View Full Version : My 1999 Suzuki Marauder VZ800

06-04-2015, 11:12 AM
Here is my 1999 Suzuki Marauder VZ800 project bike that I can play with tweaking as I go to turn it into the bike I envisioned. I know its kind of a long post and I should have done an on going build thread, but I didn't think about it until I was half way done with my mock up.

Here is the bike when I originally bought it. It sits bare stock except for the flat black rattle can paint job.


I bought it cheap and found that it had been sitting up for a while after it had been laid over. To get it back running I had to find another tank as the one I had was no longer usable. Once I got it back up and running it ran great. At this point I started some very basic alterations. I replaced the stock mirrors for drop down bar ends. I threw out the piss pad and dismantled the seat and made a new lowered seat with the existing pan. There was a kit online that allowed the removal of the Pair valve (fake air box) so that was trashed as well. I also striped it down and gave it another rattle can paint job. I ran the bike this way for close to 2 yrs.


Then after I bought my other bike, I was deciding what to do with this one. I decided that as I had another bike to ride why not have some fun and just play with it, see what I can come up with. I have been a member of the site for a while reading and looking at all types of ideas and tips for looks and paint, I thought I can do some of that myself. Also there are some popular bikes on here and after looking around there aren't very many of these bikes getting made over. So last fall I started on my ever changing journey of the project bike.

I started by figuring out what all I could lose, as this bike is jam-packed with stuff. I still haven't rejetted the carbs so the stock boxes are there for now. I did get to remove the outrageously huge headlight, turn signals, the clunky speedometer and instrument panel, the left control housing, chain guard, rear shocks, seat, passenger pegs, both fenders, rear fender struts, the stock tank and orginal club bars.

I don't have a lot of tools and mostly worked with a hand held grinder, jig saw, hand drill, a hobby MIG welder, and harbor freight air compressor and paint guns. I knew from the beginning that some of the things I wanted I was going to have to figure a way to modify existing items or fabricate. And the first thing on the list was the gas tank. I love the sporty and peanut style tanks. But due to my double wishbone frame, whatever I used had to be modified. As I have no welding experience and only a 110v MIG welder I figured I couldn't chop the backbone and replace it with a single center frame, so I went with the sporty tank. To make this tank work I had two issues to figure out. The first was the front carb and air box stick up above the frame and didn't allow for sitting flush on the frame. The second was how to secure the tank to the frame as the original tank attached below the frame and bolt on at the back and was much larger. So to work around the first issue I cut some 1/8 bar stock steel and made 1.5 risers and welded them to the frame.


Shown above is one of the risers made to hold the tank above the carb and intake box. This allowed me to focus on how to secure the tank. To do this I took some bar stock and made some mounting brackets. Then formed them to the frame and welded them. The rear bracket is visible in the above picture. Below is a picture of the frame and circled is where the front mounting bracket and risers are welded.


06-04-2015, 11:17 AM
After this was done the tank didn't look right. I looked like it was floating or suspended above the frame, which was a no go. To fix this ugly sight I decided to make a skirt and tack weld it along the bottom of the tank so that it would look like it was sitting flush on the frame. Doing so also gave me the ability to move some of the wire harnesses further away from the engine such as the yellow one pictured above. Here is the skirt being welded onto the tank.


Once on it gives the illusion of laying flush on the frame.


After I got the tank situated, I went and picked up a trailer fender from the farm store to convert into my new rear fender. As I cut the rear fender struts off and the bike is a swing arm I had to manufacture my own fender attachments. After adjusting the fender to where I wanted it, I went and picked up a gate hinge from the hardware store. Then I adjusted it and marked it at the correct angle I needed for the fender and welded the hinge solid to maintain the angle. Afterwards I centered it just in front of the wheel well on the swing arm and welded to the arm. This is now my fender forward attachment. For the rear attachment I bought a sissy bar and welded tabs to the rear of the shocks on the swing arm for the sissy bar. After the sissy bar was connected to the swing arm, I then adjusted the how the ssisy bar fit the fender, marked and drilled the bolt holes.


Above you can see the tabs welded behind the shock on the swing arm. After the fender was mounted I replaced the original shocks with smaller ones. Pictured above this are 11” eye to eye and lower my seat height to 23”. Next I got rid of the stock club bars, speedometer and console, and the oversized headlight. For the bars I ended up getting Z bars with an 8.5” rise and 2” risers.


06-04-2015, 11:21 AM
I picked up a 4.5” headlight and relocated it from the bottom tree to the top tree. I did this by making a mounting bracket out of the existing speedometer mounting bracket. I ended up taking the bracket and flipping it upside down and then formed the bracket into what I needed by cutting, drilling, and sanding .


This allowed the headlight to sit higher and give it that old school look I wanted.


Changing this stuff out caused me to reorganize the electrics that go to the speedometer console and bar controls. I ended up removing all but esential console lights, keeping only the oil and coolant lights, and the speedo backlight as I bought a mini speedo and left side frame below the gas tank.
There I attached it along with my oil and coolant lights by a homemade mount made from left over bar stock.


I also removed the left control housing off the bars as I am not running turn signals or horn. That only left the hi/lo switch. To deal with this I removed the on/off kill switch out of the right housing and bridged to so it always stays on, and then placed the hi/lo switch in its place. So now I only have the right housing for the starter and hi/lo switch.


06-04-2015, 11:24 AM
For my paint I was going to rattle can the tank and fender, then while buying some tools I found a good deal on some cheap paint guns from Harbor Freight. So I bought those for under $30 for both. But that left me with needing some cheap paint. I decided to try the Dupli-color Paint Shop Burnt Orange Metallic. It was cheap around $25 and already premix, I figured it would work as a base paint.


This was applied and it had great coverage and color, but I wanted a flake job so I also purchased 2 sets of flake a 0.004 Fire Orange flake and a 0.008 Orange flake. But were holographic and produce a rainbow effect in the sun. I went back and forth on how to apply the flake but in the end I decided to mix it in an intermediary coat. As I was doing this for relatively cheap I decided to use Dupli-Color Paint Shop Gloss Clear Coat. I did this because; 1. it was cheap, 2. it was easy to find, and 3. even though it didn't have a hardener it should give the paint some protection.


Results looked great in the sun.


After the flake was applied and had set. I drew up some graphics for the paint and then made templates where I airbrushed them on.


06-04-2015, 11:26 AM
Afterwards I applied my final clear coat, using one that had a hardener with it. This I picked up online for $50. I thought I'd give it a shot and if it didn't work, I like painting anyway.


I was surprised at the wettness of this clear. I had a great shine before sanding and buffing. After it hardened finished it up with the sand and buffing. You can see the flake pop as well as some handprint smudges in the light.


Anyway after the paint was done I reassembled my bike for its first evolution from a stock Marauder. Here are pics of how it currently sits. I already have some ideas of next steps down the road.


Thanks for looking.

06-04-2015, 1:07 PM
paint looks awesome !!60791 stricking resemblance

06-04-2015, 1:09 PM
love the tank. I wondered how to make a tank work with the double spine. looks like you nailed it !

06-05-2015, 12:58 AM
Nice write up man!
Good lookin bike.

06-08-2015, 8:20 PM
Impressive on the tank man! Good write up!

06-11-2015, 11:02 AM
Pretty cool seeing a different tank on the vz800. I'm still trying to decide on a rear fender.

06-11-2015, 11:27 PM
Yeah I would have liked to shrink and curved the fender to hug the tire a little more and to mod the stock trailer fender, but I don't have the necessary equipment for that. Still happy with the out come though.