DO THE TON

Blood Sweat Tears and Grease => Projects => Cafe Racers => Topic started by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 14, 2013, 14:01:10

Title: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 14, 2013, 14:01:10
Well, the bike I'm bringing to the table is a 1981 Kawasaki GPz550. I've previous done a partial restoration of a vintage bike, but this will be my first cafe racer project. They say that this is the bike for which the term "pocket rocket" was coined. We'll see, I have yet to ride it. I bought it about 2 months ago as a non-runner in "rough shape", as the seller put it.

I've been rather busy in the time since I purchased the GPz and have had only limited time to work on it. None-the-less I have already done a few things. So, I will probably send out the first few posts in rapid succession. Not all will be exciting, my intent is simply to document the project as is occurred. I hope you enjoy it.

Cheers,
Todd

PS: Here is a pic of the bike from the Craigslist ad where I first found it.

Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 14, 2013, 14:37:38
I live in Seattle, but I found the GPz for sale in the Portland (OR) Craigslist. I was able to negotiate, via email, a sale price of $500 sight unseen, $600 with some spare parts: a spare engine in unknown condition, spare carbs, front fender, gas tank, and wheels. The seller described the bike's condition as "rough" and it was a non-runner. The bike has no kick start (never did, has no facility for one) and had a bad starter clutch. Additionally it was missing the chain. So, there was no good way for me to turn the engine over and get an idea of its condition. Basically I had to decide whether or not I trusted the previous owners assessment of the bikes mechanical condition. I decided that he seemed honest enough, and he hadn't over sold the bikes condition. He was up front that it needed some significant elbow grease.

It took me a borrowed truck (thanks Colton), a rented trailer (Uhaul trailers are a much more reasonably priced proposition as compared to their vehicles, no mileage charge), and an entire day to go to Portland and pic up the bike. But I got it. I couldn't start working on it right away. I had to get rid of an abandoned project first. I had earlier picked up a CL350 that turned out to be too-far-gone and not easily titled that I needed to part and sell before I could start on the GPz. 

Here are a couple of pics, one of the bike on the trailer, one of it when I first put it in my garage.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Wahoo650 on Mar 14, 2013, 16:33:59
These are GREAT bikes.  Top of the 550 heap when they came out and are fairly bullit proof.  Good luck and hope it turns out to be well bought!

Matt
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 14, 2013, 16:43:20
Thanks Matt! It is definitely going to be a "rat bike" for a while. But I think it is going to make a pretty cool one.

- Todd
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 14, 2013, 18:00:25
So the first major job that I decided to tackle was the starter clutch replacement. The previous owner had claimed that he didn't think that this was too big of a job. I've got to say, it is fairly substantial. You've got to take just about every cover off of the engine, the alternator cover, the drive sprocket cover, the clutch cover, the secondary shaft cover, and the oil pan. The exhaust has to come off. The clutch assembly has to be disassembled and removed. The oil pump has to be removed. And the secondary shaft has to be removed. At least that is the procedure for doing it with the engine still in the bike. The procedure described in the Clymer manual involves pulling the motor first.

One of the biggest problems I encountered was removing the clutch hub (regular clutch, not start clutch). Generally this procedure calls for a special Kawasaki tool to hold the hub in place, to keep it from spinning, while you remove the center nut.  Well, if you are like me, the ol' McGyver in you comes out and you start thinking about how you can fashion your own. The first thing that I tried was to drill two holes in a long rod and bolt the rod to the towers where the clutch pressure plate spring bolts normally attached. I used that to hold the clutch hub while I put a breaker bar on the hub nut. I promptly busted off two of those towers. Doh! Now I had a new problem. I needed new clutch parts, as well as to replace the starter clutch.

I tried fashioning two other tools, one from a large bar clamp, one from two clutch plates attached to a long bar. Ultimately, neither of these tools worked. I had to buy an electric impact wrench to get that nut off (and apply friction to the hub by wrapping it in rope). I had to scavenge my spare engine for the busted clutch parts.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: merc4now on Mar 14, 2013, 18:28:35
Need any parts let me know just put a parts bike up for sale since I wanted to go the SR250 and CL360 route. 82 gpz, they look kinda mean when done right and take a few mods and it's the original street fighter. None the less good luck I'll keep an eye on your post to see how much I may regret getting rid of mine.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 16, 2013, 16:16:01
Finally got to the starter clutch, removed it, and replaced it with a new assembly. Here are a few pics:
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 16, 2013, 16:45:37
With the new starter clutch installed and the bike reassembled I finally got a chance to start the bike for the first time. The first press of the start button did nothing (as did the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, ...). I ended up jumping the solenoid with a screw driver. Like so many electrical problems on old bikes, I would later find out that the only problems was a dirty ground wire (on the solenoid primary side). Anyway, though there was a good bit of valve noise, and a few seconds after I stopped filming this video the bike started dumping green fuel all over the garage floor (from carb overflow tube, probably stuck float from old gas), it did start and run OK. Here is a video of it running, check it out:

http://youtu.be/GXwZoPJV_1k
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 16, 2013, 17:04:56
Though there is still a lot of work to do to make this a viable running/driving bike, I couldn't resist the urge to start making some cafe modifications. When I purchased the bike I paid a bit extra to get the previous owner's spare parts. One of these parts was a spare gas tank, from which I intend to build a seat cowl. To be precise, I will use the spare as a gas tank (as it is in better condition than the one currently on the bike, though neither are dent free) and I will use the current tank to make the cowl.

I removed the current tank and pulled of the bits that I would need to transfer over to the other tank (fuel level float, petcock, and cap). I then gave it an internal soap and water bath. I did not assemble the tank that will become the new fuel tank, because it is rusty inside and will need to be cleaned first. But, from the tank I removed, I began to cut the seat cowl.

