74 Suzuki T500 - The Phoenix

Kojakbob

New Member
So I will be attempting to raise the dead. We will be calling her Phoenix, rising from the ashes. I think I have a pretty decent starting point. The bike came to me in pieces, but it looks like I have most of the parts. First things first, the engine. Drained the oil, which looked like new, no joke, like it came out of a fresh bottle, good news. The cylinder heads were already off, so no compression test. Pistons look good and also no visible or feeling of anything in the cylinders, all moves freely. \

I was going to take apart the entire engine, but it appears to be in good shape, no leaking, free moving, etc. I think I would like to attempt to get it running first. If a full rebuild is needed, we will take that on later. Not planning on a full resto, more of a cafe style I think. I will for sure be staying away from hacking anything that could keep this bike from a full resto in the future. We plan on riding it, using it, etc for now.

Problem 1. Noticed we are missing one of the oil feed lines, the ones with the banjo bolts and small check valves in them. The other one feels very brittle and I am afraid it will crack. This is our first problem, where to find or how to fab this part. I would prefer to fab or purchase something other than plastic to replace both lines. Hoping someone here has dealt with this and has some suggestions.

Problem 2. Cylinder head gaskets. Again, finding this part appears problematic. I do have both old metal gaskets, but would rather use new gaskets. Any ideas or past experience in reusing the old ones ?

Once I sort the above 2 problems out, then onto the carbs. Rebuild kits available ?

Here are some pics to get things started. I have also included a pic of a build my neighbor just finished, a HD 883 Enduro build. If anyone has questions on that build, I can for sure help as everything was documented and all custom part designs are saved.

Josh
 

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teazer

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT BOTM WINNER
Nice period cafe racer. Pipes appear to be Basanni which had a great reputation back in the day. They can be cleaned out and repacked cheaply. There are better pipes available now but at a cost. I'd keep those and I would keep the color scheme. It's a tribute to teh wporks Suzuki racers of the early 70s.

I stay away from carb kits because the parts are rarely accurate enough. Jets and needles are available. Pistons are also available if you need them. What are less available are crank parts. The big end bearings can be hard to find but they last a long time if there's not rust in the crank. Seals go hard and I'd strongly recommend you split the bottom end and replace the crank outer seals and transmission seals.

Those oil feed lines turn up on ebay from time to time and there are guys on the Sundial forum http://www.suzuki2strokes.com/forum/, Kettle Clinic in the UK https://www.kettleclinic.co.uk/kcforum/, and Two Stroke World http://www.2strokeworld.net/forum/index.php who love those things.

And there are T500 lovers here as well. JohnU built the most amazing GT500, Sonrier has one I think, and Brad J used to have a yard full of the things.

Obviously you want fresh rubber and other consumables and they are easily sourced. Most of my tires come from Chapparel via ebay. Good prices and the rubber is fresh.

Can't wait to see what you do with it. If you stick to a quick strip paint and rebuild, it should be ready this summer.
 

teazer

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT BOTM WINNER
If you wanted to go all out, with ported barrels, squish band heads, bigger carbs and frame bracing, it will take longer. Then you can upgrade the front forks and brakes and fatter alloy rims, TR500 replica bodywork and so on would all take a little longer and the hole in the bank account would be a little larger, but you only live once.

My problem is that I want the best parts but have a budget that covers basically two rattle cans and some WD40, so I have to be creative.

BTW, that's a nice garage setup.
 

cyclocrossfool

New Member
i would rebuild the engine while its apart and out of the frame. Ed Toomey rebuilds cranks and uses proper suzuki parts. dont be temped by the rebuild crank bearings and seals from a certain japanese mail order co. i use there pistons w/ suzuki rings. center plug heads are nice, stock ones may crack ( ive cracked stock heads within a few laps, replaced with center plug heads, problem gone).
 

Kojakbob

New Member
I would prefer not to split the bottom end. I am pretty confident that someone did a "redneck rebuild" about 5 yrs ago and it was never even started after that, looks like they never finished getting it back together. That being said, I really love this bike and have no plans on selling. So maybe splitting the case is in order. I also have time on my hands and it would not take much time to pull the motor again later if I find any problems. I guess I am just making more work for myself !

I think I am going to try and locally source or fab some oil line feeds. Does anyone have any clue as to the pressure on the check valves in the feed lines ? I know they are just a spring, but I am thinking I could place 2 check valves in line, then onto new banjo bolts, which I can find locally. Has anyone ever done this ?
 

ex119x

Been Around the Block
If it was me, (and it isn't, so do whatever will work for you) I would split the cases and replace all of the seals and check the transmission bearings and shift forks. I hate having to take something all the way back apart after it is in the frame. I would also think about removing the oil injection system and going pre-mix. Those old oil lines would really give me pause when I consider that they are old and brittle with no fresh replacements available. In order to run premix, you have to drill the cases so premix oil can get to one of the main bearings, which is shielded otherwise. There are instructions out there. That would give me some peace of mind but there are others who are more expert on these things than I am and they may have more valid opinions.
 

teazer

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT BOTM WINNER
Oil lines are out there but if you want to make some, use Kawasaki check valves. They open as around 2-3psi IIRC. Nylon tube or even teflon tube would be fine and you should be able to source a Y split in nylon from you local hardware or aquarium store.

