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Blood Sweat Tears and Grease => Projects => Cafe Racers => Topic started by: JamiT on Feb 21, 2016, 19:16:23

Title: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on Feb 21, 2016, 19:16:23
Here it is! I bought it with 7,000 miles on it. I took it on a little trip and hit a mud patch so that's why it's dirty lol Not 100% stock but that's fine. Runs pretty well (not awesome due to carbs sync needs probably). Tires are almost brand new. From what I've read, the first things I want to go ahead and upgrade are suspension and brakes. I want to lower it and add some clip-ons? My triple tree and controls need a little TLC as well. I'm limited due to not having a shop and no welding skills. But I'm sure I can find ways to get things done. What do you guys see? Any ideas?
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: hillsy on Feb 21, 2016, 20:21:01
Wow - first thing you need are tyres that wont kill you.


Are the forks / neck bent? Front wheel looks kinda close to the headers.

Rear wheel looks skew in the swingarm or the swingarm is bent.

Rear shocks look stuffed.

Dont "lower" it.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on Feb 22, 2016, 02:13:51
Thanks hillsy for the input. After playing with the bike's left side, it's definitely the shock (hence the photo and plans to upgrade). And I didn't straighten the handlebars for the photo so the front end looks off but my forks are fine. I'm planning on selling the tires to grab some for the road as well. Then the brakes. Then aesthetics of the look I want.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: hillsy on Feb 22, 2016, 02:56:35
Dude - there's heaps more wrong here than just a stuffed shock.


(http://i428.photobucket.com/albums/qq6/hillsythegreat/IMG_5336_zpsctotbaa2.jpg)
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: Shoeman on Feb 22, 2016, 07:30:33
Like Hilsy said, the rear end of the bike looks twisted.  I don't think a bent shock would account for all that mis-alignment the rear photo seems to show.   Have you taken both shocks off and looked to see if the wheel squares up that way?   Get a tape measure and/or a yardstick, get the bike on a level surface up in the center stand and start measuring from  various points on the bike to the ground.   Lower shock mounts, upper shock mounts would be the first place to start.  Compare side to side, they all should be very close.
In that one photo, even the tailpiece and seat appear off a bit when you sight down the top towards the front.   The right peg is quite bent.  Any scuffs on the right side of the bike that might indicate it fell on that side?     The swingarm is stout enough that a bent shock alone should cause any twist in the wheel.  I'd be wondering how the shock got so messed up.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: VonYinzer on Feb 22, 2016, 10:32:19
You really need to pull the seat and tail section off and set that bike up on the centerstand. As pointed out above, something is seriously tweaked. Do you have a small level and tape measure at your disposal?
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: Tune-A-Fishİ on Feb 22, 2016, 10:43:59
If you look close, it seems the axle is not "as" tweaked as the wheel... maybe someone has been scrambling with this sucker and slid into a rut hard... you know like bunny hoping the bmx and caving the spokes over.

Anyway, get it inside and strip er down, start measuring and checking things over.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: VonYinzer on Feb 22, 2016, 11:13:30
If the PO did (insert stupid thng here) and it was enough to mangle that shock Tuna is right in thinking that the spokes are banged up too. You may have a real (but repairable) job on your hands.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on Feb 22, 2016, 15:41:20
Yea I appreciate you guys letting me know the deal. Total noob move on my part lol I'm going to strip it down asap and get some levels. I'll get some more pics out soon. Thanks again
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: Weasel on Feb 22, 2016, 18:01:48
GS's are cool bikes, I'm working on a 750 now. Good advice here so far. Address those issues and get her running right before you do any cosmetic upgrades.

Check out http://www.thegsresources.com for a wealth of technical info & help for your GS. Just don't tell them you are considering building a cafe racer.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: VonYinzer on Feb 23, 2016, 20:45:12
So, any new info on the damage?
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on Feb 24, 2016, 18:26:38
You guys are right. My swingarm and frame are bent pretty bad.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: Shoeman on Feb 24, 2016, 19:03:47
 :(    Well that stinks. 
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: Tune-A-Fishİ on Feb 24, 2016, 19:07:28
Well that does suck, but... A frame with a swinger can be had and you can get it all painted up while you work on the mechanics of the rest... really not a low blow if you planned to pull it down anyway.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on Feb 24, 2016, 20:16:37
Yea I went ahead and got some frame shopping going. What do you guys think on this one?
http://m.ebay.com/itm/1979-Suzuki-GS550E-Frame-/371539282960?nav=SEARCH

The spokes on my rear wheel have also been pretty much shot.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: hillsy on Feb 24, 2016, 20:19:49
Frame looks OK but it only has a bill of sale so you want to do some homework on getting it titled.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: Tune-A-Fishİ on Feb 24, 2016, 20:35:06
That frame is a great deal.. hope you can get title, I know bill of sale is all you need in many places and the older the better.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: Weasel on Feb 24, 2016, 21:56:03
You guys are right. My swingarm and frame are bent pretty bad.

