Page last modified: 05/29/14
Note: Email addresses and links listed in this Q&A section may no longer be valid!
The Most Common GS Problems
The first thing to note with Suzuki GS's is that there are four common problems that occur.
Fuel problems caused by leaving gas in the carbs when storing it.
This causes like the engines failure to keep running once the choke is off, no power when cracking the throttle, gas pouring out of the carbs.
The fuel problems occur quite often in GS carbs because they have small fuel delivery passages which block easy when gas is left in them. This causes lacquer to form in the passages thereby blocking them up. It doesn't take long for a bike to stand to experience this problem, in some cases 4 weeks. The solution is to dismantle the carbs and clean them (see details below). And it is quite tricky to clean them correctly. AND JUST DUNKING IT ISN'T CLEANING IT!!! If you don't have a service manual, the tools and skill to do it yourself then bring your bike to the dealer. You'll just have to hope that they have the expertise to do it correctly.
Electrical problems related to stator or regulator/rectifier failure.
Where erratic spark, a dead electrical system, failure to start are some of the symptoms.
Failed stator or regulator/rectifiers are the number one electrical problem for GS's. This is due to a flawed designed in the regulator/rectifier combined with corroded electrical ground wires. Typically when the regulator/rectifier blows, it takes out other parts of the electrical system such as the ignitor module ($$$). The first thing to do when encountering any electrical problems is to perform our stator test located at http://www.thegsresources.com/stator.check.html. We also recommend changing the regulator/rectifier from the Suzuki unit to an Electrex. Cleaning all the electrical grounds is a good thing to do also.
Improper maintenance causes a lot of problems also. If you are going to do any amount of serious work on your bike, it really is a requirement that you have a service manual for it. This will explain the specifics on how to do a specific job, give you torque values and sequences, and outline any special tools or skills that you may need to get the job done. Remember, while we are quite willing to help you with your strange bike problems through the various sections at the GS Resources web site, we are not a substitute for a service manual. Those types of questions will not be answered.
Let's face it, these bikes are 20 years old or more. If they've been sitting around for 5 years unused, been sitting in the sun for all 20 years outside or just have survived that long, chances are that anything made of rubber will need to be replaced. This includes brake lines, carburetor intake boots and tires. Go over all rubber parts and if they are hard and/or cracked. If so, then replace them.
The Most Common GS Questions
QUESTION: Why doesn't anyone answer my questions?
ANSWER: Speaking from the experience of running the Q&A section for a couple of years, here are what I consider the main reasons for questions not being answered.
It's a complex answer that can be found in the service manual
Unless someone is feeling really generous, no one is going to answer questions like how do you disassemble, clean and reassemble the transmission on a GSxxx. As we have said a thousand times before - Buy a Manual!!!..
A weird or unsafe question
Asking a question to see if a 1100 engine will fit in your 550 frame probably won't get a reply.
Too many questions in one entry
Asking 50 questions in one Q&A entry probably won't get ANY of your questions answered. Create new Q&A entries when asking questions on different topics.
The question is too generic
The question "I turned the key and my bike won't start. What's wrong?" probably won't get a reply. If you do, it may not be one that you find very helpful. ;-)
The question is incomplete or too short
Fill in all the fields in the Q&A entry form. Leaving out the model year won't get your question answered. Be sure to provide enough information so that someone can understand what the problem is.
The question is too long
People hate reading a book when the problem can be summarized in two or three sentences. Keep your entry short, but not too short. (See above)
Remember, Q&A questions are now submitted through our forum.
QUESTION: I need a manual. Where can I get one?
ANSWER: Check out our Links page and For Sale forum. There are also some other sources listed throughout the articles in the Old Q&A - General section. You might also try doing a search on the Web. Look in the back of motorcycle magazines for parts dealers and junk yards. Finally, check out your local Suzuki dealer for Clymer or Haynes manuals.
QUESTION: I need parts. Where can I get some?
ANSWER: On a similar topic, the Q&A section is for answering questions of a technical nature. If you are looking for information on purchasing parts, manuals or whatever, then check out the Links page and For Sale forum. Again try doing a web search or looking in the back of current motorcycle magazines. Those types of questions are not answered in the old Q&A sections or Q&A forum.
QUESTION: Why isn't there any information on my GS XXXX on the site? Do you hate my bike?
ANSWER: No, we don't hate your bike. The information contained on this site is built from information coming from the experiences of both the editors and from our readers. That said, most people tend to own the 500cc bikes and up. Because of that fact, and that fact alone, most of the information we have and get from readers, is based on the more popular Suzuki models. That means that most of what you see on this site will be on these more popular models.
