I wish that I could say it started right up and everything was ready to go, but nothing is ever that simple. After a full tear down and re-build of the 1981 Suzuki GS650 engine, it actually did start right up, but it wasn’t quite right. It was idling well and revving well, but the No. 2 exhaust was cold.
I checked the basics. Compression was previously checked, it had spark, and there was fuel in the float bowl of the No. 2 carburetor, but the fuel was not getting to the cylinder.
I checked the carb synchronization and idle pilot jet, but nothing was changing how it was running. Time to pull the carburetors back off and take a look.
It turns out that it has been more than 3 years since the engine was last running and even though I did a full cleaning and re-build of the carburetors at that time, the engine was not shut down properly after the broken rear cam chain guide. Classic signs of ethanol based fuel gone bad in the No. 2 carburetor. A green tint to the fuel and clogging of the main jet was evident.
Luckily, nothing had hardened in the passage ways so it was fairly quick to unclog and get back together again.
After confirming that fuel was able to flow through all of the correct areas, everything was put back together and a quick bench synchronization of the carburetors was done in case I had messed anything up with my previous adjustments on the bike.
Back on the bike again and it fired right back up again and appears to be running well on all cylinders. It sounded so good that I wanted to go for a ride, but I will check the carburetor vacuum synchronization one more time and then reinstall the fuel tank to be ready to go.
Since the exhaust is fully off of the bike it was a good opportunity to assess its condition. The consensus is that it is pretty far gone and that trying to preserve it is the best course of action.
Back in 2014 when I initially had the bike running and actually had the bike through the inspection process, the inspector thought that he heard an exhaust leak. I assumed it was at the connection points to the engine exhaust ports and did find that the connections were a bit loose, but no noticeable change after everything was tightened to specification. Upon closer inspection now, there was a noticeable gap at the seam for the number 3 exhaust pipe.
I looked into options to repair this and decided to try JB Weld, Extreme Heat. It was straight forward to apply the metallic repair paste and let it harden.
Once the paste had cured, I went over the rusty areas with VHT Rust Converter, Primer, and Ceramic Paint.
I think it came out pretty well and I hope it will add some years to the life of the exhaust system.
The weather has finally turned, the Multistrada is out of the shed, and there is now room for working on the 1981 Suzuki GS650L. The engine has been ready to go back in the frame for a couple of months and now is the time.
To take the engine out of the frame, I did most of the engine tear down when it was still in the frame and ended up with all of the components in the basement to re-build the engine over the winter. Turns out that the engine is quite a bit heavier when it is fully assembled. Getting the engine from the basement to the shed was a bit of a challenge.
The manual’s method for removing/installing the engine to the frame is to lay the engine on its side and drop the frame over it. Seems like a way to cause more issues so I attempted to setup a system to slide the engine into the upright frame.
A similar idea worked well to remove the engine, but the top end of the engine was already removed. Now, even with only 1/2″ plywood as the support, the engine was just a bit too tall.
With the removal of the breather cover and some back and forth with the engine, the engine was able to drop into the frame.
I know I struggled a bit the first time around trying to get the carburetors back in between the engine and airbox, but the steps I learned the previous time made it much easier this time. Having the engine not fully bolted in may have helped a bit too.
Now, everything but the exhaust system is reinstalled and I was able to take a preliminary step to determine if my efforts have been worthwhile. Even though the engine has not run for a while and a compression test should be run on a warm engine, I couldn’t wait to see how things were looking after the replacement of the bent valve in the No. 3 cylinder.
The cold compression results cranking with the throttle fully open were:
- Number 1 Cylinder – 150 PSI
- Number 2 Cylinder – 135 PSI
- Number 3 Cylinder – 145 PSI (was 100 PSI warm before the re-build)
- Number 4 Cylinder – 150 PSI
These numbers are very respectable for a cold engine and I suspect will improve once the engine is running and the carburetors are synchronized again.