Bummer  :(
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: DohcBikes on Feb 24, 2016, 22:55:50
That frame is a great deal.. hope you can get title, I know bill of sale is all you need in many places and the older the better.
Not a single picture of the eBay frame shows whether it is straight or gay.

This thread feels like another jwilde adventure.

forgot to ship the clamp and bracket, it's coming.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on Feb 25, 2016, 03:32:53
Yea I noticed that DohcBikes. I requested additional photos of the frame that would show it's straight. I know it's a long shot, but it's worth a try. Unless someone else finds a frame that I can buy. Also, I have a 14-day return policy alongside the Money Back Guarantee. But I'll make sure I get more photos before I even consider buying. The thread will get better soon. No worries!
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: DohcBikes on Feb 25, 2016, 08:22:07
Serious question. If you couldn't tell the first one was bent, what makes you think you can build an entire bike from the frame up?

Why not fix the damage?
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: J-Rod10 on Feb 25, 2016, 18:01:26
Yea I noticed that DohcBikes. I requested additional photos of the frame that would show it's straight. I know it's a long shot, but it's worth a try. Unless someone else finds a frame that I can buy. Also, I have a 14-day return policy alongside the Money Back Guarantee. But I'll make sure I get more photos before I even consider buying. The thread will get better soon. No worries!
Unless they throw that thing in a jig, and properly measure it, you're not really going to know if it'still straight or not.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: Tune-A-Fishİ on Feb 25, 2016, 18:05:24
 :-X
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: hillsy on Feb 25, 2016, 18:56:58
If you can find someone near you that does frame straightening, then ultimately the best option is to repair your original frame. Most tube frames weren't perfectly straight even when they left the factory, so having it straightened (or at least checked) can be money well spent.


Mind you, it's not something you can do in your garage with some hammers and a bunch of ratchet straps, so you want to find someone who knows what they are doing / has a good rep.


Last time I had a frame straightened by my local guy it was around $400 AUD, but that was for an alloy spar frame / subframe.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: DohcBikes on Feb 25, 2016, 23:13:02
Unless they throw that thing in a jig, and properly measure it, you're not really going to know if it'still straight or not.
Lots of ujm's were not perfectly straight when new.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on Feb 26, 2016, 00:26:15
Yea Hillsy that's my best bet. The closest guy that can do that for me went ahead and dialed up a $700 estimate. So I'll just count my losses and keep building. I'm excited to get to it!

 Dohc you're right as well. The frame lean slipped right through me. Once again, it was a noob move. But I've been reading input from you guys for some time now. One thing I did learn is failing to plan is planning to fail. I'm definitely not planning on building a bike from ground up on my own. Second, I don't think there's anyone on this forum that hasn't learned from a mistake or two. And your advice is definitely appreciated!
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: hillsy on Mar 15, 2016, 07:05:39
Unless you have the neck in a jig and it is perfectly vertical your spirit level is not telling you anything.


Frame straightening is not a DIY job.


Get it straightened professionally or buy another frame.
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: jpmobius on Mar 15, 2016, 19:34:56
Seems like the best thing to do first is to determine what's actually wrong.  This is a lot easier than you probably think.  The first thing to realize is (aside from damage that causes a structural issue, like a severely crushed or bent/broken tube which is in the main very obvious), that the only thing that counts as far as driving and handling is the relationship between the swing arm pivot and the steering pivot with regards to the frame.  You should check that first, and then the wheels, forks, and swing arm.

Actually, you should check the rear wheel for true first as it is so easy and you don't have to take anything apart.  Just put the bike on the centerstand (or support it on a jack etc) and spin the wheel.  Use a screwdriver, piece of stiff wire etc. as a pointer to check the side to side run out.  You can just hold it in place against the frame somewhere to stabilize it while spinning the wheel.  Anything over 1/16" will be a problem.

To check the frame you will have to take the bike apart first, but I'd say that's a given, but you only have to take the rear suspension assembly off, the engine and all the complicated bits can remain. 

You need to remove the rear wheel, the rear brake bits, shocks and swing arm at the back.  The front can stay together.  You will need a level, one like in the pic will work well enough and is cheap ($10-$20).  You need to support the bike under the frame or pipes so it is at it's normal ride height.  Having the lower frame rails horizontal should be a good approximation. With the bike resting on the pipes or frame and the front tire, you can now shim the support on one side or the other to make the steering neck plum.  You will need to take some care to do this as there will likely be a bunch of components in the way and not any particularly great surface to place the level on, but a little care and creativity should overcome this problem.  Check both sides and when you are happy that the neck is vertical, you can check the swing arm pivot.  Put the swingarm pivot bolt back through the frame.  The bolt needs to fit in the frame correctly at both ends so if there are any parts that fit between the frame and bolt (very doubtful) put them in too.  You don't have to add any other parts or tighten it down.  Place the level on top of the bolt (or under it if there is no space) and see how out of level it is.  If the frame is perfectly straight, and the steering neck is vertical, the swing arm pivot will be level.  If it isn't, you will now know how much the frame is twisted along its longitudinal axis.  You would see this distortion when viewing the bike directly from the front or back.

