November, 2005





The Lone Star State will host a Cavalcade rally on the MLK holiday weekend, January 14-16, 2006 . There is no charge to attend except for your own expenses.

Saturday, Jan. 14th ride to San Antonio , TX . Our lodging will be at the San Antonio Days Inn Northwest/Seaworld, 6010 NW Loop 410 (410 Loop & Ingram Exit), San Antonio , Texas    78238 Phone 210-522-1995. January 14-16 is a three-day weekend, Martin Luther King Day. San Antonio is no more than a day's ride for most Texas Cade owners. That would give everyone a day to ride to S.A. , a day to tour around the Texas Hill Country and a day to ride home. Will the weather be good? Who knows? But, it's San Antonio ; how bad could it be?

Sunday, Jan. 15th eat, ride, talk Cades & repeat. The Day's Inn has rooms available at a reasonable $49.95 a night. Two single guys could even share a room with two beds. They serve continental breakfast in the Days Inn lobby, so everyone could have their coffee and bagels together Sunday morning. On Sunday ride the Texas Hill Country, visit the Alamo , or just hang out in the parking lot and replace a water pump or a stator on one of the Cades, etc..

Monday, Jan. 16th ride back home. It’s as easy as that!

So Texas you have your own Cade Raid, you know what to do. Just be sure you ride safely and take photos to share with the rest of us.



This year's event will be held on April 14,15,16. We will be based in Cookeville , TN. There will be a web site dedicated to this event by new years. Look forward to all who want to participate. ~"BigDaddy" Rick Moore, 86'Cav LXE Email:


20th Anniversary National Cavalcade Rally

“CADE RAID 2006”


September 11-15, 2006 ~ Golden, Colorado


Most of our Cavalcades officially turn 20 years old this year. To celebrate we are hosting a gathering of Cades and Cade owners in the Rocky Mountain resort town of Golden , Colorado . We have a full schedule of events all week. There will be workshop classes by the best Cavalcade mechanics in the world. Learn to repair, maintain and enhance your Cavalcade from these experts. We’ll feature daily rides through the majestic Rocky Mountains . We will have an Advanced Rider Training Course to improve our skills riding heavy motorcycles. We’ve scheduled evening meals and entertainment, highlighted by our Friday Night Cade Raid Dinner with our own Cavalcade Prime-Time Entertainers, including Jay, Tracy, Nancy “Motherwind” and others.


Email for a registration form to attend Cade Raid 2006. Reserve the week of September 11-15, 2006 at the Holiday Inn in Golden, Colorado . If you call for reservations, be sure to identify yourself as with the Suzuki Cavalcade Owners attending “Cade Raid 2006” to receive our special room rate of $70.



We are in the planning stage for a weekend Cade Raid next Spring somewhere in British Columbia , Canada . If you would like to attend, please contact with your suggestions for dates and locations.



The country’s biggest motorcycle rally at Lake George , NY . We normally get about 30 Cavalcades in attendance among the 50-60 thousand motorcycles at this huge event. Cavalcade headquarter at Americade is Mrs. B’s Sub Shop in Lake George . Check in there to connect with your fellow Cavalcaders. Lodging and scheduled events fill up early, so make your plans now. For complete information go to this web site:


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.





Hi group. Joe in PA here. I experienced a situation recently that I thought I would share. A little lengthy, but for those of you who are on EBay looking for good deals, you may want to read this.

I was checking out Honda Gold Wings on EBay the other day and seen this guy had a 1987 Aspencade with low mileage for a "buy me now" for 3000 dollars. So when I clicked on the picture, it brought up the info for a 2001 black Gold Wing. I double checked to see if I "clicked" on the right one and I did. So, I started reading all the
info on this 2001 Gold Wing. The guy lived in
Utica , New York {supposedly}. This bike had all the "bells and whistles" on it that you can imagine. Now for the good part.------  he was selling it for 6000 bucks. He said he couldn't ride anymore because he had a knee operated on. So, when I emailed him to ask him why the ad said a
1987 Aspencade but it was actually showing a 2001 Wing, he emailed me back and said that he still had the bike for sale and that if I was still interested to send him 2500 dollars for the deposit and he would set everything up thru EBay. He said that he would even crate the bike up and ship by "DAS" auto movers directly to my house. "Whew!!!!! What a deal" right??. So I did some research and this bike has a Kelly blue book of almost $12,000.


