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Started by turbofb, February 08, 2013, 09:06:00 PM

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The 380 is in the mail.
I got a great deal on a complete engine from a running barn bike....Ebay!
The best part was it came with the carbs and all the side covers. Ill run pod filters, so no airbox....electronic ignition so itll be reliable.....and kickstart for the nostalgia and weight savings. All I have to make from scratch is the exhaust system. I just hope cylinders 1 and 3 clear the GS frame loops or Ill have to notch/loop them out.
The seller underestimated the trouble of shipping a 100+lb engine,(needs handles on the crate for 2 guys) but I had already paid, so it was up to him to figure it out. Since I didnt have a bike yet, I told him I would'nt leave any negative feedback so long as the engine made it out to me within 2 weeks. We shall see....

For now I have video of the engine running for when I sell it off. Next week I will get the bike cleaned up and the basic stuff stripped. I dont want to do a full teardown until Im sure the new (old) engine will fit easily enough. If there is a serious problem with making the swap and I cannot move forward, then I will clean the bike up to its original glory and sell it.
I dont foresee that being an issue though. So long as at least one rear mount can be made to line up, the engine can be hung and the other mounts fabbed and welded to the frame. I think the 380 just has 3 mounts, two in back and one in the front. Whereas the GS has that one funky lower mount that goes through the oil sump and another tab mount ahead of that. Once the engine is mounted and the rear subframe modded, the frame will be repainted and the rest is just remove and replace.....and $$. :icon_eek:


Haha and $, hellz ya. Well good luck man, sounds like it will be a cool build. I don't know if I understood you right, you are taking out the electronic ignition and just rolling with a kick start right? Much less weight.
I am into buying bikes that people have given up on and fixing them up!

RIP Patrick Lajko, I miss you man.


Electronic ignition trigger to replace the points (I can deal with points, but given the choice I'd rather ditch them)

The 380 was the only Suzuki triple engine to have kick only. The 550 and 750 were in direct competition with the CB750 and other 4-strokes, which all had electric they got it. They really dont need it, since 2-strokes were low compression and fairly easy to start.The 380 is pretty small and Ive seen guys kick them over with one hand. I would have gone kick only even if it did have an electric. Partly for the weight loss, but mostly for the cool factor.


This is awesome! Can't wait to see it, and great job on all those projects! I wish I was more versed in mechanics etc. and could do the same.. Maybe someday when I have more free time :) But great to see such commitment! Keep the updates coming!


She's all stripped down to her skivvies and ready for a test fit. Once the engine arrives I'll be able to do a prelim fitting to be sure this project can happen. Nothing like going in blind, right? :icon_confused:


The lump....

Im fairly sure I will be able to make it work, but to safe Im stopping at this point to avoid extra work. The 380 appears to be a pretty small engine in all dimensions, especially height. So long as the length is good, it should be painless. If all is well, then the next step will be to fully strip the frame and then de-tab everything. I wont need many of the extra brackets like the mid engine mounts, airbox tabs and the kickstand safety switch boss....all dead weight. The simplicity of the frame/swingarm/suspension setup also has me thinking about a VFR750 single side swingarm out back. Yes, it wont be a Suzuki part but Honda was the only one to make an affordable SSS and there are a lot of them for sale. If the weight isnt outrageous, Im going to go for it.
The rear subframe will be truncated near the main frame until I procure a new aluminum unit. Im thinking of dropping the whole Ducati subframe plan back there....doesnt seem right, to its been done to death. Now Im leaning towards an SV1000 tail. Its still aluminum, will be cheaper and it keeps everything Suzuki. Plus, I can use a 98-00 SV650 fuel tank which has the carb'ed fuel line hookup. The Bandit 400's tank was cooler looking, but its too wide for the narrow GS frame. The SV bikes are thin around the frame and the tank is more tall and bulbous, which will fit me better since the GS is quite a small/short  fit for my 6' 1" body.


Scratch the VFR SSS idea.
I'd LOVE to do it, and the research looked promising, but turns out they are very heavy. Adding 10lbs of unsprung weight is not an option no matter how cool it looks. Ill start looking for an aluminum GSX-R swinger or the like...... of course, a Ducati SSS might be light, given the nature of the bike. We shall see......

Yea......I saw...... and I know now what I must do......06-07, 600 fully braced, modern aluminum swingarms with all the hardware going for 50-60 bucks all day long.Youd have to be nuts to shell out the $$$ for the SSS!
The Ducati SSS were surprisingly cheap for what they are, but all of them mounted to the engine, since Ducati is so fond of the "less is more" idea, when it comes to frames. I actually feel sorry for all the guys trying to sell GSX-R swingarms on Ebay.....the asking price is only a few bucks more than the scrap value of the clean aluminum! A shame considering the beautiful design,craftmanship and welding that goes into making those things.....we shall see how  much they weigh....and if its more than the stock GS swingarm, then Im going back to the 90's and their basic,extruded box section swingarms. This is a WeightWatchers build and I will not be swayed by style when lbs can be saved!


Lookie, lookie........

