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1974 Suzuki TS400 Apache Update

I’ve been working on the Apache with the help of my friend, Owen for the past two months. We stripped it apart and put all the parts in part bins, and started working on the frame and the engine.

I was really disappointed with the condition of the frame. The rear engine mounts were cracked and chunks of the frame were missing. The downtube was fractured at one point and was repaired. However, the bad repair job left the downtube crooked. I really wanted to fix this, but frame repairing isn’t easy without a proper jig. Owen re-welded the downtube; just in case.

The carb that came with the bike was busted and I decided to go with a bigger carb for more POWER !!! and got a Mikuni VM34SC instead of the stock VM32SC. The internals of the engine looked pretty good, although there was some detonation damage on the cylinder head. We decided to test the engine and after building a roller with the electrics and engine, we fired the beast up. It sounded awesome!

Just when I was about to go ahead and send the frame over to powdercoating, I found a 1976 TS400 in Dubuque, Iowa for sale. I jumped on the opportunity and bought it, not knowing the condition and hoping to use some parts off of it. To my surprise, this bike was in a far better condition and I paid about 25% of what I paid for the 1974.


Now that I have my own garage, I’ve decided to go solo on this project. There is plenty of work left to do. The 1976’s frame, although in a better condition, needs some welding work. I also need to find a replacement for the exhaust, and the ts’ exhausts are pretty hard to find. I might end up modifying a Suzuki TM 400 exhaust to fit on the TS. I will also mount the larger Malcolm Smith gas tank I bought and partially restored on this bike. Finally, the most significant upgrade will be a front end swap to accommodate a disc brake. I will keep updating as I make more progress. But right now, the bike looks like this…


Not much I guess… but I am sure it will turn out awesome once I am done with it…

P.S.: If you are reading this and know of someone who makes custom two stroke expansion chambers, please let me know…



12 thoughts on “1974 Suzuki TS400 Apache Update Leave a comment

  1. I thought I was the only one to be lured into TS envy. I now have three. A near perfect 1980 TS250, a decent 1973 TS250, and the beast a 1974 TS400 that is a definately a work in progress.

  2. Hello
    We own a 1973 TS 185 runs and is titled.
    Two 1971 TS 185’s one for parts one runs.
    Also a 1976 ts 400 stripped when i bought it and another of the same year for parts.
    the 400 has plenty of power enough for me to be careful.
    I dig it.
    Always wanted one and now i own finally do.
    None of them are pretty but they run & i am putting lights on the 76 – 400 to use it as a dayly driver and ride it in the desert & mountains near our home.
    Theres a company that makes vintage pipes (Jemco) they make a pipe for the TM 400 that maybe a exact match please give them a call.
    713 – 461- 3834

  3. I have a 74 TS400 and the rear engine frame mounts cracked,Like an idiot I welded the frame with the motor on.It runs new for 5 minutes and then I loose spark.Any ideas? Thanks John-Cleve Ohio

  4. I am not sure how welding might affect your stator/coil. Did you pull the flywheel out to check the stator and see if it is okay? That would probably be the first thing to check, followed by the coil. Both can be replaced with parts off of ebay. Good luck.

  5. Thanks for your reply,Reading others enthusiam of these bikes I pulled it out of the barn,She fired up but had to pull the clutch apart it was stuck together,Ran so nice and died with no spark again..I have a gas tank I purchased off e-bay 6 years ago that is new condition,It came from some unheard of place in China and its in the basement,I never put it on because I hill climb and wheelie.Had a 1975 KE 350 I hill climbed and creeked with before.Is there a way to check the coil or stator.I tell you what I love these style bikes,Im 45 now and the suspention im not liking any more but i would rather stand on a bike like this than sit on a new one,John,Parma Ohio

  6. I’ve got a TS400 that someone thought they could convert to a TM – rip the core out of the exhaust, remove the battery, indicator, etc. Now i’ve got the fun job of putting it all back together again without any of the parts…

    I’m keen on getting this thing onto the road so will be looking for a conversion to disc brakes on the front. Any easy options? I am thinking of getting something like a DR250 front end and converting the triple clamps to take the TS bearings. Could also use other brands. Any suggestions?

    • I am not sure if a DR250 front end will fit, but you can use GT550 triple clamps, with GS750 forks (1977), GS450 wheel. GS750 forks are beefier and you can fit disc brakes as well.

      The idea of USD forks is tempting, and I’ve been looking at forums to find the correct forks. A GS750 front end can be fitted on a TS400 (with the right bearings, if I am not wrong). Also, a GS750 can take 2k4 Gixxer front ends (with a bearing swap again). 2k4 gixxer front ends are common swaps on SV650s to convert them to track bikes. Luckily, I found a few posts on forums where SV650s were converted into dual sport bikes, which means the front end that goes on to a SV650 should fit a TS400. So it is possible to find the right front end with some looking around. Please keep me posted if you find the correct front end.

      I am still working on the engine (bearing and seal swaps) and haven’t gotten to the chassis yet, but I will post an update as soon as I find the correct front end.

  7. Hello,
    I owned a 75 TS400 years ago, and I regret selling it many times since. Some of the modifications I made to make it a more streetable bike were,
    1.) A complete 1976 GT500 disk brake front end. (easy swap).
    2.) Kawasaki H1 rear shocks. They were too stiff, but lowered the rear to where I wanted it.
    3.) 33 tooth rear sprocket. This gave me an indicated 95mph @ 6500rpm’s, with all modifications.
    4.) 36mm Lectron carb with 6-0 needle and foam sock air filter. Note: No other port work was done except to carefully blend and smooth the intake port, and sharpen and smooth the transfer port entrances at the base of the cylinder barrel.
    5.)Homemade exhaust using the formula given in Gordon Jennings book, Two Stroke tuners Handbook. I now see the contents of this book online. Unable to make my own cones, I used parts from 4 different exhaust systems. An old Husky 360 pipe for some of the head & tail pipe, a Yamaha snowmobile exhaust for diffuser and mid section, a section of old Penton exhaust for the baffle cone, and just the exhaust flange and what slips into the flange of the original exhaust. I designed the pipe to rev to 7000rpm’s and then chop the power, but in reality, the limit ended up being 6500rpm’s, (indicated). I should note that at this rpm, the grips feel like they’re 3 inches in diameter as the vibration is very pronounced. It wasn’t pretty, but the rush from 4000 to 6500 made it all worthwhile. The exhaust system was the last modification I made to the bike. This created another problem, because the J&R muffler I added didn’t quiet the exhaust enough, and I didn’t want to anger the neighbors and shortly afterwards sold the bike.
    I made a few other changes that were mostly cosmetic plus adding the fiberglass tank from the same Penton that I got the exhaust. The bike was still very streetable and I would ride it every day to work. Just unfortunately too loud.
    P.S. The increased power made the clutch slip on quick upshifts, and I would have addressed that had I kept the bike.

  8. Just bought a 74 TS 400 L model. Need an electrical schematic. Anyone know where to get one without buying an entire factory service manual? Thanks, Tim

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