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Motorcycle Repair/'86 Suzuki Intruder Blown Head Gasket?


I recently had the coolant flushed on this bike a noticed a small amount of coolant leaking out the day I drove home from the shop. The leak appeared to let up so I figured maybe it was just an overflow. Last week though on a long ride the bike starts to overheat and the clutch began feeling 'sludge like'. Always keep a simple tool kit handy so I stopped the bike to let it cool down and added some water to the radiator. Started back up fine but started overheating again and that sludge feeling in the clutch returned. Made it home and shut off the bike. When I went to start it again the clutch lever was giving no resistance and the bike wouldn't go into gear until I pumped the lever a few times then it seemed to return to normal. I haven't tried riding again for obvious safety reasons and for fear of doing even more damage. Can you tell me anything?

Hello Don,

First thing you should do, drain the engine oil in a clean container and see if there is coolant/water present in it. If there is, call the shop and arrange pick-up.

If not, put back the oil, fill the radiator with coolant, adjust the level at the reserve tank between Hi and Low and start the engine.
Let it idle and as it warms-up, touch the radiator to see if it gets hot and check for leaks. It could be just a hose left loose.
If the engine gets hot but the radiator isn't, the thermostat is stuck.
If the radiator reserve tank fills-up and overflows, also thermostat is to blame, but the radiator cap should be checked as well.

In either case, you should contact the mechanic who carried out the flushing. It's his responsibility if anything done wrong.

Best Regards,

Motorcycle Repair

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Lazaros Ampatzidis


I can help you on EVERY issue involving POST-1980 Japanese Motorcycles plus KTM and Husaberg. My field of expertise includes Engine, Transmission, Fuel system (carburation & EFI),Electrics and Electronics. Maintenance, repair and tuning. Road and off-road suspension tuning. Please don't ask me about non-Japanese Motorcycle, especially American built on which I have low to zero experience.


I'm a rider and hobbyist since childhood. 25 years motorcycle workshop mechanic.15 years motorcycle racing mechanic. In order of experience high to low:Kawasaki,Suzuki,Honda,Yamaha,KTM,Husaberg.

Hellenic (Greek) Technical School.Internal Combustion Engines Engineer. Automotive Electronics.

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