81 Suzuki GS450 - various issues/questions

Discussion in 'Motorbike Technical Discussion' started by ewb4arch, Apr 17, 2007.

  1. ewb4arch

    ewb4arch Guest

    It's finally warm enough to start riding so I'm finally getting around
    to various issues with my GS450. Probably should have worked on it
    over the winter, but without a heated garage...but I digress. Any
    ideas on the following would be helpful:

    1) When idling in neutral on the center stand, the rear wheel spins.
    Pulling the clutch lever in all the way does not stop it. When I shift
    it into first, the rear wheel spins faster. Obviously the clutch cable
    needs adjusting. I've adjusted it as far as I can, but the above still

    2) It is extremely difficult to pull the clutch lever in. Any ideas on
    how to make it easier to engage?

    3) Chain is stretched to the point the tensioner is fully extended.
    Looks like I need to replace it. I've got the Clymer book, but it is
    extremely vague on the chain replacing process. It mentions the chain
    does NOT have a masterlink, so how do I get it off?

    4) Does anyone know what size I need for a aftermarket replacement or
    who to get it from online?

    With gas prices already on the rise I need to get it up and running
    ASAP...especially since my office is relocating, more than doubling my

    ewb4arch, Apr 17, 2007
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  2. You don't need even that - a hacksaw does just fine.
    The Older Gentleman, Apr 17, 2007
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  3. ewb4arch

    Ken Abrams Guest

    Probably right but it's possible that your mis-placed zeal for adjusting out
    the drag has resulted in the cable being too tight so that it is just
    binding. The cable probably DOES need adjusting now, back to the way it is
    supposed to be.
    A worn out chain should never be replaced without changing out both
    sprockets too.
    Ken Abrams, Apr 17, 2007
  4. Nonsense. Perfectly OK, on cheap chains with decent sprockets. The chain
    wears first.

    Ideally, yes, in a perfect world, you'd change both, but I've only done
    it on big, fast expensive bikes.

    On small bikes (and many singles), the chain sometimes nadgers in a few
    thousand miles, and the sprockets are still fine. On my late unlamented
    CB750, with a chain made from knicker elastic, and about the same size,
    5000 miles per chain was your lot. The sprockets were still perfect.

    There's also the matter of the gearbox sprocket wearing roughly three
    times as fast as the rear. I tend to replace gearbox sprockets twice as
    often as rears.
    The Older Gentleman, Apr 17, 2007
  5. ewb4arch

    Ken Abrams Guest

    Nonsense yourself. It depends upon the situation. Maybe my use of "never"
    was a bad choice.
    What we have here is a 25 year old bike AND someone who has to come here to
    ask advice.
    Maybe I should have said inspect the sprockets
    Over it's 25 year life it is likely that at least one owner thought the
    thing to do was keep adjusting the chain until he ran out of adjustment
    before replacing the chain (only). Given that the present owner is
    (apparently) not very knowledgeable about chain maintenance, I doubt that he
    would know worn sprockets if he say them. Badly worn sprockets will
    contribute to premature chain wear.
    In this particular case, let me re-phrase:
    If the OP changes his own chain, he probably should change out the sprockets
    as well.
    Better? ;-)
    Ken Abrams, Apr 17, 2007
  6. Well, yes, that was exactly the point I was making.

    Much :)
    The Older Gentleman, Apr 18, 2007
  7. ewb4arch

    Wudsracer Guest


    I'd like to add a "buying tip" to Mark's excellent advise.

    When looking up chains and sprockets in a chart on a company's web
    site, cross reference your application on the applications list with
    other brands of sprockets and chains. I have found mistakes many
    times over the last 10 years in the M/C aftermarket parts distributors
    catalogs. It only took a few times of disappointing the customers
    (them having to wait while I corrected the mistaken order) before I
    started cross checking the listed applications before making the
    The most accurate applications lists that I have found were from
    Sprocket Specialists.

    Street bikes often use the riveted master link, as a catastrophic
    accident can result in a chain coming apart at speed (from losing an
    improperly installed master link locking clip).

