Frustrating problem (rough running) - Suzuki GSX-R Motorcycle Forums Gixxer.com

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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 03:30 PM Thread Starter
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Unhappy Frustrating problem (rough running)

1998 GSXR 750

I have been battling this rough running problem for a while. Each time I replace something, I think "Solved it!" and bike runs great until it doesn't. The basic experience is:
Bike starts/idles/gets to temp no problem.
I ride and no problems.
Then all of a sudden the water temp shoots up, and bike starts to run badly. (like it's not firing or getting fuel) -- this is especially true when taking off from a stop.

What I have fixed or replaced:
  • Fuel pump & filters replaced
  • Spark plugs replaced
  • ECU replaced
  • wiring harness removed & checked for cracks/shorts/continuity.
  • PCV replaced (and then removed)
  • Quickshifter removed
  • Connectors cleaned or replaced
  • Fuel injectors cleaned & tested and are balanced.

I have ordered new coils.

While I was down in California (2 years) I rarely had this problem, since I could keep the bike moving (thanks lane splitting!); but now that I'm back in Washington; it tends to creep up.
This last time I had the sputtering problem, I saw the temp shoot wildly from "normal" to 112c and then back (several times).
So I'm also about to replace the thermostat, as it seems that it might be sticky.

Q: Is there a lower temp thermostat that will fit? (I searched and only found info on the fan switch, not the water thermostat)

There's no air bubble, and when cool, the radiator is full and the overflow is properly filled.

Q: I know the water pumps are metal, but do the impellers wear out? Would it be worth replacing it? (I only want to replace it if it's possible that it's intermittently working.)

Q: I know the oil has a cooler, could that be part of the issue? I run 10/40 full synthetic and change it every 3000 miles or 4 months, or after several days of hard of riding.


thanks.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 09:42 PM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

sounds like you have head gasket issues or cracked cylinder, look for foam or water in oil, look for oil in radiator fluid, then when it starts running bad and acting up see if you can pull over keeping it running and put your hand over the exhaust outlet, feel for moisture, smell your hand see if smells like that sweet radiator fluid?


also you can pull the plugs and inspect for signs of moisture

the fact it does it when its hot is a clue, metal expands, unfortunately it sounds like a cracked block or head rather than a gasket which if anything gets better when its hot as the cylinder head and cylinders both expanding against one another will compress the gasket more so they tend to leak less but thats no fact, head gasket could be broke or worn in an area so that when they get hot the leak opens up? they are tricky but you first have to confirm its a leak into the combustion chamber..

the fact it runs bad makes it sound more like a crack or bad head gasket, a bad thermostat wont make it run bad or get coolant into the combustion chamber..

also I think there is one more way water can get into the combustion chamber but I cannot remember what it is at the moment?

right off put your hand over the can outlet, sometimes you can see steam coming out, hale i had a nissan 4X it would steam I drove her for another year like that then replaced the entire engine... lol

it would get to a point just before the thermostat opened up it would build up pressure cuz they're all pressurized systems cars/bikes, it would steam a lot but when the thermostat opened it slowed a lot drivable not running to rough so I just removed the thermostat drove it every day for over a year, lol

dunno if you have the panels on but if you can crack the radiator cap see if it runs better?
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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-30-2019, 09:58 PM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

far as the lower temp switch I know there are some that screw in like off honda civics but the plug is wrong so you would need the civic lead so you would't have to chop your stock harness, friend has one right now and that's his dilemma, no plug and play..

yes impellers wear out but not often unless you run it with just water or no anti freeze, most people think anti freeze is for anti freezing and anti boil only, nope, it also has the lubrication for your water pump in it..

does it boil over at all? water shoot out the reservoir bottle hose?

