1979 Suzuki GS550L - Wrist Twisters
 
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post #1 of 12 Old 09-29-2012, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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1979 Suzuki GS550L

This thread will document the restoration of the 1979 Suzuki GS550 a friend and I are working on. Gary, the original owner, parked the bike in 1981 in a shed behind his house.

First, we had to dig the bike out. Gary had put shelves, tools, and all kinds of stuff between the bike and the door. We finally found the bike in the back of the shed-



After the cover is off, we notice all of the rust and pitting and just how terrible the storage conditions were for this old classic.. A typical barn find. We pulled the seat and Gary goes to town blowing dust and leaves off of her



I had been searching for a project bike to do a resto-mod and turn into a cafe racer. After seeing the bike in person I got my ideas going on how it will look one day. After discussing these with Gary, he shoots my ideas down. "No, no, we gotta put her back to her original glory! This bike needs to look just how she did when she came out of the factory." D'oh, there go my ideas!





We even found a crusty old rat tucked under the carbs!


After a little wash and detailer, the tank cleaned up nicely!


Then we loaded up the bike and moved her back to my shop to continue the cleanup. The goal is to pull the carbs and clean/rebuild them, remove all of the rust from the tank, clean up all of the chrome, oil and filter change, then install a new battery. Hope she will be up and running soon, then new tires and bits and pieces.



There's nothing I would like more than to kill the windshield, handlebars, seat, and highway pegs with fire, but it will end up back to stock since it is after all, Gary's bike. More pics to come as we start tearing this bike all apart!

1965 PA-30 Twin Comanche
1985 Kawasaki GPZ900r
1999 Honda CBR1100XX
2005 Honda ST1300
2006 KLX250s
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post #2 of 12 Old 09-29-2012, 10:24 PM
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just my 2 cents worth, and to save future hassle, but it sounds like you should establish who's bike/project this is.
You started with him giving it to you, and then him helping. Now It sounds like he is dictating terms.
Just a thought, so friendships dont go sour.
Anyways, goodluck and it looks fun

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post #3 of 12 Old 10-01-2012, 11:04 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davehirt View Post
just my 2 cents worth, and to save future hassle, but it sounds like you should establish who's bike/project this is.
You started with him giving it to you, and then him helping. Now It sounds like he is dictating terms.
Just a thought, so friendships dont go sour.
Anyways, goodluck and it looks fun
Thanks for the input! I talked with him some more about what we're gonna do and he's come around to hearing me out. He started saying, "Man, I think that windshield will clean up nicely, that will make for a nice, comfortable ride." I gave him a funny look and asked, "This will just be an around town bike, right?" He nodded and said, "Well, yea, unless one of us wants to take it on a cross-county." I then gave him a funny look. "Cross country? That's why you have a Valkyrie and a KLR, this little bike is just gonna be for bombing around town, so ditch the windshield and put some less awkward handlebars and she'll not only look better, she'll handle better too." He nodded and admitted the handlebars were a little goofy.

Work progresses on pulling the carbs and getting them cleaned up. Gary picked up some Evaporust to dump in the tank so tomorrow should be a fun day cleaning that sucker out.

Short-term game plan-
-pull carbs
-clean gas tank
-troubleshoot sticky clutch

After we hear the engine run
-brakes
-tires
-lots of steel wool to polish chrome

Items to kill with FIRE
-windshield
-handlebars
-seat
-taillight assembly
-rear grab rail/rack thing


1965 PA-30 Twin Comanche
1985 Kawasaki GPZ900r
1999 Honda CBR1100XX
2005 Honda ST1300
2006 KLX250s
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post #4 of 12 Old 10-02-2012, 11:31 AM
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Nice! Can't wait to see how this turns out.

Definitely agree with the "kill it with fire" list.

I'm hoping to find an older VFR to mess with in the next year or so.

"A motorcycle is not just a two-wheeled car; the difference between driving a car and climbing onto a motorcycle is the difference between watching TV and actually living your life."
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post #5 of 12 Old 10-02-2012, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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An older VFR or Sabre (the naked box lookin thing) is definitely on my list of bikes to own one of these years! Something about a V-4 engine just seems so cool!

More progress today!!! Not only did we dump Evaporust in the gas tank, but while having lunch with Gary, he told me that he finally looked up what a cafe racer looks like. He thought they look sharp! Well, some of them at least. I told him that's what I wanted to do and he thought we should buy another bike (GS550E of the same vintage) to make into a cafe racer. I don't mind acquiring another bike to play with but there's a perfectly restore-able GS550L in front of us lol. He said the 550L just has too many things going against it to make it easily into a cafe bike, but I told him I was up for the challenge

1965 PA-30 Twin Comanche
1985 Kawasaki GPZ900r
1999 Honda CBR1100XX
2005 Honda ST1300
2006 KLX250s
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post #6 of 12 Old 10-02-2012, 08:29 PM
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Gary needs to take a look at your work on your 919 and realize that you know what you are doing, and how to make a bike look good Then just step back and say "yessir, nosir, whateveryousaysir"

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post #7 of 12 Old 10-02-2012, 09:21 PM Thread Starter
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I appreciate the kind words Gary is coming around and like always I have a vision for this bike!

-I'm thinking to start with different handlebars. Either drag bars or 919 handlebars.
-Lower the front end a bit to make it look more aggressive.
-Install a plate to the rear tank attach to raise the rear of the tank to give it a less-cruiser look.
-Start from scratch with a cafe seat. Plank of plywood (or use part of the 1/2" carbon fiber/nomex sheet I have hidden in the shop) to make the base. Make a decent seat and use part of an aircraft wheelpant for the tail.
-Ditch the rear fender, side mount the license plate and have integrated taillights into the tail/rear seat.
-Buff the gloss black tank and side covers, black out the spokes of the rims and sides of the engine

1965 PA-30 Twin Comanche
1985 Kawasaki GPZ900r
1999 Honda CBR1100XX
2005 Honda ST1300
2006 KLX250s
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post #8 of 12 Old 10-02-2012, 09:42 PM
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post #9 of 12 Old 02-12-2013, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Gary has taken the project back from me after he realized how he had time to kill and I was tied up with other projects

Anywhose, figured it was time for an update.

-The carbs are getting cleaned/ freshened up by our local cycle shop
-Swingarm was removed/sandblasted/painted/reinstalled
-new charging system so we know everything will be good to go
-rear wheel blasted/painted/reinstalled with new tire
-front wheel is off and getting the same treatment as the front
-rear brake has been bled and is functioning properly
-front master cylinder is not pumping correctly, still needs rebuilt
-tank is looking good inside and out

here's a teaser-


More pics soon!

1965 PA-30 Twin Comanche
1985 Kawasaki GPZ900r
1999 Honda CBR1100XX
2005 Honda ST1300
2006 KLX250s
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post #10 of 12 Old 02-12-2013, 10:19 AM
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Looking good!!

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post #11 of 12 Old 06-03-2013, 06:50 AM Thread Starter
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She's now on her way to get carbs! Gary is about to leave in a week on a trip to Alaska, but Al, the local cycle shop owner, is taking on the project to go over the wiring and get the bike running. Should be up and running very soon!




1965 PA-30 Twin Comanche
1985 Kawasaki GPZ900r
1999 Honda CBR1100XX
2005 Honda ST1300
2006 KLX250s
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post #12 of 12 Old 06-03-2013, 08:10 AM
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Dang that bike is looking cherry!!!!!!!!!!!! Just like it rolled off the showroom floor.

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