own one so it's all theory for me at this point.

Never said that. I own a ducati and it, like anything else italian I have ever owned has caused me no end to problems.



Redesigned does not mean improved. A lot of the flaws with these bikes were flaws in the workmanship more than the design and that didn't change until cagiva bought ducati in the 80's. Sure a lot of things were changed but NO version of this bike was the pillar of reliability. Don't get me wrong, the changes help, but are they enough?



Actually if you look back I posted one of your "closer to done" pics and actually complimented you on it (as much as a compliment you are going to get from me anyway) So maybe you should pull whatever is lodged firmly up your ass out and relax. Maybe you should not try and "surprise" a new audience by pretending a build is happening now for a bike you bought and started working on back in june (and was working on it for 9 months then).
You are unbelievable. You figured out my plan I've been sitting here trying to figure out how to surprise a new audience, you have got to be kidding. I should get whatever is lodged up my ass. You posted 5 times slamming my project after my first post. I was trying to share something that I am proud of with more like minded motorcycle people. As far as details about checking the engine out... Sorry I didn't give you enough details. I am just giving a overview of my build not trying to write a tech manual on how to check and rebuild a engine. As far as cosmetics I not only did made the bike look good I made the rearsets, I cut the original hoop off the back of the bike and bent and welded a new hoop, I rebuilt the forks, I rebuild the brake calipers, replaced all the bearings in the neck and wheels. I relaced both front and rear wheels with stainless steel spokes, I did some rewiring, the list goes on. As far as the engine here a list of what I did since your so interested.I removed the bolt that is just in front of the left cylinder, as you sit on the bike. This is the restrictor for the oil feed to the cylinder head and makes sure that the oil pressure is backed up to the crank. I took off the alternator cover. Below the alternator you will find the oil pressure relief valve, this takes the form of a steel tube with a ball and spring up it I took it out cleaned it up and then put back with loctite and then wire lock it. I checked that your oil pressure warning light was properly working. The Cam chain do stretch and flap, because the tensioner is not very good. I pulled the rocker cover off and checked the tension. I checked the depth of the recesses to take the O rings that seal the main oil galleries between the two crankcase halves. If they are not recessed it will cause weepage out through the gasket. I took the bungs out of the crank for the big end sludge traps these traps were full of muck and would have starved the big end shells of oil flow. On the camshafts, which are in two parts, Ducati saw fit to block off the hole for the oil feed to the cam lobes with a dished washer like a water jacket core plug. These were never designed to take the pressure of cold 20/50 oil on them and can blow out, leaving you with no oil feed to the top end! The solution was to put the cam in a lathe and bore the end to take an aluminum bung and fit that bung with loctite and face off, so that they press together and can't go anywhere. I also checked the end float on the crankshaft for slop. This is adjusted by placing shims behind the LH main bearing, This stops sideways movement of the crank across the face of the main bearings and will reduce wear.
I have never had anyone jump on anything I have ever posted before in such a negative way. I have no interest in defending myself about a project that I built or where I posted it first. Talk about relaxing you should take your own advise. I'm done on this board don't need the aggravation.
 

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I've kept my GS build current on four forums......


...and the RFY's can work pretty well, if rebuilt.


Jus' sayin'
 
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