July, 2004

Here is the July 2004 issue of the Cavalcade Owner’s monthly newsletter.  IF YOU DO NOT WISH TO RECEIVE FUTURE MONTHLY ISSUES OF THIS NEWSLETTER, send me an e-mail with the subject field phrase “No Future Issues”. My e-mail address is

CADE RAID 2004 ~ BRANSON, MISSIOURI ~ August 16-21, 2004

Register On-Site at Cade Raid 2004. Waiting until the last minute to decide to attend our bi-annual Cavalcade Owner’s rally “Cade Raid 2004?” You can register on-site at the Grand Plaza Hotel. Plus, the hotel has promised to honor our group rate as long as there are still rooms available. We have a special group rate of just $55.00 per night for up to 4 people in a room. And if you want to come early or stay longer you can reserve nights before and after Cade Raid 2004 at the same rate. 1-800-850-6646. For you campers, contact “ America ’s Best Campground” 499 Buena Vista Road , Branson , MO 65616 (417) 336-4399. Their web site is:

Cavalcade Store at Cade Raid 2004. You will be able to buy, sell or trade at the Cavalcade Store. We have a room in the hotel transformed into a store for Cavalcade related items. If you have items you would like to feature in the “store,” contact our store organizer, Gary Bracken. Gary ’s email address is Be sure to stop in a browse a bit while you are in Branson.


If you are planning a ride, rally, or other motorcycle event of interest to the membership of the Suzuki Cavalcade Owners Group, send the information to and it will be posted in the next issue of this newsletter.





Here a small story from the Netherlands . There was never sold a single new Suzuki Cavalcade over here. In those days there was a law that made it impossible to buy any motorcycle over 100 horsepower. The Cade was one of those bikes. Some years later the government changed this law. But, by that time the Suzuki factory no longer produced the Cade. So it was only possible to buy one overseas. The Cade I own is an ’87 LX (two toned Silver) from overseas. In the Netherlands we're counting in liters and kilometers instead of miles and gallons, and the user’s guide is in English. But, so what!! It is a wonderful bike. In Holland everybody who like's this kind of model owns a Goldwing. They told me there are only 17 Cavalcades here in Holland . That makes it very special to own one. ~Ron.


I have been reading about the CB's org. equip. type for the Cades. Who would have info on getting them or does anyone have one? Prices, availability, etc. by the way am I alone in S.C. with my Cade. ~John

John, We have a quantity of Cavalcade CB radio units which were donated to our group by North American Suzuki Corporation. The problem is that we do not yet have the necessary support items to go with them (i.e. the press-to-talk switch, the channel display, connecting wires, etc.). We also have a waiting list of guys who want the package when it is ready. So far we still have plenty of CB's for everyone who wants one.  ~ If you are looking to just replace the CB radio unit. That is, if you already have the switch, display, etc., you can purchase the CB unit for $300 plus $20 shipping. ~Jay

I currently am using a Uniden 40 channel CB with a "loud mouth" speaker mounted on top of that. It sets on the left handlebar with a metal mounting bracket. This bracket has two adjustable screws, one top, one bottom, for putting the radio on/off the bike, and adjusting the level and pitch of the unit, the speaker is just a small external one that is velcroed on, but it has great sound and the radio get out perfectly. The wiring is run under the false tank, under the seat, and hooked up to a "Firestick" antenna. With the cheap prices on these types units, maybe someone would be interested in running this way. The only draw back can be the hand mike, but once you get on the road, it poses no problem. Everybody ride safe and hope to see y'all in Branson. ~Ed Ritchison.

As I've described before, I also have an aftermarket CB. Mine has the handlebar mounting system (air-rider), the CB (Radio Shack) and the interfacing product that enables you to connect your CB radio to the existing Radio Intercom connections (Air-rider). The kit includes all the necessary connections including the push to talk handlebar button. I mounted the entire interfacing arrangement in the left faring pocket. I mounted the CB on the left side next to the Clutch Master cylinder. It uses a u bolt (chrome) that will fit the 1" handlebars. When connected, the only time you will need to adjust the CB is when changing stations or cranking up the volume (you can also use the intercom volume). Now this is a more expensive way of doing it then others have mentioned, but I like piping everything through my helmet. It's easier on me and easier on those I travel with. The entire setup takes about 1 hour from start to finish. ~Micky


I have never purchase a pair of tires for a bike.  I know there are many, many choices.  I ride in the mountains of northern VA.  Most roads have a lot of sharp curves. I'd like something that grips but
still gives a smooth highway ride and extended wear.  I need some recommendations.  ~Dwayne