Below is a picture of the rough cut. Of course there is much more work to be done on it yet, like closing off the end and attaching it to the bike. For now it is just sitting on the bike so that I could snap a photo to give you an idea of what I have in mind.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 17, 2013, 00:39:11
OK, I got tired of looking at that awful square headlight. And I needed to see what the front end was going to look like once I started dropping things down a bit. Here is a rough mockup that shows the basic changes that I am going for in this first round:

clip on bars
get rid of those mirrors (I plan to add some lane splitters but don't have them yet)
mod the gauge mount to drop them down a bit (smaller gauges isn't in the budget at this point)
mod the ignition key mount to drop it down a bit
shave off the old bar mounting towers
round headlight and new brackets
getting rid of the plastic indicator panel (working on relocating the indicators and fuel gauge)

I will need a different master cylinder. The gigantic one that came with the bike is getting in the way now that I've switched to clip-ons. Anyway, here is a before pic and an "after", sort of (it is only a mock-up at this point).
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 17, 2013, 15:19:56
Need any parts let me know just put a parts bike up for sale since I wanted to go the SR250 and CL360 route. 82 gpz, they look kinda mean when done right and take a few mods and it's the original street fighter. None the less good luck I'll keep an eye on your post to see how much I may regret getting rid of mine.

Thanks merc4now, I'll drop you a line if I'm looking for any GPz specific parts, to see if you still have any. Good luck on your other projects.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: crackerman on Mar 17, 2013, 16:48:08
Big fan of the 550. Def hauls ass for a little bike. All of the old Kawasaki's have that starter clutch issue. I've replace 3 of them off my kz750 twins, but the twins is much easier than the 4 cylinder. You definitely have to take alot more off the engine with the 4 cylinders to get to the starter clutch. Overall bike doesn't look too bad. Should clean up nicely.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Breeze on Mar 17, 2013, 18:20:26
Awesome bike... Also a great platform for either a cafe or fighter. I've also got a bunch of Gpz parts laying around. They are mostly 82. Look forward to seeing how your build turns out...
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: jimmer on Mar 17, 2013, 22:25:54
I have fond memories of my buddies brand new '81 GPz550 in the living room of his "dome home",and yes there was a cow looking in the front window when he fired it up for us.That bike was amazing.Smooth, fast ,tight and just right.I shit you not.Nice purchase.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: VonYinzer on Mar 17, 2013, 22:46:23
Man do I miss my GPZ.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Mar 18, 2013, 13:45:33
Thanks guys. It does me good to hear from others who have fond memories and experiences with their own GPzs. Interesting that it doesn't seem to be used that often as a cafe platform. Perhaps because it is from the 80s. But it still has that nice (mostly) straight frame top, tank to tail (at least the '81 does, I'm not sure how the frame is on the later years). I thought the tank was a bit fugly for a while and had plans on changing it out, but it has really grown on me. I'm partial to a tank that drops off quickly at the rear (a blunt rear) as opposed to one that gradually tapers to a point. Anyway, I like the way it is shaping up so far. This isn't going to be one of those immaculate restoration projects. I don't have a huge budget. It will probably always be somewhat of a rat bike. But I want to customize it to the style that I like.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 24, 2013, 17:51:51
Recently had to deal with a good deal of rust in the gas tank that I am planning to use. I decided to use the electrolysis method for a few reasons:

1. I've used it before, so I'm familiar with it and it isn't too difficult (though it does take a while).
2. It doesn't eat away any healthy material from the tank.
3. It is super cheap, provided you already have a power source (which I do, a standard car battery charger).

All told this cost me about $3 and change for a box of washing soda (to make my electrolyte solution) and a few bits I had laying around (the cap from a can of spray paint, a strip of steel I cut from a small sheet I had, and a bungee cord). It worked great, though it took about a week. I had to replace the sacrificial anode (steel strip) about half way through because the first one basically dissolved into mush. I probably should have done this closer to when I was planning on placing the tank into service, to prevent flash re-rusting. But, I've coated the now fairly clean inside with WD-40 and am hoping for the best. Anyway, here are two pics, one of the anode after 24 hours (this is all rust that jumped from the inside of the tank to the anode) and one of the anode with about 4 or 5 inches missing as I found it about half way through the process.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 24, 2013, 18:44:43
My plan is to get rid of the original plastic console which contained the indicator lights and the fuel gauge. It had 4 indicator lights; right and left turn signal indicators, high beam indicator, and neutral indicator. Well, I am also relocating the handle bars, moving them down, replacing the originals with clip-ons. As such, I no longer have a need for the handlebar mounting towers that originally came off of the top of the triple tree. So I cut them off with the grinder. But when I did so, they were hollow and left some holes behind. While doing a Google search to see what others before me have done with these holes, I found someone who had used them to relocate his/her indicator lights. Sorry, I do not now know where I saw this or I would leave a pointer to person whose idea I borrowed. As luck would have it, I was left with 4 holes and 4 indicators that I needed to move (plus a fuel gauge that I don't yet know what to do with). Below are pics of the original console and of the holes left behind after cutting off the bar towers.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 24, 2013, 18:48:51
As mentioned in the previous post, I am attempting to fill some holes in my triple tree crown with indicator lights, as seen on another forum post somewhere. Now, the original post didn't say how they had fit lenses into the holes or attached the lights, etc. So I needed to make this part up. I attempted to pour some lenses using a fiberglass resin that someone suggested dried clear. Well, it didn't (distinctly yellow/orange as you'll see in the photo below). I had to grind it back out and re-pour them with a clear-cast epoxy. While they aren't perfect (some artifacts like bubbles), they are much better.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 24, 2013, 19:05:33
OK, now that I've got lenses in my triple tree crown for my new indicator lights, I need some lights and a backing plate to hold them in place. What follows are several pics of:

1. The backing plate that I made with colored leds in place.
2. Rough wire up.
3. Tidied up wiring.
4. Backing plate attached.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 24, 2013, 19:22:57
For a quick peek at the new indicator lights in action, I've posted a short video here:

http://youtu.be/tJXCJFZVfJ4

Note that the turn signal indicators aren't flashing because the signals themselves are not currently in the circuit (e.g. insufficient resistance for the flasher unit). Unfortunately the green led turned out to be less bright than the others. But, in spite of that, and in spite of the fact that it all looks a bit rough, I think it turned out OK.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: SONIC. on Apr 24, 2013, 19:26:50
Thats badass
I passed on a GPZ a while back and have always regretted it.
Very cool bike.

