VS1400 drive conversion..lessons learned - Suzuki Volusia Forums : Intruder Volusia and Boulevard Forum
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-22-2015, 12:08 PM Thread Starter
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VS1400 drive conversion..lessons learned

G'Day all:

This is not meant to contradict other postings on this subject, nor is it meant to provide definitive measurements. These are the issues I faced while doing this conversion to a 2012 C50T.

The VS1400 drive was an easy snag on eBay using "buy it now". I checked eBay 2x daily. Then I found a low mileage C50 drive assy with shaft including spacer. Cannibalized it for the shaft and spacer.

Next problem was finding a machine shop to shorten the shaft & spacer. Was turned down twice because the metal was "too hard". More likely the shop did not want to deal with a small precision job.

I teach a CDL A course at a local community college. The truck garage has a lathe and the spacer was turned to 2.875"/ 2 & 7/8". The drive shaft was more problematic and the mechanical engineering instructor turned it for me. He also informed me that the surface was indeed hardened, but that any competent machinist could have done the work. He also shortened the spacer which was found to be too long on the first fitting

Elongating the drive mount holes was tedious and took longer than I care to admit...rat tail file in a v/s drill & a dremel. First mistake on assembly was multiple fittings of drive with the shaft attached. Should have thought that through before starting, as I had already installed new seals.

The first test fitting of the complete assembly resulted in a noticeable gap between the wheel hub and the drive hub, sufficient to allow penetration by foreign objects to the hub splines. Spacer too long...multiple fittings & a spacer final length of 2.811 inches (2 & 13/16th inches) / 71.4mm.

Spacers are cheap compared to the aggravation of cutting one too short (which occurred once in this project) and then waiting for the part to come in. I started with three to forestall such a problem.

By no means are my numbers to be considered definitive for other drive conversions. It appears that there are varying lengths (~.001) on the c50 spacer (perhaps they are fit to individual drives).

Suggestions:
Locate a competent machinist beforehand. Have several spacers on hand. Measure each before shortening. Use a constant measurement standard, ie decimal inches or metric. Test fit the new assembly with the OEM spacer intact. Measure the gap between hub & drive. Shorten spacer an amount to match the original hub/drive gap on the C50 assy. My final assembly has a gap, measured with feeler gauges at .071" or just under 2mm when axle bolt is torqued to 47 foot pounds.

Using 75mm as a nominal OEM standard length I surmise that the spacer fitment will fall between 71mm to 72mm

I have yet to road test (waiting out the wx) but rolling the bike around the garage I hear no grinding, feel no grinding and there is no leaking of gear oil.

To all who have posted before on this subject, many thanks. To those that follow I hope this is of some assistance.

Rgds,

Paulguam
eastern NC
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-24-2015, 10:30 PM Thread Starter
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VS1400 - c50T drive conversion final analysis

Test drove the C50 today, 22 miles, city & rural riding up to 75 mph.

No problems noted, knock wood.

Annoying buzz & need to shift is gone from 5th gear. Much nicer ride now from 50-70 mph.

Final analysis: would I do it again? Absolutely.

What escapes me is why SuzMoCo does not modify the production. It makes the bike so much better.

I did speak with the owner of the local Suz dealership. He advised against the mod on the basis that Suz engineers presumably had good reasons for the OEM drive, etc. On the other hand he acknowledged that the OEM configuration needed another gear.

Had I been buying a new bike, I would have passed on the C50 for just the gearing issue. But buying used @ 7k miles for a good price forgave that sin and the upgrade was worth my time & effort

Rgds,
PG in eastern NC
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-24-2015, 11:02 PM
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The 2 7/8" Dimension on the wheel spacer is a "safe" length to fit most bikes, I had one where that was not long enough by .020".
On my bike I took 3mm off but I also used modeling wax to set my gap.
It is also wise to use your pinion nut lock ring as a template to gauge the elongation of the holes in the torque tube.
Regards, Motiv

Glad you pleased with the outcome.


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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 11:22 AM Thread Starter
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C50T drive conversion---- final thoughts

All,

I installed a Baron tach and observed the following.

At 66 mph indicated by speedo, I am pulling 3k RPM in 5th gear.

There is no discernible difference to me in acceleration from a standing start other than being able to wind it out further in each gear.

When rolling on power in 5th from 55 - 70 mph bike accelerates nicely.

Final analysis

It is not cost effective to do this to a new bike from the showroom. Buy a larger engine model. If however, you are willing to do your own work, used parts are affordable and makes this a reasonable conversion when compared to the cost of purchasing a new bike. Keep your old drive should you wish to revert to OEM.

Rgds,

Paulguam
Belhaven, NC
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 02:21 PM
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Good to hear that You are enjoying the rewards of the upgrade drive on Your C50T.

I've had My DJ Drive original, installed for more than 7 years, and never once regretted spending the $450.

My drive was built from a brand new, unused C90 drive, obtained by VR member Dan J Hillis, in Ohio.

Actually, it was part of the first large batch of conversions, but after the handful of product "beta" testers proved the conversion unit safe and sound.

Don't think I've ever heard anyone bad mouth the upgrade, after they took a VL800 with the taller drive unit for a ride.

~Each has their reason to ride, their thirst to quench. Still we all share one single desire; to feel alive!~

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 02:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paulguam View Post
All,

I installed a Baron tach and observed the following.