    A chain riveting tool will probably cost you less than having a shop
    install the chain for you.
    Such as:

    They also sell this combination:
    combined with this:

    Good Riding and Wrenching to You!

    Wudsracer/Jim Cook
    Smackover Racing
    '06 Gas Gas DE300
    '82 Husqvarna XC250
    Team LAGNAF
    Wudsracer, Apr 18, 2007
  8. ewb4arch

    ewb4arch Guest

    OP here. Thanks for all the good advice so far. I believe I have
    discovered why I'm have clutch/clutch cable problems. The push rod for
    the clutch is bent. While I'll be the first to admit I'm rather new at
    wrenching on my bike, I don't believe it's supposed to be bent. I
    assume this is why squeezing the clutch lever is so difficult and why
    the clutch doesn't seem to engage as much as it should. Please correct
    me if I'm wrong. Not sure how easy it's going to be to find a
    replacement pushrod especially since the local Suzuki dealer has gone
    out of business. There is a rather good all makes parts/repair place
    that can probably order it for me. The instructions on removing the
    clutch looks rather difficult so I may have to break down and have it
    switched for me.

    Haven't done anything with the chain as of yet. Ironically I have the
    Harbor Freight grinder...but I only paid $5 for it not $10. LOL.

    The several online retailers all seem to agree that the chain I need
    is a 530x104. The existing sprockets seem to be ok. The Clymer book
    shows a diagram of what to look for as far as wear on the sprockets
    and mine seem fine. The bike may be 26 years old, but it's only got
    13,400 miles on it, 4000 of which I put on it over the last 4 or 5

    I've found a HUGH range of prices for the chains from as low as $16
    for a "Pro-Sport Chain 530x104" or $17 for a "BikeMaster 530x104 KMC
    Chain" It then jumps to $62 or an "EK DS O-Ring Chain 530x104" or $68
    for a "BikeMaster 530x104 BMSTR Chain." Any reason not to go with one
    of the cheep chains?

    Thanks again,
    ewb4arch, Apr 21, 2007

  9. It's a mild steel rod. Any engineering shop ought to be able to cut you
    off a length of something that will do the job.
    The Older Gentleman, Apr 21, 2007
  10. ewb4arch

    Albrecht Guest

    Quality of materials and service life of the cheap chain might be as
    low as 3K to 4K miles. Or, the really cheap chain might break and
    wrap around your sprockets and cause you to crash or it might punch a
    hole in your crankcase.

    I got tired of well known name brand replacement o-ring chains wearing
    out quickly and bought a non-o ring "heavy duty" chain, thinking I
    would just lubricate it religiously.

    But, it was worn out after only 4K miles. At least I could get 8K
    miles out of a round o-ring replacement chain/

    The premium flat o-ring chains that are installed on new motorcycles
    will last over 20K miles, but you might have to pay $200 for one from
    a dealer. I was lucky to find an original equipment chain on sale from
    an online catalog for only $120...
    Albrecht, Apr 22, 2007
  11. Not for a GS450, you won't. Well, unless you like throwing away money.
    My dealer sells quality O-ring chains (Tsubaki etc) on a long roll: cut
    off however many links you need.
    The Older Gentleman, Apr 22, 2007
  12. ewb4arch

    ewb4arch Guest

    OP here again for a follow-up.

    I ended up getting a "Heavy Duty" Chain from Parts Unlimited. I'm sure
    it's not as good or a long lasting as some of the others that where
    recommended, but I'm hoping to upgrade rides in a couple years anyway.
    If it only lasts 4000 miles, so be it. I've only put 4000 miles on the
    bike since I bought it back in '01.

    The pushrod was quite obviously bend from the chain hitting it....a
    directy result of my neglecting basic chain maintanance...I mistake I
    won't be repeating. The new two peice design of the pushrod means in
    the unlikely event the chain hits it and bends it again, I don't have
    to take the clutch all apart to get at it, the bend part will slide
    out from the area shared with the sprocket. In any case, the clutch
    lever is MUCH easier to squeeze.

    Thanks again for all the advice.

    ewb4arch, May 23, 2007
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