Page last modified: 06/30/14


Note: Email addresses and links listed in this Q&A section may no longer be valid!


DATE: March 19, 2000
QUESTION: Dyna S needs mechanical advancer? - 1983 GS1100G

I just bought the Dyna S Ignition - The complete self-contained electronic ignition system - for my '83 Suzuki GS1100G. There is no mention on the Dyna web page or GS Resources that I'll have to fit a mechanical advancer from an earlier model. Gotcha.

RIDER: Gene Burles

REPLY: Joe Amidon
I believe your bike has a mechanical advance with its original electronic ignition.
REPLY: Joe Amidon
I misspoke earlier. Although my Clymer manual notes a change in the electronic ignition in 1982, it says it's similar to the earlier one. I just received a copy of the Suzuki manual on the 83 and it shows electronic advance.

Call Dyna. I've found them helpful over the phone.

DATE: March 19, 2000
QUESTION: Swap of ignition to Dyna S - 1980 GS850L

The igniter box seems to have dropped 1 set of cyl and I think it is cheaper and better to use the Dyna S. Do I need to have the old igniter box in line or is the Dyna S a stand alone unit? Thanks for your site and your help. Charlie. Ride Safe and Often.

RIDER: Charles Applegate

REPLY: Joe Amidon
The Dyna S is all you need.  It works like a charm and is an elegant solution.

DATE: March 19, 2000
QUESTION: Signal Generator - 1980 GS1100L

I have a 1980 Suzuki GS1100L. The Ohm reading on my signal generator is 220. One of the books I have said it should read 250-360. The other 290-350. Nevertheless, my reading is outside the given spec. Is it possible that the signal generator could be causing my plugs to foul due to carbon deposits; i.e. weak ignition? My local Suzuki dealer quoted me a price of $498.00 for the new part. Does anyone know of any tricks to remedy the low Ohm reading so I don't have to blow my budget? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!!!


REPLY: Joe Amidon
Replace your ignition system with a Dyna S unit.  $134 from Dennis Kirk on the net.  Hell, get new Dyna coils too and improve things some more.
REPLY: Frank Perreault
Check our Links page for Dennis Kirks URL.

DATE: March 19, 2000
QUESTION: Starter motor - 1980 GS550L

I previously submitted a question concerning removal of the starter motor, which I have now solved. The problem I have now is this - I have fitted new brushes (it is the Denso type motor) and refitted the motor. but it now turns over slower than it did when the old brushes were fitted (before they stopped working altogether due to wear). Subsequently, the bike is not firing. Any ideas? I'm quite baffled on this one - I've checked all the relevant connections, it's a new/fully charged battery and the engine oil has been recently changed. Thanks.


REPLY:  Chris Hunter
I had a similar problem when I took apart the starter motor on a 78 GS750. What I did was over-tighten the housing screws (the two long screws on the outside) when I put it back together. This causes the bearing inside to bind to the case and not turn freely. Try loosening these screws a little to see if it helps.
The bearing is OK and the bike is in neutral. As for the starter clutch, I'm assuming that this is OK because it wasn't a problem before I fitted the new brushes. I have also connected the battery directly to the starter (by passing the solenoid switch) but it is still turning over too slowly. I am now totally baffled and can only assume that the auto electrician who checked it didn't check it properly and that there is a problem with the commutator (maybe it needs skimming). Also, does anyone know how much current the motor should draw?

Answers gratefully accepted.

DATE: March 18, 2000
QUESTION: Kickstand Indicator Light Switch Bypass - 1986 GS450L

My kickstand indicator light is constantly lit. I took the switch off and even with the plunger all the way in, the light stays on. Is there a way to bypass the switch so the light will go off? I already took the switch assemble apart and even tried touching the two leads together, but the light stays on no matter what I've tried.

RIDER: Jim Kroon

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Sounds like you have a wire with a nick in the insulation causing a short to ground.  I'd check all your wiring harness bundles going from the headlight to the the switch a check for a bad wire.  Other than that you'll have to disconnect a connector in the headlight assembly or remove the bulb in order to douse the light.  And no, I don't know what wire that would be.  

DATE: March 3, 2000
QUESTION: To buy or not too buy - 1986 GS550ES

I am starting out in motorcycling and a looking to buy a good first bike, something that I can work on myself (I have good mechanical skills, at least on cars). I have been reading up on the GS series of motorcycles, and have seen a 1986 GS550ES with 27,000 miles for sale for $500. Problem, no spark. The current owner thinks it is the CDI and some other parts. Is the CDI the stator? RR or RG or is this another part? How much would it cost me to just replace the electrical parts with new Electrex ones? Should I bother buying it? The engine turns over freely when cranked so it is not seized.

RIDER: Ryan W. Vallieu

REPLY: Frank Perreault
The cost is dependent on what's blow (see our Stator Papers Section).  An Electrex regulator costs about $130, and ignitor considerably more and a stator coil significantly more than than.  Without troubleshooting the bike it's hard to say what it will cost to fix.  Suffice to say, it won't be cheap.  So unless you really want to put the money into it or really want it I would say look elsewhere. 

DATE: January 29, 2000
QUESTION: Bulbs keep blowing - 1985 GSX1150EF

I have got the 1150 in your picture gallery (from South Africa) My problem is that the 2 tail lights(2 globes in the tail light) blow the whole time, I have a friend with the same bike and his does it to, if u replace a bulb it lasts about 3 or 4 days then it's blown, I have now put in 24 volt globes but they also last only a week or two. Have u heard of this problem before or know where i can look for the problem ?

RIDER: Antony Engelbrecht

REPLY:  Malcolm Evans
I had this exact same problem with my old EFE (also in gallery), tried & tested everything. No solutions.

So, working on the logic that the front one was not blowing, I cut and sealed off the live wires to the tail lights (not earth or brake) and ran a wire from the pilot bulb in the headlight. I was ready to do new earths as well but no! Success, never blew a bulb again.

You have to take the seat and tank off to do it. Hope it works for you.

REPLY:  H.J. Buitenweg
I read about your problem of blown bulbs in the tail light of your Suzuki. Years ago I owned a GS550E which suffered from the same problem. The cause of it is not electrical, it is a mechanical problem. The bulbs are being destroyed by very fine vibrations caused by the engine. You will have to prevent these vibrations reaching your tail light. I mounted the tail light in very soft rubber blocks and put rubber rings behind the mounting screws. This solved the problem immediately. I hope this information is of some help for you.

Greetings from Holland,

DATE: January 29, 2000
QUESTION: Possessed turn signals - 1979 GS850

When I bought my GS850, the turn signals weren't working. Sometimes the left signal would work, but the right signal would just make the flasher buzz. After checking all of the bulbs, I jumped the gun and bought a flasher unit, having had similar problems on cars and trucks in the past. Needless to say, the flasher didn't work, or I wouldn't be writing this. I got out the Clymer manual and the VOM, and went through step-by-step. I don't think it is a short, because everything in the switch checked out perfectly, with one exception. The manual cancel switch only sent a "bump" on the VOM's needle when pressed, instead of the .6-1.0 volt that the book says it should cause. However, the manual cancel feature seems to work -- it stops the blinking or buzzing or whatever else the blinkers are doing at the time. Another odd thing is that if I leave the flasher connected, and don't touch the switch at all, the left blinker will come on for a few seconds and then stop for a while, and then come on again by itself. My questions are: 1.)Does this sound like a problem with the manual cancel switch, or can I assume it is ok since it does its job? 2.)Could the automatic cancel feature be causing this? 3.) Is the signal sending unit the most likely culprit? 4.) Any other advice or tests?

RIDER: David Witt

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Try disconnecting the connector from the automatic turn signal canceller and see if that helps.  These units are notorious for causing flaky problems with turn signals.  If that unit is bad and you plan on replacing it, get ready for sticker shock.  That's why most of us take out the unit, throw it away and just flick the switch with our fingers.

DATE: January 29, 2000
QUESTION: Ignition upgrade - 1982 GS750TZ

I am considering upgrading my ignition components to high performance aftermarket items. Coils, plugs, wires, etc. I hoped to gain more horsepower. However, I read in a book called "Sportbike Performance Handbook" that even a very weak spark will ignite a proper fuel-air mixture, and that upgrading this sort of stuff is essentially a waste of time and money. However, it seems a very popular upgrade. Does anyone have any real, dyno backed data confirming the superiority of high performance components versus proper functioning stock pieces? Thanks.

RIDER: Tobin Henderson

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I would probably agree with what the article is saying if you talking about a new bike.  Since most people don't ride on the edge it probably would be wasted money for most people.  However, we aren't talking a new bike here if we're talking about a 1982 GS750TZ.  With an almost 20 year old bike, the sparkplugs wires can crack, the coils can weaken and the plugs wear out. 

If that is the case, then to buy Suzuki replacement parts will probably put you in the poor house and only give you stock performance.  The smarter decision then is to buy aftermarket parts like Dyna.  The parts will cost less, give you better performance and with aftermarket coils, you can replace the sparkplug wires, something the stock units don't allow you to do without changing the coils at the same time.

DATE: December 27, 1999
QUESTION: #2 cylinder dead - 1981 GS1100EX

My #2 cylinder does not appear to be firing. The problem started out only at low RPM (below 3000) the bike felt rough, but smoothed out as I accelerated. The problem has progressed and now runs rough even at higher RPM. I checked the plugs #2 was black, and wet. I installed all new plugs, there is spark, compression, and fuel on #2, new plug is also wet, pipe is cool while engine is running. I'm not sure if I quite understand how the ignition system works on these bikes yet, but I suspect that the spark plug fires prior to both the power and the intake stroke (which I think would be power stroke for #3), that being the case I suspect that the plug is only firing prior to the intake stroke. Any ideas on how to test this, or am I way off the mark?

RIDER: Randy Spaulding

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You need to figure out whether the spark is functioning correctly or not first, since it's the easiest thing to check. Lay the #2 plug on top of the engine and fire it up.  You should see a spark while the bike is running.  Once that is confirmed OK then start looking at the carbs.  GS's a known more for blocked up carbs and then ignition problems (unless related to the famed 'Stator problem').
REPLY: Angelos Misiriotis
I agree with Frank Perreault.  In these engines the spark fires at the end of the compression AND at the end of the exhaust phase (*). The first spark is useful, the second one is useless but it does not hurt since at the end of the exhaust phase there is no fuel in the cylinder to burn. As a consequence the spark comes simultaneously at cylinders 2,3. In fact it is the same ignition coil that drives the sparkplugs of 2,3. If you don't have any problem on #3, and your spark plugs are new then is is NOT an electrical problem.

(*) This originates from the very simple design of the ignition system.

DATE: November 27, 1999
QUESTION: Turn signal indicators - 1983 GS450L

Excuse my incredibly simple question, this is my first bike. I just bought an 83 GS450L with only 3600 miles on it, and the turn signal lights don't work. When the switch is pushed they don't light up, there is no clicking or anything. I think I need to look at the relay, but...where is it physically located on the bike? I know I need to get a manual, which do you recommend? Great site, thanks for the help.

RIDER: Mike Fox

REPLY: Frank Perreault
If it's in the same place on a 450 as the 1100 it's under the gas tank.  It's a small rectangular box.
REPLY: Jeremy Witt
I just picked up an 81' GS550L and although it's my first bike, my best experiences with cars and trucks have been with the Factory service manual versus an aftermarket. Although they are hard to find, I managed to track one down via Internet at <> for about $46. Hit any solid search engine, I like <> , and search for 'Suzuki AND "factory service manual" AND motorcycle'.

DATE: November 7, 1999
QUESTION: Dyna ignition - 1982 gs1100gl/gs1100g

I'd like to know how difficult it is to install a Dyna S or Dyna III ignition on an 82 gs1100g/gs1100gl. any gotchas? any surprises or problems with the installation? on the GL, I think the ignitor is shot, and i know that the Dyna is MUCH cheaper.. anyone done this and would like to explain the difficulty to me? it would be much appreciated.. thanks

RIDER: brian zimmerman

REPLY: Scott Horner
There are no "gotchas" with the GS 1100 install. There is one with the 1150 though. The instructions are simple, yet complete. It will take the average backyard mechanic about two hours start to finish. After you receive the Dyna S (I suggest it over the III), and you have any more questions feel free to contact me. Good Luck!

DATE: November 7, 1999
QUESTION: Neutral light/switch - 1981 GS450T

I recently acquired the bike for $20. :-) All of the separate components to make the bike run operate fine, except for the fact that when in neutral, the bike does not acknowledge the fact, so will not start. I know the light works, and have had it lit once, and the bike operated fine. But most of the time it doesn't think it is in neutral. I know little of the switches related to the transmission. Any help would be appreciated.

RIDER: Jake Orange

REPLY: Julian Girardin
Hi Jake, I have a GS250 1983, the electric system is so different in your bike, but, I have the Haynes manual that cover your GS450T. In accordance with the manual, your bike haven't other indicator for the gear position than the neutral. That simplify the work. Well the light in question operates when the switch (in the gearbox) make a contact with the negative (earth). To test if the circuit are working fine, make a shortcut between earth (any metallic part of the engine) and the wire who go in the switch, then the light will operates. If the light operates you have localized the problem from the point from you make the shortcut and the gearbox switch (including it). If the light does not work, the problem are located between the point of the shortcut and the lamp, included the lamp and the power supply who comes from the ignition switch.

Good luck, and sorry for my English, I speak Spanish.

DATE: November 7, 1999
QUESTION: Fuses - 1982 GS1000

Just bought this bike, Definitely a GS1000. Shaft drive, (is this a G?) Haynes manual talks about four fuses. A 15 Amp and 3 times 10 Amp. My fuse box has Five fuses fitted, no cover. So question What fuses should be fitted and what do they protect? Thank you.

RIDER: Dave Painter

REPLY: John G. Bloemer
Dave, I saw your question in the GSResource. I have a fuse box off a 1982 GS750t. It utilizes the plastic push-in fuses (Red 10A, Blue 15A). I don't know if it is the same one you have on your 1982 GS1000 or not. It is about 4 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide with a mounting hole upper left and lower right. It utilizes a plug-in connector in the bottom (7 male blade connectors), the top fuse is a 10A for the headlamp, the second fuse is a 10A for the turn signals, the third fuse is a 10 A for the ignition system, the fourth fuse is a 15A MAIN, and the bottom fuse is a 10A "power source" or optional accessory power tap that protects the two screw terminal power tap at the base of the fuse box (+) and (-).

I have this complete fuse box for sale (including the cover and fuses) if you think it will fit your bike pleas e-mail an offer.

Thanks, and good luck.....

DATE: November 7, 1999
QUESTION: Sound system wiring in a Vetter fairing -  1983 GS850GL

A strange idea: Any one have any idea how to wire a car-type stereo in a GS through a Vetter fairing? i.e. Where do I run the power wires to and such. Note: 12v plug-jack does not work

RIDER: Nich J. Weidman

REPLY: Paul Holman
It's not a strange idea to have a stereo mounted on a Windjammer. There used to be radio housings made by a company called Cyclesound. It held the radio in the center and speakers on each side. At the time windjammers were still being sold new this housing was about $100. I don't know how difficult it is to find one of these anymore. I'm sure there are quite a few that were sold back then. I'd try to find one if I were you. I've had more than one and was well satisfied. Good luck in your search.

DATE: October 17, 1999
QUESTION: Wet weather or wash blubbers - 1982 GS1100EZ

Every time it rains or I give my bike a good thorough wash, it blubbers until it dries out. It seems to get to the point that it is only running on 2 cylinders or something. What do I need? Coils? Any ideas? I ride with a couple of friends that ride Harleys and this is getting embarrassing. Thanks guys... love your site!

RIDER: John Prososki

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Use dielectric grease in the sparkplug boots. If it still happens, your coils (and the integrated spark plug wires) need to be replaced. This is true especially if the coils are original. Rubber doesn't last for ever ya know.

DATE: August 8, 1999
QUESTION: Ignition problems - 1986 GS550L

I own a 1986 GS550L that only recently (very hot local weather) began exhibiting the following. When cold, the bike starts and runs fine. After riding for about five minutes the engine dies just as if the ignition were turned off. Immediate attempts to restart fail. If the bike sets for a while (30-60min), it will restart, but will again die within minutes.

Initially I though fuel system as I had planned to rework the carbs and ran the tank very low prior to the first occurrence of this problem. This board, however, has led me to believe the problem to be more electrical in nature. Following a few suggestions, I proceeded to take a few things apart and test components following the Clymer manual. I have found the following:

The charging test (per the manual and this site) appears to check out. I have never had a charging issue unless I ran the battery dead.

The ignitor test seems to fail. Unless I am doing something wrong, I seem to get no spark when crossing the proper leads. If I remove the plugs and connect all components, when starting the bike, all sparks fire. If I disconnect the Signal Generator and cross the b/w and green or b/w and o/w leads on the ignitor side of the ignitor/signal generator connection, I get no spark. SUSPECT IGNITOR

The Signal Generator test seems to fail. Again, unless I am doing something wrong, I have disconnect the signal generator from the ignitor and switch my multimeter to ohms. I connect the leads to the appropriate wires on the signal generator side of the connector and get a value of about .35 (should be 250-500). SUSPECT IGNITOR.

I did test for continuity between all signal generator wires to the connector. All good.

I then bought a can of freeze and ran the bike till it dies. I then sprayed the ignitor, no luck; sprayed the signal generator, no luck; the coils no luck. Sprayed again. After spraying the signal generator... BANG... it starts right up... SUSPECT SIGNAL GENERATOR.

Called Dynatek... they do not make replacements for a 1986 GS550L. This leaves me with stock... Luckily Suzuki Signal Generator is only about $135.

Question: Is it likely both parts are bad? Or, could the faulty SG be causing the ignitor to not work right... Lastly, when cold, since the bike starts fine, shouldn't the ignitor test pass?

The Signal Generator is held in by a 6mm Allen bolt housed within a larger 19mm bolt. The 6mm is recessed. This bolt was so tight, it stripped and didn't even budge. I was rotating the 6mm counter-clockwise while holding or turning the larger bolt clockwise... Now I must have it machined out... $$$.

So I guess my main question is would one failed component fail the other? The ignitor is expensive $350+ for Suzuki and nobody else manufactures a replacement. Being a starter bike that I bought for $1000, I hesitate to put much cash into repairs. Any advice? Buy used? Part it out?

Note 2:

I posted a previous message to this to which I have not received any replies. This following is an update and the current state:

My 86 GS550L would run fine for a 15 minutes or so and then abruptly die. Attempts to restart would fail until the bike cooled for a while. It appeared to be electrical and I tested the ignitor and signal generator (as well as a charging test). Both the ignitor and SG test did not produce the desire result, but I may have done them wrong (don't think so though). A can of freeze revealed that spraying the SG would permit the bike to start, but shortly after it would again fail.

