Author Topic: GS-550L to GS-674 Frankenbike project  (Read 35729 times)

Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
GS-550L to GS-674 Frankenbike project
« on: Oct 27, 2012, 12:43:57 »
This is my first bike, I found her on Craigslist for cheap. I was originally looking for a CB but they're so overpriced where I live finding a running and titled one would cost me around $1000. I saw this little Suzuki, not in the best shape cosmetically but it's been a daily rider for a few years. Here's how she looked after getting her home, pretty rough and DIRTY. Everything was caked in grease and oil, I don't think it had ever been cleaned. I had to spend the next two weekends scrubbing.

The seat was covered in duct tape and looked terrible, I was originally going to try and reuse the stock seat pan and foam.

Under all the tape


Seat foam trimmed

The tank got primered as well, I got sick of looking at the peeling paint.

« Last Edit: Dec 19, 2012, 01:42:37 by Toast »

Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project
« Reply #1 on: Oct 27, 2012, 12:51:44 »
I ended up giving up on trying to use the stock seat pan, it was so rusty and I didn't have a good way to mount a new cover. Plus it was such an odd shape I didn't think I could easily make a new pattern for it anyway.

I had an old road sign in the backyard that I used as a base for the seat. This is after an hour of hammering. Ive never formed anything before so I think it turned out okay.

Got some extra foam from work and cut it down to fit.

I found some thick leather look vinyl at a local fabric store and paid my sister a couple bucks to stitch in some lines and batting. The bike also got some superbike bars and Oury grips (comfy!!) and smaller indicators to get rid of those giant lollipops. The 4 into 1 got sanded down and sprayed with BBQ black.



Looking better!

Notice that the sprocket and rear wheel are actually silver and not black lol.

Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project
« Reply #2 on: Oct 27, 2012, 13:02:59 »
When I bought the bike the PO told me he had to pop it on a charger once a week, I should have let that warn me. The first time I really rode the bike around it died on me a couple miles away from the house. I was just riding and I lost all power and had to coast into a side street. I wasn't able to push start it and had to push it all the way home. I kept it to short test trips until I figured out what it was.

Quick ride with my friend

Being a motorcycle noob I had to do some reading and figured it was the stator, and I might as well make sure before I drop the money for a new one... Yea, it was bad.

Burned to a crisp  :o

Shoddy wiring from the PO, he didn't want to take off the starter cover (it is a PITA) so he did a crappy job of splicing the wires.

While I was waiting for my cheap ebay stator to come in I tinkered with a few other things.

The stock fender drooped down and looked like crap. I shortened it slightly by rotating it back a few inches.

The rear disc was in terrible shape and had some funky deposits on it, I found a good replacement on ebay and swapped it.

Getting help putting in SS lines
« Last Edit: Oct 27, 2012, 13:19:55 by Toast »

Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project
« Reply #3 on: Oct 27, 2012, 13:11:35 »
I installed the Caltric stator and she fired right up, charging at 14.5 volts at 5,000rpm. I rode her around quite a bit for a while, as much as I felt comfortable on 15 year old Dunlops.

Around this time the valves got done for peace of mind. It's pretty easy if you use the ziptie trick.

New tires, valve cover gaskets, Morgan Carbtune and the seals for the leaky output shaft came.

The tires got installed and bike earned my trust enough to take it work. I work in San Francisco and it's a 120 mile round trip, nothing in a car but it's an epic journey on a bike.

Made it!

This was on a Thursday, the next day on Friday I was planning on making a road trip down to San Diego with my friend with the CBR.

Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project
« Reply #4 on: Oct 27, 2012, 13:19:07 »
So the trip never happened... I took it to work again the next day (Friday). All was going well, the bike was running great, I didn't get killed by crazy California drivers... I got off the freeway far to the right in my lane about to make a right turn. Everyone was stopped and waiting for traffic to clear, I see an opening and pull in the clutch and BAM.

The a-hole in the Fit apparently forgot I was there ( ::) ) and accelerated hard into me. The cops show up and call in the tow truck, the guy admitted it was his fault. The tow guy pulled it out of the Fit and I rode it the last 1/2 mile to work. I was so bummed I has just put in so much work to get it road worthy and this dumbass ruined it all. At least he did thousands of dollars in damages to his car, heh.

On her way home  :'(

Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project
« Reply #5 on: Oct 27, 2012, 13:33:48 »
After I got home and looked over the bike, and riding it around some, it seemed like the only damage was to the rear fender, demolished tail light and the very back of the frame. I took it to the shop to have them appraise the damage. The guy was cool, I told him I didn't want the bike to get salvaged if the frame wasn't tweaked. He checked everything and confirmed what I thought, just the rear rail was bent and that's just there to mount the fender it's not structural.

