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Hi everyone

I've got a question about an old shaft-drive Z550 (G1) engine I have.
I want to use this engine in a different frame (meant for a chain-driven Z550 C1). I have checked, and the engine will fit in the frame (because it's almost exactly the same), but I would need to change to chain-driven to make it work.

I've got a Haynes workshop manual and have read everything relevant in there, and I've Googled it as well. I've also examined all the blow-up diagrams on cmsnl. So I've tried to inform myself, but I'm still very unsure about something. Perhaps you can share some insights into this?

The shaft-driven Z550 works by having a shaft bevel box bolted on top of the output shaft. The bevel box drives a shaft, which drives the rear wheel. The chain-driven Z550s are the same, except they don't have a shaft bevel box - they have a sprocket bolted directly onto the output shaft.

The output shafts for all the shaft-driven Z550s are different from the output shafts for all the chain-driven Z550s in 3 ways:
1) The shaft-driven ones are longer.
2) The shaft-driven ones have a threaded section which holds a damping cam instead of a sprocket. The chain-driven ones have no threaded section on the output shaft.

3) The shaft-driven ones hold the damping cam on by means of a very tight nut, while the chain-driven ones hold the front sprocket on by means of a circlip that fits into an indent on the output shaft's splines. There is no indent for a circlip on the shaft-driven ones' splines - just that extended threaded section.

My question:

Do I need to split the cases and replace my output shaft with one for a chain-driven bike, to be able to use my engine with a chain-and-sprockets, or could I get away with just getting rid of the bevel drive box, putting a sprocket on the shaft-driven output shaft, and holding it on by means of a fresh nut tightened to the correct torque, so that it's now holding on a sprocket rather than a damper cam?

My concern:

Getting the front sprocket to line up correctly with the rear sprocket, in a chain-driven Z550 with a normal chain-driven swingarm.

I've read some disturbing things about needing to replace the whole transmission, or the shift drum, to make this work and to prevent problems. But these were all about the Z900 engine, which is similar but not the same. From looking at the diagrams, the only difference between the chain-driven and shaft-driven Z550s at the transmission end is the output shaft (pictures attached). Thanks in advance, any and all advice much appreciated.


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