Splitting the bottom end is simple. What takes most time is cleaning the cases and removing any small raised dings that would prevent teh cases from sealing perfectly. If you put the top end back on, you could try to do a leakdown test. Not like a 4 stroke at high pressure. We test a two stroke at 6-8 psi and check for leaks past the crank seals.
 

teazer

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT BOTM WINNER
GT750 are great bikes. I have had a stock A model, Street Tracker J, Slightly modified M, and now down to three projects, the drag race bike, a Cafe racer and a restomod. No T500 or GT500's though. I rode a Cobra back in the early seventies when they were new. They have a lot of get up and go for the time.
 
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Kojakbob

New Member
Oil lines are out there but if you want to make some, use Kawasaki check valves. They open as around 2-3psi IIRC. Nylon tube or even teflon tube would be fine and you should be able to source a Y split in nylon from you local hardware or aquarium store.

Splitting the bottom end is simple. What takes most time is cleaning the cases and removing any small raised dings that would prevent teh cases from sealing perfectly. If you put the top end back on, you could try to do a leakdown test. Not like a 4 stroke at high pressure. We test a two stroke at 6-8 psi and check for leaks past the crank seals.
Ok. I have decided I will split the bottom. I do not have a ton of experience in this, so I will be posting progress and asking questions when necessary. Now that I have decided to do this, I feel like a vapor blast may be in order. I have access to a media blaster, do you guys think walnut shells would clean things up ? Has anyone ever done this ?
 
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Kojakbob

New Member
So.... I am in over my head. Glad I decided to split the bottom, do it right the first time. I will for sure be needing some technical info when putting it back together. I labeled most bolts and bagged them, but parts fell off during the tear down which I am not sure where they belong. Next step is removing the pistons (which look pretty good to me, but I am far from an expert). I am slightly concerned about the rust on the one side of the crank and in the bottom of the case, but not sure if that is a issue. Then onto cleaning everything. Please chime in if you notice anything in the pics that looks concerning. More posts to come soon.

Josh
 

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teazer

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT BOTM WINNER
Couple of observations/questions. That brown goop in one crankcase half. Is it rusty oil or rusty water? Both sides should have some oil in the bottom end after the bike has been run. Not a huge amount but should be wet with oil.

Pistons look old style. Clean them up and measure ring gap and clearance.

Get a workshop manual or FSM (Factory Service Manual) to see the steps and download a copy of parts book.

Gears wear and whine so inspect the teeth and research the oil dam modification to increase oil capacity.

The rest is all pretty simple, so take your time and ask questions if you are not sure. And be careful with all matching surfaces. Try to clean them without scratching and do not use any sort of power tool on the faces or else it will never seal again.
 

Kojakbob

New Member
Couple of observations/questions. That brown goop in one crankcase half. Is it rusty oil or rusty water? Both sides should have some oil in the bottom end after the bike has been run. Not a huge amount but should be wet with oil.

Pistons look old style. Clean them up and measure ring gap and clearance.

Get a workshop manual or FSM (Factory Service Manual) to see the steps and download a copy of parts book.

Gears wear and whine so inspect the teeth and research the oil dam modification to increase oil capacity.

The rest is all pretty simple, so take your time and ask questions if you are not sure. And be careful with all matching surfaces. Try to clean them without scratching and do not use any sort of power tool on the faces or else it will never seal again.
Teazer,

Thanks for the reply. this is exactly the kind of advice I am looking for. This is my first engine full rebuild, so not any exp really. I have a link to a FSM, but it is really hard to navigate as it is not in a PDF style format, it is in HTML, click for each page, no directory or ability to move quickly in the manual. Any info on where to obtain a full FSM in either PDF or good old school paper would be awesome. Same thing for the parts book.

I will inspect all gears for wear.

As far as the oil dam mod, from what I read this is a 1974, which has the extra 200cc of oil that solved that problem. The case is stamped 1400cc. Please let me know if I am mistaken about this and still need to do a mod.

I have sourced a old media blaster from a neighbor and am in the process of restoring it, not much to it that I can see. I have already found new gloves for it as the originals were heat worn. I bought 50lbs of medium coarse walnut shells for blasting. That being said, I have never used a media blaster and am also uncertain about using the walnut shells on all surfaces. Any input on those items would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Josh
 

teazer

Over 1,000 Posts
DTT BOTM WINNER
if it says 1400cc that's good, but does it have the oil dam? AFAIK, it's a rubber piece that sits on top of the oil weir at the rear of the trans.

https://www.oldjapanesebikes.com/mraxl_GT_Resource/index.php is a good place to start for information.I didn't check if Ian Sandy has an FSM or parts list but I figure that's your task.

https://www.manualslib.com/manual/1332817/Suzuki-T500.html looks like an owners manual.


With the media blaster, test it on a part that doesn't much matter before you let loose on something irreplaceable, but walnut shells should be OK. I like glass beads because they are less abrasive and peen the surfaces closed. There are people on this forum with lots of blast experience including guys with vapor blast (aka aqua blast).
 

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