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Discussion Starter #1
So I found this guy selling a 1979 suzuki gs425 on letgo for $800. He's real and all, no ebay shipping scam or anything like the last bike I saw on craigslist.

So the bike has 2000 original miles and was partially restored, but he said recently one of the cylinders stopped firing. He also says there is a pinhole in the gas tank.

So my question is, should I buy it and try to fix it myself? For $800 the bike is in spectacular condition, chrome is shiny and paint is good. But what could the problem be with the one cylinder and how much would that cost? also how much would it cost to fix or replace the gas tank? Is there any way that I could run some quick easy tests If I go to see the bike to determine the problem?
 

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If i buy if like $500, come home and find out is has no compression, is it a total loss? Is there a good chance thats nothing with the engine because it only 2k miles? should I just get a compression tester and test it at his place before buying?
 

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Compression test is a good thing because it tells you much about the mechanical fitness of the engines internal parts without actually disassembling it. If it's a non-running bike then the owner should be supportive of you performing a non-destructive test imho. If the compression test numbers are within spec you and the owner now know the problem is likely electrical or carb related which is a much less significant repair issue because you know the valves, pistons and rings are all doing their thing correctly.
The problems with a 30 to 40 year old bike is not just milage, it's the age and deterioration of every piece of rubber on the bike, potential mouse damage, rust corrosion and condensation if the machine was stored in less than perfect conditions and the difficulty in obtaining replacement parts.
"partially restored" is not a good thing, that is a minus, it represents time &/or money invested by the original owner that needs to be recovered, it was not a successful restoration because they ran into a stumbling block and now they want to bail on the project. As for the cost of the bike :/ not a lot to go on having not seen it, but at least they aren't asking twice the original list price of the vehicle.
 

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If i buy if like $500, come home and find out is has no compression, is it a total loss? Is there a good chance thats nothing with the engine because it only 2k miles? should I just get a compression tester and test it at his place before buying?
at $500, "technically" if you get a flat tire the bike's a total loss, lol.

With old bikes, sometimes mileage is less important than how often it sits. I would rather have a high mileage bike that is used regularly, then something with low miles that has just sat around. why? well when a bike gets used, the stuff that breaks gets fixed.

What's the point of buying this bike? If you are buying it because you want to learn how to fix motorcycles then maybe buying something like this is a good intro - even if it is something like a holed piston (although if that is the case, I would look for a bike with more of an aftermarket so you can actually get parts to fix it).

If you want something to just ride, maybe take the $800 and put it down on financing a cheap beginner motorcycle. Save the vintage bike for your next bike.
 
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