The next day, I go back on EBay and the ad is gone---vanished!!. I save his two emails though. So I emailed him again and he tells me that he still has the bike and he wants my name, address, phone, & fax number so he knows where to ship the bike and he will send all the paperwork with the bike{title etc.} He wants to set everything up thru eBay so that we both will be protected. Sounds good, right? But, it is no longer listed thru EBay. So why would he want to go thru them and pay the fees? I email him and tell him that I do not want the bike shipped and that I will come to his house with $6000 in hand, buy the bike and drive it home. I also wanted his phone number to call him and discuss this over the phone with him. Guess what????------- I haven't heard for this guy in three days and he won't return any emails.

So, as the old saying goes "if it sounds like it is too good to be true" it probably is.  To all of you out there---be careful on EBay and "read between the lines". ~Joe in pa.


Vector VEC008 voltmeter

I was thinking of purchasing one of these voltmeters and I was wondering what the easiest way to hook it up is?  Any suggestions on where to mount it would be appreciated. ~Wes


Wes, I just velcroed mine next to the radio display above the right speaker.  I ran the wires between the windshield and the dash.  Looks all right.  Have not tried it out yet. On the same subject, currently I have the wires for the voltmeter connected to the accessories terminal in the fuse block.  It is always on though, so I have to connect and disconnect the voltmeter.  Any suggestions on where there is a connection point so that it is only on when the motorcycle is running?  ~Tom (1986 LXE in Alabama )


Mine is velcroed above the right speaker. Easy access to the battery, etc. ~Red


Hook it up directly to the battery through a relay that is switched by the ignition key. It’s the only way to get an accurate reading. ~ Tracy


Thanks Guys! Isn't the Accessories Terminal on the fuse block the same as the battery? ~Wes


Yeah, but, the wires leading to it could be under a load changing the voltage. I dunno if that's exactly the case but I always wire right to the battery terminals. ~ Tracy



OK gang, I picked up Dan Rieghard's stock fork brace that he replaced. The news is mostly bad. Rob's descriptions of a flimsy piece of pot metal, hollow and made of recycled beer cans, are understatements all. Dan's piece was in the process of failing: it had one easily visible stress fracture in a high load region, and had visibly yielded in an adjacent corner.  This I could tell without even a magnifying glass. {8-[  The crack had propagated far enough that complete failure of that corner was eminent, which would then more than double the load on the adjacent corner. {8-[  This could have resulted in TBCs. I am convinced now that fork brace failures resulted in the front end instabilities that have caused TBCs on at least two occasions.


Being the natural optimist, there is one good aspect in all this: the crack was clearly visible before total failure. So at least it wouldn't go without warning you.  But you must heed the warning. This crack was on the outside of the part, where it can be seen without even removing the part. I plan to take this piece to the metals lab, put some dye pen on there, and see if there are other nasty surprises hiding in the part.


Before you head out for any length trip, get out there with a flashlight and a magnifying glass, or better yet take the bracket off and inspect it for carefully for cracks.  If it is cracked, you *might* be able to get the local machine shop to spot weld it as a temporary patch until Tracy can make you a new one.  A spot weld is not a permanent fix, so don't depend on it long term.


Pay particular attention to the 90 degree inside corner right next to the bolt holes.  Those are stress concentration regions, right where you would expect a crack to start. I brought this bracket to Yellowstone . We had a little fork brace inspection session and a secondary gear case oil level checking party. Guys get your wahoonies out to the garage and inspect!  {8-] ~spike



I found an ad for ColorRite in PA in a m/c magazine. They have a web site called The man that I talked to was fairly helpful & he can make up cans of paint at your request i.e. Legato Gold Metallic, etc. Phone # is 800-358-182 fax is 610-58-1570. Paint is $30.95 a can & recommended gloss clear coat is $14.95 a can. It worked pretty well for me considering high humidity/dusty conditions that I had to work in. ~Dan '86LX GD Jax, FL



My Cade started to run HOT!!! There’s plenty of water in the radiator, when more is added it comes out the overflow (next to the foot brake). The fan comes on and it is still very HOT a lot at the end of the range before over heat. When Cade is turned off, a lot of liquid comes out, almost as if it is pressurized.  When moving, the gauge comes to the mid point. It started all of a sudden. I am thinking that the thermostats are belly up. ~ dolphin33157


Sounds like a thermostat issue to me.  The Cade thermostat has been known to freeze up in the closed position.  There is only one of them and it isn't that hard to get it outa there. Put it in a pot of boiling water. If it doesn’t open up, you know what to do.  {8-]  If that part is OK, then you need to check your water pump.  ~spike



I've looked around for information on shock removal, and haven't had much luck. So, I figured I'd put it to the group. "What are some 'tips' that will help a novice remove the air-shocks from the cavalcade?"  I am hi-jacking the air shocks from my parts bike. I took off all the bolts and I can't get the shocks to budge. So, before I break out
the sledge hammer and pry bar, I'd better seek a little advice from those who have been there!!!! ~BigD in MidTN, ‘86 LXE