I purchased a salvage replacement for the ignitor and SG. Replacing the ignitor and then test-riding resulted in the same original problem. Replacing the SG corrected the problem. Having taken a local test ride without incident I later took a longer 30 mile ride. No problems. Went home, parked.

Next night, I attempted to start bike... no luck. Pulled the plugs and checked for spark-- no spark... Check all connections, removed plugs and reseated-- no spark... Occasionally I will get a single spark, but then none. Battery is fully charged.

Could the replacement SG have been faulty as well? Could there be another component that would case the SG to fail? I purchased the SG at a shop that stated if it die shortly after installing, they would send another. I will try that route, however, I am concerned that another component could be killing this part.

RIDER: Larry Eichenbaum

REPLY:  Roland Hauff
You have my sympathies on the ignition problem! My bike does the same thing (starts and runs well until hot, then if I allow the revs to drop below 2000rpm - such as at stop lights - the engine will die, no spark, and not start until allowed to cool 10-20 minutes).

My ignition system blew out due to a faulty regulator, replaced regulator w/ aftermarket, replaced ignition signal generator & ignitor w/ Dyna S ( I was lucky, I guess, mine is a 1980 GS550L). Now the only thing original was coils, and the problem still existed so I bought a set of used stock coils. Problem still existed. I have verified that the signal coming from the DynaS is good, but the coils still drop out. I am planning to buy a new set of coils from Dyna, but don't have the bucks yet!

Let me know how yours goes!

REPLY:  Larry Eichenbaum
As I originally thought, turns out the Signal Generator was the guilty part. Unfortunately, the first replacement part (used) I received failed after thirty miles. This made me think perhaps the ignitor was also partially at fault and resulting in the SG failing. I received a replacement ignitor and SG and replaced both. All worked immediately after and I have added about 300mi without difficulty.

DATE: September 18, 1999
QUESTION: Dyna coils - 1981 GSX1100ET (in US it's GS1100ET)

What sort of Dyna coils do I need for my bike and are there any tips on fitting?

RIDER: Neil Beck

REPLY: Joe Amidon
I called Dyna up on the phone and they were very helpful. They have an 800 number and a website.
REPLY: Scott Horner
The part # for the Dyna coils are DC1-1, they are dual output 3ohm coils (green in color). They will mount in the existing coil mounts on your 81. In the U.S. they retail for $117.95, but you can find them for about $89.
REPLY: Doug Petepiece
Just a short word of caution...I put Dyna coils on my modified 1983 GS1100ED and had four igniter boxes burn up before going back to the stock coils...At the start the bike would start running on only two cylinders and at the end the coils burnt up a brand new factory unit...Other people I know have used big coils for years with no problems but I thought I'd pass along my experiences with the Dyna coils. New ignitor units cost $500 bucks in Canada.
REPLY: Frank Perreault
I guess I'm one of the lucky ones.  I'm not the only person I know that runs Dyna's and they have never had a problem with them either.  Sounds like crappy ground connections or something.

DATE: August 15, 1999
QUESTION: Which spark plug wires go to which cylinder? - 1983 GS750E

I have 4 dangling spark plug wires and don't know which cylinder each goes to. The bike does not have points, so I do not know how to figure this out. I am just learning about bikes, so I can not tell what type of ignition system it has. But on the end of the crank shaft is the disk with a notch on it with the marks labeled "t" and "f". To the left and right of that are basically magnetic pieces of metal with wires going to them. One is labeled "1,4" the other is labeled "2,3". Spinning the crank shaft around with a wrench does not cause a spark, but whipping a screwdriver between the disk and magnetic piece does. But it does when I do it to the "1,4" and the "2,3" side.

RIDER: Jason McLaughlin

REPLY: Frank Perreault
When sitting on the seat, the left side coil fires cylinders 1&4 and the right side coil fires 2&3.

DATE: August 21, 1999
QUESTION: Wiring diagram needed - 1977 GS750

Just got hold of a GS750, mechanically good, but wiring loom completely shot and looks as if bits missing, does anyone have a good diagram??? thanx for your help..

RIDER: Chris Nash

REPLY: Sandra Whitney
Before you go trying to trace the wiring harness, you should check with your local cycle salvage yard. The 1977 through 1979 harnesses should all be the same and save you lots of aggravation and time. Your harness should have a tag on it somewhere with the Suzuki part number. The 78-79 GS550 harness might be interchangeable also??? (Don't take my word for the 550 information). 

Remove your harness and compare it to the one at the salvage yard. It's not to hard to swap out the plastic connectors (if they don't match yours perfectly). Just insert a fine pointed object into the connector from the front to lift the retaining tab and slide the wire out the back of the connector.

DATE: August 8, 1999
QUESTION: I took something apart and I don't know how to put it back together! - 1980 GS850GL

I needed to clean the contacts on the horn button of my 1980 GS850GL. When I took the assembly (which also houses directional & high beam controls) - about a million parts came out, and quite frankly I don't know how to put it back together. If anyone can steer me in the right direction as to where to find a good diagram, I would greatly appreciate it. I tried the CLYMER manual, but no luck.

RIDER: Jason Green

REPLY: Joe Amidon
I did the same thing Jason, and got it all back together except for the return spring, which is somewhere on a parking lot in North Carolina. There are short springs which fit into holes over which go the copper contacts. There is a piece of copper with three contacts. You can tell which way these go by looking at the piece that goes over it. You really have to be aware of both top and bottom surfaces where these parts go. The longer spring is the return spring. It goes in a little slot that is in line with the direction of travel of the directional signal part of the switch. 

If you get real frustrated, you can send yours to me and I'll put it back together. I was so terribly pleased with myself for getting it back together I was hard to be around for a couple of hours and I welcome the opportunity to do it again. On the other hand, if you buy a replacement from a salvage dealer, maybe you can send me that spring I'm missing.

DATE: August 8, 1999
QUESTION: Battery light on - 1980 GS1100E

Just bought a gs1100e (according to the manual) Owner said the dealer did not have the battery with the internal hookup to the battery check dash light. So now the light stays on & there is a green wire at the battery with no home. Any comments on what to do with the light etc? Thanks...

RIDER: Michael Hassion

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Connect it to +12V.

DATE: July 31, 1999
QUESTION: How to set timing - 1983 GS850GLD

The 1983 GS850GL has no points and I can not find a way to adjust the timing on this bike. The maintenance manual does not tell how I should time this engine. I have rebuilt the carbs but they still need some work, they are still running rich and the bike runs hot, I have not been able to get it running to ride it yet, if you could help it would be very good thanks. LOST!!!

RIDER: Odell K. Patterson

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You can't set the timing, it's done electronically.  As for running rich, your carbs may need cleaning.

DATE: July 31, 1999
QUESTION: Low voltage in charging system - 1982 GS750EZ

Great site! I recently replaced my stator and regulator/rectifier with the Electrex units (thanks Ritzo!) along with a rebuilt starter motor. The bike now seems to be running OK and charging the battery OK. So what's the problem?...according to one of your FAQ's voltage levels seem to be a little bit lower than spec. The battery shows ~12.5 volts with the bike not running. At idle (no lights) it shows ~13.2 volts. Running it at 4k rpm the voltage seems to jump around between 13.2 and 13.6 (I was hoping for something between 14 and 15 volts). Are these low readings any cause for concern? I followed directions with installation of new parts by the book and cleaned all connections and grounds.

RIDER: Paul Updike

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I'd check all the grounds in the wiring and make sure that they are good and clean. Also, make sure that the plate that the regulator mounts to has a good electrical connection to the frame of the bike.  Low voltage means higher current load = smoked electricals.  Read the other articles on this page for other helpful hints.

DATE: July 31, 1999
QUESTION: Coil problems? 1981 GS550T

I have an 81 GS550E that was, until recently running well. Now, when I get up to about 6,000 rpm (65-70 mph), it starts to hesitate and the power drops off. After reading some of the other Q&A's, I'm wondering if this is a problem with coils?, ignition? The carbs have been cleaned and shouldn't be a problem. Also, is that about the speed I should expect at that rpm? Great Site! Thanks, Jason

RIDER: Jason Ward

REPLY: Gary J. Ward
It might be the coils but it would be unusual for both coils to die or cause problems at the same time.

Did you clean the carbs and then notice the problem?  If so, you might have damaged the carbs while cleaning them.  If not, here are a few tips...

Check your vent hoses coming from the carbs, etc

Check that fuel flows freely from the fuel tank petcock.

Check your spark plugs to see if your engine is running rich or lean.

Usually a problem like this that affects the whole engine can be traced down by looking for problems with items your bike only has one petcock, vent hose on the air filter assembly etc.

I hope this helps.

DATE: July 6, 1999
QUESTION: Electrical problems - 1982 GS300L

So glad you're here I'm having bad luck with my dealer (no big surprise).

On 4/1 I bought a 1982 Suzuki GS300L with about 15000 miles.  It ran perfect for 2 months then fuse blew after $300 new stator at dealer and after 3 weeks downtime ran perfect for 3 days, then fuse blew again.  Dealer says ignition switch is OK.  I'm beginning to suspect a source problem they are not diagnosing after reading some Q&A on  your site.  I can see a bit more of the picture. I'm no great mechanic but I do have a service manual and would try myself. I love the bike. Should I continue to try to tackle the problem? I appreciate your thoughts as I only have the bike now for transportation 

RIDER:  Daryl Wonderly Jr.

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You'll need to diagnose you bike using the information and troubleshooting guide in our Stator Papers section. Sound like you have the classic Suzuki > regulator problem.
REPLY: Peter Huppertz
A second (lack of) opinion?

This in itself doesn't point to a faulty charging system (especially since the bike will run for a few months.

It is always worthwhile to follow the troubleshooting chart... but I suspect that the problem could also lie somewhere else -- I would suspect a ground problem.

What this DOES show is a faulty dealer, though. Next thing he says it may be the kill switch (which may be right). But I'd start checking the ground for conductivity.

What type of fuse is your main fuse? and what electric accessories are there on the bike?
REPLY: Ritzo Muntinga
First go through your bikes electrical system. Make sure that every connection in the wiring loom is a good one. Then go through the fault finding chart and see if you can find anything wrong.

In this case I would replace the regulator/rectifier with a quality unit and keep the whole charging system separate from the wiring loom. You plug the stator output straight into the regulator/rectifier inputs. Connect the ground lead from the regulator/rectifier to the battery negative terminal (that's the best ground you can have) and hook the positive (red) output straight to the battery positive.

I think your problems will be over then.

For this application we sell the RR10 regulator/rectifier.

DATE: July 6, 1999
QUESTION: Bike dies abruptly - 1985 GS550E

I have inherited this bike because the two previous owners couldn't resolve this problem. The bike will run fine then all of a sudden die. After a varying amount of time the bike will restart, but then the problem gets real regular. It can happen after as few as 2 miles or you may be able to ride for hours without a problem. After reading the electrical section I was wondering if this could be related to a bad regulator. The battery does lose water "rapidly". I had checked to battery voltage and got a reading of about 14v @ idle, but saw that I should also test it @ 5000rpms. Would a failed regulator cause the dying, or does it point to other parts that are failed? 

All the talk of igniters and stators and stuff leaves me confused, but if I could get pointed in the right direction I might get over that. I just can't seem to associate the dying to any common riding habit or weather condition. Things that have done to solve this include new plugs, cleaned the carbs and petcock (they seems clean tho), Kreemed the tank (it didn't), and a bike shop thought the prob was because of bad intake rubbers, so he changed them w/ used parts and charged me $40 for the parts. When I took the bike apart to deal with the fuel system I got a look at these multi-million dollar rubbers he installed. Besides having a tear in the side of one, it looked as if a blind drunk guy installed them. While I have nothing against blind drunk guys, that boy and I are due for a conversation. More to the point, does his theory that excess air getting to the carbs makes the bike overheat hold any water? 

PS. While I have never had the battery go dead on me, I still feel as it may be wise to buy a new one, this bike has had it's share of sitting over the past few years and has never been trickle charged and the battery is at least 4 years old and getting fried could not have helped it any. Does anyone have any thoughts on battery quality? I can buy one for as little as $30 to as much as $70. I don't want to make the dealer rich, but I don't want to be so cheap I just end up with new problems. I live in New England if anyone knows of a good source that would be kind enough to sell a battery with a lifetime warranty for like ten bucks.

RIDER: Matt Greenhalgh

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Sounds like a real pro worked on those boots.  They should be replaced if they get hard in order to avoid air leaks but...  More air can cause a bike to burn hot but this should show up when reading the plugs.  Are they white?  And what does that have to do with the bike crapping out on you?

Try the troubleshooting steps in the Stator papers section.  Sounds like a electrical  problem of some sort.  As for good batteries cheap, go to Wal-Mart.  They aren't $10 bucks but they are pretty cheap and they work just as good as any other battery out there.

DATE: July 6, 1999
QUESTION: Hot start problems - 1981 GS750

Hi, I've been having problem starting my 81 GS750 when the engine is hot. The bike had some electrical problems when I first got it, and I've replaced the batter, starter and regulator. I've also yanked the starter and cleaned the brushes and bushing (it had starting problems also). Now the bike charges fine, and starts great when the engine is cold. But after running the engine for about 20-30 minutes, it's nearly impossible to start without bump starting it. The starter doesn't seem to be able to turn the engine when I push the start button, but if I pushed the start button as I bump start it the starter turns great and I can hear the engine turn. Would a new starter fix this? Why does it only happen when the engine is hot? Help!

RIDER: Will Luo

REPLY: Chris Skanderup
I would say it is definitely your starter. When the engine is hot, the starter is damn hot too because of it's position on the engine. A hot starter with worn bushings will require an immense amount of current to turn it over. Replace or rebuild it. Good luck.

DATE: June 18, 1999
QUESTION: Ignition sytem - 1979 GS850

I am working on getting this bike back on the road. It has a points/condenser ignition system. I have access to an electronic ignition system from a 1982 GS750T. Can I replace the points/condenser system on the 850 with the electronic system from the 750? Anything special I should do or look out for? Thanks.

RIDER: James Riddle

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You would do better to get a Dyna system then trying to Mickey Mouse another Suzuki unit.  The Dyna units are built for the bike and they work.

DATE: June 18, 1999
QUESTION: Hot ignitor (not in the good sense) - 1982 GS650GLZ

I recently brought this MC back from the dead and have had a few ignition problems that I can't solve. Prior to beginning my restoration, I pulled each of the 4 plugs and checked for a spark. Each gave a zap and I continued to work. I eventually got it running after doing some carb work, but it soon began to run roughly and I then discovered that cylinders 1 and 4 were the only boys getting a spark. No problem, I thought, just a coil issue. I swapped the coils and checked all the connections and found that cylinders 2 and 3 were still not getting a spark, even with a known good coil. I then ran the Ignitor test as outlined in Clymer and found that it was bad.

Interestingly, the ignitor would get very hot to the touch whenever the ignition key was on and the kill switch was placed on "run." I figured that there was a fried circuit somewhere within (causing an electric-blanket effect) and proceeded to purchase a used ignitor from a junkyard. I then plugged the new-used ignitor into the system and re-ran the Clymer test. I got 4 sparks and was happy. Interestingly, the new-used ignitor also got very hot to the touch. I checked to see what voltage was getting to it and found that when the kill switch was placed on "run," my voltmeter said that the ignitor box was getting 12 volts (and, as I said before, began warming up). If I put the kill switch on "off," the voltage dropped to zero and the ignitor box would cool off.

I checked the Reg/Rec. unit as per Clymer and found that it maintained a steady voltage (within spec) to the battery at all RPM's -- IOW, it passed per Clymer's test. I bolted everything together and rode the bike for exactly 1,200 miles. The Ignitor then failed again after a mild ride of 180 miles (same ignitor coil circuit went bad, that for cylinders 2 & 3).

Prior to replacing the Ignitor I cleaned up all the ground wires that ran from the R/R and ignitor -- I fused most of them together and ran them directly to the battery. Does anyone know what's going on here? Does the ignitor box heat up like this always (could someone check this? Ignition key on, kill switch on "run." You could stick a finger down there and find out).

Thanks to anyone who can help.

RIDER: Matthew Lai

REPLY: Joe Amidon
I would suggest you forget the question and replace your used ignitor with Dyna S electronic ignition. It doesn't have a separate ignitor, works well, and you can buy it new for about $100.00. I replaced mine with the Dyna S, and put Dyna coils in at the same time for about $130 (including new wires) and the bike just runs better. I have a lot more faith in it, too.

DATE: May 21, 1999
QUESTION: Sputtering when warm, how to clean engine - 1982 GS1100E

Before I rattle off the questions, let me say that your sight has been a God send.

I recently got my 1982 GS1100E out of storage, (after 7 years!), and have found a ton of useful advise on these classic machines. Great job. Like I mentioned, the bike is a 1982 GS1100E, 13K miles, V&H pipe, stock air box. I had the carbs cleaned and the engine tuned recently. For the first 100 miles, the bike was running like a champ. Soon after that, I noticed that after about 45 minutes on the road, and at low speeds, (not necessarily low RPM's, though), that the bike would start to bog down and sputter a lot. It also sounded as if I had a wet rag stuffed in the pipe. Now, the bike runs bad right from the start. I also smell gas frequently with no apparent leaks. Is the bike running lean? If I replace the stock air filter with a K&N filter, will I have to re-jet? I have also heard conflicting opinions in regards to removing the air box and installing individual K&N filters and a stage 3 kit. Some say it is the way to go, while others say that the bike will never run right after the modifications. What are your thoughts? Lastly, the engine is looking shabby and needs some spit and polish. Any suggestions on a product or procedure to not only remove grease/grime stains, but that white build up as well. I've tried a de-greaser and scrub brush, which did OK, but the aluminum is still darkly stained. I did remove the coating from the cases and polished them, (as per advise from GS Resources), and was quite pleased with the results.

OK Frank, thanks and keep up the good work

RIDER: Tom Ross

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I think you may have a part of the ignition that is failing when it gets warm.   Probable components are the ignitor and one of the coils.  You'll need a manual to troubleshoot this. 

As for cleaning the engine, I've used mag wheel cleaner in the past.  It isn't something that you want to use all the time but it does a good job when things get real grubby.  Try a test area first and ake sure that you don't get it on anything other than what you are trying to clean.

DATE: May 21, 1999
QUESTION: Did the charging system design ever get fixed? - 1983 GS1100G

After reading the questions and answers, I have come to the conclusion hat electrical problems are very common on early model Suzuki's. My QUESTION: I have owned my 1983 Suzuki 1100 G for 4 years. I have had to replace the stator and rectifier twice so far! Is this what I can't expect to happen about every two years from now - until I sell the bike. I only put about 1500 miles a year on it (but I keep the battery on a trickle charger year round). When/what year did the charging system get fixed so I know what models to look at for my next "used" bike. Thank you for your time.

