Question about 1980 Suzuki Gs 550 L

2 Answers

1980 Suzuki GS550 with problems

I just bought a 1980 suzuki GS550E and already running into problems.

First it doesnt want to start up on its own but when it does it runs fine.

Second two of the cylinders seem to be running lean. Hooked up my meter and two were running at the 350 degrees F and the other two were about 90-100 degrees. Do they just have to be adjusted? If so do i set the vacuum on the carbs and what would the spec usually be?

Third the battery seems to lose its charge alot. I hooked up a DVOM the the battery while it was running and it was reading 11.75 volts. Is this a normal reading or does the charging system seem like its not working?

If anyone can help, it is greatly appreciated. Im just trying to get this bike in the road soon.
Josh

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  • elementfreak May 24, 2009

    DickCanFixIt,

    If your sitting on the motorcycle the two cylinders would be #1 and 3 from left to right.

  • elementfreak May 24, 2009

    Mr BrokRench,

    With the battery voltage i will charge it to 12.6 volts, figured it would be the same as a car battery, and then start the bike, if it wants to. When i hook up my voltmeter the volt stays at a constant 11.75 volts even when you rev it up past 3000 rpms. The guy who i bought the bike from also coverted it to a single pipe and took out the baffles. Would that call for re jetting the carbs?

  • elementfreak May 30, 2009

    Alright. I figured it was probably a good idea to get a new battery and spark plugs considering thats what some of the advise was. I also drained the gas in the tank and added fresh gas with the seafoam in it.



    Now got a couple more problems developing. As i go down the road the bike wont rev past 2500 rpms. Also restricting the air flow to the carbs actually speeds up the engine. This sounds like its running lean right?

  • Dick
    Dick May 11, 2010

    The fact that you have two cylinders in the 90-100 degree range tells me those two are not firing. Could be ignition, I think there are two coils on the bike. Which two are running cool?

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First thing I would do is change the battery and spark plugs. start there.

Posted on May 24, 2009

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Hello elementfreak...First thing you need to do is run a compression check on all cylinders...readings should be within 10-15 psi max of each other. Next, check for vacuum leaks, a cracked hose, faulty carb boot, or any slight leak will cause a lean condition and hard starting...The choke and pilot circuits share passageways. When pilot jets become obstructed, the choke circuit compensates and allows engine to start and idle with choke, but stalls without choke. If the bike has had the same gas in it for over 6 weeks, "varnish" is possible in the system...Purchase a can of "Seafoam" at your local parts store, pour 1/2 of in a full tank of gas, and the other 1/2 in 2nd tank of gas, after you use the 2nd treated tank of fuel...replace fuel filter.
This stuff works better than anything the dealers sale.
A carb sync tool for mutiple cylinders engines will be needed to sync carbs, this is done after all other problems are corrected. If your bikes exhaust or air intake system has been modified from stock...The air-fuel mixtures will need to adjusted by selecting the correct jetting (carbs need jetted).
Tuning is not easy and often requires a wide selection of air, main, and pilot jets, jet needles and needle jets.
11.75 volts is not a fullly charged battery, 12.2 to 12.6 volts is.
A low voltage battery will create hard starting, and poor spark. Faulty ground cable terminals are common, check the main ground at frame. Trickle charge the battery over night to a full charge and test, replace if needed. The stator/rectifer systems on these older bikes won't indicate enough amperage return untill the engine RPM is 3000 and above..Check the connectors for corrision....
Hope this helps and gives you a place to start...Good Luck
Ride safe and ride smart...

Posted on May 24, 2009

  • Mr BrokRench
    Mr BrokRench May 25, 2009

    Yes..the 4 into one exhaust without baffles will have a lot less back pressure than the stock exhaust...Most aftermarket exhaust system mfrs will recommend a carb jet change to prevent lean fuel mixtures. Are you sure the carbs are the stock ones? The bowl should be on the sides, if they are. Also check the plug wires with an ohm meter for internal core damage...Your GS is 30 yrs old

    With the tank removed you can see all the places for a potenial vacuum leak...note the carb mount boots lines & hoses.
    In this pic you can see where lines have been pinched off and not allowing enough fuel to flow. Also check the fuel pitcock, it's a vacuum type and tend to stick after yrs of service.
    These are just a few places to inspect.

    Here is a two tests you can perform after every repair or change you make to check for improvement. (BOTH low and high throttle tests are important for precise tunning)

    Low throttle: Run around the neighborhood at low throttle first, not
    getting above 3000 RPM. Shut it off and check EACH plug. Those plugs that are clean, tan, or medium brown are correct mixture. If the plugs
    are black and sooty, then you know those cylinders are too rich. You may
    be able to adjust the idle mixture with the pilot screws, but probably
    not. Go test it again. If that doesn't work, you will need to remove and
    re-clean the pilot circuits and choke/enrichment valve. Sorry, that's the
    only way to do this.
    High Throttle: Run out on the highway at 1/2 throttle or better for about
    5 minutes or more. This will likely put you into the 80MPH range, so pick
    your test track carefully. After running along for the 5 or more minutes, hit the kill switch, pull in the clutch, and pull over on the shoulder.
    You cannot slow down with the engine running, or you won't get correct results. Check each plug again and record your results. Chances are the plugs are okay, especially if it ran okay. Same reading method applies.
    If any are sooty, then you will need to re-clean the main circuits in that carb and recheck the float level.
    Backfiring, spitting and coughing typically indicate one or more cylinders are too lean. This is the same kind of behavior you get when you push the choke off too soon (and for the same reasons). In fact, you can sort of troubleshoot lean mixtures by adding a little choke to see if that improves the running. If it does, you're too lean.
    If one or two cylinders are off and the others are okay, according to the plug readings, it will seem like the whole engine is running poorly. I've had that experience myself. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts.You will have to read the plugs, re-clean troubleshoot, re-check everything, and re-test until you nail it.
    Good Luck ...i hope this information will help get the old GS puuring like a kitten again.

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