I installed Progressive air shocks. Do they take longer to rise than the OEM? I get worried that I am going to burn up the compressor. The compressor runs and runs and I don't feel any lift like I did with the OEM. I finally stand up and then sit back down and it stops. Same thing when we are riding two up. The wife and I combined only weigh 285 so I don't think we are too much for the shocks. I took the seat off and there was air pressure in the line. Not sure how to test the shocks otherwise. ~Maury, 86 LXE


Well let's start with the word "stiction" (n.) Short for static friction, a condition in which a hard disk drive's read/write heads become stuck to the disk’s platters with enough strength to keep the platters from spinning, resulting in hard drive failure. When a computer is turned off, its hard drive's read/write heads park on the platter's landing zones. Under normal circumstances, the heads will lift off the platter when the computer's hard drive is activated and the platters rotate. Stiction typically occurs when a computer has been turned off for long periods of time.


Next after talking with the local radiator expert, he used the word "stiction" to describe what happens when something like a thermostat sets on the shelf for a while.  Before installing the thing, press the thermostat open for the first time.  This causes a snap, after which the things works with no problem.  This could also be true of the shocks; they just have to be broke loose inside the cylinder for the first time. You said that they were setting (assuming) for a while...well maybe they just need to be "un-stictionated" by applying enough air to take them over the limit. Sound reasonable? ~Mac, Fallon , NV  


There is always some stiction in the system. I find that you need to take a little weight off as it's airing (not stand completely up but just raise your butt a little) to get it to level. I found this with bikes that have stock or Progressive shocks. ~ Tracy


In the steel making industry the term stiction is used when referring to rolling mills. The steel thickness is regulated by applied hydraulic pressure which forces the rolls in the mill closer together, or further apart using x-ray feedback to constantly check the thickness. If the mill has stiction more force than normal needs to be applied to make corrections to the roll position. This is caused by the roll chocks being too tight of a fit in the mill housing. The end result is that when it does move there is likely to be overshoot, thus causing oscillation in the system. Likewise if you have stiction in the shocks, or swing arm you may end up sitting a little higher than you should be when it finally does decide to move. At least one person knew what this technical jargon term meant. ~Brad, ‘86LX, Saskatchewan



With all the goodies Suzuki put on our great bikes, I never could figure out why they did not include a cigarette lighter. I have an 86 LX with most of the LXE goodies on it and want to install a lighter.  I know some of you have done so and wonder where is the best place on the left side to install one. I would love to do this without removing the fairing. ~Hitekrednek


I put one on our trike where the auto level switch is usually located – The trike does not have auto level. It's easily & SAFELY usable on the fly. On our bike I plan to relocate the level switch since it's basically useless in motion anyway. Another option on an LXE would be to use a block-off plate in the coin compartment similar to how my air gauge is mounted. Not sure on an LX since I've never worked on one. If you do not have a CB, a lighter could easily go right next to the level switch w/o moving anything. ~Ed



I had left a message looking for a left side flag style mirror, but then got to thinking of a repair.  I got a machinist to cut out the cup on the base of the mirror bucket and make me a new one out of aluminum that I will epoxy in.  He matched the ball socket of the original plastic part and there is plenty of clearance for a small top flange and an epoxy bead underneath.  I think the repair is so good I may take to only using the left mirror from this point forward! ~Chuck Rudd



I have noticed lately that when I am downshifting sometimes the shifter is non-responsive. Sometimes I have to push several times for the down-shift; it seems mostly when I first start riding. The bike is an 86 LX with 20k miles, am I not letting it warm up enough? Have any of you had this problem? Any help appreciated. Also Tracy , I was looking at the heel/toe shifter on your site, where can I get the floorboards? I'd like to have the setup. ~Dave in So. Ohio


You may need to adjust the shifting linkage.  Make sure all of the points are lubricated and the shifting rod is adjusted to the correct length. ~Tom (1986 LXE in Alabama )


The most common problem with shifting is that the lever pivot and related linkage needs to be lubricated. Also, where the shifter shaft passes through the secondary drive there is a bushing that needs to be lubed. Use oil or grease for everything except the shifter shaft which can only be lubed with oil unless you take the secondary drive off. Don't use WD-40 as it is not a lubricant. Also, make sure that the lever pivot hasn't come loose from the peg mount. The one on my bike, even though still attached, was moving back and forth as the weld was failing. I noticed it before the weld broke completely.


Changing to full synthetic oil (like Amsoil) in the motor can also help with shifting. However, I suspect your real problem is a lack of lube on the shifter and such. Lube the rear brake pivot linkage while you're at it. Those things get neglected. Do it regularly. A binding in the brake pivot can result in a dragging rear brake and maybe a fire if it gets bad enough.


