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Wats going on everyone? I am new to motorcycle restoration, and conversion for that matter. Due to the college life my funds are rather limited, therefore i have become content with focusing on cheaper vintage japanese models. I recently acquired an old Suzuki gt550 along with a manual, 3 extra carbs, and another gt550 engine that im not sure works for about 200 bucks. Can this be a good cafe racer project? and if so I need to know where to start on this bike, as well as the chronological order in which i should go about converting this bike into a nice racer. Here's samples of what im up against!!













SPEED!!! My new anit-drug
 

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Capitol A, Welcome to the forum dude. The good news; nice bike, and it could be a cool cafe. The bad news; since you're starting with something that old, and partially torn down, you're probably going to have to complete the engine teardown/rebuild, and by the looks of things, go through the entire bike. Stuff like tires, wheels, wheel bearings, wiring/electrical/gauges, as well as gas tank, seat/bodywork, controls, chain, etc.
In short, it's a full project. I don't want to discourage you from doing it, you've got the manual, which is great.
I'd start with the engine, determine the condition of the cylinders and pistons, and see if you can get away with just freshening up the top end...you may get lucky there. As far as order after that, it's up to you and your budget, but I'd look at everything, see what you can use and what needs to be replaced. Pay close attention to wheels/bearings/brakes. Assume you'll be replacing wheel bearings, tires, chain and sprockets, battery, air filters, fork seals, brake pads.


FR
 

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Kid...you broke the cardnal rule about beginners and motor bikes...you bought a bike (turd...whatever) in the worst condition for a beginner possible. I hope you don't have any delusions about riding the thing this year. There is so much important stuff missing too that I can only guess you bought someone else's parts bike (seriously: the carbs, the heads, parts of the wiring harness - you need these things!!!) The only consolation is I hope it was free or close too. If you are new to this, always buy the best bike possible for the money. These are old bikes anyway so there will always be stuff to fix. Get us some pics of any spare parts you got with it - but my best advice is to part it out on ebay, take the money you make from it, and buy something that is at the very least complete. This is the wrong project for a beginner.

That being said GT550s are awsome bikes, I really like them. I have seen some nice running GT550s sell for a couple o' hundred bucks (ratty looking but running) so if you want to stick with this kind of bike then it should not be hard to find a running one cheap. Of all the two stroke bikes out there suzuiks are the better ones for beginners.

Check out the suzuki two stroke message board, if anybody can answer the multitude of newbie questions you are going to have about this specific bike it is going to be these guys:

http://vancouver.globat.com/~sundialmotosport.com/phpBB2/

Paul Miller Motorcycles will have all the parts you can get for this bike (suzuki surprising still has a lot of stuff for it).

Also Bill Bune (www.billbune.com) is awsome at crank rebuilding which by the looks of things you are going to need. He also does awsome work in boring. I just got my T500 pistons and crank back from him a couple of months back and I am super happy.

Ok so where to start? Here is my suggested game plan:

It is a two stroke so start with the motor. Does the one in the frame turn over? (do the pistons move when you kick start it?) Does the spare motor? The first thing to go on these and the most expensive is the crank seals, but before you worry about them see if you even have a good bottom end. Either way you are going to need the crank rebuilt but the difference is whether you need bottom end bearings also. If you have a motor that turns over you are going to need to seal it up (I don't see this happening on the one in the bike, but maybe the spare engine) and leak down test the crank seals (move the piston to the bottom of the travel and pump 5 psi into the engine through the spark plug hole and see how slow or fast it leaks out - fast and the seals are shot). If you need a crank it will probably cost in the neighborhood of $300 to rebuild not counting shipping and parts. Send that off an turn your attention to the frame.

If there are mods you want to do (custom seat, low bars), now is the time to figure those out because the bike is grungy and you don't want to be ruining a freshly painted frame with any welding. If you are wanting to run bars any lower than drag bars now is the time to figure out rearsets.

