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1985 Suzuki LT230GE Quadrunner Key Positions

Go to solution Solved by Parham,

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I have a 1985 Suzuki lt230ge with electric start.  It has a keyed ignition.  The key, once inserted will move to two positions.  There is a button on the left handlebar to engage the starter... so what do the two key positions do.  Anyone know???? I am looking forward to getting to enjoy this machine but I can't find a lot of info online about such a classic ATV.  Thanks in advance for any advice!!

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  • Admin changed the title to 1985 Suzuki LT230GE Quadrunner Key Positions
  • 2 weeks later...

Okay... today hopefully will be a good one.  I have installed a new air filter (critters ate the old one), new spark plug and I have rebuilt the carb with a new rebuild kit.  I have figured out  (I hope) the fuel, drain and vent lines.  I now have to try and figure out why the neutral light is not illuminating, which prevents the starter from working.  Hopefully the neutral switch is dirty or stuck.  I can then hopefully get it to start and, fingers crossed, a test ride.  I'll post my results!

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Yeah i have one that quit working also, as long as i have had it it would take a while for the neutral light to come on, like about 5 seconds after i got it in neutral my light would come on. Now its not coming on at all, i was going to just replace the switch but its under the engine cover. So i decided to try and clean all the wires going down to it first, and check the bulb for corrosion in the socket. Still havent got around to doing that , but i think thats what causes a lot of the neutral light problems.  

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I have reviewed a wiring diagram for a similar model... it appears that the neutral switch will ground when in neutral... I checked it with a meter and it does indeed ground when in neutral.  I had the ATV running and the wheels were not turning when revving the engine, and when I shifted it through the gears the back wheels would indeed spin so it was definitely in neutral.  I took out the neutral switch relay and bench tested it... works perfect.  I did find one corroded terminal on the relay but cleaning it did not resolve my 'no neutral light' issue.   I will have to go through the harness to see if there are any other bad connections, or perhaps a critter munched through something while it was sitting for all those years.  I have to think it's gonna be something simple... just gotta find it.  This is indeed making me crazy.  The engine runs amazing, idles low and is responsive when you throttle it up.  I have all the body panels, the front and rear carry racks, the seat and the right rear wheel off.  I want to fix this issue before I put all these parts back on.  But I wanna ride it NOW!!!  Patience pays... I'll get it sorted and then it will be perfect!

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I have been studying the wiring diagram again (although not for my exact model but similar enough I hope).  The neutral light is indeed in series with the reverse switch.  I think I might need to ensure the reverse switch is operating properly.  Perhaps its stuck or not properly adjusted.  The ATV sat unused for about 15 years... wouldn't surprise me a bit if it is stuck.  I can't wait to get back to it and check it and the power wires.

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Yeah I've got books from 88 on and they are all basically the same. Here's a picture which explains better how the reverse switch works.

I think I'd try jumping/bypassing the start relay to see whether the problems is in the relays trigger circuit, or after the relay and going to the start solenoid..

The relay works like this.. The power going through the key and kill switches goes into the relay at the O wire, and needs to short out to earth via the neutral switch to work/connect the start button to the start solenoid. The neutral light though puts power to the relay's L wire when the L wire isn't getting shorted to earth through the neutral switch. That means the relay has 12v on both sides of it's coil unless the neutral switch is shorting the L wire to earth, and so the coil doesn't energize. The reverse switch is a normally closed switch with the L/b and L wires connected in every gear position except reverse. When it's in reverse the L/r and L get connected so the reverse light comes on via the reverse and neutral switches because the bike can't select reverse unless it's in neutral and so the neutral switch is shorted to earth. When it's in reverse the relay has 12v on both sides of it's coil again via the neutral light same as when it's in gear and the neutral switch is open circuit.

Notice though that the L/b wire going from the neutral light to the start relay branches off as a L wire to the relay.. the same colour as the neutral switches wire.. but it's not the same wire. That's perhaps what's catching you out.

Hope that helps, ask if there's anything confusing.. haha.. It confuses me and I wrote it.


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On 9/26/2023 at 1:28 PM, Gwbarm said:

Yeah i have one that quit working also, as long as i have had it it would take a while for the neutral light to come on, like about 5 seconds after i got it in neutral my light would come on. Now its not coming on at all, i was going to just replace the switch but its under the engine cover. So i decided to try and clean all the wires going down to it first, and check the bulb for corrosion in the socket. Still havent got around to doing that , but i think thats what causes a lot of the neutral light problems.  

I wonder if the reverse switch or the neutral switch are 'sticky' and it takes a while for the switch to slowly change positions.  I'm gonna check my switches for that possibility since it sat for many many years without being used and possibly the switches are gummed up.

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Hello Mech... The explanation and that diagram of the starting system circuits is super helpful... I should be able to trace out the problem lickety split with that.  Thanks a million.  And thanks also to everyone that piped up with some brilliant ideas for what to check for and test!  I can't wait to get back at it!

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