The floorboards are available through You will have to call them. They may have only a few sets left. ~ Tracy


Dave. In addition to Tracy 's comments, also check the Clutch fluid level. If it is low, refill and bleed. If you experience the same problem within a few days, I would suggest you look into rebuilding the Clutch Slave cylinder. ~Bruce



A few months back I had to sell my 87 LXE due to medical bills and just recently bought an ‘85 Gold Wing Aspencade. All I can say is it's a good thing for Honda that Suzuki decided to discontinue the Cavalcade line. If they were still being built Honda couldn't give wings away.


The difference in quality, handling and over all impression between the two is amazing. The wing is lighter and a little quicker out of the hole but that's all I can say for it. The high speed handling and feel is no where as good as the Cade and the ride and comfort don’t compare. The over all workmanship is a distant second the Cade and the wing is very spooky in cross winds. I had the Cade in cross winds out in the Mohave desert coming out of the Tehachapi mountains that were so bad the tour busses were parking and I never felt uncomfortable for a second but this wing will give you a dose of religion in even moderate cross winds. Trust me folks stick with the cades there a much better machine. ~Ron



I need to replace the front fork seals on my 86 LX.  In the service manual it shows a special tool to disassemble the fork.  Is this special tool really required or is there some other method to disassemble it. ~Wes


Wes, I welded a 15/16" nut and bolt into a 15/16"-3/8" drive socket with the bolt head extended about 3/8" out of the socket.  A 12" extension on a ratchet should do the trick with an Allen key in the bottom of the fork tube. ~Russ



Just a quick note regarding those pop-up valve stem attachments used to warn of low air pressure. This little unit seems to be a great idea. But, after removing one to do some service on a pick-up truck tire, the one I had reinstalled developed a leak which flattened the tire within a VERY SHORT period of time. Yes, it was correctly seated on the stem and the tire was proven to have no leak elsewhere. It seems that a small piece of grit worked free and jammed the device's valving (pop-up) mechanism allowing it to work itself open. Had this failure been on the bike, things might have turned out a bit uglier. Granted, this is a single experience, but I removed the remaining units for fear of further failures and will not use them again on a motorcycle. Just my inflation depreciated two cents worth. ~Chuck Mayernick, Riverside , CA 86 Brown/Brown, LTC - "Long Term Commitment" 


Chuck's note brought something similar to mind for me. My daughter bought some LED valve caps that are battery operated and light up when the tire turns for her car. She decided they would also look cool on Fat Suzy so she bought me a pair of them. I put them on and they did look fine along with all the other fancy lights and did great for a while. Then one day, I decided to give Fat Suzy some exercise and, just as I was about to enter a curve at 110 or so, the front valve stem broke off. As it was a relatively new valve stem I can only surmise that the extra weight and height of the light with batteries and all were too much for the stem at higher speeds.

Needless to say, the sudden loss of air in the front tire at that speed coming into a curve was not a nerve calming experience. I managed to fight the beast down and get to a halt still standing up, but it was certainly not easy.
I took the lights off the valve stems and will not try that again. I also finally got the stains out of my seat cover but the smell took longer to leave.... ~Hitekrednek



Seeing as everyone seems to be mounting Harley mufflers on their bikes I figured I'd give it a try. Went over to my neighbor and he gave me the pipes he had taken off his 04 Ultra Classic. I'm not sure if they are the same as the Road King but they look similar. I then went to my local muffler shop and got a 9"x2" chrome exhaust tip. I put a
bushing in the one end so that it fits snug over the Harley muffler and welded a steel slotted nipple to the other end so that it would fit over the pipe coming out of the canister. This gave me a nice finished look between the heat shield and the muffler plus it puts the end of the pipe flush with the back bumper where you can see it. Helps put some of the rumble further away from the bike as well it stretches out the exhaust system to fit the long lines of the bike. ~Brent







Well, I finally had to come up with a fix for replacing the master cylinder windows. The other day I changed clutch fluid and after a couple of short trips I had to diaper the clutch master cylinder to keep it from leaking all over my inner plastic as the sight window had simply had too much sun over the years. So, I fixed it.