Japanese bikes are built in sub assemblies and I like to focus on rebuilding the sub assemblies first because when it comes time to paint and reassemble the frame you can get it back up on wheels quick so as not to scar the paint.

Take the swingarm off the bike at the pivot and restore the swingarm, wheels, etc. Do the same with the front by removing the whole front end at the neck.

Clean everything, repaint as you go.
 

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my first bike was a 68 bonneville. it had been piston seized. there was an inch of water in one cyl. and it was horribly undercarbed. it needed everything. didnt even have a seat. i bought it for 650 bucks. it had the manual. i made alot of mistakes. but i had mike o to help me and a great british shop that had everything i needed. it took about 2-3 years of saving and working on it to get it going. i rebuilt the top end. first time it ran, seized a big end bearing an a rod. pulled it all apart again. (i got pretty good at ripping that thing down) anyway, i kept at it cuz it was the bike i wanted. and it was great to get it revived and running again. it wasnt in too much worse condition than what you have there. it would have definitely been easier to buy something running and ride it. but i learned alot. good luck whatever you do. dont get discouraged. and find someone who knows what youre doing. it will make a huge difference.

jc

"tex, if your bikes a cheater, its not a very good one"
 

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A couple more questions:

1 - did you get a title for this bike?

2 - what exactly is your budget?

3 - What is your mechanical expirence?

4 - are you an engineering student of some kind?

If I sounded overly critical before it be because, well it sounds like you have no mechanical expirence, you did no research, and just bought the first thing that came along. There are plenty of pie eyed kids who get into this hobby with way too much ambition and way too little ability and a good chunk of them then leave the hobby frustrated and end up dumping bikes cheap. That isn't good for the hobby at all because it doesn't grow. On the up side if you stick with it you will have done something that few actually in this hobby can lay claim to. The time to ask if this was a good bike or a good project is before you bought it...not after.

But there are some delusions you are going to need to get over:

1 - this is not the cheaper way. In the end you will have spent more on this bike than if you bought two in good shape. In many ways this is a form of old bike financing, where you also get a lesson out of it so it has its advantages over buy a new bike and financing that. Chances are though if you are a college student, you probably won't have enough to dump into this bike till you are out of college and have a job. $200 is not a great price, not a bad price either but I have sold suzuki two strokes in better condition for the same money.

2 - This is not a fast process. You are looking at 1 year if you are efficient, 2-3 if you have to learn the basics of working on stuff. This is also a frustrating process as there will be times where you can't go any further and will have to depend on someone else. As a newbie too, be prepared to be ripped off by shops, eat a lot of shit from more expirenced wrenches, make a ton of mistakes, give up on it twice, and basically earn your stripes.

3 - find a mentor. Someone who works on old bikes who can help you understand the process (another person in the hobby not a shop). I will outright say I would not have the confidence to work on suzuki two strokes if it werent from Diamondj (Jim) on the suzuki board and this board. I have learned so much from him working on this stuff with me.


Forgot to add - pipes are really important to this bike as GT550 pipes are really expensive when you find a usable set. Also on two strokes the pipe is actually part of the engine's exhaust and intake timing so it isn't like you can just make a set of straight pipes for it.

Edited by - Geeto67 on May 14 2007 10:25:13 AM
 

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Just to make sure you saw this, I'll quote from Geeto: "...my best advice is to part it out on ebay, take the money you make from it, and buy something that is at the very least complete. This is the wrong project for a beginner."

My first bike was a CB450K0 (which is, incidentally, the only bike I now own - sold the others when I went travelin but couldn't bear to give up my first). The rings were shot (shattered, in fact), valve seats pitted, cylinders scored... in other words, I could've gotten in square in a week, maybe ten days with machine shop time, if I knew then what I know now. Instead, it took me a year, in part because I didn't know precisely what was wrong with it and in part because I was a college kid on a budget.

