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Author Topic: Suzuki GT185 1978 build  (Read 6535 times)

Offline Mr Bernzo

  • Posts: 123
Suzuki GT185 1978 build
« on: Mar 15, 2015, 06:30:57 »
Suzuki GT185 build
So this project started in mid 2013 sometime when I brought a bike I knew little about from ebay for about $80. I brought it for the disk brake front end, I planned to use it on another project bike. Soon I realised that that the other project wasn’t worth the time and effort and started to look at the rolling wreck that I had brought. Some googling later and I realised that it was a Suzuki GT185 2 banger and that it wasn’t really a common bike. It had no tank, seat, lights (unbroken or working) snapped handlebars, had been sitting outside for some time (read as years), rear guard bent out of shape, engine was seized and the bike could be classed a general basket case. Picture below with front end and exhausts off.
« Last Edit: Jul 27, 2017, 08:22:16 by Mr Bernzo »
Smell that? 2 stroke...

1978 Suzuki GT185, 2012 Husky TE449, 2003 Suzuki SV1000

Offline Mr Bernzo

  • Posts: 123
Re: Suzuki GT185 1978 buils
« Reply #1 on: Mar 15, 2015, 06:35:33 »
Oct 13 I started by pulling down the engine to see what it was like, if it was not salvageable, I would hit the abort button and sell the bike for parts. Left cylinder was seized by rust, once that was free, the engine came apart easily. Crank turned freely but left bearings had rust. Pulled the crank out and took it to an engineer for assessment. He told me he could rebuild it if I could find the bearings, seals and rods. Not available in Australia, so I ordered from the UK.
While waiting for parts and labour on the engine, I found a tank and tacho at netbikes.com.au in Brisbane, brought a seat and side covers of ebay, front wheel spacers & speedo drive from the USA, wheel bearings, steering stem bearings, speedo cable & brake pads online. Seals, master cylinder reco kit, points, condensers and other parts from Mick Hone Motorcycles (great knowledge of old Suzui’s).  I decided to build the bike, ensure that the build was good & bike rode well before stripping, painting and making it shine. Got to work with all my new parts.
Smell that? 2 stroke...

1978 Suzuki GT185, 2012 Husky TE449, 2003 Suzuki SV1000

Offline Mr Bernzo

  • Posts: 123
Re: Suzuki GT185 1978 buils
« Reply #2 on: Mar 15, 2015, 06:39:17 »
 Jan 14 - I had fully rebuilt and balanced crank, new pistons and fresh bores. Assembly of the engine was pretty quick and easy. Took the Ignition switch to Lock Smith and got a key cut. Stripped, cleaned and re assembled carbs. Mounted engine, oil tank, connected wiring loom, connected a battery I had changed out of my dirt bike, mounted tank with a new fuel line.
By about March, it was starting to resemble a bike again. Tentatively turned the key, lights on the speedo and tacho came on, good start. Gently turned the engine over with the kick starter, then held my breath and thumbed the starter button for brief moment. Couldn’t believe it but it turned over!  Time to get serious. Set the timing and points gap as per the manual, 2 stroke oil in the tank, a few litres of fuel oil mix in the tank (wasn’t sure if the oil pump would work) and new spark plugs. Held breath again, turned key, thumbed starter again for less than 2 seconds and she fired up! Ran rough, lots of smoke, but it ran.
So I ordered a carb re build kit, bought headlight, tail light and indicators from thirdgear.com.au and started on nutting out the mess that was once a wiring loom. With a 2nd hand switch block from the USA, and an old wiring diagram I soon had it nutted out. Mounted lights, some basic carb tuning and it was time for a test ride! A quick spin, some more tuning and it idled and ran. Still not real good but it ran, selected all gears and rode OK.
Middle of winter, low on cash and time, I discovered a crack in left hand cylinder that caused one side of the exhaust manifold to brake off. The project was put on hold for a while.
Smell that? 2 stroke...

