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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy MO.com folks,

You guys were very helpful in steering me into the direction of getting my first bike in the "new rider" section. A coworker at Caterpillar is selling a 1982 Kawasaki GT550 for $500 and I was interested. I brought along a buddy who rides to check the bike out. It needs the carbs adjusted, they leaked fuel and it idled rough, it needs new front brakes, and there is a lot of surface rust on the many chromed parts.

I think this would be an awesome starter bike because it runs well, shifts well, tires are good, and its cheap. I was looking for a plain Jane bike that I couldn't really hurt.

So, basically, what I'm asking is for some feedback about this specific bike from others who have rode it or know anything about it.

I know that it's a 4-cylinder with 4 synchronized carbs that are finiky and hard to adjust. I can get them rebuilt and setup for $80. The chrome would just take elbow grease. There are no rust through spots. The brakes could be bought for almost nothing I'm thinking off of Ebay. Are these brakes pretty normal Kawasaki fair or specific?

Anywho, I have MSF classes in 2 weeks. I'll be buffing on this bike and buying safety gear until then. Wish me luck.
 

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Holy Smokes, A 550!

INDEFATIGUEABLE! You have got yerself one indestructable little machine there buddy. Just get the carbs sinked (sic)change the oil & philter every 2000 miles (run Delo 15/40) lube that chain and it will last you long time sailor boy. The '82 550 was neat 'cause it was so...um...dinky? Here's a pick of my '82 750 that I got as a basket case 10 years ago, and it's still running (the silver one in front)!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
INDEFATIGUEABLE! You have got yerself one indestructable little machine there buddy. Just get the carbs sinked (sic)change the oil & philter every 2000 miles (run Delo 15/40) lube that chain and it will last you long time sailor boy. The '82 550 was neat 'cause it was so...um...dinky? Here's a pick of my '82 750 that I got as a basket case 10 years ago, and it's still running (the silver one in front)!
WOW! WHAT A BEAUT'! Caps lock is cruise control for cool. I wish mine looked 1 / 100th as good as that Kaw. I'm glad this is one tank of a bike. The foreman I'm buying it off of said he would change the oil and filter since it has been sitting for a bit. The chain was dry, so I guess I can take a look at that. Thanks for the vote of good confidence! I'll get some before and after pics on here. I'll get a pic as soon as I trailer it home, then one after I get my license and go on my first drive. Look for updates.
 

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Stop by the local Harley dealer and grab a few cans of HD Texture Flat Black spray paint on the way home and paint away. It costs $14 a can, but it goes a long way. This stuff covers anything, resists heat, and is easy to make look great, even for a beginner. It holds up for years, and if you scratch it it's really easy to spray over. And, you'll get the same finish the HD buyers are paying $15 large for!

Cuddy, what is that Yermamaha, third down in the row there with the orange tank? It looks like a 350 twin enduro.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
WELL! I bought the bike yesterday and am picking it up after work today! WOOT me! I wanted to thank Satch, Scuddy, and all of the other MO.com regulars for answering all of my first rider questions and steering me in the right direction when entering this sport. I have a bike, MSF classes are scheduled, and safety gear is all picked out. I will update the thread with pictures when the bike gets here. I plan on keeping the thread updated with before and after pictures. I got the bike for $450, so it needs a little TLC, and by a little, i mean I'm going to have a buffing arm as big as Hulk Hogan's 23 inch pythons hehe.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I got my bike home and ready for a good carb clean and a spit shine. I haven't even dusted it off yet.

Here is my bike and my friend's FZ1



Here is a pic of the Engine



Here is a long shot of one side



And finally another shot of the other side



I may take off the windshield, sissy bar, and the cargo rack to make it look a little better, or I could just man up and see how useful all 3 are. That is yet to be decided.

You can't see all the rusty, dusty details because it was really bright and a cell phone camera. I cannot complain for $450 hehe. I'll be super, uber careful on this bike the first time I have it out. I'm really afraid of it because it is kind of old and has been sitting. Thanks for the heads up though. And on to the cleaning..............
 

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It's great to see that the previous owner was careful to keep the maintenance up. Apparently, he immersed the motorcycle in warm salt water on multiple occasions!
Hey! HEY! HEY!

That was a bit uncalled-for, don'tcha think?

Like packing M-1's in Cosmoline, the previous owner preserved this particular example for the enjoyment of future-generations under a protective-layer of crud: We should be grateful and Give Thanks..............
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 · (Edited)
Hey! HEY! HEY!

That was a bit uncalled-for, don'tcha think?

Like packing M-1's in Cosmoline, the previous owner preserved this particular example for the enjoyment of future-generations under a protective-layer of crud: We should be grateful and Give Thanks..............
Lol, you guys are cracking me up. The previous owner is a supervisor on the line down from me at work. He bought it in 2000 and rode it about 200 miles. He kept telling me, "I was afraid of skidding my ass."

He sold it to me to "get it out of his way" in his barn. That crud is 5 years of buildup. The engine starts right up and will run puuuuuuuuuurrrrrrrfect once I get those carbs cleaned up.

HEEHHEEHEHHEHE

*UPDATE*

I put an hour of elbow grease and WD-40 into the bike and got it looking way better. I got an inch of farm barn dust, road grime, and grease off the whole bike. I cleaned the tank and rubbed up the seat. I took all the extras off to clean separately, but I like the stripped down look of it now. The bike looks so tiny!

Enjoy!

*** Note: Clicking on the image makes it larger and has detail ***







 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Well, I got the bike up and running good for the first time today. Three of the carbs had so much gunk in the bowls that the needles were just full of crud. The centrifugal timing advance was rusted stuck and we had to WD it back to life, the clutch is sticky but works, and the tires held up to a few turns, hard brakes, and starts.

This bike is back in action folks! I am going to post in the "Ride Stories" forum about my first time on it. This was the first time I ever sat and rode on a bike before. My good buddy was walking beside me, literally walking me through how to work the clutch, turn, brake, and all of the other goodies.

Next thing to look forward to is the MSF classes that start the 14th of next month.

WISH ME LUCK!
 

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Break a Leg!

Having done-before nearly the exact thing you're doing - I must say; it's certainly a good feeling when that beast fires-off for the first time, and you get it running, ain't it?

:D
 

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Nooooo laddie, ya tuck off the dang luggage recepticle?!?!? Now whattarya gonna hual yer stubbies on? Gud lord ghod man, thats sacrilidge! Poot the dang rack back on! Youll be thanking me lahtir! Crizesakes...
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Nooooo laddie, ya tuck off the dang luggage recepticle?!?!? Now whattarya gonna hual yer stubbies on? Gud lord ghod man, thats sacrilidge! Poot the dang rack back on! Youll be thanking me lahtir! Crizesakes...
LAWL! The image of a drunken leprechaun biker danced in my head when I read this. The rack is not going anywhere. The bike looks like a stripped down 70's racer as it is. Trips will definitely involve the windshield and rack.

And yes, having the bike fire up and idle correctly for the first time was a rush of adrenaline, not so much like skydiving, but a rush none the less.

Glad you guys are havin as much fun with this thread as I've had getting this beauty back in action. I think it's a shame when something like this is forced to rot in a barn and not be rode into the dirt.
 

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Cinderella Story...the lonely bike in the barn is now the Belle of the Ball! Nice going, looks like you found a keeper. That WD-40 is an amazing cleaner, isn't it? I use it liberally to clean gruck off my bike, and then the usual car wash soap after that. It also works great if you soak 000 steel wool with it to remove surface corrosion.
 
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