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  #1  
Old 13 Sep 2016
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DRZ issues

Need help here!

Wife's 2007 DRZ stopped charging in Mongolia. Before the trip I put on "improved" high-output stator and rectifier kit (over $150 kit). Locktited the bolts and all, so it wasn't loose. See the pic. Heat expansion maybe? Or the epoxy glue has peeled off the stator and created sandpaper effect?

WTF happened?





Flywheel was strangely scratched more from one side than another (running off-center?), don't have a pic. I moved the flywheel laterally with my hands as forcefully as I could, flywheel didn't seem to be loose. So I smell it's the loose epoxy that' the cause (see it peels off from the top parts).

Anyway's, we're currently screwed in Mongolia in the middle of nowhere.

Bike's just barely reached 70Kkm, hence a very low mileage for a travel bike.

It wasn't loose like it happens mostly on DRZs, I did locktite the stator down, also it's an upgraded stator and rectifier/regulator setup (stronger build, more robust and high output, according to the manufacturer at least) since I did some homework on DRZ's weak spots before going on the long road. But even this "better" stator setup went bust, I guess it's either our bad luck or the Suzuki designers and engineers have done a bad job on this part of the engine (and also the top end longetivity and the CV carb issues we have, compression we measured well over 30% under nominal). Well okey, with the fuel smelling hands the carb can be fiddled to work again on most cases (it's a real bitch to get it out from the DRZ!), but let's see how things go with more serious parts, if we somehow magically get the stator repaired and then the top end goes bust (no compression) then maybe have to abandon the poor DRZ on the Mongolian roadside I guess... We simply can't find that fancy Nikasil treatment over a re-bore in this part of the world and buying a complete new top end costs more than the bike itself here with all the shipping and excessive import costs.

Not sure what to do with it.

Wife is riding it so mildly and carefully like a baby, never revving hard etc, with my riding style I'd kill this bike a hell lot sooner Imho. Its carefully serviced, high quality fully synthetic oils, air filter clean and always properly oiled, valves checked, etc. Hence unbelieavably fragile and short-lasting bike really considering how much hype the DRZ gets, "Made in Japan" quality etc bs made us believe its a good bike. Our 20 years old and 300 000 on odo Bmw never let us down like that, never touched its EFI etc, it just keeps going and compression is still like a brand new engine. Talk about build quality difference.
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  #2  
Old 13 Sep 2016
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Sorry to hear you are having these issues, looks like it has overheated to me, the DRZ400 has a very high stator failure rate compared to most other bikes as far as Im aware.
Suzuki should take a look at these issues and change the design - very poor for a major bike company.
Which rectifier to you change to? I know that the 2008+ CBR600RR MOSFET rectifier is a popular conversion on Suzuki's (DR650/ SV650 which may help the stator run a bit cooler.
If you cannot source a stock stator in Mongolia, then maybe from a Suzuki dealer in Russia - failing that call up the guys at Procycle in the USA and see if he can send one out to you ASAP

https://procycle.us/bikepages/drz400.html


There is a chance that the 'upgraded' rectifier is causing an issue, you could try swopping this out if you can get a new one also


Good Luck!
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  #3  
Old 14 Sep 2016
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Check the pick up. It works loose and damages the stator.

You got an uprated stator.. where from ? What brand ?

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  #4  
Old 14 Sep 2016
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Cheers guys,

It's an Electrosport updated stator and higher-specced rectifier setup if I remember correctly, costed a fair bit more than the original setup. I have the (crappy-) OEM Suzuki stator back at home, will send it here to Mongolia I guess and wait for a long time, hopefully it takes us home if all else holds up...

Top end compression is now very low too, without the decompression valve it feels like kickstarting some small 125cc bike (before it was much harder, as 400cc should be), so not sure how long the engine will go. I measured the valves are within spec so shouldn't be a leaking valve. Looks like the piston, rings or bore is about to be fecked. Don't know what cheap metals or poor technologies (Nikasil?) they use in Jap bikes to make it so short lasting?

Carb is not the best too, gave us problems in Iceland, now again in Asia. The only good thing about the stock Mikuni is it works surprisingly well on altitude from our experiences, the rest is crap.

Hence if you ever buy DRZ for longer travels, carry at least 1 spare stator with you all the time, do the complete (€€€) top-end rebuild every 25K to be sure and complete rebuild or buy a new carb every 10-15K or so. Very expensive and troubling bike to run.

Anyways, we're stuck now and will wait for 1-2 weeks for the Suzuki parts, without any guarantee it will even take us back home or have to leave it on the roadside and continue 2up on our trusty BMW.

Margus
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Old 14 Sep 2016
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I understand your frustration. Most people's first instinct is to blame the manufacturer.

The DRZ is not crappy though. Its a dam solid, well made bike and the motor is very strong for a 400 single. I rode mine 20,000 through Africa and countless people have done RTW and still are. The Carb is a quality and simple set up too if tuned and filtered correctly. To say it needs replacing every 20,000 miles is rubbish.. Sorry !!

The stator is the only weakness on this bike. The rest, if maintained correctly will cope with anything.

You've either been very unlucky or let your maintenance slip somewhere.