I went to one of the local jewelry shops that repairs watches and picked up a couple of 16.9mm x 1 mm mineral glass flat watch crystals. Total of $5. I then carefully removed only the deteriorated plastic window leaving the remaining metal bits in place. The 16.9 mm is a perfect fit. I used some Permatex 16B black silicone to secure/seal it in place. I put some in a small syringe and using a ground off big needle I ran a bead all the way around it on the outside and then smoothed it with the end of a zip-tie. According to the tech rep at Permatex, the silicone is inherently resistant to brake fluid so I suspect the repair should last for a long time and the mineral glass should never deteriorate like the OEM plastic. You can buy them from me for $2.25 ea. or you can send me your master cylinders and I will install them for $20 each. ~ Tracy


Getting the air of the master cylinder can be a challenge sometimes, especially starting with a fresh cylinder. Put the bike on the center stand and turn the bars all the way to the right. This puts the reservoir slightly higher than the banjo fitting. Pump the lever slowly for a bit. You will see bubbles coming from the little hole in the bottom of the cylinder. That's normal.

After a bit of slow pumping, crack the banjo bolt loose and let some air/fluid purge out of the fitting. Use the banjo bolt like a bleeder, open it, squeeze the lever, close bolt, release lever. Only when you have all of the air out of the MC will it start building pressure. After you start to feel that it is starting to make some pressure, you can open the bleeder at the clutch slave and start bleeding there. ~


As you all know, each time I come across something that is a potential problem, either in a failure to precede sense or something that is potentially dangerous I want to make sure the information gets out. So, here's one that I spoke of some time back but I want to bring it up again as I'm seeing more of it.


In the rear wheel there is a standard ball bearing (right side) and then there's a needle bearing on the drive side. The needle bearing is the one that was the subject of the first Cade recall as the factory failed to grease the bearing properly in some of the early units and they were called in to have the shops grease that bearing. According to the recall notice the lack of grease could cause a rear-wheel lockup and, in fact, that may have happened. However, there's something else that needs to be resolved with that bearing.


The needle bearing rides on an inner race that also serves as a spacer for the rear axle. In the original design, the spacer was flame hardened and ground on the bearing end (could also have been induction hardened) to provide a surface for the needle bearing to ride on. The problem is that even though the shops may have gone in there and greased that bearing the race may have been worn enough already that the spacer/race should have been replaced. The later design used a through hardened race that was hard chrome plated. This solved any wear problem as the chrome is ultra hard.


But, there are a lot of bikes out there that have the original less-hard spacer/race in them and I believe that there's a bunch of those races that are worn out and must be replaced. Below is a picture of 2 of them that I pulled out of early 86 bikes. As you can see, there is a clear wear line where the needle bearing rode. The problem is that once the hard surface is worn through there is softer material underneath that's not a suitable bearing surface. Also, this will cause some looseness in the rear wheel as the slight depression created by the wear allows the wheel to wobble some.


In some cases, the spacer can simply be turned over to get to a new wear surface but that doesn't really solve the issue because a side-loaded tire (like in a turn) will put some upward pressure on the race and that would be to the worn side of the race.


For some stupid-ass reason the factory has discontinued that race and I had to make one for a bike that was just in here. So, in the near future I will have a bearing/race/seal kit to get these worn races back into shape. In the meantime that race needs to be checked every time the rear wheel is taken off (or even if you just have the final off) and that bearing needs a good dose of grease as well. Use the best stuff you can.


Anyway, give me some time and I will have a fix for it but in the meantime please inspect it and grease it.



What is the best way to flush the cooling system of our beloved Cavalcade and will I need to pull off any fairings to do this? My system seems to go into the "RED" while standing in traffic, and since I haven't flushed the system in a while I guess it is Time. ~ aetaylor


I suspect that flushing the system is not the issue. I've drained a lot of these systems and there is generally nothing in them but clean liquid. If it's going into the red then you have one or more of the following going on:


1) The fan isn't coming on - This is caused by either a faulty fan switch or the noise suppressor inline with that switch is faulty. The switch can be purchased at an auto parts store as an Echlin FS198 or equal. That switch will bring down the temp at which the fan comes on. If the noise filter is faulty, you can simply wire around it and remove it without a problem


2) The system is low on coolant - If the fan comes on but it runs and runs and the temp never comes down then the system is likely low on coolant. You can fill it through the upper overflow tank. What I found is that you fill the upper tank and then start it up and let it get good and warm but not hot and then shut it off and let it cool for a bit. Do that a couple three times and the level in the radiator should come up to full. Top off the upper tank (to the indicated line) and you're done. However, I have also found that filling the tank beyond the line and then letting nature takes it course when the system gets hot will also work. The extra is simply puked out of the overflow hose. Be careful with this, antifreeze is quite tasty to pets and if they get enough of it in their mouth or on their paws it can make them very, very sick and might kill even them.


