Jump to content

1985 GS 1150 ES Hasn't run in 18 years. What maintenance is needed before trying to start?


Recommended Posts

I recently came by a 1985 (I think this is the year, still waiting on the title for confirmation) GS 1150 ES that has been sitting for a very long time. The previous owner said he was able to get it started 18 years ago but then sat in a garage since then. I've ridden dirt bikes some when I was younger but never owned any kind of bike myself so I am not too familiar with maintenance in general, let alone for something that has been sitting so long. I do have a good amount of mechanical experience from rebuilding a 1970 Maverick so I am up for the task but I want to make sure I do not hurt the bike any by trying to start it prematurely. I assume I should empty out the gas from the tank to get fresh in but not sure if the tank itself needs to be cleaned as well. I also figured going through the fuel lines to check for dry rot is a good idea and might as well replace the fuel filter while I'm at it. Same for the brakes. When I first got it, it was near impossible to move from the brakes being locked up so I imagine I need to check the brake system and get fresh pads but not sure how extensive I need to go as far as taking apart any calipers or anything like that. And then obviously I imagine some fresh oil and oil filter. Is there anything here I am missing (or that is overkill)? And how extensive should I dig into these systems? Eventually I would like to rebuild the whole thing but just want to focus on getting it safely drivable right now.

Link to post

Hello sir. 

First thing to do is do a general introduction here. We like to know who were speaking with. Hopefully you RTFR....

In short, after sitting that long anything that has / had liquids in it will need addressing. Anything that is rubber will need addressing. 

We like pictures. As an owner of the same bike as yours for 21 years now, I'm a superfan...

Link to post

Hey there,

Thanks for the reply. Apologies, just went through the rules now.

As far as a general introduction, my name is Xandor. I am 32 out of Austin, TX. Very new to the motorcycle world but am very glad for my introduction to it to be with such a beautiful classic bike. I look forward to growing as a rider and being a part of this community.

Yeah, that all makes sense. About similar to a car it would seem. I really can't wait to get this bike up and running and will be recording everything to upload to a YouTube series. I will post links to that (if that is acceptable, I don't think that crosses the lines of Eblag links and the such as I am not trying to sell anything) if it is something you and the other members of this community would be interested in. As far as my bike, I have attached a photo of it as well as shells it came with to be able to swap out the paint job (panels are off screen but the tanks give a good idea of the paint jobs).


  • Like 2
Link to post

Welcome to group therapy. 
First remove the spark plugs, squirt some oil down the bores and try to turn the engine by hand. 

Drain the fuel, also from the carbs, fill some fresh fuel. Wait a few minutes and check for leaks. If no leaks, change the engine oil ( unless you want to do a full engine rebuild, then i would not bother now), connect a good battery and try to start it.

You might be lucky. Seven years ago I was given a GS1000 which had been standing for 10 years, i did as described and it started.

Only after you know the engine runs, fix the brakes etc. 


Link to post

Thanks for the tips and welcoming! Yeah, order of operations makes sense there. Eventually I will definitely be rebuilding the engine and all that. I should be getting a couple of spare carburetors soon as well but they haven't been able to locate them yet. Hopefully they are found but either way...

Link to post

If it's been left with fuel in the tank and carbs for 18 years it may just about start with new fuel, but there would have to be major devine intervention in order for it to run OK.

Edited by Dezza
Link to post
29 minutes ago, Dezza said:

If it's been left with fuel in the tank and carbs for 18 years it may just about start with new fuel, but there would have to be major devine intervention in order for it to run OK.

Notice that his profile shows he's in Texas.  Don't forget about the fuel quality over here in the US: 10% corn, etc.  Expect it to be bad.  But at least our fuel is cheap.

  • Like 1
Link to post

Notice that his profile shows he's in Texas.  Don't forget about the fuel quality over here in the US: 10% corn, etc.  Expect it to be bad.  But at least our fuel is cheap.

Well, the bike was from Tennessee but I imagine the point still stands. I definitely appreciate everyone pointing out that getting it to run is not the same as drivable. As I said, I do eventually want to rebuild the whole thing but when I got it rolling I likely would have started riding then.

Edited by Xandor
Missing quote
Link to post

Cool cycle. If you are not yet aware that is not the original front end. Someone was in the process of upgrades. 

There should be a sticker of the right side of the bike on seat support of the frame with info (if it's still there). It will give  model info, etc. There will be a letter at the end, which indicates model year. F is 1985. We got the 1150 E / ES with the fairing  in the US from 84-86. Other then paint they are all pretry much the same. 

Link to post

Thanks! Yeah, he was in the middle of putting the front end from a '96 GSX-R. The shell that is on the bike now has no labels but the red shell (presumably the original) was labeled as 'GS 1150 ES` with no letter after it. I had actually done some research already on model name and what all the letters mean and in that I found there should be another letter on there but don't remember seeing one. I will double check though to make sure. One of the other things that I noticed was off was when I looked all of that up the website said one of the most noticeable differences between the E and ES was the upper fairing which mine does not have. The originally owner said that it came with all the original parts. I do have the instrument panel and headlight but no fairing so I am not positive it is an ES. I'll post back on here though once I double check the labeling on the panel.

Link to post

4AC02C59-CACF-4806-9925-488048BA290B.thumb.jpeg.add73f22d3bcdde1780ac86f14ec76eb.jpegThis is the label. Honestly, if you’re not going back to stock, it’s not that important. The F won’t be on the side panel decal. 
Another tell is the instrument panel mounting- E will mount from the bottom by two bolts. ES will have a slot in either side for a mounting bracket. 

Pic of a 85 ES (blue) and E. 

add... the tank on the bike is an 84 paint schene. The rest is custom. 

Edited by Dorkburger
Link to post

So I have (most of?) the original front end assembly as well, if that's what you mean by complete setup. The front blinkers dry rotted and disintegrated in the middle so they will need to be replaced. I have a feeling sourcing them will be fun.

I'm having trouble getting the seat off but I was able to get the side panel to pop off and see under there well enough the get a view of the sticker. It is confirmed a 1985 GS 1150 ES, according to that. I am curious about the fairing though. He said all of the original parts should be there but I definitely don't have that. I'm not personally too worried about that though. I actually like the look of it without the fairing. 

Link to post

Thanks! Definitely looking forward to it. If all goes well I should be able to get it up and running next month. Getting it street legal may take a bit more time as it looks like I am indeed missing stuff. I seem to be missing a piece or two on the front end to be able to attach the instrument panel, headlight and blinkers as well as needing to replace the blinkers themselves. Found the blinkers for about $40 a piece and I think I have identified the missing front end part and found it for about $50 but definitely need to do more research to be sure.

Link to post

Hi Xandor, to get seat off, there is a lock under rear seat pad on lhs. Turn key to left to work seat lock on front seat. It may be stiff, push rear of front seat down when turning key, then pull seat up. Battery (YB14L-A2) is under seat. Fit new battery, turn ignition on and see if dash lights come on, there is an ignition fuse in fuse box behind rhs panel. Check oil level to make sure of level and to make sure oil looks like oil, if looking reasonable leave for minute. Drain fuel from carbs using drain bolts on bottom of carb bodies and replace bolts. Take tank off and drain fuel, put to 1 side. Get cheap fuel bottle from eBlag and feed fresh fuel to carbs, plug vacuum line from carb.  Worth trying to turn over and see if it will start. Mine has a manual choke on l/h handlebar, do not operate throttle as CV carbs do not like it. They operate differently to car carbs. 

Edited by inazumarob
Extra information.
Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...