P.S. You have a great site!

RIDER: Mike Dieckhaus

REPLY: Frank Perreault
The rectifier design never got fixed in the models of GS's that  we cover on our site (70's through mid-80's). That is why we recommend getting  an Electrex unit. It has a proper design preventing the problems you've been  seeing with the stock unit. The next time it blows I would suggest getting  an Electrex regular and make sure that all your grounds and electrical  connections are as clean as you can get them.

DATE: May 21, 1999
QUESTION: Changing the turn signals to fulltime parking lights - GS1100GL

I just purchased a mint condition GS1100GL with 17,000 original miles on it and I am totally hooked on this bike. Because I will be using it daily in city traffic I want to be as visible to the four-wheel crowd as possible. I have noticed that the front turn signals do double duty as both running lights and signals. I would like to get the extra rear visibility by converting the rear signals so they do the same. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to go about doing this?

RIDER: Scot Lowery

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Reminds of when I modified my GS750 to black out all the rear lamps on the bike for when the cops were chasing me.  ;-)

You would need to replace the bulb socket in the signal with a 2 element bulb socket and then wire it into the electrical harness.  You need a manual for the electrical wiring diagram and 2 two-element sockets, bulbs, wiring,, connectors. 

The tricky part is mounting the socket into the signal since the original sockets are held in there by melting prongs which pertrude through fins on the socket.  You would probably have to use a 2 part epoxy to mount the new sockets in.
I've achieved rear running light set ups a couple of ways. On my GS750 I bought a couple of those tear drop shaped "marker" lights from JC Whitney, the dual filament type, red lenses, and easily wired them into both the running light and brake light circuits. Cost less than $20, but buy a box of spare bulbs, they're not common. I now have a triangle of three running lights and three brake lights. Works great, looks pretty cool, too. You just have to figure out how to physically mount them. I had some brackets in the junk box that happened to fit perfectly on the license plate holes. I love serendipity, don't you? On the front of this bike I happened upon stock turn signals with dual filament sockets, so that was a no brainer. You can go the dual filament in the turn signal route but then the running lights are yellow and you still have only one brake light.

DATE: May 21, 1999
QUESTION: Burnt electrical wires - 1982 GS850GL

I recently replaced my 3 yr old battery on my 1982 GS850GL. I decided to check the wiring and connectors as I've seen advised on your site. Two of the four wires coming out of the reg/rec showed signs of being hot. Connections were black. I cleaned and tightened all connections, started the bike and they still got warm. I checked stator according to stator paper instructions, and it's ok. Bike also seems to be charging good. My question is, is this normal? I'm going to run a ground wire from the regulator to the battery and attach the red wire from the reg/rec straight to the pos. terminal on the battery. I'm also considering mounting a volt meter gauge straight to the battery to monitor the charge system at all times. Am I right in assuming that a bad regulator would show an over charge on the volt meter? Thank You Very Much

RIDER: Jay Baxter

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You would see a drop in voltage and an increase in amperage with an overcharge but keep in mind that a regulator can go bad in 2 ways - overcharge or undercharge. My guess is that with the burnt wires you are seeing an undercharge, thereby increasing current load and melting things. You may want to consult our Stator papers section on troubleshooting your electrical system.  Adding those new wires will help.
I've encountered this on all three of my GS's. After ascertaining that the charging system is ok, the cure seems to be a very thorough cleaning or replacement of the burnt connectors, and any other connector that looks questionable. That probably means all of them. I believe they burn because the connections become corroded and their resistance goes up just enough that they act like little heaters and burn themselves. Keeping them clean cures this. The wiring in these bikes is, in my opinion, at best marginal as to size. The main hot wire which delivers all the current for my 750 bike is only 18g. I haven't gotten into the 1000 or 1100 yet so maybe they are better; they do have additional fused circuits. On the 750 I note significant voltage drops just from the battery to the output terminal of the ignition switch, and more from there to the lights etc. even after good connections are established. I have installed parallel wiring in the main circuits to alleviate this. Lastly, or maybe firstly, good grounds are key.

DATE: April 23, 1999
QUESTION: Starter gear question - 1984 GSX1100ES

When trying to sell the bike I had a potential new owner drive it. He drove a nice restored GS1000 so it looks like he knows these bikes. After driving it he said the bike has a problem with the starter gear, just like his GS1000. He tried to explain, this is what I make of it: The freewheel mounted on the crankshaft doesn't free the starter gears. These gears are not made for this continuous fast spinning, and will wear out and cease, causing a lot of trouble. He said he noticed from a whining noise when revving up from low revs. Is this a common GS problem? Should I be worried?

REPLY: Frank Perreault
If, in fact, the plunger on the starter is not retracting after starting the motor then yes, you will wear out the starter.  You need to have this checked out.   No, this isn't a common problem.

DATE: March 28, 1999
QUESTION: Coils maybe? - 1982 GS750T

Going left to right Cyl. #1 almost never fires and cyl. #3 is off and on depending on the rpm's and it's mood I guess. I've been told that my coils maybe bad. Or perhaps my carbs need work, or maybe I need a new bike. Coils are hooked up 1and4 2and3 so it doesn't make any sense to me as far as coils are concerned. I've changed plugs twice and have cleaned up all the electrical connections. What should I be looking for?

RIDER: Tim Hovey

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Try checking for spark with the #1 and #4 spark plugs outside the engine and leaning against it.  If you see spark on both plugs you have carb problems.

DATE: March 28, 1999
QUESTION: Broken mechanical advance tabs - 1983 GS1100E

I have a '83 GS1100E, the tabs are sheared off the end of the mechanical advance unit. Will it still work ok?

RIDER: Dennis Ecklund

REPLY: Frank Perreault
If the bike won't run the answer is 'No'.    ;-)

DATE: March 28, 1999
QUESTION: Charging system - 1980 GS550E

This is a question on behalf of friend. He owns a gsx250ez I actually own a gs550e, which I am rebuilding (slowly.) Anyway, my friend was having trouble with his bike constantly getting a flat battery, sound familiar? Not being too knowledgeable about bikes he went out and bought a new battery. Everything seemed fine for a few weeks until eventually it again had a flat battery. This is where I came in. The charging system is basically the same as my GS as far as I can tell. So armed with a Haynes manual I proceeded to test the system as per the instructions. Everything checked out fine At 5000 rpm I was getting 80-85 volts from the stator but the voltage across the battery was only showing 11-12 volts. Everything pointed to the regulator/rectifier after testing as per Haynes manual.

So a new unit was purchased and fitted. Two weeks later another flat battery. This is when I discovered your web site. I have followed the instructions in your "stator papers" All earth leads and connections have been checked and cleaned. I checked as per your recommendations. More bad news it appears the RR has again blown.The plot thickens, While testing I removed the "new battery" to re-charge and noticed that a couple of the cells had a large amount of white build up on the plates .Normally a sign that the battery is defective. Also it would not fully charge. My question is could running the bike with a defective RR and a new battery resulted in this defect or could the battery have been defective when bought. The dealer It was purchased from says the battery is fine,but it don't look to clever to me. Next question would a new battery and RR sort out the problem?

RIDER: Martin Schrader

REPLY: Frank Perreault
The regulator was cooked and toasted the new battery in the process.  Run OUR troubleshooting tests in the Stator Papers section and replace the damaged components.   DO NOT buy a stock regulator!  By the Electrex unit that you see scattered all over this site.  And just in case you were wondering, no, we don't recommend Electrex because they advertise with us.  We recommend them primarily because they work.
Dan Renkel
Whenever you work on a GS charging System, or better still before you have to work on it, get rid of all the connectors (bullet connectors, plugs and sockets) and direct wire EVERYTHING that goes to the regulator assm. I have become convinced that half or more of the damage to these systems are caused by less than perfect, intermittent connections or high resistance connections. DO NOT just use crimp connectors when doing this as they are born to fail.

My favorite method is as follows:

1) Cut out the plugs, sockets, and bullet connectors. 2) Slip two pieces of heat shrink tubing over the wires. 3) Strip the wires back about 5/16 of an inch and connect them using non-insulated splice type (these are the ones that look like a tube and a wire goes in each end) crimp connectors. 4) Thoroughly SOLDER the connection being sure that the solder completely fills the splice. 5) Rub some silicone grease on the splice and slide one of the heat shrink tubing pieces over and shrink. Do the same with the second piece of tubing. 6) Make sure there is no metal showing and dress the wires to avoid abrasions.

The above method will provide a connection that will probably never fail. I have done this to several GS bikes and have never had a charging system failure after this RX.

DATE: March 22, 1999
QUESTION: Regulator Rectifier - 1983 GS650G

My charging system is fine. I have a GS 650 G brought here from Germany. Given to me by original owner. Electrics never touched. This bike has an oil cooler. He swears it's factory. Should I just go ahead and change the reg. rect. with the Electrex unit? Or will the oil cooler make some kind of difference? This will be my only form of transportation this summer and I really don't need to get stranded. How much is the Electrex unit? I checked their website, no prices. I ALWAYS SUSPECT A CO. THAT DOESN'T PUBLISH PRICES FOR THE PUBLIC.

RIDER: Arthur Wamback

REPLY: Frank Perreault
If your electrical connections are sparkly clean then you should have nothing to worry about but by no means is that a guarantee.  The stock design is flawed and you will probably get bit sooner or later. 

The reason Electrex doesn't publish prices is that they are a European company therefore they have to deal with the European currency conversion.  That means the price fluctuates quite a bit.  Trust me, it's a good unit.  And no, they don't pay me to say that.  I bought my unit with my own cash.  ;-)

DATE: February 28, 1999
QUESTION: No Spark - 1983 GS450 SX

I got a GS450 that I really would like to ride but my problem is that I don't get any spark although I've got a new battery, plugs and I've tested the leads and everything.. I got juice up to where they plug into the coils and the coils feel warm when I turn .. the starter turns the igniter works and I get a signal from the signal generator.. Could it perhaps be the HT-Leads or the coils, but how could both of them not be producing a spark, since a month back both of them still worked.

RIDER: Robert Lishman

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You need to ohm out the coils and see if they are OK (~3 ohms).  If you are sure that your getting juice to the coils then check the grounds on the coils.   If those ohm out then all you have are the leads and since they are molded into the coils this means you can't change just the wires.  Replace the coils with Dyna units.

DATE: February 28, 1999
QUESTION: Toasted Electrex regulator -1978 GS1000C

I bought my 1978 Suzuki GS1000C new. In restoring the bike to like-new condition over the last several years, I have encountered one problem that has me so frustrated I could scream...the charging system. About 9 years ago with about 20k miles on the odometer, the stator and rectifier went up in smoke with no warning. I replaced both with stock Suzuki items and had experienced no further problems except short battery life.

When I started reading the GS Resources articles a couple of years ago, I became aware of what the problem seemed to be: flawed charging system design at the Suzuki factory. I resolved to buy the Electrex regulator/rectifier and did so this spring. I carefully installed the unit this April following the instructions that came with the unit...

1. Connect the three stator output cables directly (i.e. do not use the block-connector) to the three yellow input cables on the regulator/rectifier.

2 Connect the red cable from the regulator/rectifier directly to the positive terminal of your motorcycle's battery.

3. Connect the black cable from the regulator/rectifier to a GOOD ground (-ve).

I have a Clymer shop manual with a color wiring diagram for my Suzuki, so I am sure I connected the regulator/rectifier to the correct stator wires: one is yellow, one is striped blue/white, and one is striped green/white.

The unit seemed to be working fine during short (5-10 mile) rides. On June 29 I went for a 40-50 mile ride during which the bike ran fine. I parked the bike in the garage until last week when I went to start it. When I turned the ignition key the dash light came on momentarily then went dead. This had happened before once with the stock regulator/rectifier and indicated that the battery was shot (shorted out internally). But I checked all fuses and connections anyway. During my inspection, I noticed silvery-colored plastic drops on the floor beneath the chainguard. On closer inspection, I traced the silvery goo to the new Electrex's the stuff the regulator/rectifier parts are sealed in.

My new Electrex regulator had done the very thing I had bought it to prevent! Overheated and possibly ruined the charging system. I bought a new battery and charged it. After replacing the Electrex regulator/rectifier with the stock Suzuki unit, the bike seems to run fine. But here I am back with the original unreliable, possibly dangerous, and certainly expensive charging system!

What would you suggest?

RIDER: Jon Snyder

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Yow, that really stinks.  It sounds like one of the major components in the electrical system shorted or you had a connection that somehow touched ground.   If it were me I'd replace everything one more time - the stator, the battery, the regulator.  You can try doing a resistance check on the stator just to see if anything shows up, but I'm not too hopeful on that one.
Jon Snyder
Also, you'll remember the following Q&A from last summer. I contacted Electrex in Bend, Oregon. They said they had a run of rectifiers that had the wrong plastic "insulator" goop which would melt at low temperature. They offered (without my prompting) to replace the unit for free. I installed it and it has been working perfectly. I think it would be unfair to continue to have the Q&A sequence on your site, since it appears to have been an aberration, and Scott at Pacific Northwest MC Adventures handled the replacement in a timely and professional manner.

DATE: February 9, 1999
QUESTION: Ignitor test 1980 GS1000G

Multi-meter lead polarity. When used as a voltmeter the multimeter leads receive electric power as marked. (-) to the negative lead and (+) to the positive lead. When used as an ohmmeter the polarity indication of the leads is misleading. In fact because the meter is now a source of electricity and since the current must still travel through the meter coil in the same direction the polarity of the leads is opposite of that indicated by color or polarity mark. I mention this because I have wondered about the ignitor test. What does the manual mean when it says the "positive lead". Dag Stenerud Electrical instructor. BCIT.

RIDER: Dag Stenerud

REPLY: Frank Perreault
This is the classic example of analyzing a situation too much.  The polarity of the voltages coming out of multimeter probes is standardized, regardless of what that polarity actually is.  Because if this fact, simply follow the instructions.  If the manual states to place the red (+ or positive) meter probe to the blue wire, simply place the red meter probe to the blue wire.  And of course, the red probe should be plugged into the (+) jack on the meter...

DATE: January 26, 1999
QUESTION: Plug gap setting - 1980 GS1000GT

What is the gap size for the plugs?

RIDER: Jason Stasio

REPLY: Bill Patten
.024-.031 inch

DATE: January 3, 1999
QUESTION: What is causing a boiling battery? - 1983 GS1100G

I love the site, has helped me heaps but this problem has me beat.

My 1983 GS1100G has started boiling its battery and I can't figure out why. I have checked everything electrical as per the excellent flow chart in the website and it all checks out. Stator, near new) regulator, everything checks out.

I use the bike every day for courier work so would love to get this problem sorted, so I'm not using my wife's Honda 250!

After half a day on the road, not even hot weather and she's got no battery water left!

Please help me, I am open to any advise. Especially since there appears to be nothing wrong with the bike. All voltages and resistances are within spec. This is a real hassle, Christmas is real busy for couriers.

Thanking You. Great Site.

RIDER: Martin Kopp

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I find it hard to believe that everything checks out OK yet the battery continues to boils out.  Hmm, very wierd... 

Since the regulator job is to do just that, regulate, I'd have to aim toward that direction.  Apparently it is failing to detect voltage correctly and continues to charge even though the battery may not need it.  I would replace the regulator/rectifier with an Electrex unit.  Since you'll have it all apart anyway, make sure to ohm out the stator windings to ensure that there are no shorts their also.

DATE: January 3, 1999
QUESTION: Headlight fuse blowing - 1979 GS850G

The headlight fuse on my bike started blowing out on me. When it first happened I found that there was a 20amp fuse in the 10amp headlight spot. So I replaced the dead one with a 10 amp fuse but that blew out within an hour. So I replaced it with another 20 amp fuse. It does not occur regularly so I was wondering if it may be short somewhere.

Another possibility is that I have after-market hardbags that have brighter than normal lights. Actually they are indicator lights but I cannot get them to work properly so they are continually on.

What do you think the problem may be?

Got a keeper here, just want to keep her running.

RIDER: Ki Yamaguchi

REPLY: Frank Perreault
It sounds like your battery may need replacing or your electrical system isn't charging sufficiently.  My guess is you have low voltage at idle because of the combined effects of a weak battery/charging system and the additional load of all those lights.

Run the tests in our Stator Papers section.  If the voltage in the battery drops too low you end up increasing amperage load in the circuit.  Since the headlight has a high current load already, lowering the voltage below normal values   increases the amperage load even more.

You can confirm to see whether it is an electrical short or over current situation that blew the fuse by 'reading' the fuse.  If the blown fuse looks like it melted at the break in the fuse's link then this indicates that high current blew the fuse.   If it has a blackened burn mark on the glass of the fuse or link in the fuse then this indicates a short.

If the electrical system checks out fine, then you may need to a bigger battery (higher amperage) or may have to remove some of the lights.

DATE: January 3, 1999
QUESTION: Engine running rich - 1984 GSX750ES

I can safely say this is "The Best Suzuki Online site I have ever visited" !!

I recently purchased an immaculate 1984 GSX 750es from a dependable Dealer/Importer close by. The Bike is a Japanese Import and is a Very Clean Machine with only 18,000kmh ! Yea I know It sounds a bit Suspect, but Listening to the Engine with Exhaust pipes blocked with a soft cloth tells the truth of the matter….it Purrs ! All original parts still on it and No Grubby "Vice Grip" marks on any part what so ever…. On leaving the Shop it had a new battery, new oil and oil filter, I know cause I done it myself with the Dealer and Brand new Metzeler's front and Back……the usual things like Bulbs, brake Pads, Brake Fluid checked and/or replaced….

On collecting the Bike I decided to take the long way home to get aquatinted with it… Listening out for any Rattles or Hums, anything that could be counted as suspicious.. Nothing what so ever and ,after about 20 miles 30 odd Km/h…nice and warn kept around 4kRPM.Feels Good!, Lets Drive it on then and see how it pulls…… It zipped up to 120Kmh about 75mph and then U can hear it Flooding or Starving . No Power beyond 6000 RPM…… Just Dies ! and u get that "Moaaaaa " effect Happens in every gear ……perfect power delivery all the way to 6000 and SUDDEN DEATH…..

Take Out Plugs ! Completely Black all of them….(Not Oily),, Ok either filter Gone or Chokes Sticking ….Further Check reveals the Air Filter is Disintegrated due to age..