WHats the blue light? High beams?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 24, 2013, 19:29:43
Thanks SONICJK. Yes, the blue light is the high beam indicator.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: jeffw on Apr 24, 2013, 19:38:42
Pretty sweet with the indicator lights looks pretty good so far, I ended up filling mine in and then painting over to get rid of the holes left from the handler bar attachment.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Nebr_Rex on Apr 24, 2013, 22:32:13
Thanks guys. It does me good to hear from others who have fond memories and experiences with their own GPzs. Interesting that it doesn't seem to be used that often as a cafe platform. Perhaps because it is from the 80s. But it still has that nice (mostly) straight frame top, tank to tail (at least the '81 does, I'm not sure how the frame is on the later years). I thought the tank was a bit fugly for a while and had plans on changing it out, but it has really grown on me. I'm partial to a tank that drops off quickly at the rear (a blunt rear) as opposed to one that gradually tapers to a point. Anyway, I like the way it is shaping up so far. This isn't going to be one of those immaculate restoration projects. I don't have a huge budget. It will probably always be somewhat of a rat bike. But I want to customize it to the style that I like.

GPZs were the factory race bikes in their day.
Cafe Racers are low dollar imitations of factory race bikes.
Look up who won World Super bike in 1983 and on what machine.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 29, 2013, 13:55:10
It was one of those weekends, 5 steps backwards for each step forward. I'm not sure if everyone's build project goes like that, or if it is just because I am a novice.

When I was mocking up the front end, I knew that I had a conflict between where the new headlight lived (I replaced the original square headlight and brackets) and the unit that joins the two front brake lines together. So I decided that I would bump the brake unit down a couple of inches and I built a custom plate to facilitate this (see pic below). Now, it wasn't anything special, just a square plate. But, but the time I'd measured it, cut it, sanded it, painted it with a couple coats of paint, and gone to Home Depot for some hardware, I already had too much time into it. When the paint dried I put everything back together. Crap! The bolts that held the plate on still interfered with the headlight shell (even though it is not a deep shell).

I then decided to build some bracket extensions, to lengthen the store-bought headlight brackets that I was using (see pic below). Back to Home Depot for some aluminum. And a bunch of cutting, drilling, grinding, sanding, and bolting later, I had extended brackets. I bolted everything together. Are you kidding me! Still there were problems. At this point I removed both my brake unit bracket and my headlight bracket extensions (now a big waste of time as I'm not using either) and decided to attach the brake unit in a different way. I zip tied it to the bottom of the lower tripple tree. Not elegant, but it works. And my bike sort of has that Road Warrior thing going on anyways, so non-elegant solutions look ok. So, I'm back to where I started from, after burning way too many hours.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Oil Cooker Designs on Apr 29, 2013, 15:17:20
Those indicator lights are awesome.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 29, 2013, 15:40:38
Thanks OCD.

Cheers,
Todd
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: gk45011 on Apr 29, 2013, 17:19:54
Great work on the indicators! Looks great.

Gary
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 29, 2013, 17:54:57
Nothing too exciting in this post, but it was a big commitment for me, cutting the frame. I've gone and cut off the last 6 inches or so. I'm still working out exactly what I am going to do there. Here are before and after shots.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on May 15, 2013, 00:08:42
This last weekend I went back to working on the rear cowl. I posted a shot early in this thread that showed the rough shape (a rough cut sitting on the bike unattached). It showed my general approach, I've cut off the end of a matching gas tank (and removed the bottom), so that the lines should match nicely. I debated for some time about whether I should attach it to the frame or to the seat pan. Eventually I want to move my battery and other electronics up underneath. So I want the cowl to be easily removable when I need access. I've opted to use the original seat pan (modified) and attach the cowl to it, so that the whole thing swings open using the original latching mechanism.

Disclaimer: I'm not a welder. But I bought a cheap Harbor Freight flux core welder for this project. But I was having a terrible time laying down a bead on thin gauge sheet metal without burning through. My attempts looked like crap. So I enlisted the help of a friend to clean up some of my work and help me lay down a few more welds (thanks Joe!). Now my seat cowl has a front. Here are a couple of pics of the cowl with the new front welded on. I've done a bit of grinding and filling, but just a rough pass.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: goochwarmer on May 15, 2013, 01:05:01
I tried and failed at what you pulled off!! Congrats!! That is badass and flows so well with the bike!!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on May 15, 2013, 01:21:15
I tried and failed at what you pulled off!! Congrats!! That is badass and flows so well with the bike!!

Thanks goochwarmer, I appreciate the support, particularly from another Kawa 550 builder.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: County Fair on May 15, 2013, 20:41:23
Love the tail section and the dash.
Great build.
I have a 81 KZ550 ltd I am working on right now too.
I love the GPZs, but a LTD is what I got.


   Thanks,


   Tim
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on May 15, 2013, 22:40:20
Love the tail section and the dash.
Great build.
I have a 81 KZ550 ltd I am working on right now too.
I love the GPZs, but a LTD is what I got.