Dwayne, I own an 87 and 86. I moved from Dunlop 491 Elite II on front and rear to the Avon Venom X. I really like the handling characteristics of the Avon 's. They work great on curves (I live at 5080 feet) and we have lots of curves. I was amazed at how well they work in the rain. Have you ever been on grooved roadway? Well the Avon 's don't get stuck in a track like the Dunlop's. The Avon 's glide over the grooves with surefootedness (not sure if this is a real word, but will use it anyway)... I've not been sorry one time since their purchase. I currently have 6k miles on my current set and they look and feel great. The only real difference in the tires besides those mentioned is the air pressure. The Avon 's run 40 lbs front and 50 lbs rear. I liked them so much I bought another set for my 86 Suzi. The Elites feel real funny now that I ride on the Avon 's. The Dunlop's are not as smooth. ~ Micky.

I saw a couple of people mention the Avon Venom X tires for the Cade. I have never run anything except Dunlop elites on any big bike. How are the Avons for heavy loading? By the time I get my giant economy size rear, my delightful wife, a trailer, everything but the kitchen sink (looking for a way to mount the sink (G)) loaded in the bags; old Fat Suzy is carrying one heck of a load. Factory load specs were surpassed when my wife and I got on the empty bike... The Dunlops have always done well under these conditions. How do the Avons compare under such loads? ~Perry

The Avon tires are, in my humble opinion, a much better tire than Dunlop with regard to stability, wear and wet weather performance. The load rating is also better than the Dunlop. Here are some specs:

Avon AM41 Venom X (front): load rating C, maximum load capacity 827 pounds
Dunlop 491 Elite II (front): maximum load capacity 770

Avon AM42 Venom X (rear): load rating C, maximum load capacity 992 pounds
Dunlop 491 Elite II (front): maximum load capacity 830



I’m placing running lights that go on the trunk with the trunk rail and need some help.  I ordered lights from JC Whitney and was able to make them fit. But for some reason, they will not turn on.  The lights themselves have one wire coming out of them and I do not see a place where a ground would be.  I am guessing this is my problem and I hope it will be an easy one, but I am just throwing blanks.  I do have the holder that was made for the Cade but not the original lights.  I even tried to hook the lights up to another battery, but still no go.  If anyone has ever used the lights from JC Whitney, please let me know or if anyone has the original lights that you would be willing to get rid of, let me know. ~Sean

Sean, Use a Volt-Ohm meter and measure the resistance between the wire and the metal connection for the mounting screws. You should see a dead short, or something close (assumes that a known good bulb is installed). If you mounted the lights on the trunk rack, there's no ground present due to the mounting method. The lights work the same as the lower bumper lights. They get a ground from the frame. If that's the case, run a ground wire from the inside mounting bolt and washer to the ground in the trunk for the light. ~Micky


Since there was a lot of talk about damage to headlights and cornering lights I figured I better get something to cover them because when you all start talking about it I get paranoid or it happens to me.  I have my cornering lights wired so I can switch them both on anytime. ~ Somebody mentioned this web site so I ordered a 12" X 12" of bulk film which will cover both cornering lights and headlight for $15 plus shipping and it arrived in a few days. I covered the cornering lights today and am very pleased with it.  If you didn't know and didn't get up real close you would never know they are there.  Haven't done the headlight yet and don't know if I will, but this stuff is supposed to protect lights when hit with up to 1" diameter stones at 120 MPH.  ~Kirby, 86 LX, Topeka , Ks.


I recently found a very informative article on motorcycle jackets, riding suits, boots and gloves at  In it, the author discusses safety and comfort aspects of leather (cowhide, horsehide, goatskin, deerskin and elk skin) vs. textile, custom vs. off-the-rack, boots, gloves, costs, etc.  ~Gary B.


I have a fuel gauge that is suspect. It’s about 80 or 90 miles before it moves. I always keep up with the mileage on the trip-meter between fill-ups. On average, how many miles should I be able to go before I'm walking? I suppose I could keep a gallon of fuel in a side bag and just let it run dry once or twice to get an average, but I thought you Cade riders would know. Trip meter read 150 miles the last time it appeared to be very near empty. Any comments? ~Doug-‘86 LX in Bunnell, Fl

I made it 220 miles one time and ended up walking. This bike does not push very easily!  I always get gas now as soon as it gets close to the red line on the fuel gauge. ~David