SOOOO, I rode it to work again the next week and made it look nice for the insurance inspector. Fresh paint on the headers and tank and polished up the chrome.

I got more money to fix the bike then I expected and I decided to just fix the bike up. I was going to leave it the way it was and someday build a cafe bike. Screw it, lets just do it. I ordered a set of nice set of Hagons, a seat from Roc City and some new (much brighter) turn signals.

I rode it to work for a couple weeks without any issues. One day about 30 miles out I noticed the dash lights going a bit dim... Uh oh. I turned off the headlight and made it the rest of the way to work, until I got off the freeway (same one I got hit at). I hit the brakes and the turn signal and the bike died. I pulled off onto the sidewalk and waited for a break in traffic to push the bike across the busy street and the rest of the way to work.

The bike got another ride home in the pickup and I looked at the stator.

F*##(U$K!!!!!!!!!! The cheap stators just cannot hold up the extended high RPM load and was burning up like a mofo. I got fed up and just did what I should have done in the first place. I burned two cheap stators, they only lasted 1,000 miles each. So I got a Ricks Electric stator and a Compufire. My wallet cried for mercy but at least I'll never have to worry about it again.

« Last Edit: Oct 27, 2012, 13:35:44 by Toast »

Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project
« Reply #6 on: Oct 27, 2012, 13:44:38 »
More stuff!

The seat from Roc City came in, man it's like a work of art. Roc City makes some legit fiberglass parts.

I also found an XV920 tank on ebay to try and modify to fit the bike.

Mocked up

The chain and sprockets where in pretty sorry shape. I had adjusted the chain slack after I bought the bike but the PO had apparently been running it REALLY tight. You can see some flashing on the sides and the teeth look mashed. I got new sprockets and an X-ring chain from Z1 and installed those.

The carbs needed to be cleaned, it was running lean and had a hanging idle.


Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project
« Reply #7 on: Oct 27, 2012, 13:46:41 »
I ended up finally mounting the seat. I didn't want to be shooting screws through the frame and I don't have a welder so I used a different method. I don't have pics of the mounts but I saw this on another forum. Get a hose clamp, a rubber stopper/foot thing from the hardware store, a carriage bolt and some shrink wrap. Drill the rubber foot top to bottom, drill a hole in the clamp, stick the carriage bolt through both and clamp to the frame. You can use the shrink wrap to blend in with the frame and keep from scratching it. The bolts stick up and have a thick rubber base and it worked pretty well. I used a thick plastic I got from TAP to mount the seat to so it wouldn't crack.

I sprayed it to match the old tank for now. I lost one of my bar end mirrors on the freeway so I went back to long stem ones, I can see better with those anyway.

Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project
« Reply #8 on: Oct 27, 2012, 13:57:53 »
I'm pretty much caught up now. As of a few weeks ago I got sick of the terrible oil leak it had, after every ride I would have to wipe off the bottom of the bike and the drop or two that got on the rear tire (I know...). After I came home one night and saw the rear tire was covered in oil on the left side I parked the bike.

Some PO sometime in the past had tried to replace the output shaft seal with a chisel or something and gouged the heck out of it. I replaced that seal once but it chewed through it again. A real bummer since I had FINALLY got the bike running reliably.

I would need to split the cases to fix it legitimately so I bit the bullet and pulled the motor.

Since I committed to pulling the motor and putting the bike out of commission for a few months I might as well make it a big winter project  :). Anddddd, I kinda went crazy. I've started amassing parts, OEM and replacement to be installed this winter.

New clutch springs (mine were pretty worn), a new stator gasket (I made one and it started leaking a bit), new output shaft seals, swingarm bearing, exhaust gaskets, stainless bolt kit from Z1.

LED tail light from Lossa Engineering (DOT approved)

I found a good deal on a complete set of R6 rear sets from a local forum. I'll have to modify the shift side but I've seen people make it work.

Stripping the bike more. Stuff in boxes and racked.

Looking at the tank for inspiration.

Offline Toast

  • Posts: 230
Re: GS-550L Cafe Project
« Reply #9 on: Oct 27, 2012, 14:02:09 »
More stuff I bought for the project. I wanted clip ons and a digital gauge sooo bad I broke down and got them....

Woodcraft 35mm clip ons (in black). I'll post a better pic of the actual ones today.

Tomaselli brown gum grips

Acewell gauge

Box o'stuff