   Thanks,


   Tim

Thanks Tim. I'll keep an eye on your build.
Cheers,
Todd
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jun 27, 2013, 18:26:23
OK, so I haven't posted in a while. It isn't that I haven't done anything (though progress has been limited), I just haven't taken the time to document any of the work. After taking a couple of stabs at different kinds of tail light and license plate attachments, I came up with an approach that I'm reasonably happy with. The license plate doesn't flow quite right, but the tail light fits really well with the lines of the seat cowl. Here are some pics, the first is of the old license plate bracket as I modified it to fit, the next is of the tail light attachment without the cowl in place, and the last two are the tail light with the seat and rear cowl in place.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jun 27, 2013, 18:40:28
Because I built the rear cowl out of an old gas tank, its width wasn't a custom fit to my seat pan. So, where the remaining portion of my seat pan meets the cowl, the cowl sticks out close to an inch on each side. I decided that I wanted to do something about this transition. And, I also decided that I wanted solid sides to my seat pan (vs. upholstery that wraps down around the sides). I had a strip of aluminum lying around that I cut into two pieces to trim out both sides of my pan. But I had two problems left:

1. How to bridge the transition space?
2. How to attach the aluminum to the steel pan?

The solution that I came up with for question 1 was to weld in some thin strips of steel in the transition space that would serve as backer for the aluminum strips. My solution to question 2 was initially going to be a metal epoxy, like JB weld, but it failed miserably. Perhaps it is because I didn't apply it to both parts before I put them together? I don't know. All I know is that it peeled right off of the aluminum (and I pre-sanded it). So I ended up attaching it with rivets. I only used about 3 per side (for aesthetic reasons). We'll see if it holds.

Here are a couple of pics. The first is of the steel backing I added and the second is with the aluminum strips in place.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jun 27, 2013, 19:08:39
All is not well in Kawasaki land. That custom triple tree crown that folks seemed to like, the one with the hand poured lenses and indicator lights, it has met with a recent tragedy. All-in-all it had turned out so well. I had invested a considerable amount of time and effort into it, including multiple sand/grind and start over cycles. It was all done, all wired, all painted, and all buttoned up. The only thing left to do was bring out the torque wrench and set the torque on a few bolts. While torquing the bolt that clamps around the steerer tube, BAM, a chunk snapped right off. I don't know why. It isn't particularly close to any of the modifications that I made.

The metal feels very light, like aluminum, and is very porous. I think that it is some sort of pot metal. A welder friend, who I went to for advice, doesn't believe that it can be welded. So, I guess I'll be sourcing a new part and starting all over again. F*#k.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on Jun 27, 2013, 22:37:18
Ahh dude that sucks balls.  they are cast aluminum and sometimes just not that good of a casting.  I love these GPz550's Vonyinzer had one fro a weekend and rode the crap out of it all over Mid-Ohio and PA and it was fast, light and cool.  Too bad he traded it.  Hopefully you can source a replacement without too much trouble
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jul 13, 2013, 16:18:32
Everyone keeps asking me about the seat cushion. So I decided to take a stab at it. I considered sewing some ribs/scallops in the seat, and/or a transition between the top and sides. But, in the end I decided to keep it simple and just stretch a single piece of cloth, without features, as a cover. You know, just keeping it simple for my first upholstery attempt.

But I first needed to a way of attaching it to the seat pan. I don't want the style of cushion that goes down around the sides of the pan and wraps around the bottom. So, I needed some sort of upholstery backing that could sit on top of the pan. but the top of the pan is far from a flat surface. So I decided to glass one up, from fiberglass, to match the uneven pan surface. Here are a couple of pics of the end result both on and off of the seat pan:
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jul 13, 2013, 16:27:00
My original plan was to use the bottom of the old seat foam, as it already had all of the contours of the seat pan, but sliced down and with new foam added to the top. I tried this. But the old foam was in sad shape. So I just used the new foam. I didn't cut every contour into it, but I cut out the biggest ones so the it fit fairly nicely. I tried a few tools, the grinder seemed to work best.

I taped the edges of the glass backing to make sure that they wouldn't wear through the fabric. The fabric I chose was marine vinyl. I used spray adhesive to hold things in place temporarily, stretched the fabric over the foam and around the glass backer, and attached it with pop rivets.

I intend to make another one for the seat back, but haven't gotten to it yet. Here are a few pics of the process and results:
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jul 15, 2013, 15:12:32
I've finished the rebuild of my custom triple tree crown, with the poured lenses for the relocated indicator lights. If you read my earlier entry you'll know that I built this once before, but at the very last moment of installation (setting the torque on the steerer clamp bolt) a chunk snapped off. For no apparent reason. Anyway, I've started from scratch and recreated it. This one isn't quite as nice as the first, I rushed it a bit. But hey, it is done, installed, and torqued. Here is a pic:
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jul 15, 2013, 15:18:54
Actually got the bike out of the garage yesterday and took it for a ride. At first it wouldn't shift out of first gear. I was convinced that it had something to do with Kawasaki's "positive neutral finder", a device that doesn't allow you to shift from first to second unless the bike is moving. I was online trying to figure out how this system worked and how it could fail. I was afraid I was going to have to tear into the gearbox again. But then I found the culprit. When I installed the rearset, the part the mounts on the actual gear shift was a tooth off in position. This lead to the shifter being a bit off in angle. Which in turn meant that it was hitting the engine case. So, it wasn't shifting because the shifter was bumping into the engine keeping it from moving far enough. Ha ha! I should have spotted it sooner, but I'm glad that was the problem. The fix was simple and I got to ride around a bit. Here is a pic of the bike outside (the stain on the ground is gas, it dumped some gas out of the carb overflow tubes on multiple carbs - more work to do):
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on Jul 15, 2013, 15:58:20
Nice, first rides are always full of adrenaline and fun.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jul 15, 2013, 18:16:15
Nice, first rides are always full of adrenaline and fun.

Indeed. Especially when I've assembled the bike, you never know what might pop off. ;)

The tires won't hold air for long, the forks are leaking considerable oil, the nose dives pretty drastically under hard braking, the rear brake bleeder valve is leaking, the carbs are dumping fuel out of their overflow tubes, ... But for a moment none of that matters. I'm riding the thing instead of wrenching on it. And it is a thing of beauty.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jul 23, 2013, 14:31:20
Took the bike to Backfire Motorcycle Night last week, a monthly gathering here in Seattle for cafe/rat/vintage bikes. The bike still has a whole host of issues to be dealt with. But I couldn't wait. We made it there fine, and had a good time. But, on the way back ...