What Geeto says is true - with what you've got your odds aren't good. What you've got there isn't a motorcycle - it just sort of looks like one - and turning it into one is going to be frustrating and expensive. I'm not suggesting you get one that's perfectly square and already cafe'd - where's the fun in that? - but I'd part out, get your money back and probably a bit to spare, and find a complete bike.

A
 

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I agree...man if this is your first rebuild...it could just make you fustrated, unless you have lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of patience. If you got bored or pissed off reading this response, then you don't have enough patience... :) Good luck with whatever you do.

Yeller'
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Ask not what the wanker can do for you, but what you can do for your wanker!
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow!!! So what's the bad news??? No im just kidding, Thank all of you for the constructive responses. I will keep everyone updated on my progress, and decisions

SPEED!!! My new anit-drug
 

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I have a GT550, mine's a 75 yours looks like a 72 or 3. They're good riding bikes for their age. I'll help you if I can, a couple guys on the Kawasaki board have been super helpful to me.

Then I saw this http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Suzu...74QQihZ008QQcategoryZ6027QQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem A lot more realistic start.





04 KDX 200
05 KX 250f- SOLD!
01 GSXR 750
75 GT 550
68 Chevelle

Edited by - Ratty-550 on May 14 2007 11:11:08 PM
 

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keep an eye out - there are cheap bikes out there that are good deals - I got mine for $50 bucks, and with another 25 invested, the motor runs, but you can bet I am going to be spending a sh**load more on it - brakes, spokes, chain, tires, seatcover, fork seals, gaskets, wiring, cables - in the long run, the other guys here are right. Buy something that maybe isn't pretty, but can be ridden, and you'll save yourself time and headaches.

Mine was only worth it because it had a good motor that turned over, no missing parts, clean wiring, and a clean title. Anything else, and I would have owned a basket case that might never get done.

If you break that bike down into components (seat, sidecovers, hubs, kickstarter lever, forks, wheels, etc), give everything a really good cleaning/polishing, you'll easily make back your money on ebay and then some. A clean titled frame is worth a bunch just by itself.

Then, you do exactly what Geeto says.
 

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hey, when i got my triumph, i didnt even know it had whitworth on it! i just got it cause it looked simple and i figured i could make the engine run. budget in my opinion is nothing to consider as long as you have time. if it cost 3k over a year or 2, who cares. pull the motor down, work on that. get the head done. bore it the next month. buy carbs the following. you can make plenty of progress if youre not in a hurry. youll have plenty to take apart, learn about, and find. like i said, finding a good shop or mentor will help you avoid alot of problems. especially one that specializes in what youre working on. places dont like to work on old bikes. but british, italian, and bmws are easy shops to find. the japanese shops not so easy. if i had known to look for certain things, i could have saved the trouble of tearing down the bottom end of my motor to do big end bearings. but i just didnt know. but, i learned how to do it. if you like that bike for some reason, stick with it. if you buy one already running, how wil you know what to fix when it stops running on the way home one night?

on the other hand, if youre not willing to take 2 years to build the thing, and dont have 5k to dump into it, you have options.



jc

"tex, if your bikes a cheater, its not a very good one"
 

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if speed is yer new "anti-drug" or whatever, yer gonna be sellin yer ass down at the local bus station over that "bike"......go find the guy that robbed you, and make him hold yer jacket while you beat up his girlfriend.....if you knew what you were doin, had tons of time, resources and money, then you'd be fine.....but......ya went and done got yerself hornswaggled there, boy.........
 

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I am not sure but I think there are one or two members of STOGI (Suzuki Two Stroke Owners Group International) that may live in maryland, you can find out through the suzuki two stroke board or through kawasakitriplesworldwide.com

Before going any further I would have one of those guys take a look at the bike and see if it is worse or better than it looks in person.

we still haven't seen any pics of the other parts so no idea if you can swap motors.

If I were closer I would try to help you out but maryland is too far a drive from nyc.

...beat up his girlfriend....heheheheeeeee (you guys are sick, extremely funny, but sick).
 