It is also possible for the frame to be bent along the vertical axis, which would be viewed from directly overhead.  This is a lot harder to check, but is also of lesser importance as well as somewhat less likely.  To check, you will need to first check that your rear wheel is straight and that your swingarm is not bent.  To check the swingarm, put it back into the frame while keeping the frame shimmed up to keep the steering head vertical.  Don't worry about sloppy bushings etc, just assemble it into the frame loose.  Assemble the rear axle into the swing arm along with any bits of hardware that center it up vertically where it passes through the arm.  You don't have to bolt it in.  Hold it up so the arm is horizontal by propping it up under the axle in the center so you are not lifting it up more on one side than the other to reduce any slop in the assembly from impacting your reading.  Place your level on top of the axle.  It should read the same as it did when placed on top of the swing arm pivot bolt.  If it does, the arm is straight.  If not, you know how much it is bent.  The swing arm must be straight in order to check the frame for deformation along the vertical axis. If the swingarm is straight, put the rear wheel back on along with all the parts so it is centered in the swingarm like it was manufactured.  Take a tape measure and align the chain adjusters so that the center to center distance of the axle to the swing arm pivot is the same - it does not matter what it is, just that it is the same, and tighten the axle so it stays there.  Take a string and wrap the middle of it around the back of the back tire and bring the two ends up front  past the front tire on both sides.  Hold the string parallel to the ground and place on the back tire as high as you can without touching anything else on the bike while keeping the strings parallel to the ground.  You'll probably have to put a shock back on, clear beneath the bike and get a friend to hold the bike vertical.  Let the strings just touch the widest part of the front of the rear tire while pulling them tight and keeping them parallel to the ground.  If the frame proved straight in the longitudinal axis and your front tire (when pointed so the tire is parallel to the strings) is centered between the strings, your frame is straight.  If your frame proved straight in the longitudinal axis and the front tire is closer to one string than the other (or you can not even make a test on one side) your frame is bent in the vertical axis.  If your frame proved to be bent in the longitudinal axis, this test is irrelevant.

I know this is long winded and sounds complex, but I expect you would actually find it reasonably quick and far easier than it sounds.  At the least it is very cheap or free to do and you will know for sure some of what is wrong.  Potentially you could merely have a badly bent swing arm and your concern over the frame is unfounded.  You have to check to be sure!
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on Apr 21, 2017, 13:44:20
Hey gents. It's been quite a while and money since I got things done on my bike but Im going to revamp my thread here. I took you guys' advice and got things looked at and worked on with the frame concerns. I bought a new swingarm, shocks, and got my wheels rebalanced (and new tires). The results look and feel MUCH better.


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Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on Apr 21, 2017, 13:54:48
I'm venturing away from cosmetics and moving towards getting some performance upgrades done first. I'd like to upgrade the front end to a dual disc setup and stainless brake lines. If an upgraded suspension comes in the mix, sweet. I know the 550's have a slot for another disc so I may go that route. I went ahead and rejetted my carbs to work well with the MAC 4-1 I bought but I'm still working out the balance there. I seem to be losing a bit of power in the higher rpms still. I upgraded my charging system to the Dyna S, Dyna coils, new stator, and R/R along with it. Any suggestions on next steps?


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Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: k.graham on May 11, 2017, 13:41:28
You may have already done this, and if you've spent any time over at the GSResources forum then I'm sure you already know, but if you have your carbs off, you should definitely replace your intake O-rings and check out all your intake boots for any potential leakage. These bikes can and will run with a leak, but will cause a lean condition robbing you of power and shaving years off the life of your engine. The obvious sign of this will be that your bike idles pretty high once it warms up. I had this with my 550 and once dealt with it immediately improved the performance. Trying to balance carbs before you're sure there are no leaks could prove to be very futile and have you chasing your tail.


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Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: k.graham on May 11, 2017, 13:53:46
As for your front end upgrade, I'm pretty sure you need different forks to run dual disks. At least mine does, and I've got the '79 gs550e. The wheels easily bolt on another disk, but you need a spot on your fork leg to mount the brake housing. I do know there are some models that have those mount points on both sides, but not all of them. I also hear that swapping out for progressive springs up front show pretty substantial improvements from the stock springs, and it's really easy to do. Might as well do the fork seals while you have it apart if you decide to go to the trouble.


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Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: Jonny_C on May 17, 2017, 12:06:35
Wow!  To go from the first pictures to the latest pictures, that's an amazing improvement.  It's so clean!
Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on May 17, 2017, 13:00:44
K.Graham-- Thanks a lot for the pointers man! I'll definitely go ahead and invest a little money on intake boots and then do some rebalancing in the carbs. With the front end upgrade, it looks like Im going to find a compatible front end and swap. And I agree on the Progressive route too. A buddy of mine has Progressive on front and rear. Huge difference!


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Title: Re: 1st Build--79' Suzuki GS550
Post by: JamiT on May 17, 2017, 13:01:34
Jonny_C  Thanks my friend. Im glad slow progress is still progress!


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