Afternoon at the junk yard – and dealing with the gauges

There’s a great resource near me, Sport Wheels in Jordan MN.  It’s a motorcycle salvage yard that has acres of bikes and parts (pictures taken on a nice day February – thus the snow).

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I headed down there to see if they had any parts (or parts bikes) for the GT250.  I wasn’t looking for anything in particular; I just wanted to check out what they had, so I could take mental note of it in case that part was needed later on.  That and, well, it’s just a cool place to shop (kind of like women shopping for shoes…but actually fun…and not shoes…and I’m a guy…so, never mind).

Unfortunately, I didn’t find much.  All the GT250 parts bikes had been purchased and shipped to the U.K.  According to an employee, the Suzuki GT series has a big following over there.

I did run into an older gentleman looking at a couple of GT750 parts bikes – he’s been rebuilding various water buffalos (the nickname for the 750) for years.  We got to talking about how it’s becoming more difficult to locate some key parts for the GT’s (then again, that’s part of the fun).  He mentioned a part he was in search of (I don’t recall what it was exactly), but he claimed, “it’s rarer than unicorn teeth.”  Needless to say, that phrase was quickly added to my vernacular. 🙂

The GT series bikes have sealed gauges (the plastic lens are glued in place).  As you can see, the bike I purchased had cracked and yellowed lens.


Because I wanted to keep the original guages, I decide to forgo looking for used gauges.  I saw on some forums that others have had success using a Dremel to remove the plastic lens.

So I started with the tach, as if I screwed that up at least I could get a used gauge – as there’s no odometer on it.  Although it took an hour or so per gauge, it went surprisingly well.  The most time consuming part is learning how close you can get to main body of the gauge (where the lens ends).

Here’s a representation of how the lens sits in the gauge (cut-away view):


 The lens doesn’t actually go into that little channel above, but rather sits on the base below it.  I believe the channel is for the glue that holds the lens in.  Therefore, once you work up the nerve to cut ever so closer to the edge of the gauge body, you’ll discover that the glue ends and/or peels off from the lens and body:

dremel bit

After the lens were removed, I contacted APT instruments in Bloomington MN.  They are a small shop near me that specializes in gauge restoration.  They aren’t too keen on dealing with these plastic gauges though (as, understandably, there’s just too much liability if they muck up a part that can’t be replaced).  But they agreed to fire some gauge glass for me now that I had the plastic lenses out.

There are a few errant Dremel marks on the tach – but the housing covers that up nicely:

gauge glass

I sparingly used some white silicone caulk to secure the glass lens to the gauge housing.