Motorcycle TLC: My 1988 Suzuki Intruder VS750
'88 Suzuki Intruder 750
Buying The Bike
I bought this 1988 Suzuki Intruder VS750 in Springfield, Missouri a few weeks ago. The bike definitely needed some TLC, as I could see from day one. When I met the man I purchased it from it was leaking oil out of the valve cover gasket and some was dripping on the ground. However, as it is nearly 30 years old, I didn't really worry about it that much.
The 70 mile ride back to the house told me more of the oil leak story than I had planned. The bike blew out 2 quarts of oil on the way home that day, leaking it all over the rear cylinder sleeve and the left exhaust pipe. But, I only had $600 in it, so I figured I could afford to put some new gaskets and seals in the engine in order to get it running good.
Other than the oil leak, the bike seemed mechanically sound and did not make any unusual racket or smoke. The only other issues were a minor ding in the fuel tank, and the fact that the paint was chipped and peeling in some places. These were issues I would gladly fix to have a cheap v-twin bike that ran well.
Those Hard To Get To Valve Covers
Replacing the valve cover gaskets turned out to be a lot more difficult than I thought. It just so happens that on this particular bike, traditional valve covers are non-existent. Instead, there is a plate that covers the breather for the valves, which has a rubber O-ring style gasket under it. There are only 4 bolts holding the plates on, which would seem to be a simple enough problem to fix. But, this bike proved to be a little tougher than some, as two of the bolts were too long to remove because they hit the top rail of the frame.
In order to remove the plate off of the rear cylinder, the entire engine must be dismounted from the frame and moved to the side. To do this meant that I would have to take off the foot pegs, kickstand, and radiator, as well as remove one frame member. This was definitely going to be more work than I thought when I bought the bike, but I decided to take it on as a project over the next couple weeks.
Valve Covers On '88 Intruder VS750
The paint on the bike had to go. It was black, that was probably pretty at some point in the bike's life, but it had dulled in places, and had a hideous vinyl on the side of the gas tank, depicting a bulldog. I decided I would repaint the bike black, but add a nice second color for accent. I went with Fire Engine Red, as I thought that would be a sharp contrast.
I decided not to try to remove the little dings in the fuel tank, as they weren't very large, and the cost of having someone repair them would nullify my reason for buying the bike in the first place. Instead, I sanded and cleaned the bike up as best I could without involving a body shop, and then began to paint.
I started with the fenders, then moved on to the fuel tank, painting them all a nice gloss black. Once I had them looking pretty sharp, I moved on to adding the red paint. I carefully taped off a 3 inch stripe from the front fender, over the fuel tank and back fender.
I painted the stripe a bright Fire Engine Red that really made the pieces look great. Red and black are great contrast colors, and this particular shade, called Flame Red, is available at O'Reilly Auto Parts, for just $7.99 a can.
Black Fuel Tank
The Finished Tank
When It All Comes Together
This bike has been a considerably larger amount of work than I expected, but I do believe it will be worthwhile, when it is all said and done. I will have a 750 CC V-Twin Suzuki that not only runs well, but also looks pretty sharp riding down the road. I will have also learned a little about motorcycle mechanical work, and how to perform some necessary adjustments and repairs to the bike. Best of all, I will have a bike that I truly made my own by customizing and altering it. These all add up to making great memories in the years to come as I cruise around my home state of Missouri, and maybe other parts of the country.
She's Finally Done
The Finished Product
The bike is almost done now, and I must say that to be a project bike, fixed up on a budget of less than $1,500, she looks pretty good. I finished out the paint job, painting the rear swing arm red to match the stripe. I also put a brand new Shinko tire on the back, which I bought at a great deal from Amazon.com. ($67.00 vs the average cost of $150.00) I purchased brand new saddle bags from Carroll Leather Co. in North Carolina, and had them shipped to me. The finished product is definitely much more attractive than the original packaging. Check out the photos below.
Red & Black Contrast Well
Want To Own This Beautiful Bike?
Well, the restoration project is nearly completed. The final item left to complete the bike is to install a set of piston rings in the rear cylinder. I was hoping not to have to do this, as it means dismounting the engine again, but the rear cylinder has weak compression compared to the front. However, this does not seem to hinder the bike's ride.
Want to purchase this nearly completed project bike, or order it in it's fully completed state? Leave me a comment with contact information, and I will gladly send you pictures and video of the bike in operation!
In its current condition, the bike is able to be ridden, and I wouldn't hesitate to take her on a road trip tomorrow.
To purchase the bike as is, the price is just $1500.00!!! That's right, you can own this amazing piece of motorcycle history for less than half of what it retailed for in 1988!
To purchase the bike in its completed condition, with all mechanical issues repaired, $2200.00 will get a bill of sale made out in your name!