I was riding home after dark. I was in the left lane of two north bound lanes (35mph city street, not a highway or anything). Home was perhaps two or three miles away. Everything was going along fine, as it always is, before it isn't. All of the sudden, out of the blue, my headlight falls off. Ha ha. Right out of the bucket, the bulb and trim ring. Now, it doesn't fall all of the way to the ground, fortunately. Instead it falls down and lands on my front fender. It is sort of perched there, precariously, and hanging by some wires. I quickly check traffic in the lane to my right and extricate myself from the road. The fasteners are gone, apparently they have vibrated loose. Fortunately I had the foresight to pack a bit of duct tape and some bailing wire. I was able to cobble it together and ride home. I've subsequently added a bit of thread locker to the replacement screws.

Here is a pic from right before I set out that day:
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: caferay on Jul 23, 2013, 16:34:56
I thrashed a gold '83 GPz550 for ten years and close to 100,000 miles. That was a quality bike. Even the clutch lasted the whole time.

I like what you did here, but I would have taken a mould off the tank and done the tail in glass, and the large rear surface area is begging for a round light, or twin round lights,  not under the tail.

The air forks were really crap on this bike, the only thing wrong with it, get a  set of progressive springs.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Jul 23, 2013, 20:08:54
I thrashed a gold '83 GPz550 for ten years and close to 100,000 miles. That was a quality bike. Even the clutch lasted the whole time.

I like what you did here, but I would have taken a mould off the tank and done the tail in glass, and the large rear surface area is begging for a round light, or twin round lights,  not under the tail.

The air forks were really crap on this bike, the only thing wrong with it, get a  set of progressive springs.

I considered taking a mold off of the tank and doing it in glass. But the bike came with a spare tank. And it isn't that heavy (fairly thin walled). Also, I'm learning as I go. So working with metal (i.e. welding, forming, etc.) has been a valuable part of the process. I did use some glass in the seat (for the upholstery base).

I sort of agree about the tail light, but didn't really see it until after I'd installed the other light. I went for under the tail because the entire tail section is hinged (eventually I intend to tuck the electronics up under there). I wanted everything that was wired to be attached to the non-moving bits (so I didn't have to worry about pinching wires and such). But I may change it up at some point.

Regarding the forks, could you elaborate on the fork modification you recommend? Did you do away with air? I am about to tear into my forks in the near future, to replace leaky oil seals. That would be a good time to consider any other potential changes.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: caferay on Jul 24, 2013, 11:44:57
The forks had air adjustable pre-load in 1983, not sure about '81 -do the fork caps have shraeder valves? I don't see the air cross-over tube, so I think you have conventional forks. My '83 was a mono-shock rear. That was the big change between 81 and later years.

Regardless, the forks were under sprung and under damped. All this involves is replacing the stock springs with some stiffer ones that have a progressive spring rate (not just stiffer springs or longer springs!). Easy, especially if you are doing the seals anyway. This will avoid bottoming out under braking. Increase the viscosity of the fork oil for stiffer dampening. This was really common to do back then, as the Japanese factories tended to set up smaller bikes for 150-160lb riders.

The fender was steel on these bikes in all years, and this is because it also acts as a fork brace, so don't remove it, and consider even adding a fork brace. I'd put gaiters on as well. These became uncool in the 80s, but they served a good purpose. A mechanic i knew noted that changing fork seals escalated his shop in the 80s because the open stanchions were getting nicked by rocks and seals were getting shredded.

Thread lock may work, but loctite blue with polymer lock nuts will hold forever. You may need a rubber washer if there is high frequency vibration.
This bike is looking cool. You should keep the original red and those stripes. This was an iconic bike.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: goochwarmer on Jul 24, 2013, 13:49:07
The beauty of getting on the road!! Even with all the problems that linger you got a hell of a bike. I've been out on my KZ almost every day this month, every night I'm tweaking or wrenching something else. I've thought of redoing the springs on mine like CarfRay talked about and was thinking of changing out the entire front end....then my wallet yells at me again. Great looking bike!!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: caferay on Jul 24, 2013, 14:35:29
I've thought of redoing the springs on mine like CarfRay talked about and was thinking of changing out the entire front end....then my wallet yells at me again. Great looking bike!!

Putting a modern front end on that era Kawa won't help too much, you'll just transfer more forces to a noodly frame.

Progressive fork springs and high viscosity oil is about the cheapest performance enhancement you can do.  Just takes some time.

-Carfray
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: STLGPZ on Nov 18, 2013, 10:23:13
I just picked up a 1981 GPZ 550 here is St Louis, MO. I'm is need of some parts and I have read a few post where people are offering to sell 1981 "first year" stuff.  Here is my list:

1. A decent set of Carbs
2. A clean tank faded paint is OK just nothing so dented it is not worth the effort.
3. Brake Master cyls and calipers front and back
4. A nice seat, mine has a couple of holes where mice needed bedding materials.
5. A complete faring

Or if one of you want to buy the bike as a project.  $ 900.00 takes home a complete 1981 GPZ 550. 
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: caferay on Jan 12, 2014, 13:34:01
Any update on this project?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: STLGPZ on Jan 14, 2014, 10:01:07
I just got the seat back from the upholstery shop. I like it.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Feb 25, 2014, 12:40:33
Any update on this project?

No update, sorry. I've been preoccupied with another bike (dual sport, completely different thing) and haven't put the time into the GPz. I hope to get back to it this summer and will revive this thread.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Feb 25, 2014, 12:41:03
I just got the seat back from the upholstery shop. I like it.

That looks sweet!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: STLGPZ on Feb 26, 2014, 13:30:13
Thanks...   I'm digg'n your cafe project..Do post some updates pic's when you can.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: woodgeek on Mar 10, 2014, 15:30:30
Hi guys,

New member here.  I'm rebuilding an '81 GPz550 and have a question.  Does the front fender from an '82 or '83 fit the '81 GPz?

thanks
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Mcgoo on Nov 18, 2014, 21:28:18
Any updates to this thread?  I just picked up a '84 GPZ550
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Nov 18, 2014, 22:30:59
No, sorry. The bike has been rotting in storage. For the last year I've been a little obsessed with the dual sport thing. I intend to revive this build at some point this winter, and at least get it ridable again by spring. I'll post more when there are updates. Good luck on your GPZ build. Great bikes!  8)
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: STLGPZ on Nov 19, 2014, 14:45:22
No, sorry. The bike has been rotting in storage. For the last year I've been a little obsessed with the dual sport thing. I intend to revive this build at some point this winter, and at least get it ridable again by spring. I'll post more when there are updates. Good luck on your GPZ build.


