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Thread: 1978 GS 550 Overhaul/Rebuild

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    1,135

    Default 1978 GS 550 Overhaul/Rebuild

    Now that I've finished getting my other 550 back up, it is now time to give some TLC to my first 550, the one which has brought me here, and was my very first bike.

    The bike is currently running, but has some issues which warrant a deep dive. With the experience gathered so far, and this forum, I feel confident enough to dig in, but I have no Idea how far I shall go. So I'm calling for your experience and suggestions on additional things to do. For now, known issues, and planned work:

    Work previously done:
    - Removed handlebar loop
    - SH775
    - LED bulbs in instrument cluster
    - New clutch cable
    - New throttle cables
    - Carbs: cleaned, float levels, O-Rings, vacuum sync'd.
    - New intake boot clamps
    - New spark plugs + caps
    - Electronic flasher relay, load-independent
    - New "screw clutch actuation gear", original got slapped+bent by a loose chain
    - New tires + tubes
    - Valves adjusted
    - New front wheel bearings
    - New seals in front and rear brake calipers
    - Floppy sidestand (weak spring)

    Known issues:
    - Frame has a small rust hole
    - One seriously stripped exhaust bolt thread; practically gone
    - Stator suspected weak
    - Leaking base gasket
    - Inner tube of one exhaust loose
    - Chain has loose spots (that one has been changed once already, but is due as well)
    - Seat cover beginning to break
    - Dent in tank, some paint rubbed off by seat cushion
    - Welded up holes in exhaust have no rust protection
    - Slightly bent clutch handlebar lever
    - Flaky paint on brake handlebar lever
    - Crunchy bearing somewhere near the chain, either at the front sprocket, or the rear
    - Flaky paint on brake calipers

    Planned work, in no particular order:
    - Prepare garage for full teardown
    - Prepare electroplating setup
    - Prepare blast&powercoat setup for smallish parts
    - Strip down bike to its frame
    - Frame: sandblast, de-rust and weld up hole, powder coat
    - Plop out tank dent
    - Weld up stripped engine thread, fabricate an insert or something along those lines
    - Fabricate/get engine stand
    - Take engine apart, clean&repaint exterior, polish various covers
    - Inspect transmission and stuff as per manual
    - Check piston/bores as per manual
    - Replace chain/sprockets
    - Replace valve steam seals (not sure. Bike ain't stinking, but had too much oil in it at some point)
    - Consider headlight unit replacement (current is fine, but the H4 replacement on my other is better - and looks original).
    - Install a modern steering stem bearing
    - Replace front fork oil
    - Strip and paint(or polish) lower front fork tubes
    - Replace brake lines with braided SS ones
    - Electroplate various bits'n' bobs
    - Blast&paint various thingies, decide as I go along

    I'll update this post with additional information as soon as I have it available.
    Last edited by roeme; 04-16-2018 at 08:49 AM.
    #1: 1979 GS 550 EC "Red" Very first Bike / Overhaul thread        New here? ☛ Read the Top 10 Newbie mistakes thread
    #2: 1978 GS 550 EC "Blue" Can't make it a donor / "Rebuild" thread     Manuals (and much more): See Cliff's homepage here
    #3: 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 II Racer One needs a runner while wrenching

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2015
    Location
    Switzerland
    Posts
    1,135

    Default

    A _lot_ has happened in my life since I've wrote that post, unfortunately mainly stuff that robbed me of a lot of time, energy and even wrenching space.
    Luckily, I was able to clear up most of it, and finally can begin this project. Or rather, already have begun: Today I began stripping down the bike. That was a welcome boost to morale

    This is how the bike looked at the end of today's work:

    (click for full resolution)

    Now, as for the originally planned work, I'm not sure on how far into engine I shall go. The head will come off anway, as one of the exhaust bolt threads has been destroyed (that misfortune was documented in this thread here: click).

    Since then, I've acquired a "rolling engine", so I might just swap heads - however, I've got no clue about the new engines' condition nor mileage, so I might need to dive into an engine anyway.

    Also, the exhaust on the bike are in rather p!$$-poor condition, so these need replacement, patching up, or some custom jobbie (but getting those street legal in this country could be quite a tricky business).

    But first, complete strip-down, so I can have the frame sand-blasted, and powder-coated.
    #1: 1979 GS 550 EC "Red" Very first Bike / Overhaul thread        New here? ☛ Read the Top 10 Newbie mistakes thread
    #2: 1978 GS 550 EC "Blue" Can't make it a donor / "Rebuild" thread     Manuals (and much more): See Cliff's homepage here
    #3: 2014 Moto Guzzi V7 II Racer One needs a runner while wrenching

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