OK Time for A complete checkout…After each step taken the Bike was taken for another Blast

1 Replaced Air-Filter, No Joy

2 Replaced Plugs (tried 2 types "DR8ES and DR8ESL), No Joy

3 Plug Caps Replaced Make NGK TYPE - SP05f (5Kohm) (Old one’s were all different impedance), No Joy

4 Measured Coils OK ,checked wiring loom to CDI OK, No Joy

5 Stripped Carburetors down to individual units… Needless to say Diaphragms were Perfect, Needles Straight, Float pistons free moving spotlessly clean inside . Stripped Chokes …they needed a cleaning all right…… Completely Cleaned and Reassemble with No Spare parts , Carbs Rebalance, No Joy…..

Plugs still black…..????????????????????????

Checked for blocked Orifices from Airbox to carb and from carb to Head Ports…nothing…..

Strip Check Clean and Balance Carbs again…..Same Result…Black plugs …


Genuine Suzuki "Cylindrical type Foam Air Filter" should I try something else ? Are these BIKES restricted ? I don’t think so.. then Again? Are there any Sneaky Restricting Washers in the Engine or Exhaust ? Do I need to change the jets ?

Any Information or help in this area would be much appreciated and it would help keep a perfectly sane Human Being away from a Shrink !

RIDER: Owen Coughlan

REPLY: Ken Taaffe
I have run into the same problem with my 84 GS550ES, and believe it or not, it has nothing to do with your fuel system. It is the infamous GS electrical system. I did the same replacements and checks as you. I ended up replacing the signal generator ($125) and ignition module ($300).

You may want to try with just the signal generator first.  Since it is RPM dependent, that is your best bet. I had to replace the ignition module also (I also wasn't getting enough spark), but you should hold off on that unless really necessary. My bike runs great now.
Mike Saxon
Wow, sounds like you put a lot of effort into troubleshooting your problem! I don't think you have a fuel problem, though, especially since you cleaned and adjusted the carbs twice. I'm wondering if you've got bad coils or a bad ignitor. Do the test for the ignitor and see what obtains.

DATE: December 5, 1998
QUESTION: Bad ignition when warm - 1982 GS1100EZ

I have an almost completely (oil cooler, replacement battery and beefed up clutch) stock 1982 GS 1100 EZ with 8200 original miles that has developed a peculiar problem. It starts normally and after a warm up runs flawlessly until I've gone about 20 miles or so and then it starts misfiring under moderately hard acceleration and progressively gets worse until it begins to misfire with just a mild throttle "roll on" from any RPM. I've changed plugs, checked the wiring for any bad connections, checked the charge status on the battery, drained the carburetors looking for contaminants but it still hasn't changed the results. It does seem to get a little better if I stop and let it cool down for 5 minutes or so but resumes just a few miles further down the road.

Does it sound to you like it might be a bad coil that is starting to breakdown when it gets warm? Hope you can give me some ideas on what it could be and where to start looking. Thanks for your help.

RIDER: Jim Harrison

REPLY: Frank Perreault
If I had to guess, I would say that the coils are breaking down.  You may want to get the bike warm to the point where it starts acting flaky and check the voltage while it's running crappy.  Low voltage can cause a similar problem and as you know, Suzuki's are known for the Stator/rectifier problem. 

If the voltage looks fine then change the coils.  I would go with Dyna coils.   They are sturdier than stock units.

DATE: December 5, 1998
QUESTION: Cylinders not firing - 1982 GS1100G

I have an 82 GS 1100G. I love this bike, but recently I believe that it is feeling the cold. The battery went out and I was forced to 'push' start it down a hill. I ran great, then the two right cylinders went out. I’ve replaced the battery but it still runs rough. The plugs look fine. The wires to the plugs look pretty old however. After reading the GS resources Q&A's, I decided to look at my coils. I also have a Clymer manual. Now I am very confused. I am counting the cylinders straight across - as sitting on the bike looking down, the left cylinder is number 1 and the far right cylinder is number 4. In this case cylinder 3 and 4 are not firing, but the each cylinder is connected to a different coil. Does this mean that both coils have gone out? Any suggestions on what to look for and new parts to buy?

RIDER: Bill Jarrett

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You mention that each cylinder is connected to a different coil - hmm, there are only 2 coils on this bike which means that one coil is used for 2 cylinders at a time.   That being the case cylinders 2 and 3 typically fire off of one coil and cylinders 1 and 4 fire off the other. 

You mention that you have the Clymer manual.  Following the troubleshooting steps outlined there to figure out whether it's the ignitor or the coil.  For this you'll need a volt-ohm meter.  They sell them real cheap at Radio Shack.

DATE: December 5, 1998
QUESTION: Erratic fuel reading - 1982 GS1100GLZ

Great site! I spend a lot of time browsing here for solutions and ideas.

I've got a 1982 GS1100GLZ and this past summer I fried the stator. After discovering this site and learning about the ELECTREX products, I replaced my reg/rec and stator with their new and improved version. Everything works fine except since I fried the system, my gas gauge hasn't worked right. At first, it just stayed on half-tank all the time no matter how much fuel was in the tank. I got tired of this and tried to order a new gas tank innards (sensor etc.) from Suzuki, but most of that stuff has been discontinued, so I had to go the salvage yard route. The new innards work somewhat better, but cause the gauge to be very erratic.

So now I have a gauge that registers all over the place, depending on its mood. It is at its worst on a full tank and gets a little more stable as the tank empties. Am I simply the victim of two bad sets of tank innards, or is there still some left-over fried component in the electrical loop that I am unaware of?

RIDER: Robert Krieger

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I can think of three reasons for this;  1) the fuel sensor isn't properly adjusted in the fuel tank, 2) you have a bad or corroded electrical connector between the fuel sending unit  or 3) the fuel gauge is bad.  The simplest way (not necessarily the easiest way) to test of all of this is to remove the sending unit from the tank, turn on the key and move the sending unit float by hand.  You should see the needle on the fuel gauge move smoothly through its range.  If it works properly doing this, then the float is getting hung up in the tank.  It's real easy to bend the shaft to the float when placing the sensor in the tank so make sure that the float is adjusted properly and carefully place it in the tank.

If not, then something is electrically wrong.  Checking the connectors and making sure they are clean is cheap and easy to do, so tackle that first.  Make sure all your grounds are good and clean.  Put an ohmmeter on the fuel gauge sending unit and make sure the electrical resistance is measuring between 1 and 120 ohms.  You should get 100-120 ohms for an empty tank.

DATE: December 5, 1998
QUESTION: Does bike run without a battery? - GS400

I have a question about my GS 400. Since I bought it 3 years ago, I had no problems with except for one - when I tried to disconnect the battery from the working bike the bike went idle. If you try this with a car, the car will still be running. Does this mean that my generator isn't working and that my bike runs of the battery.

RIDER: Alex Firioubine

REPLY: Henry Dedrick
Alex, unless your father-in-law owns a diode factory, don't disconnect the battery terminals while the engine is running.

Y'all please correct me if this is wrong, but your alternator generates abnormally high voltages without the battery loading the circuit. This can damage the semiconductors (diodes, transistors, etc.) in the regulator/alternator/rectifier.

I suspect that you've gotten away with it so far because the alternator isn't putting out enough juice to do any damage when you pull off the terminal at idle.

I suspect your GS400 dies at that point for that reason. The voltmeter I have on my GS550 indicates that even with the lights off, my alternator isn't bringing the system above 12.5V until about 1500RPM or so. That means it's not really turning fast enough to charge at idle. So without the battery, it won't allow the bike to run at idle.
Frank Perreault
I believe that Henry is quite right on this one...

DATE: December 5, 1998
QUESTION: Starter problems -1984 GS100GK

I'm having starter problems, and I'd like to rectify the situation myself. I replaced the starter relay this morning and that wasn't the problem. It clicks just like the old one did. I also checked all my fuses- no trouble there. I had the crank case off, tried to start the bike, and the starter wouldn't budge. It doesn't even make a sound. Help! I refuse to buy a new starter (for $400), and don't think I can handle a rebuild myself. And I'm definitely not having the bike towed anywhere! If you can offer some suggestions, I'd appreciate it.

RIDER: Jim Hunt

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Hmm, you don't want to buy a new starter, can't handle a rebuild and don't want to tow it?  Looks like it'll be sitting still for a long time.   ;-)

Seriously, you need to see if you are getting voltage to the starter.  Buy yourself one of those 12V test lights for $4 or so.  Connect the alligator clip to ground and the tip of the probe to the terminal on the starter.  Pull in the clutch, place the starter switch to 'Run'  and hit the starter button.  If the light goes on, the starter needs a rebuild or replacement.  If the the light doesn't light, then you need to trace back with the tester to find the break in the circuit.
Jim Hunt
I used my tester and found that there was juice going to the starter. I removed it and brought it to a local guy for a rebuild. How much do you think that'll run me? I know a new starter goes for about $400, so I should pay any more than half of that, right? He had a new starter out like he wanted to sell me one- I don't really trust this guy, but as there are no other guys in the area aside from dealerships, I'm screwed.  Anyway, thanks for sending me in the right direction.
Frank Perreault
About $200 sounds right.  I'd definitely get some references first though...
Brian Underwood
Jim, I took mine apart the insulator for the (+ hot wire was bad so I took it to a Ma & Pa starter place.  They rigged a new insulator set up for the ( + ) post. (If you can wiggle the (+) post on the starter you have a problem. They cleaned and lubed everything, replaced one brush (the other one was good) all for a price tag of 25 dollars.   Shop around and save money.  Also, you can get a rebuild one for around $160 exchange with a 1 year warranty.  I say dive into it.  You can always put it back together and use it for an exchange.  It's easy, really!

DATE: November 1, 1998
QUESTION: No charge - 1983 GS1100E

I just bought a battery for the bike because I , like many of you couldn't start my bike . The starter turns good for awhile . the bike will not even fire then the starter starts to die down . Ok now a dead battery! now I charge my new battery. Pull the choke and it doesn't take a half second and the bike is running. I can ride all day!!!! Then it happens again. I've cleaned all the connections and grounds then recharge good for another day . Do I now belong to the stator gone to *hit club? Also when I bought the bike I noticed when I gas it hard somewhere in the 6500 to 8000 rpm range at night all my instrument warning lights start to light up. Where do I start???? Please someone help ASAP I miss my bike!!!!!! Also where do I get good reliable parts at a reasonable price.

RIDER: Brian Underwood

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Perform the new troubleshooting steps that are located in our Stator Paper section.  It sounds like you have the typical Suzuki charging problems.  For parts, check our Links page.
Brian Underwood
Frank , Stator and R.R. replaced w/ Electrex! My charging system is as good as any cars or better lights do not dim or brighten w/rpm changes . Ritzo is the man!!!!!! Very helpful and prompt with answers to my questions.  Scott Sargent a pleasure to deal with. ( Bend Ore. USA )

Thanks to everyone who help me save hundreds of dollars not to mention the fact that I know the bike is fixed right! One more thing for anyone working one electrical charging systems, GROUNDS are a key factor! Clean bare metal - thick wire ( Make your own, ask Ritzo how and where) Happy riding.
Frank Perreault
Glad to hear that we were all able to help!

DATE: November 1, 1998
QUESTION: Bad ignitor - 1980 GS550E

I just stumbled across your Suzuki GS bike web site – I think it is GREAT someone is coordinating this information. Thank you! I never previously thought to go looking for advice on the web, but checked it on a whim tonight. I have a 1980 GS550E which I have owned since 1982. It’s been given me some ignition problems over the last couple of years. I now think my ignitor box is shot (or at least one half of it) - two of the cylinders (both from one coil) aren’t getting spark. Last year, this problem appeared intermittently – now it seems to be a permanent condition. Yesterday, I tried isolating the problem by "jumpering" the two halves of the system. By systematically cross wiring the two coils, two "halves" of the ignitor unit and the two signal generators, I believe I have isolated the problem to one half of the ignitor unit. In other words, I was able to get spark at all plugs by systematically jumpering in the good half of the ignitor unit. Similarly, I was able to prove both signal generators work by routing them through the "good half" of the ignitor.

1. Does that seem like a probable failure mode? (It is common for one half of this unit to go bad – or does it typically go all at once?) 2. Do you think it is worth trying to get one used at a parts salvage place or am I likely to get another problem part? 3. Is there an aftermarket replacement part available that might be cheaper than the $270+ from the local Suzuki dealer for a new part? 4. Do you recommend any particular salvage shops or mail order places? 5. What can I expect to spend for the used part? 6. Is there some kind of easy "field test" to check the part with a DVM if I find one at a local salvage yard, so I don't take home a bum part?

Your insight will be greatly appreciated.

RIDER: Mark Chuchra

REPLY: Zack Schultz
Did you try to swap coils so that the 'bad' one was firing the 'good' cylinders. I personally haven't heard of 1/2 an ignition module going bad, but I suppose it's possible. On my '84 550, the ignition module wiring has cracks in the insulation. Silicone so far is holding, but I expect to have to replace the unit eventually. J.C. Whitney has what looks like an exact replacement for $100.

I can't vouch for it, but there's another source. As far as a field check, I can email you the page out of the 84 manual if you like.
Scott Horner
I can get you the Dyna S electronic ignition to replace the signal generator and the ignitor for $89.95 + shipping. The unit can be used with the stock coils, although ultimately works best with the Dyna coils $79.95pr.

DATE: November 1, 1998
QUESTION: Funky ignition at high revs - 1978 GS750E

Same problem as Ralf Seyer but you don't say what resistance I should get from coils. Is it 3 ohms? I've got a basket case cbr600 that I've been scrapping case bolts from, do you think the 3 ohm coils from that will work? They are nicely sealed from the elements, and swapping the plug boots is no big deal.

RIDER: Ryan Thomas

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I don't say what the resistance is because I don't know.  I only have service manuals for my GS1100 so I'd rather not guess on things like this.  So would the CBR600 coils work?  If they match the resistance of what the original coils should be it is certainly worth a try.  But that's just my opinion and remember that if I'm wrong you could end up blowing up an expensive ignitor unit.
Scott Horner
Yes, the 3.0 ohm coils off the CBR will work. Give some thought to the Dyna coils for the "perfect fix".

DATE: November 1, 1998
QUESTION: Hi-Low switch broken - 1979 GSX1100

Found your page by accident and it is very informative. I have a 11/79 GSX1100. My problem is the Blinker/Hi-Low beam switch. The hat broke on a ride from Townsville to Cairns (I am in Australia) and had to do the rest of the trip in pouring rain, middle of the night on low beam:- bummer of a ride on Australian roads. I cannot repair the switch and cannot find a secondhand one anywhere here. Am told a new one will cost a mint and that this is an inherent fault. Also cannot seem to source a new one. Has anybody tried wiring in one from another model or another bike?

RIDER: Phillip James Stokes

REPLY: Scott Horner
Here in the U.S. I sell the switch new for $69.95, used $45. I have seen the hi/low beam switch adapted from another bike, but there was not a turn signal switch.

DATE: November 1, 1998
QUESTION: Main fuse blowing - 1978 GS1000

My recently rebuilt (with some extra) '78 GS1000 is blowing main fuses. Twice the fuse failed at low engine speeds after a couple of hours of riding (the bike simply drops dead), and twice a new fuse has failed at 7000 RPM (the bike drops like a rev limiter has been hit, catches, and stops dead 30 seconds later). I have run through the charging system diagnostic procedure as listed on the web site (thanks), and everything is fine. I have a new Electrex regulator to replace the no-name aftermarket unit in it now, but is there anything else I should check before something major fries?

RIDER: Joe Lanfrankie

REPLY:  Malcolm Evans
Check alternator output after a ride on all three phases - if oil level is allowed to drop, or if the oil gets sufficiently hot, then the alternator on all stock GS's will chuck out a huge voltage which will destroy anything stock in its path. With my GS 850 this equated to the reg / rectifier, the ignition system and finally the battery. Expensive.

Sounds like you have been lucky so far as the fuse is limiting the damage and the fact that you already have a non-stock reg/rec helps.

To cheaply junk the electrics, simply replace reg/rec with a Honda Superdream item (this is a standard mod in the UK!!!), I have a GSX 750 alternator in mine but a GPz 550 Kawa will also fit.

DATE: November 1, 1998
QUESTION: Turn signals won't blink - 1979 GS1000E

I took advantage of taking off my quarter fairing to change the Halogen to a 100/65 watt bulb, and to replace the "aftermarket" mini turn signals with full sized one's. Once the turnsignals changed they quit "signaling or blinking" the lights turn on and stay on. There is a satisfying clack when I actuate the switch. The "mini" signals weren't without fault. They only blinked above 2500 rpm's or so. A dealer mechanic, (a loose term!) claimed that the smaller bulbs had less "resistance" so they wouldn't work at idle (14.9v) I didn't buy it. Because I was going to replace them I wasn't concerned. When I re-connected the mini lights they worked as before, probably ruling out additional drain from the brighter headlight. Before I buy alot of $100 per ounce electrical stuff I was hoping for some advice.

RIDER: Jim Thacker

REPLY: Frank Perreault
It sounds like the problem is indeed related to the new bulbs and the additional change in electrical load that they are putting on the current turn signal relay. It's the same situation when you add a trailer and it's lights to the electrical circuit on your car. Usually you have to buy a heavy-duty relay for your car or else the signal will just stay on continually and won't blink.

I'm not familiar with the plug arrangement of your current turn signal relay but it seems to me that it should be standard enough to replace with another model relay. Mine has 3 prongs if I remember right. I would go to your Suzuki and see if they have a unit available from a bike that uses regular bulbs (my 81' GS1100 does). Remember, that dealer parts are more expensive and typically you can't exchange electrical parts.

For a cheaper deal, you could try matching up something from a local auto parts store also. This is basically have to be one of those buy and try deals. Good luck!
Jim Thacker
You done it. This morning I grabbed a used blinker unit and tried it, no change. Tried the working one off my GS-750, then the one off the GR-650 (which was physically different) still no change. Then I went out to the driveway and grabbed the one from my 82 Ford Bronco, (it's not a cage, it's a prison!) Voila! Blink, Blink, Blink, engine running or not. Made me think. I got out the VOM and started checking. It turns out that the "mini" lights have much more resistance (therefore current draw) than the original lights. Quickly I realized that the rear lights were non stock also, being flush mounted on the tailpiece. Checked the rears, much more resistance than stock. The blinker unit for the Bronco while looking much less substantial actually was much "tougher" being designed to work with Truck and trailer lights. Tried the blinker from my wife's Taurus, barely worked! When I temporarily hung stock tail light stalks off the connector all the blinker units worked fine. The Bronco blinker unit cost $1.31 to replace including tax. Problem solved, thanks. This might help someone else.   Thanks again!

DATE: October 4, 1998
QUESTION: Dim lights, misfire, no idle

The problem I am having is the bike misfires at low idle, between 900-1500Rpm and won't idle steady anywhere in between that..