Sorry,it was late in the day. But I couldnt resist stripping the excess stuff off the engine, and slotting her in the frame. As I expected, it was nearly a perfect fit. The lower rear mount almost lines up with no mods and the chain alignment is perfect. I figured since the GS engine has its roots in the 70's an engine from the same era would only need minor work to fit up. The 380 is about the same length, only about 1 inch wider and being a 2-stroke its a LOT shorter. It may be wishful thinking, but it feels quite a bit lighter too, although I wont know for sure until I break everything down and weigh it. I easily reached down and lifted it up in place though, the GS engine takes quite a bit more effort.
The final mounting looks like it will be very simple, the real challange will be the exhaust ports interfering with the downtubes. They are right in the way as I feared. I kinda want to think that the lower cradle tubes dont contribute to chassis stiffness, but since the GS engine is solid mounted, it may be that they do, along with the engine. Best case scenario would be to keep the rubber mounting on the 380 engine, then delete the lower cradle so that the exhaust isnt an issue. There is a fair amount of bracing and triangulation up near the headstock, so I might be able to just do some down tubes to make the front mount simple. I wont cut out the lower cradle until I do some research though......


Uhhhg......I hate paperwork.

Well, I went to the DMV to take care of the title crap and was told there is 650 bucks of backed fees on this bike! SH*T!!
Prior to purchase, I ran the VIN and plates online and there were no issues. Despite that, the DMV refuses to drop any of the fees, saying I didnt do enough to verify the condition before purchase. If I sat in line for 3 hrs everytime I bought a project bike, Id never beat anyone to the good deals.....the online service is supposed to do all that, with no lines.

So............I need a new frame. Either to put all my pieces into and sell as a running bike to fund this project, or to use as a base for this project to proceed, and then just sell my engine and parts as I planned.

Anyone in Nor California got an old frame with clean or Non-op status? Dont care about year or condition, so long as it isnt completely wrecked.


Alright....back on track.

Thanks to Robert for the new frame I will have soon. Plus, its a newer frame thats already black, so no need to paint or powdercoat!
Should match up to the black GSXR600 swingarm Ill have soon too....

Think Ill just use the old 96' frame for test fitting tanks and subframes. In the end, itll just be scrap.....damn shame people dont take care of their fees before they get out of hand.


More pics, everyone likes pics, right?
Not much progress right now with the bike itself, waiting on the frame and dreading going to the DMV again.....but I digress....
GSXR600 swingarm....

Looks like it will be a pretty easy swap. About 1.25" longer than the GS500 swingarm and its featherlight! The pivot width is within about 3/8" and there is plenty of boss area around the pivot to machine off to narrow her down. Rather than machine out the frame, Ill probably just sleeve the GS500 pivot axle up, to fit inside the GSXR swingarm......

GSXR shock.....fully adjustable for high and lowspeed damping, the same shock I use on the Bandit. Its cheap, availible, adjustable and installs easy enough.


Very nice, excited to see how this turns out!
I am into buying bikes that people have given up on and fixing them up!

RIP Patrick Lajko, I miss you man.


Alright, another week or two and I can get back  on track with this build.
Got my black 09' frame from AZ ready to accept the engine. Big thanks to rharding91 for that sell, I know you took a loss on it and I appreciate the effort you went through to get the frame to me.

Picked up another bare frame from a wrecker to accept all the 10K parts from my original 96' purchase this nightmare began with. Just throw that all together and sell it. Still a nice bike, 10,000 miles on everything including the donor frame,only downside is a salvage title. I have a clean title for the engine and running gear, so I can prove it wasnt wrecked or damaged.This was the easiest way to get around the 650 bucks in backed DMV fees.....Ill probably just break even.
I also picked up an 89' with an incredible 63,000 miles. Its not quite as clean, but its a clear title bike with lots of maintenence records and its complete.Got it just in case the other options didnt pan out. Since they did, Ill clean up, tune and sell that one for a fair price. Ill make a few bucks there so I can help fund the GS380 project.
Ill post both complete bikes with pics and specs on the "for sale" board once they are ready, in case anyone in Nor Cal is interested. Both bikes have up to date regs, are bone stock and will be fully tuned for the summer.


Sold the 89' right away, after a little tune and polish.
The 96' which appeared in the earlier pics, is now an 01' with a salvage title. Buying a new frame was the only way I could get around the ridiculous DMV fees. Its almost ready to go, just have to recover the seat and replace the fork seals. Ill post it up next week for anyone in the area who might be interested. Shouldnt have much trouble since it only has 10K miles and its in great shape.
Then I will finally be able to focus on the project that I originally wanted to do!


Already got a buyer lined up for the 01', so I wont be posting it for sale, sorry.
But at least all the distractions are out of the way and I can focus on the task at hand, getting the GS380 project moving forward!
More pics to come as progress is made, I promise it will come!


Extremely interested in the swing arm swap and how it turned out, Turbo.
I'd love to do that to my GS.
"Work harder you"ll be surprised at what you get accomplished"

2007 GS500F


Quote from: Kness124 on May 08, 2013, 09:03:04 PM
Extremely interested in the swing arm swap and how it turned out, Turbo.
I'd love to do that to my GS.

I agree, definitely looking to do the gsxr swingarm swap as well as front end if easily done. I would love to see more pictures and if you could maybe describe with a little more detail how you got the swingarm to fit well? thanks!


Very cool build, my first bike was a GT380 ...... where is the RAM AIR cover?  :D  :cheers:


Ride with the people you love in mind.

I'll never forget ya Patrick!
(My Bike!)

-West Seattle GS500 club member

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