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Thread: Top 10 Newbie Mistakes

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    Nessism's Avatar
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    Default Top 10 Newbie Mistakes

    1A) (NEW) Trying to diagnose running problems on a bike with an unknown maintenance history. Common maintenance items like clean carbs, properly adjusted valves, no air leaks in the intake system (airbox, carb boots), a clean gas tank (no rust), and a properly functioning petcock are 100% mandatory for the bike to run properly. It's best to perform all the bikes maintenance when you first get the bike, and then if problems show up you will know what the problem is not.

    1B) Incomplete carb cleaning. A proper carb cleaning requires a full tear down, soaking the parts in carb dip, and reassembly with fresh O-rings (cycleorings.com). Pilot jets, choke tubes, and pilot circuit passages in particular need a proper cleaning before the bike will run right. Even if the bike seems to run right, if the O-rings are original they are sure to be hard and brittle thus problems could be right around the corner. This is a link to a carb tutorial that you may find useful... http://www.mtsac.edu/~cliff/storage/...d_Tutorial.pdf

    1C) Purchasing aftermarket parts when OEM Suzuki parts are still available. Check out places like partsoutlaw.com and partzilla.com for availability of OEM parts before ordering often inferior aftermarket parts off ebay or similar. This is particularly true for things like brake master cylinder and caliper rebuild kits. You can get the OEM part number from these sources and then search ebay for a lower price too.

    2) Not replacing the intake boot O-rings. The classic "hanging idle" (or idle speed that increases on it's own as the bike warms up) is often traced to this simple fix since air gets sucked past the old O-rings and into the engine causing a lean condition. All GS bikes, other than the 2nd generation 750 or 1100E family, use these O-rings. While you are at it, make sure the entire airbox system is 100% sealed since drawing false air into the system will increase running temperatures and make the bike run poorly. Oh, and spraying stuff on the carb boots and looking for a change in the idle doesn't not always show airleaks.

    3) Not adjusting the valves. The valves tighten with mileage and once all the clearance is gone the valves hang open and burn. Not good. If you wait for your bike to misbehave before performing this critical maintenance you may damage the engine. If your valves have no clearance you will need a thin "checking shim" in order to achieve some clearance and then calculate the needed shims for your engine.

    4) Trying to run the bike without the airbox...or installing pods w/o rejetting. The air/fuel ratio will be drastically lean, which will not only cause running problems, but likely damage the engine by causing it to run hot. Installing a free flowing exhaust will likewise change the jetting requirements, but not as drastically as pods.

    5) Ordering "carb kits" full of inferior aftermarket jets. A new O-ring kit from cycleorings.com is all that's necessary most of the time. Get some new float bowl gaskets and pilot jet plugs if necessary from a place like Z1 Enterprises to supplement the O-ring kit. Also consider replacing the float needles/seats using real deal Mikuni parts if the float needle spring won't hold up the weight of the float and/or if there is a wear mark on the needle. Amazon sells Mikuni brand float seats for good prices and you can count this as money well spent.

    5b) (courtesy of bwringer) Trying to repair or rebuild a leaking or nonfunctional petcock. The odds of any success are vanishingly low. Replace it and worry about something else for the next 30 years. This is a valve that controls the flow of a incredibly flammable, highly explosive substance a few inches from your crotch. Even if rebuild kits worked more than rarely, it's really not worth messing around.

    6) Trying to clean out the brake system full of brown gunky fluid by flushing the system. If the fluid is dark and brown the only way to clean the system is a full tear down and clean out otherwise chunks will remain behind in the system. While your at it the old rubber brake lines should be changed. Suzuki call for replacing the lines every 2 years, so if your bike still has the originals you are 28 years overdue. The old lines will lead to spongy brake lever feel and contaminate the fresh fluid you just installed.