All we can say is that you probably aren't the only person out there with that particular model. They are probably other people asking the same questions as you are. So, if you have information worthwhile that you can offer, be sure to sent it to us and we'll include in on the site.
QUESTION: Why aren't wiring diagrams and assembly photos copied from the service manuals and posted on the the GS Resources?
ANSWER: Being that the GS Resources is a multi-continent web site and the fact that we don't like paying lawyers, we don't copy pages from Service Manuals due to International Copyright Laws. The wiring diagrams are included with all Suzuki, Clymer or Hayes service manuals. You'll need to buy one or find someone else who is willing to break the law.
QUESTION: Where is the specifications and service data information for my bike?
ANSWER: We currently are asking our readers to send us the service data and specs for any Suzuki GS's that you own. (It IS legal to copy this information from service manuals.) This is so that we can place this valuable information on our site for others to use.
QUESTION: How much is my bike worth? OR I'm buying the bike and they want $xxx for it. Is that too much?
ANSWER: Sorry if it sounds like a blow-off but we don't know. We don't sell these bikes, we work on them. In most cases, the ages of the bikes (mid-70's to mid-80's) makes it where the bikes are no longer listed in the "Blue Books". This means that the price is set based on your location, bike rarity, condition and what similar bike prices are. You may want to ask a local Suzuki dealer instead.
QUESTION: How can I make my bike go faster?
ANSWER: Common improvements involve removing the stock air box and replacing it with K&N air filter pods. Going hand-in-hand with that is changing the exhaust to a 4 into 1 unit. Remember, with any change to carburetion (pipes and/or filters) you will probably have to rejet the carbs. If doing the rejet yourself get a DynaJet Kit, otherwise let your dealer or local race shop do it for you.
Safety and rideability can be improved by replacing the brakes lines with steel braided line, replacing the front fork spring with those made by Progressive, replacing the rear shocks with units like Koni's, changing the handbags and seat, installing an electronic ignition if your bike doesn't have one, replacing the stock coils with Dyna units, and replacing the tires with sticky ones from Dunlop etc...
Anything beyond this will require extensive machine tooling and knowledge. For this you should hunt down a race shop in your local area. Some of the companies listed on our Links page can also help is this arena.
My bike has been sitting for XXX (month/years/decades) and now it doesn't want to idle.
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My bike has been sitting for XXX (month/years/decades) and now it craps out at high RPM's.
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My bike has been sitting for XXX (month/years/decades) and now it flood out.
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My bike has been sitting for XXX (month/years/decades) and won't run without the choke being on.
ANSWER: Storing a bike for any amount of time will cause the gas in the carburetors to gum up and block all the passages up. In fact, I've seen carbs get gummed up after sitting for only 3 weeks of sitting!
The only way to clean this is to remove the carbs from the bike, disassemble them and clean them. Now, just a simple swipe with a toothbrush won't do it in most cases. They need to be stripped down to nothing and soaked in lacquer thinner. BE SURE TO NOT SOAK ANY RUBBER OR PLASTIC PARTS IN THIS SOLUTION! You will also need air to blow out the passages when you're done (and not at 300 PSI), meaning that you'll need an air compressor.
While you're at it, remove the petcock and make sure the screen to the petcock isn't all jammed up with rust. That will definitely stop gas from flowing also. With an old bike it is a great idea to put a $2 inline gas filter in your fuel line. An old tank will have rust in it and it doesn't take much to foul up these carbs. Microscopic particles are enough to screw up the jets.
Finally, check the carb intake boots for leaks. Rubber doesn't last forever you know. If the boots are hard and stiff then replace them. Squirt them with WD-40 with the engine running. If the engine RPM changes, you have a leak. Leaks here cause backfiring and other performance problems, i.e. loss of power.
As usual, if you feel uncomfortable doing any of this yourself, DON'T! Parts are hard to find and are pretty expensive for our classic rides. Needless to say, if you do plan on doing it yourself, you should have a service manual!
QUESTION: I cleaned the carbs and the bike still won't idle?
ANSWER: The low idle circuits in the Suzuki carburetors are small and very prone to blocking up due to leaving gas in the carbs. I've heard of carbs blocking up after less than 3 weeks of storage. If after you've cleaned them the bike isn't idling, the carbs are still dirty.
You'll then need to completely dismantle the carbs. See our carb cleaning series for information on how to do this correctly.