I put in fresh plugs (I've tried two different heat ranges 8ES and 9ES), new oil, tighten all feasters and bolts, new air filter, attempted to balance the carbs with a mercury carb sync to no avail.. I've also noticed, only at night that the battery, headlight, brake light and sidestand lights all start to very dimly light up, the headlight itself dims when I accelerate or at curtain speeds. I haven't run a compression check recently, because let's face it with the carbs not being set right I doubt I'd get an accurate reading...

I'm starting to think it's an electrical problem rather then mechanical although, before this, not realizing that the fuel switch had been switched to PRI (how that happened I still wonder) when I went to start it I heard an odd clunk then the starter quit, it took another attempt to get it to turn again, possible hydraulic lock in the cylinder? Although the problem started before this happened, although outside of idling and when I first start to accelerate it runs perfect. When I first start to accelerate it runs very poor unless I bring it up to 5,000 RPM and slowly release the clutch, past 2,000 to 2,3000 RPM it runs okay...

RIDER: Chris Goacher

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Sounds like electrical problems to me. Run the diagnosis procedures outlined in our Stator Papers section. Sounds like the stator, regulator or both may have fried on you.

DATE: September 26, 1998
QUESTION: Replace wiring? - 1978 GS400X

I currently own a 1978 GS400X which I am performing a total rebuild/modifications on. Reading some of your electrical notes and Q & A's, I'm led to believe that I should toss any old wires and get a new harness made up, buy a new stator, etc., etc.. Is it normally a starting point on old bikes to simply eliminate old wiring due to age, thus solving many potential, later problems (if so, who supplies a harness & diagrams?).

RIDER: John Lima

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Hmm, I'm not sure where you got the impression that we recommend rewiring the whole bike but that certainly isn't the case.  We do commonly suggest that you replace the regulator with an Electrex unit, run a ground wire from the negative battery terminal to the regulator mounting plate and clean all the electrical bullet connector with ScotchBrite and WD-40.

Harnesses are only available from Suzuki (not needed) and the wiring diagrams are in the service manual for the bike.

DATE: September 26, 1998
QUESTION: Starting problems - 1985 GS450L

HELP!!!! Bike will not turn over. I have continuity from handlebar switch to solenoid. I have replaced solenoid. I can hear it clicking in. Bike won't crank. Starter not turning. I have pulled starter and inspected visually. Brushes and armature look good. This was an intermittent problem for the past few months but now it won't crank at all. Any suggestions?

RIDER: Mark Hydrick

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Check to make sure the battery is fine first.  Use a voltmeter on the battery and the voltage should be around 13.8 volts. This doesn't check to make sure that the battery has sufficient current to crank the starter though.  A better way to confirm the battery is good is to have someone do a load test on it.  Any place that sells motorcycle batteries can do this test.

Once the battery is confirmed to be OK, take a voltmeter and place the black probe and ground it out on the bike and place the red probe on the terminal of the starter relay that goes to the starter.  Make sure the clutch is pulled in and hit the starter switch.  You should see voltage.  If not, the relay or the wiring is bad.   If you do see voltage, the starter needs to be rebuilt or replaced.

DATE: September 26, 1998
QUESTION: Are both coils bad? - 1979 GS550L

I recently bought a 1979 GS550L from a fellow for a reasonable price. The bike was in excellent physical shape despite the burgundy paint being faded but not running at the time of purchase (I know why would you do that?).

He said that he had it into a shop and they said that the coils were shot. I put in a brand new completely charged battery and tested the spark which showed one weak spark from #3 cylinder.

1. Is it possible for both coils to go completely. The bike was in storage for a while.

2. What would be the reason for the failure of both coils?

3. Is this something that is common on this model?

I have read about the stator /rectifier problems. Would this effect the performance of the coils?

RIDER: Garth Wintle

REPLY: Michael Saxon
More likely, the ignition wires are "shot" (dried, cracked, cut, etc.). Unfortunately for us, Suzuki made the HT wires integral with the coils. This means that when the wires go, we have to replace the coils as well.

One option is to replace the coils with stock units. New coils from Suzuki are very expensive (like, $300 something last time I checked). Used coils can be had from a salvage yard or classifieds, but you run the risk of paying for coils that are little better than your own.

The other option is to go aftermarket. Dyna and Accel make good replacements. The Accel kit costs about $160 from a dealer, you may be able to get it a little cheaper mail order.

FWIW, I have had good experience with the Accel coils on a GS750E. I tried to replace the coils on my current GS850G with Accel units as well, but the coils I received were mislabeled at the factory and did not work properly. I wound up obtaining fairly good stock coils from the classifieds for $25.
Chris Hunter
It is very unlikely both coils will fail. Try some steel wool and WD40 and clean all the contacts for the ignition wiring. Also try a new set set of high tension wires for the spark plug (they go with age) and new spark plugs.

Ignition draws from the battery, so I don't think its a charging problem (yet!).

DATE: September 26, 1998
QUESTION: Ignition conversion info needed - 1979 GS1000S

I've got a '79 GS1000S with a buggered Automatic Timing Unit (bent shaft and worn out springs) and currently have point ignition. I want to convert to electronic. Is there a conversion kit that includes everthing so I don't need to buy a new ATU as it is expensive and hard to find second hand.

RIDER: Ben Green

REPLY: Scott Horner
The product(s) you are looking for are produced by Dynatek. The Dyna S is a self contained electronic ignition and can be used with your stock coils. My price for that unit is $89.95 pn# DS3-2. The other option is the Dyna 2000. This unit boasts a microprocessor which produces a "digital" rather than the standard "analog" signal, an adjustable rpm limiter, selectable ignition advance curves, a ignition retard function and a built in timing light. My price on this unit is $269.95 pn# DDK3-2. It is suggested to run the Dyna 2.2 ohm (pn# DC4-1) coils for maximum performance of the unit. If you were to purchase coils for the Dyna S you would need pn# DC1-1. The price of the coils are $84.95 for the pair. Good Luck!!
Joe Amidon
Dennis Kirk has a conversion kit for the GS1000 that goes for around $140.

DATE: September 26, 1998
QUESTION: The perpetually running starter - 1992 GSXR-750

I have a peculiar problem. My bike will not quit trying to start. Out of the blue, when I released the start button - the starter continued to crank. I hit the kill switch - it kept going. I turned off the ignition - it kept going. I removed the key - still going. I put the bike in gear and released the clutch - still going. Luckily, my battery wasn't fully charged and drained before the starter fried. I have the battery disconnected now, but as soon as I connect any juice, the starter starts cranking. I'm at a loss, I can't find anything frayed or broken.

Could it be a bad ignition? A grounding problem? It's almost as if there's a wire from the battery terminal to the starter terminal. Please help!

RIDER: Erich Hartman

REPLY:  Billy Ricks
Sounds to me like you have a fried solenoid switch.
Zack Schultz
First, you know that this is the GS Resources page and it's dedicated to the older GS series bikes right? But, I'll take pity since I have also have an RF900 as well as my GS (just don't let it get out!)

I'm going to guess that you have a wiring error in the starter relay. Either it's contacts are welded, or the signal from the starter circuit is always feeding 12 volts. Another possibility is that since the relay usually has open terminations (bolts on threaded studs), something metal or carbon fiber if you're so inclined has fallen across the terminal points.
Frank Perreault
I have a secret desire for a red RF900, but don't tell anyone...    ;-)

DATE: August 26, 1998
QUESTION: No spark - 1981 GS450E

I have a 1981 GS450E. I'm having a little trouble with what I believe is igniter box. I have replaced signal generator and igniter box and finally got spark on right hand side but not left. Could there be a problem in igniter that isn't allowing left coil to fire? I have checked coils and both are known to be good. Strange thing is when checking coil wires with ohmmeter, I get nothing on RH side but LH I get a reading of small continuity. Any insight would be great. lt's appreciated.

RIDER: Tim Jones

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You should be seeing continuity on both coils, not just one.  Just remember that the resistance reading is low - less than 3 ohms. 

It would be helpful for you to dig up a manual on this bike so that you can troubleshoot the system correctly versus just changing all the parts.  I'm sure that it's been quite expensive so far.

DATE: August 24, 1998
QUESTION: Funky ignition at high revs - 1979 GS550E

In 1981 I bought a 1979 GS550E. It’s rusty, it’s got some problems over that 17 years I use it (but only 81.000 km/50.000 mls), but it is still running and I’m fond of it.

Since a short while I experience problems with the ignition, but it occurs only with hot engine. After warming up the engine, everything seems to be fine for a while. Engine can be revved up to what it is designed for, up to 10.000 rpm seem to be ok if you want to push it hard.

When it’s getting hot, things change. Up to some 5.500 rev’s everything still seems ok, then interrupts on detonation begin and increase the more I rev it. I can’t exactly identify, but I think the phenomenon is spread over at least 2 cylinders. I can rev up to some 8000 or 9000 rev’s, but it’s not worth it: There is no increase in power due to interrupts in ignition. The contact points look god and are quite new, as well as the timing. Spark plugs have some 2000 - 3000 km, which is not much. Do you have any idea to find out what it is, without giving it into service ? Thanks for help

RIDER: Ralf Seyer

REPLY: Frank Perreault
It sounds like either your ignition wires are breaking down or you have a ignition coil going bad.  Since the spark plug wires are molded into the stock ignition coils you have to replace both wires and coil at once.  You have 2 coils so you unless something shows up when doing a resistance check with an ohmmeter on one of them, you may need to change both coils anyway.  If I were you I would check out aftermarket coils and wire like those made by Dyna and replace both coils and all the spark plug wires.

DATE: August 24, 1998
QUESTION: Are the newer Suzuki regulators better?

I haven't come across any questions or answers to the following: 1). Are the newer regulators/rectifiers (90's?)better built? 2). If they are better, can they be used in the older GS's like mine, 78 GS750E?

RIDER: Michael Hartwig

REPLY: Frank Perreault
From what I hear, they are better than the old ones but still flawed.  I would recommend against it.

There is a reason we hype the Electrex so much around here.  It was designed specifically to address the shortcomings of the Suzuki design.  I think you'll be hard pressed to find anyone on this site recommending going with any Suzuki regulator.

DATE: August 24, 1998
QUESTION: Fried again - 1985 GS550E

I own a 1985 GS550E, imported from the US to Holland. A year ago the stator of my bike was fried. I immediately replaced the regulator/rectifier unit by the Electrex version after reading about the bad design of the original one on this site. And I installed a so called "reworked" stator. Now, a year later, the reg/rect suddenly burned up, while the bike was standing idle after a long ride.I checked the stator and it was also gone for good. I'm not sure what to say now, I thought the Electrex reg/rect is(was) superiour to the Suzuki version, but I'm beginning to doubt now. Can you or someone else explain this ?

RIDER: Peter Hommel

REPLY: Frank Perreault
The thing that immediately gets my attention is the "reworked" stator.  Reworked in what fashion and by whom? The reason I ask is that the stator sits bathed in oil and if the bike was sitting idling for a long time the oil may have got hot enough to melt a crappy solder joint or something.  The Electrex isn't a miracle worker.  If it's put on a bike with a shaky stator or a shaky battery you'll cook it again.  That's why when it happened to me (once) I replaced the stator with a new Suzuki piece.
Peter Hommel
Thanks for your reply. I thought you'd like to known what has happened since then.

I have replaced the damaged RR one by a new (and according to Ritzo Muntinga better) one. It seems my RR came from an earlier series, that still had some problems. Since I've installed the new RR I've noticed an increase in power output. The flashlights "flash" more quicker and brighter than before, also when the engine is running at idle speed. I hope this RR will last forever. If it fails again, I'll dump my bike in the nearest canal.

DATE: August 24, 1998
QUESTION: Rectifier wiring - 1983 GS650GL

I have now, due to an upcoming major event, the "Pilgrim's treff" i.e. the annual MC-meet, arranged by the Holy Riders MC, replaced both my Stator and my rectifier.  Both were purchased new, from Spinnin Wheel near Oslo, reportedly manufactured by Electrex, although nothing was indicated on the units themselves. (I'll have to ask) When doing the swap (which was done, out of laziness, with the GS lying 45deg. on it's right hand side, suspended by an overhead crane, to avoid draining the oil) I find myself with 2 (two) wires that no longer seem to belong anywhere.   The wires are, as shown in the Clymer manual, el. diagrammed pg. 3 (last page in the book) ans green/white (going from the Stator to the Lighting Switch) and the red/white (coming from the LS to the Rectifier). I do not like to have fewer connections than when I started.

Am I just a lucky jerk, everything appears to work, or am I prone for yet another surprise and drain on my low, low MC allowance.  Note: The bike is a 1983 GS650GL, obviously not listed in the Clymer, but pg. 3 is the best fit.  Thousands of thanks in advance, you guys deserve honorary mention, to say the least.

RIDER: Tommy Zielinski

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I would look at the picture of the green/white wire in your manual again because it doesn't sound right that the wire run from the stator to the lighting switch.  

I looked at my GS1100 manual and it shows the green/white going from the stator to a connector somewhere which loops around and turns into a red/white wire that runs to the rectifier.  This would seem to indicate that you should be able to connect the green/white wire directly to the red/white wire and you'll be all set.   That would tie in the 3rd winding of the stator into the regulator, which is what they are essentially doing on my bike.  So that's what I think it should be but I can't guarantee anything, so you may want to have someone look at it who has the real shop manual.
Peter Huppertz
It seems like you've got yourself an Electrex, you lucky b*stard! ;-)

The wires left over are bullshit anyway, since the Electrex has a regulated third phase you don't need them anymore. Leave them as they are. See the Stator Papers issue 1 for what's behind this...

Frank: NEVER trust a manual ;-)
Frank Perreault
Ah, but it seems that you need to be talking the right manual and bike.   Apparently, the green/white wire is used in Europe to power the headlight via a headlight switch.  Since the US required that headlights always be on, the wire was shunted and doesn't connect to anything.  Of course, this is only on some models of GS.  In other GS the shunted is located in the wiring harness itself. .

DATE: August 24, 1998
QUESTION: OK to add lights - 1982 GS1100GK

I have an 82 GK which I love. A fine bike. I am thinking about putting some running lights on it and with all of the horror stories on electrical problems I am a little leery to do so. What do you think about it?

RIDER: Russ Larges

REPLY: Frank Perreault
From what I've seen, more load doesn't hurt the system as much as no load does.   Of course, this doesn't mean that you should add enough lights to light up a city block but anything normal should be fine.

DATE: August 1, 1998
QUESTION: Blown stator and what else?  - 1981 GS850G

O.K. guys, more charging system questions. I bought an 81GS850G last fall. This spring, after a couple thousand miles, I checked the charging system, and, sure enough, the regulator was putting out about 17 volts, so I replaced it with an Electrex regulator/rectifier. I asked whether I should change the stator at the same time, and they recommended it would be the best thing to do, but I couldn't see why my stator should give problems if I fixed the regulator. Now, 5,000 miles later, my stator stopped generating electricity. It's not putting out anything and has shorted out.

Now, I've read about stators frying regulators when they go, although I don't understand why it just doesn't stop generating, so I'm concerned I may have damaged my new Electrex unit. I can't really test it without the stator, except for the diodes, can I. Should I get a new Electrex regulator, too? The Electrex rebuilt stator is $135 plus shipping from England, and a new one from Suzuki costs about $180 plus UPS. Should I just get a new one? Now, of course, I agree I should have replaced the stator at the same time. I'm also tempted to take the stator to an alternator rebuilding shop to have it rewound for a good deal less. What to do?? I'm driving myself crazy with the options. Please help! Please somebody give me the answers!

RIDER: Joe Amidon

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I would be safe and replace the regulator again.  If it's shorted out internally you could end up blowing the new stator once again.  When replacing it make sure that you have a ground wire going from the regulator directly to the battery.   That will hopefully prevent any future problems with the charging system.
Joe Amidon
Before I got your reply, I went ahead and replaced the stator with one from Dennis Kirk. I still have a couple of questions. First, the Suzuki stator wiring was covered with some sort of heavy gunk, which I thought might be some additional insulation to protect it from the hot oil bath it's in. The Dennis Kirk stator was just the regular winding wire. Do you think this will make for a shorter life? Secondly, The charging system seems to be working fine now, and although I grounded the Electrex regulator where the old one was, (it was too short to make it to the battery), I installed a second grounding wire from the old ground on the battery box to the battery and cleaned all the contacts. Is there still a concern about the old regulator, or does this success indicate I'm safe. I've put about 500 miles on the new system.
Frank Perreault
The gunk on the stator is insulation.  It would provide better protection than just a varnish coated wire but that shouldn't be a problem now that you've changed the regulator to an Electrex and grounded the new unit correctly.  You should be all set now.

DATE: June 27, 1998
QUESTION: No ignition - 1978 GS750E

1st thing - I'm glad to have found a bike site worth reading.  I love the Q&A section almost as much as riding bike itself and since we're on the subject of my bike - could you please help me find the mysterious problem of no power to the points?

I checked the connections and cleaned as much as I can without tearing the system apart and putting it back together( I'm scared to take too much apart, I shorted out an old H1 I had long ago). I put it in the shop for the same problem 3X and the problem returns. It ran great all winter now the weather is good I'm driving the old Dodge to work. Any help would be gratefully appreciated

RIDER: Guy E. Nichols

REPLY: Frank Perreault
What part did they replace it to fix it 3 years ago?  This may give you and idea of where to start looking.  It sounds like you may have a frayed wire or something because it isn't common to have this many ignition problems in such a short time span.  You are going to need a repair manual to track this one down I'm afraid.   If you would rather not do it yourself, then you'll be paying someone to do it.

DATE: June 11, 1998
QUESTION: Brake switch problems - GS650L

I am the owner of a GS 650 L and keep on having trouble with the front brake switch which is situated under the brake handle. I have bought a new one but it seems to work just occasionally. Pretty dangerous since cars coming up from behind do not know that I am reducing my speed.  Is this a well known problem or is there another and better switch to get hold of ?

RIDER: Harald Garder Beil

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I have found that the switch design while somewhat flimsy, does work and I've seen no major problems with it.  I have had to occasionally squirt WD-40 into the switch once in a while to clean the contacts.  If the new switch is also acting flaky then that indicates that you do not have the switch properly adjusted. 

Loosen the 2 screws holding the switch to the brake handle.  You should notice that the switch can be moved back and forth.  Move the switch all the way in one direction and tighten the screws and test it.  If it doesn't work, loosen the screws, move the switch slightly and test.  This is a trial and error method.

DATE: June 11, 1998
QUESTION: More charging problems - 1983 GS650GL

First, THANKS A LOT for a GREAT site, You are surely making this world a better place (at least for the {GS} bikers), and you will be, I'm sure, heavenly rewarded.  Now to the basics: my name is Tommy Zielinski, and I am the (relatively) happy and proud owner of a 1983 GS650GL, run 60,000km, in fairly good shape.