3) Your temp gauge is out of whack - These gauges are notoriously inaccurate (mine's off about 20°) and may show it being hot when it's really not. There is a test procedure in the manual that uses some resistors to test the gauge. There is also a grounding problem with the sender sometimes that will make it read funny. There's a ground wire attached to one of the intake boot bolts (left side) that grounds the housing in which the sender is.


4) The thermostat isn't opening or is open too far - Either way, the coolant can't get through it or it's going through so fast that it doesn't get time to get cooled in the radiator. DON'T remove the thermostat and run it that way. The thermostat has to be there. A suitable replacement for the stocker is a NAPA 201. That's the only stat I have found that has an offset pill that fits. Clip the little brass valve off so it leaves a bypass hole in the face of the stat.


5) Water pump chain is broke (really unlikely) - Do everything else first because I doubt this would happen.


6) You have a head gasket leak - not very many of these but it could happen. If you are full of coolant and the fan is working properly and you are still getting too much heat (verified by another gauge) then this might be the issue.


Changing the thermostat

I have read on our Suzuki web site on how to change the t-stat, but when I had stripped everything to where the t-stat is located, there could be no way it could be changed without tearing the entire front end of the bike apart. Has any on this site ever change the thermostat? Could you please give me some advice on how to tackle this task?


I've changed stats and here's what you have to do.

1) Take off both lower fairings

2) Drain the system

3) Take off the upper radiator hose from the radiator

4) Take out the bolts in the radiator and let it move forward

5) Take out the lower overflow tank

6) Take off the false tank

7) Take out the radio box (just unbolt it and lay it back leaving the wires attached)

8) Take off the radiator hose the left side of the stat housing

9) Take the hose adapter off the side of the stat housing (hammer impact required)

10) Take out the 3 bolts that hold on the thermostat housing cover. This CAN be done without cutting anything out of the way. 2 of the bolts can be accessed from the top and the other one can be accessed from the left side of the bike.

11) Pop the cover off the stat housing

12) Remove the stat from the right side with long needle nose pliers

13) Reverse

~ Tracy


Tracy , When I give the brake pedal a solid pump, I can feel a slight pulse on the hose. This is with very little pressure built up. Should I be able to feel this or is the hose giving in on me? Regardless I am interested in your lines. I have seen reference to your site but can't find it. ~Matt


Matt, Some hose expansion is expected as all lines will do it to some degree. However, if there's not much pressure on it then it could be the culprit. Let's just say that 20 year old brake lines need to be replaced anyway. The other thing it might be is an internal problem with the master cylinder but there generally isn't too much problem with them. That's not to say that some moisture didn't settle in there and it got corroded and now won't seal properly. I dunno for sure. A leaking caliper might go unnoticed also as it would be leaking only a very small quantity of fluid. I suppose the right thing to do is start with the hose (that should be done anyway) and go from there. The site is



Tell me if this sounds strange. My Cade (86LXE) is on the center stand, running at an idle in 1st gear I hear a noise in the secondary almost as if the gears are not meshing properly. Bike only have 19k miles. Going down the road in 5th doing around 40mph I hear kind of a high pitched whine, seems to be coming from the secondary but not 100% sure. I changed all the fluids and it sounds about the same. ~Scott 86LXE Ohio


Scott, Whining in hypoid gear sets is normally an indication that the gear mesh is ‘off’. This could have happened due to someone leaving out a shim when they reinstalled the bearing drive gear carrier. The gears could be running too close (too tight) and that might be the cause of the noise. Each secondary has its own set of shims based on the gear set in that drive. Someone else has mentioned 3 shims but that is incorrect. It could be one or 2. Also, it depends on the gears in that drive.


You need to do a little checking based on the instructions in the service manual for the secondary. You don't have to do a full blown preload/tooth contact/backlash check but you should at least make sure there is at least some backlash. No backlash means the gears are too tight and may make noise. You could also have a loose preload nut that is allowing the gears to not be meshed properly. This is important. Regardless of the miles, a prior owner/mechanic could have messed it up for you. ~ Tracy



Jerry, I have EBC front and rear pads for $26 a set. I just need to know what color the bike is and if it's 86 LX or LXE. ~ Tracy


Jerry, note that T Man has a subtle sense of humor. ~spike


You may have thought I was trying to be funny but there was a reason for my question. The early ‘86 were all LX, the late ‘86 were all LXE, almost. There are known to be ‘86 LX’s that have a VIN higher than 3764 which was supposed to be the delineation of the early/late ‘86 models. However, all ‘86 LX were made in only 2 colors, Gold and Brown (I'm pretty sure of that) and the late ‘86 (LXE only) were made in only Blue and a Maroon tint Brown. Now, even if an ‘86 LX has a VIN higher than 3764 it's still an early style and uses early style components of which the front brake pads are different than  for the late style (LXE only). But, whether it's an early or late VIN, the early style was made in only the 2 colors. Now comes the kicker.


