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Ladies on the Loose! For the first time ever, a motorcycle travel DVD made for women, by women! These intrepid women share their tips to help you plan your own motorcycle adventure. They also answer the women-only questions, and entertain you with amazing tales from the road! Presented by Lois Pryce, veteran solo traveller through South America and Africa and author of 'Lois on the Loose', and 'Red Tape and White Knuckles.'
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I have a few questions regarding my recent DR650 engine failure. I had ridden 54000km with the bike bought new in Aus. I rode from Chile to Canada and 200km before I was to finish stage one of my RTW she died at 110km/h. A few thousand km earlier a light grinding sound started and I checked it with a suzuki mechanic and he thought it was a worn crankshaft bearing but said it should be OK to finish the ride.
After it broke down, the electric start sounded v. funny and slowly pushing it in gear caused a clunky sound. After making it to Grande Prairie (where I'm working for winter) the engine doesn't change gears anymore, and now after moving it inside it barely moves with the clutch in.\
1. Would you agree it is a crankshaft problem?
2. Is it possible to fix without taking it to a mechanic and using homebuilt tools and mates?
3. Anything else on the matter is much appreciated!
I have 6 months or so to fix it so time is no rush, but I do like to conserve my precious travel money. And no I doubt I will abandon my bike for another.
Big cheers in advance!
P.S. Riding in -5 is extremely cold in Canada in November!!! So is spending 5 hrs trying to hitchhike with a bike!
To me, you have problems with your clutch, gearbox and who knows what else.
To be honest, you were REALLY DAFT to keep riding it with those kind of problems. Problems like that don't get better. They only get worse until total engine failure.
Anyway, enough of the lecturing.
What you really need to do is get this engine out of the bike and to a PROPER mechanic who understands what he/she is doing. This engine needs to be properly stripped and checked properly. It IS going to be expensive.
You have probably completely screwed the gearbox and or clutch gears, bearings etc. Who knows what else. It's impossible to know the scale of the issue without a strip down.
Maybe it will be easier to get a replacement engine ? Where are you now ? Canada ??
I checked it with a suzuki mechanic and he thought it was a worn crankshaft bearing but said it should be OK to finish the ride.
If he really suspected that, then it sounds like a strange statement coming from a mechanic – whether the diagnosis turns out to be correct or not.
Sorry to hear about your misfortune. The DR650 is not a very complicated machine, so hopefully it can be fixed. If the engine does not turn at all, that´s not a good sign. But right now you´ll need to have it checked and estimated first, and then make decisions on what to do. It´s good if you´ve got a lot of time now.
I have access to Suzuki spare part catalogues, and if it helps, I can mail you parts pictures & lists. Gonna need your bike´s VIN number (frame number) in order to do that, as there are several versions of the DR650.
If you want to get a start on something without bringing it to a mechanic I would do this
Remove both engine covers (clutch and stater)
Inspect visually for problems and metal debris
remove the clutch plates from the basket( this separates the engine from the transmission.
remove the spark plug and turn it over manually with the nut on the end of the flywheel. if there is a problem with your crank bearings you will feel it.
If no problems take the chain off and the sprocket cover off. you should be able to turn the transmission by hand with the clutch basket. Go thru the gears and if there is a problem you will feel it. feel for play in the input and output for the transmission (clutch ans sprocket shafts)
My DR has over 60000k and the bottom end is still like new they are normally pretty bulletproof. I have heard of lots of problems with 3rd gear tho. weather you find a problem in the trans. or the crank you will have to pull the engine out to separate the crank case. If your not too confident with mechanical then bring the removed engine to a shop to have it repaired. Depending on how badly its damaged it might be worth it to look on kijiji and get a whole bike. Ive seen them on there for 2000 bucks for an 05. Also try some bike wreckers
If the bearings in the case seized up and chewed into the aluminum housing then the case is pretty much garbage and not worth fixing normally. If there is lots of aluminum in the oil when you drain it its a bad sign. You can also find free downloads of the manual online. If you cant find one message me and i will send you the file. Good luck with it and hope this helps
Just to add to what the others have said it may be worth pulling out the plug and seeing if the engine turns and it may also be worth taking the head and barrel off it could be that the piston has picked up in the bore, you can do this with basic tools. Skip
Drop the oil out through a paper coffee filter and have a look at what comes out, the bottom end is pretty bombproof as mentioned, sounds more like a gearbox or clutch issue, could also be a problem with the NSU screw coming loose which has done some damage.
Good luck and enjoy the Canadian Winter....hope you packed your long johns!
I'm still disassembling the bike at the moment. The magnetic sump had a little bit of silver shavings and some black non-magnetic shaving as well. The oil filter had v fine metal shavings in it. Will take it to a dealer here to crack the case and see whats happened.
Cheers a million for the help for everything!
Touring Ted...Daft yes. Did I do what a lot of riders would do (keep riding and hope for the best)...yes. But...sh*t happens and its all part of the adventure!
If it turns out, that you´ll need help in diagnosing the problem, please upload to your site a few close-up pics of the opened engine, and from the places where there´s any evidence of damage.
Cannot promise much, but I do know a couple of guys, who have worked with bikes for quite some time, and I might be able to persuade them to have a look. Won´t be the same as having the engine right next to you, though.
(Might not be needed at all... but just thought I´d mention)
P.S. Riding in -5 is extremely cold in Canada in November!!!
I don’t know how much the DR has changed through the years but back in the
eighties serious engine problems when driving in cold weather was normal. The camshaft was the first to go but it didn’t stop there. This was caused by a lubrication-problem.
Gday all, so I finally have an update on the engine after taking it in and cracking the case at the shop. UGLY!
The story is the crankshaft main bearing was failing and some of the balls and the metal jacket blew out into the engine, throwing out timing, causing the piston to smash into all the valves and bending them. The mechanic also recommended replacing...
- the oil pump as it has some metal scoring on the inside
- all of the gears as they are worn (55,000 km in 1 year)
- the crankshaft/piston assembly due to the cam chain gear being worn
- recoating the cylinder
- replacing the cam chain
Which looks to cost about $4400 to repair, as the quote goes! Holy smokes! So at this stage I'm searching for a second hand engine, which leads me to the question...
How does replacing an engine (and hence changing the engine number) affect paperwork for traveling and also how would it affect re-entry with the bike into Aus (although this is looking much less likely)???
The problem was exacerbated by me continuing to ride when I knew there was a problem needing repair, despite being told it would be OK. Nonetheless the urge to "get there" and just ignore the problem now causes shenanigans. Hopefully this can be a lesson to others. I'll be sad if I have to part with my 'Nessie'...
Changing serial numbers can be a big hassle - you'll have to check with Aus on their requirements. Note that some countries don't care about the engine number, others care a lot. You may find it easy to redo the paperwork with Aus. Or not.
The registration paperwork MUST match the numbers on the bike in places like Egypt and India and a lot of others, or they assume it's not kosher and confiscate the bike permanently and possibly toss you in jail for smuggling / theft / whatever they can think of.
One answer is to buy another bike/engine and then strip it and use the best bits from both in your cases and frame - mostly the new engine of course, but you never know. Set aside a few known good spares ready to ship to anywhere!
Also a good chance to do a really good job and make sure it's 100% for the rest of the trip. Research on the DR650 forums might find there are a few secrets to making them reliable.
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