But: How long was Adam in Paradise?

I have just discovered that I am now also a member of the ever-growing ARFEPZ, or "Association of Riders with Fried Electric Parts on a Suzuki". I just did the testing, as described in the Rectifier section, and the sad results are:

- 12.75 Volt battery voltage, steady at all revs.

- 16, 10 and 40 Volt AC on the No-load stator test at 5000 revs.

- 0.9, 1.2 and 1.6 Ohms on the stator resistance measurement.

I did jumpstart the bike this spring, after 4 months of storage, using a truck battery from our workshop (and in the process blew the main fuse, something about red cable goes on + on the battery) so I guess I only have myself to blame.

Now to the QUESTION:

1. I have been driving the bike for about 2 months, this spring, always with the headlight on. Is that possible, without completely draining the battery, if the Stator is fried, or can the same be partially gone?

2. Does anyone know of a shop in Stavanger, Norway, or just in Norway, since this is where I live, who can supply second-hand or reworked parts (my budget is really, REALLY, tight)

3. Do Siccama ship to this place?

4.The bike jumps out of second gear, when any kind of power is applied, I have heard that this is a common thing, at least on the 650.  Does anyone have an idea if this can be repaired, or do I have to replace (many) parts of the gearbox.

Needless to say that Bike- and -spares prices here are ridiculously high.  I paid NOK 24000 (= USD 3250) for the bike two years ago, with broken second gear an all, so I really enjoy the questions from (US) bikers, like, "Should I change the oil every year, and does anyone know of a low-price light-bulb for the tail light, I mean, I just forked out 200 US for a 1983 GS1100GLD, with low mileage and two new tires" {GRRR}.

Now that that is off my chest, I thank in advance for any answers.  And, by the way, does anyone want to sell a GS1100G, for USD 200, to a Poor Dane, with a Polish name, living in Norway? :-). (I'll pay the shipping!)   Thanks, again, in advance, and Ride in peace.

RIDER: Tommy Zielinski

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I would say that with the faulty voltage and resistance numbers you're seeing at the stator that it's cooked.  The resistance should be pretty even and you should be see +80V at 5000RPM on all legs.  So you ask, "Is that 40V leg enough to keep your battery charged?"  Good question, but I would say that it must be if you haven't had to charge the battery yet.  I don't feel that it's doing the battery any good to keep running that way but that's my purely unscientific theory.

As for shops in Norway, I don't know.  Yes, Sicamma should be able to ship there.  As for the tranny slipping out of gear it looks like one of the shifting forks may be worn.  This will require completely disassembling the engine, which isn't cheap.

DATE: June 11, 1998
QUESTION: Starting problems - GS750L

My boss gave me a GS750L bike.  It was outside for 3 years.  The problem is when I push the star button, the Starter clutch gear spins and nothing happens. I just bought a new battery, and a good manual. And check the electrical with a meter.  It's all OK.  There is also a little rust on the starter and generator rotor.

Could this stuck from the rust?  Please help I want to ride.

RIDER: Todd Leclaire

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Yes, I'm sure the rust got to it.  Remove the starter motor and take a look at the gear on the end.  It should rotate and slip freely.  You may want to check out the article "Pulling that bike out of storage" in the Q&A - General section.
Todd Leclaire
The bike won't turn over at all. The battery is great. When I push the start button, the starter spins the starter clutch gear but that is all it does. Do you think there is rust inside the motor stopping it from turning over?
Frank Perreault
If it sounds like the pistons are moving (you'll hear air in the exhaust pipe) then your starter is fine and you have bad gas, no gas or bad ignition.  If it doesn't sound like the pistons are moving, the problem is still somewhere in the starter i.e. your motor isn't turning over.
Scott Horner
If you have not solved your problem I have a suggestion. Does the engine turn over at all when you activate the starter? Does the starter gear behind the rotor assembly spin in a counter-clockwise direction by hand? If it does, the three hardened 8mmX1.25 Allen bolts in the starter clutch have been sheared. Do not run the bike (by push starting), serious damage has been known to occur. If this is the case, Email me and I will let you how to repair this minor situation.

DATE: May 17, 1998
QUESTION: Bike stops running when wet - 1980 GS750L

I have a 1980 GS750L.  It's all stock with approx. 30,000 mi. on it.  Ride it every day, ran or shine.  I put 50 mi. or more a day.  As long as it's dry it runs fine but as soon as it gets wet, it starts running real bad.  Sometimes it will stall and not restart.

RIDER: Shirley M. Dohme

REPLY: Frank Perreault
It looks like you may be getting electrical leakage from around the spark plug wires.  Rubber breaks down after a while and 18 years is a long while.  You can try spraying the wires with silicon spray and see if that works.  Just don't get the spray on the bike or the aluminum.  If it works then great.  If it doesn't, then you'll have to replace the coils and the wires.  Since the stock coils have the spark plug wires molded into it, you have to replace the whole thing, wires and coils.   Because of that, you may want to consider dumping the stock coils and going with something from Accel or some other aftermarket company.  They use regular plug wires and the coils are a more solid unit than stock units.  They are probably cheaper too.

DATE: May 17, 1998
QUESTION: Regulator/rectifier questions - 1981 GS750EX

I have a 1981 GS750EX and understand that the previous owner that at some point had the regulator/rectifier replaced after failure.  I have the bike running well and the charging system has been fine so far (about 14 months that I've had it), but am concerned about the longevity of the replaced parts and the stator.  From reading your other notes, the problem seems to arise from overheating of the electrical components when the battery is fully charged and running with the lights on.  Would drawing off some of the excess current be of any help?  For example, increasing the headlamp to a higher wattage, and/or adding addition running lights?  If so, ho much addition draw is enough, but not too much? Secondly, I ride a wide variety of roads at various speeds.   Where in the engine RPM range is it best to run for extended periods of cruising under lighter loads?  And what impact will the different engine speed ranges have on the historical stator problems in GS's.  I've found your question and answer sections very helpful and look forward hearing you opinions on
these questions.

Great site for all GS owners, keep up the great work!

RIDER: Mark Fontana

REPLY: Frank Perreault
The root cause of the overheating is a flawed design in the regulator/rectifier.   With bleed-off current being discharged through only one leg, anything short of replacing the the reg/rec is chancy at best.  Factors contributing to overheating include a bad design, outside air temperature, air flow, engine RPM, electrical load and regulator ground resistance.  Do you plan on running your bike only on 68 degree days, at only 3600 RPM, at 45 MPH and never change the electrical load by using a turn signal or brake?  The problem is you'll never know under what circumstances that it's going to blow.

That is why we like the Electrex solution so much.  It is properly designed and in my opinion the only way to handle this problem correctly.   If you are concerned about doing the right thing then spend the $$ on the Electrex and you won't have to worry about it.  Once you've fried your system one time, you'll wish that you replaced the regulator/rectifier beforehand.

DATE: May 2, 1998
QUESTION: Ignitor questions - GS650

I have a friend that recently got a GS650 for next to nothing. We have figured out why. The regulator/rectifier unit and the stator unit will need to be replaced. In addition it seems that the ignitor unit is bad also. I plan on testing the ignitor unit in the very near future. In the meantime, can anyone explain the function of the ignitor unit to me? It would seem that it is merely a 'switching station' for current to the coils. Has anyone ever rebuilt one of these units? Wouldn't it be possible to replace the transistors? Better yet, is there a compatible ignitor unit used in a car that could be wired in place of the Suzuki unit? I am thinking of something from a Pontiac Fiero ignition or possibly a Ford Escort ignition.... Has anyone experimented with this yet? In reading through the Q&A section it would seem a bad ignitor is a common problem on these bikes and one that is expensive to fix. There has to be a cheaper alternative to spending $300 (US) at a Suzuki dealer for a small 'black box' with about $2 worth of parts in it!!

RIDER: Jim Winters

REPLY: Frank Perreault
As you surmised, the ignitor takes a microvolt pulse from the signal generator and changes it to a voltage that the coils can use.  Can you fix it?  I doubt it.  Typically, manufacturers encase all the electronics in a potting material to protect the electronic components from the elements.  Carving out the potting material typically destroys the part.  Also, because they don't want you fixing it they typically erase all numbers from the electronic parts that they use so that you can't replace them.  Remember, they make money selling you parts - they aren't about to make it easy and cheap for you to do it on your own.

Replacing the unit will be tough.  The ignitor is designed around the timing and voltage requirements of the signal generator, the coils and engine.  If you're experimental give it a shot.  If it doesn't work you can always try hunting down a motorcycle junk yard or check our Links page for an ignitor.  And it isn't common for the ignitor to just quit.  More common is a flaky regulator/rectifier taking out the ignitor, stator and battery.

DATE: May 2, 1998
QUESTION: Bike stops when hot - 1981 GS1000G

Having obtained your mail address from the GS Resources page on the net I am mailing you to try and find out what the problem is with my machine as I'm not very technically minded, and any advice would be greatly appreciated.

The physical problem with the bike, which is a 1981 GS1000G, is that when she is cold she runs like a dream at all rpm right through the gears, but as she gets hotter after a good few Km's at a low rpm, under 4000 , she runs very rough with a decided lack of pulling power, but as she gets back up to between 4500 and 5000 rpm she starts running beautifully again, until she gets a lot hotter and then it sounds like she is running on two cylinders and at idle she'll just die and will not start immediately thereafter, if left for fifteen minutes she starts.

It has been suggested that she is heat ceasing, but not having the know how thought I'd contact somebody in the know.

RIDER: Warwick Steane

REPLY: Frank Perreault
It sounds like you're encountering a heat problem with some of the electronics in the ignition system.  You will need to get a can of something called Cold Spray.   It is sold by electronic shops like Radio Shack etc.  What you do with it is spray the contents of the can on something that is exhibiting heat problems and the spray will instantly cool the part to something like minus 50 degrees F.. 

My guess is that the problem is with the ignitor.  So carry the spray with you and ride the bike until it dies and won't start.  Then spray the ignitor box until it frosts up and try restarting.  If it works, you found the culprit. If it doesn't, try spraying the signal generator (you'll need a screwdriver for the cover).  If that still doesn't work then try the coils.

DATE: May 2, 1998
QUESTION: Starting problems - 1983 GS1100G

I have a 83' GS1100G which is sometimes very hard to get started. Especially if it has been raining since my last trip (although the bike is covered) it is not possible to start the bike with the starter. The starter is working properly, and the problem is not low voltage from the battery, because it does not help connecting the battery from my car with cables.  Luckily there is a steep road where I live, but after the rain, often the bike do not start until I reach the bottom of the hill.

Do anybody have any experience with such problems?

RIDER: Stein Tore Rekdal

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You should have the battery load-tested.  Just because the voltage is right doesn't mean that there is sufficient amperage to run the starter.  Make sure the battery terminals are clean and while your at it, make sure that the wire going to the starter has a clean connection and that the starter has a good clean ground connection also.

DATE: May 2, 1998
QUESTION: Coils stop firing

My problem started out as the #1 cylinder fouling plugs about every 6-8 weeks. I'd clean the plug and still have to run the bike hard (up past the 85 limit on the speedo) to get a steady fire. Just a day ago, it left me! One morning only plugs #2 and #3 were firing, but I had to go to work on it anyway. Wouldn't crank to come home (only 4-5 miles away).

I bought new plugs and plug ends, as it appeared to be weak spark on #1 and #4. This didn't help. Checked coils- they appear okay. Checked ignitor box according to instructions in a Chilton's all bikes manual. They only listed GS750-850, but appears to be wired the same (I compared with wiring in my 1000G owners manual). The Chilton's says to connect an ohmmeter + probe to the blue wire on the ignitor side and the - probe to the green wire for testing. This procedure did nothing! Out of curiosity I reversed the leads (+ to green, - to blue) and I got the desired results -- spark on #1 when probes connected, on #2 when disconnected. Is this correct? Is the Chilton's wrong or is something messed up in the ignitor box? Don't want to spend $300 on a box unless necessary!

One thing I noted in your response to Gregg Wagner (Ignition/Coil Problems - 1982 GS750TZ) was that a weak battery could be the cause. I put the bike on a charger (2 amp) and it cranked the next day. Drove for about 30 minutes and it started missing on #1 and #4 again, started cutting out at 5K and more. Got it home and started testing again. Cleaned contacts and plugs, but it wouldn't start! Came in to computer and looked the GS page up. Read Gregg's post and your response. I've done about everything Gregg did. I have the bike on the charger now. If it cranks after a couple hours, I will assume a weak battery or poor charging circuit. I've had this bike for 5-6 years now, have put 27K on it in that time with never a problem. I'm hoping replacing the regulator will fix this! I had asked about battery failure a year or two ago -- have to replace mine every couple years. I was told that was about normal for the big bikes. Might be time for another battery. Will have charging circuit tested first.

My primary concern is the ignitor box and testing of it. From the description above, do you think it is bad? I do get correct ohm reading
for pickup side (about 325). Any other advice, or am I on the right track now? As you can tell, I use this bike for regular transportation, about 6K yearly. Weather is good in GA for 10 months yearly!

RIDER: Frank Swygert

REPLY: Frank Perreault
First, the fact that after charging the battery it works for 30 mins. and then starts flaking out indicates something faulty with the charging circuit somewhere.  Check the regulator, stator and have the battery load tested.  You need a correctly working charging system so that the bike electronics can work properly.

Second, regardless of whether the ignitor tests correctly with a meter, you stated that all coils were working when the battery was charged.  I would then assume that the wiring, the ignitor and coils are working fine.  As for the "reversed polarity" required, I think that your leads were plugged into the meter backwards.  The manual is correct - + on the blue wire.  And be sure that when you change that regulator you change it with the Electrex mentioned in the Stator Pages.  And no, I don't get a portion of every sale.

DATE: May 2, 1998
QUESTION: Bike turns over hard - GS550

Usually from cold my wife's GS550 starts ok , although the starter sounds a little sluggish. Once it has been run for a couple of miles it becomes difficult to start and usually requires a bump start before the battery flattens . Any ideas of where to start looking for the problem ?

RIDER: Bruce Porter

REPLY: Frank Perreault
It sounds like your battery is getting tired.  When the bike gets warms up, the metal expands creating higher compression, making it harder to start.  You can have any shop do a load test on the battery just to make sure.
Bruce Porter
Not a bad idea to look at the battery , but maybe I should have expanded to say the starting problem is not immediately after the bike has stopped, but maybe 30 - 60 mins later.
Frank Perreault
I'd still check electrical first, including the famed stator and regulator.   It's cheap to test for.  Further diagnosis comes after confirming that the electrical stuff is in order.

DATE: April 16, 1998
QUESTION: Engine cutout when signals turned on - 1982 1100 Katana

Hi there Frank.  Came across your GS page today and was hoping whether anyone could help with this problem.

My 1982 1100 Katana has a weird problem.  When you turn on the indicators it cuts the engine and everything else dead for about 10 seconds (you can almost set your watch to it) then everything comes back on again, you start up and everything is fine again until the next time you want too turn a corner!!!

This problem also occasionally shows up when I turn on the headlight.  I have given the wiring and fuses are quick inspection, and have found nothing.  The most frustrating part is that when I want to check it....the problem does not show up.   Any help would be appreciated.

RIDER: Brent Gilmour

REPLY: Tim Noell
I had that same problem in 1978 with a GS400!  Trace the wires from the turnsignal switch down to where it passes the triple clamps.  What had happened to my bike was that the wires had gotten pinched by the steering stops and were shorted out against the frame.  Just retape them and try to adjust the routing so they don't rub.   Something else to check is the state of charge in your battery. It is possible for the battery to have enough juice to power the ignition, but not enough for both the ignition and lights. Good luck!

DATE: April 16, 1998
QUESTION: Flaky brake light - 1981 GS1150E

I am the proud owner of a 1985 Suzuki 1150 GS E.  I just noticed the brake light coming of and on intermittently.  I cannot seem to find any problems.  Any input would be greatly appreciated. 

RIDER: Carmine Marciano

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Check the adjustments on the rear brake light switch located under the right-side brake lever on the handlebars and the brake switch for the right-side foot brake pedal.  It sounds like something may have worn out or gone out of adjustment.
Zack Schultz
If your 81 is the same as my 84 550, the brake switch on the front lever is pre-micro switch days. See if I can describe this accurately for you to picture it. There is a contact plate that screws to the lever mount that has 2 metal strips. Inside the lever mount is a small pin shaped plastic unit that has a spring loaded metal plate (1/8 inch square) on the 'head'. There is a groove machined into the lever itself that the pin's shaft rides in. When you pull the lever, the pin slides over the two metal strips completing the circuit. I have had to replace mine several times because a) it's a bad design, b) it's subject to corrosion, c) the spring fails and contact is intermittent. If yours has the same design, take a look at it. Be careful, nothing is positively mounted inside the housing, the parts are small and things fall out when you pull the screws.

DATE: April 10, 1998
QUESTION: Headlight problems - 1981 GS450L

I was tooling around the countryside the other night on my '81 GS450L and flipped the switch to turn on my high beam.  When I did the low beam went off and the high beam did not come on.  I went to Wal-Mart and found a "2-C" bulb to replace the one that is in there.  I put in and found that the high beam still did not work.   The high beam indicator light functions and none of the other lights goes off or anything weird like that when I flip the high beam switch.

Should I buy another new light and try that one or do you think it's a wiring problem, blown fuse or act of God?  I inspected the wiring inside the headlight assembly (which is a tangled mass of colors) and nothing appeared to be damaged.  Please help.

RIDER: Aaron J. Orr

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I would say that you have a broken connection between the the headlamp and switch.  What you can do quickly is go back into the headlight assembly and take a careful look at the wiring.  You'll probably find a wire without a home or with a bad connection there.  If you don't find anything, then you'll need a meter and the wiring diagram for the bike. 

DATE: April 10, 1998
QUESTION: To change or not to change the regulator/rectifier...

It almost sounds like the stock GS rectifier/regulator design is an accident waiting to happen.  Even if everything is working, should I replace it with the Electrex unit?

RIDER: Pete Peters

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Yes, I would still replace the reg/rectifier with the Electrex unit.  I know I wasn't too keen on spending the bucks on the unit until I went on a trip with my brother-in-laws on their Harley's.  So what happens?  We get 300 miles from home and my regulator decides to cook the battery.  Needless to say, after that embarrassment I bought the regulator.  ;-)

DATE: March 22, 1998
QUESTION: Turn signals don't work on one side - 1978 GS1000

Just about finished refurbishing my 1978 GS1000; the previous owner seemed to have had some troubles with fried wiring in the left-front turnsignal area, and the bike came to me without a headlight.