I can't see where the oil cooler would come into play either way, most it will do is leak or clogg up, still believe there is a safety bypass so it will continue to circulate oil it just wont cool the oil as much, fact of the matter is you can toss the oil cooler and connect the hoses you wont see any difference unless you live in death valley perhaps... lol

I still think you have an issue with something making it run bad, it doesn't have to be coolant in the combustion chamber it could be something else altogether, coil packs whatever but check that first then get back to us..

it sounds suspicious as it does it when its hot or heats up then runs bad, same thing a leak does..

lets hope its something inexpensive and if its a leak its the gasket, have you been getting it real hot, heating it up?

because that's the BEST way to destroy a head gasket, when you super heat the engine the head and cylinders to say oh 260-290, that metal expands way more than normal and crushes that head gasket and an old gasket has no way to recover so they tear, crack whatever from the pressure created by the internal combustion then they can leak, sad part it ALL your gaskets will crush like that, even the case gaskets, valve cover gasket, all of them, then they drip oil... does it have ANY leaks at all of any kind?
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 07-31-2019, 05:03 AM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

+1^

These bikes tend to run hot, especially under 5k RPM.
Agree that if you see the temp spiking and dropping the thermostat is a good culprit.
Simple way to test is to remove the thermostat and drop it in some water on the stove. Use a thermometer while slowly heating the water. Watch the thermostat to see at what temp it starts to open.
Also, when it starts getting hot, do the fans come on?
Had one doing something similar and found the fan switch was intermittant and not always turning the cooling fans on.
If the bike is starting to overheat and you are running low octane fuel, you can start to see some detonation which can seriously damage an engine.
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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

Thanks for hte replies...
I'm not looking for the fan switch, but the thermostat - the thing that controls water flow. (so electrical connectors don't apply).

I ran dye thru the oil & water (separately) and nothing crossed over. No coolant smell in the exhaust, no backpressure when I pull the oil fill plug. No gas entering the coolant; no foam, no milk, all as expected.

It doesn't happen every time it gets hot; it just happens when it is hot.

There's only one fan, and it does come on. It's a muzzy and is adjusted properly.
I tend to run either race gas, or chevron supreme/high octane.

thanks!
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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 03:11 PM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

welp if you eliminated a bad gasket or crack then you can remove the thermostat like they said put it in a pan of water and heat it up, if you need an emergency bypass you can gut it, you do need the ring however its the gasket for the housing..

I'd do that first, its a rubber gasket should be good to remove housing many times no problemo should seal back up?

then if its not the thermostat and you have no blockage, and the system is FULL then you most likely do have water pump issues?

make sure you do not have a vapor lock or air in the system that can cause funky overheating issues, but the foul running is something else as overheating doesn't create a foul running engine just an overheating issue? does it spew?

when the air is bled out keep filling the reservoir till it stops sucking it into the engine after it cools down completely, like most autos its a self leveling system, keep adding coolant to the reservoir and allow it to cool down fully, it will stop sucking coolant into the block once it has the proper amount of coolant in the block, then you just level it to the cold line..
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-01-2019, 03:12 PM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

how does one go about deleting a post if they want to?
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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 01:37 AM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

It would still be worth checking the electrical connections.
The thermostat does physically control the water flow, but the fan switch controls when the fan turns on and off.
Also there is a temp sensor that sends the temperature information to the cluster and to the ECM.

The odd thing here is that you don't seem to have an actual overheating issue.
You said it doesn't happen every time it gets hot, but every time it DOES happen it IS hot, correct?

Wondering if there might be an intermittent electrical issue that is causing the rough running, and possibly causing a false temperature reading on your gauges?
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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 03:35 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

Electrical connectors are good. a year or so ago; I cleaned, checked, & projected every connector on the bike (bored, figured it was something worthwhile) .

Fan comes on just as it should and blows a lot of air. I even swapped out the fan motor at one point to be sure (measured the same CFM)

Right -- the main problem (stumbling/missing/whatever) only happens when the bike is hot, and reduces in severity as it cools down (ie: in traffic, it can be almost unrideable, but as traffic clears up, it cools down, and runs better). When bike is cold, it runs perfect. Sometimes when bike warms up, it runs perfectly. The only electrical things (other than actual wiring harness) that haven't been replaced is fuel injectors, stator & ECU. (Coils & plugs just showed up today, so I'll swap those out). Although, fuel injectors were professionally cleaned & flow-checked/matched.

As for the temp surge - it's really weird -- jumping from "normal" to 111+(celcius) very quickly, then back down (cycles a few times) is very odd.
While I'm in there doing the coils, I'll pull the thermostat out & test it. Since it's intermittent, I expect the thermostat to test OK. Now that I'm stuck in traffic again, I would like to put a colder thermostat in; but have no idea what will fit.
I may drill a couple of holes in it to keep water flowing, or just gut it and order a new one anyway.
I'm really hopeful it's not the waterpump. Being a metal impeller, I would expect it either to work or not...
Coolant is very thoroughly bled & is full, with no coolant loss for the past 8 months... (when it was last changed)
Thanks for the ideas. I'll let you know in a few days how it goes with the new coils&plugs & whatever I do to the thermostat.

