T500 Gets Shifted !

I wasn’t happy with the state of the spline on the shifter shaft on the 1968 T500 Suzuki that I’m currently restoring – it is an odd set-up in that this model was delivered with the option of installing a right or left shift lever or brake arm. Specifically the shifter shaft extends the full width of the crank case and the side covers with a spline on both the left and right sides – normally the gear selector lever in Canada is on the left, and so the left side splines are often worn badly as can perhaps be seen in the photo . But the splines on the right side are normally pristine having never been used, and when new at least were covered with a rubber cap which further protected them from damage. Later model years just had the left side spline and the right end of the shaft was shortened by the amount of the right side spline. However, for whatever reason (likely cost), Suzuki elected to not modify the right side cover, and so the hole where the shaft used to protrude together with its oil seal was left right through till the end of production in 1977, with just the end of the sad little nub of the shortened shaft still visible.

As may be imagined, good usable early shifter shafts are hard to find, but the later single ended ones are more common, and I was able to locate one in very good condition. But how to make it look like the double ended early style ? Luckily Roger, who is a friend of mine and who is also in the local CVMG chapter, very kindly offered his help and the use of his lathe to make the required modifications !  Roger usually works on older British bikes and finds having a lathe very useful as so many of specialised spacers, bolts and fittings are either missing or very difficult to source. Having the tools to make your own missing bits when you have to is sometimes the only option, with the potential added benefit of also allowing you to subtly upgrade selected mild steel fittings to stainless if desired . And referring to the photo – in case anyone is concerned, Roger was wearing safety glasses once the set-up was finished and the machining work actually started.

What we (actually he) ended up with was a threaded hole in the end of the shifter shaft and a turned fitting, that extended the newer style single ended shaft out the right side of the engine cover. The end of the fitting is recessed so that the bolt head is not visible when drawn up, and the whole things is long enough to accommodate the reproduction rubber cap I picked up from Reiner in Germany (just email him at GTReiner1@aol.com, and ask him for a list of the parts he has available) .

It looks pretty good I think, and other than myself, Roger and whom ever reads this, no one will ever know that it isn’t real !

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