Wiring has been checked, and a new headlight installed along with a pair of aftermarket front blinkers (and the original rear ones). Headlight and all dash lights now work fine. Here's the problem: the right side blinkers work perfectly, but the
left side units won't light.

Replacing the whole handlebar switch/wiring made no difference at all. Swapping the wires at the signals shows that the signals themselves work fine. Is it possible the blinker sending unit is faulty? With only two wires leading into it, it seems unlikely that it would break on one "side" only ... any thoughts would be appreciated.

RIDER: Robb Zimdars

REPLY: Chris Leonard
I had the same problem when fitting replacement indicators and ending up buying a new flasher unit which still did not cure the problem. After some head scratching I got it sussed: I attached a normal size bulb in the circuit at it started to  work.   it would appear that the normal small bulbs have a very thin filament and this does not build up the resistance enough to trip the indicator relay. You can buy the small bulbs with a thicker filament and these work fine. You will probably have to try a motorbike shop as the ones sold in petrol stations etc seem to be the wrong ones.

I suppose it may be possible to put a resistor in line in order the use the normal type bulbs, I would be interested if anyone with any electrical knowledge can advise because these bulbs with the thicker filament are twice as expensive as the normal ones.
REPLY: Ryan Biggs
I've not had to fool with the blinkers on my GS1000, so I won't swear to anything, but it sounds like probably the problem is in the wiring for the left side blinkers. Since the blinker unit (the box that makes the blinkers blink) just gets switched from one side's lights to another, I don't think it's the problem. More likely there is some sort of short in the wiring for either the front or back signal. The GS1000 seems to light its dash turn light constantly for an open circuit on one side, at least on my '79 1000E, but I'm not sure how it would behave for a short circuit.

DATE: March 8, 1998
QUESTION: No charge - 1981 GS450

I owned a '81 Suzuki 450 GS that has a charging system problem. It seems that when the bike is under 2000 RPM's, the charging system works fine (about 13.5/14 volts or so at the battery). Once above 2000 RPM's,it drops to 12.5 volts or so. I'm suspecting a bad stator. Any advice?

RIDER: Champ Clark III

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You need to go to our The Stator Papers II section for instructions on how to troubleshoot your system.

DATE: March 8, 1998
QUESTION: To change the regulator or not to change...

Thanks for a great resource. I just registered in the 850 registry and really enjoy just looking around the site.

I recently purchased my second GS, an '81 850GLX. Pretty stock - 4 into 1, and shield. I do have one question I was wondering if you might help me with, I have the stock reg/rect and am a little worried about the horror stories about stator burnup. Is the stock unit ok if kept cool? Would relocating it help, or adding an extra ground wire (the local Suzuki shop suggested) to the reg/rect help? Anything I can do to make the stock unit less prone to disaster?

My first GS never gave me electrical grief, but I plan on touring quite a  bit on my "new" one and want to balance reliability and cost (tight budget).

Thanks again for the page and in advance for any help.

RIDER: Steve Deslauriers

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Thanks for the compliment.  We work pretty hard to keep the site information and my fellow editors and I appreciate the good words!

The typical reasons for the burnup problems seem to be a bad design in the regulator/rectifier combined with a the need for the regulator to bleed off excess energy with a bad ground or increased resistance in the charging system wiring.  The problem is that you'll never know when you're wiring is all of a sudden creating too much resistance for the regulator/rectifier to handle.

Will an extra ground wire help?  Sure, but it will only take care of one of the possible causes of burnup.  I myself would buy the Electrex unit mentioned here, especially if you plan on long distance touring.  Take it from someone you got trapped 300 miles from home, in the backwoods of Vermont, when mine cooked.  It's worth the piece of mind of not having to worry about getting caught or taking the risk of getting caught.
Bill Chandler
If you've read all our pages regarding this subject, then you know that there is no known reason why some stators/regulators burn up and others don't.  However, I have found that keeping the battery FULLY charged and in good condition, minimizes the possibility (I have the original parts on my 82 GS1100 with 35K miles.  So far no problems).  There has also been some thought that adding an oil cooler will also help the stator have a longer life.

If you do encounter problems, then go to this page
It will provide all the info you need to get the BEST after-market solutions. Enjoy!

DATE: March 8, 1998
QUESTION: Bad Ignitor and Regulator - 1980 GS450E

I have a 1980 GS450E with a tad over 56K miles. When cold, (<30F) the left cylinder would stop firing until the engine warmed up. Plug checks looked O.K. but those happened after I got home and the left cylinder had resumed firing. (&^%$ intermittent problems)  Last week, the left cylinder stopped firing altogether; no spark to the plug.
The coils checked out for continuity, the igniter box failed (for both sides! I double checked the battery in the multimeter) Dealer quote for stock igniter was $300. Several calls found no aftermarket ignition parts for this bike, "Too old" Dang, it's barely broke in? Help! I'm either in the market for a parts bike, or I have one.

Re rectifier: Mine fried some time ago. Stock one was $108. Local parts guy (Myer's Cycles) had one cobbled together in New Hampshire for Suzuki, Honda etc. $80 (after wheedling and whining).

RIDER: Carl.Custer

REPLY: Frank Perreault
You may want to check both our Links page and the Q&A - General section for places that might have a used ignitor unit.  Also check the motorcycle boneyards that are listed in the back of most motorcycle mags.  Finally, try placing an ad in out Wanted section.

As for the regulator, I would still go with the Electrex Regulator/rectifier.   It addresses the bad design of the original item and we know it works.   Considering the cost of having to replace the stator and regulator if the "cobbled together" thing toasts itself, I'd go with the Electrex.

DATE: March 8, 1998
QUESTION: Starter motor engages at random - 1979 GS1000E

Riding along when suddenly starter motor engages, makes  horrible whirring noise, and acts like I've just stepped on the rear brake.  One thing I've noticed is that it tends to do it as the engine is slowing down under a bit of strain, as you would do coming into a tight uphill turn.  First few times it did it (done it about five times now), turned the engine off (quickly), and started up OK again.  However last time it did it, the starter stayed stuck, even when I turned the ignition off... I rolled it downhill in gear and it continued to whir with the engine turning.  I was also too late turning it off - the starter fried!

Possibilities I guess are (?):
1) Starter Switch
2) Faulty Relay - Are either of these likely given the fact that starter stayed engaged even after turning ignition off?
3) Starter clutch/one-way starter clutch system - I don't understand this at all so dread to think what a hassle it could be trying to replace this. 

Is it an easy job?  And which bit do I replace/why is it doing this?

RIDER: Andy Williams

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Since you know that you fried the starter, you'll have to change that.  As for why this is happening, I would check all the wiring going from the starter button right down to the starter motor.  Since you mention that it happens at throttle roll-off I'd check the wiring in the front of the bike around the headlight.  It sounds like the front shocks are compressing causing some frayed wire to contact bare metal.
Andy Williams
Thanks for your reply.  As it happened I think I've managed to locate the problem.  It turned out to be the one-way starter clutch assembly.  When I took the left side cover off I found that the large wheel that is driven by the starter motor was frozen solidly to the generator.  It's supposed to move freely in one direction (under normal drive conditions) and lock the other direction (during start).  So what was happening was that the motor was driving the starter, which is why it stayed engaged and turned the starter whilst I was rolling downhill in gear.

Further disassembly revealed that the three bolts that hold the one-way starter clutch to the generator magnet had sheered completely (messy!), which I guess was why it stayed stuck.  Have replaced all the bits completely now from a spares bike so should be OK.  Any idea why it did this?  My guess is that the bolt that holds on the generator magnet was done up too tight and created too much pressure on the whole assembly.  The previous owner said he had replaced this.

Thanks again... I'll definitely check the wiring out too anyway... maybe that started the problem in the first place.

DATE: March 8, 1998
QUESTION: Starter Problems - 1982 GS750TZ

How do I tell for sure if it is the starter rather than the solenoid? It "clicks" when I press the starter button, but the starter doesn't budge. How big of a job is it to replace the starter (1982 GS750TZ)? The bike runs fine after I bump start it.

RIDER: Greg Traxler

I also have the cold start problem that has appeared in some other questions here. Will having the carbs rejetted help and be worth the trouble?

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Even though the starter relay clicks, that doesn't mean that the relay is good.   You could have toasted the relay contacts on the starter side of the switch.   You'll need to do some electrical testing with a meter to see if you are getting juice through the relay to starter motor.  Make sure all the connections are clean.  If you are getting juice to the starter, then the assumption can be made that it is fried, not the starter relay.

As for rejetting, I don't think so.  The jet everyone talks of changing is the main jet and that isn't used when starting the bike.  It's used when the bike is running.  Typically fuel is supplied through another set of non-replaceable jets in the carb.
Zack Schultz
Sometimes it's the simple things. How old is the battery? Is it fully charged? Check it with a multimeter and the engine off.

DATE: March 8, 1998
QUESTION: Main fuse blowing revisited

I have an 82 gs550L with 28,000 miles on it. Other than having to charge the battery up often, its in good shape. The problem: My main fuse blows occasionally, with no real predictability. Sometimes it happens when starting, but it also occurs when riding. Sometimes I can ride for a week on one fuse, while other times I go through 2 fuses in a day. Other than a short in a wire (which we are now looking for), is there any GS specific reason for this? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

RIDER: Dave Kauzlarich

REPLY: Frank Perreault
See another article below about main fuses blowing that is located below.   I would say that in this case though it looks like a electrical short somewhere.

DATE: February 15, 1998
QUESTION: Blown up Igniter Unit for a 1980 GS550E

I have recently acquired a 1980 GS550E from my brother who ran out of money and interest in getting this bike running. I thought it would be something to tinker on during the winter and so far I have been right. I originally didn't want to invest too much money into this, but it looks like if I want to get it to run there is no other way. I have found that the igniter unit has gone bad. Two things led to this conclusion. The test I ran from the Clymer manual and the fact that a hole has been blown out the side through the plastic casing. I have been looking around at used motorcycle parts stores and am not sure whether used electronics is the way to go. I guess I would first like some insight as to why this blew. I don't want to spend a couple hundred dollars on something that might blow as soon as it is installed. If you have any advise for me it would be greatly appreciated. And by the way I love your site. It is very informative. Thank You.

RIDER: Chad D. Weigel

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Since you have a Clymer manual and you ran the tests on the igniter, I'm assuming that you have a digital multimeter and the manual.  Undo the battery terminals, unplug the blown up igniter and follow the wiring diagram for all wires leading to the igniter module.  Do resistance testing between all igniter wires and ground.   Make sure that nothing shows up as a short that shouldn't be one.  Check for frayed wires especially around the battery and the regulator area.  Be real wary since blowing up an igniter so bad that it has a hole, indicates a massive short of some kind.

DATE: February 15, 1998
QUESTION: GS550 electrical problems

After chopping my GS550 and rewiring it, it constantly kept burning out condensers.   I tried putting bigger one from a car but the problem still occurred though less frequently. Any suggestions?


REPLY: Frank Perreault
Not to sound overly sarcastic here but the problem seems to be in your wiring somewhere.  It's probably intermittent short or a bad ground somewhere.'

DATE: February 15, 1998
QUESTION: Blown electricals

I'm working on getting a `79 GS850G on the road and it appears that the charging system is not working. I checked the stator and it checked out okay. I believe its either a bad rectifier/regulator or an electrical short. The wires in the harness have partially melted insulation, which leads me to believe that the r/r unit is fried. A short from one of the wires coming from the stator was found and fixed, but I fear that there could be another short where the wires melted their insulation.

Anyway, I picked up a `81 GS1000G parts bike and was wondering,  1) can the rectifier/regulator unit somehow be swapped [the `81 unit has fewer wires than the `79], or  2) can I just swap the electrical harness and black boxes from the `81 to the `79 model?

RIDER: Jean-Paul Malicsi

REPLY: Frank Perreault
The short circuiting sounds reminiscent of the regulator problems that you see mentioned so often on this site.  I would not use a Suzuki unit.  I would purchase the Electrex unit mentioned here or else you will eventually end up changing it and possibly the stator the next time.  See the Stator Papers section of this site for further information on this subject.

As for swapping the boxes, I'm sorry but I can't help you there.  I wouldn't think that it would work.

DATE: January 30, 1998
QUESTION: Another possible stator problem

I'm a mechanical engineer in defense aerospace. A friend of mine stumbled on a 83 GS1100S that was in mint condition. The original owner is a F-15 fighter pilot who kept the bike in his garage and polished it. That must have been all he ever did to it because it has a mere 6000 miles on it. (My 89 FZR has 54,000). He asked me to look up the bike on the internet to research a problem.  That's when I stumbled upon your site. However, his problem is the opposite of what your group sites as the common problem. His bike overcharges the battery. Sometimes at idle, the battery will read 14 volts. After an all day drive, the battery will have only half the water left in it.

If you have any information on the problem, please e-mail me back. This bike looks like it was kept in a time capsule. I'll try to take a picture of it and e-mail it to you. It's a real treat for GS fans.

RIDER: Allen Helmuth

REPLY: Frank Perreault
This sounds like your voltage regulator/rectifier has burned up.   Measuring voltage at idle speed isn't an accurate way to check the regulator anyway.  Idle the bike at 5000 RPM and measure the voltage.  It should be around 14-15.5 volts.  If it is, things are fine.  If the voltage is higher, then the regulator is cooked.  If lower, the regulator and/or the stator are cooked.

And by all means, send a picture when you get a chance.  We'd love to add it to the Gallery.

DATE: January 14, 1998
QUESTION: Dim headlight on a 1981 GS1100E

I have a 1981 GS1100 E with no known electrical problems and has passed the state inspection. My problem is that the headlight does not appear to be as bright as I would expect, especially the low beam. Since the headlight is equipped removable halogen bulb and relatively easy to replace do you know if I can purchase a more powerful/illuminating bulb? Or should I be looking into adding some type of lighting kit.

RIDER: Paul Roy

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Yes, you can change the bulb to a brighter, higher wattage bulb.  I've had pretty good success getting them from the J. C. Whitney catalog.  I believe that they are also on the web now.
Zack Schultz
I read Frank's reply and I need to inject a note of caution. In the US headlight wattage's for road vehicles are 55 watt low and 60 watt high. Anything else is sold as 'off road use only' and you can be issued a citation. Now, I have yet to see a roadside candlepower meter carried by the local police and I have a 55/100 in both my bikes for nighttime riding.
Frank Perreault
And I've never seen police with a candlepower meter either.  Now a sound level meter, that's another thing...   ;-)

The thing to remember is that "typically" the high beam is high power while the low beam is regulation.  That means that if you go to low beams whenever you see a car, you "should" be alright.

DATE: January 14, 1998
QUESTION: More Electrex questions

Just found the GS web page, and have spent a bunch of time reviewing it, really impressed with how much is there.

I've read a bunch about the GS electrical systems short falls, and have just a quick question.

Every once in a while I notice that after riding my bike for a hour it is rather slow at cranking back up. Acts like vapor lock, or a weak battery. My thoughts are maybe my charging system is borderline? I'm considering ordering one of the recommended after market regulators as recommended in the GS web page.

My question is.......  If I upgrade my regulator, will it increase the output capacity my charging system? I would like to add a set of driving lights to increase my front visibility, my dealer has recommended against that pointing out the weak GS charging system. Of course, he is not aware of the solution you have found.

What is the output wattage/amps of the Electrex Regulator/rectifier???

Thanks for your time]]]]

P.S. Will any of you'll be at Bike Week in Daytona?

RIDER: Lloyd Blythe

REPLY: Frank Perreault
I would take one of those hour long rides and drop it by a bike shop or Sears and have them do a load test on the battery.  Engine parts expand when hot and this may be raising the engine compression enough where the battery doesn't have enough juice to turn it over.

As for the Electrex regulator increasing the output of the charging system, I doubt it.  The main advantage behind the Electrex is that it addresses a design flaw that is built into the factory regulator which can cause you to blow out stators, regulators and batteries.  In order to find out specifics in regards to the Electrex, contact one of the contact people listed on The Stator Papers III.

DATE: December 23, 1997
QUESTION: Electrex regulator questions

I have a 1981 GS650GL and I was wondering if my bike was one of the GS's that should have the Reg/Rec replaced with an Electrex one. I also was wondering that if I did change the Reg./Rec., would my transmission run cooler or at least, would my oil temperature become cooler?

RIDER: Joseph W. Smith

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Yes, you should change it if you can get an Electrex replacement unit for your bike. Please see our "Stator Solutions III" page for contact information in regards to the Electrex regulator. Click here to go to it. They can tell you whether the Electrex unit will work with your bike.

As for whether things should run cooler, I doubt it. The Electrex regulator change addresses a flaw in the electrical design of the Suzuki regulator. If your bike does end up running cooler with an Electrex regulator, it is not by design.

DATE: December 17, 1997
QUESTION: GS450E wiring diagram, cold start problems

Can any one tell me where I can get hold of complete correct circuit diagram for a GS450E? The other problem I am having is with cold starts in getting it started and keeping it going, does any one have any ideas???

RIDER: Malcolm Napier-Holford

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Check out some of the articles in the Q&A - General section to see about obtaining a manual for your bike. Also send a request to our Wanted section editor Bill Chandler to see about having your request for the wiring diagram placed on the GS Resources web site.

As for the cold start problems you may want to check out some of the articles below that pertain to pulling a bike out of storage. It sounds like your bike may be in need of a general going-over and tune-up.
Malcolm Napier-Holford
The bike has just been fully serviced, The cold start problem is in temps of <2C. But thanks for the suggestion.

DATE: December 5, 1997
QUESTION: GS electrical gremlins

I have a 82 GS1100E, it quit firing on two cylinders. replaced the applicable coil (twice), still no spark. Tried swapping coils, the bad one worked on the other side, the good one stopped working, then everything stopped working. No starter or anything. Pretty much lost. Any suggestion would help.


REPLY: Frank Perreault
This could be real obvious but are you sure that you are working with a good battery? The reason I ask is the the starter is on a different circuit than the ignition is. If the battery is sufficiently charged, then check all the fuses.

Once the bike is turning over again check all the ignition wiring connections with a ohmmeter. Check the wires between the signal generator and the ignitor unit and the ignitor unit and each of the coils. Some of these connections are located in areas that collect lots of crud or can be easily broken. Use WD-40 and clean all the connectors. Recheck the wires with the ohmmeter after cleaning. If things still don't work after this, it indicates a problem with either the signal generator or the ignitor unit.
Doug Petepiece
This summer and my mechanical engineer brother traced it to the transistor unit that comes from the main wiring harness then goes to the signal generator... We used the transistor unit off his 82 bike and mine ran fine....a new one cost $600 Canadian but I found lots of used ones at wrecking yards around Canada and paid $200 and have had no trouble since... The problem is hard to find without a shop manual that lists how to test the ignitor unit/transistor unit...

