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Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics (Read 1675 times)
scubachef
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Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
04/20/13 at 12:38:12
 
I am finally at the point in my quest for cast wheels that I am comfortable posting where I am at.  I didn't want to post something every week or so and keep everyone waiting.   I know there are other threads covering the topic so some info may not be new, but hopefully this will help someone do this conversion and maybe clarify the process...or at least it will show one way to get cast wheels on your bike.  I apologize for the length of the post...I'm going to try and document the process in it's entirety  Smiley  

Parts list:

wheels- '80 gs550l  19x2.15 front  16x2.75 rear

rotor- gs 450 machined down to match the OD of the stock rotor

6ea- m8x1.25x35 bolts
24ea-m8 washers (used to space rotor)

tape measure or preferably calipers

assorted paints and abrasives if you intend on painting rotor/wheels etc.

I started by sourcing the wheels and rotor.  From my research multiple years of the gs550 and gs450 wheels will work.  The gs wheels come in two designs, one like I used here and one that is more of a star pattern.

There are no differences I know of that would prevent you from using them interchangeably in this conversion.  These are the closest to a drop in wheel that I found.  I looked into the yamaha xs wheels but rotors and spacing proved to be a hurdle.  The gs wheels require only minimal machine work to the rotor.  As stated before in previous posts, you need a gs450 rotor no matter the bike you source the wheels from.  I accidentally purchased a gs550 slotted rotor before realizing the importance of the solid 450 rotor.  You will need to machine down into the slots of the rotor on the gs550 rotor...which obviously isn't going to work Smiley  I took the rotor to a machine shop that used an automotive brake rotor lathe to turn my rotor...so any automotive shop should be able to do this job.  I took the savage rotor and the gs rotor and had him match the two.  The measurement is 10.25 inches.  

Does anyone know what the gs rotors are made of?  The guy said he had not seen anything where where metal came off the lathe golden like this did.  
 

After getting the rotor back home I got it cleaned up and painted.
before:

after:


After mocking up everything in the front I found that four washers per bolt (.23") worked for spacing the rotor.  I am going to make a solid aluminium spacer soon, but for now the spacers will do fine I think.





and the stock axle spacers put me just about dead center in the forks.

clutch side:

brake side:


After taking off the tires and giving the wheels a cleaning with simple green a scrub pad and a wire brush I wiped them down with acetone and got ready to change their color!

Finished:


I used a low gloss engine enamel rattle can.  I found that 1 can was needed for a solid first coat and about 3/4 can did subsequent coats.  

I mounted the new tires after rehabbing the wheels.  I did this with two tire irons and using automotive fuel line split and put on the rim to protect it from the irons.  Getting the tires off was actually more difficult than mounting the new but the new tires( mounted with tubes as I was not sure of the "trueness" of the wheel and due to its age wanted to be safer than sorry) were not holding air.  Feeling defeated I took them to a trusted mechanic. He inspected the wheels and determined the tubes were not needed.  He did not have the correct stem in stock so to get my wheels back faster I went to a local powersports dealer that handles suzuki and gave the wheel specs, was handed the stems, and repeated the wheel specs to be sure I got the right stems.  Guess where this is going.  Dropped them off for the  and he calls back to tell me they will not work.  I tell him the story and he says that he is standing there with his Parts Unlimited rep....he will ask him.  I hear the conversation after the phone was put down where the rep is heard saying that the parts guys where I went don't know sh*t.  The right one were ordered, tires mounted and balanced and here is where I stand $49.00 later.  (I originally was going to go with a internal balancing product but I just want to get back on the road.  Maybe I will try one of those at some point down the road. )

ready for the bike:

With all the sweat that went into unmounting and mounting tires...money well spent I think.  

