Thursday, March 11, 2021

Suzuki GS Series — Starter Clutch Rattles

The final check?

As anyone who has followed this blog will know, the engine out of the GS550E has been stripped completely. And, obviously, this was the ideal time to do a simple check on the starter clutch. And I full intended to, had I had the correct flywheel puller. A simple M14 x 1.5mm bolt is all it needs...

But no!

I'd already bought a pretty extensive universal puller/slide hammer with all sorts of adaptors, but none of them being a basic M14 x 1.5mm bolt. Anyway, I ignored it, and refitted the crank with flywheel still attached, not realising what could happen behind the flywheel.

And there it is, flywheel/rotor with starter clutch and gear bolted up behind it.

Suzuki GS Series — Clutch End Float.

Low speed rattles?

There's a few common places that annoying rattles can resonate from on ye olde GS. One of them being the clutch.

It's a heavy unit to be spinning around on the big needle roller bearing and you will always see and feel the [normal] movement when you get hold of the clutch basket. Considering that the huge helical gear around the outside of it is being driven by the crank itself, movement isn't what you want. That sort of freeplay doesn't really matter, for instance, if the clutch is being driven by chain or belt as there is more flex. Gears don't exactly flex, but they will wear. 

On top of this, there is a gear sat behind it, driven by the basket, which then drives the oil pump. A lot going on for something that only has one bearing. 

Now a couple of the intelligent folks at GSResources forum removed some of the play by machining a little off the bearing hub that runs on the inside of the needle roller bearing. In effect, this removes a little of the end float and holds the basket at the angle it was designed to run. Thereby keeping the gears at the correct angle, and reducing some of the noise inside. Sounds good huh?

That's the back of the clutch basket. The large gear is driven by the crankshaft. The two slots in the back of the clutch centre drive the gear that, in turn, drives the oil pump. The springs you can see are for cushioning take up of drive as you let the clutch out to pull away etc. These sag slightly with age and, ideally, need replacing because they start to rattle. Or, as I was about to do, you can shim them with washers to quieten them down.

So this unit has a few jobs to do. Probably best that it spins as it should instead of flopping under its own weight...

Saturday, March 6, 2021

Suzuki GS550E — Steering head bearings.

Wandering Aimlessly...

Since the new Metzelers have been fitted, there has been a slight weave at low speed. I hope it's a steering bearing issue and not a trait of the new boots. Being as it was on the list of to-do's for along time, I ordered a genuine top bearing from Suzuki, as there doesn't seem to be an equivalent generic part number, and the old "32006" taper roller from the local bearing shop for the bottom yoke.

While it was apart, it would be time to clean up and paint various parts on the front end. A month and half later and I'm still waiting on the springs to come from America. Postal service is struggling as they're waiting for flights!

Anyway, back to the clean up. The main things on the list were the yokes/triple clamps, headlamp brackets, indicator brackets, and maybe the speedo surround and headlamp itself.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Suzuki GS550E — Quarter Turn Throttle Conversion.

 Converting your throttle tube to a 1/4 turn.

I'm pleased to say the GS550/673 is going really well — the engine has been faultless so far. One thing that is annoying me though is how bumpy the front end is, and it's really obvious since sorting the Bandit. The 1200 front end is now feeling incredibly refined and plush after a fork oil change, so I wanted to change the springs in the front of the GS to try and help her out.

As luck would have it, a pair of new Progressive springs came up on eBay for $110 delivered. Result! Although the general consensus now is to fit straight-rate (linear) springs, this was a bit of a bargain. However, they got stolen on the day they were delivered by some scrote who told the postie that they lived at my house. And that was the smaller of three parcels! Luckily I got my money back via Paypal, but that's besides the point. I was not impressed.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

Metzeler Tyre Test — Suzuki GS550E

First, a bit of history... hey, life isn't all just fun you know!

When the old GS came to me, that fateful morning in 2012, I knew it was going to change my life. It sat there for a long time, mournfully looking to be put back out there, to race around on the mountain roads, to show what it was really capable of.

But I had a GSXR1000 and a DRZ400 supermoto for the fun stuff. This one would wait. However, it kept looking... and I kept ignoring. 

Until, one day, it was reassembled enough to run under its own steam. The excitement was building. The little GS felt proud, there was potential and we could both see it. She was ready to go out and try the roads for the first time in years. The front tyre, however, was looking a bit lame. So I bought a secondhand Dunlop on eBay that was originally fitted to a Harley, the little GS wasn't happy about that, but it meant we got to ride. The rear Barracuda (the what?) had plenty of tread left so she was good to go. And for years she rode around on those old tyres, the front now being seventeen years old 😱.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Suzuki GS673 Conversion — The Road Test.

 What'll it do mister?

There are no certainties in this life. All we can do is work with the best we've got, and to the best of our ability. When you work with old vehicles, you are left with a hell of a lot of choices. Replace everything for fear of something breaking down the track, or use experience to decide what will keep going, and maybe rely on a little bit of luck. It's probably fair to say we use all of these methods without a second thought.

It would be nice to change every bearing, gear, thrust washer, bolt, moving part etc., but that generally isn't viable. Instead we check, measure and work out what we can get away with. Lots of parts aren't even available anyway so sometimes we are stuck with far greater tolerances. When there is wear in vehicles, we immediately feel it when we ride or drive them but, as human beings, we automatically adjust to cope with the discrepancies. Some better than others.

Sure it's nice to be on a brand new bike, where everything is perfect, but they also leave me feeling somewhat robbed (not just with the cost of them either:). They let you get away with things, incredible brakes, plush suspension, tyres with more grip than you know what to do with. You may even think you're better than you actually are (oof, perish the thought!). 

But with old stuff you feel everything that is happening, hold the bars too hard through the bends and the weaving starts, fight it and things get worse. But relax and let it work everything out for itself and they usually settle down quite nicely. You feel that you're achieving something, that a living being is out for a blast with you, stirs the soul don't they say? (It does get tiring though...)

So ladies and gentlemen, just once, get on an old bike and be amazed at what they will do if you're just prepared to put in the effort...

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Suzuki GS550E — GS673 Conversion Progress.

 Finally getting there...

Once painting of the cases was done, I put the crank and gear clusters back in the crankcase. Turning everything over, something I hadn't noticed originally was pitting in the teeth of one of the gears. It turned out I needed sixth drive gear (obviously unavailable from Suzuki now), but a search on eBay came up with a NOS one in Cyprus. With a delay on postage due to COVID-19, all I could do was wait. 

The pitting is visible in this pic. The largest gear in the top cluster.

One NOS gear from Cyprus. Whoop!