DR650SE - serious design fault
This concerns all owners of the DR 650 SE model years 98 & 99 up to chassis number x2100560 and people looking to buying one:
There have been numerous reports of an idle gear having broken out of the case on a German DR forum ( http://dr-650.de
) and the DR650 Yahoo group ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DR650
). The failure occurs without warning, usually when starting the engine, but can also happen while riding. The sidecover commonly ends up with a hole in it and the shaft on which the idle gear runs also breaks out of the crank case, necessitating a welding job at the least, if not a case replacement. I suspect that the idle gear gets overloaded when the engine runs backwards, probably when it backfires after a failed starting attempt, or when it is switched off and runs against the gas pressure in the combustion chamber. The starter clutch then engages and the starter motor offers too much resistance to being turned, due to the high transmission ratio.
Earlier and later models have a torque limiter in the place of the idle gear. It appears Suzuki did away with this in an attept to save money.
Needless to say that if that happens to you in some third world country it could spell the sudden end of the trip.
The fix seems quite simple: replace the gear with the late model torque limiter. Here is the link to the parts list: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/DR650/message/4453
However, I haven't established for certain yet whether or not the starter motor also needs to be replaced. At the moment it looks like it does.
Salut from Southern France, the bikers' paradise,
[This message has been edited by beddhist (edited 03 March 2004).]