1978 Suzuki GT185, 2012 Husky TE449, 2003 Suzuki SV1000

Offline Mr Bernzo

  • Posts: 123
Re: Suzuki GT185 1978 buils
« Reply #3 on: Mar 15, 2015, 06:49:06 »
Nov 14, removed head, cylinder and got the manifold welded and machined.  December, re assembled, started bike and test rode. What a difference.  Much better power, smoother, faster and more fun! Jan 14, bike inspected by Classic and Custom Motor Cycle Club, on to Vic Roads for a Club Rego! Started looking for tyres. Pablo’s Tyres helped out a great deal, decided to go for a newer style tyre for grip and stability rather than a tyre just for looks, settled on Pirelli City Demons. Bolted on the number plate, slipped on the tyres, tubes and rim tapes then its first real ride. Whoohoo, what a blast. Still a long way to go but now I can legally and safely ride it!
The plan for now….
1.   Suspension, down to the shop to find out what I can do to improve the fork damping.
2.   Clubman bars
3.   Probably replace shocks
4.   Find a seat base and get a café racer seat upholstered. Current seat is too good to modify.
5.   Shorten rear guard
6.   Braided front brake line
7.   Strip whole bike to frame, paint frame & swing arm black. Tank, front and rear guard’s, side covers as close to the original blue as possible.
8.   Polish clutch cover, sprocket cover, fork legs
9.   Replace damaged points cover.
Not sure what to do about wheel hubs, don’t want to strip whole wheel down right now. I have no experience building/truing wheels. Considering using an automotive alloy cleaner and see how that works. Any suggestions?
Down the track a little further…
•   Rear sets
•   Expansion chambers?
Any other suggestions?
Smell that? 2 stroke...

1978 Suzuki GT185, 2012 Husky TE449, 2003 Suzuki SV1000

Offline Ryan Stecken

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Re: Suzuki GT185 1978 buils
« Reply #4 on: Mar 15, 2015, 09:13:31 »
Nice smoker!i ve gone down nearly the same road with my almost finished rd....cant wait to ride her!
Do plan on painting it yourself?

Offline goldy

  • Posts: 372
Re: Suzuki GT185 1978 buils
« Reply #5 on: Mar 15, 2015, 09:15:40 »
They were a great little machine...almost 40 years ago, I bought a smashed up one and fitted the engine, rear wheel and anything else that was shiny to a CZ 175. What a difference, that little half breed motorcycle ran like a champ.
I think you should try to leave it in stock condition, but I'm sure whatever way you go with it, you will have a blast! A good cleaner, elbow grease and aluminum paint might be a low cost way round on your hubs.
1948 Norton ES2
1954 AJS 20B (project)
1956 Triumph TRW
1968 Triumph T100 special
1969 Norton Commando
1973 XL350 special

Offline Mr Bernzo

  • Posts: 123
Re: Suzuki GT185 1978 buils
« Reply #6 on: Mar 15, 2015, 18:13:18 »
Nice smoker!i ve gone down nearly the same road with my almost finished rd....cant wait to ride her!

Do plan on painting it yourself?

Nice RD! I would love an Rd or rz. Your engine polishing looks great. Plan on painting the tank, guards and side panels myself in the original blue colour an frame black. Going to try and polish my engine alloy and chrome myself to. Will be my first attempt at polishing.
Smell that? 2 stroke...

1978 Suzuki GT185, 2012 Husky TE449, 2003 Suzuki SV1000

Offline Mr Bernzo

  • Posts: 123
Re: Suzuki GT185 1978 buils
« Reply #7 on: Mar 15, 2015, 18:21:21 »
They were a great little machine...almost 40 years ago, I bought a smashed up one and fitted the engine, rear wheel and anything else that was shiny to a CZ 175. What a difference, that little half breed motorcycle ran like a champ.
I think you should try to leave it in stock condition, but I'm sure whatever way you go with it, you will have a blast! A good cleaner, elbow grease and aluminum paint might be a low cost way round on your hubs.
I was planning to leave the bike completely stock but I just can't get the original parts I need for the right price or in good condition. So I am trying to build the bike without making any modifications that are not easily reversible.
Thanks for the tip on the wheel hubs.
Smell that? 2 stroke...

1978 Suzuki GT185, 2012 Husky TE449, 2003 Suzuki SV1000

Offline Ryan Stecken

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Re: Suzuki GT185 1978 buils
« Reply #8 on: Mar 15, 2015, 18:41:52 »
Nice RD! I would love an Rd or rz. Your engine polishing looks great. Plan on painting the tank, guards and side panels myself in the original blue colour an frame black. Going to try and polish my engine alloy and chrome myself to. Will be my first attempt at polishing.
Thanks :-) i m going to paint my bike too,metallic blue.

Do you have experience on painting bikes or are you just as unexperienced as i am :-) ?



Offline Mr Bernzo

  • Posts: 123
Re: Suzuki GT185 1978 buils
« Reply #9 on: Mar 15, 2015, 18:48:39 »
I have some experience, I have not painted a frame before but I have done a few hugger and guards etc. Also done quite a few car repairs over the years. Definitely an amateur but I can usually get a good finish if I take my time.
Smell that? 2 stroke...

1978 Suzuki GT185, 2012 Husky TE449, 2003 Suzuki SV1000