'98 GSX750R
Vortex clipons,NRC case covers,Attack rearsets,yosh cams&full race,APE cct, -2/+4 sprokets,K1 BlueGuage w/JoE converter, Speedohealer,GIPro/ATRE,port/polished heads,PCV/AT,airbox mod,GPComposites body,1/4 twist throttle,goodrich brakelines,HH pads,Scotts stablizer,K&P oil filter,K&N air filter,CRG shorty clickers,Muzzy Fan,KingQuad fan switch,520 chain.FactoryPro shift kit&ign.adv.,Jacks Mosfefr r/r; HealTech QS
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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 04:13 PM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

Do you know that your fan and temperature switch are OK?

There are temperature switches with lower activating temps for the K1-K4 1000's but I don't know if they fit your bike. They've been discussed here many times. There ought to be some that fit if they don't.

Rather than testing the thermostat, why not just remove it and see what happens? You don't want to run that way for long but it should be fine for testing.

Highly unlikely that the impeller is so badly corroded as to effect cooling. You ought to have holes in your radiator before that.

It's a bit of a stretch but hoses can get kinked. Also oil coolers can get clogged, but there ought to be other symptoms before that.

P.S. I missed above that you've tried another fan. That rules it but not the switch out.

Last edited by BillV; 08-03-2019 at 02:05 AM. Reason: Added P.S.
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post #11 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 10:24 PM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

imma still say you have a leak into the combustion chamber, again overheating does NOT cause an engine to stumble or misfire, specially an FI engine, it doesn't have to be coolant, it can be a boot allowing air in, otherwwise...........................

its electrical and the spark is getting interfered with somehow, try this, get yourself a lazer temp gauge, point it at a good spot on the radiator when its stating temp is normal on the gauge, record, then when it stumbles and reads high check the temp with gauge in same spot and see if it is indeed hot?

you may have a gremlin, these harness's are known world wide to have gremlins, why we said clean and repack and check for breaks pinches and so forth..

its just not a normal symptom, typically FI engines do not sway when they get how, my busa can go up to 285 F and not skip a beat, same for my carbed SRAD..

so considering its reading hot and misfiring you have either a lean condition when its hot so its misfiring and temp is spiking OR its a gremlim, OR its a coolant leak, not too many other possibilities are there?

its not the temp spike that's odd, its the misfiring when its spiking that's odd, you need to determine if its A. fuel delivery or B. Spark/timing/sensor

that's another thing, how about cam angle sensor? crank sensor? signal generator? all your emission sensors, air temp air pressure and so forth and ALL these electrical leads as well.. all of these must be verified good working..

determining if its electrical or fuel delivery would be a bonus
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post #12 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-02-2019, 10:30 PM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillV View Post
Do you know that your fan and temperature switch are OK?
and the temp switch could be sending a faulty number to the display, AND the ECU, the ECU may be confused and putting the bike in limp mode?

hale it could all be the ECU as well, after all it controls everything, the temp signal, the spark, everything, everything but valve timing, sure that's spot on as its not getting hot and a valve is sticking open?
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post #13 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-03-2019, 02:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

The gauge reads accurately, and matches what temp is should be for the fan switch (iow: the fan comes on, when I expect it to based on the gauge 's display).
I ruled out the water pump, as it just has such good flow that starts about when I expect it. I tested the thermostat in a pot of boiling water, it seemed to work as expected.
85
I think there are two issues -- the coolant issue is that it goes from 85c to 112+ in a few blinks of the eye while riding at speed. Then slowly comes down. Normally it creeps up and down only when I'm stuck in traffic, which is more often now.

The other issue is the stumbling when it gets to a higher temp. (I do not think the engine is overheating, I used a borescope and the cylinder walls look good). I have no oil loss or coolant loss.
I disconnected the quickshifter & powercommander, and replaced plugs & coils. It seems to running ok -- I rode it very agressively and then purposely rode it home it home the slowest way possible to get stuck at red lights, behind cars etc. The bike didn't stumble. The problem is that it doesn't always stumble at temp.