    7) Waiting for the charging system to fail, instead of cleaning up the old wiring. Many a battery have been boiled dry after the grounds corrode. Running a dedicated ground to the battery, or a solid frame attachment point, is strongly advised. Suzuki also botched the stator wiring by routing one leg up to the now discontinued head lamp switch. This needless wire path often overheats and damages the harness in the process. Do yourself a favor and rewire your charging system: see this thread for guidance. And if you need a new R/R, a SERIES type is the best because it protects your stator from return current overheat damage. The SH775 is a series R/R made by Shindengen that was installed on various bikes so they are reasonably easy to find on ebay. They are reliable units so no worry with purchasing used.

    8) Using the wrong oil and/or gasoline. Auto oils have less zinc and phosphorus (high pressure additives) than they used to since the EPA has mandated reductions to protect catalytic converters. Motorcycle oils are fine but expensive, and even motorcycle oil has reduced additives these days. Diesel engine oil is cheap and contains lots of high pressure additives appropriate for our engines. Shell Rotella oil is even certified for use with wet clutches if that makes you more comfortable, although just about any diesel oil is fine. As for fuel, Suzuki calls for use of Regular gas. Using Premium provides no positive benefits for your bike and is more expensive.

    9) Search out the information about your upcoming wrenching tasks before going off unprepared and possibly damaging something. Search using "Advanced Search" and then click "Titles Only" to quickly hone in on the topic at hand. Almost every possible question a newbie could ask have already been answered. For example: there are tons of threads on how to avoid broken exhaust bolts and float posts. Sadly, most newbies learn these tricks AFTER they damage their bike.

    10) Buying a 30+ year old motorcycle because it was cheap without any mechanical knowledge and no interest in learning. Paying a shop to work on your 30 year old motorcycle is not advised unless you have lots of money to spend and know for a fact that they are trustworthy.




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    Last edited by Nessism; 08-05-2020 at 09:49 AM.

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    11) Pay way too much for some neglected old junker, spending a few months and paychecks learning how to work on a few simple old mechanical things and then trying to get the "investment" back by selling it on to some other unknowing sap.


    Life is too short to ride an L.

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    That needs to be made a STICKY!!

    (Not that it will ever be read, though )

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    I still see ten, Ed. Your 11 is 12.


    Life is too short to ride an L.

  5. #5
    Graham Guest

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    13) Being too cheap to buy new parts or take it to a shop.

  6. #6
    Nessism's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graham View Post
    13) Being too cheap to buy new parts or take it to a shop.
    Added my own 13) after reading this post...

  7. #7
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    cowboyup3371 is offline Forum LongTimer Past Site Supporter
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve View Post


    That needs to be made a STICKY!!

    (Not that it will ever be read, though )

    .

    I read it...and I resemble a couple of these comments...course I am learning

    Cowboy Up or Quit. - Run Free Lou and Rest in Peace

    1981 GS550T - My First
    1981 GS550L - My Eldest Daughter's
    2007 GSF1250SA Bandit - My touring bike

    Sit tall in the saddle Hold your head up high
    Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky and live like you ain't afraid to die
    and don't be scared, just enjoy your ride - Chris Ledoux, "The Ride"

  8. #8
    Graham Guest

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    14) Not taking time to find a good shop.

  9. #9
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    cowboyup3371 is offline Forum LongTimer Past Site Supporter
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    15) Not listening to, accepting, and respecting advice given here without arguing.

    Cowboy Up or Quit. - Run Free Lou and Rest in Peace

    1981 GS550T - My First
    1981 GS550L - My Eldest Daughter's
    2007 GSF1250SA Bandit - My touring bike

    Sit tall in the saddle Hold your head up high
    Keep your eyes fixed where the trail meets the sky and live like you ain't afraid to die
    and don't be scared, just enjoy your ride - Chris Ledoux, "The Ride"

  10. #10
    Graham Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by cowboyup3371 View Post
    15) Not listening to, accepting, and respecting advice given here without arguing.
    That should be number 1.

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