Doug.  The tank holds 6.2 gallons, but I always fill it up at about 5.2 gallons.  At that time, my gauge is reading well below the empty mark.  But a couple of fill ups with recording the mileage and you can come up with the miles per gallon.  I get about 33, so the math says about 200 miles.  Don't want to push it (literally) so it is rare that I don't fill up long before that.  But once you know the miles per gallon, multiply that by 5 and that is when you want to fill up.  ~Tom

I know this question has been asked before but I don't recall if anybody ever tried them and can't find anything in the archive.  Has anybody tried the LED 1157 replacement bulbs for the tail/brake lights?  Would there be a problem with the display signal, giving false light out signal?  ~Kirby, ‘86 LX

I tried them.  Not sure how others went, but on mine, it seemed there wasn't enough power to get the brakes to light unless I revved the motor.  Also, the OK monitor showed I had lights out, but they weren't drawing enough juice. ~Brian in CT

The LED's will work if a 6 ohm / 10 watt resistor is added to each side of the hot to a ground. This will keep the ok monitor happy and will provide enough power for the proper operation of LED's. If you place 1,  6 ohm resistor in each path in the rear housing, it will allow the use of the same type of LED's (amber) in the turn/running lights in the front. ~Micky





Is this a correct statement:  You should have continuity between the 3 stator legs but you should not have it between the legs and ground. ~ I had a local rewind mine and it was ok for about 2 years then went to ground.  I just had it done again and found it still grounded so I took it back and it is ok now if the above statement is true.  ~Mike

Mike, The windings should not have a path to the core. They should have a path to each other. ~ Tracy


I just purchased a new sealed battery for my ‘88 Cade.  Can you tell me how to bypass the battery sensor device so that I can get rid of the battery symbol?  I thought I read it somewhere in the Cavalcade web site, but can't seem to find it anymore. ~Joe

Tie the sensor wire to the positive battery post. ~ Tracy

Gear Position Readout

When I started the bike yesterday to go for a ride, the gear position showed 0 and the bike was in neutral, the green light was on.  When I started to leave, I put the bike in 1st and the gear position does not show a number, when I shift, the 0 flashes between every gear.  Running down the road, no number is shown and the green neutral light stays on all the time.  I did notice that when I first hit the start button and the bike is in gear, it will flash 1 very quickly, but immediately goes away.  Any thoughts on how to fix
this? It’s not critical, but annoying. ~Mike L.

It might be the gear position switch down at the motor. It may be the connection of that switch to the display panel. ~ Tracy

Keep in mind if you find it is the gear indicator switch, the 86 model vs. the 88 model  have totally different connectors for hooking into the wiring harness,  just in case you purchase a used part, try to keep with  in the same year and you should be good.  ~Don


My Cade is running fine and I’m going to add the marvel oil as suggested. The bike runs great in all gears. But in 5th gear at almost any speed there is a whirling sound as if from a small electric motor. When the clutch is pulled in the sounds vanishes, but comes back again when the clutch lever is released. It only makes the sound in 5th gear and at constant speed. Any ideas? ~Jerry

I don't know that I would sweat that sound. I've noticed a similar sound on several bikes I've worked on. I think it's normal. ~ Tracy


I have only had my Cade a few months and it only has less than 11,000 miles on it. Can you check the VIN list to see if it’s been done? If it hasn't do I need to do it now with this low mileage or? When? ~Tim

The important thing to remember is that if you keep track of the fluid level, you don't need to replace the plug unless you choose to (or it falls out on its own). With that few miles on the bike, the seals should still be in fairly good condition. As long as you keep the level up, you can probably wait until the seals need to be replaced. ~ Tracy


If the springs show no wear or give no indication of weakening what is the lifespan of the originals ones? What is the price of the springs so I can have one less thing to worry about? ~Keith

Keith, The springs don't "wear", however, spring steel will lose some of it's ummmph over time. Personally, I think the stock springs were a tad on the light side to begin with. That's not that uncommon on a Jap road bike. The engineers had to compromise on plate pressure versus lever pull effort. The problem comes when the clutch plates get a little less sticky because of the slippage that occurs right before lockup. And, sometimes, the clutch will slip a little without the rider even knowing it. It won't be the typical engine RPMs getting higher without a MPH increase. It's much more subtle than that and as time goes on, that minute amount of slippage creates a layer of glaze on the clutch plate surfaces. Dino motor oil gets really hot when it sits between slipping clutch discs and burns. This creates a hard, glaze type surface coating on the discs and they simply aren't as sticky as when new.

Most clutch plates (the friction plates) can be revived with a light sanding with 120-150 grit sandpaper if they measure within spec. The sanding takes off the hardened glazed surface and exposes the original material which has a much higher friction coefficient than the glaze surface.