I checked the coils and one acted differently than the others (all started at a couple ohms of resistance, then slowly drained down to 148miliohms) -- one tho, started at about 15 ohms and hung there for a bit then drained down 156. I repeated this test. I also thru them in the oven and got them to 200degrees F; then tested -- same coil acted differently than the rest. i know this is not a conclusive test, but I'm hopeful that repalcing them will solve this.

The head and/or block are not cracked. I put 100% water as coolant for testing and ran the bike; then checked for gases present in the coolant. None. Similarly, tested coolant for oil, none. No coolant/milkiness in oil. Looks like nice fresh oil. No backpressure coming out of oil fill plug or radiator cap. Coolant level (both radiator & overflow) are proper. Oil level is proper. (no consumption of either).

About 5K miles, I had the valves checked (just preventative maintenance; moved and no garage); they were all w/in spec and the noticed no sticking -- of course, that doesn't rule it out as a possibility. I'll have to think about how to test this.

When I replaced the cover gasket, I did not notice any valve sticking as I rotated the engine around. The MCT is properly adjusted.

"stay tuned folks" I'm going to ride it this way for about a week (it's my only form of transportation); then I'll re-enable the quickshifter & power commander (separately) so it'll take me a couple of weeks.

I am keeping an eye out for an affordable ECU; if anyone has an extra they're willing to lend me...

'98 GSX750R
Vortex clipons,NRC case covers,Attack rearsets,yosh cams&full race,APE cct, -2/+4 sprokets,K1 BlueGuage w/JoE converter, Speedohealer,GIPro/ATRE,port/polished heads,PCV/AT,airbox mod,GPComposites body,1/4 twist throttle,goodrich brakelines,HH pads,Scotts stablizer,K&P oil filter,K&N air filter,CRG shorty clickers,Muzzy Fan,KingQuad fan switch,520 chain.FactoryPro shift kit&ign.adv.,Jacks Mosfefr r/r; HealTech QS
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post #14 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2019, 10:02 AM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

coils can read proper cold then not when hot, maybe see if you can find a set of known good coils and try em? not sure a bad coil can make an engine temp spike but you may be dealing with 2 very different issues here?

perhaps reverse flush the radiator at a radiator shop, maybe its getting cloggy or picked up a coolant bottle tin foil cap seal?

I would for giggles try to find a laser temp gauge and make sure the temps match when it spikes, could even be your gauge is fubared, the display? maybe the temp sensor is failing and its not really hot but its spiking the gauge and tripping the fan relay?

definitely want to make sure if the gauge says coolant is 230 that its actually that temp with a secondary reading, simply cuz its in sketch mode, as you said typically they creep up then creep back down when in good working order?

the sketchy running may be related an it may not, you are still in the same boat, you need to clarify whether its fuel delivery, spark, or timing? what are the chances your CCT is sketching out causing the timing to be erratic, perhaps the spike in temp is causing a bad part to completely fail, or whatever it is that's causing misfire to fail, coil, whatever?

keep trying to isolate, trying known good parts, could even be the ECU failing?

all you can do is find a donor bike and swap known good parts, coils, ECU, sensors, even harness..
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post #15 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-04-2019, 11:31 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

Absolutely two separate issues, just seem to be happening at the same time lately...
The stumbling of the engine only happens at temp, but at temp, it doesn't always happen.
I replaced the coils & spark plugs with new ones; so far so good (running wise)...

Temp wise: Normally; yes, the temp goes up and goes down as I ride. But I can watch it creep up when I'm stuck in traffic, then watch it drop as traffic opens up. The "sudden spike" has happened now 3 times. I'm not comfortable with cutting the engine, and emergency-stopping at 60mph+ to check engine temp with a non-contact thermometer... (which is what I'd have to do) -- when it spikes to 111c+ (232f+) I'm more concerned about getting airflow to get the motor down.
But, under normal operating conditions, using a thermometer does match the gauge fairly accurately.

The CCT is adjusted properly. I had adjusted it; then when I had it in the shop for valve adjustment, I had them double-check it and it was fine. It was one of the 1st things I checked to make sure it hadn't come loose.

