Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: New York, NY, USA
Replaced K12GT Rear ESA shock
My 2008 K12GT rear ESA shock stopped working last year. Actually the adjustable preload function stopped working. Rebound adjustment worked fine. Considering the cost of a new replacement shock ($1,800 +), I lived with the issue for a year. I am planning an extended tour this year, and wanted the adjustable preload to allow me to compensate for added load on the rear of the bike, and also because I just like it when all the functions I paid so much $$$ for actually work.
Since the bike is worth maybe $5K, I was not going to spend megabucks to repair this. I have been searching ebay for a year, looking at used shocks as a replacement. Prices ranged from $300 to $500 for a rear ESA complete unit. Last week I noticed one seller with excellent feedback was having a sale for a weekend. $245 including shipping. I pulled the trigger.
I never found a great how to on doing the rear shock for the Gen II GT, but some out there for earlier bikes and related models. I read what was available and dove in.
The idea here is that you pull off the rear body panels and related appendages, and removing some key huge bolts, pivot the rear subframe up and out of the way to reach the shock mounting bolt at the top. Good luck with that. All I can say is there is a LOT of junk to free up before the rear subframe will move. I concentrated instead in taking out the oil tank, which covers the top mount. I spent 1.5 sweaty days taking everything off, including the fuel tank. That night I couldn't sleep and woke really early next day because I was afraid I had taken the bike so far apart I would never get it together. On the second day, I actually got the oil tank out and from there is was not hard to free the shock.
Installation of the new shock, and replacing all the parts I had removed took the rest of the day. With the tank off I tried zapping the non-functioning fuel level strip, not sure yet how that went.
Before putting all the panels back on I tested the shock and Eureka! It worked!
Very happy to have full function ESA again. It will take a few days to get my hands clean, and my leg muscles are paralyzed from crawling around on the bike.
Life is good.
P.S. It appears that the problem with the original ESA unit is in the wiring, as it looks like the idiot at the factory who over-tightens cable ties has struck again. Combined with some iffy cable routing by the factory it seems the wires chafe and then you have a short or open circuit. Indeed, I found a broken wire on the front shock too! The used replacement shock wiring also showed signs of wear at the point where a cable tie would have been on the bike. So - take a look at your wires, they are pretty hard to examine but a little time spent here could save you some grief.
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Last edited by lhendrick; May 18th, 2017 at 6:18 am.