Thursday, August 19, 2010


Quick note to break the radio silence this time. I ordered the new starter relay and it finally showed up, sort of. What I got was an empty envelope in the mailbox. I now have pending investigations with both the company and the USPS. so basically the project is on hold until I get a new one with no current ETA on when that will be.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Electrical 101

I managed to get some time this weekend to work on things and being the aggressive/impatient type I was curious to know if I bought a motorcycle or just 400 lbs of dead steel. I took the old battery to the battery store knowing that it was probably not up to the task and got confirmation from the guy who said it was pulling a mere 2 volts. Getting $10 was too much to pass up so I got a new sealed battery and a tender/charger which has nearly doubled my investment. (see the tally page for details). I got back to the house, hooked it up and much to my surprise the headlight lit up and the high/low switch even works! The bike doesn't turn over, though, so I got the manual out and after some debugging feel fairly confident that it is the starter relay, as pictured here:

I labelled all the loose wires with painter's tape since you never know when this will resume and then ordered a new one online for $35.95 + shipping. Should be here in a week or so. Hopefully I don't have to replace everything electrical because at this rate it will take $5000 and the next decade to get this thing done (while the current value of a good version of this bike is worth maybe $1k at best, see this).

On the bright side, at least there was a general functioning of the electrical system and as a bonus I got the new ignition switch installed. It may the only new and clean part on the whole deal currently.

Overall the swap out was pretty easy. Two bolts hold the headlight to the collars on the forks so once one was removed it swung out of the way (sadly dropping the nut into the headlight bowl). After that there were just a couple bolts with hex heads holding the ignition switch itself onto the top of the triple tree. In order to get the dropped nut out I unscrewed the 3 retaining screws and pulled the light out, revealing a bunch of nastified cob webs but nothing too terrible. Since the kids were napping I just left it and have not vacuumed out yet. I figure it isn't worth putting back together until I know the electrical stuff is all in order but will probably clean it out at some point.

That was it for the weekend. If I'm lucky the replacement starter relay will be here is time for next weekend but I'm not that hopeful that it will be since I ordered late on a Sunday and they said 5 - 7 days shipping.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New tires? Maybe not...

Tiring at the end of the week and sporting a wicked cough still so not much time or desire to work on the bike tonight but I did have enough time to put some air in the tires to test them and get the gas tank back on. Stupidly I bolted the tank on only to realize that I forgot to put the petcock on first. It didn't really fit so I had to remove the tank insert the petcock and bolt the whole thing back only. Amateur!

My previous assessment about having bad tubes was way off since the bike has tubeless tires. I inflated the them to 42 PSI based on indications on the sidewall for cold tire pressure and so far they seem to be holding their own. There is still a ton of tread on them so we'll see how it goes. If this ends up running well enough to get back on the road I'll definitely take them in to the shop and make sure they are good before any serious riding.

No new pics tonight, it pretty much looks the same. If I can get the bolts from the deport this weekend I might just try to fire it up. Based on replies (thanks!) from the suzuki-l listserv, I am good to use off the shelf bolts since this is a low torque and low stress cover. Having taken the cover off and inspecting, I would tend to agree. Another good resource that I was referred to and have just started to tap is the GS Resources web site.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Oil change complete

So I think that the oil change phase of the restoration is complete! Got it finished tonight and overall I would have to say I'm pleased with what I saw. I took of the oil filter cover and it looked like this:

There wasn't much sediment in there and no metal chips that I could find so perhaps that is a good sign for the project.

I also pulled out the plugs and they both look like they have seen some use but are in good condition. There are no indicators of anything amiss visible so I'm pretty happy with that.

That still leaves a bunch of recommended services I need to go through, though. I'm keeping the list up to date in a separate page here. Going to try everything up to the 20,000 km level once I know the engine at least runs a bit. Check back to see what I'm knocking off in my free time. That's it for tonight, peace.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The clutch is a dusty, dusty place

Sometimes peer pressure is a good thing. I posted a comment on facebook and my buddy Chris replied that I should post some pics since it is good motivation to keep going. He is definitely right and because of that, I stopped doing real work and took a break to do some fun work on the bike. Little did I know the amount of work I think I am in for. I think I have figured out the clutch cover bolt specs. Based on a tip from a co-worker I just measured the depth of the holes using a wire coat hanger (the hanger was my idea). Turns out I need a 2" and a 2 1/2" bolt. It feels like that is the true depth and there isn't a pre-existing bolt sheared off in there (which was my original fear) because of how accurate the depths are. Also, there are other bolts on the cover which are those lengths. That is the good news. The bad news is that out of curiosity I pulled off the clutch cover to peek at the clutch & tranny itself. I can tell you I was not expecting to hear the creaking of cobwebs when I pulled the cover off but that's what I got. Pre-shop vac it looked like this:
Yes, that is cob webs, leaves and general dustiness inside. After shop vac-ing it really isn't much better it looks like I'll be adding a complete cleaning of that sub-assembly to the list. Maybe I can just power wash and re-lube? I also drained all the oil out of the bike in preparation for the 7,500 tune up which will magically restore the bike to working order.

Here are some more pics of the naked bike. I removed the gas tank so I could clean a little better and get a look at more of the engine.