I can only assume that you checked the oil level almost daily, kept your valves in check and have an airtight seal around your filter etc.

Is your jetting correct for the set up or have you tinkerer with it ??

I've owned and worked on countless of these engines and the only problems ive encountered (stator aside) have been down to incorrect prepping and poor or lack of maintenance.
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Old 14 Sep 2016
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Ted,

Understood, any bike can be rock-solid when used and serviced on purpose. Be it hard-enduro KTM or any other bike. My OSSA trials bike is rock-solid in every way, but it requires service every 20 hours of running thus I wouldn't hype it up for long distance travelling despite it only weights unbelievable 64 kilograms and has an utterly stunning riding performance and precision doing virtually impossible offroad tracks that the DRZ can't even dream of passing in it's wildest dream. DRZ is a very fine dual purpose bike with it's own limits yet in travelling community DRZ is hyped up like some near-ideal long-distance travelling bike, which I think it isn't really designed for. 10-25 000km travel I think is about the limit with this bike if you start fully prepped, new or rebuilt, it's definitely not a true "intercontinental ballistic missile" type of a bike like our trusty old boxer GS on doing 100 000+ km RTW-rides. That's what I mean under "short-lasting" vs a "long-distace" bike, in relative terms.

Jetting supposed to be stock, I don't like tinkering with carbs since it may give some additional performance but compromise the original wide-use design the factory intented at the same time - I know many rejet theirs and only tend to suffer on high altitudes (or when good up there it runs poor on low altitude).

I think stock Mikuni is spot-on mixture from 0 to 4600 meters that we've ridden with it. The major downside is the jets get clogged up very often (poor starting [starter jet] or bad running [main or pilot jet]) even when filtering the fuel well, requiring hassling job of getting the carb out for cleaning. With DRZ it's an ugly and smelly job really to do so often, I've never have to do such crap job on EFI, in fact I haven't even ONCE had a problem with my BMW EFI for over 350 000 km of riding it on all continents of the world and nearly 100 different countries, and they keep saying just how much better the carbs are vs "so unreliable" EFI for travelling in different forums, LOL. Never even heard a single EFI failure from the many long-distance fellow travellers I met on the road yet heard dozens of horror stories with carbs that I can also now relate to. Luckily, I think Suzuki has now also gone to proper EFI with their new bikes for a reason as far as I know. Just saying.

Cheers,
Margus
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  #7  
Old 14 Sep 2016
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If your jets are clogging then your fuel isnt being filtered properly.. Or your fuel is contaminated. it really is that simple. Jetting has nothing to do with this. I and hundreds like me have filled our DRZs with sandy fuel in African piss holes and never had an issue.

Suzuki never sold the DRZ as a RTW bike. Not even close. If you adapt a bike to something that it wasn't designed to do, and it fails... , then it wasn't adapted properly..

EFI generally is reliable. But sometimes it isn't. I spend most my life fixing broken EFI bikes. They're not without their problems. At least you can clean out a dirty carb and keep going. Try that with a fuel pump or an idle control motor.

I know hundreds of cases of EFI breakdowns by travellers.

Either way, I hope you get sorted..




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  #8  
Old 17 Sep 2016
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Maybe the modern consumerist chinas"it bikes have EFI fails, but I've never seen once EFI fail meeting many other bikers on the road, yet heard too many horror stories with unreliable carbs.

I must admit I do carry a spare pump with me, but never needed it for over 350 000 km of travels on all 6 continents and closing in to 100 countries I've been to with my 20 years old BMW R1100GS. Never even touched it's EFI. I've put so much crap through it it's unbelievable, literally running engine with a vegetable oil, 76 octane fuel filled with rust particles etc with sparkplugs having vivid red color, going too often over service intervals etc etc. The engine never missed a beat. With over 300K on the clock this thing still pulls a train, compression is like a brand new engine and ready for another 100 000+ km without hesitation. And they say BMW and EFI is so unreliable, LOL. I wouldn't even imagine doing this with our DRZ.

Anyways, we managed to organize a Mongolian truck transport for the DRZ:





The stator is done anyways, made a pic from the flywheel, looks pretty much done as well or what do you guys reckon?






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  #9  
Old 18 Sep 2016
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Drz400

Sorry to hear about your DRZ I have just come back from 10,000 k trip Cairns to Broome and back on DRZ 400 and DRZ250 I took a spare stator with me which luckily I did not need. After the research I did on stators I found the OEM ones the most reliable the high out put ones produce more heat and heat can kill the stator Ricky stator in USA had the best price I could find. Cheap Chinese stators semed very hit or miss on quality. I have found the DRZ heats up quickly when idling so I shut the engine off. Good luck I hope you get your bike up and running. I have heard some good stuff about the honda crf250l dutch couple have put 140,000 k on there bikes.
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  #10  
Old 12 Oct 2016
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sorry for the troubles you're having margus. not that this helps you any, but i have never read or heard a single good word about electrosport stators. every single report i've read on them was how they failed.

hope you get things sorted...
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  #11  
Old 20 Oct 2016
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I'm not sure if I've ever heard or seen of DRZs getting beyond 60 to 70k without failure... I don't know where these stories of DRZs being bullitproof travel bikes come from (nor any for that matter)..
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