The last major piece to reinstall on the engine was the valve cover. I was hoping to be able to dunk the whole thing into my 5-gallon parts cleaner bucket before painting, but it turns out that even parts cleaner freezes solid when it is left in the shed over the winter. I was forced to just use some de-greaser and Scotch-Brite pads to clean it up before painting.
When I originally obtained the 1981 Suzuki GS650L, the two pieces that had been removed from the bike were the carburetors and the valve cover. The original owner had planned to polish the valve cover, but it is not the right material for polishing. The carburetors were removed trying to get a shop to do the cleaning, but the quote was more than I paid for the whole bike.
The valve cover was a bit discolored to start:
With de-greaser and Scotch-Brite pads it was looking just a little better:
Similar cleaning and sanding was done with the breather cover and starter cover:
Right away, with a few coats of primer and paint, these pieces were looking much better:
After a quick double-check of the valve clearances, everything was put back together and torqued down to spec:
And now, as soon as it gets warm enough to get the Ducati Multistrada out of the shed and create some working room around the frame of the GS, it is time to get this engine back outside and get it back into the frame.
Previously I had run through the electrical charging system tests created by the group over at GS Resources as shown in this post: Electrical Charging System. The results showed that the charging system was running a little bit low and my decision was to replace the regulator/rectifier and improve some of the existing wiring connections which did show some improvement as shown in this post: Regulator/Rectifier Replacement.
At that time, I decided that the stator still had life and did not replace it, but now that the engine was completely torn down it was an opportune time to take care of this as well.
A new OEM stator is quite expensive which was another reason for not replacing the stator before, but there are a few options for aftermarket replacements. I chose a unit from Caltric.
While waiting for the new unit to be delivered, I was wondering about the plug that encapsulates the three wires and seals off the stator cover to the engine crankcase. I was wondering if I would have to figure out how to cut the old one off and reinsert to the new harness. I was happy to see that the plug was included, but then a little disappointed when it was not the correct distance between the wire sheathing for it to fit into the stator cover at the correct location. A bit of trimming of the sheathing and sliding the plug along the wires took care of that.
Once that was sorted, the stator and cover could be remounted to the engine with a new set of Allen head bolts.
The same was done for the clutch cover on the other side.
The valve cover still needs to be cleaned up and installed and then waiting for better weather to find out if these repairs have met the goals of restoring this engine.
In a continuation of the Part I post, I continued with the cleaning and polishing of the Clutch and Generator covers. The same procedure was followed as done in Part I.
Both covers were in pretty bad shape, but the generator cover was really washed out and oxidized.
A couple of hours later, both were looking much better.
Still a couple of things to do behind the clutch and generator covers before they can be reinstalled to the engine, but things are looking promising.
I started trying to improve the appearance of some of the engine covers today before they go back on the engine. I started with the smaller pieces of the signal generator cover and the secondary drive cover to see how the method would work out.
The first step was to pry off the old DOHC emblem and then hit the pieces with some Aircraft Remover to try and get through any clear coat that might still be covering the oxidized areas.
The Aircraft Remover and a bit of light standing started to make things look better right away.
The remainder of the work was a sequence of different buffing pads from Chemical Guys on the Porter Cable 7424XP random speed, orbital buffer and the Vintage Aluminum and Metal polishing compound that I bought at a local motorcycle show a while back.
I used the same polishing compound with the different buffing pads rather than one pad with multiple compounds. Each pad from Chemical Guys has a different cutting and polishing composition. It worked well, but I may try some different strength compounds as well on the bigger pieces.
As indicated in the Biker Wax directions, a lot of black residue was generated with the Vintage polish.
After going through the series of five buffing pads, both pieces were really starting to look good.
The new emblem really helps too. The emblem is just laying on top for now. These pieces should look really good along with the other covers once they get reinstalled to the engine with new Allen head bolts as well.
Thanks for looking.