Why is my GSX-R1000's gear position indicator wrong?

Q. I’ve just got a Suzuki GSX-R1000 K7, which is very nice, but when I changed the oil there were some milky deposits in the fluid and the gear position indicator keeps going crazy, reading first for sixth, then second for fifth etc. Are the two connected?
David Coppins, Kent
 
A. Quite possibly. Those milky deposits are emulsified oil that has been in contact with water. If there’s a lot of it then the head gasket could be leaking and allowing coolant which is under pressure to squeeze into the engine.

If there’s only a small amount of the stuff that could indicate that the bike has only been used for short hops and doesn’t often warm up properly, so it never evaporates all the condensation from air within the engine.

Over time there’s a build-up of damp in the crankcases and electrical components like a gear position sensor don’t like it.

Whip the sensor out and give it a good clean and a blast with some compressed air and it should work again if the contacts haven’t been damaged. If not, it needs changing.
 

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