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How to Shorten the Signal Stalks

  By John Callahan 
Shortening the signal stalks a couple of inches is nice way to help clean up the rear section of your bike.  Short stalks look good and help narrow up the rear profile of your GS.  The turn signal stalks of stock gs500 are about 3 1/4 inches long, they can be cut down to only about 1 inch with minimal effort.   The instructions here will show you one possible way to do it.


You must first remove the signal assemblies from the bike.    the assemblies are held in place with a single nut.  With the nut removed the signal assembly will fall free.  Follow the wires coming from the signal up along the frame of the tail section.  The wires can be easily pulled apart from bullet connectors found half way up the frame.  A Breakdown of the whole assembly with Suzuki part numbers is at the bottom of the page.


Next step is disassembling the signal assembly.  Three screws attach the lens, remove and put aside.  Remove the bulb by pushing in and twisting.  Remove the bulb holder keeper plate and CAREFULLY pry the bulb holder from the stalk.  It is quite snug but will pry free -don't use too much pressure or you could break the plastic.


Once the bulb holder is free the stalk can be separated from the signal housing by pulling them apart.  Again, it may take some effort to get them apart.  Pull the wire through and you have successfully removed the stalk.  The next step will be cutting it down.


The best way to cut down the stalks, in my opinion is a good 'ol fashioned razor knife with a fresh blade.  Even though the signal is made from hard plastic it will cut.  I traced a line with a soft pencil about 2-1/16" from the end all around the stalk and then carefully followed it around.  I made a few light passes at first to make sure I didn't make a big booboo.


No matter how good you are with a knife your cut won't be perfect.  I found the stalk is soft enough to trim with a razor to clean up any big bumps, but also hard enough to sand.  I simply dragged it across some 150 grit sandpaper and it produced a fantastic smooth surface.  You will want a nice level, smooth surface so it looks like stock when you put it back on.


Next step is drilling your holes, the stalk, the plastic spacer washer (#18 on diagram) and a steel fender washer (you supply) need to be drilled.  The plastic washer needs to be drilled out carefully first.  Drill it like I show on the diagram.  Use the plastic washer as a template to make the same size holes in your 1-1/4 x 5/16 fender washer (big and flat -just what you need).  I use a 1/16" drill bit to make pilot holes in the stalk, without them screwing it back together would be torture.   Remember, the holes in the stalk are drilled on the short side of the stalks (note pictures).


Ok you have cut down the stalks, drilled out all the parts, and are ready to put it back together.  So do it!  Reinsert the stalk into the signal housing, snake the wire and push in the bulb holder (It can be really hard to do), reinsert the locking clip, reinsert the bulb (push and twist), and replace the lens.   Your signal assembly is ready to be put on the bike.


The plastic spacer washer fits into outside the hole in the fender on the inside of the hole you will place the big steel fender washer.  Hold the signal and try to hand start the screws if you can.  Tighten the screws (#10 x 1" or 7/8")  and you are done.  I use Sears Grip Doctor ($5) -a grip enhancer to ensure you don't strip the head of the screw.   A must have for every home mechanic.  If the angle of the signals is a little off you have a bit of room to twist it in place before you give it that last turn to get it nice and tight.  I was surprised how tight I got those screws into the stalk, I didn't go nuts but they are nice and snug and won't back out.  I also used silicone sealant around the hole to make sure water doesn't get in.  I used #10 screws (which are pretty thin) so if they strip out in the future I have room to go up a size to reinstall.


You are done!  Looks much better in my opinion.  And retains a totally stock look.  Now if for some reason you ruined your stalks there is hope.  You can either order replacement parts or for about $20 you can buy a pair of short stalks from Lockhart Phillips -then you will be back in business.  They look great but aren't quite as bright as stock.


Consider doing a fenderectomy while you at at it.


Before and After look

Carefully pry free!

This is really hard to pull off and put back on -don't do it on the bike

About 2 1/8 inches from the end

Drill pilot holes nice and straight

All tightened up

Finished product.

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Last modified: March 15, 2006