Is the Cafe project for sale?  I sold mine to a guy in PA
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Nov 19, 2014, 17:11:06
Is the Cafe project for sale?  I sold mine to a guy in PA

Well, in the "everything is for sale for the right price" sense. I'd part with it for a good offer. But it is rough, so it might be worth more to me than to someone else. And I'm no where near PA. The bike is presently in Seattle.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: STLGPZ on Nov 19, 2014, 17:44:37
I am in St Louis, MO and I have California transport connections, no worries there. Throw a price my way and we can make the "go/no go" call.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Nov 19, 2014, 19:09:34
I am in St Louis, MO and I have California transport connections, no worries there. Throw a price my way and we can make the "go/no go" call.

PM'd
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Feb 02, 2018, 16:26:37
SO.. I acquired THIS bike about a month ago from a guy in ID. I paid $1000. Came with most of the stock fairs and lights in a box with an extra set of tires. The guy I got it from did a great and much needed revision to the seat and tail.

Since I got it:
I deleted : Tachometer, mirrors and marker lights. Also all the passenger set ups.
I finned off the rear frame to the tail.
Added Gaiters.
Centered and low mounted speedo into the headset area.
Shaved clutch/brake leavers.
Cut off mufflers and dumped exhaust right behind pegs.
Replaces headlight with a slightly larger one with LED blinkers built in it.
Replaced the tail light with a LED strip light that has running, brake and turns built in it.
I relocated the ignition switch under the tank. I used the same one so I didn't have to get new keys.

THE PLAN:
Delete service stand.
Change shocks out to piggy back style.
Shave front fender. (tonight)
Cut/weld in knee knocks. (Next weekend)
Obviously repaint and paint wheels black.

Photos soon..
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doctorcat on Feb 05, 2018, 23:05:42
PICS MAN PICS!

also wassup fellow GPZ550 owner!

check out my thread too. I've got a monoshock, but I'm building it as a vintager weekend ripper around town. gonna gear mine down for more acceleration in the city.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 14, 2018, 01:44:16
Work so far
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on Mar 14, 2018, 08:31:23
Nice, I like the tank work.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: The Jimbonaut on Mar 14, 2018, 10:56:14
Nice, I like the tank work.

Damn straight, me too
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: SONIC. on Mar 14, 2018, 11:10:22
Very cool on the knee dents, haven't seen it done that way before. Clever.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 17, 2018, 19:52:00
Thanks guys. Lots of work re-sealing up this tank. What are some tricks you've come across?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 18, 2018, 02:50:54
I lowered the front fender to hug the tire a little more. Dropped it down 5/8"
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Mar 18, 2018, 13:50:29
Thanks guys. Lots of work re-sealing up this tank. What are some tricks you've come across?
brazing or silver solder
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 18, 2018, 18:02:58
brazing or silver solder

Thanks - I welded it all up, ground smooth and will fill with water. Drill out the leaks and reweld and smooth. Just picked up some bindi. Ready to get riding.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 18, 2018, 23:29:50
Taking paint off!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Mar 19, 2018, 15:15:27
Just my .02 but I would pressure test the gas tank before you paint it. Gas flows through much smaller holes than water will and filling the tank with water won't tell you if there are no leaks. The way I do it is get an expandable rubber stopper, take it apart so you just have the rubber, and put it in the gas hole with a bicycle pump in the center hole of the plug. Plug the petcock holes and Have somebody pump the bike pump while you submerge the whole tank in a bathtub to see if any bubbles come out. You don't need more than a couple pounds of pressure or you will deform the tank. Not trying to nitpick, but having painted a tank and had to go back to repair leaks I know what a pain in the ass it can be. Nice work so far  8)
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on Mar 19, 2018, 15:33:49
Plugging the petcock is better than the percocet hole for sure ;D I see you corrected the autocorrect there doc.  +1 to what Doc said. Finding a leak after paint is a real bitch so I'd do what he suggests to be 100% sure there are no leaks.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 19, 2018, 16:22:21
Just my .02 but I would pressure test the gas tank before you paint it. Nice work so far  8)

Thanks! Good idea. Talked to a few now and they all said similar.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 21, 2018, 01:59:30
Looking for paint schemes... Color in and repost your ideas!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: The Jimbonaut on Mar 21, 2018, 10:37:43
Damn I love that tank.  I'm not much of a cowl guy but man I love that cowl too.  I'm the wrong guy to offer any kind of opinion on colour - I leave my tanks brushed metal and clear coat!  But how about a deep dark slightly metallic orange with some blood red stripes?  Or that orange on the tank with red knee dents and a two tone cowl?

Damn, maybe I'll paint my next tank after all...
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on Mar 21, 2018, 11:11:33
How about classic red with white racing stripes. Could also be kawi green with black.

(http://www.dotheton.com/gallery/1732-210318091037.png)
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: The Jimbonaut on Mar 21, 2018, 13:27:03
(https://i.imgur.com/fmXNLiA.png)

Red stripe down the centre of the cowl and front fender.  Got busted and didn't have time to colour in the headlight.  Fun though!  Ok, back to work...
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 22, 2018, 15:18:45
Here are some locals colored
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on Mar 22, 2018, 15:25:50
Green
(http://www.dotheton.com/gallery/1732-220318132523.png)
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 25, 2018, 02:43:45
that was some tough painted get off
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 25, 2018, 21:28:52
Building a compartment in the tail
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 25, 2018, 21:34:21
More local paint ideas
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Luugo86 on Mar 26, 2018, 00:49:53
 you should definitely incorporate the dog/unicorn into the pain scheme haha
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 26, 2018, 03:29:24
you should definitely incorporate the dog/unicorn into the pain scheme haha




😂😂😂👍👍👍
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 26, 2018, 03:31:21
What do you think?? Continue the tail paint under the seat??
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Mar 26, 2018, 16:45:06
I personally do not like it when the paint from the seat cowl is carried under the seat if you have side covers as well. NO side covers and  think it looks great. Together its just too much, and it highlights the seam that is present there.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 26, 2018, 17:39:19
I personally do not like it when the paint from the seat cowl is carried under the seat if you have side covers as well. NO side covers and  think it looks great. Together its just too much, and it highlights the seam that is present there.

