Well, it has been quite a while since I posted about the work being some on the 1981 Suzuki GS650L. New job, shortening days, colder weather, and no lights or heat in the shed…
The motorcycle was registered in early September and had to pass inspection within seven days of registration. It passed without problem, but the mechanic at the shop said it sounded like it had an exhaust leak to him. One of the few areas that I did not touch as I was checking and cleaning the various systems. So I rode straight home and checked the bolts on the exhaust headers. All were easily tightened which I took as a good thing since I have heard many stories about these bolts being seized and snapping off when you try to remove them. This is an area where I was very fortunate in the entire process of getting this motorcycle back on the road, there was not a single bolt or screw that could not be removed. Worst case was some Liquid Wrench and an impact driver, but nothing was seized or broken.
So I tightened things up to spec and went back out for a ride. Didn’t seem any different, so I decided I should replace the exhaust header gaskets just to be certain everything was good to go.
Here are the four exhaust headers before removal:
Little rust on the bolt heads, but not too bad. I decided that I should try to remove the exhaust system as a single unit rather than try to disconnect the four headers from the exhaust pipes and mufflers. The joints between the various sections were a bit more corroded:
The discoloration was from the Liquid Wrench in case I did have to try and get things to come apart.
It was a bit of a challenge to get the whole system off in one piece with the number one cylinder being the most stubborn. It took some prying with a Maple board and some beating with a rubber mallet to get all four headers out, but when it did, the whole unit suddenly crashed to the ground.
Good opportunity to check the exhaust valves in each cylinder.
Next step was to remove the crush washer gaskets that have now been pressed in to the cylinder head by the exhaust headers. A pick set seemed to be the only way to get in there in pull the gaskets out. Again, one was much more stubborn than the others.
As I was struggling to remove the exhaust system and then the gaskets, I kept checking in with the guys at The GS Resources website to make sure that I was not doing something wrong. They kept saying, “just keep going”. When everything was finally out, the response was “the only way to succeed is to not know when to quit.” I like it.
Things were much easier after that. Here is the cylinder head ready for the new gaskets:
And then a comparison of old to new gaskets and one inserted into the cylinder head. There are some small tabs on the new gasket to help hold it in place while you get all of the exhaust headers lined back up and inserted into the cylinder head.
If you have taken it all apart you might as well put it back together with new bolts and anti-seize compound.
After all of that, it still seems the same to me, but every little thing is an improvement for the motorcycle to last another 33 years.
Still more to do, but I don’t think I’ll do much more again until spring time.