That is where I am with this, I hope to have the wheels fit today or tomorrow. Part 2 coming soon.  
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« Last Edit: 03/23/14 at 10:55:24 by scubachef »  
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scubachef
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #1 - 04/21/13 at 21:26:45
 
I was able to get into the garage for a little time today and did some mock up with the finished parts to see that everything still was lining up...it didn't as I thought was possible. The mock up with the painted parts needed the rotor spaced only .17" versus the original .23".  With my original spacers the rotor was far to the clutch side of the caliper and was badly dragging. For reference i am using pads with about 1500 miles on them.
I need to take some material off one of the stock axle spacers as well. I must have mis measured the stock axle spacers originally because I need to take some material off of the clutch side.  No big deal, but kicking myself for a sloppy first mock up.  Some other info, I switched bolts from a hex head 8.8 bolt to a Allen head 12.9.  According to the bolt supplier both are of adequate strength, I chose a black Allen head more for looks than anything else. You can get by with a 30mm but will be a little short on threads. I chose the 35mm as they did not carry anything between 30 and 35.  
I will have pics up soon, need to get them loaded to photobucket.

So this far into the process my major conclusion is that each person attempting this should be prepared to measure, remeasure and adjust for variables. My measurements are not falling in line with measurements I found posted by two other members.  So it looks like the spacing and ease of install might not be consistent bike to bike maybe due to the exact year of wheel used or various other details.

I will posts more pics and findings as soon as I get back in the garage.
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« Last Edit: 04/22/13 at 07:05:14 by scubachef »  
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srinath
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #2 - 04/22/13 at 07:04:10
 
You're making me feel bad for abandoning my maxim FE project.
That would have given me twin discs too in front.

Sheesh ... maybe I should go back to it. But I was getting tired of having the savage without a working FE (it was on it, but I had to finish the brake spacing etc).

Anyway I never got within a 100 feet of that rear wheel though. I had a brand new tire on the back, I aint swapping out a wheel with a shiny new tire ... Yea yea I can put it on the maxim wheel, but then I lose all the mount and balance $$$ yea I am that frugal. It will be changed when its bald or loses air ... else hell no.

Cool.
Srinath.
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scubachef
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #3 - 04/25/13 at 08:17:07
 
Well guess you got to get back to it Wink
That would be a cool conversion to see!

Front end is officially finished Smiley


the measurement from the wheel to the inside of the fork is 2.25"

the axle spacer on the clutch side is 1.4' and the spacer on the brake side is stock (the one with the the flared end.  Sorry I didn't take a pic, know the actually name....or which side of the bike it was originally on Undecided)

The rotor is spaced .17" and the caliper is not spaced.

Sorry for the poor quality of this pic!

This does not follow measurements from prior members that have done this conversion.  My thoughts are that there might be minor variation in the wheels of some of the donor bikes year to year, or possibly that the wheel of a bike that had dual disks up front could be used with either side as the brake side?  Maybe this would change the rotor spacing?  Just guessing, don't have a dual disk wheel to confirm or deny.  I believe if that was the case that it would dramatically affect at least the axle spacing as my wheel has a significant difference in depth side to side in the bearing area for the spacer to sit.  My spacers are definitely not equal on each side.  
I think the difference in  rotor spacing could be due to the mil thickness  of the paint on the wheels and rotor that I used and the thickness of the rotor itself.  I would think the offset would be identical for all the rotors, but the thickness might still require the spacing to be fined tuned.  The tire I am using is a 110/90/19 as I commute on the freeway so I went for a bigger tire and more stability.  I will see what the handling is like and report back.  I know I made a sacrifice there.  

I will be completing the rear tire soon....since I read that is essentially a drop in I focused on completing the front first.

My overall findings thus far are that these wheels are as close to a direct replacement as we have....but each person that does the switch should be prepared to fine tune spacing and use all write ups, including this one, as a guide and less as exactly what they will find in their project.  
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #4 - 04/25/13 at 20:32:21
 
So....my rear wheel doesn't exactly fit.   Undecided

I learned some new info today after consulting with thegsresources.com....in order to do this swap on the rear without modification to the pulley hub or replacing it with a GS hub, we need a '79-'82 gs550 wheel.  I can't verify that this applies to the 450 wheels, but have been told the second generation of gs550 was '83-'85 and used a different size hub.  So for this swap don't use the rear wheel of a gs550 if it is a second gen year.  

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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #5 - 04/25/13 at 21:00:24
 
I'll put up pics, but I am getting it off in a few days as soon as I get the savage FE.