What about this?? Same bike
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: The Jimbonaut on Mar 27, 2018, 00:13:07
Oh yeah, now we're talking
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Mar 27, 2018, 01:47:14
What about this?? Same bike

 I had assumed you meant the same color. that looks pretty good with the side cover black. I can admit when i'm wrong. BTW i like the tail you are using, really matches the tank.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 27, 2018, 02:08:57
I had assumed you meant the same color. that looks pretty good with the side cover black. I can admit when i'm wrong. BTW i like the tail you are using, really matches the tank.

Thanks - the tail is actually the original tank cut down
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Mar 27, 2018, 14:04:29
I had assumed you meant the same color.

Well yes, this is the GT550 - almost the same lol
https://www.autofabrica.com/type-1
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 03, 2018, 21:23:37
I will be deleting the side covers and moving everything up in the tail. Just need to find a battery. Anybody have a recommendation for type/size?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: XS750AU on Apr 04, 2018, 07:41:21
Your doing a great job on this build.
I have used the following battery on my high compression 900. The battery is the smallest per output I could find. Comes with 2 yr warranty. I have not had it that long, but so far so good. They do make a smaller unit that may be OK for a 500 4 cylinder.
https://www.shop.modernmotorcyclecompany.com.au/collections/electrical/products/battery-240cca-lithium-ion (https://www.shop.modernmotorcyclecompany.com.au/collections/electrical/products/battery-240cca-lithium-ion)
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 05, 2018, 03:23:42
Your doing a great job on this build.
I have used the following battery...

Thanks! That is a killer battery ~ little out of the budget though. Know of a middle of the road option or is this definitely the one I need?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 05, 2018, 03:25:13
Shock make-over. Paint still went - satin finish. Buddy brought over a spray for re painting struts.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Apr 05, 2018, 15:15:33
painting those  cheapo shocks will get you on the road but a decent pair of shocks will drastically improve the ride-ability of most bikes.

https://www.amazon.com/Antigravity-Batteries-AG-SC-1-Lithium-Motorcycle/dp/B00VM7O6NC/ref=sr_1_15_sspa?s=automotive&ie=UTF8&qid=1522951953&sr=1-15-spons&keywords=12v+lithium+motorcycle+battery&psc=1
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 06, 2018, 12:35:21
https://www.amazon.com/Antigravity-Batteries-AG-SC-1-Lithium

SICK. But on their site it says not for daily use at all. 

Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Apr 06, 2018, 15:58:43
ah, missed that. just type motorcycle lithium battery into amazon, lots of options.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doctorcat on Apr 09, 2018, 20:01:18
id look into a shorai battery. I'm using one on my GPZ and so far so good!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: MiniatureNinja on Apr 10, 2018, 02:32:45
SICK. But on their site it says not for daily use at all.

You'd need the 8 cell. and they are pretty finicky batteries - I use them
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 10, 2018, 02:46:54
id look into a shorai battery. I'm using one on my GPZ and so far so good!

Do/did you need to update or modify your charging system to use the lithium ion batteries?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Apr 10, 2018, 06:07:14
I bought a new regulator/rectifier from Rick's; using with a ballistic 8 cell. no problems.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: XS750AU on Apr 10, 2018, 08:27:44
Quote
Do/did you need to update or modify your charging system to use the lithium ion batteries?
No the Lithium batteries have an internal charging management system to ensure they work with the standard bike charging system. Otherwise they could not sell batteries!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doctorcat on Apr 13, 2018, 00:14:50
You DO need a well functioning charging system. They need slightly more to charge than a lead acid. Most good condition charging systems put out enough though but if it's on the verge maybe not. Shorai has more about this on their site
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 15, 2018, 03:15:51
Widened tail to line up with new seat frame.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 24, 2018, 03:00:21
Whats the lowest CCA battery you'd recommend?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: c4f3 r4c3r on Apr 24, 2018, 12:10:35
Hey Sam_I_Am. That is really nice work you've done with that tank. I was the owner of this bike years ago and started this thread. Obviously I ran at out steam at some point (time really). I am glad to see that the GPZ lives on! There is definitely something special about the sound of that bike, like a turbo spooling up. Good luck with your build.  :D
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 24, 2018, 15:59:10
Hey Sam_I_Am. That is really nice work you've done with that tank. I was the owner of this bike years ago and started this thread. Obviously I ran at out steam at some point (time really). I am glad to see that the GPZ lives on! There is definitely something special about the sound of that bike, like a turbo spooling up. Good luck with your build.  :D

So cool that you chimed in man. I haven't fired it up since I cut the exhaust. I'll post a video when its up and running again. The guy I got it from, I think he said he knew you. Do you remember his name and/or have his contact information?

I know what you mean though.. baby #2 is coming in June and I'm afraid the funding will be pulled, so I'm hustling.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 26, 2018, 04:06:49
Building a tunnel for all the electrical to travel into the tail
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 26, 2018, 04:08:23
Looking for advice on what electrical units need to stay out in the open air and what can be tucked in the tail. Also if I can delete anything
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doctorcat on Apr 26, 2018, 13:10:01
Building a tunnel for all the electrical to travel into the tail

now THAT is a clever solution. I'm building a plastic "top tunnel" (basically an upside down tunnel) with ABS plastic that the seat will sit on top of. This is COOL and METAL. I'm a shite welder (I have a friend do most of the important stuff with metal) but I'm pretty handy with heat forming and a dremel (my metal working background was jewelry making in high school, and my workshop will be used for jewelry after I'm done with the bike) so seeing your work is really REALLY cool to me. KEEP GOING! I LOVE THIS BUILD!