The radiator was backflushed, hot tanked, and pressure tested about a year ago (While I was in California, I had a friend at a radiator shop) I was working on putting a bigger radiator in place and had a spare stock one both cleaned/tested at the same time.

I'm fairly certain that the high temp exacerbates the engine stumbling problem (and not the other way around). Running in stop and go traffic just sucks on these bikes; and with the summer we're having, it's a near-daily occurrence to have a hot day, and traffic.

Right now; I'm fairly convinced it was the coils causing the running problem. That or the powercommander or quick shifter is giving me grief (which I find highly doubtful, as this is the 2nd PCV experiencing this problem) & I had disconnected the quick shifter before... But it's possible. Those two things are still disconnected.

Tomorrow it'll be another hot day (90f+) and I'll re-enable the quick shifter before I go for a ride... It's so frustrating, and since it's my primary transporation, the thought of getting stranded just sucks...

I'm going to try to hit up a couple auto parts stores to see if they can cross reference a thermostat that will fit and open at a lower temp. Even when freezing here, the bike warms up pretty quickly, so I don't feel like I'm cheating anything by having it start flowing sooner.

Thanks for the ideas!

'98 GSX750R
Vortex clipons,NRC case covers,Attack rearsets,yosh cams&full race,APE cct, -2/+4 sprokets,K1 BlueGuage w/JoE converter, Speedohealer,GIPro/ATRE,port/polished heads,PCV/AT,airbox mod,GPComposites body,1/4 twist throttle,goodrich brakelines,HH pads,Scotts stablizer,K&P oil filter,K&N air filter,CRG shorty clickers,Muzzy Fan,KingQuad fan switch,520 chain.FactoryPro shift kit&ign.adv.,Jacks Mosfefr r/r; HealTech QS
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post #16 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 02:51 PM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

fix it?
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post #17 of 19 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 02:17 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
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fix it?
Not yet. But as I was getting ready to pull the wiring harness, check out the pictures of the connector to and the ECU...

Going to clean up the pins and connector then dig into the wiring diagram to see what those pins handle...

So far, all other connections look good.
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post #18 of 19 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 05:20 PM
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

yup, odds are your entire harness may look like that?

best to clean em all and pack em good with dielectric grease till it comes out the backside..

use like deoxit to clean the terminals, soak em good and let em sit, see of you can get a small round brush to get in there and clean those female end and something to scrub off the male ends..

also if you don't have a mosfet R/R consider one to clean up the charging system, keep the supply steady and clean

common issue with the SRAD's
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post #19 of 19 (permalink) Old Yesterday, 09:51 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Frustrating problem (rough running)

Thanks - Yes, Mosfet R/R was done years ago. That connector had melted completely apart.
I have deoxit, but want to do more physical cleaning before I do chemical. I have a small needle file that fits into the holes and am working on those. I gave the pins (ecu) a quick run thru, but think I need to use some sandpaper on that. Once I have it cleaned, I'll give everything a good douching with deoxit & then silicone up everything.
The rest of the connectors look better than this, but a couple need cleaning. This is the only one that made me really think "this could be causing it". I pulled off all the grounds to chassis and block & they were nice and tight/clean. Everything will get a spray of deoxit & application of silicone before going back together.
I have filed enough brass/corrosion/electrolysis to worry that the pins won't be "big enough" anymore; so I am going to try dropping a little solder on the pins to help thicken them up. I couldn't find this connector or specific ends, so I want to try saving it before I order a new harness and/or ECU. If I can find a desert bike, that might be in a little better shape than mine (I've lived on or near saltwater for the past 20 years....)

Thanks for the ideas -- give me a few days to finish cleaning the harness & do some test riding.... I've given up on being hopeful anymore, but ... maybe this is it...

'98 GSX750R
Vortex clipons,NRC case covers,Attack rearsets,yosh cams&full race,APE cct, -2/+4 sprokets,K1 BlueGuage w/JoE converter, Speedohealer,GIPro/ATRE,port/polished heads,PCV/AT,airbox mod,GPComposites body,1/4 twist throttle,goodrich brakelines,HH pads,Scotts stablizer,K&P oil filter,K&N air filter,CRG shorty clickers,Muzzy Fan,KingQuad fan switch,520 chain.FactoryPro shift kit&ign.adv.,Jacks Mosfefr r/r; HealTech QS
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