The Barnett springs are not only more powerful than the stockers (having 1 less coil, slightly thicker wire and a greater uncompressed height), they're also made out of better spring steel. All steel has the same modulus (in simple terms the resistance to bending) but there are different grades of spring steels and some of them have better "set" characteristics. In other words, the better steels will tend to lose less of their ummmph with repeated cycles.

When you first put in a set of Barnetts, it takes a pretty good push to get the spring bolts started back in the clutch carrier and the lever seems pretty stiff. That changes in fairly short order and if you were to take those springs back out in a couple of thousand miles you would notice that they install much easier the second time around. However, even with a small amount of set, they are still firmer than the stockers and offer a more robust "lockup" of the clutch to prevent any slippage at all. Use of synthetic oil also helps keep the plates from glazing since it has more heat resistance before burning. Lots of people think that synthetic oil and wet clutches don't get along. However, if you changed the oil to synthetic in the first few thousand miles of its life before the clutch had much opportunity to slip and glaze then the synthetic oil would actually help prevent a glazed surface.

I use Wayne Koehn's bike as an example. He's got 135K on it and put synthetic oil (Amsoil) in it with less than 1000 miles on the motor. He has no clutch slippage and has not changed the clutch plates or original springs and has towed trailers for many, many miles. And one of them is a heavy SOB. He has no clutch slip. And, his motor is as quiet as any I've heard.

Are clutch springs anything to worry about? Not really. However, if you want to eliminate the possibility of clutch slippage notwithstanding the fact that it's something that probably wouldn't keep you from getting somewhere (FTP or Failure to Proceed as Spike likes to call it), then the change to better springs is a fairly inexpensive and easy task to undertake.

My speed meter dos not work. I took the cable off and tested it then
it works so I think there is fault in the connection at front wheel

The speedo drive (at the front wheel) can be taken apart and lubricated. Most likely, it seized up and the drive tangs bent away from the drive slots in the wheel. It's a common problem that comes about because the drive doesn't get serviced often enough.

It should be cleaned and lubed at every tire change.

Here's some info on doing that from an old post.

Remove the spring wire retainer. Take off the washer and the drive plate. Grab the drive gear with channel locks and as you twist it, pull it out past the seal. Clean it up good and grease the piss out of the inside of the housing before you put the drive gear back in (again, using a twisting motion to get it past the seal). Grease the piss out of where the drive plate sits and on the washer. Make sure the drive plate is flat (they sometimes get bent when they lock up and the drive tangs push out of the slots in the wheel) except for the drive tangs which are suppose to stick up.

Put it back on and clean/grease the speedo cable before you reconnect it. ~ Tracy


As some of you may recall, we've had a few incidents of low oil pressure reported. It really only manifests itself at idle since too much internal bleeding will cause the pressure to drop to a level that may light the oil pressure light if the idle dips down too low. There have been 2 reported causes for the condition and I have yet a third.

One cause is a dime-sized metal plug that is driven into the crankshaft to seal the oil galleys in it. There are 2 such plugs used in the crank, one on each rod journal. If one of them exits, it will cause an excessive amount of oil to bleed and can drop the pressure by as much as 40 PSI. This is, of course, is bad since the Cade has about 40 PSI at idle.

Another cause was a sliver of wire wheel wire hung up in the pressure relief valve. While cleaning gasket material off the clutch side, an errant wire from the brush ended up in the oil pan. Since the oil is filtered after the pressure relief, the wire got caught in the relief piston as it was limiting oil pressure, probably on initial startup since the system can put out 100 PSI when cold.

The third cause is one I just found in a motor I'm working on. In this motor, there was no plug laying in the oil pan, there were no debris in the pressure relief but the system would barely hold 10 PSI at idle. When the idle dipped (it was also having carb problems), the oil light would flicker. This told me that there was a problem since with 40 PSI idle/hot the OP light should never come on unless the motor dies.

There is a small brass orifice that limits the amount of oil that gets to the top end (camshafts, lifters, valves etc). That orifice is pushed into the upper case just above the left-side (stator) main bearing. In my situation, that orifice was completely missing. And, since I cannot see any indication that the motor has been apart before (even though it may have), then the orifice could have been missing from the factory. Interestingly, if it was, then it hasn't hurt this motor one bit. The main/rod bearings look fantastic for a motor with 40K + miles. It's like they've barely had any miles on them at all. The motor, inside, looks great with no signs that would indicate that it had low oil pressure for any length of time.