My UNI TRACK is almost done but I really like the twin shock GPZ looks (enough that I'm using the tank from one on mine)
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doctorcat on Apr 26, 2018, 13:12:16
Looking for advice on what electrical units need to stay out in the open air and what can be tucked in the tail. Also if I can delete anything

you need to have the Regulator/Rectifier in the open air or it will heat up and fry the ignition box. The ignition box needs less ventilation. The starter solenoid also should not get wet so you WANT that to be concealed or tucked. There's lots of power through there and sparking/arcing will fry it (and possibly the electronics, so make sure it's on a fuse). Battery too should be sealed from moisture. Lithium ion batteries go up in flames, but to my knowledge the lithium IRON (shorai) don't have quite the same problems.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Apr 30, 2018, 13:15:58
Got home to my buddy surprised me with laying all the wire down the tray. Ready to start simplifying it. And he started bondo on the tank 👌
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: teazer on May 01, 2018, 00:15:35
Just a thought for your next project, but if you create a shallow tray that fills the total width between the top tubes and drops down to be more or less level with the bottom edge of the top tubes, you would have a larger tray to work with.  That way it's easier to wire in place and some of the components way back in the tail could be mounted in the electrical tray reducing wiring weight and being invisible.
More space is always nice.

There's always a next time.  :-)
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on May 07, 2018, 04:18:04
Slowly but surly.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on May 19, 2018, 13:54:01
Just to make my life a little easier.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doctorcat on May 20, 2018, 13:20:04
is that piece as a structure for the seat hump? I'm trying to figure out how to give mine some structure right now.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on May 20, 2018, 13:21:14
Look under the jack, you'll see what itvwas for
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on May 28, 2018, 20:26:02
I used Dupli-Color (GM's polar/arctic white & bahama metallic blue) The blue is a lot lighter than photos can show. The orange pin stripe is tfx (1/16-1/16-1/8)
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: 1fasgsxr on May 28, 2018, 21:43:26
I dig that paint. Was it spray bomb?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on May 29, 2018, 08:25:45
Nice job. looks great!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: The Jimbonaut on May 29, 2018, 09:59:40
Damn that looks great, nicely done mate.  The work you did on the tank is shown off beautifully by that paint, looks stellar!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doctorcat on May 30, 2018, 19:06:55
cool! Much more intricate paint work than I was going to do I dig the heck outta it tho! man that took a lot of skill to make it look that good!
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Jun 07, 2018, 12:30:33
Little restoration work on the wheels.
- oven cleaner/wash/scrub/deep rub scratch pad/wash/clear coat
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: irk miller on Jun 07, 2018, 12:52:41
Little restoration work on the wheels
A deck of playing cards is much quicker and easier to mask off the tire when painting a mounted rim. 
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: The Jimbonaut on Jun 07, 2018, 12:59:08
A deck of playing cards is much quicker and easier to mask off the tire when painting a mounted rim.

Genius...gonna remember that
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Jun 12, 2018, 19:15:48
Love this stuff.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Jun 21, 2018, 04:30:29
Ran fridge water copper tubing line for the carb over flows. One question as I am not a carb guy. What are the two extra hoses in between that carbs mounted just above the intake, one in between each set. They go to nothing, just about 10" long. Breathers?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: canyoncarver on Jun 21, 2018, 13:53:09
Other than looking interesting, why copper?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Jun 21, 2018, 14:01:14
Ran fridge water copper tubing line for the carb over flows. One question as I am not a carb guy. What are the two extra hoses in between that carbs mounted just above the intake, one in between each set. They go to nothing, just about 10" long. Breathers?

breathers.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Jun 21, 2018, 14:23:12
Other than looking interesting, why copper?

All for looks.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Jun 21, 2018, 14:25:02
breathers.

Thanks! Thinking then I can just take them off? If they aren't going to a stock filter box of anything whats the point of the 10" of hose hanging there?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on Jun 21, 2018, 14:28:12
You may want hoses, some breathers burp stuff the other way and may make a mess on you.  They usually go into the air box to re-burn un-burnt fuel for emissions control.  so that may just end up on the bike instead.  A good trick if you don't want hoses is to put small filters on to catch the blow by and keep it off the paint and or your pants.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Jun 21, 2018, 15:07:04
You may want hoses, some breathers burp stuff the other way and may make a mess on you.  They usually go into the air box to re-burn un-burnt fuel for emissions control.  so that may just end up on the bike instead.  A good trick if you don't want hoses is to put small filters on to catch the blow by and keep it off the paint and or your pants.

I wonder then if I should try to rig them to go back inside the pod filters?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on Jun 21, 2018, 15:27:06
Nah, they don't help performance wise, I'd just run the hoses out to direct anything away, or like I did on my CX crank case breather a short hose and small filter to catch anything that may burp out.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Jun 21, 2018, 15:29:26
Nah, they don't help performance wise, I'd just run the hoses out to direct anything away, or like I did on my CX crank case breather a short hose and small filter to catch anything that may burp out.

Good idea. Got a link to the small filters or name/photos?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Jun 21, 2018, 16:12:23
Totally unnecessary to put filters on the carb breather hoses.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Maritime on Jun 21, 2018, 16:56:06
Totally unnecessary to put filters on the carb breather hoses.

Ok, I didn't look them up but I'd trust Doc to know. There are different ones on different bikes that do different stuff.
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: Sam_I_Am on Jun 21, 2018, 17:53:16
Totally unnecessary to put filters on the carb breather hoses.

Can I just take them off then as there is the pods there they can just breathe fine without the 10" leads right?
Title: Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
Post by: doc_rot on Jun 21, 2018, 18:22:37
the hoses are there to prevent crap from getting in your carbs. I have heard on the 550 if the hoses are routed so that they sit in the air-stream on the high way it will over pressure the float bowl leading to a lean condition. Its ideal to route them up under the tank into dead air, or to tuck them behind the engine case