At 66 mph indicated by speedo, I am pulling 3k RPM in 5th gear.

There is no discernible difference to me in acceleration from a standing start other than being able to wind it out further in each gear.

When rolling on power in 5th from 55 - 70 mph bike accelerates nicely.

Final analysis

It is not cost effective to do this to a new bike from the showroom. Buy a larger engine model. If however, you are willing to do your own work, used parts are affordable and makes this a reasonable conversion when compared to the cost of purchasing a new bike. Keep your old drive should you wish to revert to OEM.

Rgds,

Paulguam
Belhaven, NC

It is cost effective. The modified drive saved me $10,000 or the cost of a bigger bike.

For $500 and a modified drive, you can't buy a bigger engine bike for $500 more than the C50.

3 years and 36k miles on the modded drive now and I have not yet determined I need a bigger engine bike. 4 trips to include California, Florida, AZ and Colorado.

2006 C50c- crashed 2015, parted out
2006 HD Road King FLCRCI
1956 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (sold)

2010-Guanajuato, Mexico
3 Sisters Loop-Texas Hill Country
2011-A1A-Ft. Lauderdale, to Key West, FL (R/T)
89A-Sedona, Grand Canyon NP
2012/2013 -FM 170-River Road, Big Bend
CO Rocky Mtn. NP
CA coast- Hwy 1, LA to SF (R/T)
2013/2014 Scenic 30A FL
2014/2015- Big Bend
2017- Santa Fe, Taos

Last edited by rvcycleguy; 04-06-2015 at 02:56 PM.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-06-2015, 04:58 PM
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I never changed the final drive, but the best part is that you can resell the modified drive for the same money minus the cost of shipping
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 03:04 PM Thread Starter
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Final drive conversion cost analysis

Per Rvcycleguy:

I agree absolutely with his statement about the modification cost/benefit analysis.

"It is cost effective. The modified drive saved me $10,000 or the cost of a bigger bike."

The price differential stated by Rvcycleguy does make the modification cost effective.

But......I arrived at my cost ratio vice a bigger bike thusly, comparing an outright purchase of new c50 against a new C90. All numbers have been rounded to hundreds and are predicated on new OEM parts.

C50 $8,600 msrp

C90 $12,000 msrp

Difference $3,400

C50 additional cost for modification

machine shop $200

install 15 hours @ $70/hr $1050 quo
te from independent m'cycle repair shop

new OEM final drive $1,560 per Suzki OEM parts list (VS1400)

Total additional cost: $2,810

C50 new purchase + mods ------- $8,600 + $2,810

Grand total: $11,410 to purchase & modify a new C50

Difference of $590 between C90 otd & modified C50 is not worth the hassle to me. The final consideration is the voided warranty as well as the fact that some dealer service departments will not touch the modified drive bikes because of liability issues.

For my part, I purchased a 2012 6K mileage c50T which had been traded in by a "don't want 'er".

My acquisition $$$ were such that it was cost effective to do the mod...with add-ons of nos OEM windshield & saddle-bags (eBay), plus the cost of used parts for the conversion, I am out of pocket approximately $800 plus my time & effort. Total spent on this bike is less than $7k....no way am I going to spend another $4 - 5k for a C90.

So Rvcycleguy is spot on when the conversion is analyzed that way.

If and when I decide to sell I will revert to the OEM drive and sell off the converted drive.

Rgds,

Paulguam
Belhaven, NC

"A good accountant, when asked what 2 + 2 equals, will reply: What do you want it to equal?"
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-07-2015, 05:55 PM
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Wow... $1000 to install. They saw you coming a mile away!!! Sorry about that. I do use the dealer for parts only. I do use an independent shop for things I can't do or don't do. I do my own filters, oil change, electrical work. My shop guy does tires, valve check, and that's about it. Again, 15 hrs to install. Most here that have done it themselves will expect you to bring a six pack and help and they'll do it for that. That's a 2 hr job if you don't know what your doing. Anyway, thanks for the high fiver. I appreciate it. I've been around a little while here, not as long as some guys and girls but we do what we can to help fellow riders. Take care.

2006 C50c- crashed 2015, parted out
2006 HD Road King FLCRCI
1956 Royal Enfield Bullet 500 (sold)

2010-Guanajuato, Mexico
3 Sisters Loop-Texas Hill Country
2011-A1A-Ft. Lauderdale, to Key West, FL (R/T)
89A-Sedona, Grand Canyon NP
2012/2013 -FM 170-River Road, Big Bend
CO Rocky Mtn. NP
CA coast- Hwy 1, LA to SF (R/T)
2013/2014 Scenic 30A FL
2014/2015- Big Bend
2017- Santa Fe, Taos
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 04-08-2015, 05:31 PM Thread Starter
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Final drive conversion thoughts

I did the install myself.

The driveshaft & spacer machining was done in the mechanical engineering shop where I work as a tractor trailer driving instructor.

As to the labour estimate, I think it was just a polite way of saying we don't want the job as it would have been a first time install and the shop would have been on the hook had things gone fubar. That written, I wasn't willing to spend that much $$$ so I did it myself for the fun of the blood, sweat & tears.

I would not hesitate to do this conversion again should another C50 wander into range at a good price.

Like rvcycleguy I try to do my own work...I prefer to buy a needed tool than to shell out for labour.

Rgds,

Paulguam
Belhaven, NC
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