I would like to thank Jerry Tennant for helping me run this down. Without him as a sounding board it would have taken me longer to diagnose. Since he's torn them all the way down, he was able to remind me of the orifice. It's shown in the parts breakdown but doesn't just slap one in the face as to its location or symptoms if it's missing.

Is this a problem on other Cades? I dunno but I doubt it. However, if you have a flicker in the oil pressure light when the idle dips below 800-900 RPM, then you may have low oil pressure and need to put a gauge on it to see what it's doing. If it's good, it will idle hot with 40-ish PSI and should have around 70 PSI hot at 3000 RPM. The gauge port (right side cover near the bottom in front of your right foot peg) isn't standard thread but you can get a 1/8" pipe thread to start into it and get maybe a turn or 2 on it. That's enough for a test. It might seep a little but it won't matter for a short term test. Just don't try and cram it in there too far as you don't want to mess up the threads for the regular OP sender.

If the OP is low, then it would really be a good idea to look into it. Unfortunately, unless it's the pressure relief, the case has to be split to get to the other 2 issues. ~ Tracy


I found another thing on the bike I'm currently working on and thought I should pass it along. As some of you may remember, big S had a recall on the rear wheel bearing (left) due to lack of lubrication from the factory. This was confirmed when I spoke with a mechanic in Texas that was in on the recall when it first happened. Once the problem was identified, big S went to marking the final drives with a special mark to let the shops know that the bearing had been lubed from the factory and that it didn't need to be gotten into and lubed. If the shop didn't see that mark, they knew that the bearing had to be lubed.

On this bike, there was grease in the bearing but on about 1/2 of the outer diameter of the spacer that rides inside that bearing (the spacer being the inside race of the bearing so to speak) the surface of the spacer is worn down. About .015-.020". This may have resulted from wear before the bearing was lubricated and the shop just didn't notice it when they did the fix. Or, it could just be a fluke. That area of the spacer is quite hard (it has been induction hardened to become a bearing surface) but even with that it is worn quite a bit. The result besides being un-nerving (now that I know about it) is that the rear wheel will shimmy about some and handling will be poor. It might mimic loose swing arm bearings. 

The other thing I found on this bike was a loose pinch bolt on the rear axle. This bike had some pretty nasty straight-line handling problems (like trying to keep it in one lane) and both of these conditions help to explain why. The moral of this story is that when the rear wheel is off and you're doing a lube on that bearing (as one should do each time the wheel or final comes off) then you might want to take a look at that spacer. This may be a fluke but I can see that if other bikes that were part of the recall had wear prior to the lube fix, then there could be a few more out there. Unfortunately, that spacer is NLA from big S. Used or a rework of the worn part are the only options. If you have to have one made or are repairing one, remember that the bearing surface has to be damn hard (probably Rockwell C60-ish) and also needs to have a fairly fine finish (ground or polished) to serve as an inner bearing race. Also, make sure to tighten the axle pinch bolt after you tighten the axle nut

I haven't been a proponent of replacing the needle bearing in the rear wheel, however, since the one I'm working on had a failed inner race (the spacer), I thought it best to replace the bearing. Big S no longer has it but a replacement is available. It's Torrington #HK3020 and is a 30mm ID x 37mm OD x 20mm length. If anyone needs one I can get them for $10.50. ~ Tracy



I have decided to sell both my Cavalcades and trailer which goes behind my LX. I have an ‘86 lx with many LXE things on it. The bike  is painted dehailia blue with trailer to match this is the bike I’ve been riding for 5 years if interested e mail me @ chopperonly I also have a black ‘87 LXE that I will be selling after oil pan is replaced it has CB and all chrome is good for those of you who know Brian and Cheryl this bike was Brian’s. I also have a 4000 lb lift I will be selling as well designed for the Cavalcade works well I just ran out of room in garage lift is battery operated and lifts the Cade without a problem any one interested in any of this please e mail me Thanks to this group for all the help you have given in the last 5 yrs  ~Chopper Email:


Amarillo , Texas

I have a 1986 Cade LX with less than 30k miles. It seems to run great a couple of cracked or broken pieces of plastic. It's not too bad, I think the gentle man who owned this before me dropped it while sitting, and it doesn't look like it went sliding down the road. Tires are in great shape. It seems to have a lot of extras, chrome covers for the front disks, a hitch, and it seems to have all the goodies. E-mail me or call for more details. I'd like to get around $2000.  I'm in the Air Guard and will be gone this weekend but Call, E-mail, or just stop by. I always have a pot of coffee on.  ~Ray Keller, Amarillo , Texas phone 806-206-6338 



Last updated:   Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Copyright © 2000-2013  All rights reserved