Anyway the worst thing about the savage is that Idiotic fork offset. That's the only thing that will clear the tank. So no matter what legs we slide into that triple set, the bike will always handle like an overloaded wheel barrow.
I made a chopper out of a set of degreed triples. I put dirt bike forks and wheel with the legs flipped left to right ... that result was such a neutral handling bike.
I am tempted to do it again sometime on one of my frames.

Cool.
Srinath.
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Cavi Mike
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #6 - 04/26/13 at 00:26:15
 
Is that rotor magnetic? Bike rotors are typically made of 400 series stainless(magnetic) but I've never seen gold chips come off like that before. That's what you see when dry-cutting 300 series(non-magnetic). The really high chromium content is what does it.
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #7 - 04/26/13 at 13:37:23
 
Rotor is not magnetic.  My initial guess was that it may have to do with heat. You see a straw coloration on metals during some welding processes and I thought maybe that could account for the color. The shavings almost looked like bronze laying on the floor.
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #8 - 05/01/13 at 05:55:02
 
Yup, 300 series stainless steel then. Didn't know they made brake rotors out of that.
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #9 - 05/01/13 at 07:42:23
 
Thanks Cavi Mike for the clarification.  

Update: I have a hub coming (with free 47th sprocket....chain conversion has begun  Smiley)

I am going to be in Mexico for next next week and a half, so in about two weeks I should be able to post a completed swap and have a usable bike back.  
 
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srinath
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #10 - 05/04/13 at 19:30:55
 
Cavi Mike wrote on 05/01/13 at 05:55:02:
Yup, 300 series stainless steel then. Didn't know they made brake rotors out of that.



My savage rotor is plenty magnetic.
I dunno what rotor is not. Cos the MZ, GS, GSXR, eliminator, maxim and every other one I had was pretty magnetic.

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Srinath.
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #11 - 05/08/13 at 06:20:57
 
One other thing I just have had the ability to measure - and I better measure and picture it for my own memory too ...

Putting a maxim front end on a savage increases rake by about 5 degrees. Its extra length ... the bike isn't leaned over excessively jus with that, it is more than stock but not crazy more.
The better guage is the extra wheelbase ... especially your foot to front tire clearance.
The bad thing I'd think is that the bike will handle even worse. The triple clamp offset is the same as we are using the stock triples. Extra wheel base and the extra rake  will be a disaster^2.

Cool.
Srinath.
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #12 - 05/11/13 at 13:44:46
 
Got back from Mexico and the hub I ordered was waiting or me....only it is the same dimensions as the stock savage hub Grin

I asked the seller to verify the year and he assured me it was from an '85 550l.  So it looks like the problem must be that the wheel is not as it was described.  Machining the two to mate is the new plan. I'm going to remove half the material from the OD of the hub and half from the ID of the wheel.

So where I'm at is that you should really verify the years of the gs parts used since it seems there is more variation than previously thought.
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #13 - 05/11/13 at 22:01:15
 
As far as I knew, suzuki did not change parts mid year without issuing a recall. Like the 86 savage had a air intake that was swapped out in 87, but it was done as a recall. You may have some mish mosh cos a lot of suzuki parts fit each other - like on a GS500 bandit 400 wheels, bandit 600, katana 600 etc etc fit, sv 650 fits with a bearing swap etc etc.

Your seller may have pulled em off the bike and labelled them with the bike he pulled it off, but that dont mean its the original for that bike/year.

Cool.
Srinath.
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Re: Cast Wheel Conversion with Pics
Reply #14 - 05/12/13 at 18:02:28
 
So it looks like this conversion is going to stay half done for now. Before moving forward with any more work I decided to measure everything to verify if I fixed the pulley hub situation it wood be smooth sailing from there. It won't be Angry

The brake side will not work. The wheel opening is a little more than 1 inch larger than the savage and so my brake assembly is much smaller than whatever the bike the wheel came from had.  So I am stopping for now until I can do more research on gs wheels and what years had what dimensions.  And then attack at a later date. I need to get moving on my car project so the bike is being tabled for the foreseeable future.  
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