I sent some pads to Mick Farrington for his ‘87 but, one of the calipers had been replaced so he needed an early set on one side and a late set on the other side. And, I sent a set of LX pads to Ed Keller for his ‘86 LX and it turned out that his calipers had been replaced with late styles and the pads didn't fit. The difference in the front pads is only the location of the retainer pin slots. The late style (‘86 LXE and higher) has the pins spaced further apart.


But, you can fit the late and early style rear pads on all late style calipers but you can't fit the late style pads into an early caliper unless you file a little off both edges of the backing plate. So, it's best to put early style pads on the rear of early style calipers and late style on late style. Now, if the caliper have not been rebuilt it's easy to tell an early from a late as the late has a hard plastic-ish piece pressed into the center of the pistons and the early style are all hollow. But, if the calipers have been rebuilt then they could have used the late style piston kits in the early calipers as they are all interchangeable. So, if you're not completely confused yet then I guess I wasn't trying hard enough. ~ Tracy



Tracy , Do you think you will be making any rear wheel bearing spacer kits in the not to distant future. All I was able to get from the dealer was the seal. I'm going to call around tomorrow to see if I can locate the bearings locally. I will let you know how I do. ~Russ


I have the needle bearings in stock and I can get the ball bearings locally as they are also in stock. The spacer is another matter. I spoke with Jim Kirkland at American Suzuki about the spacer and he was meeting with the national parts guy to see if they would do a "last run" for us of 50 pieces of the latest revision. ~ Tracy



Has anyone seen this one? The radio in the Cade had no memory when I got it. I ripped it apart and replaced the lithium on board battery. That seemed to work except that each time I turned the key on it was always selected to Headset instead of Speakers. Then within a month the station memory went out again. Replacing the memory battery is a bit of a pain, and I am wondering if there is another problem I should be looking for before replacing the lithium battery again, or was the battery I put in just a dud? Sometimes special purpose batteries can sit on the shelf for years before being sold. ~Brad


Check the voltage of your new battery. If it's below 3 volts it's not taking a charge or is discharging way too fast. A charged battery should maintain the memory for about 7 years. ~ Tracy



I have a new (?) 87 LXE I bought from my buddy and have noticed that when I make slow turns (like in a parking lot etc) I have a growling (?) noise and a slight vibration in the handle bars. There was a new tire on the front less than 2000 miles. I checked the axle torque and have lubed the speedo. Is there something else that could be going? Didn't notice anything like this on my 86 LXE I sold when I bought this one. There is no vibration or noticeable noise at speed through turns on the highway, but wind noise could be masking the sound, and road vibration masking the vibration I get at very slow speeds in lots going into spaces or down lanes. ~ Gary


I just had a bike in here where the axle had not been tightened properly and the wheel was actually moving back and forth. Lift the front end, loosen the pinch clamp, make sure the axle nut is tight with the pinch clamp loose, and make sure the washer is in place between the speedo drive and the left fork leg. You said you lubed the speedo but did you lube the speedo drive unit? Tighten the pinch clamp only after all of the other stuff is in place lubed and tightened.


You can also check the wheel bearings. They can be cleaned and packed without removing them. You just have to carefully remove the outer seal with a really small tipped screwdriver. But, if they feel rough at all after flushing out with brake cleaner or solvent, you should replace them. ~ Tracy



I am trying to address a fuel mileage issue with the Cade, so I am doing the air cleaner element and the plugs for starters. The original plug is listed as a Nippon Denso X22EPR-GL. The ones that are in it now are an NGK  PJR7A. Does the NGK sound like the right one, or is there another plug that has performed better that you prefer for the '86LX? ~Brad (Gold 86LX Saskatchewan ).


That's the right plug. The PJR7A is NGK's double platinum gold sputtered silver tipped plug and should last a long time (30 K miles). Sometime lousy (30 MPG or less) mileage is due to a non-firing cylinder. It's easy to check. Just start it up from cold and let it run for about 3 or 4 minutes. Take a spray bottle or something and spritz some water on each of the exhaust pipes as they exit the cylinders. If one or more of them doesn't boil the water off almost instantly then it's not firing. Could be a plug, could be a coil, could be a plug wire, could be a carb issue.


The easiest thing to do is replace the plug in any cylinders that aren't firing. If it still doesn't pick up and run then you have to start looking at a coil or coil wire. Sometimes you can unscrew the spark cap and trim a little off the end of the coil wire (1/4" or so) and thread the cap back on and that'll do it. However, that only works once in awhile as the problem may be something else. If you are sure that the ignition is doing its thing then it's probably time to work the carbs over. I've 2 bikes in here recently that had a dead cylinder and the electrics checked out so it has to be carbs. ~ Tracy



My left front carb is leaking gas somewhere. Do you know of any problems with these leaking and what the cost may be to repair them? ~Rocky 86 LXE in N.C.