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dude, this weekend, go to the vintage motorcycle show and swap. duh, i didnt realize you were in maryland. there should be a ton of shit there to look at and maybe buy. i might even be there.


http://www.classicmotorcycleday.org/


if i hear of anything around town, ill pass it along. i come across stuff on occasion.



jc

"tex, if your bikes a cheater, its not a very good one"
 

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joe...since y'all are in the same state, why not take a ride there and see if his project can be resurected? just a thought....
 

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because i despise going to where he lives. its a miserable drive. i have a friend there whos house ive only been to once. i mean, if im headed that way at some point, i would. besides, i already know! anything can be fixed, like was said before. with enough time money and determination. hes really only about an hour away, but im lazy. besides, i have to work to pay off that crap i just picked up.



jc

"tex, if your bikes a cheater, its not a very good one"
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Well since im already completely screwed according to you inspiring gentlemen, I guess i'm jus gonna have to learn from this one, i would appreciate any help that i can get from you guys, like i said i stay right down in Upper Marlboro. I'm gonna post another picture of the spare engine and carbs, and air filter that i have probably tomarrow. From there, i don't kno??

SPEED!!! My new anit-drug
 

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gee, i thought i was being optimistic! you'll have more fun with something that runs already. if i had a chance to get down there anytime soon, i would. ive actually only been down ther 2x.



jc

"tex, if your bikes a cheater, its not a very good one"
 

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quote:
Well since im already completely screwed according to you inspiring gentlemen, I guess i'm jus gonna have to learn from this one, i would appreciate any help that i can get from you guys, like i said i stay right down in Upper Marlboro. I'm gonna post another picture of the spare engine and carbs, and air filter that i have probably tomarrow. From there, i don't kno??

SPEED!!! My new anit-drug
You are not completely screwed...just you learning curve is really really really steep right now. The one advantage to bikes is that you can basically churn out an entire bike in the same amount of time it takes to do one major component on a car. However, patience is a virtue with this project as is determination.

The problem with a newbie tackeling a project like this is that there are all sorts of general mechanics knowledge that the manual doesn't tell you. For instance stuck screws are better off being extracted with an impact driver than sheer force and a philips head screwdriver, or that screws going into aluminum should be snugged tight not tightened down with all the force you can muster, or that steel and aluminum corrode when they are in contact (dissimilar metal corrosion), or that anti-seize is a good thing to put on every fastner. Right off the bat I would say shop around for a fastener kit that replaces all your philips screws with stainless allen head fastners, makes life much easier.

Another hurdle is going to be tools, and no way around it you are going to make a considerable investment here. You cannot do this project without:

- A troque Wrench
- Feeler Gauges
- Impact driver
- A good complete set of metric spanners (wrenches) and sockets
- wire brush
- dial caliper
- elbow grease.

The reason I asked if you were an engineering student is that the Mech E guys usually have access to the coolest stuff and a good deal of them are hotrodders. At my college they were fond of building racing buggies (although we were no where near the desert) and legends cars (motorcycle powered race cars), which means that they had a bitchin welder, plus access to platers and painters, metal shops, and a full machine shop.

Another problem you are going to run into is that many shops will not deal with this kind of bike. You are going to need to find someone local to you who can help you when you get stuck. Look for a VJMC chapter in your area: I don;t know who is closer to you but these are the regional reps in your area:

MARYLAND
Tim McDowell
11788 Stonegate Lane
Columbia MD 21044
[email protected]
410-730-2406

Kenny Haines
116 Grace Croft Drive
Havre de Grace MD 21078
410-939-7736
[email protected]

Dan Gray
13568 Coach Lamp Lane
Silver Spring MD 20906
240-793-2000
[email protected]

try contacting one of them and see if there are any suzuki two stroke enthuasists in your neck of the woods who wouldn't mind helping you out since you are a newbie. You'll be surprised to see how people in motorcycles all stick together.

I'd happily help out but I am too far away.
 
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