Saturday, 23 June 2012

1983 Suzuki GS1100E restoration project.

Back in early 2011, we had a customer approach us in regard to restoring his 1983 Suzuki GS1100E. When the bike showed up, it was obvious it had seen better days. Between being badly weathered and the fact it had not run in several years, it looked like it was going to be somewhat of a challenge to bring her back to life. The first thing we had to do was to get a sense of the mechanical state of the bike. Starting with the basics, check the engine for oil, do a compression test, check for spark and remove and clean the carburetors. After re-installing the carbs, we fired her up after a long sleep. It fired up and seemed to run not  bad for a bike that had sat for so long. Now that we had it running, it gave us a chance to check out the charging system, and then put it on the Dyno to check the clutch and transmission, everything seemed to be working. At this point, it was decided that it was worth carrying on with the restoration. The first step was to  disassemble the bike, clean and inspect all the parts, and make a parts list. This is an important step as it helps prepare an estimate for the customer. It must be stated that this is just an estimate based on the initial inspection, not a firm quote. With all restoration work, there is always hidden problems that can only be found once you've stated. With a preliminary budget established, the customer decided to proceed with the work. With the approval and a deposit, we got to work. Step one was to strip the bike to the frame. Then off to powder coating for the frame / fairing brackets / side and center stand and engine plates. The next step was to deal with the paint and graphics. Because it had been left in the weather such a long time, the paint was in pretty bad shape. Though the mechanical side of the job is important, the paint is the first thing you really see, which is why we put so much work into the paint and graphics. Because the decals and graphics are  hard to find, we had Rick Janzen from Streamline Studios re-create all the striping and lettering. Between Rick from Streamline and the paint magic of  Rod Stevenson, not to mention his first class body work, we return her back to the show room beauty. Now it was time to start putting her back together. We wire brushed and serviced all parts as they went back on. Then we replaced the seals and bearings where required. The next move was to completely re-build the front and rear hydraulic brake systems. The seat was sent out to Andrea of Power Sport Seats to be re-covered. With the end in sight, we had a few more challenges with the electrical system and wiring, but ended up resolving the problem by making a new harness with parts from a GS 1150. Then with some final tweaks to a few stubborn body parts, we were finished. In the end, we managed to get her back to her former glory, not to mention a very happy customer. Jobs like this can be a real challenge, not to mention expensive. What really makes a project like this worthwhile is when you sit back and look at the finished bike. The overall restoration took a little over a year to complete. You can't put a time limit on a jobs like this, they'll take what they take. Hope you enjoy. Thanks.


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