 Yeah, the problem is that they are 20 years old and so are the seals inside them. In my opinion, if you carbs have never been completely gone through then they are due for a rebuild with all new rubber bits. I do a full overhaul for $120 + $51.50 parts + any needed diaphragms ($80 ea. slide, $17.50 ea. air cutoff) + return postage. They will be bench balanced when they are returned but should be balanced on the bike for best performance. ~ Tracy


I just got an 86 LX, with 40,000 miles. Really nice bike, rides and runs well. I will say that controlling this beast is a lot different than my 600cc Silver Wing (Maxi scooter) but I am getting used to it. But... When it gets warm, the clutch "CLUNKS" when letting it out in first gear. When cold, there’s no problem. ~ Burton

 It's hard to pinpoint the problem with your description of "clunks", but I will give the most common issues and maybe one of them will help.

 Firstly, the fluid in the clutch system must be changed every 2 years or earlier and you MUST use DOT 4 fluid. If your fluid level is going down but you don't see any leaks the slave cylinder is likely leaking and needs to be rebuilt/replaced. It's attached to the secondary drive so the drive has to come off to do the repair.
Secondly, the clunk you describe may, in fact, be a chattering that is caused by glazing on the fiber clutch plates. Simple fix, a deglazing with some 120-150 grit sandpaper will usually do it.

Thirdly, a bad driveshaft u-joint will usually be revealed by an on throttle/off throttle clunk in the lower gears. This can be checked without taking off anything. You can undo the clamp on the driveshaft boot and look in there while moving the rear wheel back and forth. If you see any movement within the joint itself then it's time for a new one. I can get new shafts (that's the only way to get a new u-joint) for $185.

The tranny is notorious for a clunky first to second gear change. This is helped with synthetic oil but is actually part of the design of the tranny may always be present on most Cades. Lubricate all of the rotating parts of the shifter/shifting linkage and where it passes through the secondary drive. WD-40 is not a lubricant.

 I would say your clutch plates are glazed. The clunk is probably a very quick chattering as the plates try to lockup. The glazing makes them kinda slick and they don't engage smoothly. Mine kinda does that, too. I've just been too busy (and lazy) to get them deglazed. If your plates are still in spec (and most are), you can deglaze them with some 120-150 grit sandpaper. Just do the fiber discs and don't go overboard. You're just trying to take off the slick glazing. ~ Tracy


Are directions for checking the linkage on Tracy 's CD? ~Stoshc

 There are no hard rules on the shifting linkage adjustment. But, it's best to have the shifting arm (the one that attaches to the shaft sticking out of the motor) fairly close to perpendicular. It can be angled forward or backward up to maybe 20° without having too much effect on shifting. If it's way off (30° or more) then you lose a lot of leverage when you shift and it'll take more effort. It's important that the entire shifting mechanism is lubricated. Even where the shaft goes through the secondary drive needs to be oiled. And, in case I haven't written this before, WD-40 is not a lubricant. It was never intended to be a lubricant and should not be used as one. ~ Tracy


I am syncing my carbs and front right cylinder is 17in vacuum and I can't seem to adjust it, the other 3 cylinders are 12 in vacuum. What do you shoot for, and can you adjust the right front cylinder? ~David

The LEFT front carb is the base carb to which the others get adjusted. The RIGHT front carb is adjusted with the screw with locknut just above the cam that the cable goes around. There is no specific vacuum that it must have. You are just trying to get them equal. ~ Tracy



  Santa Fe , Texas (South of Houston )

Sorry to say but I have a 1986 cavalcade LXE for sale ,84,000 miles runs like a dream still lots of power, new tires and rear brakes  ( less than 500 miles) two tone tan /brown seat has tears, but I have a second seat I was going to recover but never did. The radio works as well as intercom, cruise has been disconnected, compressor /auto level works, CB may work but has no CB ant.$2,000 OBO  very dependable ride can ride it anywhere. ~Robert (BIG BOB) Cobb 409-739-9205, e-mail for photographs:

Fairfield , New Jersey

Just found a great opportunity on a new house and the wife is forcing me to sell my bike and spare car (police car) to "help" with the down payment. If anyone is interested in a great condition bike, in Northern NJ , please let me know.  There is NOTHING at all wrong with it - I hate to get rid of it, but the wife is the boss.... Scott D., Email:

Last updated:   Wednesday, February 06, 2013

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