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Author Topic: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build  (Read 17839 times)

Offline c4f3 r4c3r

  • Posts: 43
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #30 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.
1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Project - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=47139.0
1971 Honda SL350 original - http://sl350.blogspot.com/

Offline goochwarmer

  • Posts: 111
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #31 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!!
Yesterday I ran into an old girlfriend and I thought I missed her.....................so I backed up and hit her again. Ya know, sometimes I really do miss her.

Offline c4f3 r4c3r

  • Posts: 43
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #32 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.
1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Project - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=47139.0
1971 Honda SL350 original - http://sl350.blogspot.com/

Offline County Fair

  • Posts: 49
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #33 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
"With a melody of see ya laters an' screwdrivers on carburetors"
T.W.
http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=48777.0

Offline c4f3 r4c3r

  • Posts: 43
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #34 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
1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Project - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=47139.0
1971 Honda SL350 original - http://sl350.blogspot.com/

Offline c4f3 r4c3r

  • Posts: 43
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #35 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.
1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Project - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=47139.0
1971 Honda SL350 original - http://sl350.blogspot.com/

Offline c4f3 r4c3r

  • Posts: 43
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #36 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.
1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Project - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=47139.0
1971 Honda SL350 original - http://sl350.blogspot.com/

Offline c4f3 r4c3r

  • Posts: 43
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #37 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.
« Last Edit: Jun 27, 2013, 19:11:27 by c4f3 r4c3r »
1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Project - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=47139.0
1971 Honda SL350 original - http://sl350.blogspot.com/

Offline Maritime

  • DTT SUPPORTER
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  • Posts: 8822
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #38 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
The GL Rebirth: http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=68337.0
CX500 Low budget Bobber : http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=43617.0
"Beer makes you feel the way you ought to feel without beer" -Henry Lawson
"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy." - Thomas Jefferson

Offline c4f3 r4c3r

  • Posts: 43
Re: 1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Build
« Reply #39 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:
1981 Kawasaki GPz550 Cafe Project - http://www.dotheton.com/forum/index.php?topic=47139.0
1971 Honda SL350 original - http://sl350.blogspot.com/