If you want more info, I can send you the text or how to test this unit from the manual but they list a Suzuki pocket tester to use but this may be no more than a simple digital meter you can get at any store for small dollars. Hope this helps.

DATE: December 5, 1997
QUESTION: More stator problem information

I have an 82 GS1100GL that I bought 2 years ago with only 5300 miles on it. I started reading about the stator problems and checked my voltage. It ranged from 12.2 to about 12.7 or so throughout the rev range. I checked the stator winding output voltages per the manual and they was fine.

I replace the voltage regulator and gained at best .2 volts. I ordered a rebuilt stator from Rick's Electric. It burned up right away. I sent it back for a replacement, but I have yet to install it. I was puzzled and finally gave up. The battery was staying charged, so I decided to live with it for the time being rather than throwing money at it.

In the October issue of Rider magazine Dick Carter sent a question in to the Tech Q&A column by Andrew MacDonald. It was about the charging system. He was getting 12.8 to 13 volts at 1000 to 1500 RPM, and it would drop to 12.2 at higher RPM's. This is the same problem I was having.

Andrew's response addressed the fact that the regulator ground wire was connected to the battery box. As he pointed out, the battery box is RUBBER MOUNTED with bolts and grommets. He also pointed out that when new the grounding was marginal at best, and it gets worse with age. This would certainly end up giving the regulator an incorrect ground reference point upon which it bases its output. He pointed out that by running a wire from this point directly to the battery it would correct the problem.

Well, I took his advice, but I took the lug off the regulator ground wire, added a length of wire and contact and hooked it directly to the battery. Lo and behold I immediately picked up a reading of 13.5 to 13.9 volts. Hot Damn!! Guess what? My started became intermittent. I finally figured out by looking at the wiring diagram that the starter solenoid picks up its ground through its case. Guess where it was grounded? Yep, to the battery case. I then connected the original ground for the regulator at the battery case directly to the battery and everything was then back to normal and my charging system output was working great. I hope you will post this somewhere that is readily available to those other poor souls that are chasing this gremlin.

RIDER: Rick Sargent

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Thanks for the information Rick. It's something that I had done and forgot all about.

If the battery box was being used for mounting the ground wires, then this is a pretty bad design. Combine that with a bogus regulator design (typical of GS models) and you can almost smell the smoke and see the money flying out of your wallet.

On my bike the ground wires connect to a plate. I use an additional wire running from the plate to the negative terminal basically doing what you described. I also clean and spray the attachment points of the plate to the bike with silicon spray once a year to ward off corrosion. I've have also installed the Electrex regulator mentioned below. After suffering a humiliating experience with a bunch of Harley riders, it forces you to go to these extreme steps to assure a perfect electrical system! ;-)

DATE: November 19, 1997
QUESTION: Ignition upgrade, 1983 GS1100ED

I would like to upgrade the ignition system on this bike and would appreciate any input on what works best. The bike has a Stage III K&N set up with a Yosh pipe. no internal mods.

RIDER: Robert J Adam

REPLY: Bill Chandler
I'd check with Vance & Hines ( ) They don't list an ignition module for your bike, but they have been racing Suzuki's since the 70's and if anybody knows they would. Good luck
Doug Petepiece
I have an highly modified 1983 GS1100ED and I have updated to Accel ignition coils which aren't to hard to put on after the stock one's came off. I used hose clamps to hold the straps that hold the coils because they are universal application units. You will have to put your gas tank on and off several times to make sure nothing is rubbing. Tape the frame around the front of the gas tank as when you lift it to take it off the paint chips easily.

Many firms sell these coil kits. My 92 Vance and Hines catalog also lists a Dyna S ignition, which I'm adding next year. In 92 the V&H part number for 1100's was 12169 and a fellow named Eddie Tejeras at V&H has been very helpful in the past and can even get emblem's for my dated V&H header system - this company allows you to order on line as well, so a 92 part should be no sweat. I think these Dyna unit"s can also be found at most mail order firms and local dealers can usually order them.

DATE: November 8, 1997
QUESTION: Thanks and more stator questions

Bought this bike from the local Suzuki dealership with 29,000 mi. and it seems to be in good condition. The dealership replaced the stator before selling it to me and since purchasing it a few weeks ago I have tested all the charging components. Everything appears to be functioning correctly, although I am considering replacing the rectifier/regulator with the solution listed on the GS Resources page. I always prefer preventative maintenance and I don't want the bike to blow another stator. The GS seems like a great bike and I hope to get a lot of enjoyment out of it and I'm glad this GS Resources page is here to help me

RIDER: Sean Dean

REPLY: Frank Perreault
We here at the GS Resources hope that this web site will be a valuable resource in maintaining and sharing information for that GS of yours. Welcome!

I would consider replacing the rectifier/regulator with the Electrex unit described on this site/. The cost of this unit is relatively cheap compared to what it could cost if the rectifier/regulator takes out the stator and anything else. I believe that all of us editors have now changed to the Electrex unit and none of us has had any problems with it to date. Check out The Stator Papers III for information on how to obtain the Electrex rectifier/regulator.

DATE: November 8, 1997
QUESTION: Stators, rectifiers and oil temperature

I own a ´82 GSX 750E and I have also troubles with my charging system. I replaced the broken down rectifier and primer with original Suzuki spare parts ( very expensive! about 450 $ ), last November, until now they are working properly. Now I have read about Electrex rectifier and now I want to know if it makes sense to change the rectifier right now or should I wait until the rectifier brakes down. How long does the original rectifier work properly?

And if the rectifier brakes down can it cause a damage of the stator, or is the problem with the stator, only caused by the cooling problem as you described it in the stator papers?

How can I get the Electrex rectifier in Austria?

And at end one last question, my average oil temperature is about 100°C if I go with my Suzie a little faster it can go up to ~120°C ( to the horizontal line on the thermometer) when I reach this temperature I drive always slower to decrease temperature. Please tell me which oil temperatures are still o.k for GSX.

RIDER: Marcus

REPLY: Peter Huppertz
That depends on various factors... ambient temperature, lengths of your rides, avg. rpm, condition of leads running from stator to rectifier, condition of ground leads, colour of underside tank paint job, condition and colour of your girlfriend's hair, why, we may even have a "year 2000 firmware problem". Considering the job Suzuki did on the TL1000's injection computer, we could expect anything!

No, really. Condition (conductivity) of the wiring is extremely important to a setup like this, that's part of why it s*cks. It may just last another 60.000 km's, and then again it may fail sooner. If I have understood Ritzo's explanation correctly, there is no sense in replacing it right now... UNLESS you never want to get caught in the rain by a bike that doesn't charge again. If you don't mind that too much, you might want to save yourself some money and see how things develop.

As for the stator and cooling, nope, the demise of the stator is caused by the rectifier. The cooling effect is only postponement of execution.

Check out The Stator Papers III for information on how to obtain the Electrex rectifier/regulator

That's about what my Eleven does as well. 120 degrees should be no prob for a good synthetic or half-synthetic oil. Having it up to two-thirds of the scale should really not be a problem. If you get it up to two thirds or higher on a regular basis, consider an oil cooler. Normal operating temperature should in any case get above, say, 90 degrees to be able to burn the nasties, so it shouldn't remain too cold at all.
Ritzo Muntinga
About the ignition-question:

You can fit the '81 ignition-baseplate straight onto the '79 engine along with the advance/retard-unit off the '81 model. Then fit the control-unit to the bike. Use the coils from the '81 model. The control-unit has two connectors. One in which you can plug in the lead from the pick-ups. The other one only has four leads. Two are the switching outputs to the ignition-coils. One is connected to ground (black/white or black/yellow) and the last lead is a +12V supply for the unit itself. You can just pick it off the +12V supply to the ignition-coils.

Any problems ? Just send me a quick note.

DATE: November 8, 1997
QUESTION: More stator problems

In the GS - Resources Web-page on the Stator Papers 2 the following Statement exists:

The ac wires from the rectifier are so hot they melt and the rectifier will burn your fingers. I have replaced the rectifier and checked out the regulator (it's OK) and of course the battery has been replaced more than once. HELP!!!!! The dealer has no answers.

We seem to have a terminology problem here... it would normally be very hard to replace the rectifier and leave the regulator untouched, as they are both the same! The regulator/rectifier is one sealed unit! So either we have a terminology error or you have got a VERY unstandard kitchen sink charging unit.

The above Answer isn't correct, I own a 1978 GS750D (restored last year). In this machine the regulator and the rectifier are both single units. I have replaced the bad rectifier by an standard 3 phase rectifier 150V 25A and have repaired the regulator. In later models (1979 and later I think) the regulator and the rectifier is in one unit. Please excuse my poor English. Because of this problem I have not jet registered on the GS-Pages.

RIDER: Holm Tiffe

REPLY: Ritzo Muntinga
I think the generator is at fault. First you'll have to check if there's no short circuit between the phases. This could also have it's cause in the wiring emerging from the generator itself. See if the wires in the alternator-cover are okay. Otherwise it will be the generator itself. When there are many of the windings 'missing' (short-circuited) then the generator will produce low voltage/high current. This high current is what makes your AC wires get hot.

Alternator check: 1/ no connection from one phase to the lamination (ground) 2/ phase to phase resistance app. 0.7 Ohms 3/ after disconnecting the output AC-wires from the alternator, when you rev the engine to about 5000rpm the no-load output between the phases must be 70V AC at least. Make sure you switch the multimeter to ACV.

Recheck the new rectifier and disconnect the regulator. The regulator only has a one-phase input and above a certain AC-Voltage short circuits part of the sine-wave to ground. So you can disconnect the regulator and run the bike to see if there's still a problem. A good fully charged battery will keep the charging-voltage within limits, it won't get above 15.5V DC. No problem running it this way for a short period.

What you have to do is to connect the green-white output wire from the alternator straight onto the red-white rectifier-input. This way you bypass the switch in the lighting-circuit that only adds the third alternator output to the system when the lights are running; bad piece of design, because you put load on the three-phase alternator in a very strange way. An even better solution is to get rid of the separate rectifier and regulator and use a combined unit that regulates all three phases (very important: don't use a unit from another Suzuki, they're bad)

Check out The Stator Papers III for information on how to obtain the Electrex rectifier/regulator

DATE: November 8, 1997
QUESTION: Bad starter

I've got an 81 GS400 with a starter problem. 1 in 5 times the start button does nothing, and I have to shake the bike to get the connection to catch. It only seems to happen when my friends are around, or if there's a hot woman nearby :( If I had to guess, I'd say the brushes on the starter motor need replacement. Which brings me to my Clymer manual, which doesn't mention the starter motor at all. It doesn't even tell me where to look for it. It took it to a Suzuki shop, and they said 3-4 hours labour and $200 in parts to fix it. Given that I only paid $200 for the bike, and that I want to learn how to fix stuff myself, I'd rather not let them. Unfortunately, the guy behind the counter didn't know where the starter was, and wasn't too keen on letting me reap the knowledge from one of their mechanics. Where do I start? If you can point me to the starter, I can probably handle the rest. Have you ever rebuilt the starter motor on these things before? Should I even attempt this?

Any help you could offer would be HUGELY appreciated.

RIDER: James Hensley

REPLY: Frank Perreault
As for $200 bucks in parts, that sounds a bit steep. I know Suzuki parts are made by little elves in trees but $200 for brushes seems a bit extreme! Maybe they were adding the cost of labor to it.

Now when you say "shaking" the bike what do you mean by that? Are you moving the bike side to side or are you moving it forward and back while in gear. The reason I ask is that if it's a simple side-to-side motion it may not be brushes but instead a loose electrical connection. It could even be a flaky starter relay or a dead spot in the starter armature also. You'll need to get the bike in its funky "no start" state and check out the starting system thoroughly with a multimeter to be sure.

In any case, the starter is mentioned in the Clymer manual that I have for my GS1100. It's in the Electrical section right at the beginning. I could not find the repair steps for the starter itself in the Clymer book however. That was described in the Suzuki shop manual.

The starter is located on the left side of the motor underneath the airbox assembly. So you would have to disconnect the battery, remove the airbox, the camchain tensioner and take off the oval plate on the top rear left side of the engine. Undo those 2 screws and the starter is underneath the cover. Remove the 2 screws holding the starter in and you have it.

So have I rebuilt a bike starter before? No, I've never had one go bad. The starter is held together with 2 screws and the brushes in the motor can be changed. What I don't know is whether you would have to buy the whole brush plate assembly that the brushes are attached to or just the brushes themselves.

Tools you'll need are a multimeter, wrenches, screwdrivers and blue Locktite for the screws in the starter. You might also need a new gasket for the camchain tensioner. Make sure to follow the directions correctly for reinstalling that tensioner.

Good luck!

DATE: Sept 16, 1996
QUESTION: Speed wobble & fried wiring harness

Hi. A friend has a low-mileage 850-G. The front end shakes unless the bars are held firmly. We have replaced the original (?) Bridgestone's with Pirelli Phantoms, balanced them (statically), checked steering-head bearings, replaced fork fluid, and removed the Windjammer fairing and luggage. The last is the only change that has helped at all. Any suggestions/ideas?

Also, both this bike and two other GS-850s I've owned have had partial wiring harness meltdowns in the headlight shell area, along with melted fuse(s). Anyone else had this problem or have suggestions about it?

RIDER: Garcia Oliver

REPLY: Jim Gilliam
To solve the over-charging probs on Suzuki's try replacing the reg./rectifier with one from a Honda Superdream or CX500, I've just done this on my GSX1100E and it seems to have cured it. The reg./rect. you need is the one with three yellow wires a red a green and a black. If anyone needs instructions just e-mail me

DATE: Sept 14, 1996
QUESTION: Main fuse blowing

I own a 1983 GSX 550 ES. Not many people have the slightest clue what this bike is. I recently have had trouble with the main fuse blowing. I can turn the ignition to the on position, and everything will work fine. But I start the thing up and the main fuse blows about 10 seconds later. I obviously have a dead short but be darned if I can find the thing. Any suggestions??

RIDER: David Reinke

REPLY: Frank Perreault
Sounds like the rectifier might be blown. Check things out as listed in the "The Stator Papers II -- questions and suggestions" for instructions on how to check for a rectifier/stator problem.

DATE: July 23, 1996

I have an 82 Suzuki GS1100GZ, which I have registered for this page. I took it into my dealer to have a problem with blowing the main 15 amp fuse checked out. He "solved" the problem by putting in a 20 amp fuse. I hit the ceiling when I saw that. He swore up and down that it is commonly done. Have you ever heard of this?


REPLY: Peter Huppertz
No... I haven't heard of this being commonly done. But it's not entirely that criminal... I don't gather form your email whether the main fuse blows on you on a regular basis, if it has just blown this once before you took it to the dealer's. Suppose it just blew once: then there's no reason (on this particular bike) to put in a 20A fuse, unless you have mounted accessories that guzzle current. But it probably wouldn't hurt. Maybe he just didn't have a 15A fuse. I'd just put a 15A back any day, though. If, however, it does blow on you on a regular basis, because of a shortage somewhere (chafed wiring hitting the frame on bumps -- incidentally chafed wiring is the #1 cause of fighter jet crashes as well) then the 20A fuse would blow as well, but first the fuse protecting the section in which the shortage occurs would blow. If it's just the main fuse that blows every other day, or week, or fortnight, then you should check two things: the fuse housing (yes! it happened to me!) the wiring to the contact lock and the lock itself, I'd guess.

DATE: July 18, 1996
QUESTION: GS850GN Mystery problem

Suddenly, a very fine running bike begins to break up and continues to worsen so she can't continue. Gas from overflow tube on carb #2. Remove carbs, check float-OK. Other floats ok. Problem continues. Remove carbs, clear out all jets/orifices, reset floats. Spark to all plugs. Full voltage to both coils. Bike starts fine, runs great initially. AS SHE WARMS UP she begins to break up. AND gets worse as she heats up. Head gasket problem not apparent (leakage). Coil or condenser problem?? Any help appreciated. Thanks.

RIDER: Lou Ann Baylock

REPLY: Frank Perreault
This seems to definitely heat-related and could be a bit tricky to track down. It could be bad or dirty connections in the ignition system, a bad ignition box, signal generator, bad coils or a low voltage condition. First clean all connections and connectors on the battery and for the ignition system. Check all fuses to make sure the ends are clean and don't forget any fuses in the headlight. See if this improves things. While the bike is running rough, make sure that you have 13+ volts at the battery. Now it gets interesting. Go to Radio Shack and pick up a can of Cold Spray (Cat. # 64-4321). This is a spray that when it's squirted on something makes it cold. Remove the right side signal generator cover on the engine and run the bike until it runs rough. Squirt the spray heavily on the signal generator. If it clears up, it's the signal generator. Next squirt the ignition box. Same goes here - if it clears up, you found the problem. Next, take the take the tank off. Place it on something higher than the carbs. Connect a length of fuel hose from the tank to the carbs, turn the petcock to 'Prime' and run it until it gets rough. Squirt the cold spray on the coils. If it clears up, it's the coils.

DATE: July 7, 1996
QUESTION: Coils in GS1100E

I have a 82 GS1100E that is only running on 2 cylinders and It's not just one coil doing it. Can two coils fail at once or do I have other problems?

RIDER: efrench

REPLY: Frank Perreault
This is confusing. Have you confirmed that you are not getting spark by turning over the bike with the plugs laying on top of the engine? It could be possible, but highly unlikely, for one side of both coils to stop working. So, check the spark making sure the plugs aren't laying on a painted surface. If both wires to one coil don't work, you've found the problem.

DATE: March 27, 1996
QUESTION: #2 Cylinder Electrical Problem and Tranny!

I had the fun opportunity of replacing my 5 speed transmission on my '81 GS650E with a 6 speed transmission from a 1979 '83 GS550E. Everything went perfect except for the fact that although the wires seemed to connect snugly the gear indicator lights don't work. The gear indicator on my Suzuki goes up to 6 so I know that it should support the number of gears that I do have. Does anyone have any ideas?

RIDER: Steven Mar

REPLY: E. Roth
According to my manual for the '79 GS850, there's not really much in the system to burn out. There's just a rotary switch in the gear case to turn on the individual gear position indicators. The switch grounds out each of six power lines to turn on the indicators. A short in one of these wires would leave the light for that line on all the time. A break in one of the lines would only affect that one indicator light. If your neutral light turns off and on correctly, I would expect the switch to be ok. The neutral indicator is just another line, almost like the others. Ordinarily, I would expect your problem to be caused by bad connection between the fuse and the indicator panel. Since your neutral light works, however, it could also be a bad diode on the back of the gear position indicator. Not really sure what its purpose is, but power for all the indicators except for the neutral has to go through it.
Check the diode with a continuity tester. You could probably find a suitable replacement at any electronics parts store.




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